What are Partworks Magazines?

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Collections | Tags: , , , , , |

I wish I had a dollar (US of course) for every time I’ve been asked this question. I’ve grown up with the idea of them as I collected Stitch by Stitch when I was young so I just assumed everyone knew, it seems I was wrong.

Partwork magazines were, and are, still being issued by Marshall Cavendish, Orbis, de Agostini, del Prado, Purnell and other publishers. They’re an encyclopedia set issued one magazine each week until you finally collect the entire set, you can also buy specific binders to store your magazines. The information contained in these magazines is really diverse from crafts and sewing to cars and robots so you can find a partwork to suit almost every hobbyist. Some of them are short having only about 40 issues while others have over 100 issues. They look fabulous on the shelf and make an excellent reference work.

You can buy them at any newsagent and people generally put in an order after the first few weeks so any secondhand sets/magazines will have a name written on them. They have generally been used and referred to a lot so you will find some wear and tear.

I’m the Australian distributor for Partworks in the UK. They’re really lovely people and send me business whenever they can as well as being on hand to answer questions.

If I’ve missed anything or you have any questions please feel free to put them in the comments and I’ll answer as best as I can.

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Eclectic Books

Posted on 22 June 2010. Filed under: Collections, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

I seem to have a collection of eclectic books. Some of them are novelisations of movies while others are spins offs and the rest are just a little strange.

The novelisations of movies are:

The Great Dinosaur Robbery by David Forrest which starred Peter Ustinov, Helen Hayes, Clive Revill, Derek Nimmo, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw, Natasha Pyne, Roy Kinnear, Joss Ackland and Deryck Guyler. It’s set in New York where five British Nannies steal the skeleton of a 200 million-year-old dinosaur, not just any dinosaur skeleton but a brontosaurus skeleton. It’s fabulous fun as were most of the Walt Disney movies made in the 1960s and 70s.

“Don’t Look Now…we’re being shot at!” starring Terry-Thomas and Bourvil.

Monto Carlo or Bust with a cast of stars including Tony Curtis, Terry-Thomas, Bourvil, Walter Chiari, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Eric Sykes. It’s set in the 1920s during the big race to Monto Carlo and there’s a lot riding on this race. There’s reputations, inventions and most of all…money.

The World’s Greatest Athlete starring Tim Conway, Jan-Michael Vincent, John Amos, Roscoe Lee Browne, Dayle Haddon, Billy DeWolfe and Nancy Walker. The coach was having trouble, he was always losing…until one day he brought back a young jungle boy from Africa.

1941 starred Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune, Warren Oates, Robert Stack, Treat William. The plot, if there is one, six days after Pearl Harbor, a Japanese submarine surfaces off the coast of California. Its mission – to capture Hollywood…the result – total unbridled lunacy!

Jabberwocky was created by some of the Monty Python team and starred too many people to list but included Michael Palen, John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Annette Badland, Harry H. Corbett and Terry Jones. It is the story of King Bruno the Questionable’s attempt to save a cast of thousands from the threat of the Jabberwocky. I’ve only just found this book so haven’t had time to read it as yet but I suspect it’s as mad as anything done by the Monty Python team.

The original novels based on television series are three books about Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 of Control and I’m sure you all know about him and Captain Nice. Mild, meek, mother’s boy Carter Nash is Captain Nice, the super-human protector of Big Town. With these books anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the funniest possible moment and in the funniest possible way. All four of these books are written by William Johnston.

As for the rest, well they’re a miscelleous bunch of wackiness. We’ve got:

The Trouble with Mobb’s Mob, written by Ray Slattery. It’s set in New Guinea and the Pacific war is raging…somewhere off in the distance. It’s a book about a bunch of Aussies braving the war behind the lines. It’s neither exciting, gripping, bloody, suspenseful or sexy. But it is funny.

Kings Cross Crims by Michael Hunter. Set in Sydney, Australia the mob are being harrassed by Detective Reilly so they decide to build underground and that is where the hilarity ensues as Madam Sadie’s daughter likes the new engineer just a tad too much.

I’ll Plead Insanity by David Cross. I picked this book up from a little shop in a little town somewhere, possibly in Warburton, quite some time ago. I was enchanted by the idea of the plot which seemed rather far fetched and also by the idea of a far-fetched plot set in Australia. A summary of the plot goes a bit like this: Richard is a young widower whose wife, it seems, has fallen over a cliff and been eaten by a shark (except her left leg). He constantly tries to get young women into bed and fails at every turn. There is a policeman investigating in Maigret fashion who gives Richard a cookbook but Richard manages to stuff up the most basic of recipes. So many strange things happen including things that go bump in the night.

Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake is set in New York. We have a dozen statues one of which is made of solid gold and is worth a million dollars, they all get mixed up and chaos mixed with hilarity ensues.

The very last one has a bitter-sweet story. It’s called Two Lucky People by Tony Kenrick. It’s the story of two people who have the same very rare disease, they’re going to die in one month and they’re both feeling very sorry for themselves and for not having done anything useful in their lives, then they meet Mason Ramsey and decide to help him fulfil his dream of having a concert hall in a poor neighbourhood. Mason was being threatened by Giogios Kolynos. Kolynos was an ex-gangster who had the best of everything: he had the best secretary; the best address; the best apartment and the best staff. Harry and Grace set out to change all of that.

I know I’ve left lots of information out of this article, but the thing that brings them all together is that they’re all quirky and humorous. Some of them have a sad story in them but there’s so much goodness in them that I want to read and reread them over and over again. Others are just totally mad and need to be read many times in order to understand the madness.

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Posted on 13 June 2010. Filed under: Collections | Tags: , |

4077 M*A*S*H*. Those numbers and letters evoke such memories. In some people they evoke memories of the war the TV series was created to depict and in some they evoke memories of the series themselves and in other they evoke memories of the books. The first book was published in 1968 and inspired the original movie which was released in 1970. The books were originally written by Richard Hooker but after the first three, William Butterworth wrote the rest in a much lighter tone.

I spent a lot of time in my childhood watching the TV series, it was one I could watch again and again without getting bored. When I discovered the books as a young adult I started collecting and I’m still collecting them. They are rather different to the TV series. The TV series focusses on the war and the happenings there while the books mostly focus on the antics the crew get up to after the war. The series lasted much longer than the war they were created to depict.

On the whole the TV series is much more realistic than the books. The books are fun and I do wonder how much longer I’ll collect them.

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The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Posted on 11 December 2009. Filed under: Collections | Tags: , , , , |

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was originally a television adventures series first released in 1964. The books followed fairly close behind starting in 1965. They were a wonderful series full of tongue in cheek references, humour and great actors. Ian Fleming had a big hand in developing this series and there were references to James Bond.

Napoleon Solo was played by Robert Vaughan (currently playing Albert Stroller in Hustle), Ilya Kuryakin by David McCallum (currently playing Dr Donald Mallard in Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service) and Leo G. Carroll played Alexander Waverly. This was the basic cast and many stars of the day had guest roles. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy paired together two years before Star Trek, the gorgeous and glamorous Barbara Feldon (from Get Smart), Robert Culp, Vincent Price, Joan Collins, Terry-Thomas, Nancy Sinatra, Leslie Nielson, Kurt Russell and Angela Lansbury among many others.

There appear to be 23 books in the core collection and others in the periphery as well as some spinoffs. For many years I thought I had the whole collection until tonight when I thought I’d talk about them and in doing some research discovered I’m quite a way off. I have numbers 1 through to 16, The ABC of Espionage and The Girl From Espionage numbers 1 and 3 and the best one of all is one I can’t name as it’s in Hebrew. And just to make collecting harder I’ve been checking the titles I have with this list on Wikipedia and they don’t match up so I have no idea which ones I’m missing. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.

I’ve read all of the English ones several times and the magic has been the same each time. I’ve also managed to pick up some recordings on VHS of some of the episodes. How I picked them up is an interesting story and I only have my part of it. Some amazing person had carefully recorded many, many series and movies from the TV. They had taken great care to remove as many ads as possible, labelling the cases with the appropriate clipping from the The Age’s Green Guide and a catalogue number. I can’t believe the amount of work and care that went into amassing this collection, when we saw them outside the house there were three big boxes and more arrived some time later. We managed to pick up some treasures including a couple of episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Dad’s Army.

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Collecting Books

Posted on 13 November 2009. Filed under: Collections | Tags: , , |

As some of you know, I’ve been giving you the lowdown on the authors/series I collect. The follow up to this is a blog on collecting books and despite giving a lot of thought to it I couldn’t come up with any particular words. This morning I was browsing the various blogs I check out every day and lo and behold someone has done exactly that. She’s done a fantastic job, certainly better than I had planned so I’m going to refer you there. She’s a fellow book addict so I have no hesitation in passing you on as I know she’ll give you the right information. Anyway, here’s the link.

When you’ve finished you could come back here and tell me if you’ve been inspired to collect.

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Ladybird Books

Posted on 27 October 2009. Filed under: Collections |

Ladybird Books were first published in 1940. They have been much loved throughout many generations and are fantastic for beginner readers. They are a small book so ideal for small hands (such as mine) and they have published so many titles over the years and cover a multitude of topics. The publishers have even printed the level of reader a person needs in order to be able to read easily with only a few challenges.

If you want to collect them you’ll need to be aware of several things and I’m going to send you to my favourite website for checking these things. The most basic information you need to be aware of is that when a title was republished some years later they didn’t change the publishing date so to check if it’s a first edition or not you really need to be on your toes.

Here’s the checklist but to get all the fine details you’ll need to visit The Wee Web Identifiying First Editions page:

* Check the price on the dustjacket or the back cover.
* Check the list of books on the dustjacket
* Were the titles printed in white?
* Check the logo as it changed over the years
* Dating the end papers
* Pictorial Boards and Pastedowns
* Full-colour pictorial front boards
* Spine text direction
* Catalogue pages
* Printed dates
* Tally Numbers

As you can see there’s a large number of different things you have to check, a lot of them you have to check simultaneously, it’s just not possible to rely on one individual point. If you’re buying on eBay, Oztion or some other online website you’ll need to ask a lot of questions before you can be certain it’s a first edition as many sellers will rely on the words on the publishing page saying “First Edition” just because they don’t know any better so you really need to be aware about all these things and use the Ask a Question form. I’m just as guilty as the next seller as I have a shoebox full of Ladybird books which all say “First Edition”, I bought them as I was so excited to see so many “First Edition” books and it was only when I started researching a couple of them I found out how wrong I was.

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Anne McCaffrey

Posted on 20 September 2009. Filed under: Authors, Collections | Tags: , , |

I’m going to admit that I’m not actually collecting Anne McCaffrey. Truly I’m not, but somehow her books just keep finding their way onto my bookshelves. I’ve been reading her works for a very long time. I must have half of her Dragonriders of Pern books as well as a couple of Pegasus books and three Crystal Singer books. I don’t have any of the books she’s co-authored with other people as they just don’t have the same magic so I don’t read them.

I did meet her once. I was working in the city and she was in one of the large book stores signing her books. My Dad was very sick with cancer and I was desperately looking for something that might cheer him up a little. I don’t remember if I was just passing and saw her or if I knew she was there and visited on purpose. The outcome was that I bought a couple of her books and she signed them for me. I gave one to Dad and I don’t know if it cheered him up or not as he was way too sick at that time. Chemo does rotten things to a person.

I don’t normally get author’s signatures and have to be coerced into it for other reasons. Even when we brought Terry Pratchett to Melbourne for the Australian Discworld Convention I didn’t ask for his signature. I do have it, but it’s something that was given to every committee member.

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Measure bookshelves

Posted on 9 September 2009. Filed under: Collections, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Measurements of bookshelves, estimate number of books, how many shelves we had when we moved in, how many boxes we had when we moved here. Think about packing them up for another move – lots of screams and I can’t do this it’s too much. Man, that’ll be hard to move that many boxes twice in one day.

Have I ever said how addicted to books I am? Or how many books I have? Or how the people in my household share my passion for books? I don’t think I have and I don’t know that I want to think about some of the points I made in my notes for this post. I first had the idea of measuring my bookshelves and figuring out how many books we have in this household back at the end of July. It’s now only a month later and I’ve girded my loins and done a part of the measurements.

When I first moved in with my OH I already had a lot of books and so did he, we even shared many of the same authors but with all those books we only had two titles where we had two copies. When we moved to our new house four months later we had 33 boxes of books, I’m talking wine boxes so not terribly large. We’ve upgraded our bookshelves a couple of times since then and the result is big. Just looking at our halfway alone we have 21 metres of shelving, admittedly a couple of shelves are full of Scientific American magazines, but the rest is just books. I’m guestimating about 40+ boxes just for these alone. I don’t want to look at the rest of house it’s just too hard.

I’m really not looking forward to moving just these figures alone makes me cringe as I’ve probably got that many boxes stored on the premises with stock in them waiting for listing or selling. Add some boxes for the rest of the books and the normal moving stuff of clothes, linen, photos, kitchen stuff etc etc sounds like one massive day as they would have to be moved onto the truck and then off the truck.

Just on a side note. We have another Doctor Who meeting this weekend. Anyone who wants to pre order can do so and pick up their orders at the meeting. You’ll save on postage and if you’re a member of the Dr Who Club of Victoria you also receive a 20% discount. The secret password is “David Tennant – yum” if you’re female and “Leela – ohhh” if you’re male (I wouldn’t be showing my preferences here). If you can’t come to the meeting and you’re a member of the Dr Who Club of Victoria you’ll still receive the 20% discount.

I promise to get back to reviewing books in due course and not just rambling about books. And don’t forget the competition. All you have to do is to comment to enter.

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Richard Gordon – collection or not

Posted on 30 July 2009. Filed under: Collections | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Am I collecting Richard Gordon? It’s such a good question and I really don’t know. Let me ramble on about him for a bit and we’ll see where I end up.

Starting with a search on Wikipedia, it’s the first place I go to when researching authors. A very interesting search it brings up a list of 10 people with this name, my Richard Gordon just happens to be the first on the list although the other nine people have done interesting things including being an astronaut.

The man I’m talking about was actually born Gordon Ostlere on 15th September 1921. He was a trained surgeon and anaesthetist, writing several medical books under his own name. Richard gave up the medical profession in 1952 to focus on writing. I remember his books from my childhood as a couple of them were made into movies with the gorgeous Dirk Bogarde (more about him another time) and with a TV series following. Doctor in the House was first published in 1952 and is the story of Simon Sparrow’s beginning at St Swithin’s hospital. This book was autobiographical and I believe parts of the others were also based on his own life. The earlier books are fine but the sexual innuendo increases dramatically as the characters age.

On my shelf (in no particular order) the following titles can be found:

Doctor in the House
Doctor and Son
Doctor in Love
Doctor at Large
Bedside Manners
Doctor in Clover
Doctor on the Boil
Doctor in the Nest

Bear in mind I’ve been reading Richard Gordon for a good deal of my life and there are 25 books listed on his Wikipedia entry. Also bear in mind a sale I made the other month to someone who was collecting Richard Gordon. The buyer was looking for several of his books and I ended up raiding my bookshelf to help them out. On the other hand since that sale I bought the last two books on the list with the intention of putting them up on the website for sale but somehow they found themselves onto my bookshelf. I’d like to know how that happens as one of them was actually in one of my boxes and still ended up on my shelf.

I hope you now understand why I’m not certain if I’m collecting them. I’d like to as he is a really good author but on the other hand (how many hands have I got here??) I have so many books on my bookshelf that many of them are double stacked making it that much harder to find specific titles. Please don’t suggest I buy more shelving as the only space for it is on the ceiling. One day I might measure my shelves and scare myself silly with the measurements – although that would make a good blog post. Hmmm, let me dwell on that idea for a while. While I’m dwelling on thoughts for other blog posts I’d really like your comments on this as to whether you think it’s a collection.

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Agatha Christie Books

Posted on 11 May 2009. Filed under: Collections | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Agatha Christie.

This is an interesting one. Originally my sister was collecting them. She moved countries when she got married and sold them to me. I continued collecting them and now have almost all of them. The only ones I’m missing are the plays and short stories. My kids have been helping and know more about them than I do. I’ve been thinking about this collection and have been asking myself why I still collect them and what I’m getting from this collection.  I don’t actually have any answers here.

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