Friday, March 30, 2007


This from the New York Times today.

Photo - Bettman/Corbis.

Penguin Books - NZ $39.95

Following our viewing of the movie, Miss Potter, which I wrote about last week, Annie bought me a copy of this most attractive and appealing book which I have read and enjoyed and added to my collection of books by and about Beatrix Potter.

Sorry about the colours which are quite different and much nicer on the actual book than those shown in this image.

The large hardback book, (great value at this price), is filled with facsimile reproductions of letters, diary and journal entries and cards in BP's handwriting. Many of them you can actually open out and set into the back inside cover of the Journal is a complete edition of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".

The Baubles of Office

This massive tome (600 pages + DVD) from Victoria University Press tells more than most of us will ever want to know about the New Zealand General Election of 2005.
But if you are a political science student or work in politics then clearly the book is absolutely essential reading.
Liberally sprinkled with graphs and maps, detailed indices, appendices and notes and with a most impressive array of contributors it is a superb piece of academic publishing. Although, having said that, I would have to say as a layman that much of the book is readily accessible and indeed some parts are totally fascinating. I especially enjoyed the contributions from Jane Clifton and Kathryn Ryan as well as Pita Sharples' summary of the Maori Party situation.

Here is the copy from the back cover of the book which I think is a fair summary without too much of the puffery that publishers often employ.

“The Baubles of Office” is the story of a cliff-hanger election, New Zealand’s closest yet under MMP. For nearly two weeks no one knew who had won, Labour or National. On election night it was Don Brash who was cheerful and elated, Helen Clark who seemed grim and shaken. New Zealand acquired a government only when Winston Peters ignored a last-minute written appeal from the leaders of four other parties to come to a meeting to agree on terms. Instead, he met with Helen Clark and became the country’s Foreign Minister – accepting ‘the baubles of office’ that he had so openly disdained in a major campaign address.

The contributors to this book include political party strategists from all of the parties elected to Parliament. Rodney Hide, upset victor in Epsom in 2005, tells how it was done. Media personalities, including Radio New Zealand’s Kathryn Ryan, describe what it was like covering a campaign where the likely winner changed with every new poll. New Members of Parliament – the Maori Party’s Pita Sharples and Labour’s Shane Jones – speak about their first campaigns, successful beginnings to new political careers. Listener and Dominion Post political columnist Jane Clifton provides her usual witty and insightful observations, describing MPs both new and old, brought into Parliament by the 2005 election.

The book includes first-hand accounts of the campaign from United Future’s Peter Dunne and Labour Cabinet Minister Steve Maharey, new Green Party leader Russel Norman, and the National Party’s campaign manager Steven Joyce. Academic commentators frequently seen on New Zealand television – including Therese Arseneau (TV3), Jon Johansson (TV One; Sky TV), Colin James (TV One) and Nigel Roberts (TV One) – offer their perspectives on aspects of the campaign, including National’s mischievous use of billboards, the involvement of the Exclusive Brethren and Don Brash’s use of rhetoric on sensitive Treaty issues.

The book is distinctive as it includes a special DVD containing a package of the campaign’s audio-visual highlights. These include excerpts from the televised party leaders’ debates as well as the leaders’ opening night campaign addresses. The DVD also exposes New Zealand political parties’ advertising and marketing strategies, with excerpts from TV ads from the 1999 and 2002 campaigns as well as from 2005. The DVD also includes photographs of many of the party billboards used during the campaign, including those of the National Party (on which the cover design is based).

ISBN 0 86473 539 1 (ISBN 13 9780864735393)Paperback includes DVD600pp, 210mm x 148mm $49.95

THE PESTHOUSE by Jim Crace Macmillan Hardcover NZ$50.00

“Everybody died at night.”

This is the opening sentence of Jim Crace’s haunting new novel due for release in New Zealand on 9 May.

A cloud of toxic gas arrives from the depths of a nearby lake to wipe out the entire community of Ferrytown.

One is immediately arrested

Like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, reviewed on my blog earlier this month, The Pesthouse is set in a post-apocalyptic America. Set perhaps 500 or more years into the future the country has entered a dangerous, primitive dark age following an unspecified catastrophe. Written language has gone and a plague of some sort has swept the land causing the population to flee eastwards with a view to reaching the coast and hopefully passage to a better life in some distant place.
The two protagonists, Margaret and Franklin are beautifully drawn as they struggle to survive in a truly awful place, an America beyond any recognition. In a strange sort of way the novel is a love story, the love that develops between these two unusual but appealing characters.

This is a beautifully crafted, deeply disturbing and intense novel that will stay with me for some time to come.

For another view here is Peter Bradshaw’s review that appeared in New Statesman issue of 5 March .

Crace has won many awards including the Whitbread Novel of the Year, US National Book Critics Circle Award, E.M.Fortser Award, the Guardian Fiction Prize and has been shortlisted for the Booker.

Jim Crace’s website can be accessed with this link.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Nominations close 17 June. Use link above for details.

Gordon loaned me a back copy of the VQR - The Virginia Quarterly Review - which has as a sub-title - A National Journal of Literature & Discussion at the University of Virginia.
He has subscribed to it for some while but somehow in all these years of being around literature it has never crossed my screen. Well that will be different from now on, I am so impressed with it I'm signing up for a subscription.
Use this link to have a look at their website and you'll understand my excitement.

Click on above to go to this story from The Independent.

I must admit I have trouble not thinking of him as David Brent from The Office !

Here is the BBC site on Ricky Gervais.

The pic above comes from the same BBC website.


Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami Pub.Vintage

Iain Banks Sphere NZ$37.00

Iain Banks is rated as one of the great contemporary British writers. He is 53 years of age but has a raft of books to his credit. He writes literary fiction, and The Steep Approach to Garbadale fits into that category, it is his 12th literary fiction novel, and then he writes Science Fiction under the name Iain M. Banks and he has 9 books published in this genre, 6 of which deal with a vast interstellar civilization, the Culture, which I gather has a huge following although not being a sci fi reader I can’t comment on that.
He has also written a work of non-fiction, Raw Spirit, a travelogue of Scotland and its whiskey distilleries.

So he is prolific, accomplished and well-regarded in literary circles.

The central character of this new book is 35 year old Alban McGill. He belongs to the very wealthy Wopuld family who have made a fortune over several generations as the manufacturers of the UK’s best-selling board game, Empire.

He has severed all links with his extensive and wealthy family but as the novel opens he has been tracked down by his cousin Feilding in Perth, (Perth Scotland I hasten to add not Perth, Australia). Feilding informs him that the family firm is the subject of an unwelcome takeover bid from an American firm and persuades him to return to the family fold and help him fight the sale of the company.

We then have a series of flashbacks between Alban’s life as a child and teenager growing up in both Scotland and England and the present – we learn of his thwarted teenage love affair with his beautiful cousin Sophie, which he has never really got over, the mysterious suicide by drowning of his mother. The description of that suicide by the way is superbly written and is Iain Banks at his very best.

Banks also provides Alban with an opportunity to tell the Americans just what he thinks of their government’s foreign policy. Near the end of the novel while attending a meeting which is to decide whether or not to sell he tells them that “the USA is a great country full of great people. It’s just their propensity as a whole for electing idiots and then conducting a foreign policy of the utmost depravity.” He also has a go at their support of President Musharaff in Pakistan.

One has to remember that in 2004 Banks was one of a group of politicians and prominent media figures in the UK that tried to have Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
He subsequently cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street. He has given his protagonist Alban in The Steep Approach to Garbadale the same sort of political beliefs.

For me this novel is something of a curate’s egg – there is some great characterization, especially of Alban’s great aunts and grandmother, occasional flashes of the pub humour for which he is famous, and there is the stunning first person suicide account but there are also places where the story rambles off on tangents and several times I found my mind wandering away from the book, and then there is the tendency for speechifying, there are two pages of his tirade against US imperialism. In the end the central figure of Alban, although affable and appealing is somewhat unconvincing.
The novel is 400 pages, a big read and in the end I was glad to finish it so I could start on something else.
Photo of Iain Banks by Neil Hanna for Scotland on Sunday.
Iain Banks has an extensive website which can be found via this link.
I reviewed this book today for Radio New Zealand National.

Police to grab Schapelle Corby's book earnings............

This story from The Australian


Oprah has announced her long awaited book club pick and it is Cormac McCarthy's bleak, apocalyptic novel that I blogged here on 15 March.

The reclusive McCarthy is reported to have agreed to do his first television interview ever with Winfrey.
Pic from Wikipedia entry on the author.


Here it the story from today's Guardian.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


New Zealand tenor Simon O'Neill received a rave review for his concert performance in Adelaide last Saturday evening.
Chris Else, Bookman

Back on Feb 22 I reviewed Chris Else's latest novel, Black Earth White Bones.

Else is a blogger himself and his site can be found at . He posted a blog a few days back which he called the Mr.Pip phenomenon which is generating some discussion.

Interesting story from the Guardian.......................

This from the Guardian online,,2042004,00.html...............


The New Zealand Herald carries this story today.

Borders booksops in NZ are up for sale but its not known if they will close or continue to operate under new ownership.
This news comes as something of a surprise considering Borders are to open their 4th NZ store at Auckland's Sylvia Park complex tomorrow.
Their other stores are in Queen St, Auckland, Lambton Quay, Wellington and the Riccarton Mall in Christchurch.

Watch this space.

Photo of Jim Dale from his home page where I learned that according to the Guinness Book of Records he holds the first six places in the 10 biggest selling audio books with his recordings of the first six Harry Potter titles. Soon he will hold the top 7 places I guess.


Ever wondered what all the fuss is about? This from the New York Times.

Picture of OK Go and their treadmills from the NYT.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Matakana, a village an hour north of Auckland, is planning to become NZ's first Slow Town.

I wonder where the initiative might come from to create NZ's first Book Town, something along the lines of Sedberg.
Pic shows Sleepy Elephant Bookshop, Sedberg.


When Hachette Livre bought Warner Books from Time Warner part of the deal was they had to change the name of the company. The New York Times reports today on the new name. Pic by Pietr Redinski for the NYT shows publisher Jamie Raab in the office she will be leaving behind. She joined Warner Books in 1986 as a senior editor and was appointed publisher in 1997.The Warner imprint has been around since 1970.

R.I.P. Warner Books.

And this on the subject from Writers Write.


If you are a bookseller or author or publisher or librarian and are planning to visit the U.K. then incorporate some of these destinations suggested by the Independent and your trip may be tax deductible?


The first new Tolkein novel in 30 years will be published on 17 April and fans world-wide will be lining up to buy a copy. This story from The Independent.

Notes discovered in his papers long after J.R.R.Tolkein's death have now been developed into the fourth book in the Lord of the Rings sequence by Christopher Tolkein, The Children of Hurin , Harper Collins NZ$50

Harper Collins hope to release the book here on the international publication date of 17 April..

Pic. of J.R.R.Tolkein from Wikipedia.

Monday, March 26, 2007

the ghost in my family

Ian McEwan talks to Bryan Appleyard of the Sunday Times about the dramatic news of his secret brother, a story uncannily like one of his novels. Photo - Sunday Times.
Bryan Appleyard, a freelance journalist and widely published author himself has his own website.

Just looking at my current copy I see it is the 54th edition of the De Luxe Edition first published in 1955. Of course the very first edition appeared way back before World War One in 1907 and since then more than three million copies have been sold.The word icon is widley over-used but I think it is fair to describe this remarkable book in that way.
Now you can read the 1914 edition courtesy of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre at Wellington's Victoria University.
Many of the recipes have long gone out of fashion but I was amused by this little ditty:
Do you love me? said the cup to the custard.
I'm just brimming up in you replied the custard.
You sweet thing answered the cup.
Which was followed by this little homily : A Golden Rule - hold fast to that which is good.
If you would like to view the 1914 edition click on this link.


This story appears today in the New Zealand Herald "The Business" weekly supplement. It was originally published in current issue The Economist under the heading " the future of books - not bound by anything".

The artwork above, by Daniel Pudles, is also from The Economist.
Use this link to read the whole story but take solace from the final paragraph which reads as follows:
....... anthologies of short stories and poems, like longer novels, are
unlikely to disappear. People want to be guided by others. They also want media suitable for unhurried reading in beds and bathtubs and on beaches. Above all, they want paper books for what digitisation is revealing them to be. Books are not primary artefacts, nor necessarily vehicles for ideas. Rather, as Godin puts it, they are "souvenirs on the way we felt" when we read something. That is
something people are likely to go on buying.

LOVE WITHOUT HOPE – Rodney Hall Picador NZ$26

I reviewed this in the Sunday Star Times yesterday - posted here in case you missed it.

"Madness is the theme of Australian eminent man of letters Rodney Hall’s latest which made it an especially appropriate book for me to read right now having just finished Sebastian Faulk’s “Human Traces” which also has running through it the theme of madness and its treatment.

There are however two major differences in these two fine novels.
The Faulks is set in the latter days of the 19th century and tells the story of two doctors working in the psychiatric world while the Hall is set in the 1980’s where the protagonist is a patient in a mental hospital. So you might say the stories are told from opposite sides of the bed.

Love Without Hope is a beautifully written story and by Hall’s standards is most accessible. It tells the story of Lorna Shoddy and the plot revolves around whether or not she will escape the asylum and return to claim her farm and her beloved horses.

In a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald Hall said he asked himself what he would do if he were incarcerated in a mental institution at someone else’s whim and malicious intention. If you were not insane to begin with, surely you would become so under such circumstances. The line between sanity and insanity can be, after all, very fragile. One could easily topple over from one side into the other.
It happened to someone he knew in Brisbane in the 1970’s, “she had been missing for some years, then she told me her husband had done it to her. She was only in her 30’s, the idea started me thinking”.

From these ideas Hall has crafted a very fine literary novel. Disturbing at times, often actually, but always with a great sense of hope running through it we read of
small-town malice and the greed of several of its inhabitants leading to the incarceration of Lorna and of her desperate efforts to be freed.

Hall’s great characterisation skills shine through the story, particularly in the characters of Lorna and her wonderful, elderly alcoholic doctor, Dr.Parker, but also in the various dark characters responsible for Lorna’s plight.
This is small country town New South Wales in the 1980’s when there actually was a Department of Lunacy with an asylum superintendent titled the Master of Lunacy.
Hall captures the town and its residents perfectly.

Reading a novel so beautifully crafted as this one should not be surprised to learn that Hall has twice won the annual Miles Franklin Literary Award, one of the illustrious events on the Australian literary calendar
It was first one by Patrick Wright for “Voss’ in 1957 and has since been won by many of Australia’s leading writers including Tim Winton, Frank Moorhouse, Shirley Hazzard, Murray Bail, Peter Carey, David Malouf and Elizabeth Jolley.
Rodney Hall sits comfortably in this exalted company. Love without Hope is his 13th novel."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

top bookstores gloomy views generate merger buzz

more on the Borders saga from the Financial Post.

Borders plans to reduce the number of its Waldenbook stores by half by the end of next year and is considering the sale of most of its international businesses.

This and more from the LA Times over the weekend. If you use this link to visit that page you will then see another link to the right which will take you to the current US best-seller lists which I always find interesting.

This is an excellent website for keeping up with what is happening around New Zealand.

One of their favourite features for me is the cartoon gallery which features the last few weeks of cartoons by the old master Tom Scott.
Here is an example.

AUCKLAND ART FAIR BULLETIN– 8 WEEKS AND COUNTING!_____________________________________________________________
Tickets to the Fair and the following exclusive functions now on sale through TICKETEK
The Vernissage Thursday 17 May. 7pm til very late.
Presented by Sofitel and in association with Hesketh HenryMark the highlight event of the year on your calendar. First chance to purchase and view works from a selection of the best contemporary art ever exhibited in NZ.
Evening includes an official opening by our VIP guest Matthew Collings, making his NZ debut at the Fair. Private View: An Evening with Matthew CollingsFriday 18 May 6-8 pmPresented by ANZ Private BankDon't miss out on an up close and personal engagement with our celebrity UK art commentator who will share his thoughts about the state of contemporary art, in NZ the UK and beyond.

Website- great resource for press and others interested in up to the minute information about the Fair. Visit the updated site, including the new media link, and for the latest news about NZ's only international art fair.

Auckland Art Fair: 18-20 May at the Marine Events Centre, Viaduct Harbour. Watch this space for the next update coming up soon...
Ema Tanaka – Communications ManagerO21-986-887/ mailto:media.aucklandartfair@gmail.comAUCKLAND ART FAIR 18-20 MAYMarine Events Centre, Viaduct Harbour
Presented by: NZ Contemporary Art TrustPrivate Bag MBEP273 Auckland

Saturday, March 24, 2007


A right old row is brewing with the claim that Irene Nemirovsky, author of the big selling 2006 title Suite Francaise, was anti-Semitic even though Jewish herself.

This story from the Saturday edition of Melbourne's The Age.

Photo of the author from the New York Times.

Edited by Tessa Duder & Lorraine Orman
Publisher - Reed/IBBY/Storylines NZ$35.00
To mark International Children's Book Day on 2 April a new collection of NZ stories from leading writers is being published this coming week.
I wrote more fully about the big day on my blog a couple of weeks back so use the link to revisit that site for full details.
I must apologise to the editors,authors and publishers for the terrible colours of the cover as shown here. In fact the colours are rich blues and greens but my computer has managed to make them a muddy orange. Oops!
However don't let the colours of the cover put you off as this is an excellent collection of stories from some of our best known writers for kids including David Hill, William Taylor, Tanya Batt, Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Katerina Mataira. A must for all primary and intermediate schools classrooms and libraries.


Thousands of kids are voting now for their favourite New Zealand
children's book!

School-age kids from schools and communities around the country are
voting now for their favourite New Zealand children's book in the
celebrated Children's Choice Award organised in conjunction with the New
Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults. Tens of thousands
of voting cards have been distributed to schools, libraries, bookshops
and selected PostShops nationwide and the votes are beginning to come

Children are encouraged to read and make their selection from the twenty
finalist books in this year's awards. They will be weighing up some of
this country's best contemporary writers along with some new-comers to
the scene of children's book writing. Will last year's winners of the
Children's Choice Award, writer Jennifer Beck and illustrator Lindy
Fisher - finalists again this year with their picture book, A Present
from the Past - take the votes again? Or will the votes go to debut
writer, Sharon Holt for her book, It's True! You Can Make Your Own
Jokes? Whoever the winner might be, we won't know until after the
voting closes at 5pm on Tuesday 1 May 2007. The full list of finalists
is available online at and voting is also
available online at the same website.

The Children's Choice Award was introduced in 1997 as a way of giving
school-aged children nationwide the opportunity to have a say in this
country's most prestigious children's book awards. Over the eleven
years since its inception, the number of votes placed has grown to more
than 30,000. Past winners have included Gaelyn Gordon, Bob Kerr and
much-loved writer and illustrator, Lynley Dodd. This award is now
considered by children's authors to be one of the highest accolades they
can receive in New Zealand for their writing.

The winner of the Children's Choice Award will be announced at the New
Zealand Post Book Awards ceremony at Parliament on Wednesday 16 May
2007. They will receive $1000, but they're not the only one to benefit.
Once the votes are tallied, one voting card or online vote is randomly
pulled 'from the hat'. The child whose name appears on this vote will
instantly win $1000 worth of Booksellers Tokens for their school

While the votes are being counted many of the New Zealand Post Book
Award finalists take to the road from Monday 7 May, participating in a
nationwide festival of children's books and literature. They will be
visiting schools and libraries around the country in the lead up to the
awards ceremony on Wednesday 16 May. A full schedule of events will be
available on from mid April.

New Zealand Post has been a steadfast sponsor of the New Zealand Post
Book Awards for Children and Young Adults since 1997. Its partnership
has seen the awards flourish, growing from strength to strength over the
last decade. New Zealand Post's support of these awards reflects their
deep commitment to promoting literacy and literature throughout the
country. Working closely with Booksellers New Zealand, New Zealand Post
and other dedicated segments of the community actively encourage New
Zealand children to read and enjoy books. For those with limited access
to new works, New Zealand Post also purchases and distributes books by
the New Zealand Post Book Awards finalists by supporting the Books in
Homes programme
each year.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards are also supported by Creative New
and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd and are administered by Booksellers New


Photo by Paul Estcourt from the New Zealand Herald.

Airports & Other Wasted Days, Ireland's latest collection of verse is published by Hazard Press


I posted a blog last Tuesday on this forthcoming title. In today's Sydney Morning Herald they report that the wisecracking entertainer devoted 4 years in homage to the figures who shaped civilisation in the 20th century.

Macmillan NZ advise they will be releasing the title here in May although I hear that one or two booksellers around the countryside expect to have the US edition available in April.
Photo of author from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The story that went around yesterday has been confirmed by this story in the Guardian overnight.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I blogged this title last month but now Reeds have sent out their press release on the book which I am happy to post on my site.

Barry Crump, Witi Ihimaera, Kiri Te Kanawa…

Over the last 100 years the House of Reed has been responsible for bringing some of the country's most iconic New Zealanders into the limelight. It has published books as diverse as Pounamu Pounamu and A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree, books that have embedded themselves in the New Zealand psyche. It has also, itself, become a national icon.

To mark the company's 100th anniversary this year, Gavin McLean has authored Whare Raupo: The Reed Books Story, a full and frank account of the company's long history in New Zealand publishing. Given total freedom to author the business's story, McLean has written an engrossing and accessible tale.

Anyone who has made a career for themselves in publishing in New Zealand is likely to have a Reed connection and McLean has interviewed numerous former and current Reed staff members. He deals with the entire history, from the business's origins as a religious bookselling hobby, to the company's 20-year foray into the music industry with Kiwi Records, to staff upheavals and restructuring in the 1980s, to the present day.
Within Whare Raupo, readers will find stories that are the stuff of New Zealand publishing legend. All sorts of Kiwi icons make an appearance, from the company's clean-living founder A.H. Reed – a man who was as renowned for walking the length of the country aged 85 as he was for his publishing feats – to authors both famous and infamous, many of whom were not as clean-living as A.H. and Clif would have liked.
Stories featuring Denis Glover, Janet Frame, Mona Anderson and the irrepressible Barry Crump grace the book's pages, as do stories from the editors charged with keeping these authors in order and the books rolling in.

In May this year – the month A.H. Reed said he founded the business in 1907 – Reed Publishing will celebrate its long publishing history with four centenary celebrations. These will be held as follows: Dunedin on 21 May; Christchurch on 22 May; Wellington on 23 May; and Auckland on 25 May.

SRP $59.99 IMPRINT Reed Books RELEASE 26 April 2007
To arrange an interview with Gavin McLean, contact Kirsteen Ure, Reed Publishing, phone 09 441 2955,


Love this cartoon from The New Yorker, March 26.

In case the text is too small it reads:

"Is this a bad time to talk about global warming?"

I like the Brockie cartoon on today's issue of NBR.

Headed "Red Carpet Moments" it shows Bush saying to an aide as Helen walks towards him up the red carpet,

"Noo Zealand? That's on the Coney Island line- right?"

The red carpet photo at right was taken by Eric Draper at the 2006 APEC Summit in Hanoi.


Back on 6 December last I posted a blog on Beatrix Potter referiing to the movie, Miss Potter, and its novelisation by Richard Maltby.

Last night we finally got to see the movie at Auckland's most comfortable LIDO cinema and it proved to be a most enjoyable experience. I especially enjoyed the panoramic views of the Lake District, simply stunning.

I imagine the movie has made a huge world-wide impact on sales of the gorgeous Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit series. It caused me to get out my set of the little books and revisit them this morning.

I also pulled down my copy of "A History of the Writings of Beatrix Potter" by Leslie Linder (now out of print) published by Frederick Warne in 1971 and reprinted with revisions in 1987.

Leslie Linder (1904-1973) was regarded as THE authority on Beatrix Potter. It was he who, 15 years after the Potter's death, succeded in cracking the secret code she used to note thoughts and observations in her diary. See the Beatrix Potter Collections website to read of the huge legacy of Leslie Linder.

R.I.P. HARRY POTTER - and no sequels please !

This image is from the excellent Scholastic Harry Potter site.

Other sites if you are an HP fan are Wikipedia, always great value, and of course JK Rowling's own website.


The Guardian reports that Scholastic US has teamed up with the Rainforest Alliance to make sure that "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows" is less gruelling for the environment than the average book.
Good news especially considering the 12 million first print run by Scholastic.


I pay an annual fee to a company which monitors my site, tells me how many vsiits a day I receive, which country the visitors come from, the average length of stay, which stories they read etc.
I do not of course know who the visitors are nor do I have any way of communicating with them, other than via my blog.

It is all quite fascinating. Here for example is the breakdown of where yesterday's visitors came from:

NZ 163
USA 18
Aust 12
UK 12
and then lesser numbers from Germany, Canada, India, Mexico, Switzerland,
Korea, Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Denmark, Luxembourg, Italy and four from
'unknown" countries! So about 70% from NZ.
That NZ figure has been as low as 50% but is usually around the 60-70% mark which I guess is about what one would expect given the NZ flavour of the site.

Shock headline from the Guardian today which also says they are reviewing all of their international operations including those in New Zealand.

Since I posted this I have received the following from Jennifer:

Another link on the borders saga for


Here is an interesting idea from one of New York's famous independent bookstores, McNally Robinson, 52 Prince Street, Soho. Nice website too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

BAMBINA - The Fiat 500 in New Zealand

You have to hand it to Todd Niall - best known as an award winning Radio New Zealand journo and host in recent years of Summer Report - he still drives his first car, the Fiat 500F he bought 30 years ago.

Now he has written & published a most handsome book on the subject. Created in Italy and assembled in Italy, this Italian motoring icon mixed with Kiwi "can-do" to create a unique life for itself, half a world away from its home.

In 2004 Niall made the pilgrimage to the annual Fiat 500 gathering in Garlenda Italy to record the doco "Bambina Days".

Out of that experience has grown this profusely illustrated and fascinating story. It provides an important record of a piece of our social history.

This is his second book, his earlier title published in 2005 , The Trekka Dynasty, told the story of NZ's only mass produced vehicle

I'll include a few pics below to give you something of the flavour of the book.

They show, the Bambina at Scott Base where it spent a summer back in the 60's, Bambina being loaded on to a top dressing plane which provided transport to the pilots when they landed, Miss New Zealand finalists on parade in Gore in 1967.

Technical stuff:Publisher - Iconic Publishing Ltd
164 Motu Rd., RD 1, Kumeu,
Auckland 0891

Price - NZ$40.00

ISBN 978 0 473 11885 3

And finally how about this gorgeous Fiat publicity shot which features on the back cover. What year could that have nbeen taken? It was prior to the Nippon clip-ons being added to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.