1. It has been pointed out to me that the Vegemite story I reported the other day is false. Here is the website I was pointed to. After reading it, I can't say that I am completely reassured. It does say that the FDA is not targeting Vegemite, but it also says that in the US folate is only permitted to be added to breads and cereals. So whether Vegemite is technically permitted or not, depends on whether it contains a lot of folate naturally or whether it has been added to boost levels. It seems a lot of fuss over a vitamin. After all, no one can eat this spread in more than small quantities, the taste is too strong!
2. I thought it was time for a photo. Nothing too exciting, but this is the hill I have been walking up a few times a week recently.
It seems to be getting easier. Maybe it's time to move to a steeper route. Or was that just the strong wind at my back yesterday? Of course, I am one of the few walkers - lots of people bike up, or jog up. This is near the top where the path levels out before the final rise. I stop just before the final rise and go back down, but one day soon I will go right to the top and take photos of the harbour down the other side.
3. The other day in a bookshop I picked up a small booklet entitled "Premier New Zealand Bestsellers". I was interested to read the sales figures required to be listed. They alter depending on the category: fiction, poetry, non fiction or children's and teen's. Non fiction requires 10,000 for bronze, on through silver and gold up to 100,000 for platinum. Fiction requires 5000 for bronze and 50,000 for platinum whereas poetry requires sales of 1,000 copies for bronze and 5,000 for platinum. This is New Zealand, we only have 4 million people. Still, the figures intrigued me enough to look and see which poetry books had managed to sell 1000 copies. Surely there would be a reasonable number of them? After all our small poetry group put together a book with a print run of 200, which is almost sold out (though some were freebies, review copies etc).
Sadly, I found only three poetry books in the whole list. One platinum bestseller: "Playing God" by Glenn Colquhoun. Well, at least he is a "serious" poet by which I mean that he writes poetry that is taken seriously by the academic poets. He is a doctor, and this particular book contains poems that are informed by his experiences as a doctor. I, and a number of my friends, believe his poetry is overrated. Clearly others don't agree with us.
I went on to find two poetry books listed as gold bestsellers: "Big Weather" which is an anthology of poems about Wellington. There have been similar anthologies of poems for other cities in New Zealand, but they don't rate a mention. Did this one get better publicity or are Wellingtonians more enthusiastic readers of poetry? The other is "Nursery Rhymes Mother Never Read You" by Garrick Tremain. I've seen an extract or two and these are definitely on the populist side of poetry - verse perhaps, rather than poetry, but well done and a lot of fun.
Silver and bronze bestsellers? None. Unless you count a couple of anthologies in the "children's" categories.
Hey everybody! I'm doing my bit. I think I buy more poetry books than anything else. It would be good to think there is actually a market for poetry.
Other bestsellers? Movie buffs will recognise "Once Were Warriors" by Alan Duff and "The Whale Rider" by Witi Ihimaera among the platinum fiction. The other two in this category were one further book for each of these two authors. Among the children's platinum bestsellers, Hairy Maclary was heavily represented. Non-fiction? The top of the list was New Zealand's favourite cookery book, the Edmonds Cookery Book. No real surprise there. Cookery books in general were well represented. Second top best seller was "The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook".