FIND

 information unexpectedly thought provoking in 100 catalogued subjects at: Abebooks.com - bookseller - Banfield House Booksellers - booksellers catalogs .

Aboriginal.  Natives he encountered were described somewhat empathically by James Cook on leaving the east coast of Australia in 1770. '"...In reality..." Cook wrote in his journal "...they are far more happier than we Europeans..."  

America. See also USA. Dvorak's ninth symphony is so aptly called From The New World.  The symphony may well have captured the essence of this nation's drama and joy .  As might have Carl Sandburg's Storm Over The Land (1995), the condensation of his four volume biography of Abraham Lincoln.  This was a nation whose unity, in Sandburg's words, was hammered out in storm, in four years of civil war, of  actions and issues vast and complicated.  

Australian social history.  An immigrant newly arrived in Australia once borrowed a Patrick White novel from me to read while travelling on business. Reading it on a flight to and from America,  he said it familiarised him with Australian society.

Australian travel exploration and discovery.  Australia's Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne follows somewhat the return journey of pioneer Hamilton Hume's expedition in 1824. School textbooks told the story of Hume, Australia's first native born explorer, his companion William Hovell and six others, including convicts.  Hume led Australia's first overland expedition through unexplored country from Sydney to Port Phillip.  It is commemorated by a 426 kilometre walking track from Yass to Albury.  

Autobiographies/biographies of Australian authors. A glimpse reveals something personal - the human side of a writer’s life and work.  An understanding may emerge of the author's motivation. Collectively these autobiographies and biographies reveal something of how Australia's literary scene emerged.  Australian literary traditions continue to attract interest in why our authors write as they do and what inspires them. 

Business history. When the future of work comes into question, past struggles of people to maintain their independence become highly relevant. Individuals making a living from knowledge also venture into on line innovation. The capacity to create something impressive, make a perfect product and allow imagination to triumph, is evident in business history.  Many books of business history are also relevant to social history. 

Children's literature. Victorian era children's books often feature hand coloured plates, early colour printing, wood engravings and chromolithography.  Demonstrating something of mid to late nineteenth century life, they may be decorated by illustrated covers, gilt lettering and embossed design. Children's literature reflects changing values and attitudes, showing how childhood has changed,  Soft- hearted readers might take comfort in the sentimentality of nineteenth century children's literature.  

Ephemera. Handwritten or printed paper, card, parchment, documents, leaflets, brochures and pamphlets may be unique in their consequence.  A single sheet of paper might uncover to its discoverer a hidden gem of relevance to particular subjects.  Searchers  spot the aptness of an otherwise commonplace item. Digitalisation might add an extra dimension to the significance of an original piece of paper.  

Fine book bindings. Most gilt embossed school, college and university prize bindings are from institutions of the mid to late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Almost all bindings are leather, mainly either morocco or polished calf, some with marbelled edges and end papers. Most also have their institution's decorative prize label on the front paste down. Many are heavily gilt stamped on the spines with raised bands, gilt titles, gilt decorated compartments and bordering dentelles. 

Folio. Not only embellished covers and text illustrations distinguish books published by the Folio Society. They have wide ranging topics and the introduction to each volume is a unique essay in itself.  A shelf of Folio Society books could represent the widest variety of topics; their spine titles alone can stimulate curiosity and imagination. 

Games and leisure.  Booklovers would probably reject a book with pages printed without a margin.  Observing lives frittered away by detail, Henry David Thoreau loved living to what he famously described as a broad margin. Why, he asked, in his published journal Walden (1854) should we live with such hurry and waste of life? William Henry Davies summed it all up when he asked in the opening lines of his verse Leisure (1871) : " What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare."

Literary history. There is usually something of writers themselves in their writing.  Australian author David Malouf was quoted in The Weekend Australian ( 29-30 September 2018 ) as distinguishing between the writer and the walking and talking person ( "... the walking and talking person is a lot less interesting than the writer...").  And Autobiographies and biographies of Australian authors fill in the void. Penetrating the depths of their subjects' lives, they enrich readers'  understanding of an author.  

Literature. Arthur Conan Doyle ( Through the Magic Door, 1907 ) wrote that what you have read recently is more interesting than your small talk. This observation by the creator of private detective Sherlock Holmes remains as true as ever today. 

Modern History.  Someone not interested in history might have been bored by it at school. Historian Arthur Bryant, introducing The Age of Elegance,  identified the need for history to be made real to school students.  And we all need to need to know something of the past.  Arthur Conan Doyle ( Through the Magic Door, 1907 ) found his love of history as a teenager through Thomas Babington Macaulay's History of England

Music. Books about harmony, style and techniques of composition ( along with imaginative opera plots and the life and work of composers musicians and singers ) widen awareness when listening to music. They demonstrate music's capacity to express ideas. The antiquity of music may well be evidenced in aboriginal compositions and performance.  The Psalms are identified by Pat and David Alexander, editors of The Lion Handbook to the Bible ( 2017 ) as timeless hymns of ancient Israel. 

New South Wales Local Histories. For local histories of other States see Queensland and also Australian Local Histories. The more you know about your locality, the more you become part of it.  Athletes who represented their district, state or nation,  communities in times of distress and disaster and the service of people to their community all contribute to the mix. Local histories invite you to dip into their content again and again. Prominently on the shelf, they make a statement of their owner's connection with a place. 

 ©   Barry Long 2019