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Rio Olympics - 15th Jul 2016

Olympic Games - next month - Rio de Janeiro

Were I lucky enough to have flights booked to Rio and tickets for a couple of Olympic events then I would be rushing to read all about Brazil before leaving.

We have a lovely selection of books on Brazil.  You can learn about its history, its culture, the Amazon, the tribes, its landscape, its art, its architecture, its food and much more.  You could start with Michael Palin's travelogue and go on from there.  Whatever your area of interest we can probably find a book on it.  

We can even do Billy Bunter in Brazil for your kids or Ira Levin's The Boys from Brazil if you fancy a thriller for the plane!

Continuing the sailing theme - 14th Jul 2016

The much loved series of sailing adventure books for children by Arthur Ransome

Set in the 1930s and 1940s, these stories centre around groups of children having great sailing adventures during their school holidays.  The first book is Swallows and Amazons which takes its name from the Walker children's dinghy Swallow and the Blackett children's dinghy Amazon.

The books are perhaps a bit dated but still understandably popular and very enjoyable for kids who like the outdoors.  There are 12 books in the series so if you can get your children interested, they'll be set for a good long while.

Rumour has it that there is a brand new film version of Swallows & Amazons due for release in cinemas fairly soon so for those of us who remember the 1960s tv series and the later 1974 film, this remake is bound to be worthwhile.  Watch this space (as they say).


Common whipping, lashing, tying up and getting knotted - 12th Jul 2016

No, not S&M but .......
.......a fascinating little book called 'Stringlopedia' by Adam Hart-Davis.

It's a mixture of science, history, and trivia which takes you through every conceivable use of strands, strings, twine and rope, from common shoelaces to string theory.  

Perhaps you were a fan of Swallows and Amazons and wanted to learn how to tie all the knots they mentioned: if so, this is the book for you.  Learn to tie stoppers, reefs, bends, hitches, loops and whippings like a real pro.

Find out about rope & religion, rope in weaponry, string in sport, string and magic, loopy inventions and much, much more.  

This is a fun, fascinating, frivolous but fact-filled little book.  And if you haven't read any of the Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazon books, then check out our catalogue now.

New Zealand Wildlife - 11th Jul 2016

The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Wildlife

New Zealand is famous for the superb variety of its wildlife: its birds, animals, insects and marine creatures.

In this informative handbook, Geoff Moon describes and illustrates the fauna found in each habitat from seashore to mountain range and from desert to rainforest.  As an experienced wildlife photographer, he provides magnificent pictures to aid identification: whales, takahe tuatara, kakapo, saddleback, kea, weta, fantails and much much more.  This useful guide covers both native and introduced species, including pests, predators and game animals.  

Whether you are an armchair browser or whether you need something for the glovebox, the backpack or the bicycle pannier, this fascinating guide is an invaluable reference and travel companion.

Have a look at the wide range of natural history / wildlife books available from our online catalogue.  We have a huge selection to suit every interest and every pocket.

Roald Dahl - 9th Jul 2016

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth, a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
-Roald Dahl, The Twits

A little wisdom for you this afternoon from the much loved Roald Dahl. He has published over 30 books, including favourites such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, George's Marvellous Medicine, The Witches, and many more. 

Disney has just released the film adaptation of The BFG, which, like most Disney films, looks fantastic and doesn't fail to enchant and entertain, but often the substance and underlying messages tend to get lost when put on screen. Nothing is quite the same as reading the book for yourself and letting your imagination run wild. 

Roald Dahl's imaginative, humorous and eccentric tales for children, accompanied by Quentin Blake's charming illustrations, are a must for any child's bookshelf. 

If you loved his children's books, you may want to try reading some of his adult fiction - perhaps a collection of his short stories.

Crime Fiction Fans - 8th Jul 2016

Crime Fiction Fans Attention Lovers of Crime Fiction

It's surprising how many avid readers of murder mysteries don't read our own New Zealand authors.  We have a huge number of superb crime writers.  If you haven't ventured into this area before, you've got something to look forward to.  

Our own Ben Sanders is extremely popular and well known in the USA, far more so than here in his own country.  Give him a go.  Paul Cleave is a Christchurch writer and his recent "Trust No-one" is a great thriller and something a bit different from the norm.  Paul Thomas wrote "The Ihaka Trilogy" which combines a bit of humour with the murders.  

Couldn't possibly mention even a quarter of what's out there but here are a few more names to get you started: the obvious doyenne of crime Ngaio Marsh, Vanda Symon, Edmund Bohan, Barbara Else, Ian Clarke, Chad Taylor and Alix Bosco (aka Greg McGee).

Mini-Penguins for Kids - 7th Jul 2016

If you read our item yesterday, you will have already resolved to rush into the shop and buy up a lovely selection of mini-Penguins for yourself.

Here's an idea while you're here: buy another collection of Penguin 60s for your children in the school holidays.  They'll love them.  And you'll love them too if it means driving from A to B in comfortable silence as they read in the back of the car; sipping a cocktail on your flight as they read in the seat beside you; a peaceful train journey as you look at the scenery and they read their mini-Penguins; or a camping trip with happy rainy days as you all lounge around reading.

Come on in and get your selection now.

Well known authors - unknown books - 5th Jul 2016

When I say John Bunyan, Louisa M Alcott, Daniel Defoe or LP Hartley to you, you can say Pilgrim's Progress, Little Women, Robinson Crusoe and The Go-Between without having to think much about it.  

Now try this test: here's the book title, you guess the famous author (answers at the end)
1 Simonetta Perkins
2 Behind a Mask
3 The King of Pirates
4 The Life and Death of Mr Badman
5 The Touchstone
6 Tom Sawyer, Detective

Perhaps you've never heard of any of the above books but would like to give them a go.  We have a selection of little known novels by very well known writers so come in and have a look.
(Answers: 1 LP Hartley; 2 Louisa M Alcott; 3 Daniel Defoe; 4 John Bunyan; 5 Edith Wharton; 6 Mark Twain)

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