Then they gave me a $50 Whitcoulls voucher, which I went and spent on Figments of Reality. On first glance it looks to read like Foucault if he had a sense of humour and was also a scientist. I like that there's a chapter entitled "We wanted to have a chapter on free will, but we decided not to, so here it is." And the alternatives in Whitcoulls were pretty lame.
Whenever I get book vouchers, the first thing I look for is drug books. I have a wishlist at Fishpond that contains 17 books and counting (I also have a wishlist at Mighty Ape, and it's my birthday soon, Family take note).They can be expensive, and very occasionally I'll find one in a bookshop that takes my fancy, so I always look for them first with Surprise Vouchers! I've found Unity to be quite good for this, second hand shops would be next, followed by Borders, then Dymocks. Whitcoulls? Zip. Zilch. Zero.
I admit, I mostly use Whitcoulls for stationery, since my book purchases are usually specific and online - so I was surprised to find how bland its selection was. I mean, it's a bookshop so obviously there will be good stuff in there. But.. the science fiction section had no Charles Stross, and the nonfiction section was divided into Home and Garden, Travel, Cooking, Sport, Business, Inspiration (self help) and Discovery and Learning. I found myself in this Discovery and Learning section, being mostly uninterested in the others, and found that this included history, science, psychology, politics, and oddly enough, those true-life stories of Abused Children Dragging Themselves Up By Their Bootstraps And Having Adventures. Amongst this, I found three books that interested me - The Tao of Physics, Salt, and the one I eventually bought.
So I go to a bookshop and only find three books of interest in 50 minutes of looking? Either I'm too fussy or Whitcoulls is not to my general taste.
The question that's now in my mind is about bookshops and who they cater to. I'm assuming here that Whitcoulls is for the 'average' reader, whoever that is. The person who is maybe looking for a present for someone else, or who enjoys the most popular fiction (heh!), who likes the things that Whitcoulls has in its larger sections. Is Whitcoulls a window into the tastes, thoughts and hobbies of the average New Zealander? And if so, should I be concerned that the Learning and Discovery section is so small? Or is it more a stationer that has a few books?
I'm totally not complaining about the free vouchers though. The company wants me back and if I get more vouchers I'll get the other two books - and that might tap out Whitcoulls for Books That Interest Tats. Ye gods. *waves walking stick in a crotchety way*
Here, have a cartoon:
From here. Thank you misslynx for bringing this to my attention.
Wow. I looked at the DPB site this morning and discovered that the current sole parent rate is $278 after tax a week. Just to put that into perspective, I live in a flatting situation and support one child. I rent two rooms in a three bedroom house that is a fairly cheap rent for Wellington. My weekly expenses for The Kid and me, for rent, power, the internet (equivalent of phone and more or less a necessity these days) and hire of whiteware, comes to $340 for the two of us. That's before we buy food or clothes or try to go anywhere. Those of you who think the DPB is any kind of free ride or subscribe to the 'welfare queen' myth, think again. Or maybe try to support yourself and one other person on that for a while, if you want a reality check on the kind of ride that single parenting on welfare actually is.
Paula Bennett can kiss my ass. Just saying.