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Office Move at Dowling Street - 15th Sep 2016

Great excitement here at Hard to Find Bookshop in Dunedin!

The office has moved from the back to the front of the building.  This may not seem a big deal to the rest of the world but it is to us.

For a start, the new office has natural light pouring in through a huge window and as summer is approaching we will be working in a sun-filled, light and airy office.  A real treat.

Ngaio Marsh has also decided to move with us (as you can see from the attached pictures) and we are very pleased to welcome her as an office-mate.  When you're in the shop, you'll be able to see her staring out over the top of the office door.

The hardworking staff have a new packaging and processing area too right beside the window.  A good move for all concerned.  


Sun Tzu - The Art of War - 14th Sep 2016

"Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak."

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general and philosopher.  His work The Art of War is probably one of the most famous and most widely read books ever.  It is arguably more about philosophy than it is about warfare and military strategy.  It is definitely one of the most quoted of texts.

It has been widely used for teaching competitive tactics in fields as diverse as sport, politics, business and, of course, warfare.  It is often used for inspirational quotes in managing conflict and winning battles. It is considered to be a masterpiece of strategy.

If you are not yet acquainted with this book, now might be a good time to read it.  It will give you food for thought for a long time.  Come in and pick up a copy or order on line.  

"He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight."

The Holy Bible - 13th Sep 2016

This is a really stunning edition of the Catholic Bible.  It was published by John E Potter & Co in Philadelphia and contains a history of the Catholic Bible, the Old and New Testaments plus an introduction to the proper reading of the holy scriptures and an account of each book.  

It is superbly illustrated with fine engravings and elegant steel plates throughout. There is gilt lettering & gilt decorative rule to the tooled leather spine. The dark brown leather boards are decorated with gilt rule and a magnificent gilt raised cross to the front and rear boards.  All page edges are gilt and there is gilt dentelle to the board edges. The end papers are cream textured silk and there is a beautiful hand-coloured title page.  

This magnificent volume has to be seen to be appreciated as my poor words cannot do it justice.

We also have a great selection of less ornate and less valuable Bibles if you are looking for one but do come in and see this beautiful book when you visit the shop.

Graffiti or Art? - 12th Sep 2016

Banksy: Wall and Piece

Graffiti is the lowest form of art. Graffiti is even lower than that and is just plain vandalism.  Graffiti  is art at its most pure and honest.  Graffiti is a symbol of a decline in society.  Whatever your opinion, this book of Banksy's will certainly make you think.  

Banksy's own opinion is, "The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are rhe companies that scrawl giant slogans .. trying to make us.. buy their stuff.  They expect to be able to shout their message.. from every available surface but you're never allowed to answer back."  

He says a lot more and says it succintly and wittily.  If his words are thought-provoking, the work itself is more so.  Treat yourself to a really fascinating look at a world many of us don't bother to think about and after you've perused this book carefully then you can decide what your answer to the art vs. vandalism question is.

PS.  Banksy also said, "Copyright is for Losers."  However, he is identified as the author of the above book under the Copyright Act.

Myths, legends, folk tales, fantasies - 8th Sep 2016

The Oxford Myths and Legends is a great series of books covering stories from all over the world. There are simple fables, tales of animals and villains, fairy stories, heroic sagas, entertaining escapades, ghost stories and more.

The series covers myths and legends from Russia, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Scandinavia, Yugoslavia (as was), Switzerland, Japan, China , Germany, India and more.

They are an extremely well written series and provide a consummate re-telling of many well known traditional tales as well as lesser known national legends.  There are amusing simple black and white illustrations and also attractive full-page colour plates by Kiddell-Monroe.

These books can be read simply for enjoyment or to further one's knowledge of the culture and traditions of each country.  Whatever your intent, they are well worth a read. 


If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet? - 7th Sep 2016

How can one resist a title like that?

This book was written by Cynthia Heimel who has been described as "an urban romantic with a scathing X-ray vision".  She is said to have humour and insight and to take pleasure in lampooning everything we hold sacred.  

(I wonder who 'we' is because it didn't include me;  I don't regard nightclubs, fashion, drugs, 'slebs' or yuppies with anything other than horror.  But that is by the by as this is not about me.)

However, if you can find some amusement in the fact that bellbottoms just keep reappearing with different names (and they weren't all that attractive the first time round) or that it's easier to talk to your teenagers about cannibalism than sex or that men named Melvin tend to be pear-shaped windbags, then this collection of essays covers all sorts of topics including men, women, men & women, trendy times, weddings, sex, and money, to name but a few.

If you read it, let us know what you think and whether you'd recommend it.

Another day at the beach - 6th Sep 2016

Between the Flags: 100 Years of Surf Life Saving in New Zealand

This book says it is "a story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their spare time."  That means hearing cries for help, spotting an upraised arm, differentiating struggle from play, and then battling the surf to pluck a drowning person from the sea.

The book is thoroughly illustrated with photographs, cuttings, clippings, pictures, cartoons & memorabilia but it is more than just a beautiful pictorial history - it is the story of the thousands of lifeguards who have risked their own lives to save others at the beaches up and down the country over the last 100 years.

As well as the heroism, there is excellent coverage of the talent, skill, dedication and sheer hard slog of the surf lifesaving teams and their training.  Their national and international competitions are fully covered too and make for very interesting reading.

Given the role the beach plays in most New Zealanders' lives, it is likely you will spot someone you know (or someone who once rescued you), and even if you don't, this story of our selfless New Zealand lifeguards is well worth a read.  

Here is everything you could want to know about the superb volunteer lifesavers and their clubs: friendship, hardship, triumph, tragedy, teamwork, competition, humour and everything in between.  

How to have the last word (with style) - 5th Sep 2016

How to have the last word (with style) Big Book of Insults by Nancy McPhee

"Many thanks for your book.  I shall lose no time in reading it."  Guess who said that and when??  And that's just a taster to get you started.

A razor-wit is probably something many of us have envied time and again during our lives. The ability to produce an impudent riposte that amuses your friends or the sharp one-liner that disconcerts your enemies is a skill that a lot of people would like to possess. 

This Big Book of Insults contains some of the greatest derogatory quotations and imaginatively nasty invective from a wide variety of sources, both old and new, and covers every topic under the sun from history, politics, literature and love  to  death and revenge.  

Read this book and marvel at  the verbal dexterity and wittiness on display.  I am hoping that some of it will rub off on me so that I can occasionally think of a nasty epithet in a timely fashion rather than a day too late.  I fear that I will live in hope!

And another taster for farewell:
Lady Astor to Winston Churchill:  If you were my husband, I should poison your coffee.
Churchill to Lady Astor:  Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.


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