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The Sleepwalkers - 18th Sep 2016

In this detailed and interesting book Arthur Koestler takes a look at the history of cosmology. Beginning with the Babylonians and Ancient Greeks and working his way through several important figures such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton, he shows how our understanding of the universe has changed throughout the centuries.

While the history of science is an interesting topic on its own, this book goes much further. Delving into the political and personal biases of each great figure we also learn about how changing attitudes affected scientific discovery and research. The influence of religion and spirituality is also discussed, making this not only a fascinating account of scientific thought but also a study in philosophy and sociology.

Fair warms the cockles of your heart (well, ours anyway) - 16th Sep 2016

Letter from a customer received today

Dear Ruth, Tessa, Lily & Richard (and if possible, Mr. Jordan & Ms. Ewington):
Sorry for taking so long to provide you with feedback.  I wanted to make a special effort to thank you for my latest purchase “Farm Life in NE Scotland” by Ian Carter.

It arrived promptly and was very well packaged.  I received it in pristine condition – which was a real treat, considering it was a rare & used book.  I’m thrilled with my purchase all-in-all and want you all to know it, OK?  I would also like this praise to reach the ears of Mr. Jordan and Ms. Ewington if possible... please know that your Dunedin Store staff are superlative and efficient!
Rest assured that I will be purchasing from your store again in future – as I am now a loyal customer!!!  Feel free to use this feedback in any way you wish.  I shall shout your praises from the rooftops (if ever given the chance).
Respectfully yours,

Alan M

(Wish we could say we get one of these every day!!)

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.

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