Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Reading Room

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  • Rich Lock,

    Ideal home photospreads are occasionally good for a laugh, as when Bob Hawke and his then new squeeze Blanche D'Alpuget flaunted their sumptuous living arrangements back in the 90s. The beady-eyed pair posed in Japanese bathrobes next to a hideously oversized Mexican onyx chess set, with the pieces arranged as though for a game in progress. Closer examination showed that the arrangement of pieces couldn't possibly correspond to any known variety of chess.

    Ah, the all-powerful Curse of Hello! can never be escaped.

    Also known as the Egyptian Pharoh doorbell curse (toot-and-come-in).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    Joe wrote:

    how many of the ancestors were illiterate. Like, signing marriage, baptism, and birth registers with their mark ('X'), which was then annotated and endorsed by some official or church functionary

    Two of My great (x4) grandfathers witnessed land transactions in the Hokianga in the 1830s and both had "his mark" next to their names. Someone evidently wrote down their names for them, but there was a problem in that the person would write down what they thought they had heard. That was fine for John Baker. Not so good for Hewen/Hugh surnamed Manall/ Manhall/ Munhaul/ Munhall. His children varied the spelling as well. They could write, though. Hugh's son had his will in Maori and in English by 1858. Has caused problems trying to track the family with the multiple variants.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Jo S,

    @ Lucy
    filled with quiet delight at your 12 book list.
    and then filled with quiet panic and accompanying shakes at even the thought of being able to select only 12 of my books to take with me overseas

    (I'm bad and came back from an 8 day trip in Sydney with an additional 6 books)

    is it autumn yet? • Since May 2007 • 80 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    I never bloody get past chapter three of any Dickens

    I couldn't either, until travelling in Germany.

    Classics were the easiest and most affordable thing to buy, and because I wasn't saturated in English, I had room to take in Dickens. I had no papers, newspapers, TV, or work. If you work with words all day then Dickens is a bit much at night.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Classics were the easiest and most affordable thing to buy, and because I wasn't saturated in English, I had room to take in Dickens. I had no papers, newspapers, TV, or work. If you work with words all day then Dickens is a bit much at night.

    It's important to note that Dickens' works were originally serialised in newspapers, i.e.1) the longer they were, the more he got paid and 2) people read them over months and years. I reckon a lot more people could cope with an average Dickens novel if they read it over, say, the two years it took to publish Oliver Twist.

    Personally, I was put off Dickens permanently around age eight when there was a Christmas sale on Dickens hardbacks at Whitcoulls and about fifty of my helpful relatives thought "Oh, Lucy likes reading big books - we'll get her Charles Dickens!" Er...no, helpful relatives. No.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    essential books...
    while I think every home should have a good dictionary and a thesaurus - it might be time to remove the thesaurus from TV One newsrooms
    - I inadvertently caught a very brief piece of the Breakfast show this morning in time to hear some young reporter, in Chch, talking about the Police arriving somewhere to "disseminate" a rowdy crowd... sure it can mean disperse, but....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ah, you're one of those funny people who doesn't re-read books

    I have gone that way recently. But even if I turn back, I'm thinking nowadays that they're still better off down at the library between my readings.

    Definitely the library has helped with a few decisions on what books to get for the kids, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm not sure I approve of this conversation taking place while I'm away. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. For shame, y'all!

    (Damn.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I never reread books but then I'm a philistine, and I don't watch movies over a certain age, and I don't watch them more than once.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Douglas Kretzmann,

    thank you for the Footrot Flats mention - my brother gave me one of the books lo these many years ago, after a trip to NZ, but I'd lost it in the course of moving, together with the memory of it - until now. I'm certain my 9 year old will love it as his dog is also a black-and-white pup with personality.

    Calvin & Hobbes ? "preach it, brother !" as my boy might say to yours..
    I have to remind him that Calvin is not intended as a role model, though.

    Rachel and Lucy,

    I never bloody get past chapter three of any Dickens
    ..
    I couldn't either, until travelling in Germany.

    Most of my Dickens is in secondhand Everyman editions, and kept for travel reading. They are great value for weight when travelling - more words per ounce, as it were. I didn't like Hard Times as a school setwork but have managed to enjoy most of the rest of Dickens since then. I work with symbols and worse all day, words are a relief..

    Denver CO • Since Sep 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    The first book I read on my phone via Kindle was Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and it was the first Dickens book I managed to wade through. The silly names put me off.

    The main reason I read it was because one of my favourite SF authors, Connie Willis, recommended it in her anthology of Christmas stories. Connie Willis was recommended to me by the same person who recommended my other favourite SF author Lois McMaster Bujold, and the three of them are responsible for a binge on Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Sayers earlier this year. I like leaping from one influence to another.

    My one year old is already a book appreciator, but mainly for the coolness of flicking through the pages and the expression on her mum's face when she whips out the bookmark. I'm seriously looking forward to her appreciating the words.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'm not sure I approve of this conversation taking place while I'm away. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. For shame, y'all!

    (Damn.)

    Yes, you know I'm not in the room, and you have this wonderful conversation. Not the done thing.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I have found Dickens to be a great travel companion as well, plus he seems to be easily available in second hand book stores even in non English speaking countries, which is useful

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • ainslie green, in reply to Islander,

    Hello,
    my great,great , grandmother was Piraurau White.I am interested in talking to you about John Millar as i understand she had a child by him, also known as john Millar.

    marlborough • Since Apr 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to ainslie green,

    Ainslie – kindly use my email reply button (the envelope in the top righthand corner by name) and I’ll get back to you.
    John Millar is also known as John Miller (both the American forebear, and my greatgrandfather, who is also known as Tieke/Tiaki Mira.) Piraurau/Sarah White was also my greatgreatgrandmother! Kia ora, whanauka!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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