Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Lost World of Irian Jaya by Robert Mitton.

The Lost World of Irian Jaya by Robert Mitton. Hardcover book published by Oxford University Press 1983, 235 pages with colour photographs and some black and white photographs.

This pictorial study of a fast disappearing part of the world is the work of a remarkable Australian geographer and anthropologist. From 1971 until his death in 1976 (he was only 30), Robert Mitton worked, lived and travelled in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, formerly West Irian. In notes, letters, diaries and, above all, photographs, he compiled a unique document of his experiences of the cultures and environments of the five distinct groups living along the Baum River, a particularly remote part of the world. Indeed, at that time, there were still groups of people who had never seen Europeans or Indonesians; still groups living a Stone Age style of existence; and still people who were head-hunters and cannibals.

Irian Jaya? How fast things change, particularly when it comes to geographical/political names. A friend of mine once commented on the current lack of Yugoslavians anywhere let alone where what was once called Yugoslavia. They've all gone. It's not just the Yugoslavians that have gone, I've got family that lived most of their lives in a country that no longer exists (East Germany, and yes the East Germans have all disappeared as well). The Irian Jayans (?) have also now vanished (...possibly in more ways than one). Irian Jaya is now Papua and West Papua and wasn't a country at the time that these photographs were taken, nor is it now. It was a province of Indonesia and had been so since 1961 after they took over/invaded in 1961. Before that it was Dutch and before that it was...

There is an active resistance movement in Papua and West Papua and somehow this book is even more important and of interest now than it was back then. With my limited knowledge of what is happening just that hop, skip and jump from this island (Australia), things aren't going so well for the locals and the world that the title is referring to as “Lost” in 1983, has probably now gone. The Indonesians have been actively settling their own people into Papua and minoritising the locals such as those depicted in this book, whilst collecting big $$$ from Mining in the region. Yes, it all comes down to money.

This is not the first time i've had a copy of this book. Many years ago I had an ex library copy, which had seriously seen better days. It did sell despite the wear, which at the time I thought had to do with it's uncommonness. This copy isn't ex library and has some slight wear only, so I think it will be moved at some stage and hopefully at a nice price. “Yes, it all comes down to money,” but it will be cheaper than the cost the Papuans are currently paying.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Huc & Gabet News Update Xmas 2016

Hello. Yes, there is some news of interest here at Huc & Gabet international headquarters in Clunes, Victoria, Australia.
As of this weekend (first weekend in December... and not long before Xmas), the Huc & Gabet Bookatorium will be open on Sundays from 11 till 4, but only in December and no, we will not be open on the 25th. There will be signage on the street (sandwich board... and balloons) and from there it is only a few metres to the Bookatorium. You are all welcome to come and have a look and even purchase if you so desire... but just having a look is perfectly acceptable.

The address is 60 Fraser Street, Clunes, Victoria. It's next to the IGA.

I hope to see you there.

(Shelves on the following picture are now considerably fuller)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

New Huc & Gabet postcard

This is what the new Huc & Gabet postcard size promotional postcard looks like.  Someone asked me if the design was mine and i replied that i hadn't designed it, but i had stolen it. I think it looks pretty nifty. The original business that used this advertising a long long time ago was proud of their weekly shipments of new books... which is why there's a ship in the picture.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby. Hardcover book (no dust jacket) published by Secker & Warburg 1958 (first edition), 247 pages with some black and white photographs and a few black and white maps including 2 fold out maps.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush is a 1958 book by the English travel writer Eric Newby. It is an autobiographical account of his adventures in the Hindu Kush, around the Nuristan mountains of Afghanistan, ostensibly to make the first mountaineering ascent of Mir Samir. It has been described as a comic masterpiece, intensely English, and understated. Publications including The Guardian and The Telegraph list it among the greatest travel books of all time.

I agree, it is “among the greatest travel books of all time”... 
and yes, I have read few other globe trotting wayfaring adventures in my time and it is genre that I still regularly dabble in... which doesn't mean i'm an expert in things travel book related, but rather a keen armchair dabbler.  Newby's book is a great example of British travel writing particularly from the second half of the 20th century in that it does incorporate those various aspects of Englishness including humour, that make British travel writers so unmistakably British. A Short Walk could never have been written by an American... or an Australian and it's not that the Yanks or we Aussies can't take or make a joke... or be toffy, it's just that there's something very British about Newby and this book, that really does shine.

When I found this copy I ummmed and ahhhed a bit before figuring that it was worth the punt. No dust jacket, a few marks to the cover was the reasoning behind the hesitation (...yep, i'm picky). The fact that it was a first edition swung it across the line as did my own appreciation of the book. As bizarre as this may sound, I asked myself whether I personally would want a first edition of this classic in my own personal collection and in the blink of an eye came up with the affirmative (it is that good) ...and now of course after deciding that I would want it, I'm selling it.  It's not worth the big $. If it was signed by Eric or had some of Wilfred Thesiger's DNA attached to it, it would be a different story... and if you don't get the connection between this book and Wilfred Thesiger, you really need to read it.

Click here to view this book on ebay.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Australian Tractors: Indigenous Tractors and Self-Propelled Machines in Rural Australia by Graeme R. Quick

Australian Tractors: Indigenous Tractors and Self-Propelled Machines in Rural Australia by Graeme R. Quick.  Paperback book published by Rosenberg 2006, 176 pages with black and white photographs and some black and white illustrations as well as a few colour photographs.

Australia has some of the world’s largest and most labour-efficient farms, and tractors are an essential part of their operations. The average Australian farm has three or more tractors. In this historical overview Graeme Quick documents the development of the indigenous tractor industry, from the McDonald Imperial of 1909 to more recent cane, olive and grape harvesters. Histories of individual manufacturers include much technical detail, but the story also puts the industry in an economic and social history context and provides information on a wide range of Australian farmers, engineers and others who have made significant contributions. This revised edition includes much fresh information, many new illustrations, and appeals both to the mechanical enthusiast and the social historian. Dr Graeme Quick is an engineering - consultant and agricultural machinery historian who has published widely in the area. He holds fourteen patents on farm equipment developments.

This isn't the first time i've delved into the world of Australian tractor books... it's the second time and being such a great subject, I wrote about the other one (sort of) when I had it for sale (click here). It did sell, which is not really that suprising as my neighbour (...let's still call him Dave) is not the only person who has an interest in Vintage tractors. By the way, Dave did eventually get his tractor and then bought a second one... which I guess means he's now a collector... and yes, he does drive them around town.

The big question is how different are our Aussie tractors to the rest of the world's Agricultural vehicles. The answer, or at least some of the answers are in this book. Have a look...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mountains of Books 2016. (Book Fair)

Mountains of Books 2016. 
Saturday 29th of October 2016  To  Sunday 30th of October 2016
Time: 10am - 4pm
Ferny Creek Recreational Reserve Hall (Melways map 75 D1)
Cnr Clarkmont Rd and Hilton Road  Ferny Creek  3786

Books that i was selling last year... not this year.

Yep, I'm selling at Mountains of Books once again in the wonderful surrounds of the beautiful Ferny Creek Recreational Reserve Hall. It's a great weekend for any book lover wanting to peruse a plethora of booksellers choice items, all in the one location... and what a location. Even if you're not a book buyer, it's worth having a look at this wonderful locale and if you are a book buyer, then it's even more of a reason to come along. (Click here if you want to have a look.)

More books that i wont be bringing along this year.

I'm going to be bringing along a good mix of my usual “books of interest” of the usual Huc & Gabet high standard, as will the other wonderful booksellers selling here this year (...they were wonderful last year, so i'm assuming they will be wonderful this year).  

I hope to see you there.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nolan on Nolan: Sidney Nolan in His Own Words by Sidney Nolan, edited by Nancy Underhill.

Nolan on Nolan: Sidney Nolan in His Own Words by Sidney Nolan, edited by Nancy Underhill.  Hardcover book published by Viking 2007, 472 pages with some colour and black and white photographs and some colour illustrations.

Sidney Nolan (1917—1992), myth maker and creator of the iconic Ned Kelly images, is one of the most significant artists Australia has produced. In this distinctive book, the artist becomes his own subject. Extracts from his notebooks, diaries, letters, interviews and poetry take us on the intellectual and emotional journeys which carried him around the world and which kept his art, and often his life, outside the comfort zone. The material from the notebooks, published here for the first time, offers unique insight into Nolan’s creative process, while the collection as a whole reveals a complex personality and an artist who resists stylistic categorisation. It expands and recasts perceptions of his views on art making, friendships, travel, music and literature, throwing new light on his work. Introduced and annotated by art historian Nancy Underhill, Nolan on Nolan represents the first compilation of the painter’s views, one which takes the reader behind Nolan’s own carefully constructed mask.

A few years back I wrote about Sidney Nolan and the epiphany I had had regarding his work (click here).  Nothing much has changed since then, with my humble opinions remaining firmly on the “now there was a genius” end of the art appreciation spectrum. This book doesn't have much art in it, but it does have Sidneys words and for anyone vaguely interested in Mr Nolan, it is an important insight into the work of a true Australian Master.

I was recently talking about Sidney Nolan with some fellow art appreciators who were not convinced by my enthusiasm. Interestingly, as soon as I mentioned his Antarctic landscapes their interest became a little more sparked and as with most people, they were unaware of this less known aspect of his work. This makes me wonder what do they and others know about the depth of Sidneys catalogue... and it's not as if i'm an expert or anything like that. Indeed, I would rate myself as an amateur ethusiast who has an amazement at having had a epiphany about someones art that up to that point in time, I had had no interest in at all.

and this is why, books by or about Sidney Nolan are available through Huc & Gabet.