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Tiny Homes - 17th Jan 2017

Lloyd Kahn's
Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter
Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels and Water

The idea of scaling back and living somewhere smaller and more affordable is no doubt something many of us dream of. If you've ever entertained such a thought, Lloyd Kahn will inspire you to try.

These books contain a fabulous array of really beautiful tiny homes. You will be astounded by the creativity and ingenious design of many of these houses, often built by their owners, who are not professionals.

Sit back and dream of being mortgage-free or rent-free in your new downsized dwelling as you thumb through these superbly photographed books. Even if you aren't planning to change, you will definitely enjoy the ingenuity and artistry which has inspired this rich array of gorgeous homes. Don't miss out. Come and get a copy today.

Sexist Words and Phrases - 16th Jan 2017

Sexist Words and Phrases The Nonsexist Word Finder: A Dictionary of Gender-free Usage
by Rosalie Maggio

This is an accessible, easy-to-use guide which gives alternatives for over 5000 sexist words and phrases.

If you replace sexist words & phrases with neutral terms then you are treating everyone with respect. It can sometimes be difficult, however, to find a suitable alternative. This will be especially important if you are a writer, a teacher or someone who does a lot of public speaking. Fear not, help is at hand with the Nonsexist Word Finder.

You can use this book to avoid obsolete or offensive words. Just look up the word you want to avoid and select from the 'gender-free' synonyms offered. 

For example, instead of saying 'manpower', you could try personnel or staff or workers. Don't make a snowman in winter, try sculpting a snow figure. You may find yourself chuckling over a few of the suggestions (and that will be half the fun) but you won't be stuck for words.

Prefab Houses - 13th Jan 2017

Prefab Houses Design Source
By Marta Serrats

This book is fascinating to peruse whether you are an enthusiastic amateur, a seasoned professional or just someone who likes looking at houses.

If you feel like diving for cover when you hear the word 'prefab', this book will quickly change your mind. It showcases some of the best prefabricated houses from around the world. The architectural designs and styles shown here are truly inspirational.

The book is packed with useful information from floor plans and building materials to ecological and economic benefits. The photography is stunning to boot. You'll be convinced this is the future of residential architecture once you've had a look. 

Heath Robinson - 11th Jan 2017

Britain at Play 
by W Heath Robinson, edited by Geoffrey Beare

Although William Heath Robinson is best known for his humorous illustrations of ingenious and impossibly complicated contraptions for doing very simple things, his mechanical gadgets were only part of his prolific output.

His work in this book illuminates the British at work, at play, at rest, on holiday, in courtship and indulging in ridiculously outlandish variations on popular sports - such as pogo golf or aquatic golf, luge gliding, sedentary tennis for the middle-aged, or noosing feral cats. Come to think of it, Gareth Morgan may want to hear about this. Perhaps someone could point him to this item.

His pictures are charming, eccentric, inventive, and unforgettable. Get yourself a copy of this book or one of the many other Heath Robinson books and while away a pleasant few hours looking at all these improbable mechanical devices.

War Paint - 10th Jan 2017

No, not what you are thinking. Not the normal meaning of war paint.

War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden
Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry

by Lindy Woodhead

This book is the story of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, two extraordinary businesswomen in the beauty industry. It is more than just a biography.

I won't write a review of this book. I will simply quote the opinion of a Mr Page which was clearly expressed in a handwritten note loosely enclosed in a copy we bought.

"Never have I read such an awful history of a man-mad woman, turned Catholic and going to mass at 6am, and then dead drunk before the day was out. Lived with 11 men, married and divorced, two killed in war and accidents, all drunks...nothing but parties galore. Money squandered and two rotten old parents, an appalling life. I wonder she could expose it all. Had some ability but brainless. Was a horrible fool."

Don't let his opinion put you off completely. Read it yourself and make up your own mind!


True Crime - 9th Jan 2017

Great Cases of Scotland Yard 
with an introduction by Eric Ambler

For anyone interested in true crime, this is good reading. The most publicised and notorious cases of the world-famous Scotland Yard are dramatised by well-known authors. The ten stories in this two-volume set are written by such greats as Winston Graham, Emlyn Williams, Michael Innes and Ludovic Kennedy, to name but four.

Dr Crippen is a name everyone knows (and his story is told in here) but there are also tales of lots more poisoners, murderers, rapists, forgers, robbers and so on who you may or may not have heard of. Grab yourself a copy of this book and sit back for an entertaining weekend of reading.

Alternatively, why not come into the shop and peruse the books in our true crime section? You may find something to delight and/or horrify you as you lounge around reading in your holiday deck chair.

New Zealand Falcon - 6th Jan 2017

If you happened to read the Otago Daily Times newspaper this morning, you will have seen the article on the front page about the pair of New Zealand falcons nesting unusually close to town this year. There was a brilliant photo of the two parents readying themselves to fend off attackers and protect the clutch of baby birds in the nest. Very interesting.

And then I came in to work and the first book my eyes alighted on was Neville Peat's 
The Falcon and the Lark: A New Zealand High Country Journal
and I thought that I would do today's item on the falcon. It was clearly meant to be.

The falcon is unusual in that it can hunt and kill animals larger than itself. It is New Zealand's swiftest bird of prey. Neville Peat says they are "the wildest thing in our skies". They have been likened to the sealion as they are not intimidated by humans, unlike many species. Have a look at the ODT article and learn a little about this beautiful native wild bird, which sadly is endangered.

New Zealand Fashion - 5th Jan 2017

A few years ago, quite by chance, I went to visit the Eden Hore fashion collection. It's a museum not far from Naseby on the road to Dansey's Pass, set in the grounds of the Glenshee homestead. I have never had an interest in frocks or gowns of 1970s New Zealand and nor do I have any particular interest in fashion so I was pleasantly surprised by how absorbing the visit turned out to be.

Coincidentally, the museum also houses a huge display of whisky decanters (Jim Beam to be precise) and in many ways that was even more fascinating than the dresses.

But  that is all by the by. Remembering that trip caused me to glance through a book on New Zealand fashion that has recently arrived in the shop.

The Dress Circle: New Zealand Fashion Design since 1940
By Lucy Hammonds, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins & Claire Regnault

It covers 70 years of fashion and design in New Zealand. It is beautifully illustrated and the photographs pull you in even if you are a fashion Philistine like me. And even I recognised some of the great names in fashion history.  If I found the museum fascinating, then it occurred to me that there must be lots of people who would find this book irresistable.

Final recommendation - go and visit the museum.

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