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: Abebooks.com - bookseller - Banfield House Booksellers - booksellers catalogs .His following thoughts are submitted as talking points for 100 topics of books catalogued at his Abebooks on line shopfront .
America: an old escalator foretells promise for a nation's future
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.
The hypnotic affect of this continuous motion called for only a little imagination . It conjures a procession of hotel guests gradually coming up on the escalator. Emerging from another era, they resemble 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. Polite and well mannered, they check in at reception. Their manner is graceful.Their faces are weathered, so they seem older than they really are. Their pace is presumably slower and sense of urgency less.
I believe the escalator has been replaced and the building modernised . The hotel's conventions and meetings are exciting, spectacular events. Quite possibly, it seems, as they were in previous centuries.
Ancient history: a remarkable scene created 2200 years ago is within our grasp
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: form really does follow function
The architectural masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright were produced over a span of seventy years. Wright knew what it was to overcome adversity, as his published life story An Autobiography, 1977 demonstrates. The book included a song he wrote and his wife composed. It was entitled Work Song, appropriately, by someone who remained working when he was ninety.
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.
Time after time I keep returning to An Autobiography to experience renewal from reading of the struggles of this person.
Australian families: sheer dogged determination is exemplified
My father used to walk the streets on Saturdays selling rotary clothes hoists. My mother, my three brothers and myself would watch him setting out on his Saturday ventures. His suit and polished shoes distinguished his appearance. Anxiously awaiting his return, we hoped he would make a sale, but he rarely did. On Sundays he worked vigorously in the garden.
There was no public library where we lived. The shopping centre had a privately operated commercial lending library where adults paid to borrow books. I remember sitting outside on the footpath while dad spoke to the library owner suggesting she stock books for children.
Eventually, dad quit his day job sugar coating tablets in a pharmaceutical factory. He went into business for himself removing rubbish and mowing lawns. Never more content, he regretted not doing it earlier. He retired in his seventies after falling through the roof of a customer's shed. Mum conscripted him as her driver for the Meals on Wheels charity.
Dad never said much, but I benefited greatly from observing the determined way he always went about his work.
Australian Health and Education: the first day of reading a short sentence is well remembered
My very first reading experience remains stored indelibly in my mind. I would have been aged five or six. It happened in what was then called Infants School, with my schoolteacher Miss Davies standing alongside my desk in the classroom. As it came before my eyes, a sentence of letters and words slowly fell into place and I read aloud. Reading is as vital a part of my self renewal today as it was then .
Australian literary history : old books personify 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.
Australian Women: mum was paid to listen to music
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.
Mum later worked night shifts for many years as a mail sorter. At breakfast she told us how she defeated bag snatchers. They were lurking in the then notorious tunnel connecting Sydney's Central railway station with George Street. Concerned for little else but the welfare of her four sons, she never shirked responsibility. Throughout her life she would, as ancient wisdom writers described, laugh ahead, confident of the days to come.
Automobiles: enjoy driving with your ancestors as passengers
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 three passengers. Describing autonomous driving, I also inform them my son and grandson will eventually use driver-less cars. In my conversation I am connecting with six generations of car owners.
Great grandfather was aged 90 when I was dispatched at the age of five to report barefoot 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, grandfather would rescue me whenever I brought home old bombs of cars. In such inexperienced youthfulness, I was surely the delight of used car dealers. They could see me coming. By then aged in his late sixties, grandfather would spend weekends underneath the body of whatever wheels I acquired. Together we would dismantle and reassemble whatever needed attention. Old Fords became 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 is going to become two hours eventually
In an article quoting The Economist, the Australian newspaper reported ( 21 08 2017 ) scientists working on realising the dream of hypersonic flight. Infusion of ceramic materials into carbonite composites should provide a new material more resistant to thermal shock. The article was entitled "The ceramic pathway to a two- hour journey from Heathrow to Sydney".
Beverages: dad's home brew is too strong
Whenever he could get away with it, my father 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, but one grandson took to the beverage with relish. He inherited the equipment when dad died.
Bushrangers : a best kept secret lies on the fringe of metropolitan Sydney
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: oblique advertising and promotion can be effective
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 : beware of beanstalks, they grow to dangerous heights
My earliest recollection of the story of Jack and His Beanstalk is my childhood role cutting the beanstalk down. Imagining something ferocious, I would energetically cut and chop away. Egged on by a tipsy father reading the story aloud, I had to topple the fearsome, uncouth giant. Soon outgrowing my fear, I longed to climb to the top of the beanstalk and touch the sky. My father later suggested sending away to John Mystery for some magic beans on offer at the book’s back page. The magic beans never arrived, presumably because dad decided not to send for them. Today, recalling his kindly smile, my guess is he did not want my dream shattered.
Many years later, the beanstalk grew again. I climbed it throughout much of my adult life, ascending to the height of arrogance. Self indulgent in an ivory tower of illusion, I was for decades blissfully unaware of my aggrandisement. Eventually the peril of living to such a height was drawn alarmingly to my attention. That was the day I started to climb back down. I have been in descent ever since. Should I ever reach ground level, I will chop the beanstalk down once more, this time at its roots
Essays: 19th century detail provides meaning and insight
In Through the Magic Door (1907) Arthur Conan Doyle singled out Macaulay’s Literary and Historical Essays. He cited it as the book from which he had the most pleasure and most profit. Doyle took the book with him on Africa’s Gold Coast and whaling in the Arctic. “Honest Scotch harpooners” he wrote, “have addled their brains over it, and you may still see the grease stains where the second engineer grappled with Frederick the Great.”
Thirteen literary essays by Macaulay were published in the Edinburgh Review from 1825 to 1843. Doyle himself admitted one might like a plainer literary diet as one grows older. But he remained filled with admiration and wonder at what he called Macaulay’s “alternate power” of handling a great subject and “adorning it by delightful detail”.
Fine arts and collectibles: incurable collector justifies solitary collecting
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 is something to appreciate
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?
Liveable cities: create environments where communities flourish and businesses thrive
Even from outside the bookshop, my nose close to the window, The Great Cities in History, 2009 , distinguished itself. Entering the shop I reached across to clutch it in my hands. Sparkling historical accounts edited by John Julius Norwich embellished the everlasting appeal city government and management held for me.
Opening its crisp pages took me back in time to when I first started in city management. I recalled travelling on weekends into the State Library of New South Wales. Climbing the stairs I used to walk along the narrow balconies surrounding enormously high walls and walls of books. Standing stiffly and upright, William A. Robson’s Great Cities of the World ,Their Government Politics and Planning,1954, would be waiting for me on the shelf. Stout and somewhat fat, this book created the fervour of my life’s interest. Much has changed since then, but the dilemmas of metropolitan politics remain.
It mattered littlethat all my other competing every day youthful activities were calling. Reading Robson laid the foundations underpinning my future involvement in community building.
Modern History: travel in time; be surprised by what you encounter
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 tops the symphonies
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.
Natural environment: how to fulfill your gap year (if you can get one)
Those fortunate enough to achieve a gap year are often compelled to overcrowd it with work. Circumstances make it difficult to take a leisurely gap year, if it can be taken at all.
Henry David Thoreau’s gap year communing with nature from a log cabin lasted two years and two months from 1845 to 1847. Borrowing an axe to build the cabin, he carried most of the materials on his back. His solitary sojourn led to publication in1854 ofWalden, a book remaining in print for over a century and a half. Walden records Thoreau’s wise counsel to those of us who do not keep pace with our companions. Recognising we might be hearing a different drummer, he suggested stepping to the music heard, no matter how far away it sounds.
Observing lives frittered away by detail, Thoreau loved living to what he referred to so brilliantly as a broad margin. Why, he asked, should we live with such hurry and waste of life? Some would answer that we have no choice, but there are always options.
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 its enumeration of 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.
Sundays shine as they clear away what Charles Lamb described as the rust of the week. When Hadfield claimed there was nothing like the Saturday Book, he was right, but there is nothing like Saturday itself. First thing Saturday morning, an emerging sense of freedom offers to make the day sparkle
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.