When we were here last year we didn’t have the time to check out many things in detail. For instance, being very fond of good food we found some great things (for instance, seafood is of excellent quality and widely available, good coffee everywhere) but were somewhat concerned at the lack of (or so it seemed then) a well established artisan slow food culture. Well, we were wrong about that, but that’s the subject for other posts.
Having the leisure now to check out the neighborhood (that’s central Auckland, downtown and nearby suburbia such as Parnell, Ponsonby, Newmarket) i am delighted to find so much cool stuff. The 2nd hand bookshops are to fucking die for!
I brought over a lot of unread stuff from Cape Town, catch up a bit, you know, but these places draw you in, gleaming wooden floors, Jason Books, hidden in the back of an old office building downtown, racks and racks of books old and almost new, quiet blues and jazz playing in the background, one or two other browsers, noses buried. And before you know it an hour or two has gone by and you have with you the two New Zealand novel recommendations Chris mentioned; The Curative by Charlotte Randall, Harlequin Rex by Owen Marshall; then another Barry Unsworth, Morality Play (Sacred Hunger was also lying around) and Peace on Earth, a hardcover Stanislav Lem.
That was yesterday. On Sunday Colleen and i hung out on Ponsonby Rd and found (amongst other interesting places) the Classics and Suchlike bookshop, a pretty old house standing on a neat plot, a manicured lawn with little bouquets of flags, it looks like an estate agents for Christs sake! All the rooms filled with books. There’s a Shorter Samuel Pepys (more than a thousand pages of it, this shorter edition being an abridgement down to around a third of the original diaries). A room in back, SF from ceiling to floor, including Theodore Sturgeon (Almost Human), Walter M Miller Jr (unfortunately no Canticle for Leibowitz). I came away with another Lem, The Star Diaries. Colleen found Interview with the Vampire.