Find 10000 catalogued books for sale: I00 many- sided topics.

Almost all  reflective bookseller  Barry Long's  books are now for sale after 65 years' book collecting. They are displayed in ABE Books as catalogs at: - bookseller - Banfield House Booksellers - booksellers catalogs .

The Reflective Bookseller carries a  book by hand at airports and in flight as a talking point. His newsletter is  in the carry-on bag for any unsuspecting passenger who expresses the slightest interest in the book . 

The following thoughts have arisen in his unfathomable mind  from 100  topics catalogued at his Abebooks on line shopfront .

America: escalator of time. 

Once in mid west USA I encountered a 19th century hotel, with an escalator seemingly as old as the building. The sound of the rumbling escalator resembled the noise of a conveyor belt. Seated in the foyer, you could hear it slapping and thumping upwards from a lower street floor. 

Aroused by the hypnotic affect of  continuous motion, my imagination conjured a procession of hotel guests gradually coming up on the escalator.  Emerging from another era, they resembled people from the nineteenth century. Rising upwards on the escalator are bonneted women lifting full skirts, armed cowboys, congressmen in Lincolnesque top hats, card sharps,  ranchers and prospectors. 

One by one they step slowly and gracefully off the escalator. Exceptionally polite and well mannered by today’s standards, they check in at reception. Their faces are weathered, so they seem older than they really are. Their pace was presumably slower and sense of urgency less.  

 Ancient history: a remarkable talent of  2200 years ago.

Have you seen the  Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Quin Shihuang?   Perhaps as I do, you aspire to visit the  Warriors one day at Linton, Xian. In the meanwhile,  you do  not have to leave your  living room to be entertained or enlightened. At home on  bookshelves, or in libraries or bookshops some of Asia's most interesting people are already within our grasp. To meet them we only have to read  first hand accounts of their experiences.

When we meet the terracotta warriors, our imagination will be put to the test. Gazing into their eyes and studying their resolute faces we will marvel at what their real life models might have encountered as soldiers. But no matter how well we empathise, we will come away not knowing what they had seen or what they had done. Unless, that is, we  read more of the Emperor who had these warriors built to guard him.

Architecture: countenance of principle

Form following function is more than a guiding principle in architecture. It applies to so many aspects of life itself including  management and leadership.

Frank Lloyd Wright's ability to find value in materials supported his concept of a natural house. So many  books published about his work evidence what he described as his determined search for qualities in all things. One of Wright's clients saw the countenance of principle in his design. To Wright, who regarded  integrity as "the deepest quality of a  building" this was a much appreciated compliment.  

Australian literary history : personifying Australian character and heritage 

Biographies and autobiographies of Australian writers cast light on creativity. They also demonstrate something personal - the human side of a writer’s life and work.

Trawling books catalogued under this topic uncovers hidden gems. The Bulletin’s publication and David Adams’ editing of the letters of Rachel Henning (“…in Queensland she has at last stepped out of the pages of Pride and Prejudice into the Australian outdoors which she has taken to her heart…”) is just one example.

Book after book shows writers struggling to get into print. Book after book demonstrates how Australian writers contended with the ups and downs of everyday living to achieve fulfillment.  

Automobiles: driving with ancestors

I am driving my ageing 20 year old Honda ( almost 400 000 kilometres on the odometer) along Queensland's MI . In my imagination my father, grandfather and great grandfather are  accompanying me.  As we breeze onward,  I recall some of my automobile experiences with each one of these fine passengers.  

Great grandfather was over 90 when I was dispatched at the age of five to report to his nearby house.  Once a week  I would eagerly climb up  into his Chevrolet Tourer and sit on the front seat. Great grandfather  cranked the powerful engine by hand, amidst a flurry of chicken feathers and squawking fowls. Sedately driving this chugging vehicle, he was fully outfitted in suit, waistcoat and watch chain. My memory is of a tall, seemingly ramrod figure, dignified and upright as he steered  confidently onto the roadway.

About 13 years later,  my grandfather  would rescue me whenever I brought home old bombs of cars. As a youth, I was surely the delight of used car dealers. They could see me coming. Grandfather, in his sixties, would spend weekends underneath the body of whatever wheels I acquired. It mattered not that my newly acquired unseemly wreck was parked dangerously over the road and footpath. Together we would dismantle and reassemble whatever needed attention. Old Fords were our specialty.

A further 45 years on, after his 85th birthday,  escorting my father in his 20 year old Commodore to his annual driving test was almost like riding shotgun. Dad would be tense with his teeth gritted in steely mood.  As he aged,  each test became  more rigorous and his behaviour  obstreperous. The final straw came when he turned ninety.  A brave examiner restricted him to driving within a 12 kilometre radius from his home.  At that point, dad meekly handed over his licence and retired from driving.

Aviation: the long haul

The documentary screened on SBS - The Long Haul- provides a resounding account of travel on a Qantas A380. 

Beverages: too strong for  a boutique brand 

Whenever he could get away with it, dad made home brewed beer in my mother’s laundry. Mum angrily claimed it was an illegal distillery. I remember,  when a child, surreptitiously lifting up the heavy wooden lid over the laundry tub and smelling the hops. A murky cauldron of malt and yeast would be slowly frothing and bubbling away. In fear of a police raid, I looked in vain for ways of destroying the evidence. The brew was exceptionally strong. Unable to escape mum’s wrath, dad stored his bottled product in a basement cellar under the house. Tolerant and peaceful as she was, mum’s patience was strained whenever bottles exploded at night. 

 Sixty years later, after mum died, 87 year old dad expanded his brewing. Installing a small keg of beer inside the kitchen fridge, he drilled a hole through the fridge door. The keg was connected by a tube passing through the hole to a tap fastened outside onto the door.Dad’s consuming passion continued throughout his late eighties and early nineties. Almost all our family evaded his offers of such strong liquid hospitality. One grandson took to the beverage with relish. He inherited the equipment when dad died.

Bushrangers :  a best kept secret

The confluence of the Nepean and Warragamba rivers is one of New South Wales' pristine beauty spots. Canoe there and climb to the top of the adjoining hillside. Search diligently and you will find the hide out of 19th century bushranger Bold Jack Donaghue. Sit perched at the entrance to the cave where he sheltered. You will have a commanding view of immense proportions. 

Business histories: incentives to  transform ideas into reality; nostalgia for days of  oblique advertising and promotion

Stories behind trade names are myriad. So many names from time immemorial have become household words transforming business ideas into reality.

The name Stamina was promoted in the nineteen fifties in a format welcomed by its youthful customers. Australian schoolboys were each given a crisp new copy of a glossy 44 page book . Entitled "Australian Men of Stamina" it was distributed in schools with the compliments of the Stamina Clothing Company. The logo on each page was the trade name of school suits made from worsted cloth. The text and Walter Jardine illustrations were highly motivational.

Children's literature:  a treasury of  words and illustrations

My very first reading experience remains stored indelibly in my mind. I would most likely have been aged five or six. It happened in what was then called Infants School, with my schoolteacher Miss Davies standing alongside me in the classroom. As it came before my eyes, a sentence of letters and words slowly fell into place and I read aloud.

Victorian children's books are characterised by hand coloured plates, colour printing wood engravings , chromolithography and other forms of book illustration. Distinguished by decorative covers, gilt lettering and embossed design, the literature reflects changing values  and attitudes. Demonstrating the childhood of their era, these books highlight school life, history exploration and discover over more than a century. 

Fine arts and collectibles: confessions of an incurable collector

The stories Desmond Coke wrote  in the early 19th century were especially popular with schoolboys during the early part of the nineteenth century. So much so the author took early retirement to become a full time collector of antiques. Creating a collection of silhouettes and Rowlandson prints, Coke  became immersed in the work of Rowlandson. Spurning bargain finds, he established relationships  of mutual esteem between himself and dealers. In his book, Confessions of an Incurable Collector, 1928, he described the satisfaction he received from what he had created. 

Coke believed we look inside ourselves too much and give out far too many words for what we say. He claimed solitary collecting as relief from both.

 Horses:  nobility of failure

By all accounts, Tuesday 5th November 1946 was a big day for the Melbourne Cup. Crowds pouring into Flemington racecourse packed the venue to capacity. Authorities worried about spectators climbing grandstand roofs for a better view. 

Flash Jim Bendrodt would have been watching the race with apprehension. Having discreetly shipped Spam, Ireland’s Leger champion out to Australia, he had carefully planned for a surprise win. Equally nervous were one particular group of punters.They  staked their bets on an elderly stable hand’s apparent dream of Spam winning,  but the horse lost.

Bendrodt’s account of what happened first appeared in True, a New York magazine. It later became one of an anthology of 15 stories written by Bendrodt and published by Angus& Robertson in 1966. The book was titled Irish Lad and other stories. It underscores how highly he rated his affection for horses in his occupation as a horse trainer.  Australia is a country whose sporting events are festivals of colourful account. The Story of Spam the Irish lad not only deserves a place in the annals of the Melbourne Cup. It has a place in the chronicles of life’s ups and downs.

Japan: dine out on crushed yams; enjoy a Japanese decor at home.

Today’s visitors to Shizuoka Japan still enjoy lunching with locals at the ancient Mariko Restaurant. Its crushed yams were once lapped up by Matsuo Basho, the 17th century Japanese pilgrim poet. Basho could not stop dreaming of roaming. He was, he wrote in haiku “…drawn like blown cloud…” to journey on foot. Woodblock landscape artist Utagawa Hiroshige famously sketched the Mariko in the year 1832, some 150 years after Basho’s poetically diarised visit in 1684 .

My Japanese styled lamp stands serenely in the corner of my room.  Almost 20 years old, this  representation of things Japanese has withstood turbulent move after move from house to house. Each move threatened  the lamp shade's demise, but it never happened. Neither did such a delicate  shade wobble or become old and lop sided as my other lamp shades do. Outwardly fragile in appearance, it has proved historically invincible, never chipped or torn.  

Literary history: if only we knew what was in the other person's mind

Perhaps in the future people will be remembered by their collected Tweets.  Will  such  collections  provide the same insight as a person's collected letters? Do Tweets reveal as much about their author as correspondence collected in the era now past of letter writing? 

Modern History: travel in time; renew acquaintanceships 

Books printed during earlier centuries, their pages crisp and musty in original editions, pave the way for virtual time travel. Encountering writers in 18th  and 19th century England communicates something of their battles with life. It seems as if they are speaking to us directly of their struggles

Frances Burney, one of England’s best selling female novelists, describes her surgical procedure for cancer in the year 1811 without anaesthetic. Her brother James narrates his voyage on the Resolution and the Discovery which he commanded after the death of James Cook. Midshipman John Byron ( later to become grandfather of poet Lord Byron ) recounts in 1768 his grippingly strange epic of the ship Wager.

Music: Dvorak topped 100 symphonies; paid to listen to pop singers; loud music at the beach.

The year 2009 was a very good year indeed for those  who enjoy Anton Dvorak's music. It was the year Dvorak's ninth symphony - so aptly called From The New World - topped ABC radio's Classic FM 100 symphonies. If the United States of America is a paradox, Dvorak 's composition seems to me to capture  the essence of it.  My reasoning is the music 's capacity to convey  whatever drama or joy the listener  imagines about America. 

My mother was always talking about her radio days. Listening to crystal wireless as a child, she later grew up with the newly born ABC and other fledgling radio stations. On leaving school, she started as a sixteen year old typist in the Australian Performing Rights Association in Sydney. Her job was to listen to radio and  list  for royalty payment each recording of music broadcast. Mum said she had the best job in the world. I remember she knew the words of a lot of songs. When mum and dad first met it wasat a swimming club in Sydney's Coogee Aquarium. Dad and one of his brothers had just acquired (or assumed ) broadcasting rights for amplified music at Coogee beach. 

Plays and Poetry :  you never know what you might miss. 

The poetry of William Henry Davies not only has a practical application. It also communicates values. 

Introducing us to poetry through Davies, my primary school teacher said the poet lost a leg jumping the rattler. The opening and closing couplets of Leisure, his seven verse poem, were simple and easy to understand. They have remained ever since in my mind. Profound in their simplicity, banal perhaps to the hard hearted, the words are forceful. Their significance caught the attention of a boy whose greatest concern was the marbles in his bag at play time. 

The opening couplet said it all: 

“What is this life, if full of care,

 We have no time to stand and stare.” 

While the closing couplet reinforced it: 

“A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.” 

The poem’s practicality is what we miss when we have no time to see, turn and wait.

The Saturday Book : there is nothing like it

The Saturday Book was founded by its editor Leonard Russell in 1941, the second year of the second world war. It was edited from 1952 onwards by John Hadfield. The thirty – fourth and final annual issue was in 1975. 

Both editors attributed the book’s success to the same highest common factor – the pictorial partnership of Olive Cook and Edwin Smith – “ an art form all of their own” of pictorial anthologies. 

Each Saturday Book’s writing and illustration ranged from works of art, articles, essays and fiction to racy social commentary, oddities and curiosities. Hadfield identified three points to be made about the book. First, there is nothing like it. Second it defies description. Third, it enjoyed at the time an arguably longer life than any other annual miscellany.

Yachting: "...the most famous cruising yacht in the world."

Certain periods in history have their best loved yachts. The Sunbeam was one of the nineteenth century's most admired.

Describing the world as it appeared to an observant voyager , A Voyage in the Sunbeam by Mrs Brassey was published in 1879.The author's brightly detailed 500 page account endured well after her death at aged 47. Her husband's statistical descriptions of the work of sailing embellished her account.  

The Sunbeam became well known for its round the world achievement in 1876 - 1877. Its 35400 mile circumnavigation lasted 46 weeks including 112 rest days in harbours. Because it travelled 20517 miles under sail only, coal consumption, its owner proudly reported, did not exceed 350 tons.

Built in 1874, the Sunbeam remained in service for over 50 years, sailing more than 530000 miles.Defined as a "steam assisted composite three mastered top-sail screw schooner" it measured 157 feet in length and 27 feet in its extreme beam, the engines developing a speed of 10.13 knots.

Lord Brassey sailed the yacht to Australia when he was appointed Governor of Victoria in 1895. Twenty years later, during the first world war, aged 79, he sailed it to Mudros Bay in  supportof the troops as a hospital ship. Famous Yachts,1928, by John Scott Hughes decribed Sunbeam as the most famous cruising yacht in the world.His book has two superb photographs of the yacht in full sail.One is in the Atlantic Race of 1905.