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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!

John Clarke - 11th Apr 2017

John Clarke Sad news about John Clarke and therefore apt to remember him by showcasing
The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse
by John Clarke (obviously)

Larry Parkin: This Be The Chorus
They piss you off, your kids, I guess
They're got at by these Freudian shits, 
As if it's our fault they're a mess.
After all I've done for tits.

R. A. C. V. Milne: Obviousness
Rob Rob Bobbity Bobbity James Lee Hawke MP
Took great care of his image because he was quick to see
That if you are photographed standing with blokes
Whose boats do well on the sea, 
Millions of voters will fail to notice
The blokes will be charging a fee.


Pukeiti - 10th Apr 2017

Pukeiti Pukeiti: New Zealand's Finest Rhododendron Garden
by Pat Greenfield

The Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust garden was established in the 1950s. It is on the slopes of the Egmont National Park and is the only public rhododendron garden in the world situated in rain forest. It has the largest selection of rhododendrons in New Zealand.

A visit there is worthwhile year round because, even if the rhodies are not flowering, there are major displays of cardiocrinum, hostas, hydrangeas, magnolias, primulas, liliums, bulbs, and alpine and herbaceous plants. As if that were not enough, the garden is set against the magnificent backdrop of Mount Taranaki and stunningly beautiful native bush.

If you haven't been, it is certainly worth a vist for both the keen gardener and the non-gardener alike. It is worth factoring in a trip there if you are heading to New Plymouth or Mt Taranaki, or anywhere around.

This book covers the history of Pukeiti and all the people who have helped establish and maintain it since its beginning in 1951. It is a beautiful book with superb photography. It will make you want to set off at once.

History in Quotations - 7th Apr 2017

History in Quotations A historical reference work with a difference:
History in Quotations by MJ Cohen and John Major

An original approach to history which brings the last 5000 years to life through the medium of quotations. The book is well cross-referenced and comprehensively indexed so that speakers, subjects, and events can be easily located. 

Just an example:
"We are not about to send American boys 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves," said President Lyndon B Johnson in 1964. Johnson campaigned for election in 1964 as the candidate pledged to keep America out of the war, as Wilson had in 1916 and as Roosevelt had in 1940:
""I shall say it again and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."

This is an addictively browsable work of popular history.

A Good Read - 6th Apr 2017

A Good Read As the weekend approaches, one's thoughts turn to a good book for a Saturday night in (well, mine do anyway). 

The Bookseller of Kabul is non-fiction, written by Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad. She lived with a Kabul bookseller and his family for several months and her book tells their story. It is an intimate portrait of Afghani people unlike anything you will have read before. It gives a rare glimpse into the life of a family and a country.

The book has received praise and criticism almost in equal measure - some readers finding it irresistible and others, irritating. Why not grab a copy and make up your own mind?

The Bookseller of Kabul
by Asne Seierstad


Capitalism revealed - 5th Apr 2017

Capitalism revealed If you're not sure what capitalism is, if you think politics is a waste of time, if you've been wondering why your life doesn't get better despite rising income, if you think some people are richer than others because they are more capable & better educated, if you want to know why poor countries are poor, and/or if you think the world is an unfair place but there is nothing to be done about it, then read this book:

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
by Ha Joon Chang

This book is a must-read. Written by a Cambridge University Professor of Economics, it reveals the truth about how the world works, including: there's no such thing as a free market; the washing machine has changed lives more than the internet; and making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer.

Mr Chong writes wittily, lucidly, intelligently and succinctly. You will only hate his book if you are a financier or investment banker or venture capitalist.

A cookbook with a difference - 4th Apr 2017

A cookbook with a difference Do you buy cookbooks because of the lovely glossy pictures and "lifestyle" photography? If you answered yes then this book is not for you.

Are you one of the few remaining old-fashioned cooks who buys cookbooks because of the recipes and other food-related information? If you answered yes then this book is for you.

The New Laurel's Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegeterian Cookery & Nutrition
by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal

Think delicious recipes, menu suggestions, wholesome cooking, fat reduction without loss of flavour, energy-yielding nutrients, cooking for pregnancy, diet against disease, vitamins, minerals and more. 

This book bills itself as the complete cookbook and reference for the whole-foods kitchen and is recommended to both professionals and nonprofessionals.

It's a double whammy - all the recipes as well as plenty to read and learn when you aren't in the kitchen.

Salmon fishing but not as you know it - 3rd Apr 2017

Salmon fishing but not as you know it The Salmon Book by Douglas Sutherland

Most books on salmon fishing contain practical hints on casting techniques, information on fly reels and knotters and maybe some advice about where and when.

Douglas Sutherland's book will not teach you how to catch fish. However, in terms of the practical, you will learn how to cook one to perfection. You will read of foolhardy fishing trips in isolated parts of the world. You will hear of some of the eccentric characters who populate the banks of any salmon-fishing river. You will be instructed in the intricacies of poaching (and I do not mean the cooking method). 

The book is for anyone who has ever caught, tried to catch or dreamt of catching a salmon. You should have a copy in your fishing tackle bag or on your bedside table for when you get home at the end of the day. It is irresistable.

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