Monday, August 20, 2018

Finally Completed My Set Of Clipper Large Print Bond Novels

I've been hunting for a particular set of large print James Bond novels for a long, long, long time (yes, that long !).  The series, written by Ian Fleming, was published by Clipper in 2008 and features the fantastic Michael Gillette covers that were a highlight of the Penguin Centenary series from the same year.  Each title also includes an introduction by a famous author.

On Friday I finally completed my set.  I've never seen one of these books in a physical book store so I had to search for them on the web.  I found the last title I needed, "Thunderball", at a bookshop in the UK named We Sell Books.  The owner, Karen, was great and also mentioned she has other large print Bond titles for sale.

Anyway, here's some snaps of the last book I received which was really well packed by Karen.

And here's a photo of the entire series.  I've never included large print books on PizGloria.com before but now I'm considering otherwise.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Day In Castlemaine

Several weeks ago my wife and I, accompanied by my sister-in-law, ventured to Castlemaine.  Unlike our recent trip to Yarragon, this day's weather was bright and sunny, the perfect day for a two hour drive.  When we arrived we found the town to be much larger than expected, probably because the town dates back to the 1850's goldrush in Victoria when the population would have been larger.

There were three main reasons we visited Castlemaine: 1) We'd never been there before, 2) A friend invited us to visit her hometown, and 3) Howard from Howard Bolton Bookseller had mentioned the great bookshops many times before.


Once we hit the town our first stop was Mount Of Alex Bookshop. This shop was full of excellent quality hardbacks. I managed to find several James Bond books on the shelves and after speaking to the owner, Andrew, I discovered he had a storage facility containing more Bond novels. He kindly printed a list and I subsequently purchased several Fleming hard backs from him a week or two later (see pictures at the bottom of this post). Andrew also gave me a small postcard that featured four other book stores that formed the Castlemaine Bookshop Trail.

After leaving Mount Of Alex we consulted our newly acquired book trail literature and drove the short distance to Soldier and Scholar Secondhand Books. Unfortunately the store was closed on the day we visited for a family event but I could see hundreds of paperbacks through the front window. Here was my first reason to visit the town again.

Next stop on the book trail was Stoneman's Book Room. The old shop front advertised second-hand books however I couldn't find any inside. I asked a person behind the counter and they explained they now only stocked new books.

For some reason we missed the fourth bookshop on the list. We walked to the spot where we thought it should be, near the historic Theatre Royal, but couldn't find it.

After a delicious pub lunch at the Criterion and visiting many of the curiosity shops and antique stores, we took a short drive just out of the town to the last book store on the book trail.

From speaking to one of the owner's the Book Heaven Bookstore seems to have had an interesting history. The building was built during the gold rush and was a pub until the 1920's. Then it was used for several purposes until it became derelict. Around 1990 the building was purchased, restored and re-purposed as a large book shop. It now stocks thousands of books, comics, records and other interesting items. I managed to find several Bond novels. This is definitely a place to visit if you're after cheap paperbacks over a wide number of categories. It may be well organized but I imagine there are still plenty of books to be discovered on these shelves.

Having finished the book trail our next stop of the day was The Mill. Like the similar Mill Markets in Daylesford, basically it's a massive warehouse containing hundreds of different stalls. There were so many items for sale that we spent almost an hour walking around the giant building. And while we didn't buy anything there were plenty of books for sale, as well as anything else you could imagine.
(Yes, the guy above did have a head.  It just vanished when I took this photo !)

Our final stop of the day before journeying back to the big smoke was Castlemaine railway station. Still serviced by diesel trains from the City, this station is also an end point for the Victorian Goldfields Railway which is a steam train jouney from here to Maldon return. The old steam train pulling many old wooden carriages was great to see, and while we didn't have time to take a ride, we were still able to take some photos.

One amazing old building in the town which I thought was interesting because of its Parisienne looking roof.

Castlemaine Bookshop Trail literature and some ancient Roman coins.

And the three Ian Fleming Jonathan Cape hardbacks I purchased from Mount Of Alex Bookshop.  Not first editions but in excellent condition.

On our drive home we all agreed it had been a great day and would definitely visit Castlemaine again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

"Forever And A Day" Promotional Items

When a new James Bond novel is released I'm always curious what promotional material accompanies it. Flyers, postcards, stickers, bookmarks, pins, pens, mugs, keyrings... Unfortunately since I live in Australia I've only been able to acquire a handful of these items over the years. Instead I've had to admire them through web searches of book launches overseas or pictures from other people's Bond collections.

That was until late last week when I received a complimentary copy of Anthony Horowitz's "Forever And A Day" in the mail from Penguin/Random House in the UK. It's the standard Jonathan Cape first edition hardback with a smart cover design by Kris Potter. However this one also came with a few pieces of promotional material. Firstly there was an A3 size book flyer. It arrived a little worse for wear, but that only inspires me to find a better copy. Next was a British European Airways ticket belonging to James Bond followed by postcard to "Monique" from "M".  Finally there was a plastic wallet for business cards etc.

While these items are great, the highlight of the promotional material available has to be the new limited edition paperback of Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" from Vintage featuring a cover designed (again) by Kris Potter. This promotional item wasn't complimentary, instead I had to order it from the UK via my local Dymocks Bookstore. And boy is it a nice cover, reminiscent of the "bleeding hearts" on the first edition dust jacket from the 1950's designed by Fleming himself. All in all I think the Penguin/Random House marketing team has done a fantastic job promoting "Forever And A Day"...

... and not only that, in my opinion these two covers look great together.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Visit To Howard Bolton's Bookstore

After visiting Yarragon the other week I also managed to drop in on Howard Bolton's book store in Northcote.

This is a great store.  It may be small in size but it has hundreds of books on it's shelves.  I'm yet to visit without finding a handful of Bond paperbacks on the shelves, and I wouldn't doubt there's another box of Fleming's out the back.  But Howard's store is more than Bond.  It's quality literature and rare titles.  This includes a wall of hardbacks, many of which are first editions or hard to find titles.

Howard specializes in finding books for customers and other book sellers.  He often spends his weekdays searching for books, and then on the weekend opens his book store to the public.

If you do decide to visit his store in Northcote, immediately on entering you'll either find Howard behind his glass counter covering a first edition in protective plastic, or helping another customer find a book on the shelf.  He'll greet you warmly, ask if you need a hand and then leave you to your own devices.  The books are in great condition and very reasonably priced.

And Howard certainly knows plenty about books, authors and other book stores.  In fact he's been pressing me for years to visit the book shops in Castlemaine (another blog post coming soon) and has plenty of stories to tell.  If you live in Melbourne, or are visiting, this store is a must.

Here's a photo of the Bond paperbacks on the day I visited.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Annual Yarragon Book Fair 2018

Last Saturday morning we set off on our annual trip to Gippsland for the Yarragon Book Fair. My wife and I, her sister and parents endured a wet and wild two hour drive before we arrived at the little town.


Despite the interesting weather a large number of people also made the same journey to attend the book fair organised by the local fire brigade.


As usual the hall and adjoining rooms contained thousands of books. My father in law, an avid reader, filled his self-imposed one bag quota within five minutes while I searched for Bond books. I managed to find these five paperbacks, two of which I found in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section.


I ended up purchasing the movie tie-in version of "The Man With The Golden Gun" shown above. It's not a perfect copy, but definitely hard to walk past for just $1 !

After finishing our hunt we then walked around the corner to the local cafe where we had a delicious lunch. I can't speak highly enough of the home made sausage rolls. They're fantastic.


Two hours later we were home and hosed, after another enjoyable afternoon in Yarragon. But we will return...

Here's a couple more photos I took while in Yarragon. The town has some great gift and art shops, cafes and bakery, and is well worth a visit.