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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? 

Neville Peat - 24th Oct 2016

Neville Peat: world renowned author and photographer

Neville Peat was born in Dunedin and lives on the beautiful Otago Peninsula surrounded by the wildlife and scenery which he loves and which he is so famous for writing about.

He has written over 30 books whose titles encompass the genres of natural history, the environment, biography and geography.  The focus is particularly on New Zealand and the Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Here is a little taster of some of the topics covered in his books: seabirds, Shackleton's Whisky, Queenstown, kiwis, Stewart Island, Sir Tim Wallis, the Catlins, Lance Richdale, and wild Dunedin to name but a few. You will emerge from every one of his books far better informed than you were before you started reading and you will undoubtedly be far more enthusiastic about the subject.

Neville Peat is appearing at the Dunedin Public Library this week as part of of the Centre for the Book Symposium. His lecture is on October 27th at 6pm. Go and listen to him if you can. You will find yourself inspired.

If you can't, then pop into our lovely bookshop instead and buy a few of his books as a consolation.

Long weekend reading - 21st Oct 2016

Whether you're going away or lounging around at home, what everyone needs on a long weekend is something to read and why not try reading some New Zealand literature for a change.  

Today we are recommending the New Zealand author Noel Virtue.  You could try Lady Jean and experience VIrtue's humour or read Losing Alice and get to grips with blackmail and vengeance. The Redemption of Elsdon Bird or Sandspit Crossing will tug at your heart strings and maybe move you to tears.  He has published two autobiographical books Once a Brethren Boy and Among the Animals and they are both great reads too.  The latter will appeal if you like animals as it deals with his fascinating time at London Zoo and Welsh Mountain Zoo as a keeper.  We have most of his books in stock so pop into the shop and pick up a few to add the crowning touch to your holiday weekend.

We also have a huge range of other New Zealand literature so check out our online stock or come in and ask us..  

Drawing - 20th Oct 2016

I've always thought it would be lovely to be able to draw.  I've never learned though and any attempts have been so depressing that I have quickly given up. A shame I hadn't come across this book when the urge was still strong.

The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study 
by Kimon Nicolaides 

The book approaches the task of learning to draw with 64 exercises designed to be studied over the course of a year.  Each section builds on skills developed in the earlier sections.  It encourages you to look at people and things in a different way, one which will help you to draw.

Nikolaides said, "The impulse to draw is as natural as the impulse to talk."  And if you think about it, we learn the latter by a process of trial, error and endless repetition. He thinks drawing is innately connected to the art of correct observation and this is what he takes you through in his book.   He also says that the sooner you make your first 5000 mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them!

Nikolaides says that he treats the reader exactly as if you were his student embarking on a year of art school and if you follow his how-to method, you will learn to draw.

If this hasn't put you off, then pop into the shop and pick up a copy for only $15.00 and start on your art career now.  Don't end up like me (can't make a cup look much like a cup).

Springtime - long weekend - free time - 19th Oct 2016

Springtime - long weekend - free time Plan your own off-road adventure

4WD South: Exploring Sth Canterbury, Otago, and Southland
by Mark Wilson

Spring is here and we have a long weekend coming up (followed by the Christmas break not long after) so now is the time our thoughts turn to holidays and outings. If you've got a 4WD vehicle, then you'll be thinking of mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and spectacular back country isolation.

This book is the essential guide for planning four-wheel drive adventures and expeditions. Whether you are a novice or an experienced off-roader, you will find journeys in this book to suit you.  There are over 70 clear, accurate and easy-to-follow routes.  It contains recommendations for base-camp towns and information on accommodation, food supplies, fuel availability, vehicle repairs (just in case you aren't planning to do your own) and advice on equipment, camping and cooking.

Get your hands on a copy of this book and get ready to enjoy the life of an intrepid explorer. Once started, you will find yourself with the 4WD bug and addicted.to the freedom and excitement that this sort of travel can bring. Pure magic.

Taiawhio: Conversations with Contemporary Maori Artists - 18th Oct 2016

Contemporary Maori Artists in conversation

This book divides neatly into chapters wherein a contemporary Maori artist is showcased in conversation with one of the five editors: Huhana Smith, Oriwa Solomon, Awhina Tamarapa, Megan Tamati Quennell or John Walsh.  

The conversations focus on the artists' philosophy and inspiration and the illustrations in each chapter include some of the artist's work but also pictures of that artist's studio or working environment to give the reader a deeper understanding.  

This is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary Maori visual art, which in this volume ranges across weaving, carving, painting, and sculpture to video, film and photography.  
Artists include Jolene Douglas, Star Gossage, FredGraham, Lyonel Grant, Dion Hitchens, Emily Karaka, Hei Macgregor, Nathan Pohio, Baye Riddell, Natalie Robertson, Anaru Rondon, Tracey Tawhiao, Saffron Te Ratana, Kura Te Waru Rewiri, and Arnold Wilson.

We also have a great range of other material on Maori and Polynesian art both on line and in the shop so come on in and browse.

The Art of Peter Siddell - 17th Oct 2016

Another great New Zealand Artist

If you are not familiar with the paintings of Peter Siddell, these few attached photos will give you a very small glimpse into his world.  His clear love of the traditional New Zealand wooden villa shines through in gorgeous detail in his work.  He has a real talent for painting houses and other buildings in towns and yet at the same time situating them in landscapes filled with light, emotion and atmosphere.

The above are my favourite kind of Siddell paintings and I really love the emptiness which comes from there being no people in them (perhaps I'm a bit weird) but there is much more to his work than villas and bungalows.   There are also portraits and more traditional-type landscapes and more. The book comes with a potted autobiography written by Peter Siddell and an essay on his work by Professor Michael Dunn.  Buy the book and take time to get to know his work. These photos don't do it justice.

Peter Siddell was born in Auckland in 1935.  He became a full-time artist in 1972.  He was made a Distinguished Companion of hte NZ Order of Merit for services to art in 2008.

Come into the shop (or browse on line) and have a look through our huge collection of art books.

Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird - 14th Oct 2016

You put out sugarwater for the tuis and the bellbirds. You laboriously fashion fat-feeders with seeds & salt-free peanut butter and festoon the trees with them. You know exactly how many pairs of blackbirds inhabit your garden and you watch to see where they're nesting. You were upset when the waxeye population suddenly declined.  You actually briefly considered allowing the muehlenbeckia to swamp your garden because the fantails love it. You watch and listen so often that you recognise individual birds.  Your choice of plants is dictated by what the birds like. You frighten off the local cats whenever they venture in.  

If any of that struck a chord with you, then Tim Birkhead's book will probably appeal to you. Bird Sense: What It's Like to be a Bird is a beautifully written book and explores a bird's senses and how birds interpret the world.  

It will address questions such as what it's like to fly at over 100km per hour or how flamingos can sense rain falling hundreds of kilometres away or how birds' senses compare to our own. The book is divided into chapters called Seeing, Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell (which explains the book's title) and a couple of extras dealing with emotions & magnetic sense.  

It is a fascinating read for anyone interested in birds, ornithology or natural history. Come in and get a copy 

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