Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salad Guide for Employee Cafeterias and Other Large Food Services.

Salad Guide for Employee Cafeterias and Other Large Food Services.  Softcover (vinyl boards) spiral bound published by Department of Labour and National Service (Australia) 1971.

Lets face it, one can’t live on Hotdogs alone.  This book written (tossed together) for commercial establishments and in particular Employee Cafeterias, is a great example of the “healthy option”.  In 1971 it was obviously considered important enough by the Department of Labour and National Service to publish a book like this one. Were there really that many Employee Cafeterias back in 1971 that a book such as this was required?  This is a bizarre concept by today’s standards or maybe not.  Maybe my personal experience of Cafeteria’s is sadly lacking.  The only Cafeteria I’ve been too in recent years has been a Scandinavian establishment… that big furniture company…. you know the one… Swedish Meatballs? 

This book was designed for a very hands on approach.  The spiral binding allows the book to be easily flipped open (and stay open) and the vinyl cover and glossy pages make it quite easy to clean up any mess that may venture away from the plate. There are some great basic salad recipes at the beginning of the book, that yield 50 serves… this could be perfect for Christmas and the other salads look… well, they look like 1971.

Cheese Salad

Cottage Cheese and Fruit Salad

Fish Salad

Rock Lobster Salad

Scandinavian Salad

I find it very hard to believe that any employee cafeteria would serve Rock Lobster to it’s staff, even if it was 1971.  Call me old fashioned but no employer cares that much about their employees.  Even the Scandinavian establishment I mentioned earlier doesn’t do the Lobster and now I think about it I can’t even remember seeing a Scandinavian Salad on the menu (… but hotdogs were down stairs).

As we head towards summer I can only imagine how much use this book will be to someone who has to cater salad for many people.  For those of you out there who are fortunate enough to be partaking in a 1970's Salad Party this summer, this book has all the answers to your salad making questions. And this all goes to show you, that you can make friends with salad.

Friday, November 25, 2011

An Intermediate Latin Grammar with Exercises by J.P. Giles and E.N. Pfitzner.

An Intermediate Latin Grammar with Exercises by J.P. Giles and E.N. Pfitzner.

I’ve only recently cottoned on to the massive Latin learning resurgence that is taking place world wide as we speak.  OK, maybe “massive” is overdoing it a bit, but I assure you that learning Latin is becoming more popular than you think. Young and old are flocking to secondhand bookshops (and also on the interwebs) seeking those elusive Latin texts.

“doctus cum libro”

Yep, that’s right.  They all want to learn from books.  There’s even a “Latin for Dummies” and those “Dummies” people are usually on the ball with what’s happening.  You’ve probably seen (or read) Henry Beards “Latin for all Occasions” or one of his other Latin books and these titles are so popular, that even Huc & Gabet has managed to sell a few.  “An Intermediate Latin Grammar with Exercises” is an older title (1960) but considering that Latin was popular with the Ancient Romans, I don’t know that the age of a Latin textbook really matters that much.  I guess it probably doesn’t have the word for “computer” in it, or the Latin words for “digital downloads”, and it definitely doesn’t have “e-book reader” in its vocabulary.

My first encounter with the phenomenon of the Latin learner was a friends grand daughter who was looking for any Latin books.  That is ANYTHING in Latin.  She didn’t care what it was, as long as she could learn some Latin, which is a bit confronting when your talking to a 12 year old who’s passion in life in learning Latin (shouldn’t she be swooning over Justin Biber… ad gustum)… her mother did point out that there was a Harry Potter connection to the whole Latin learning business.

“ab ove maiori discit arare minor”

I was recently visiting Allsorts books and chatting to the wonderful and most knowledgeable proprietor Paul Francis Perry who as far as I’m aware doesn’t speak a word of Latin, when a customer asked for some Latin textbooks.  She was an older lady who explained that she had last taught Latin 35 years ago and had been recently approached be an acquaintance to once again doce ut discas.  She seemed to be very pleased with the knowledge that her moth balled skills would again be of use. It was mirabile visu.

But you know, I personally am not very good with languages. Just look at this blog and you’ll get the idea.  … and Latin, well “it’s all Greek to me”.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life by Keith Richards.

Life by Keith Richards, with James Fox.

“Would he really rather be Keith Richards givin half a chance” Arthur Comics, isgodaman

Keith Richards isn’t a god.  He’s just a guy.  He plays a bit of guitar, has written some great ditties, has taken some drugs, hangs out with the Rolling Stones (cool… well… up to a point) and is a bit of a legend.  But a god he isn’t.

I wrote a while ago about the rock ‘n’ roll biography in reference to the Grateful Dead.  These sort of books are always a hard sell and from memory the Grateful Dead were definitely a hard sell.  Some of these people aren’t really that interesting or are of interest to only a small number of nostalgic oldies… or to the current wave of teenage fans that would probably now download any book they wanted for free as apposed to buying a hard copy from Huc & Gabet.  Some books though, really are “of interest”.  We all know enough about Keef to know that he was a bit of a wild boy in his youth… ok, maybe for a bit longer than just his youth, which is probably why this book received so much attention at the time it was published.  The back cover photo has Keith’s scrawl over it and reads, “This is the life. Believe it or not, I haven’t forgotten any of it.”  I know a few people who have read Keith’s “tell all” and they have all enthused quite enthusiastically about it.  At this point in time I haven’t read it… but you never know.

These photographs of Keith Richards library are from a book entitled “At Home with Books: How booklovers live with and care for their libraries”.  Keith was obviously promoting his solo album at the time, but despite the obvious promotion it does give us an idea of his taste in books and how he lives with books.  I don’t want to go through and analyse what Keith Richards reads and doesn’t read, but I do want to mention the bottle of HP Sauce sitting on the shelf. 

Keith, you gotta know that HP + Books is not a good thing… and ummm… thanks for the tunes.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity by Tariq Ali.

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity by Tariq Ali.  Hardcover book published by Verso 2002.

Firstly, that isn’t George Bin Laden’s picture on the dust jacket. Secondly, this photo is not an indication of a humorous tone to Tariq Ali’s excellent book.  I read this a few years ago and have recommended it to a number of people as I think it’s a great read and very enlightening despite being 10 years old.  The only person who took my advice and read it, thanked me for the recommendation and agreed with my rather brief description (“It’s a great read”). 

Tariq’s observations, despite being very one sided (the left side), on September 11 particularly in relation to the history of Islam, are excellent.  The book is interspersed with personal anecdotes which only add to the readability and ease of understanding of what are difficult subjects for many of us to fully comprehend.  I think it’s a good sign that I can remember specific bits from this book even though it’s been a few years since I read it.

I saw/heard Tariq talk a few years ago and was very impressed with the ease in which he addressed a large hall full of people in a very casual, and what appeared to be, unscripted manner.  After being impressed not only with what he said but the way he said it, I tracked down a copy of this book and read it post-haste.  I have read another book by him entitled Bush in Babylon, but I found Clash of Fundamentalisms to be the better read.

So how sellable is a book like this.  Well, to be honest, I find on line sales of anything remotely topical (such as terrorism) very difficult.  The reason I’ve decided to give this title a go is purely because I think “it’s a great read”. Why these sort of book are hard to sell, I don’t know… maybe this time I will be wrong.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs.

Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs by Jean-Marc Hero, Murray Littlejohn and Gerry Marantelli.  Paperback book published by Department of Conservation & Environment Victoria 1991.

After a long hard day at the office, there is nothing I like better than heading over to the local creek to listen to frogs.  There’s a beautiful surround sound spot at the other end of town where you can stand on a causeway and enjoy perfect 5.1 froggy digital.  This may sound a bit strange (what I do… not the frogs), but it is beautiful and to be honest, I don’t to it for hours, a few minutes is plenty.

Frogwatch, the organization who put this book together, mentions in their blurb the listening to of frogs.  Obviously I’m not the only one who enjoys the sound of frogs.  I have a friend who has a tank full of frogs and he managed to identify the frogs in the creek here in Clunes from my crappy phone recordings* (… yes I have recorded the sound of frogs on my phone)… I think he likes the sound of frogs as well. 

Frogs as we all know, are having a hard time of it as wetlands become not wetlands and lengthy droughts dry up the wetlands that are left.  This book was published by the Department of Conservation & Environment Victoria and was designed to create and foster interest in Victorian frogs and hopefully help in preventing further stress on frog numbers.  It’s very user friendly and has great pictures to help with identification.  I like this book, which is why I’ve written about it. 

Recently I came home fairly late and it was raining cats and dogs (not frogs).  There I was with a box of books under one arm struggling with keys to get in the door when I saw this out of the corner of my eye:


Sorry for the blurred photo.  It was late, it was raining and I didn’t have my glasses on.  Now as hard as this is to believe I know someone who is amazing with picking animals from my dodgy photos and descriptions and usually when I email them there is a fairly quick response with excellent answers.  The reply to this inquiry was very enlightening. This frog is probably not native to Victoria.  It’s an import, probably from Queensland and if you go to this website and have a look at the frogs of Victoria, it’s possibly that little guy known as the Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog, which is listed under Victoria but isn’t from Victoria (very confusing)… or maybe not.  I must put my glasses on next time I take a photo. 

So if you’re a tad interested in this book…

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The New Hotdog Cookbook by Mettja C. Roate.

The New Hotdog Cookbook by Mettja C. Roate.  Paperback book published by Modern Promotions 1983.

“Kids love them- adults adore them - and they're so easy on the budget! Here are over 250 new and exciting ways to fix this old-time favourite.”

This book has so many things going for it.  Like ummm…

The title: It makes me wonder what the “Old” Hotdog Cookbook had in it that required a newer version of this wonderful epicurean smorgasbord of sausage delights. I am of course keeping an eye out for any older editions.

A Wonderful cover: Look at that picture.  It’s just beautiful.  It’s what attracted my attention to this Gourmands bible of Hotdog delicacies. Unfortunately the publishers have chosen not to include any other photographs… an opportunity lost.

Cover detail

Excellent selection of recipes: There’s whole chapters on Hot Dog Soups, Hot Dog Casseroles and even a chapter for us Gourmets entitled, “Gourmet Hot Dogs”.  There’s a recipe here for “Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce” that has a whole can of Pineapple in it…. Amazing, this book just keeps getting better.  Unfortunately the authors have chosen to not include any dessert recipes, although I imagine the Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce comes pretty close to a dessert.

“If you want...
To serve something that’s good, and good for you, too—
A versatile food that can be served in countless ways, from appetizers to hearty main dishes—
A precooked food that cuts preparation time to a minimum —
and if you want to stretch your food budget while doing all this—try any one of the several hundred mouth- watering and fun-to-make recipes in this book. It’s the foolproof way to family mealtime magic!”

A book like this is hard to part with, but up for sale it is.  I just hope that any Hot Dog fancier that takes the plunge, enjoys it as much as I have enjoyed looking, thinking and writing about it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sikh Struggle: Origin, Evolution and Present Phase by Ram Narayan Kumar.

Sikh Struggle: Origin, Evolution and Present Phase by Ram Narayan Kumar. Hardcover book published by Chanakya Publications (Delhi) 1991.

I’ve just finished reading an excellent history of the North West Frontier* (now in Pakistan and next to Afghanistan) and Afghanistan.  It was great, but unfortunately the book was written and published during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and didn’t contain any of the newer interesting stuff that has happened in this area since… This doesn’t mean the book contained uninteresting stuff, quite the opposite.  This part of the world has been a hot point for a long time and when it’s not boiling over, it’s been on a low simmer. 

I mention this other book as it does touch upon the Sikhs and the conflicts that they had with the British over the creation of a Sikh state (Khalistan).  This book, "Sikh Struggle", looks at the long and involved history of the "Struggle" and not so much with the North West Frontier or Afghanistan.  By the 1980s the British were long gone, yet Sikh militancy was once again on the rise in India and abroad.  Militants did blow up a plane in 1985, and there was the whole Golden Temple/Operation Bluestar fiasco, which ended with a lot of Sikhs dying after Indira Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards let her know what they thought of Operation Bluestar**.

By the early 1990s, when this book was published, the Indian army had started to get a handle on the whole situation and of course during all this time Kashmir was bubbling away and then began to boil over. 

Sikhs are a very proud people and from my own minimal experience, a very friendly and inviting people.  I visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar many years ago and found the whole experience to be a warm and memorable one.  Maybe they were trying to convert me… The truth is, the whole turban wearing business is not really my thing.  As i walked around the temple, Sikh pilgrims from all over the world were lapping up the atmosphere and generally enjoying themselves. The whole place had a family day out sort of feel to it and I was made to feel most welcome.  Maybe I missed the point.  That is, the whole religious thing.  But as a complete outsider, I did enjoy the atmosphere.  Getting back to Operation Bluestar (the invasion of the temple by the Indian Army to remove Sikh militants), there were many reminders of this event within the temple complex.  Even though most of the bits that were destroyed had already been rebuilt, people were very keen to point out all the finer details to me, just in case I didn’t notice.

My other experiences of Sikh militancy are minimal.  I did see camouflaged Indian tanks parked in fields in the Punjab and I was searched at gunpoint in the same area at the time (…they were looking for guns… in my backpack).  I was also stranded at one stage in a small town in the Himalayas as there were no buses going through a largish bus station due to some bomb blasts.  I was there as I was heading back to Delhi after a very enjoyable visit to Kashmir (…it was the year before that began to boil over).

Anyway, I mention all of this as these experiences are the reasons why I pick up a book like this one.  I see the words “Sikh” and “Struggle” and I know this does not refer to the tying of a perfect turban… although I have seen a Sikh struggle with a turban.  I guess this is all part of the knowledge that goes into picking out books and it’s something only experience can explain. 

*Every Rock, Every Hill: The Plain Tale of the North-West Frontier and Afghanistan by Victoria Schofield.
**They assassinated her.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Racing Alaskan Sled Dogs

Racing Alaskan Sled Dogs, compiled by Bill Vaudrin.  Paperback book published by Alaska Northwest Publishing Company 1977.

Alaskan Sled Dogs… no, I haven’t seen any recently.   Actually now that I think about it, I haven’t seen any sleds with dogs going past my window.  We get very little snow here in Clunes (none in the last 2 years) although my pipes have frozen twice*… yes, it does get cold enough, but no snow.  So this book probably has very little appeal to any of the locals here in sunny Clunes.  Indeed you may wonder if anyone here in Australia has any interest in Sled Dog racing.  A quick look at the interwebs and I discovered this:  http://www.sasleddog.com/gallery/1280.html  …although it looks like they are actually bike dogs as I can’t really see anything that looks vaguely like a sled except the three wheeled thingy.  To be honest, I do know someone else who’s interested in Sled Dogs, so obviously it’s not an uncommon interest here in Australia.  This all goes to show you that there is an interest in the whole exercise of a dog pulling something along. 

This book is 25 years old.  Sometimes information can become a little dated in older books particularly in the case of instructional works such as this one.  In this instance though, I can’t imagine that there has been much change in putting a dog in front of sled (or bike) and yelling “Mush”.   

*Not my personal pipes… the water pipes in my house.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kath & Kim

Look at Me: Scripts from Kath & Kim Series 1 by Gina Riley and Jane Turner.
That's Unusual: Scripts from Kath & Kim Series 2 by Gina Riley and Jane Turner.

Remember these guys.  It was 10 years ago that the TV series of Kath & Kim entered out lives… one day it may even leave our lives as well, but not before a feature length movie hits the big screen next year (…or is it going straight to plasma?).  In the meantime there are the DVDs, merchandise and of course these books to remind us. 

I haven’t written about Nostalgia for a while and I reckon a TV show that began 10 years ago does count as having Nostalgia value.  A lot of things have happened in the last 10 years… for one thing, I’m 10 years older and secondly, so are the Kath & Kim jokes.  I shouldn’t be too harsh on them.  I did think it was amusing at the time and in retrospect it does stand out as a landmark TV series… and these are books that I’m trying to sell.  Both books are comprised of dialogue/scripts from the TV shows which I guess is of interest as it was the dialogue and use/misuse of language that made these characters so funny. 

Kim: I want to be effluent, mum, effluent!
Kath: You are effluent, Kim!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon

Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon by Ken Belson and Brian Bremner.  Hardcover book published by John Wiley & Sons 2004.

Business histories, or books on economics, are not something that usually get picked up by the Huc & Gabet radar.  Quite honestly I’d rather cut my toenails than have to think too much about business books.  In this instance it was the massive popularity of the subject matter that sparked my interest and drew my attention.  Apparently there are 22,000 licensed Hello Kitty products worldwide (22,001 including this book)… I find this a little frightening as I’m pretty sure there are people out there who collect ALL of this stuff… which includes everything from a Passenger Jet to Wine.  So what’s the appeal?  Well… I have no idea, I’m not a child and I’m not a woman in her 20s or 30s (this is the target audience for Hello Kitty products… I got this bit of info from the publishers blurb) and quite honestly it’s not my thing… but I am aware that there are plenty of people out there who’s thing Hello Kitty is. 

But this book isn’t really about the Kitty.  It’s about Sanrio the company that produces/markets Hello Kitty (real name is Kitty White).  It’s pretty heavy going and sticks to the whole business mode thingy throughout (…no, I haven’t read it… it just looks like it’s like this all the way through). 

“The phenomenal and global success of Hello Kitty poses some interesting questions about what drives consumer behaviour, and how crazes suddenly explode on the scene.”

There are no lovely illustrations or photographs of any of the 20,000 items and even the front of the dust jacket only reveals a partial image of the top of Kitty’s head.  The back of the dust jacket has a smallish token picture only.  Overall the book is a glowing endorsement of the company and it’s “brilliant answer to Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse”. 

I guess Hello Kitty is an interesting subject which is why the Huc & Gabet radar picked up on it.  It is a Japanese brand and icon that has successfully moved out of Japan and developed into a Billion dollar international business (which is not that many Passenger Jets, but a lot more wine).  So if your interested in modeling your own cute cartoon icon on a “phenomenal and global success” then this is the book for you.  If your 6 years old and want some nice pictures of the cute Kitty… then this isn’t the book for you.