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LITERARY DOG OWNERS Doggerel: Poems about Dogs

This is the book for all those people in your life who love dogs and love poetry - I just hope we've got enough copies to cover the huge demand there will be from that demographic. You had best get in quick so your family and friends don't miss out!

From William Cowper to Thomas Hardy and from Edward Lear to Stevie Smith, this collection provides a tribute to man's best friend.  Some of the most famous poets of all time celebrate our canine friends.  From basset hounds to beagles and from poodles to pointers, you will find charming tributes to what is many people's favourite animal.  Here is a tiny taster;

O happy dogs of England
Bark well as well you may
if you lived anywhere else
You would not be so gay

O happy dogs of England
Bark well at errand boys
If you lived anywhere else
You would not be allowed to make such an infernal noise.  
(Stevie Smith)

New science fiction room - 2nd Nov 2016

New science fiction/fantasy room opened today

We have opened a new room dedicated to science fiction & fantasy so we will be massively expanding the number of books to choose from over the next few weeks.  There will be all the old favourites such as Philip K Dick, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Arthur C Clarke to name but a few.  There will, of course, also be loads of the more modern writers such as Stephen Lawhead, Terry Goodkind, George RR Martin, Robert Jordan and all your favourites.  

Come in and have a look and let us know if you like the new layout and while you're here, you can stock up on pre-Christmas reading.

Have to confess that we have also snuck in the true crime section so the first sentence of this is not entirely true.  Just economical with the truth.


DCC Building Warrant of Fitness - 1st Nov 2016

No time for the normal book-related item today. Books have been temporarily ousted by more momentous events. Today heralds the start of the Dunedin City Council's new Building Warrant of Fitness compliance programme.  

The (possibly aptly?) named form SS 15.2 has been delivered to us.  It must be completed by all retail premises EVERY day. In order to complete the form, all FINAL EXIT doors must be checked EVERY day to ensure that they are not blocked or locked or barred or cluttered by obstacles. Once this check has been carried out, the form SS 15.2 must be filled in to indicate compliance with the checking requirement.
The form SS 15.2 must be kept on the premises at all times and can be checked by the Council's inspector at any time.  Failure to produce a correctly filled in form SS 15.2 can result in a $1000 fine and the cancellation of the Building Warrant of Fitness certificate, which means no trading allowed.

One wonders what would happen if there were a fire? The booklet might be burned to a crisp as employees beat a hasty retreat to safety without stopping to collect it. How could a business then prove that the regulation had been complied with?  Would there be a $1000 fine for that? What if there were a burglary and the SS 15.2 booklet was inadvertently stolen? Would there be a $1000 fine for that? What if a FINAL EXIT was blocked and this was duly noted EVERY DAY on the Council's form SS 15.2?  There presumably would be no $1000 fine for that as there appears to be no requirement to DO anything other than complete the form.

Ralph Steadman & Hunter S Thompson - 31st Oct 2016

The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories: Gonzo, Hunter Thompson and Me
by Ralph Steadman

Billed as "Ralph and Hunter,  a great British original on a great American original: Butch and Cassidy on acid."

With a recommendation like that, it's hard to imagine who could resist this book.  But wait - there's more! The foreword is written by Kurt Vonnegut, a friend of both Steadman and Thompson. Surely an irresistable line-up.

It is also hard to imagine that any of the above need any introduction: Ralph Steadman is one of the greats of British cartooning; and Hunter S Thompson was an American journalist and author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a book which Steadman illustrated.

In The Joke's Over Steadman writes of the decades of friendship and professional collaboration between him and Thompson.  It is a remarkable memoir not only because of its subject but also because of the impressive talent of its author.  

Kurt Vonnegut describes Hunter S Thompson as "a gun nut and drug abuser and heavy consumer of grain alcohol....." and Ralph Steadman as "the most gifted and effective existentialist graphic artist of my time."   He also says that until he read & met Thompson, he would have thought it impossible for anyone whose brains were so saturated with mind-benders to make sense on a telephone, let alone write so well.  The book has got to be worth reading!

Read this often hilarious memoir and laugh and despair in equal measure.  And after that, you could move on to Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas or some of Hunter S Thompson's other books.  


My Heart in Company - 29th Oct 2016

My Heart in Company – The Work of J. M. Barrie and the Birth of Peter Pan by Timothy G. Young

This beautiful book was published by The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University. It showcases some of the art, journals, notes and manuscripts relating to J. M. Barrie and the writing of Peter Pan.

Each page features a photograph of the unique item and a brief description of its history and significance, as well as other interesting information about the writer and his life and influences.

The book is in chronological order, enabling the reader to admire the development of Barrie’s work along with the fascinating photographs and stunning illustrations.

We have a brand new copy in our Dunedin store for only $16.50 – a book for anyone who was a fan of Peter Pan in their childhood (and undoubtedly still is) to flick through and admire.

My Family and Other Animals - 28th Oct 2016

Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals

Many of us will be religiously glued to the tv every Wednesday evening at 8.30pm watching the BBC series (remake) of Gerald Durrell's book My Family and Other Animals.  If you missed the first episode on Wednesday, we strongy suggest you do a catch-up and then join the rest of us addicts. It is exactly the kind of programme that the BBC do so beautifully.  It is superbly made with an excellent cast and is very entertaining.  This is seriously good TV.

If I'm recommending the programme, imagine how wonderful the books must be (because they are always better than the film version).  Literally millions of people have loved and laughed at the quirks and foibles of the Durrell family.

If you are not yet familiar with Gerald Durrell's books, you have a treat in store. My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts & Relatives, and The Garden of the Gods tell the story of Durrell's childhood on the Greek island of Corfu. They are light, humorous and entertaining as you can sort of tell from his choice of titles.  Come into the shop and buy yourself some books or if you can't come in, then just order a few on line.  

Lee Child - 27th Oct 2016

Lee Child has a huge following of readers, especially for his series of books about the adventures of his loner hero Jack Reacher.

However, many people don't realise that Lee Child is the pen name of Jim Grant, who is actually British rather than American, which makes his feat in writing so convincingly about an American ex-military policeman pretty impressive.

Child's books are full of suspense and excitement from start to finish and really hold your interest.  As he is a really prolific writer, there are over 30 books to tempt you and keep you reading.  He is a great storyteller and you will find that you don't want the books to end.

Films have been made of some of the books so if you've seen one of those (starring the rather short Tom Cruise as the massively tall Jack Reacher) but not read any of the books, then now is the time to get started reading the series in order. I remember an interview he gave on radio where he admitted he'd made a fortune from his books and would like to retire, but he felt he owed his loyal readers for his success, so would keep writing as long as there is a demand for his books.

We have a large selection of his books both in the shop and in our on-line catalogue so come on in and get some light reading for the weekend.


Hard to Find Bookshop plate - 26th Oct 2016

This is a one-off piece of art with a nice little story behind it.  Naturally that tale is closely connected to the Hard to Find (but worth the effort) Quality Secondhand Bookshop.

Many years ago, the owner of Hard to Find lived quite near a potters' studio in Westmere, Auckland.  It was called Edge City.

They had a great range of weird and wonderful pottery and ceramics and one could not walk past without perusing the display.  One day while browsing there, Warwick asked them if they would consider making something original for his shop and thus the plate was commissioned.

Once Edge City delivered the plate, it stood proudly on display in the shop and was cause for interest and comment among the customers.  And then disaster struck quite shortly thereafter!  An employee (who shall remain nameless) smashed the plate to smithereens.

Word of this calamitous event reached the ears of the potters at Edge City and they appeared at the shop and offered to repair the plate at no charge.  They have done such a professional job that you won't be able to see it in the photos here.  

Why not come into the shop and admire the plate and the meticulous repair job? 

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