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New Zealand aviation history - 8th Jun 2017

In 1940, Air New Zealand route mileage was 1343 (Auckland-Sydney) and the first year's passengers totalled 1461. Thirty years later in 1970, the route mileage was 42,659 and passengers were nearing the 300,000 mark. 

That first scheduled flight was by S30 Empire Class flying-boat from Auckland's Waitemata Harbour to Sydney's Rose Bay and took nine hours. The flying-boat was called "Aotearoa" and, although a commercial flight, could only accommodate 19 passengers. 

All this fascinating information, and much much more, can be found in a book called
Air New Zealand's First 30 Years: Tiga Puloh Tauri which was published in 1970 to mark Air New Zealand's 30th anniversary.

A small oblong quarto volume of blue heavy card boards with turquoise, white & gilt lettering to the front board, it is thoroughly illustrated, packed with information, and very difficult to get hold of.

Eminent Outlaws - 7th Jun 2017

Eminent Outlaws Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, 
Allen Ginsberg, Edward Albee, Edmund White, Armistead Maupin, Marty Crowley et al: what do they have in common? Just have a look at the title of Christopher Bram's book Eminent Outlaws:The Gay Writers who Changed America and you will have the answer.

This book chronicles fifty years of change in the USA, from the civil rights movement to AIDS and beyond, by "weaving the writers' lives, ambitions, affairs, feuds, and loves" into a narrative which provides a very different approach to 20th Century America. 

These gay writers, who are major cultural figures and whose names are known to all, were very influential with their novels, poetry, and plays. Christopher Bram writes a fascinating combination of cultural history, literary criticism and biographical detail which brings not only the period but also the writers alive. This history of gay writing and gay writers is not to be missed.

The Science of Harry Potter - 6th Jun 2017

The Science of Harry Potter Is travel by broomstick or portkey possible? Could a creature resembling a Hinkypunk or a three headed dog really exist? Why are witches and wizards depicted wearing pointy hats?

The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works by Roger Highfield delves into the magical world of Harry Potter and answers these questions and many more. JK Rowling's world may not be as far-fetched as it sounds - with science we are well on our way to creating an invisibility cloak or even a hat capable of reading thoughts.

Covering potions, spells, transport, beasts, curses and much more, this book shows how magical modern science and technology can be and may give comfort to those still hoping their Hogwarts acceptance letter just got lost mid-flight.

Commando Comics - 5th Jun 2017

Commando Comics Like old soldiers, old comics never die! so revisit your past:

The Dirty Dozen: The Best 12 Commando Comic Books Ever!
Edited by George Low, Commando Editor

Inland Navy, Riley's Rifle, Aces Wild, The Ship-Busters
Mustang Patrol, Death Patrol, Glider Ace, Trouble Spot
Battle Wagon, Three Two One Zero, March of the Monsters, Man of Iron

Here is Commando's ultimate collection of Second World War stories. These 12 were selected by George Low, who said it was no easy task to choose the "best" for this collection as there had been so many good stories and so much great artwork since 1961. He writes in his introduction that perhaps you'll find an old favourite you've all but forgotten or recognise a certain artist's style that you particularly admired.

Revive your comic-book battle lust: "Donner und Blitzen" "Gott im Himmel" "Achtung" "Englischer Schweinhund" "Aaaaaargghhh!"

Tennyson - 2nd Jun 2017

Tennyson's Works
This is a really beautiful volume of the poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson. The book was published in 1911 by Macmillan & Co and is a small octavo with lovely polished navy blue leather boards. There is gilt decorative rule to the board edges and to the spine. The title is in gilt lettering inside a red panel between the five raised bands to the spine. The page edges are marbled as are the eps and there is dentelle to the board fore-edges. Inside, there is a frontispiece portrait of Tennyson with tissue guard.

You couldn't ask for a nicer volume to hold while you read through The Lady of Shalott or peruse Enoch Arden or memorise Morte d'Arthur. 

Break, break, break,
On they cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

Break, break, break, 
At teh foot of they crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
will never come back to me.

(Apologies for missing two verses)


The Atheist's Bible - 1st Jun 2017

The Atheist's Bible "It is hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning."
(Bill Watterson)

"All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt with different holidays."
(Cathy Ladman)

If those carry any appeal for you, you'll find them in The Atheist's Bible, edited by Joan Konner. This is "an illustrious collection of irreverent thoughts: quips, quotes, and questions from a distringuished assortment of geniuses and jokers."

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
(Can you guess who?)

Hours of entertainment; basis for an evening's quiz; missing-word round at a party; fodder for thought in the loo; there is definitely something here for everyone - well, nearly everyone!


Motor racing - 31st May 2017

The once irresistible world of motor racing may no longer be as exciting and nail-bitingly dangerous as it used to be - but you can still read about those marvellous days of old when drivers were real men, cars were unpredictable, accidents were guaranteed, death was just around the next corner, and winning required real skill (rather than just high tech cars).

We have a huge array of books both on line and in our shop covering all aspects of motorsport, including Formula One, Indy & stock cars, rally, touring, moto GP, motocross, and of course biographies of the great and famous (Fangio, Senna, Mansell, Prost, and Lauder to name but a few). We've probably even got something on lawnmower racing if that is what thrills you.

If you are one of the many who miss those edge-of-seat days, why not come into the shop and browse through our "car" section. We have a really great selection of both old & new and are always happy to bring books out from the back (our storeroom) for you to look at.

Plunge into Philosophy - 29th May 2017

Plunge into Philosophy The Bathroom Professor: Philosophy on the Go 
(Don't Just Sit There, Learn Something!)

By Joey Green

If you're looking for a quick. painless way to impress other people with a knowledge of philosophy that you don't possess, then take this little book with you every time you go to the loo and make good use of all those idle moments you spend just sitting there!

It isn't just a joke (although it's written to entertain) since you will learn something about the world's great philosophers and schools of thought. After reading this book, you will be able to fake your way through erudite dinner-table conversations but you will also develop a deeper understanding of why philosophy is such an endlessly fascinating field of study. 

You can't really beat the combination of simplicity, brevity and wit which educates and and enlightens at the same time.


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