Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Ned Kelly Paintings: Nolan at Heide 1946-47, edited by Warwick Reeder.

The Ned Kelly Paintings: Nolan at Heide 1946-47, edited by Warwick Reeder.  Paperback book published by Museum of Modern Art Heide 1997, 96 pages with colour illustrations (art works) and black and white photographs and illustrations.

In my younger years I didn’t really have an appreciation for the art works of Sidney Nolan.  Actually I didn’t like his oeuvre at all.  I’m not sure why this was, but more than likely it was just that my tastes in art at the time were different to my current tastes.  It’s not as if I went around poo pooing Nolan or anything thing like that.  No, it was just that his art wasn’t my thing.

It was a few years ago that I ventured out to some regional art galleries here in Victoria, mainly to see an exhibition of John Brack’s nudes but figured that while I was in the area I should have a look at a Nolan exhibition at another gallery not that far away.  The Brack exhibition left me cold.  From memory it was lots of pale looking nude women (possibly a few men) sitting around looking a little sickly and cold… at least, that’s my memory of it.  I was more than a little disappointed.  So venturing to the second exhibition which I was only going to due to its close proximity to the first, I was pleasantly surprised to see an incredible exhibition of Nolan’s Antarctic paintings.  Someone recently exclaimed to me after I gave a brief description of the exhibition concerned, that they had no idea that Nolan had done paintings of Antarctica which is exactly what I thought as I stood there gawking at them.  (Click here if you want to see some examples.)

The two exhibitions were a great contrast in 20th century Australian art and both left a lasting impression on me, one negative and one positive.  Both artists had major retrospective exhibitions in the following years in Melbourne and after visiting both, it was once again Nolan that impressed me the most. 

I didn’t see the exhibition that this catalogue that I’m supposed to be writing about is from.  To be honest, 1997 was still when I had no interest in Nolan.  But as I do now have an interest I would not hesitate in picking up any books about Nolan and his work (as i have done in this instance), or go to an exhibition and gawk some more.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Right Way to treat Poultry in Health and in Sickness.

The Right Way to treat Poultry in Health and in Sickness.  Paperback booklet published by The Biological Institute of Australasia (no date) Third & Revised Edition, 68 pages with some black and white illustrations and photographs. 

Regular readers of this blog are probably aware of my penchant for Chicken books and this little number is just one of the type of chicken books that I look out for.  It's definitely vintage and appears to have gone through the ringer a few times in that it is very worn.  Once again I’d like to think this is due to constant referencing due to the incredible quality of the contents.  Unfortunately I am not a chicken expert (although I do have a taste for it and on the odd occasion I have been called one) so I am unable to confirm this quality, but with an organization such as The Biological Institute of Australasia* involved, one can assume that the booklet has some merit.

I have noticed that Chicken books (and Bee books) are frequently inquired about in the second hand book trade and one such inquiry occurred quite recently whilst I was manning the shop.  After a quick and mumbled inquiry, I promptly guided the customer to our lovely collection of historical poets.  The customer looking quite blankly at the shelf for a few moments, turned to me and said, “Poultry, not Poetry”.  As embarrassing as this was, I still think it was very funny.

*The Biological Institute of Australasia pioneered veterinary medicine in Australia and was later replaced by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

White Heat by Marco Pierre White.

White Heat by Marco Pierre White.  Hardcover book published by Pyramid Books 1990, 128 pages with colour and black and white photographs.

““Believe the hype... This is a meteor hurtling through the restaurant firmament powered by the extraordinary passion of one young man.” Good Food Guide, 1989. “You’re buying White Heat because you want to cook well? Because you want to cook Michelin stars? Forget it. Save your money. Go and buy a saucepan. You want ideas, inspiration, a bit of Marco? Then maybe you’ll get something out of this book. I warn you, though, it’s a jigsaw, and there’s a hundred pieces missing. What do you expect? I’m just at the beginning of my career. You’re not going to see the true Marco until I’m 35 or 40. 1 haven’t even been to France yet. But what’s here is me, 1990 vintage, built on a foundation of energy and honesty and quality.”  So speaks Marco Pierre White, the youngest chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars and the most exciting chef—patron in London today. Famous for his innovative and technically brilliant cooking and his outrageous personality, his restaurant, Harvey’s, in south London’s Wandsworth, is not only feted by all the top critics but is also a magnet for the famous and the glitterati.”

It seems like a lifetime ago that I first wrote about Mr. Pierre White and it wasn’t long after that that i wrote about him again. Both of these blog entries were in 2010 and here we are, it’s nearly 2013 (now 2014) and I have found absolutely zero titles by MPW in the meantime… that is until I stumbled upon this one.  Both of the original books have since sold after I spruiked about them and at fairly nice prices, which is always a good thing.  I think the second book may have sold after someone found my blog entry and inquired about the availability (i’m fairly certain that I posted the book to Korea), so of course I have been actively and enthusiastically searching for more MPW even since.  I finally found this one with a few other cookbooks which interestingly were also of a high standard in regards to their $$$ value.  Some of these books I have just listed on ebay and I’ve got a feeling that they will end up on Books & Collectibles as my track record of selling these more eclectic/rarer/valuable titles on ebay is not that good.  My success with Books & Collectibles and cookbooks is slightly better. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Diaries by Alan Clark.

Diaries by Alan Clark.  Hardcover book published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1994, 421 pages with a few colour photographs.

There’s nothing really that special about a 1994 edition of Alan Clark’s Diaries.  This one’s a hardcover which is nice and it’s something that is not that common a find here in Australia.  It’s fairly true to say that the Diaries of The Rt Hon. Alan Clark MP, who was a minister during the Thatcher years and beyond, do not hold that much of an interest for most of us here in the colonies.  Despite this perceived lack of enthusiasm, we here at Huc & Gabet have been actively looking out for Alan Clark’s tomes for a number of years without any luck, until I found this one. 

You're probably wondering why an Australian bookseller of non Anglo Saxon descent is keen on finding the diaries of a British Conservative minister… Of course there’s a story.  A number of years ago our wonderful national television broadcaster the ABC, transmitted the BBC's production of The Alan Clark Diaries.  I like good television and this was jaw droppingly good… well, I liked it.  It was one of those TV shows where you sit there with your head constantly shaking in disbelief.  I think I guffawed out loud on more than one occasion.  Quite simply if Alan Clark hadn’t of been a real person, he would have been a difficult person to make up, at least that’s my impression of John Hurt’s performance of The Rt. Hon. So after thoroughly enjoying the absurdity of the TV show, I thought it would be a great thing to read the book(s).

I tend to not forget titles that I want for moi.  I don’t keep a list, it’s all up here in the personal hard drive.  So after all these years I finally find a copy… and it’s a hard cover (I prefer hardcovers… for the collection)… and it’s in pretty good nick.  It’s like a dream come true.  Until I find that it’s signed.  Signed by The Rt. Hon. himself.  A friend suggested that I could “…always cut out and burn the cad’s signature”, but that’s not where the problem lies.  You see as a book dealer I need to sell books, the more I sell, the less holes I have in my underwear.  I need to sell this book which, because it’s signed, is now worth considerably more than unsigned.  I don’t know if other book dealers have the same problems that I do, but I find this sort of thing very difficult.  I guess if it doesn’t sell I could then keep it… and if it does sell, well I’ll find another one and just hope that it isn’t signed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Everyone Wants To Be Fuehrer: National Socialism in Australia and New Zealand by David Harcourt.

Everyone Wants To Be Fuehrer: National Socialism in Australia and New Zealand by David Harcourt.  Paperback book published by Angus and Robertson 1972, 153 pages with black and white photographs and illustrations.

It shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise that like the rest of the world, we have our own Nazis here in Australia and New Zealand.  They are everywhere… well, maybe not everywhere, but they’re around.  This book looks at some of those Aussies and Kiwis who were fond of the Swastika in the 1970s.  Maybe it’s just me but I find the whole thing a little creepy.  Surely someone must have told these people that National Socialism wasn’t the success that some thought it would be and if anything it was a complete failure on many, many, many different levels.  Maybe it’s the dressing up and posturing that appeals to these people, I don’t know.  What I do know is that this book is a little scary.

Dressed up postering New Zealand Nazi.

I first saw this title at a friends house gathering dust amidst his Australian politics books.  A title like this one needs to be perused, even briefly to get some idea of what it all means and peruse I did.  I couldn’t put it down, it was so truly bizarre that I had to peruse the whole way through and vowed at the end of the perusing that I would find a copy for my own shelf… and here it is a year of so later.  Now, here’s something of interest, when I first saw this book, I thought it would make a great read and addition to my personal bookshelf, but when the hard choice arrived (to sell or to read?), I decided that I don’t really need this book gathering dust on my shelves. This doesn’t mean that the book is not of interest, it’s just not what I need in my life.  At this point in time, no one else needs it either (it hasn't sold), but someone will at some stage.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Monsieur Rat by Federica Mossetti.

Monsieur Rat by Federica Mossetti.  Hardcover book with pictorial boards (no dust jacket) published by Black Dog Books 2008, unpaginated with colour photographs throughout.

“Monsieur Rat is a little rat with a big problem.  When a moustache experiment goes wrong, Monsieur Rat sets off on a journey that leads him to an unexpected destination.”

This book tackles some of the more difficult moments in one’s life, particularly in regards to facial hair… although for some reason I don’t think whiskers are hair… just checked on Wikipedia and apparently they are hair. So this rat encounters a problem with his whiskers in that the moustache experiment he has participated in has caused his whiskers to grow way too long.

In this photo you can see the whiskers being knitted by someone other than Monsieur Rat (not sure who this is but notice that the whiskers are a different colour to our hero).

Here Monsieur Rat is using his whiskers as a scarf.

I’ve chosen to write about Monsieur Rat because I think it’s such a lovely book.  Simple with wonderful photographs that you can’t help but smile at when you see them.  This is the sort of story that you would want your children to read.  I’ve just written something quite interesting here, which is what “you” as a parent (or appropriate adult) would want your children to read.  This of course often has little relevance to what children really want to read and is your taste in childrens literature, not theirs.  When selecting kids books I tend to pick things that a man in his 40s (…that’s me) finds appealing and interesting.  Lets face it, it’s adults that most often buy books for children, not the children themselves.  So my criteria for selection is “Do I think this looks good?".   If the answer is “Yes”, then I figure there will be other adults out there that will think the same.  I could of course be totally wrong and no one else likes Monsieur Rat other than me, but somehow I reckon the Rat could easily win many hearts and minds both young and old.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Practical Blacksmithing: Volume II, compiled and edited by M.T. Richardson.

Practical Blacksmithing: Volume II, compiled and edited by M.T. Richardson.  Hardcover book (no dust jacket) with decorative boards published by M.T. Richardson 1903, 262 pages with black and white illustrations.

Maybe it’s my imagination, or maybe it’s where I live… but it is probably my imagination… there seems to be an increase in inquiries and interest in books about Blacksmithing over the last 12 months or so.  Even one of my neighbours has a small forge and actively practices the art of the hammer and anvil and has probably bought a book or two on the craft.  So when I see any books on this ever increasingly popular subject, I snap them up, particularly in this instance.  A book that is more than 100 years old, well you can’t get more authentic than something written and published at a time when blacksmithing was much more than a hobby or handicraft.  Once again it’s just a single volume of a more than single volume set… but realistically, who cares, it still contains vintage information on the subject.

Unfortunately this particular copy has considerable wear, but I’m not that worried.  To be honest I’d be more worried if I found a pristine copy that was obviously never of any use to anyone.  This book appears to have been referenced repeatedly which is evidenced by creasing and wear to the binding and spine.  There’s even this mouldy bit on the back cover which I believe is further evidence that this book probably lived in a damp cold (sometimes red hot) workshop ready for quick referencing as apposed to a shelf in a warm library.

I’ve already listed this book on ebay along with a more contemporary blacksmithing book and both have been promptly bid on.  Which goes to show you that it's not just my neighbour who has an interest in hitting bits of hot metal.

Friday, October 5, 2012

North Korea: Another Country by Bruce Cumings.

North Korea: Another Country by Bruce Cumings.  Hardcover book published by The New Press 2004, 241 pages.

North Korea is another country.  For us outsiders it all seems a little strange, as if they are being governed by a crazed dynasty of very unreasonable people.  For those inside the Bamboo Curtain, well they may think otherwise, but unfortunately they are not able to tell us what they think.  Not that I’m suggesting that we should all be sitting down with North Koreans over some bowls of Kimchi to discuss the situation in their homeland, although that would sort of be nice, no, what I guess I’m saying is that we don’t really know what is going on over there and what we do know is at times a little hard to comprehend.  As a paid up member of the Axis of Evil (?), North Korea has more than a few issues both domestically and internationally. This book was written by an American history professor and seems to tick all the right boxes, although I’m sure the North Koreans would disagree with this assertion.  

Considering the book was written a few years ago, I can’t really see that it has dated that much.  Yes, there is a new leader but is he really that different from the last guy (his dad) or the guy before him (his granddad)?  Somehow I don’t think so. It contains quite a bit of history and lets face it, the current affairs of 2004 are now history and a lot of what is happening now in North Korea was happening in 2004… at least I think it is.  Where’s that bowl of Kimchi?  OK, it would be nice if there was a newer edition of this book, but I of course don’t have a newer edition and only have this one to spruik about.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How Not to be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back by Gilbert Waldbauer.

How Not to be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back by Gilbert Waldbauer.  Hardcover book published by University of Calfornia Press 2012, 221 pages with a few black and white illustrations.

“All animals must eat. But who eats or doesn’t eat whom and why?”

This book deals with a subject that I deal with quite a bit in my life.  Fortunately though, I’m not an insect so I don’t really have to worry too much about it as the predators that are out there haven’t succeeded in eating Huc & Gabet as of yet... despite their best attempts. 

A while ago we had a locust plague here in country Victoria and I was very interested in trying some of the many recipes available on the interwebs.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a net or access to small children (they are apparently very good at catching them) at the time, so I was unable to sample the culinary delights of the locust.  A friend of mine (with small children) did manage to partake and gave quite a favorable report.  All of this has nothing to do with this book as it is not concerned with us humans*, but rather with the other members of the animal world, so unfortunately there is minimal information regarding human locust interaction or information regarding how humans can avoid being eaten.   
What this book does have going for it is that it is written in a very readable manner and is one that I can well imagine will be popular with your regular popular science reader. One thing I do believe, is that this book is more of a spontaneous purchase and will probably sell better from my shop stock as apposed to on line.  Why do i think this?  Well I have read a number of popular science books over the years and I think I could be tempted to read this one if I stumbled upon it… that is if I didn’t already have a pile of books that will probably take me the best part of the next 5 years to read. 

* I’m just assuming that all my readers are human.  My apologies to any that aren’t.