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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? 

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).

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