Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Books and Coffee

If you know me at all, you know of my fondness for both books and coffee. My friend Kathryn, as part of a going away gift, mapped out downtown Wellington pinpointing all the coffee shops and independent bookstores. I knew from the looks of it, I'd be in heaven. But I didn't know the half of it!

Wellingtonians have brought the art of the latte (or flat white, or long black, or cappuccino or what have you) to a new art form. And if you saw the picture of my latte from the other day, you know I mean that quite literally. There've been pretty hearts and foamy fronds. It's like a frothy Rorschach of hot whole milk each time I order my cup o' joe. I'm pretty sure a person can sustain themselves on nothing but whole milk lattes, right?

And the books! Wellingtonians must love their books, because you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a bookstore. There's Dymock's, Whitcoull's, Unity and, of course, Borders. I thought I would have a heart attack when I looked at the prices, though! Luckily, I found Arty Bee's. Arty Bee's (or Bertie Bott's, as I keep calling it) is a fabulous, well-organized used book store with two locations near us. I recently finished Bill Bryson's travel journal In a Sunburned Country, and I was inspired by all his historical research and knowledge of Australia to pick up a copy of A History of New Zealand by Keith Sinclair. There were quite a few histories to choose from, so I chose the one that had survived the most editions, five since it's first edition in 1959, with the most recent revision in 1991. Thank you, Arty Bee's!

I also bought Edmond's Cookery Book, which, from what I gather, is the culinary Bible of the Kiwi kitchen. Akin to the American Betty Crocker Cookbook, Edmond's claims to be the best-sold book in New Zealand. It has all the old favorite (or is it favourite, Steve?) Kiwi recipes for scones, afghan cookies (how come no one told me about these little bits of heaven?!) the famously controversial
Pavlova dessert (there's a whole blog post waiting to happen on the Aussie/Kiwi rivalry over it's origin) and of course lots of savory, meaty pastries that I can't wait to cook up.

Well, that's all for me for now. Mr. Sinclair and the Maori tribal wars of the 1830's await me for my evening reading. Hope everyone is well. Keep up the comments. It's more fun for everyone that way!


Patois said...

So glad you've found coffee. And an independent used book store. Coffee is not the same without Joanne around.

MLW said...

I agree. Coffee on the mainland is flat without you.

Anonymous said...

Joanne, also consider the Michael King history of New Zealand, released in about 2004 or 2005. Very smooth reading and considered one of the best NZ histories written. And a definite read to recommend is The Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi by Claudia Orange (at the library). Once you've read that one of the history texts, you'll know more about NZ history than most kiwis, and they will be very impressed. There are two Waitangi books by Orange - get the Illustrated version, as the other is very academic and much long. Plus, the Illustrated is more recent and covers the recent Tribunal settlements in some detail. Ms. Orange was a professor at Victoria, but now works at Te Papa.

Anonymous said...

Another good indy bookstore is the Capital Bookstore on Featherson. Lots of technical books, the arts, architecture, NZ history, etc.