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House of Leaves - 30th Aug 2017

Have you read this book by Mark Danielewski?  Best to read it now before his 27-volume novel "The Familiar" is published and you no longer have time for this one!

This was Danielewski's debut novel and is variously described as thrilling, terrifying, distressing, un-put-downable, unforgettable, imaginative, scary, creepy, intelligent, troubling, frightening, nightmarish, and nothing like anything you have ever read before.  How can you resist?

Even the format of the text is unusual.  You can see a bit of what I mean in the accompanying photos but they cannot prepare you for the reality.  And here's a quote from the book to whet your appetite:

"To get a better idea try this: focus on these words, and whatever you do don't let your eyes wander past the perimeter of this page. Now imagine just beyond your peripheral vision, maybe behind you, maybe to the side of you, maybe even in front of you, but right where you can't see it, something is quietly closing in on you, so quiet in fact you can only hear it as silence. Find those pockets without sound. That's where it is. Right at this moment. But don't look. Keep your eyes here. Now take a deep breath. Go ahead, take an even deeper one. Only this time as you exhale try to imagine how fast it will happen, how hard it's gonna hit you, how many times it will stab your jugular with its teeth or are they nails?, don't worry, that particular detail doesn't matter, because before you have time to process that you should be moving, you should be running, you should at the very least be flinging up your arms-you sure as hell should be getting rid of this book-you won't have time to even scream.
Don't look.
I didn't."

We have both hardcover and softcover editions available.


IN PURSUIT OF PLANTS BY PHILIP SHORT This would be a great gift for a botanist, plant lover, gardener, or in fact anyone with an interest in the plant collectors of the 19th & early 20th century.  A really good book to have by your bed or on a coffee table and dip in and out as the mood takes you.  

The book is a mixture of scientific exploration, travel, biographical details of the collectors, and some excerpts from each person's first-hand journals and letters.  There are some beautiful botanical illustrations and modern photographs as well.  

The book is in pristine condition,  as is the dust jacket, and at only NZ$14.00 you couldn't get a better deal.   You can order it now on the website or pop in to the Dunedin shop

Why Italians Love to Talk About Food - 9th Aug 2017

Why Italians Love to Talk About Food Why Italians Love to Talk About Food: A Journey through Italy's Great Regional Cuisines from the Alps to Sicily

When Elena Kostioukovitch first visited Italy, she was struck by the difference in culture, in particular the way Italians talk so passionately about food. 

In this book she visits Italy region by region, detailing the enormous variety of local dishes. But this book isn't just about delicious meals. It delves into the culinary history behind the dishes of each region, when certain ingredients were introduced to Italy and how their use has changed over time. It also gives an insight into the diversity of Italian people and their culture - what makes each region unique and how different people talk about their love of food.

This is certainly worth a read for anyone who loves talking about food as much as Italians do, or anyone interested in Italian culture and history. 

SAVE the HARD TO FIND BOOKSHOP! - 3rd Aug 2017

A historic building and an iconic secondhand bookstore need your help
Before getting to the point, here’s a bit of a preamble…

The bookshop began as a hobby in a garage back in 1983, a real bookstore in 1984,  and found its present home in Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand in 1988. It was founded on my passion and obsession for books of all kinds, and I believe we have created a store with an essence of magic, pleasure and surprise, a repository of learning, knowledge and entertainment. The books in the shop are complemented by the store itself - a several storey nineteenth century chaotic shambles of a timber building with well-worn wooden stairs and original wallpaper still hanging (just) from the walls. It is both a cultural icon and an economic anachronism with a unique bookish atmosphere available to all incomes and tastes.
        Many thousands of customers from around the world have visited as children, supplied themselves as students, and now bring their children to experience the piles of tumbling books and half-hidden treasures. Hundreds more people have worked short or longterm with us over the last 34 years and helped shape the shop as it now is.
       Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction... which is why this email has arrived in your inbox. The landlord hasn’t  maintained the building for the last twenty years and is now signalling a massive rent increase, one we won’t to be able to afford. Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit. Despite working pretty much seven days a week I don’t own properties or have savings or bankable assets. The business has been a labour of love which pays our wages and continues to give a great many people of all ages pleasure, but there are no gold bars buried in the garden (we’ve looked).
     As the only resort i can think of we have come up with a crowdfunding campaign, and we are hoping you can help us by either preferably donating at this secure crowdfunding site…https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/hardtofindbookshop      or if that does not sit well with you, perhaps supporting us by purchasing some books from us online at our website www.hardtofind.co.nz
     Thanks for taking the time to read this letter.  Any help you can give us is greatly appreciated. Please do pass this on to anyone you know who may be interested, particularly any philanthropic millionaires or billionaires.

Regards, Warwick (the helmsman) and the team at Hard to Find Bookshop

The Cloud Garden - 1st Aug 2017

The Cloud Garden The Cloud Garden by Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder

This book comes highly recommended by one of our customers. 

It is the story of a botanist named Tom Hart Dyke, whose passion for orchids leads him to travel to places many of us have never heard of. By chance he meets adventurous Paul Winder and together they decide to travel to the notorious Darien Gap.

The Darien Gap is a strip of land between Panama and Colombia. Mostly swampland and jungle, it is a place the Lonely Planet Guide's advice for is 'Don't even think about it!'. Despite hearing many stories of abduction and murder they decide the risk is worth it - Tom for the orchids, Paul for the thrill of the journey.

Tom and Paul certainly get their excitement and adventure, in fact a lot more than they had hoped for. A story of survival, kidnapping, and 'extreme horticulture' this is one armchair travel book that really will have you on the edge of your seat.

Latin - 27th Jul 2017

Latin Latin for All Occasions (Lingua Latina Occasionibus Omnibus)
by Henry Beard

Think you don't need this? Think again! Soon you'll be wondering how you managed without.

Pick up line: Frequentasne hunc locum?
At Customs: Nihil declaro.
Homework not done: Canis meus id comedit.
Excuse for lateness: Horologium manuale meum stitit.
Art exhibition comment: Cum musis deditus non sim, nosco quod amo.
Chat with longsuffering young colleague: Cum tam iuvenis eram quam nunc es ....

You've got the idea now I'm sure. Bore all your friends to death, scare off most strangers, and irritate anyone who actually has studied Latin - just get a copy of this little book.  

English translations below for the unimaginative:
Do you come here often / Nothing to declare / The dog ate it. / My watch stopped /
I don't know much about art but I know what I like. / When I was your age ......


Short stories - 26th Jul 2017

For anyone thinking of attending the Dan Davin Short Story Conference in Invercargill next month, reading a few New Zealand short stories would be a good way to get into the mood.

I have started with a volume of Phillip Wilson's short stories called South Pacific Street. I chose it for three reasons. Firstly, the book contains twelve stories, each with diverse writing style and distinct flavour and content. Secondly, one of Phillip Wilson's daughters is giving a paper on his short stories so reading these should serve as a bit of preparation. And furthermore, Phillip Wilson's other daughter is one of the keynote speakers.

However, you could choose from any number of other talented NZ short story writers: try Elizabeth Smither, Fiona Kidman, Patricia Grace, Catherine Chidgee, Bill Manhire to name but a few. Pop into the shop or look at the online stock.

Dan Davin Short Story Conference - 24th Jul 2017

From 1st to 3rd September in Invercargill:
The New Zealand Short Story 'its traditions & departures'

An opportunity to celebrate Southland-born author Dan Davin as one of the fathers of the modern New Zealand short story, and the development of the New Zealand short story to today. 

Some of New Zealand’s foremost writers including Owen Marshall, Fiona Kidman and Tracey Slaughter will attend. Janet Wilson will be a keynote speaker. It will be the first conference for many years devoted entirely to the short story and its place in New Zealand literature.

Follow this link for more information, programme, registration etc http://www.dandavin.org.nz/dan-davin-conference-2017.html

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