books, books, books…

Since my last post gushing about the 2nd hand bookshop scene in Auckland my habit has unfortunately worsened and the intray is a stack reaching higher and higher. Also, when chatting to friends (Paul, David) new recommendations keep on coming, so i intend to set up a Books page on this blog, and, hopefully, we can have a bit of a conversation there. I know this isn’t a forum, and if it gets too long i’ll make another plan. Though judging from the responses recorded on this blog so far – as in nada, nada, nada – sniff – i doubt that will ever happen.

picture of old phrenology textbook

The picture shows the frontispiece of a lovely old two volume edition of the now totally discredited 19th century pseudo-science of phrenology. I think Sherlock Holmes and later the Nazis were also into this for a while. The length of your nose, the shape of your head, the bumps on your skull, the broadness of your chin, the slant of your eyes and many other physical characteristics were assessed and correlations drawn between features and the propensity to be devious, dishonest, criminal, crazy, less-than-human.


Perhaps a formalization of attitudes that have always been there, will always be there?



So, there it is, at the Devonport Vintage Bookshop just a short ferryride across on the North Shore, a steal at only NZ$200.

I settled for Robert Coover – Pricksongs and Descants (NZ$4) and Eoin McNamee – The Last of Deeds & Love in History (NZ$3).


6 Responses to books, books, books…

  1. Paul says:

    Envious of the your book diet. A pithy prospect is David Peace (the publisher’s blurb, a British James Ellroy, is totally spot on). Other readibles worthy of any bedside table: Loops (or Loop?) – new music mag published by faber and domino records; Fires by Raymond Carver; Tim Harford – The Logic of Life

  2. Melanie Silberbauer says:

    Oh, I would just love that book! I so enjoy the quirkiness of the old modalities, and having recently read “The Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society” have developed a fondness for phenology!

  3. rainerthiel says:

    @Paul: Oh boy, i just can’t resist your David Peace recommendation. American Tabloid is one of my all time favourite novels – actually pretty much all of Ellroy. I will go looksee today.
    @Melanie: If you really want it, i can get it for you, but it’s pretty serious money. Let me know.

  4. Melanie Silberbauer says:

    Thanks Rainer, but I’m not serious enough about it. It will for sure be a “fun to have” if ever found at a really bargain price, but for now, my money is being spent on researching hydrosols and other stuff. My word, isn’t it marvellous that one can reinvent one’s career midway through life? I love the fact that my “hobbies” can actually bring in some money.

  5. Chris Quirke says:

    Ah, Pricksongs and Descants! That’s a great set of stories, and on the strength of that, I read a novel of Coover’s about some baseball player. It was soooo dull and boring – the same sort of disappointment as if you’d heard Uncle Meat and then something like a Status Quoe album was the next thing you’d found by the same folks.

    There’s a great bookshop in Gordon’s Bay (Bikini Beach Books?) who are also online, and I got a lot of great stuff there at very cheap prices. One of the nicest of these reads was The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.

  6. Rainer says:

    Oh yes, i’ve been to Bikini Beach quite a few times. Paul showed it to me a few years back. I expect for you trekking out to Pringle regularly it’s a cinch to pop in there regularly. A pleasure!
    The Lovely Bones – the Peter Jackson movie version is about to be released.
    Speaking of film, have you seen District9?? I had a good rave about it on this blog. Walked into the movie knowing nothing about it other than the director was South African. I’ve also made a sequel sketch, hoping for some collaborative comments – sadly none so far. My latest thought was that Obisanjo must be in the followup, he was far too valuable a character to die. You see him, still in a wheelchair, with that fat cigar of a bullet sticking out of his forehead exactly as we saw it lodged in the original. Beyond that, well you could play with his character, changed in some interesting way, but on the other hand, i wouldn’t mind him being just his usual relentless fearless singleminded alien flesh seeking maniac self, with a forehead-trophy of course.

    My reading intray grows and grows. I’m currently winding up “A Frolic of His Own” by William Gaddis, difficult but very rewarding, a bit like watching 5 Robert Altman movies at the same time.

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