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Who is the greatest motorcycle racer ever? - 27th Jun 2016

In your opinion, who is the world's best ever motorcycle racer?

That's the question we asked one of our customers with a keen interest in the subject.  He said he would need to think about it a bit more because there were so many really fantastic racers.  He gave us his best 10 for starters: Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Wayne Gardner, Randy Mamola, Barry Sheene, Graeme Crosbie, Freddie Spencer, Joey Dunlop, and Kenny Roberts.  We know there are 11 names there, but he did comment that Cros was a bit of a flash in the pan so we didn't count him.

What do you think of his shortlist?  Has he missed out anyone you think should be there?  Has he included someone you think should not be there?  Who would you nominate?

Assuming you are interested in motorcycles and motorcycle racing, why not have a look at our selection of books on motorcycles

The History of the Sea - 25th Jun 2016

Written by Frank B. Goodrich and published circa 1880, this stunning book contains more than 750 pages of nautical history spanning thousands of years. Its magnificent leather binding with gilt illustrations and tooling to both boards and spine make it stand out on any bookshelf.

Over 250 illustrations bring to life the stories of everyone from Noah to Captain Cook. Tales of exploration and adventure, histories of ship building, navigation, diving and fishing, scientific development, marine life and more - it has a bit of everything!

This would make the perfect gift for any maritime enthusiast; you can admire it in our Dunedin store or browse our 800+ nautical books online.

Struwwelpeter (Shock-headed Peter) - 24th Jun 2016

The door flew open, in he ran, 
The great, long red-legged scissor-man
Oh, children, see! The tailor's come
And caught out little Suck-a-Thumb.
Snip! Snap! Snip! the scissors go;
And Conrad cries out "Oh! Oh! Oh!"
Snip! Snap! Snip! They go so fast,
And both his thumbs are off at last.

Struwwelpeter, written by Heinrich Hoffman, is a German children's book.  It is subtitled Jolly Stories and Funny Pictures, which by today's standards would make you gulp or laugh, depending who you are.  It was aimed at 3 to 5-year olds but unlikely anyone today would consider it suitable for that age.

There are ten illustrated, rhyming, very moral stories.  They are all about children who misbehave and come to a well-deserved bad end: the thumb-sucking child who has his thumbs chopped off; the boy who won't eat and starves to death; the girl who plays with matches and burns to death - you get the idea.

The rhymes are lovely and the pictures lively and entertaining.  We had this book as children and absolutely loved it (and suffered no ill effects from exposure to it).  If you can't bring yourself to get a copy for your children, maybe get one for your own entertainment.

Athol's Chair - 22nd Jun 2016

Many of you have either seen Athol on guard at the entrance of the Dunedin shop or you have spotted photos of him on our website.  However, it is his chair which is today's feature.

You may have heard of the long-running television series "Xena, Warrior Princess" or you may have been a keen viewer of the programme.  Athol's chair was originally designed and built for the set of Xena.  The owner of Hard to Find Books bought the chair when filming ended and the set was being dismantled.

Along with the chair, we have a great array of weird, wacky and wonderful objects collected by Warwick and on display in the Dunedin shop.  Have a look at the gallery - perhaps you have some quaint, quirky, quality article that you feel compelled to donate!
 

Michael King's biography of Janet Frame - 21st Jun 2016

Wrestling with the Angel: A Life of Janet Frame
by Michael King

This book is leaving us today and going to a new and very appropriate home at the Dunedin Public Library where it will be reverently valued and cared for. It will form part of the Reed Association Collection.

What makes this volume special is that it is Janet Frame's own copy and it is an association copy inscribed, signed and dated  by  Michael King to Janet Frame in July 2000. You can see its inscription in the accompanying image.  It is a unique historical item featuring the two most important New Zealand writers of their era.  There is also an image of a newspaper cutting featuring this book when it was sold by the Janet Frame Estate.

We do have a number of scarce signed copies of Janet Frame titles, including other fascinating association copies (either listed on our website now, or imminent).  Already uncommon, signed copies will become rarer.  By comparison, signed association copies of Katherine Mansfield titles are as rare as hens' teeth and fetch huge prices!

Johann Wolfgang Goethe - 20th Jun 2016

Goethe's Werke

This magnificent five-volume set is in the original German.  It is published in Stuttgart by Deutsche Verlags Anhalt.

The brown buckram boards are beautifully decorated in attractive muted tones of brown, blue, green and gold with title in gilt lettering to spine & front board.  Two cherubs sit on either side of a harp on the front board surrounded by decorative panelling.   

There are numerous delicate black&white illustrations throughout the books.

This would be a stunning gift for the German literature scholar in your midst.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat - Oliver Sacks - 18th Jun 2016

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat - Oliver Sacks In this fascinating book neurologist Oliver Sacks recounts some of his most interesting case histories. A man who lost the ability to recognise everyday objects and people's faces, a woman who doesn't feel her limbs are her own, twins who could figure out in seconds what day of the week Christmas will fall on in 8000 years but can't grasp basic multiplication, and many more.

While describing the science behind what his patients are experiencing, Dr Sacks also reveals the people behind the diagnoses, how they cope and in some cases how they learn to embrace their disorder and use it to their advantage.

This book will entertain, educate, inspire, and above all give you a greater appreciation for the complex workings of the human brain.

A must-read for anyone interested in psychology, neurology, or how we perceive the world around us.
 

Personal Memoirs (so much more than a factual biography) - 17th Jun 2016

Do you enjoy reading true accounts but find many biographies too dry?  Are you fascinated by life in other countries?  Do you have an interest in people's memories and experiences? Have a look at these books:

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books / Azar Nafisi
Street Without a Name: Childhood & Other Misadventures in Bulgaria / Kapka Kassabova
Forbidden Love: A Harrowing Story of Love & Revenge in Jordan / Norma Khouri
The Lost Pilot: A Memoir / Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Princess: The Treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia / Jean P Sasson
Father Joe: The Man Who Saved my Soul / Tony Hendra

They cover diverse countries such as Bulgaria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and people as diverse as a Benedictine priest, a WW2 pilot, a princess, and someone who ran a bookclub for reading banned Western literature.

No prizes for guessing which book the last description matches.  

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