Monday, September 7, 2015


Where am I going to find the time not to read all of these books?

That is Karl Kraus, by the way. My solution is to periodically reduce the number of books I’m going to have to find the time not to read, using a sort of conveyor-belt approach: every year, besides a dozen or so ‘proper’ new titles, I acquire a couple of boxes’ worth of second-hand books whose objective appeal ranges from the dubious to the very dubious, but that seldom fail to thrill me, especially at the moment of discovery. The main source of these acquisitions, now that Quilters is no longer a bricks and mortar shop, is the yearly fair run by the Wellington’s Downtown Community Ministry out of a sports and concert arena. In the weeks leading up to event, we try to donate a more or less equal number of books in our possession, in order to free up the requisite amount of shelf space.

Rummaging and finding is my joy, but this year I was away when the fair was on, so Justine offered to go. She knows my taste well. Earlier in the year, she even found a bundle of abandoned nautical maps. I have no idea what, if anything, we shall ever do with these, but for now they’re out of the rain.

Some highlights from the returns from the fair.

I think I'm going to have some fun with these.

And especially this.

Other new acquisitions. Left book club titles, always.

Old guidebooks, more maps.

Large, lavish general interest magazines, of the kind that has become pretty much unthinkable nowadays in print.

Then you turn them over, and are reminded of the money that supported them. For trading in old books and other printed materials can be an education into how the economics of knowledge production works.

Dulcis in fundo:

I get to indulge in this pastime twice: first, by actually finding the books, and then again by posting the pictures here for this, my traditional blog-anniversary post.

I’ve been at it for seven years now, and it still gives me a lot of pleasure, and I still believe it’s an activity that makes time, as opposed to taking time. I also continue to owe it all of my other writing opportunities, including what has been not just the highlight of this year but the fulfilment of a long-time aspiration. In a way that is often more overt and conscious than other forms of writing, blogging has always been about forming connections and working – if not directly together – towards broad shared projects with others. Helping to edit the Aotearoa issue of Overland was a personal high point in this respect. If absolutely nothing else, this blog has led me to that. I’m happy.

Another tradition I indulge with this time of the year is the changing of the banner. It began with the illustration by Bert Warter from Bruno Furst’s classic mnemonics manual Stop Forgetting (1940), from which I got the title for this blog.

Then came three successive designs by Shirley Carran.

Dylan Horrocks.

Tim Denee.

And finally the one I just retired, by the truly excellent Sarah Laing.

The new artwork is also by Sarah. She gave me several options and I couldn’t resist using more than one.

The final, customary touch: a year of posts in mosaic forms. Thank you for reading, as always.

 They have been chosen  The Godfather: Part IV  Light of other days
 Becoming a Person  On criticism as a form of living  How New Zealand works
 The life and death of the political author  The Periodic Table  Zanni's hunger
 Of cheese and place  Citizenfour and the end of intimacy  The house of the living
 My dream job  Uncap the budget  The broken book
 The purloined blog  I hate the indifferent'  My other grandfather
 The Odyssey  The show can't go on  Suffer the little children
 Tokyo as you've never seen it before  On caring about surveillance  The art of looking
 The electric father  Mr Robeson goes to Wellington  The Adventures and Punitive Expeditions of Fascist...
 Creating the false archive  Of disability and ideology  A history of seeing
 Google knows where you've been  From the road  Of gluten trouble and the search for happiness: th...
 Tending fascist  Taking place  Other things that are like bubbles
 Ruins of our present future  Through the cracks  Cleopatra's Needle
 Alain Resnais and the cinema of memory  Dirty journalism  Luke Harding and the spy as editor
 The Hollow Men / 1260  The big, bad German and New Zealand politics  The rebuild
 The meaning of John Key (reprise)  Six.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

I enjoy your blog. I get here from

Dale said...

Congrats Giovanni on reaching another milestone.

Boy, do I have some reading matter for you...

Ray said...

Seven years, how time flies
Being older and consequently more conservative than I was as a boy I hate the new header, then love it and the hate the new one
Love your longer work

Stephanie said...

Happy Anniversary! I am so pleased I found your blog a number of years ago. It gives pleasure every Tuesday. Please continue.

Giovanni Tiso said...

Thank you nice people, and Dale: I like the sound of that!

Marion said...

Thanks for all the challenging reading - seven years wow. I love the book haul - reminds me that the books I get rid of may well bring pleasure to other people - even the ancient travel guides!

Paul Janman said...

Love your work Giovanni. I used that map of Rome, walking around the city with a Polish WW2 veteran in the 90s. I will be sending you a DVD copy of Tongan Ark to further occupy your shelves. I just need you to message me your postal address. v. best, Paul

Unknown said...

Read round the world, really I have.