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Motorcycles - 2nd May 2017

Which company had the 'winged M' as its logo?
What bike won the 1952 Manx GP?
Which marque had models G50, G45, G80CS and G3L?
Which company was affectionately known as Matchbox?

If you answered all the above questions with ease, you may not need to read this book but you will certainly want to.

Matchless: Once the Largest British Motorcycle Manufacturer
by Peter Hartley

This history traces the development from pedal cycles to attached petrol engines to racing motorcycles and cars. There is coverage of all the highlights of TT and Brooklands and GPs and the association with AMC, AJS, Norton, Francis-Barnett and James.

These names arouse passion in the hearts of the many who think that this was British motorcycling at its very best: superb reliable engineering at a reasonable price.

Once Peter Hartley has extensively and inspiringly covered the rise and rise of Matchless, he then tries to explain what went wrong and what factors contributed to the demise of such a successful machine. His love for motorcycles and their engines shines through on every page.


Good as Goldie - 1st May 2017

You may not know the name Karl F Sim but you probably do know the name of Charles Goldie. He is a renowned New Zealand artist, most famous for his portraits of Maori dignitaries. Most of us have seen prints and would recognise his work.

The same cannot be said of Karl Sim. However, if you read Tim Wilson's book Good as Goldie, you will learn all about New Zealand's most famous art forger: Karl F Sim aka CF Goldie. He didn't confine himself to Goldie though. For several decades, he forged the work of famous NZ artists such as Rita Angus, Toss Woolaston & Colin McCahon and broadened his brush strokes with the likes of Degas and Renoir.

Karl Sim led a wild and colourful life which he recounts to journalist Tim Wilson in this book. He is a real character and, as long as you are not constrained by an inability to laugh at lawlessness and criminality, you can't fail to be amused by this. It's a great story.

Soil - 28th Apr 2017

Soil "We are exhausting the quality of our soils. As we do so, the quality of our plants goes down. And we are accepting this."
A quote from William A. Albrecht PhD and as apt today as it was when he said it.

"Dr Albrecht was a scientist whose extensive experiments with growing plants and animals substantiated his theory and observation that a declining soil fertility, due to a lack of organic material, major elements and trace minerals - or a marked imbalance in these nutrients - was responsible for poor crops and in turn for pathological conditions in animals fed deficient feeds from such soils. Obviously, mankind is no exception." A quote from the introduction written by Dr Granville Knight, MD.

This is a must read for every farmer, gardener, soil scientist, ecologist and anyone with an interest in food, health & illness. Even though some of the science may be beyond the likes of me, there are still accessible parts that are well worth the effort.

An informative, interesting and essential but depressing book:
The Albrecht Papers Volume 1 Foundation Concepts

The Mystery of Illness - 27th Apr 2017

The Mystery of Illness What is illness?
What effect does the mind have on the body?
Why do placebos work?

Think of spells, incantations, herbalism, acupuncture, Ayurvedic, healing ceremonies, hypnotism, osteopathy, chiropractic, eating one's way to health, prayer or laying on of hands and think how fascinating it would be to read a balanced and open analysis. This book argues that every type of medicine has its own validity. It examines all the healing arts. It is an interesting look at ancient, modern, scientific and complementary medical systems and will appeal to anyone with an interest in medicine and health today. That's everyone really, so come in and get a copy of:

The Healing Arts: A Journey Through the Faces of Medicine
by Ted Kaptchuk and Michael Croucher

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.

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