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Great Railway Journeys - 26th Apr 2017

Trains, railways and travel; surely an irresistable combination and a lovely reminder of a bygone era.

On the Slow Train Again: Twelve Great British Railway Journeys
by Michael Williams

Great British Railway Journeys
by Charlie Bunce & Michael Portillo

These two books celebrate the beauty of train journeys, in this case in Britain, and present a fabulous insight into the history, the landscape and the lasting legacy of railways. 

No-one can fail to be moved by the excitement and magic of train travel: waiting on a platform as a steam engine pulls in and then clambering aboard to claim a seat by the window, but even if you can no longer find a steam engine, you can still enjoy the charm and fascination of rail travel (as long as you are not commuting by train, of course). 

Michael Williams and Charlie Bunce approach the subject from different perspectives but both will leave you wanting to set out on your own train adventure as soon as possible.


Stealing - 25th Apr 2017

Stealing Have you ever popped something in your pocket without paying for it? Have you ever tried on a couple of items of clothing and kept one of them on underneath your own clothes as you left the shop? Have you ever picked up two items and only paid for the one on top? Have you ever used the self-check-out and lied about what it is you're actually paying for (peanuts instead of cashews, for example, or one avocado instead of three)? If you answered yes to any of those questions or if you've ever thought about it, you might find this an interesting read.

The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting
by Rachel Shteir

This book explores the history of shoplifting and looks at the various ways the phenomenon has been approached over the years: with punishment, by naming & shaming, via surveillance, as a mental illness, or through drug treatment and rehabilitation groups.

Whether you think it is a crime, a disease, a mania, an anti-property protest or no more than a bit of thrill-seeking, nothing done to deal with the problem seems to have made much difference. No-one can decide why people shoplift. No-one can agree on how to stop it either. Rachel Shteir's book is an interesting commentary on society today and a fascinating study of shoplifting.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All - 24th Apr 2017

The Most Dangerous Animal of All Gary L Stewart with Susan Mustafa
The Most Dangerous Animal of All: 
Searching for My Father and Finding The Zodiac Killer

This is the memoir of Gary Stewart, who discovers that his father is one of the most infamous and as yet uncaught serial killers in America.

Gary Stewart was adopted. At the age of 39, he decided to search for his biological father. This book tells the story of his ten-year hunt for his father. It was a complex trawl through government records, news reports, police department archives, relatives, friends, and forensic evidence.

His quest led ultimately to an unexpected and unwelcome truth: his father was the Zodiac killer, one of the most notorious and elusive serial killers in American history.This is his story and, as far as he has been able to recreate it. that of his father. 

Who needs crime fiction? Try this for a change.

Read this 

A Distant Feast - 22nd Apr 2017

A Distant Feast Most of us wouldn't be impressed now if at a friend's house you were offered opossum stew or eel pie for dinner. But 100 years ago no one would have batted an eyelid. 

This book by Tony Simpson explores meals of New Zealand's past, from the delicious to the desperate - an interesting insight to what the early settlers ate and how New Zealand cuisine has changed over time. It includes lots of recipes for people of varying levels of bravery to try too - would you try boiled ox tongue or pig's head brawn? Or perhaps just some good old-fashioned scones and ginger beer might be more to your taste.

Whether you have an interest in the domestic history of New Zealand or just like our food, there is sure to be something to interest you in this book.

Growing old disgracefully - 21st Apr 2017

Growing old disgracefully Hilarious. Wise, Funny. Heart-warming. Poignant. Entertaining. Thought-provoking. Sparkling. Engaging. Satisfying. Pacy. Charming. Witty.

Those are just a few of the adjectives being thrown at this diary of growing old disgracefully:
No! I Don't Want to Join a Bookclub
by Virginia Ironside

Billed as a cross between grumpy old woman and Bridget Jones, it should be read by those too young for Stannah Stairlifts, corn pads and walk-in baths but not too young for comfy shoes and evenings in front of the tv. 

I haven't read it but get yourself a copy, relax and read it this weekend and then write us your own review.

Mesopotamia Station - 20th Apr 2017

Mesopotamia Station A Fabled Land: The Story of Canterbury's Famous Mesopotamia Station
by Bruce Ansley with Peter Bush

This book covers 150 years of station life at the legendary Mesopotamia Station, which lies in the Rangitata high country. Think about the Southern Alps, torrential rivers, bluffs, gullies, isolated huts, camps, merinos, musters, packhorses, and the indispensable dogs and you will start to get an idea of the treat in store in Bruce Ansley's book.

The superb photographs are provided by Peter Bush, who took them over a 40-year period. He captures the beauty and the isolation and brings to life the characters who have lived and worked on Mesopotamia both now and then.

The Station was founded by Samuel Butler (as you probably know) so once you've read Bruce Ansley's book, you can move on to Erewhon and Erewhon revisited. Or maybe read them first and save this treat for afterwards.


Collectors' Dream - 18th Apr 2017

Elmore Leonard's Hombre

This is a rare first edition of Elmore Leonard's Hombre. It actually pre-dates the American hardcover edition. It is published by Robert Hale Ltd in 1961. There are almost no copies of this edition for sale.

Ours is an ex-library book but with relatively light library markings. The biggest detractor is the missing fep and the relatively intrusive browning from sellotape-residue staining. Other faults are moderate tanning & foxing to page edges, prelims and terminals. There is a full page of birthday inscriptions in ink as well. The dust jacket is in better condition than you would expect for an ex-library book - some minor staining to edges & inside and light tanning. There is a small library marking to the front flap lower corner.

If you are a collector of first editions, then get onto our website and snap this book up before someone else does.

Tao Daily Meditations - 12th Apr 2017

Tao Daily Meditations 365 Tao Daily Meditations
by Deng Ming-Dao
On each of the 365 pages, there is a one-word title with its Chinese character in calligraphy and then a succinct aphorism introducing the theme. Following that, there is a meditation on the day's Taoist principle.

Just one of the daily meditations from this book has been selected to whet your appetite:

Sex, coffee, liquor, and cigarettes
Are the totems of today.
Stimulation has replaced feeling.

In today's world, these are the equations:

  • Do you want intimacy? Have sex.
  • Do you want to be energetic? Drink coffee.
  • Do you want freedom from inhibitions? Drink wine.
  • Do you want a fashionable prop? Smoke cigarettes.
 I am not including the insightful meditation on the topic which follows this intro - you'll need to buy a copy of the book if you want to know how it turns out. My colleague thinks this part is great on its own and needs no further elaboration!

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