Category archive: Books and Reviews

Max’s Dogs – Top dog or Underdog

Dog JacketTop dog or underdog

Dogs in any grouping – a wild pack or even just a domestic group – have an ‘alpha’ who is dominant.  The term shifted to the popular sport of  dog-fighting – with two references, one actual and one predicted.  During the fight the superior dog  could be seen on top.  If a particular dog had a track record of achieving this supremacy, those taking bets on a forthcoming fight would refer to that participant as a ‘top dog’ while a newcomer, or fighter with an unimpressive track record, would be the ‘under-dog’. 

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When Ajax visits town

The recent morning book launch of Ajax the Kea Dog was crowded out, so a second session followed for fans to meet this celebrity dog and his young Department of Conservation mate.

Sam Neill narrated the BBC documentary featuring Ajax and Corey Mosen in 2016.

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Shattered….

‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.

But I’m still feeling shattered.  And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.

There’s a lot going on in this book.

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Not the Swinging Sixties

In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.

But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed.  Life was hard. The picture, is grim.

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The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

When this wacky titled book, turned up – some new age novel I thought.

Not so. This is a true story about the jihadist takeover of the real Timbuktu and the remarkable story of one man’s finding, collecting and then saving hundreds of thousands of priceless manuscripts in Timbuktu.

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“I will do thy bidding gently…”

Richard Wagner was  devoted to his King Charles spaniel named Peps, who  actually participated  in his master’s composing.

Wagner’s biographer H.T. Finck records that Peps constantly sat near Wagner when the composer was at the piano. Sometimes Peps would leap on to the table and peer into Wagner’s face, howling piteously.

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One Hundred Small Chapters

One Hundred Ways to Read  A CityDid I want to read a book about Christchurch?

I’d seen the destruction of the earthquakes, later vast expanses of nothingness and recently, steps of reconstruction. I’d watched John Campbell cover stories on television about it and each Saturday for the last five years I’d read all about it in The Press.  (Maybe, thought I knew it.)

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Another round of applause

Mike Moore

The first time I heard an audience stand and applaud a film, it was for Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine,  an indictment of a mass shooting and  America’s gun laws.

The second time I heard it was last week at the first screening of his  film,  Which country should we invade next?

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M’aidez or Mayday?

Max

From Max Cryer‘s  book ‘Is It True?’

The distress call ‘mayday’ is English for the French term m’aidez.

 Using the word ‘mayday’ dates from 1923, when a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport was asked to think of an easily understood  word which could indicate distress.

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