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.

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.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Hardcover book published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1961, 319 pages.

Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written in English and published in 1955 in Paris, in 1958 in New York City, and in 1959 in London. The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, a middle-aged literature professor called Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. "Lolita" is his private nickname for Dolores.

Yep, she was 12 in the book. For the film, they raised the age of Lolita a few years but not as much as would make it acceptable that a middle-aged literature professor was lusting etc, after such a young girl. Despite this dodgy premise for a story, Lolita in both formats was and still is a success. It is considered one of the great books of the 20th century*, and it is also considered one of the books I really need to read... and yes I do have my own copy waiting in the pile.

I watched the film for the first time a few years ago and like most people, I was quite startled, amazed and gobsmacked. That doesn't mean that I didn't appreciate the film and the excellent job that Stanley did, or the excellent performances by all concerned especially Shelley Winters.

It does mean that I was a little taken aback by the subject matter and kept thinking all the way through that it was all a little bit dodgy. A great story but still dodgy. My copy of the book has been in the pile for a number of years now and a bit like a fine wine cellar, i'm waiting for the right moment to read it. Will there ever be enough time?

*Lolita is included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels published from 1923 to 2005. It is also fourth on the Modern Library's 1998 list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century, and holds a place in theBokklubben World Library, a 2002 collection of the most celebrated books in history. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Swedish Food: 200 Selected Swedish Dishes The Smorgasbord Traditional Party and Everyday Menus, edited by Sam Erik Widenfelt.

Swedish Food: 200 Selected Swedish Dishes The Smorgasbord Traditional Party and Everyday Menus, edited by Sam Erik Widenfelt. Softcover book (stiff card) with decorative front cover published by Esselte 1954, 151 pages with black and white photograph, a few colour photographs and a few black and white illustrations.

The publisher of this book believes that you will enjoy making or renewing your acquaintance with Swedish food. Besides the famous smorgasbord, with all its delicacies and appetizing tid-bits, the Swedish kitchen boasts specialties of other kinds. For in a country so far north, with a relatively severe climate, food and the preparation of food are regarded as important. Culinary imagination and skill are highly developed in Sweden, and both housewives and professional cooks, aware that good, well-prepared food is always appreciated, take pride in their handiwork. This book makes it possible for you to prepare 200 of the best Swedish dishes, breads and cookies in your own kitchen.”

So you've been reading Scandinavian noir. 
But what is Scandinavia really like? 
It can't be all dark, cold, serial killers with a moral complexity that enthralls us all. 
No, it's the Smorgasbord as well.

I wasn't thinking of Kurt Wallander when i picked up this book. I was thinking how beautiful the cover is and how wonderful these vintage photographs are.

I'm a bit of sucker for this period of vintage cookbooks. It doesn't matter where it's from as long as it has enough recipes and photographs from a by gone era.  A snapshot... in the same way that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a snapshot of Sweden as it was in 2005, this book is a snapshot of Sweden in 1954... but with more seafood.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman, Mazin Al-Khafaji, with Kevin Baker.

A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman, Mazin Al-Khafaji, with Kevin Baker. Hardcover book published by Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications 2007, 675 pages with black and white illustrations, and black and white with some brown illustrations.

"Established as the most complete work on the channels, collaterals and points in English, A Manual of Acupuncture has become the gold standard text for students and practitioners of acupuncture." 

I like text books. I think this 'like' and passing interest comes from my early years of bookselling way back in the 1980s when I was working in a university book shop. Large unwieldy volumes filled with stuff I didn't understand and never will understand, still get me excited (… no, not like that), despite the impenetrable wall of my personal incomprehension. It was an Australian University and it was the 1980s so there were no books dealing with Acupuncture on the shelves under my coordination. If they had of taught it there, I would have had it... They didn't, so no acupuncture. Despite my lack of bookish experience in channels, collaterals and points, I didn't hesitate in picking up this weighty tome. “Most complete work on the channels, collaterals and points in English”, is what convinced me. It is a little concerning that there is possibly a more complete text in another language(s), I guess this one will have to do for English speakers at this point in time or rather at that time (2007).

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gold at Gaffneys Creek by Brian Lloyd and Howard Combes.

Gold at Gaffneys Creek by Brian Lloyd and Howard Combes. Hardcover book published by Shoestring Bookshop 1981, 267 pages with black and white maps, illustrations and photographs.

The early goldseekers of Gaffneys Creek were tough, resolute and adventurous people typical of Victoria’s gold generation. This book is about the exploration, exploitation and settlement of that remote, inhospitable, but beautiful and rich corner of Victoria. The Gaffneys Creek goldfield was opened up by men who came across from the Buckland to the Big River in 1857, and climbed over the Mt Terrible range to the Goulburn watershed in 1859. There followed a few lawless years of rich alluvial mining before the reefers got to work, and permanent and law-abiding settlement followed. The wild speculative quartz mining boom of Gaffneys Creek and Woods Point in the 1860s was followed by decades of depression, with most of the mines closed or on tribute. The only miners to prosper were the tributers at the A.1, and even there they had to endure many years of barely subsistence earnings from the fickle reefs. The mining revival about the turn of the century saw some years of prosperity at the Dempseys and Rose of Denmark, but by World War I only the A.1. was left as a profitable mine. After the gold cut out there in the mid-twenties, more years of depression followed, until the Victory Reef was discovered in the early years of World War II. The 1940s were rich in gold and dividends for the A.1. but then, with rising costs and the price of gold fixed, the mine struggled on against mounting odds, until it finally closed in 1976.”

Gaffneys Creek? Another place of which my geographical knowledge was severely lacking in. Thanks to the interwebs, I now have a rough idea of where it is (between Matlock and Jamieson... and not close to here) and i'm fairly certain i've never been there... which is probably why I couldn't picture it's location. Besides being a local history book, this is also a book about Gold mining and the Gold Rush(s) that Victoria experienced over the years. With a few exceptions, the description above could easily be one of many towns in Victoria... including Clunes*. The dates are close to Clunes's, although mining stopped here earlier than Gaffneys Creek and it's that gold price mentioned in the blurb above that has historically hindered any further mining here in Clunes**.

Gold and Victorian local history are a good combination when it comes to books and the more obscure the book, the more desirable a publication becomes. I have another book by Brian Lloyd at the moment entitled “Gold at Harrietville”. It seems that Brian wrote a few books about mining towns in hard to get too places in Victoria as well as some other local histories, and as with the Gaffney's Creek book, the Harrietville book is also worth a few $$$. I was talking to a local history writer/customer/friend recently and mentioned these books. He knew them (… he owns them) and informed me that the author had passed away in the last few years and that it was doubtful that these books will ever be reprinted. I'm not sure how true that is, but it is possible that there will be no further copies published making these books just that little bit rarer.

So why are Victorian Gold rush histories so desirable? Apparently if your family were here in Australia pre WWI, there is a good chance that you have some connection to the gold fields. A lot of people rushed for gold and a lot of them stayed here (Australia) when the gold (or the price of gold) ran out. Family historians are always on the look out for local histories and gold is a good place to start. I have family members (my sister in law) who's family came out from Cornwall for the gold rush. Quite by chance the first place that we know they went to in Australia, was Clunes.... and yes they are listed in the town records. There is now a bit more of an interest in my place of abode within my family and i'm sure a good local history would be appreciated due to the connection.

And of course we have Gold people. Any clues or hints are eagerly sought after by weekender detectors seeking those special spots where perchance there might be that lump of gold that everyone over the last 150 years has missed. There are those little clues on obscure and less visited historical mining activity that these diggers seek and what better place than a now out of print local history on a gold mining area.

* International headquarters of Huc & Gabet: Books of interest.

** There's often been talk about new mining projects which seem to never eventuate.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Great Plague in London by Walter George Bell. Folio Society.

The Great Plague in London by Walter George Bell. Hardcover book (no dust jacket) with decorative boards with slipcase published by The Folio Society 2001, 256 pages with some black and white and colour illustrations and a few colour photographs.

The great Plague of 1665 was a last and terrible visitation before bubonic plague finally burned itself out. A direct descendant of the Black Death, it killed more than 100,000 people in London alone. Its horrors have been etched on our minds by the writings of Daniel Defoe and Samuel Pepys, yet many citizens displayed great courage and compassion. London’s Lord Mayor, Sir John Lawrence, remained at his post when almost all who could afford to had fled the city; Dr Nathaniel Hodges tended patients throughout the epidemic – never himself catching the plague. Walter Bell’s astonishingly detailed account has never been equalled. This re-edited edition of his book allows his scholarship and imaginative sympathy to shine through for a new generation of readers. Edited and introduced by Belinda Hollyer.

“The Folio Society is a privately owned London-based publisher, founded by Charles Ede in 1947 and incorporated in 1971. It produces illustrated hardback editions of classic fiction and non-fiction books, poetry and children's titles. Folio editions feature specially designed bindings and include artist-commissioned illustrations (most often in fiction titles) or researched artworks and photographs (in non-fiction titles). Many editions come with their own slipcase.” Wikipedia

A while ago I wrote about the hit and miss world (nothing to do with “Miss World” or Donald Trump) of selling Folio Society books on line (click here if you want to read what I wrote), so it might seem a bit strange that after all writing what I wrote then, that i'm now expanding my Folio Society listings on ebay. The truth is that I couldn't control my buying urges when confronted with 50 odd Folio Society titles in mostly great condition. Yep, I talked myself into it and so far i've have enough sales for it to have been worth my while. I think it has something to do with quantity of titles of these beautiful tomes as i've had more than one person buy multiple items. Maybe that has been my problem in the past as most Folio books are quite heavy and therefore postage is a bit of a bummer. With the intention of posting these heavy books in an Australia Posts 3kg satchel, I have been aggressively offering combined postage on this titles. “Aggressively” means that there's a larger bold message with the items listed indicating that I offer:

Maximum of $10 for postage on multiple items within Australia. 

This is no different to what I normally offer except that the message is a little more in your face on these ebay Folio Society listings. Maybe I need to change the way I offer this deal on postage.

… and the reason I singled out “The Great Plague in London” by Walter George Bell is that it's got a nice cover... as they all do.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel by Haruki Murakami. (First US edition.)

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred Birnbaum. Hardcover book published by Kodansha International 1991 First U.S. Edition, 401 pages with some black and white decorative illustrations.

Quite a while ago, I stumbled upon a UK edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude and at the time I was shocked and amazed to have stumbled upon something as special as a first edition of this incredible book. Here we are a few years later and i've got another incredible find that, quite honestly, left me speechless.

There's something incredibly nice about finding a book that you can feel proud to have found and then have for sale... even though in this instance I didn't find it. A good friend of mine walked up to me at a book sale and handed over this book, my jaw dropped (and still remains dropped) and I was speechless. I don't think I even properly thanked him at the time... but have done so since then.

Haruki Murakami is one of those writers that booksellers love to find. The reason is quite simply that whether new or secondhand, paperback or hardback, first edition or not, he sells. I have read a number of his books over the years and have like most people that have delved, become entranced and despite being a book seller (that is, someone who sells books as apposed to someone who keeps them) still own a number of them. Who can forget the Wild Sheep Chase and the whole sheep thing... and the ear thing... I can't. I've got a number of his newer books sitting in my 'to be read' stack and as i'm writing this blog entry i'm working myself into a Murakami reading frenzy to the point that... I will start reading the mammoth and intimidating 1Q84 in the next few days... I will do it.

So, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, do I think it will sell? It will take the right person (other than myself) to appreciate what this book is. I'm assuming it will be a collector and a fan, and based on my knowledge of how big this guy is, it will sell.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bruce Springsteen FAQ: All That's Left to Know about the Boss by John D. Luerssen.

Bruce Springsteen FAQ: All That's Left to Know about the Boss by John D. Luerssen. Paperback book published by Backbeat Books 2012, 437 pages with black and white photographs.

Long before he sold 120 million albums globally in a career that has endured artistically and commercially like no other performer s in the rock era, Bruce Springsteen was a working-class New Jersey kid with a dream and a guitar.”

On the July 16, 2016 Alan Vega (Boruch Alan Bermowitz) passed away. He was 78 years old.

Over recent years I have often thought about which musician or group (living and gigging) I would still like to see performing in a live situation. The answer has always been Suicide of which Alan Vega was half thereof.  As far as I'm aware, Suicide never toured here in Australia (...correct me if i'm wrong) and now they never will. It's hard to explain how important that first Suicide album was/is if you don't know it... and there are plenty of people who if they did know it would hate it anyway...

despite it being fairly straight down the line rock n roll... albeit with a dark primeval twist to disturb the status quo/everything. Unlike Bruce Springsteen there weren't any guitars, no stadium gigs, no 120 million sold albums, no mega stardom, just a deep respect from those in the know.

Now you're probably wondering why i'm writing about Alan Vega in a blog entry about a Bruce Springsteen book. The truth is that I don't have any books about Suicide or Alan Vega at the moment, nor have I ever come across any in my second hand book searching expeditions, but I really wanted to write something about him. Bruce Springsteen was/is a fan. He has also rather famously covered Dream Baby Dream:

A nice version... but here's Suicide.

Goodbye Alan.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The High Road To China: George Bogle, The Panchen Lama & The First British Expedition To Tibet by Kate Teltscher.

The High Road To China: George Bogle, The Panchen Lama & The First British Expedition To Tibet by Kate Teltscher. Hardcover book published by Bloomsbury 2006, 316 pages with a few colour and black and white illustrations.

In 1774 the head of the East India Company in Bengal, Warren Hastings, determined to open trade relations with the hitherto impenetrable court of imperial China. To this end he entrusted the young Scotsman George Bogle to be the first British envoy to Tibet. Once there, Bogle attempted to enlist the influence of the Panchen Larna in a bid to attract the sympathy of the Qianlong Emperor; a hard task, for the imperial court generally viewed trade with disdain, and took an altogether dim view of the British Empire. But what began as an unprecedented diplomatic mission soon acquired a different character. Bogle became smitten by what he saw in Tibet, and in particular by the person of the Panchen Lama himself, with whom he struck up a remarkable friendship, fuelled by a reciprocal desire for understanding. And as for Tibet: ‘When I look upon the time I have spent among the Hills it appears like a fairy dream.’ Bogle’s letters and journals, by turns playful, penetrating, self-deprecating and packed with engaging detail, were to help create the myth of Tibet in the West, the Shangri-La so familiar to us today. This book tells the story of the British attempt to reach the Qianlong Emperor’s ear, a narrative of two extraordinary journeys across some of the harshest and highest terrain in the world: Bogle’s mission, and the Panchen Lama’s state visit to China, on which British hopes were hung. Piecing together the narrative from Bogle’s private papers, Tibetan biographies of the Panchen Lama, the account of a wandering Hindu monk, and the writings of the Qianlong Emperor himself, Kate Teltscher deftly reconstructs the momentous meeting of four very different worlds.”

Although I have never visited Tibet, I have been within spitting distance. ...Not that I want to spit on it or anything like that, i'm just using the spitting distance thing as an indication as to how close I have been... which isn't really within the distance that I or anyone else can spit, but more along the line of, “i've travelled in places not that far from Tibet”. Darjeeling, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh are all destinations I have ventured too and are all not that far from where the action in this book takes place...or at least a little closer to the action than where I presently sit.

Unlike George, I've never been over the border, but like George I am “smitten”, which is a strange thing to say about a place i've never been too. I guess my adventures in the Himalaya are all about my fascination with Tibet without my ever having been there. Sort of like an unattainable Holy Grail, wished for and within my grasp, but never achieved. Ladakh, although not Tibet, was as close as I believe I have ever been to what I imagine Tibet is like and even as I sit here many years later, I can still vividly picture most of what I saw there. It is truly spectacular on many levels and to a certain extent I would agree with Bogle in saying ‘When I look upon the time I have spent among the Hills it appears like a fairy dream’ even though i'm not really sure what a “fairy dream” is and we are talking about different places.

My interest in things Himalayan and Tibetan did of course lead to me to the purchase of this book and although I have read a number of books about things Tibetan and the British and everyone elses interest in things Tibetan (eg Huc & Gabet), I haven't read this book but it does looks like my sort of thing and I figure it is probably someone elses sort of thing as well.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

British Poultry Standards: Complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist Breed Clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain: Fifth Edition, edited by Victoria Roberts.

British Poultry Standards: Complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist Breed Clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain: Fifth Edition, edited by Victoria Roberts. Hardcover book (no dust jacket) with pictorial front cover published by Blackwell Science 1997, 368 pages with colour photographs and a few black and white photographs and illustrations.

“Exhibiting poultry is only part of a long tradition which began in mid-Victorian times, but breeding also serves to maintain the pure breeds, some of which may be necessary for the development and future of commercial hybrid strains. The demand for uniformity in type and coloration of the various breeds led to the authorization of standards of excellence under the guardianship of the Poultry Club of Great Britain. British Poultry Standards is the official reference for all the recognized Poultry Standards in Great Britain; it contains complete specifications together with judging points for all the standardized breeds and varieties.
The new edition - the first since 1982 - has been fully updated, with over 200 colour photographs of current winners. Included are details of a further sixteen breeds of fowl, ducks and geese, and the section on turkeys has been extensively rewritten. The book has been significantly revised to provide clearer definitions of breeds, types and colours for the poultry breeder and conservationist.”

I love a good chicken book and recently I picked up a brood of chicken books that made my feathers stand on end. Yep, there were vintage booklets on various aspects of chicken raising as well as a few booklets on Caponizing... something that I really had no idea about, and now do... but probably didn't really need to know about. Besides the booklets there was also this lovely book on British Chicken Standards, which really has very little to do with a tandoor* and more to do with agricultural shows.

Beautiful photographs and what appears to be detailed information, is contained within the book as well as judging points which is why I don't think these chickens ended up in the Colonels deep fry. Nope, this book is about something other than Schnitzeling or roasting, it's about appreciating the finer aspects of all manner of poultry still living with feathers and innards intact. A bit like pig breeds, many of these chickens are now uncommon and from my limited knowledge of our fancy feathered friends, becoming even more uncommon as the years go by. Thankfully there are people out there who care enough about poultry standards, to write and publish a book such as this... although that was 19 years ago...

*The term tandoor refers to a variety of ovens and Tandoori chicken is a roasted chicken delicacy that originated in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cold Storage and Ice-Making: An Elementary Handbook by Bernard H. Springett.

Cold Storage and Ice-Making: An Elementary Handbook by Bernard H. Springett. Hardcover book published by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons 1921, 122 pages with some black white photographs and illustrations. (Book contains some advertising)

PREFACE:  This work has been prepared in order to provide a sufficiently comprehensive while necessarily concise handbook on the refrigerating industry, which has proved itself of such world-wide importance since the part it played in winning the Great War has become more fully known. In the present compilation the object has been to present to the general reader, as well as to the untechnical user of refrigerating machinery, sufficient knowledge as to the first principles of artificial refrigeration, while avoiding the mass of technical terms, formulae and descriptions of machinery and methods which are inseparable from the usual publications on the subject, excellent and important as these are to those able to appreciate their contents. No attempt has been made to differentiate between the many excellent, well-constructed standard types of refrigerating machines made by various English firms of engineers, or to mention machines supplied by foreign makers. Only machines and appliances of special design or construction are separately mentioned, except when some special feature has needed enlarging upon. This handbook is intended more for the owners and users of small refrigerating plants, and the general student desirous of becoming acquainted with the elementary principles of the production and application of artificial cold.

It's been fairly cold here recently. It is winter and despite it being a bit late and a bit milder than usual*, we have managed a few cold days. I have a gauge that indicates to me whether it's cold or not. No, it's not a thermometer or anything thermometerish. My gauge is my water supply. If there's no water due to frozen pipes, it's cold. If there's still water running freely, it's not that cold. So far this winter this has only happened the once and fortunately the kettle was full, so I didn't have to go without a coffee first thing in the morning.

This book has nothing to do with my pipes or my coffee, or with natural coldness. It's about the artificial creation of coldness as it was done in 1921. Just up the road from where I now sit there was an ice making factory which I believe also did a bit of cold storage business as well. I'm not sure when it originally opened or when it closed down, but i've got a feeling that this is the sort of book that they would have found of interest circa 1921... or maybe not.  

I've mentioned before that I love finding these sort of old technical books. I think it's the idea of something that was so important and is now out of date and nearly forgotten.  Old technology books do have buyers who are often passionate about their subjects. I've just got to find them.

*Thanks Global Warming

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Golden Destiny: The Centenary History of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia by Martyn Webb and Audrey Webb.

Golden Destiny: The Centenary History of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia by Martyn Webb and Audrey Webb. Hardcover book published by City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder 1993, 1070 pages with black and white photographs and some black and white illustrations and maps.

Focusing on the twin mining towns of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, this book draws upon Western Australia’s experience of the search for and exploitation of gold over almost 140 years, with special reference to the discovery and development of the Eastern Goldfields and the famed Golden Mile. Their story is rich in detail. It describes how gold helped transform Western Australia, with its 1 million square miles of territory, from a land of ‘despondency and despair’ with less than 50,000 inhabitants in 1890 to its present population of more than 1.5 million (1993). Their story also covers the transformation of the Western Australian gold industry from its use of the most primitive methods to advanced modern technologies as it moved from free-lance alluvial mining, to labour- intensive heavily-capitalised company-operated deep mining, to the current reworking of 100 year old gold centres by large-scale open-cut mining operations. The book shows how isolation and aridity on the Eastern Goldfields gave a new twist to that peculiar age-old relationship between gold and people — and thereby helped to create one of Australia’s most distinctive ways of life. Commissioned by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder as its contribution to the centenary of the discovery of gold at Kalgoorlie in 1893 by Paddy Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea, Golden Destiny is profusely illustrated by contemporary photographs, maps and diagrams, well supported with documentary evidence, and fleshed out with the real life stories of past and present goldfielders from all walks of life.”

Local histories. I don't know if it's the same all over the world, but people here in Australia do like to read about where they live (...or have lived... or where their ancestors have lived), no matter how big or small a place it is. During my book finding expeditions I'm often stumped by the amount of places with a history written about them, that i've never heard of. I think this could have something to do with growing up and living most of my life in one big city. It was only when I moved away from the throbbing metropolis of Melbourne all those years ago, that I realised how Melbournecentric my life had been up to that point. Don't get me wrong, I think I did have a fairly good geographical knowledge of this country and yes I did know where most of the bigger places are. It's when you find a book about Mundaring, Dixie or Yankalilla that things start to get a bit more interesting... and I start to get a bit bamboozled. Fortunately we now have google to help us figure out the difficult and embarrassing questions about where things are and I can confidently list a book on line as being a local history book about somewhere which I now have a fair idea where it is.

Kalgoorlie and Boulder (Western Australia, bottom half, inland from Perth) are places that I am aware of. Over the years i've sold numerous books looking at the history of this area and what a rich history it is. So rich that the authors of this book decided to fill over 1,000 pages with it's history, producing this large brick of a book. It's a statement, it's the sort of thing that could do you serious damage if not handled properly. Listing stuff on line, means that I have to handle any book I list more than a few times; carrying it home, shelving it, photographing it, writing it up and shelving it again. This is a two hand book, meaning that you need both hands to handle it. I can feel my biceps growing (or groaning) each time I pick it up. Books like this are the reason why kindles were invented... (not really).

Thursday, June 16, 2016

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, art by David Lloyd.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, art by David Lloyd. Paperback book published by  Vertigo/DC 2005, 296 pages with colour and monotone illustrations.

Yep, that's the same mask as worn by some members of Anonymous (click here). It's a Guy Fawkes mask that is often used on effigys of Guy Fawkes on Guy Fawkes night. Guy Fawkes night was once celebrated here in Australia with a bonfire with an effigy on top. The Springvale North effigy never had a mask... at least not as far as I can remember. It did have a lot of tyres, that I do remember.

V for Vendetta was written by Alan Moore, who if you don't know anything at all about comics or graphic novels is one of those people you really do need to know about or at least have some sort of vague knowledge of. I've read a number of his works over the years and even seen some of the films... and like Alan have been a bit disappointed by the films including V for Vendetta. Unlike Alan, I am willing to associate my name with seeing the films... he doesn't want his name associated with the films at all. If you've never read any of his books it's hard to explain why this is, but generally (and briefly... and my understanding of the situation) there is an integrity to his stories that loses something in the adaptions and Mr Moore is a man of integrity and doesn't like bullshit.

Going back to the Anonymous people, the publishers blurb to this book gives an inkling as to why they like the mask from this story as much as they do:
“A frightening and powerful tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world.”

I think this is an important book which despite have been written over 25 years ago, is still relevant to todays political climate. I don't think i'm alone in thinking this. Watch the news, you'll see what I mean...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Turkey Management by Stanley J. Marsden and J. Holmes Martin.

Turkey Management by Stanley J. Marsden and J. Holmes Martin. Hardcover book with decorative front cover (no dust jacket) published by Interstate Printers and Publishers 1955, 999 pages with some black and white photographs and illustrations.

Some of the more regular readers of this blog may be aware that it is the unusual that excites this book seller. Yeah, a big glossy art book is a nice thing, but a worn, aged, vintage Turkey Management book is something to really get excited about. Art is great, but it's everywhere and most people like it, which isn't a bad thing particularly if you want to sell books. But seriously, do we need another art book on our shelves?* A Turkey book on the other hand is something else completely.

Imagine you have guests coming over for dinner. You welcome them into your house, exchange pleasantries and make them feel comfortable. Inevitably they will look around the room (don't we all) and if they are half decent people, they will look at your bookshelves and there sitting amidst the detritus of the modern bookshelf collection they will find... no, not Picasso... not Dali... Turkey Management. Wow. There are people who will notice the book and not mention it, but will store this information for later consideration and discussion.
“Why does X have a book about Turkey Management?”
“That's a weird thing to have a book about.”
“X is so out there, he/she has a book about Turkey Management.”
The more direct guest will comment immediately and open up the discussion regarding Turkey Management and why you have a book about it on your shelf. It could be a good way to break the ice and open up discussion... which means you should probably read it or at least be able to bluff a certain level of knowledge regarding Turkeys before inviting guests around.

So if you're looking for something really impressive for the shelf, this is the book for you...

Or if you're thinking of getting into old school Turkey Management and want to impress...

*Of course we do... 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Hardcover book in large gift box with soft toy published by Bodley Head 2001, unpaginated with colour illustrations.

Have you ever wondered where the wild things are? Wonder no more, I have found one and it's here... just the one though... which in the greater scheme of things is probably not that bad an effort, particularly considering that I wasn't looking for anything wild.

The “Wild Thing” i'm referring to, is a small soft toy, that has been packaged up with a hardcover copy of Maurice Sendak's classic tale and placed in a themed gift box. The book is a standard version of the book, but it is a hardcover. The soft toy is modeled on one of the wild things (and it is soft), which Sendak chose not to name... although Spike Jonze, the director of the rather disappointing* screen adaption of the book, did give some of them names. The box... is a box, with some of the original book artwork printed on it and a clear window through to the book and toy. Altogether, it's enough of an eye catcher for this bookseller to take notice.

This is the first time i've seen one of these and looking around on the interwebs, it doesn't seem that any have survived. I mentioned the box to a fellow bookseller the other day and they were as oblivious and excited as I was to its existence. It was obviously meant as a gift pack, to be gifted and then unpacked and more than likely read, hugged (the toy... maybe the book as well) and the box discarded. Which is where this box thing becomes interesting... that is, as much as a box can be interesting. As far as I can see, there seems to be none available on the interwebs at this point in time, making this a very rare piece of Where the Wild Things Are mechandise. It's rare. The book is not rare and the soft toy... is a soft toy.

“And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!” 

* I was disappointed.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

VW Karmann Ghia 1955-1982, compiled by R.M. Clarke.

VW Karmann Ghia 1955-1982, compiled by R.M. Clarke. Paperback book published by Brooklands Books (no date), 100 pages with black and white photographs and illustrations.

I was about 16 when I first encountered the Karmann Ghia. My friend Kathy had an aunt (Mary) who owned one of these gems and as you do when you're a teenager, we would often get lifts to wherever it was that we were going. I'm not sure why I fell for it, maybe it was the uncomfortableness of the tiny hard back seat that appealed (… she wasn't my aunt, so I rode in the back) or maybe it was the cool sleak curves of what was a rather unusual car for suburban Melbourne in the 1970s. A number of years later I was casually chatting to my boss about cars which was a very unusual thing for me as i'm not really a car talking sort of guy, and he asked what my dream car was. I didn't even hesitate in saying a Karmann Ghia as that was truly the first car that came into my mind. Despite his encouragement at the time, I didn't rush out and buy one. Many years later a chance to own another classic VW arrived and I took it... and lovingly drove a 1967 Beetle up until I moved away from Melbourne. I miss the Beetle and I miss the Karmann Ghia that never was.

Maybe that's what this book is about... a collection of various articles... car porn for people like me that will probably never own one of these beauties. Wouldn't it be nice?