Monday, September 26, 2011

Two weeekend hardback purchases

I strolled into the finest little bookshop in the north, Matakana Village Bookshop, (actually one of the best rural indie booksellers in the land I reckon), to say hello to owner Tracey and to check on how the RWC was affecting business, and thirty minutes later I left with two books I found impossible to leave in the store - What by Mark Kurlansky and Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris.

What? - Are These Really the Twenty Most Important Questions in Human History?

Mark Kurlansky - Bloomsbury - Hardback - NZ$25

What is What? Could it be that noted author Mark Kurlansky has written a very short, terrifically witty, deeply thought-provoking book entirely in the form of questions?
A book that draws on philosophy, religion, literature, policy – indeed, all of civilization – to ask what may well be the twenty most important questions in human history? Or has he given us a really smart, impossibly amusing game of twenty questions?
Kurlansky considers the work of Confucius, Plato, Shakespeare, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, the Talmud, Charles de Gaulle, Virginia Woolf, and others, distilling the deep questions of life to their sparkling essence. What? supplies endless fodder for thoughtful conversation but also endless opportunity to ponder and be challenged by – and entertained by – these questions in refreshingly original ways.
But the Bookman has a request to make to Mark Kurlansky. What about writing another novel Mark? I so enjoyed your Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue but hey that was published six years ago. I know you have 13 or so non-fiction titles out there as well but put non fiction aside for a while and give us another novel. PLEASE !

Romantic Moderns - English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Pipe

Alexandra Harris - Thames & Hudson - $52

Winner of the Guardian First Book award 2010
‘The originality of 'Romantic Moderns' is the extraordinary breadth of its focus … a joy to read’ – The Sunday Times
'It would be impossible to over-emphasise what a clever book 'Romantic Moderns' is … not just an important book but a deeply pleasurable one, too'– The Guardian Book of the Week
‘… teems with fascinating detail … Well researched, wide-ranging and generously illustrated, the book contains many delights and surprises’ – The Daily Telegraph
‘… brilliant, delightfully readable … thoroughly invigorating’ – The Financial Times
Read the full Guardian Review
Listen to the Guardian podcast talking with Alexandra Harris
See more reviews of 'Romantic Moderns'
Click here to read the first chapter!

Check these two titles out and you will understand why I couldn't leave them behind.

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