I'm a happy elephant. I have finally found an online bookshop that doesn't charge half the earth and the moon combined for postage to New Zealand. Thriftbooks seems to carry a range almost as good as Amazon.com but charges about half the price to ship over here. They also have a great arrangement whereby if you order more than one book from the same warehouse or city, they charge you less for the book - which works out as a shipping discount (the actual price of shipping doesn't change but the overall price is cheaper). Amazon doesn't do this, which annoys me.
I have been searching for a few out of print books that were never released in New Zealand about a group of ballet students. The first four books in the series were released here, but the other 8 were not (how annoying is that!) - which of course means that no second hand bookshop here is likely to have them. Even my beloved Arty Bees doesn't have them, and they have a huge range of second hand and new books and carry lines that very few other bookshops do. However, I found the rest at Thriftbooks and the cost of books and postage combined is less than half what Amazon was going to charge me, and even with the exchange rate it's still a good buy.
Me happy now. Me will be even happier when the things finally arrive and I can find out what happened to all the characters! I first read the earlier books as a teenager and have picked them up over time as I've spotted them in second hand shops, and they are ones I often return to when I want something simple and uncomplicated to read that feeds my love of ballet!
Speaking of ballet, the family and I went to Te Papa on Sunday after church to watch the Royal New Zealand Ballet's open day "A Day in the Life". Several dancers from the company did a class in the Te Papa marae, and then danced pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet and Carmen (the modern-dress production they did last year). Awesome - and so beautiful. It was slightly frustrating that they maxed out the sound system and it kept stopping, but the expression and communication of the feelings of the characters came through very clearly. One of the more interesting things was the dancer playing Carmen was wearing handcuffs, and they made a great play of her dance with the handcuffs on. Brilliant.