January 19, 2020
Ronald Clark’s father was custodian of a branch of the New York Public Library at a time when caretakers, along with their families, lived in the buildings. With his daughter, Jamilah, Ronald remembers literally growing up in a library, creeping down to the stacks in the middle of the night when curiosity gripped him. A story for anyone who’s ever dreamt of having unrestricted access to books.
April 22, 2019
A holiday thought from Alain de Botton:
We wouldn’t need books quite so much if everyone around us understood us well. But they don’t. Even those who love us get us wrong. They tell us who we are but miss things out. They claim to know what we need, but forget to ask us properly first. They can’t understand what we feel — and sometimes, we’re unable to tell them, because we don’t really understand it ourselves. That’s where books come in. They explain us to ourselves and to others, and make us feel less strange, less isolated and less alone. We might have lots of good friends, but even with the best friends in the world, there are things that no one quite gets. That’s the moment to turn to books. They are friends waiting for us any time we want them, and they will always speak honestly to us about what really matters. They are the perfect cure for loneliness. They can be our very closest friends.
Oamaru Rotary Club is preparing for its annual Bookarama.
I’ve been going through my book shelves, weeding out books that could go to another home.
As always happen I come across some I haven’t read for ages, but still can’t give away.
Now I’ve read de Botton’s letter, I realise why. They’re old friends and even if we haven’t seen each other for years, they’re still friends.
February 2, 2019
Reading can make you a better conversationalist.
Neighbours will never complain you are reading too loud.
Knowledge by osmosis had not yet been perfected so you’d better read.
Books have stopped bullets. Reading could save your life.
Dinosaurs did not read. Look what happened to them.
October 9, 2018
Why do I bother saying I won’t buy any more books until I’ve got to the bottom of the ever-growing yet-to-read pile?
No matter how much I think I mean it when I say it, the strength of my resolution is never as strong as the lure of another book.
In spite of breaking the resolution I only rarely regret a book purchase even if quite a long time elapses between buying it and reading it.
And I always enjoy the ability to scan the pile and find a book that suits the mood of the moment.
Today I’m grateful for options available in my yet-to-read pile.
September 14, 2018
The Wonky Donkey, which has been delighting Kiwi kids and those who read to them for several years, has become a global hit thanks to a YouTube video of a giggling granny reading it to her grandson:
Scottish granny Janice Clark was caught on film reading The Wonky Donkey to her four-month-old grandson Archer and she couldn’t contain her laughter.
Since the video went viral days ago, book lovers all around the globe have been searching for the book, by New Zealander Craig Smith.
The Wonky Donkey is based on Smith’s song of the same name and tells the tale of a three-legged donkey. . .
July 17, 2018
A beauty, a brainwave, a brilliance?
I couldn’t find a collective noun for books, but any and all of those three would be an appropriate one for A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies by Kate Hursthouse.
The seed for the book was planted during a conversation about zebras in which she was told the collective noun for the animals is a dazzle.
The seed grew and blossomed into a book of collective nouns for animals, beautifully and creatively illustrated with pictures which reflect the words.
Each time I open the book I see something more.
It is described as a children’s book but will interest and delight adults too.
You can buy the book from the artist’s website.
There’s more about the artist and the book at: Renaissance artist – the Aucklander helping keep alive age-old art of calligraphy.
June 4, 2018
Funny People don’t always have funny lives.
Tom Scott’s life has had lots of unfunny times but in his autobiography Drawn Out his stilettos sharp observations and dry wit make for very funny reading.
Although he writes of his gauge being on full self-pity later, there is no trace of that with the light and witty touch he applies to his impoverished childhood with his angry, alcoholic father.
In his book he recounts stories of people and events which changed New Zealand and the world as well as touching on his own deprived childhood, and his student days, career and family life.
As a political columnist and cartoonist he mixed with politicians, media and other people, including Sir Edmund Hillary and John Clarke, who made, or covered, the news from New Zealand and around the world.
He also claims the line New Zealanders going to Australia raise the IQ on both sides of the Tasman as his own and says it was taken by Rob Muldoon.
The front cover describes it as a seriously funny memoir. It is and I recommend it as a must-read for anyone interested in politics, history or life.
Drawn Out published by Allen & Unwin.