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A really good book - 1st Jul 2016

A really good book The God Boy by Ian Cross

This is a seriously good book.  It's a real classic of New Zealand literature.  Published in 1958, it is just as relevant today as when it was written.  

If you are old (like me) and you've already read it, then read it again and remind yourself of what a superb piece of writing this is.  

If you are young and you've never read it, you have a real treat in store.  It comes highly recommended.  

Once you've read it, check out our huge collection of New Zealand literature on our website.

Advanced Philosophy - 30th Jun 2016

Following on from yesterday's "fun" philosophy book, we bring you the "dark" side of philosophy.
Some years ago, the owner of Hard to Find purchased a large book collection, wherein languished some RG Collingwood philosophy volumes which had been given a rather unusual treatment.  You can get an idea from the accompanying photos.

Having perused all 11 volumes, Warwick realised they couldn't be sold in that state but, put on display, might serve as a warning that reading too much Collingwood  might drive one to distraction.    

If this hasn't put you off philosophy, then have a look at our huge collection of philosophy books on line or come in and browse in the shops.  

Philosophy 101 - 29th Jun 2016

Philosophy 101 Roger-Pol Droit: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life

This fascinating little book invites you to reinterpret ordinary everyday events: things like tying your shoelaces, smiling at a stranger, walking in the dark, browsing in a bookshop (yay!!!) and 97 more.

The book is divided into 'chapters' or 'exercises' which have a specific time limit assigned to them (eg 5-10 mins for showering with your eyes closed).  The Experiments encourage us to reassess the commonplace or habitual and turn it into metaphysical philosophical thought.

Change your life - make the familiar startling - read this book now.  Even if you've never had an interest in philosophy before, this may be the time and place to start.

Shaggy Dog Stories - 28th Jun 2016

Shaggy Dog and Other Surrealist Stories
told by John Waller, illustrated by Frank Wilson

This is a very silly book indeed: a great selection of really absurd tales; some preposterous animal yarns; plenty of ridiculous stories about nothing much; and frivolous anecdotes galore.  Here's a taster:

Cocktail hour at the officers' mess.  
"Colonel, sorry to hear you've buried your wife."
"Had to, old boy.  Dead, you know."

My personal favourite is probably The Three Tortoises.  Something about it just appeals to me. 

The illustrations are lovely, well worth a look.

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

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!

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