Category archive: Books and Reviews

Max’s Dogs – Canine inequalities…

Dog Jacket The lifestyle gap between rural dogs and their urban cousins is never more apparent than on a visit to a  city pet shop.  Apart from extensive shelves of  ‘dog toys’ there are also dog toothbrushes (attached to the end of a firm plastic finger  stall for the owner to administer), accompanied by beef flavoured toothpaste. There is shampoo and  conditioner in fragrances of chamomile and  strawberry.  A plastic  ‘peeing post’ treated with a pheromone,  persuades the dog to pee wherever you put the post – rather than where the dog might want it.

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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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Budapest Girl

 by Panni PalastiEva cover pic

reviewed by Paul Smith

Anybody wandering back in time to write a memoir faces the challenge of what to reveal, what to leave out. It’s the way they confront this issue which defines the work as true to character, authentic.

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Will you piggy-wig, swear never to tell a Porky…?

Trial_of_PigAuckland lawyer, veterinarian and author has published his new book, Animals, Welfare and the Law. It encompasses ethics, history and the law, so it’s a weighty read for those of us who routinely plough through fiction.   But   Mr Robertson   has not overlooked the dark – but often comical moments in the long history of animals and humans.  Some of these include the criminal trials of animals…

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