Friday, December 31, 2010
"I knew a gentleman who was so good a manager of his time that he would not even lose that small portion of it which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets in those moments."
- Lord Chesterfield
I don't know anybody who reads in the 'necessary-house' as a means of passing the time. I do know, though, that were I to meet such a one I'd be impressed simply because they can and do read and, very probably, enjoy it. In the 'necessary-house' and elsewhere. I haven't had as much luck. For the last 3 months (slightly more?) my book mojo has been seriously broken. Every few months I go through a phase where I get 'book burnout' which is natural enough considering that in an ordinary month I'd read anywhere from 20-30 books. In the past I've found that the cure for that is to take a break for a week. Never before has it been this long. I've only ever worked in libraries because I heart books so much. So what do I do when I less than 'less than three' them? (a phrase I nicked from Wil Wheaton - thanks, Wil!). Once I began to count back I realised that I could actually pinpoint the top 5 books that I think broke my book mojo. And by that I mean that these were the last titles I remember reading where I had either seriously mixed feelings about them or had enjoyed them so much I haven't been able to find anything to match since. Do I hold the authors accountable for any of that? Not at all. These are *my* expectations and, as such, totally my own fault. I've included a short(ish) explanation for each. Eep.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Top 5 most unusual and/or most hilarious romance novel titles I've seen all month that make me want to request them
"Sure, you can't judge a book by its cover but who wants to have sex with a book?"
- Stephen Colbert
I heart romance books! They're a guaranteed happy (albeit sometimes cliché) ending where everybody wins (and maybe the bad guy gets his comeuppance because what's a little romance without a shootout, right?). Everytime I read a new romance novel (bad, good or great) it always feels a little bit like Christmas. The characters are new to me and it's their dynamics - how they get on, the way they talk to each other, the chemistry, etc. (doesn't 'etc.' cover all manner of euphemisms?) - that make the story. But when I'm hunting for a romance novel to read, what catches my eye, or fancy, depends primarily on where or how I'm searching. If I'm physically browsing the shelves then I'm a total cover junkie - team chest, team back, team biceps - headless men everywhere. If I'm cruising the catalogue then I'm heavily relying on the funny (haha and weird) title factor and I'm almost 100% certain you will agree that the books below totally belong on this list.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Top 5 best nonfiction books of 2010 according to the NY Times (OR 'More titles to bribe all y'all into our libraries')
"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
- Dr Seuss
Before I get to the reason for this post I have to point out 1 thing and confess to 2 things: this is the last '12 days of Christmas Top 5s' post (it has been mucho fun, people), I won't be wrapigami-ing anything (because I'm too lazy by now) and no Tosca-made pavlovas (Countdown all the way, baby). I'm getting ribbed about the #fail by the youngest sibling who told me, 'But it was your top 5 goal! You said you'd do it! You *have* to do it!' *blows raspberry*
Weirdly, for the first time in years, I'm not feeling so terribly cynical about Christmas. Last night Markhiem (13 year old nephew) said to me, 'This is nice. All of us together. It's the best Christmas present ever.' I kinda had to agree. My top 5 list is, once again, cheating a little. Earlier this week I posted the 'Top 5 best fiction books of 2010 according to the NY Times (that may just make for good Christmas break reading).' Just to round out the week, and this time of year's leisure reading, tonight's post lists the Top 5 best nonfiction books of 2010 according to the NY Times (OR 'More titles to bribe all y'all into our libraries') :) Hey, don't ever say I'm not honest LOL
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Top 5 2010 digital photography books that caught my eye (and may ensure you don't end up with Christmas holiday photos like ours)
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
- Norman Vincent Peale
Except terrible family holiday photos! I'm dead certain Christmas can't fix those :) There is a way, however to make sure that you don't take ones as bad as ours were. My sisters and I have spent the last few nights going over old photos laughing and remembering terrible haircuts and even worse clothes but, we've all agreed, fantastic Christmas holidays. In this post I've chosen 5 digital photography books (published 2010) whose great tips and ideas I intend to use over the next few days (that allow me to take photos that hopefully won't look as dated as the ones accompanying this post but in reality probably will). As a bonus I also think these titles have great covers, too (click on the links to view them in the catalogue). I never trust a skinny chef so I'm not about to trust a photography book with an ugly cover. For each selection I've also attached old photos from our past Christmas holidays - the good, the bad and the oh-dear-heavens-never-again. Don't feel guilty for laughing - that's what the images are here for. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sing hey! Sing hey!
For Christmas Day;
Twine mistletoe and holly.
For a friendship glows
In winter snows,
And so let's all be jolly!
- Author Unknown
A quickie post because 1) it's almost midnight and 2) I just got in and 3) the parental unit are here and wanting to catch up :) I heart music! In all its gloriousness and badness and you can always guarantee that one of us will pull out a guitar on Christmas day and, before you know it, everyone's joining in for an impromptu singalong. Both of my parents encouraged a love of music and it's something that my siblings have in turn encouraged in their own children. This year mum asked me if I could get the nephews (Markhiem (13), Jaxin (12) and Kalani (7)) to sing a few songs. In my own (slightly delusional) mind I had picked out some Christmas carols (traditional and contemporary) for the boys to sing and arranged for our very first practice. Complete with me on guitar, I might add. The boys turned up...and totally booted my idea of Christmas music on its head - they wanted artists like Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga and even Britney Spears. SAY WHAT? I had chucked in a little Bic Runga and some Fur Patrol (go NZ music!). For a few minutes it was touch and go as to whether or not we could get through it without calling in a referee. In the interests of peace and goodwill (i.e. I threatened to storm off if they didn't agree on something/anything) we agreed to mix things up a little - my choices and their choices. All I can say is that I will be heartily sick and tired of Bruno Mars by the end of the day *grumpy face* Interestingly, there were no Christmas songs. Oops. Maybe next year, mum...? Our top 5 selections (after much heated debate and temper tantrums) are below!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Top 5 best fiction books of 2010 according to the NY Times (that may just make for good Christmas break reading)
"Next to a circus there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit."
- Kin Hubbard
Sometimes, though, a stolen moment of peace and quiet in your newly cleared backyard (yes, in *my* newly cleared backyard) to indulge in a spot of escapism in the form of a book, can go a long way towards helping you retain your Christmas bonhomie. I'm totally pooped! I've spent the last two and a half hours working on a major part of last night's top 5 list (Top 5 chores I have to take care of before the impending parental Christmas day visit). And so I sit here, covered once again in grass gunk, snail trails and leaves but feeling pretty gosh darn good. My brain, though, is absolutely fried. So fried that I'm going to cheat, just a little (is that like being a little bit pregnant?) and admit that I browsed the NY Times books section for ideas. What I came out of there with, other than a long list of 'DO WANTS' and 'MUST HAVES,' was the thought that if I'm interested in their best fiction books for this year then others might be, too. If you're looking for some peace and quiet over the Christmas break, then these titles just may help you escape. Even if it's only for 10 minutes :)
Monday, December 20, 2010
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
- Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby
My parents had the same place in South Auckland for 25 years. Then, last year sometime, they both decided to uproot and move, permanently, to Taipa. In the far north. For some reason. Can you sense my disbelief? Not being a fan of small towns (I've heard the internet is dodgy in small towns and I have nothing concrete to base this on but I'm quite happy here in the Big Smoke all the same please and thank you) I was left homeless. I'm kidding! Sort of. It did leave me looking for a new place. After living with another sibling (lucky I had 8 to choose from, eh?) for about 3 months while looking for somewhere, I finally found a house. That's the good news. The bad news is that while I wasn't looking or listening someone decided it was a good idea to hold our 2010 Christmas celebrations here. Not being a Christmas person this is...a challenge. And I'm finding that 5 days out from the big day, there are a few chores left for me to take care of in order to prepare for the impending parental visit. It's not that my parents are fussy - I'm (almost) certain they'd enjoy their time down here because they can see all of us in one place at one time. I think it's more that, at 35, I still care what they think. And I would like for them not to worry about us. Even though they effectively left me homeless LOL I'm kidding, mum! Yes, she does read this blog :) So, this post is for those of you still with oustanding Christmas chores lists to achieve by Saturday!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
"There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."
- Erma Bombeck in her memoir 'I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression'
My mum used to love it when my siblings and I would make the Christmas gifts and decorations ourselves. Whatever we made she loved: badly strung (and hung) popcorn chains, drunken-looking bows, partially-baked biscuits, wreaths with bits and bobs that randomly fell off, oddly shaped gel candles (that were heated too long before being poured or not heated long enough) and potpourri balls that shed dried flowers everywhere (to name a few). She never complained, though, and I think it was because she always felt that it all had so much more meaning when everything you wrapped, or hung on the tree, was something you'd put a little bit of effort and a lot of heart into. Mum was even more touched if your craft was ecofriendly. Over the years we've kinda stopped doing that. These days our creativity tends to find its outlet in other ways. For example, a couple of years ago we decided that for the adults we'd do Secret Santa and nobody was allowed to spend more than $10. The trick of it was to buy the recipient something they'd always desired. My baby brother (can you be a baby at 6"3?) ended up with a 1964 Ford Mustang convertible...as a toy car :) I do miss those days just a little and so this post is for my mum who taught me that 'homemade with love' is sometimes the icing on the cake. Or, you know, the star on the Christmas tree :)
Saturday, December 18, 2010
"Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with melody that would last forever."
- Bess Streeter Aldrich
Preparing this top 5 post made me realise something that I never saw until just this minute. My dad enjoys Christmas music. I don't mean he generally likes it, I mean he *really* enjoys it. Every Christmas morning he loads up a Christmas playlist and without being aware of it we all sing along with it as we go about the day. I don't know how I skipped learning that about him after 35 years. When I mentioned it to another sibling she said to me, 'It was mum who was never a Christmas music fan.' Weirdly, I never knew that until now, either. My mum grew up musical, she always sang or played cello. These days she's more inclined to sing and play guitar, instead. Dad, however, often tells us he never had music growing up - they never sang or played any kind of an instrument. It wasn't something he learnt how to do until he met mum and then had us. Strange the things we learn or remember about our parents. We haven't had one of his playlists for a couple of years. Maybe, when he and mum come down next week to spend the day with us, we'll bring back the playlist. So, this post is for my dad, who taught me to enjoy Christmas music.
* Please come home for Christmas as sung by Jon Bon Jovi (originally by The Eagles) - this song would be my penultimate #1 Christmas song choice for alltime however we do not hold anything with this version on it BOO HOO
* Winter wonderland by Harry Connick Jr - ragtime piano instrumental that makes me think of New Orleans. I have to admit that if we had Connick's version of this anywhere in our libraries it would be duking it out for the #1 spot with my above Jon Bon Jovi mention. Eep.
Friday, December 17, 2010
"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
- Agnes M. Pahro
As a child I would watch American and UK Christmas movies/tv specials and envy their white Christmas. And then, last year, I spent a week in Memphis, Tennessee and saw snow for the very first time (in the middle of February, if you please). It fell on the guitar-shaped swimming pool of the hotel where I stayed opposite Graceland and looked extremely pretty. Deceptive! It was wet, slushy, dangerous (I almost fell over umpteen times) and, at something like -4 degrees, seriously cold. The romantic idea I'd had of white winters crashed and burned when matched with the reality. Suddenly, all of those baking hot sunny Christmas days spent in Petone at the beach seemed like paradise. I vowed never to take the sun for granted again. If you follow this blog regularly then you'd know how much I heart music, and all of the compilations below contain songs that I hear and immediately associate with my own Kiwi Christmas day activities both as a child and as an adult: sitting in the hot sun, lying on the beach, playing in the backyard, eating barbecue, wearing jandals, staying in togs for the whole day, supporting local swimming pools by stopping by, diving for seafood or gathering shellfish. Good days - roll on Christmas day!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
"No matter how carefully you stored the lights last year, they will be snarled again this Christmas."
- Robert Kirby
I like my family, although whether I like them because I'm meant to or because I genuinely do like them I'm not quite sure. I'm kidding! Even with (or maybe because of?) all of their strange quirks, I like them. They are what they are: loud, passionate, overly opinionated, talented, sharptongued, quickwitted, well read, eccentric and fiercely protective of each other. Years ago we used to celebrate Christmas day with extended family (dad's siblings and their children and grandchildren). Over time, we pulled away and began to have just the immediate family over. With partners, husbands, children, grandchildren and dogs it works out to something like twenty people (+1 dog) so you can imagine how big it would've been with all of the extended family, too. My siblings and I realised that we preferred to keep days such as this free to spend with people we actually enjoy being around. As much as we get on, though, Christmas lunch can be a truly hair-raising experience if you're as antisocial as I am. It's sensory overload. There's yelling, singing, bossy people, kids everywhere, babies crying, temper tantrums and so on. With all of us under one roof for an extended period of time it can be heaven or it can be hell. Aww it really does warm the cockles of my heart! When I was cruising the catalogue for Top 5 ideas I came across so many book titles that reminded me of Christmas lunch with the family - the good and the bad - that I was prompted, nay *inspired* to post this list :)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly.
I recently went hunting Christmas stories at the library for my local daycare, and found a surprisingly wide range of different takes on the holiday, Father Christmas/Santa Claus, as well as more traditional tales about the 'reason behind the season'. Hopes and fears about presents (and goodness vs badness) were prominent - as you'd expect in kids' books - but there were also messages aplenty about Christmas values, like forgiveness, generosity and celebrating with family and loved ones.
I've just noticed, though, that all of the tales on my list show snowy Christmases... one of the features of growing up in NZ has been a somewhat wonky perspective on the seasons, due to reading so many books set in the northern hemisphere. Halloween always means autumn in my head - and Christmas means piles of white, white snow. OK, pass me an aerosol, I have to go decorate my Christmas tree!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
'If this is their idea of Christmas, I *gotta* be here for New Year's.'
~ From 'Die Hard'
If you're looking for a heartwarming Christmas flick to watch with the littlies... you might have to wait for List #2. These are NOT the films you are looking for. All of these films are guaranteed to showcase all of the best festive elements of Christmas - criminals, shiny weapons, mayhem, havoc, and some very bad Santas indeed!
Monday, December 13, 2010
"As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is."
- Eric Sevareid
Bah humbug! I'm not a Christmas person. In fact, I have a black Bah Humbug hat and an 'I hate Christmas' badge that I love to wear each year. That whole touchy feeling thing that people do at this time of year? So not me. In fact, the thought of being sentimental at any time of year fills me with horror...so Christmas, in my neurotic mind, is ten times worse. Instead, I'm the sort of person who takes comfort in researching the traditions and customs associated with the silly season in an effort to make sense of it all. At 35 years of age I can't say that it's worked for me LOL It has, however, given me an interesting look at how and why people celebrate Christmas the way that they do. Something I'd like to do this year, though, is make an effort to recapture some of what I used to find magical and hopeful - hence my '12 days of Christmas Top 5s.' From philosophies to trivia, picture books to DVDs, every day for the next 12 days we'll be posting a Top 5 list. Whoa. I'm going to be all Christmas-ed out by the 25th December... Today's post is my pick of Christmas miscellanea titles :)
Monday, December 6, 2010
'Is there a doctor in the house? Your love is like bad medicine...'
~ Jon Bon Jovi, 5th December 2010, Vector Arena (and I know this, because I was there, and I heard him say it before he started to sing)
Bon Jovi *sigh* Big music and even bigger hair :) Someone just mentions their name and I feel like a giddy kid all over again. This top 5 is a simple list of my 5 favouritest Bon Jovi songs in the history of Bon Jovi songs ever and are all found on the Greatest hits : ultimate collection [CD]. Although, as usual, there is a (rather long winded although I did try to be short but failed abysmally) story to go with said list *winces* All attached images are ones I took last night. There's also a total SQUEE fangirl moment included that is not mine but Merrin's :)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
- Austin Phelps
I agree with the quote wholeheartedly. If it's a choice between anything and a new book, the book is always going to win :) People always look at me rather strangely when I tell them that the reason I work in libraries is because I heart books - little books, big books, bad books, brilliant books, fiction, nonfiction - if it's got words I'll read 'em! I have to guiltily admit that wherever I am I recommend titles for people to try *shamefaced look* As a result of this I find myself promoting books, and our library services, in the most unusual places: buses, Twitter, trains, standing in queues, with the checkout operator at Countdown Manukau, occasionally on Bebo, at the bus stop, on Facebook, over the counter and, last but not least, in our NextReads eNewsletters. Which, not-coincidentally, is the subject of today's post - a slightly long-winded list (I did *try* to keep it short and simple) of the top 5 November eNewsletters I enjoyed the most. Am I playing favourites? Yes. However, my favourites do change from month to month for various reasons. And my #1 choice might just surprise you :)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"Life is a B Movie: it's stupid and it's strange, it's a directionless story, the dialogue is lame, but in the 'he said she said' sometimes there's some poetry, if you turn your back long enough and let it happen naturally."
- Ani Difranco
Sometimes, life is a B movie but, you know, sometimes B movies are B movies, too. I'm guessing, though, that films that earn oodles of money in their first opening day are not B movies. Or are they...? 'Harry Potter and the deathly hallows : part 1' opened worldwide at cinemas last week and, when I last checked, had earned something like $61.2 million for its opening day (including midnight screenings)...which got me thinking, what are the top 5 movie opening day earnings? After some serious Google-Fu, I now know the answer. And so do you :)
Saturday, November 20, 2010
"No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough."
- Roger Ebert
I promised you a post today and here it is! One of my many siblings used to manage a video/dvd store for a few years and she was exceptionally good at it. She had a knack for knowing what movies or games to recommend to people, made the store buckletloads of money without even trying and generally enjoyed it all. We have quite different tastes in movies. In fact, she has this idea that I like 'arty farty' stuff and I'm not sure where that comes from because I adore bang-bang-shoot-em-ups, mysteries, documentaries, horrors and romantic comedies as much as the next person. One night recently we were sitting around talking films when my sister decided that I could benefit from a a little less arty-farty - and wrote out a list of top 5 movies I need to watch. Stat! Like a badly played hand of poker, I'm calling her bluff. Eep. I do have to admit to a little bit of apprehension because it's long been my belief that one man's EWW is another man's OOH. So, on with the list :)
Friday, November 19, 2010
"Good taste is the excuse I have given for leading such a bad life."
- Oscar Wilde
Have you led such a bad life, readers? Do you have excellent taste in books, movies, music? Only time, and blogger's inbuilt stats tools, know :) I was poking around in the Stats section of our Top 5 blog and came across info displaying the most looked at pages...which translates into this fly-by posting of our top 5 most looked at Top 5 posts. Oy, what a mouthful! And you know what? They tell me next to nothing about your varied interests at all LOL You'll find a link to each of the separate posts below as well as their full introduction. Enjoy :P
Monday, November 8, 2010
Music is the shorthand of emotion.
~ Leo Tolstoy
The idea of a personal theme song is one that appeals greatly. To me, at least :) I used to watch the Ally McBeal show - seasons 1 and 2, anyway, and then I lost interest because the storyline started to get odd(er). But one of Ally's weird ideas has stuck with me ever since, and it's the thought that each person needs their very own theme song. You may (or may not) remember that Ally's personal theme song was 'Tell him' by The Exciters and every time she thought of it she'd automatically feel more confident, happier and ready to face anything. Never in a million years will I be Ally McBeal, but I appreciate the sentiment, so much so that I've spent years since then trying to find a 'one size fits all' theme song. With no luck. Probably because I like lots of different songs for different moods and, when the situation fits, I'll pull them on and off like itchy woollen jerseys. This post is a quick Top 5 list of the most recent songs I have considered as theme songs for moi! This month, anyway :)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
"Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you."- Harold Bloom
I very firmly believe that. I also believe that reading badly (i.e. so called 'trashy') is another great (albeit guilty) pleasure of mine, too :) Both are time well spent. I heart our cataloguing people. They let me browse the new books trolleys at all hours of the work day and never say a word when I go madly racing off clutching the next round of interesting books/dvds/cds for a top 5 post. Even though I'm sure I resemble nothing short of Gollum feverishly brandishing his precious :0)
A quick-ish post from me that is simply the most recent top 5 titles I 'discovered' while stalking our ever patient cataloguing staff. Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Was dukedom large enough."
- Shakespeare, The Tempest
I have to apologise for only having 2 posts up for the whole of October! Bad, bad library people. Danielle and I were both involved with the Auckland Libraries website which, funnily enough, is the subject of today's Top 5 post. What a coincidence. Well, no, it's not. The team who worked on this site did a great job and the site looks fantastic and it's worth sharing :)
If you haven't yet had the chance to check out the new Auckland Libraries website then...I'm going to think you live under a rock. Or, worse, without the internet *gasp* It has pretty much everything you'd need to know about what to expect from our library services as of 1st Nov 2010: membership, locations and hours, fees and charges, news, events, new and recommended titles, eNewsletters, digital library and a few other odds and ends. In today's post I've chosen the 5 pages I love most in the new site. I wanted to use them all and have double/triple-ups but that would be cheating :P Enough from me! On to the list. Each link will open in a separate window so you can check out the pros and cons of each page and still keep the Top 5 Goodies blog up.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"Autism is cool. When *I* like something, I like it a whole lot more than my friends like their things."
Our first October post is courtesy of Sonia, one of our teen librarians. Sonia writes: "I thought it might be good to have a Top 5 List for parents to read about other parents or siblings with special needs/Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. I have enjoyed these titles and I even shared one with my son called, "Rules," in an attempt to help him understand his brother and talk about some of the mannerisms that drive him to distraction at times!"
Thank you Sonia for this absolutely fantastic list :)
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story
Inspired by Natalie's recent catch from amongst our newly received titles, Fish 'n' chips: the great New Zealand feed, here is a list of some of the great titles that celebrate the various culinary traditions of our country. Here in our reference collection alone we have some real gems, including Betty's Old Curiosity recipe book (remember homemade hokey pokey from school fairs?) and Aunt Daisy (not only tips for pickled mutton and milk puddings but also advice on ironing smocking or addressing parcels). I can also recommend the colourful and inspiring Lift the lid of the cumin jar : refugees and immigrants talk about their lives and food for a glimpse of some of the wonderful flavours and food traditions coming to New Zealand in recent years, from places like Bosnia, Cambodia and Afghanistan.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Pink isn't just a color, it's an attitude!
~ Miley Cyrus
My daughter is going through a fairly emphatic pink phase. No matter how cold it is (long, wet winter/spring, I'm looking at *you*), she can be found outdoors in her pinkest 'princess dress' (and gumboots). Luckily, she's not alone in this craze, and the picture book collection has plenty of great titles to help you celebrate 'pinktacular' pink with your little princess (or prince).
Special shout-out to Miss Lily's fabulous pink feather boa by Margaret Wild (illustrated by Kerry Argent), which is a quirky little tale about extinction, theft, guilt, and the ability of fabulous clothing to help bust stereotypes and overcome timidity! Full-on stuff for such a delicately-illustrated picture book.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
"Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music."- Ronald Reagan
When people ask me what my family is like...I find it hard to put into words. Probably because I associate each person with various pieces or styles of music. The nearest I can figure is that they're like an opera: big, loud, overly dramatic and full of passion and intensity. From the adults down to the kids, we do everything with great drama. And we always behave as if our actions have an accompanying soundtrack. Because sometimes, admit it, life is better with your own soundtrack. I mean, I often find myself doing something and thinking, 'What song would go with this moment, right here, right now?' As always, I conveniently blame my parents for eccentricities such as that.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
"I do not believe they've run out of surprises."
- Larry Niven
By jove, Mr. Niven, I do believe you're right! The cataloguing team never run out of surprises for me :) I spend at least 5 or 10 mins a day stalking the cataloguing staff and pouncing on their trolleys with squeals of delight. I'm a loud person and I know no other volume other than full bore and the poor cataloguing team often have to hear me cursing loudly at my computer & generally moaning about something or another over the wall. Oh, the joys of open office planning. As if that isn't bad enough I then invade their work space on a daily basis and browse through every trolley looking for titles of interest...while providing a running commentary on every single book I find *shamefaced look* They're awfully patient and for that I am most thankful because, to be truthful, it's one of the highlights of my working day. It's a timely reminder of why I do what I do - I want to share my love of books (the good, the bad and the indifferent) with anybody & everybody who sits/stands still long enough to hear/read. Today's post is nothing more than a quickfire list of titles I saw while stalking our cataloguing staff this week :)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings."
Friendships are wonderfully funny things, aren't they? They challenge you to be better, yank you up by your bootstraps when your get up and go has got up and gone, tell you when you've done well and give you a short, sharp reality check when your head gets too big. I consider myself extremely lucky to know such people...even when we don't always agree on the big things - like Vampire Eric vs. Vampire Bill - or the little things - like National vs. Labour ;)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
"Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible."
- Francis Bacon
You might've noticed that earlier this week I posted the Top 5 most requested DVDs during August. I thought it'd be a nice idea to make this a regular monthly posting for DVDs, fiction, nonfiction, kids and teen titles. If nothing else it's interesting to see what your fellow library-goers are enjoying. It might also give you some ideas for what to read/see next. So...enjoy our 'Top 5 most requested fiction titles for August' list :)
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
"A good book has no ending."
- R.D. Cumming
And sometimes a really good book has a quirky title! Although, as I discovered recently, the idea of 'quirky' is entirely subjective. I've always thought my sense of humour was pretty much standard, only it just occurred to me last night to ask myself for the first time, 'Whose standards are you using?'
Monday, September 6, 2010
"Also watching a movie on DVD is different than watching it in the theater. "- Ivan Reitman
Profound and moving words :) I'm curious about what others watch and read for a couple of reasons - 1) it's always a case of trash and treasure and 2) I'm inherently nosey and constantly looking for something else to read/watch. I quite happily ask our customers and staff why they've chosen a particular title and, more often than not, it sparks some sort of interest and/or inspiration on my part to do the same. With that in mind, this is a list of the top 5 most requested DVDs of August.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
"A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is - full of surprises."
- Isaac Bashevis Singer
Working right next to the cataloguing area is a little like having my own personal magical lucky dip barrel that never runs out. My week is constantly full of surprises. Seriously *nods seriously* I see it as a treasure trove. It's kinda like Christmas every day :) Another bonus for me (because it's all about me) is that the staff who run that area are exceptional to work with and they are, now, quite used to my mooching around looking for interesting/quirky books, conversation, ideas or inspiration. In fact, when I popped in there today, the wonderful Claire had already anticipated my visit and had a title ready to suggest. She gave it such a great talk up that I've placed it at number #1 for this list :)
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
"Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes." ~ Darth Vader, Return of the Jedi
(Darth Vader's dying words to Luke.)
Happy Father's Day from the Digital Services team! Not that we'd swap our own dads ever, but we want to give props to the following fictional dads, who may not always be the easiest to get along with, but will always have your back (right after they chop off your hand)...
Monday, August 30, 2010
'Regardless of which circle you deem the worst, I think we can all agree that hell is not a great place to visit.' ~ '101 places not to see before you die' by Catherine Price
I was scavenging the cataloguers' trolleys for goodies and noticed a theme developing; we have several intriguing new titles by intrepid explorers on the trolleys this week. If you've ever been bitten by the travel bug - or like to read about people who get bitten in your place while you kick back in a comfy chair - then take a look at these travellers' tales...
"It's just different discipline, just doing the voice over..."
- Blair Underwood
A long-winded intro follows - you have been warned! Up until late last year I hadn't tried an audiobook since I was a kid. Those who know me (either IRL, via Twitter, my blog or Facebook) will know that to date my audiobook experiences have been fairly disastrous and nothing short of hilarious. I belong to an online reading group as well as an IRL one (IRL=in real life) and quite a few of them listen to audiobooks. Being a fairly genial sort of person, I decided to give them a whirl myself *blinks* That was probably my first mistake. I picked a romance novel *whistles* That was my second mistake. I chose an author whose work I knew inside out *winces* And that was my third mistake. What I should've done was worked up to it. Slowly.
"Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life.""
- Helen Exley
A bit of a boring title for a Top 5 list I admit, but I realised no one had done a magazine list, so thought why not be the first.
Here are my (and/or my hubby’s) favourite magazines that we can borrow (for free!!) from the library. They happen to all be New Zealand magazines - what a patriot I am - but there are also lots of international magazines available at the library as well.
Feel free to share what magazines you like.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.
- Louisa May Alcott
There's no doubt that books have turned my brain. I fervently hope my 6 year old nephew Kalani - or Mr. 6 as I call him - is as fond of books as I am. I also hope that they turn his brain, too. What that means I'm not quite sure but for a bookaholic like I am, it can only mean good, right? I sure hope so. I decided, just today, that for a welcome change, I would like Kalani to read to me! I think it would be a nice switch in roles to be able to go home, kick off my shoes, settle down and have him do the funny voices and the funny faces and the big expansive gestures (yes, I do those for him, too, so it's only fair he do it in return). When mum read me bedtime stories as a child, I absolutely loved it. So many worlds and so many possibilities opened up. Admittedly, some of her choices were rather unusual. Oscar Wilde's 'The happy prince' is not really conducive to a 4 year old's restful night's sleep, mother! To this day, I hear the words 'Swallow, swallow, little swallow, pluck out my other eye' and immediately start crying. Eep. Maybe I won't start him on Oscar Wilde just yet, but I think the titles below (which are my trolley-finds from visiting Cataloguing staff) make a nice starting place. Each selection has a little explanation for why I've chosen that particular book. I suspect, though, that he may need help reading some of the bigger words :)
Monday, August 23, 2010
"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell."
- Joan Crawford
I heart romance books. What isn't to love about a guaranteed happy ending? The guy gets the girl and they live happily ever after *sigh* It doesn't say anything about arguing over the dishes and how man colds are ten times than worse than woman colds or how the guy has to rub your feet just because but...it's all implied, right? Right! As much as I heart romance books, sometimes the titles make me go, 'WTF?!' and I either burst out laughing or get mad. The titles below are 5 large print romance examples I've found just in the last week or two alone in Cataloguing & Acquisitions.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
"Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn't take Lorraine out that he'd melt my brain."
- George McFly (as played by Crispin Glover) in the film Back to the Future (1985)
The 80s were my heyday! That's what I tell people and they look at me a tad bit disbelievingly and, fair enough, because in 1980 I was only 5, but I remember the next 10 years as if it were yesterday: banana clips, big hair, first boyfriend, off the shoulder tops, bubble skirts, disastrous hair styles (let's not even talk about the time I dyed my hair black and it turned green instead ugh), leg warmers, high heels with socks, fingerless lace gloves, fluoro coloured tights, denim miniskirts and 80s music *sigh* I love love LOVE 80s movies (with an era of the best movie quotes ever ever ever) and 80s music! They were such good days, over for alltime and leaving me with nothing but forever-young memories. So imagine my delight when I accidentally picked up a copy of '80s movie hits.' So much 80s goodness in one small package oughta be illegal - it's enough to make me want to break out my Bros albums! It was hard to narrow down my top 5 songs on this double compilation (much arguing with myself took place) but I managed it in the end. It only took me 2 hours, geez. Check it out and if you have a song you think should be here leave it as a comment ;-)
Friday, August 20, 2010
'Turn around/Look at what you see/In her face/The mirror of your dreams' ('Neverending story', Limahl)
'Is it a kind of dream/Floating out on the tide/Following the river of death downstream?/Oh, is it a dream?' ('Bright eyes', Simon and Garfunkel)
We in Digital Services are big kids at heart, and believe me, the length of our 'short' list for this category proves it! We have a selection of movies that creeped the bejeebers out of us as kids, as well as some more recent movies that surprised us pleasantly with their watchability - y'know, when we watched them with *actual* kids!
(There was also a short 'short list' of movies included for gratuitous and less-than-noble reasons, hello, The Rock, I'm looking at YOU 'Race to Witch Mountain'...)
Honourable mentions: Peter Pan; Stardust; Jungle Book; A series of unfortunate events; City of Ember; Bridge to Terabithia; The Spiderwick Chronicles; the Harry Potter movies; the Narnia movies (excluding the old version of 'The silver chair'); Charlotte's Web.
Early one morning, after a sandstorm had ripped through north Texas, I wandered into Mr. Tilly's circus. I wore a black suit and blood ran down my face. When some of the carnies came up to me, I said, "I'm numb." This became my name.
- Numb: a novel by Sean Ferrell
I think, sometimes, that when I venture in to the Cataloguing and Acqusitions areas they view my visits with some amount of trepidation. And yet I respect what they do. Wholeheartedly. It is an integral part of the overall service we provide. But I am a contentious, opinionated person who has quite vocal (read *loud*) views on what types of books I believe our customers would want and I consider it my duty - and a pleasurable one at that - to tell all and sundry about it ;) We have some quite 'spirited' discussions about books. So yes, their trepidation is somewhat warranted. I am forever grateful that they have not barred me (yet) and let me wander quite freely among the new books trolleys and oh! What gems I have found today. My cup truly runneth over :)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
"Generation Gap: A chasm, amorphously situated in time and space, that separates those who have grown up absurd from those who will, with luck, grow up absurd."
- Bernard Rosenberg, Dictionary for the Disenchanged, 1972
There is a 22 year age gap between my oldest nephew and I and, for the most part, it's not a big deal - we bond over Doctor Who, Adam Sandler's early movies, Geronimo Stilton, red licorice, Vans & Converse shoes, microwave popcorn, crazy YouTube clips, the Hardy Boys and a host of other things. That's kinda normal right? But when we start talking music, oh boy, then we hit a rough patch.
'I wanted to keep turning the pages after the book had finished.'
~ Omkar, MANIX Teen Reading Challenge
Firstly, there were plenty of awesome candidates for this list, and there are some highly recommended edge-of-your-seat series we'd like to give honourable mentions:
- Boy soldier sequence / Andy McNab
- Maximum ride / James Patterson
- Daniel X novels / James Patterson
- Chaos walking / Patrick Ness
- Hunger games / Suzanne Collins
- Young Bond / Charles Higson
And if you're looking for an injection of knuckle-whitening, page-turning action and adventure, look no further!
Monday, August 16, 2010
"Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love."
~ Craig Claiborne, Kitchen Primer
Spurred on by several shared and yummy baking attempts at our local daycare, my daughter has been keen to help out in the kitchen recently (specially if there are beaters that need to be licked clean). Here are my favourites amongst the library's collection of kids' cookbooks - some easy to follow recipes, some cute novelty food, even some simple ways to get kids trying some ingredients they might not otherwise touch with a very long spatula!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
There was a time before. There will be a time after.
Let us build a bridge. A bridge that will carry us over the unbearable.
I am certain that as we walk back and forth, we will find love on both sides.
~ Over a thousand hills I walk with you, Hanna Jansen (translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford)
We're going Teen today, because that's what's on the trolleys. Everyone must be working really hard, because there's not a lot of pickings out there at the moment, it's all out on the shelves! That said, there are a few juicy-looking Grimm and ghostly offerings, an intriguing graphic novel, and the unimaginable based-on-fact story of a young survivor of the Rwandan massacre.
Monday, August 9, 2010
"Rugby is great. The players don't wear helmets or padding; they just beat the living daylights out of each other and then go for a beer. I love that."
- Joe Theismann
Petone, a seaside town in Wellington, had a strong rugby league and netball background. It was not uncommon for men who played on the local rugby teams to have wives or partners who played in the netball teams. And yet my memories of Petone are of being dragged from rugby field to rugby field. It was a normal occurrence for me to see a lot of Wellington-based All Black rugby players such as Bernie Fraser, Stu Wilson, Murray Mexted, Graham Mourie and Allan Hewson, either on the sidelines as a spectator or on the field. Rugby was as much an integral part of my formative years as school, so it's no surprise that I have a list of NZ rugby biographies and memoirs. What may surprise you is the selection. I'd like to point out that I grew up reading whatever was on my own kiddie bookshelves and on my parents' ones which is why I have such a list, and yes, these books are still on dad's shelves (somewhere up in Doubtless Bay) now. The rugby matches of today are a far cry from those I watched as a child. Gosh knows they're certainly far more civilised - gone are the days when it was a considered a great game if it ended in a punch up.
Friday, August 6, 2010
"Madonna belongs to me and I will not be copied. It's in my contract."
- 'Coach Sue Sylvester' as played by Jane Lynch
From Wikipedia: Fans of Glee are commonly referred to as "gleeks", a portmanteau of "glee" and "geek".
I admit it - I am a Gleek. If you’ve been living in a cave this year and/or don’t watch television, Glee is the hit TV show about a high school glee club (aka show choir) that features numerous song covers sung onscreen by the characters. There is great variety in the songs that are covered, ranging from chart toppers to show tunes, old favourites to recent hits.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Top 5 items I requested and took home but couldn't remember why I wanted to read/watch them when I got there so brought them back
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Do you request books like crazy just because? You know, you see the cover in the catalogue and go, 'Oohh, lookit the pretty, shiny,' and put it on hold? Do you read a review that pumps a book so brilliantly you think, 'Oohh, come to mama!' and then put it on hold? Does a friend recommend a book so well that you immediately say to yourself, 'Oohh, yeah, that sounds like me!' and then put it on hold? Sometimes it seems like I'm forever putting books on hold and then getting them home and going, 'Whoa - why did I want to read this again?' If this sounds like you, then honey, you're my kinda people ;)
Friday, July 30, 2010
"Most people use music as a couch; they want to be pillowed on it, relaxed and consoled for the stress of daily living. But serious music was never meant to be soporific."
- Aaron Copland
Beats, tracks, compositions, sounds, tunes, mixes - all of these terms are sometimes used in place of the word 'MUSIC' and I have nothing but major respect for musicians. Yes, even the really bad ones I've heard at some awful, awful gigs - you know who you are! When those musicians decide to write musical bios/autobios they often provide some great (and terrible) insight into how much dedication, hard work, and commitment it takes to make it big. In amongst much of the laughter and the memories you'll also find the not-so-great stuff such as the extramarital affairs, drugs, booze and backstabbing. Let's face it, sometimes the bigger the muso the better the gossip ;) Today's list is courtesy of the very lovely Rachel (who, I swear, reads at the speed of light) who shares her top 5 musical biographies/autobiographies.
Do you have a book that you think would make a great addition to this list? Simply leave us a comment :)
Thursday, July 29, 2010
My first regret is the day I ate a urinal cake. What can I say? It looked like a delicious biscuit.
~ 'The world according to Warren', as told to Craig Silvey, pictures by Sonia Martinez
Oh such lovely things this week... treats and treasures soon to hit the shelves: a pompous dog, a trip to Ghostopolis, the darker side of the periodic table - plus how to embalm your loved ones in honey!
Friday, July 23, 2010
"Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day."
- Samuel Goldwyn
I'm a Kevin Smith fan and by 'Kevin Smith' I mean Kevin Smith of Jay & Silent Bob fame. I was watching Dogma the other night on Sky and I was sitting there thinking, 'There are absolute moments of great madness in amongst the Rickman-as-an-anatomically incorrect angel, big poop monster and Alanis-as-God moments...this is so stupid it's genius!' Weirdly I feel like that about most of his movies. The idea, however, for this Top 5 list came from a re-watching of Tenacious D's film 'Pick of destiny' starring Jack Black and Kyle Gass - a film so strange, weird, musically brilliant yet ridiculous that I had no choice but to jot down my idea of Top 5 Movies So Stupid They're Genius! Why is it that every one of my choices below contains offensive language, some violence and either sexual references or sex scenes? That was wholly unintentional, I assure you. Although it says a lot about my awful sense of humour.
'Love is like a storm.'
~ Flower in a storm
Debra, our lovely graphic novels cataloguer, has been buying up a storm of new titles lately for the manga collection, as some of our long-running series come to an end. With so many new stories to choose from, here are our recommendations for some of the best of the new titles! Our guest reviewer here is Diana Lee, who has been reading and reviewing as part of the Manix reading challenge - thanks Diana :)
So whether your tastes are for high school fun, friendship and love (with or without superpowers), demon clans, giant robots or bodyguards vs assassins, we've got something here for you!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
'It was an airport gypsy who told me that I had to kill my husband.'
~ Joshilyn Jackson, 'Backseat saints'
More goodies from the cataloguers: ghosts, cut-out covers and some very fashion-forward dolls for you crafty types out there! A bit of a teen thing going on this week, too, with two teen fiction and one teen on-fiction titles here.
"An old rat is a brave rat."
- French proverb
As far as I know, the library is a cool place to go and get out books, DVDs, CDs and more, but unfortunately I can’t borrow stuff from the library because you have to be human to have a library card! If I did have a library card though, these are the top five things I’d borrow.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Science Fiction… wonderful, big and scary… as it should be. And reading it, (as one New Zealand columnist recently observed) is nothing less than an experiential version of mountaineering: “I do it partly for the workout, and partly for the view.” Ah yes, the view. Whether manufactured in the fertile imagination of the reader, via CGI-charged products delivered in Panavision for film fans, or through menacing pixilation procreated by gaming corporations, the visual remains a potent force in science fiction.
Friday, July 16, 2010
List by Danielle
And you know you're never sure
But you're sure you could be right
If you held yourself up to the light
And the embers never fade in your city by the lake
The place where you were born
~ Smashing Pumpkins, 'Tonight'
For all those who get transported by music to some fictional land...love to hear your comments. Does listening to techno send you diving for the crime novels? Do you accompany your historicals with a classical soundtrack? What songs send you somewhere you'd rather be?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Papakura Library guest post: Top 5 books or series that cause others to stare at you because you are laughing so much
“I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can laugh at.”
My last Top 5 list was on humorous films, and this time I’ve chosen five humourous books or series that in my opinion are sure to tickle your funny bone. The list has a variety of books that I have enjoyed, including two crime fiction series, two non-fiction series and a biography.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
'The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.'
People who cook, and do it well, make me feel deficient. That there are people in this world who do it well and look good while doing it just adds further insult to my injuries :)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book."
I was one of those kids that walked to school with my nose buried in a book. I still do it now only these days I'm more likely to find myself buried in an ebook while walking to the bus stop. I did try paper books but what I read now is a heck of a lot bigger than what I read as a child and awfully hard to juggle while trying to walk at the same time. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is that crossing the road while reading is still a slight challenge :) Every month I have a haphazard reading list of some 20 plus titles I feel like I wanna, gotta, needa read/see/hear so the real challenge was narrowing down my top 5. Et voilà, after much heated discussion and argument (all with myself, I might add) here they are.
Monday, July 12, 2010
'Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship.'
- Dorothy Parker
From the unlikeliest conversations are enduring friendships formed. Weirdly, my friendship with Tracy Munns began with her love of The Ten Tenors.
Friday, July 9, 2010
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"
- Patrick Swayze in 'Dirty dancing'
From Grease in 1978 to the 2005 film Step Up, these movies will have your blood pumping. Don't be surprised if you feel the inclination to enrol in a dance class (or wish you didn't have two left feet) after these.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Aurora: We can draw up a roster, and take turns to keep an eye on Grandpa.
Van: Yeah, we can get him a pet!
Aurora: A roster, Van, not a rooster.
~ Outrageous Fortune
Honorary mention (not in our collection): Stickmen (best ever drunken pool-playing heroics by Scott Wills' character, the wonderfully dopey but good-hearted Wayne); the Frighteners (my joint favourite Peter Jackson movie); Bad Taste (see previous). I'd also like to give a big hand to the guys who did such a good job of animating Hairy MacLary, which is currently No#1 choice for 6.30am viewing with my nearly 2 yr old.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
"I'm always amazed at anyone's interest in what I have to say."
- Orlando Bloom
My name is Tosca and I have a tendre for Orlando Bloom :) I adore watching him - moving, talking, sitting still, sleeping, good movie, bad movie. It doesn't really matter, so long as he's breathing. Yes, that's right, I'm shallow. Sue me! It is a little bit strange because, up until I saw him as the very striking Legolas I'd never really noticed him before that. I think it must've been the white hair and pointy ears ;) Since then, I've made a point of watching all of his movies...mostly on mute because it allows me to concentrate on watching him without being distracted by words. I know - terribly, terribly shallow! I'm also incredibly opinionated, which most of you will know by now if you follow this blog anyway, but I feel like I should point that out so you're not too taken aback reading my comments. So here's my list of Top 5 Orlando Bloom movies I love to watch on mute (although he's just as good talking, too).
"If you are to be Hercule Poirot, you must think of everything."
- Agatha Christie
Chrisitie's detective fiction is perfect for those who prefer murder mystery with an emphasis on mystery rather than gruesome murder. The little Belgian man is one of my favourite detectives and below are some of the novels I enjoyed. I've chosen to include ones that also have graphic novels or DVDs as I love adaptations into different media. The graphic novel or DVD may be a great place to start and, if you like the storyline, delve into the novel as well.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
"I say – this has boiled up into quite an adventure, hasn’t it?"
- Julian from 'Five on a hike together' by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton captivated my childhood with her Famous Five series. These books are almost a must - and a great starting point - for any child interested in adventure/detective stories. These are just five of the titles that I read and re-read. You too will be left wanting to own your very own island!
'i spit on you, poetry. this is me spitting on you. this is me
egging your cocker spaniel. this is me stomping
your children's halloween pumpkins. you are
dead to me, poetry. i was only using you for the sex.
~ Matthew Baker
More random goodies of great shininess and temptation from the shelving trolleys at Ronwood Ave...
Monday, July 5, 2010
"You know where you are?
You're in the jungle, baby!"
~ Guns N'Roses
Manukau Libraries' school holiday programme, 'Rumble in the Jungle', starts today and runs from July 5-16 2010. There are plenty of ways to take your kids on a virtual trip to the wild and wonderful jungle these holidays, so why not try a few of these ideas?
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen
Even though it is a total myth that we just sit and read all day (*big* sigh for that myth), one of the greatest pleasures of working in a library is the proximity to what seems like an endless stream of new books. Want to take a peek on our processing trolleys? Here is a Top 5 from the books we've unpacked recently, which are soon on their way to the shelves...
"In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind."
- Nora Ephron
I read TONNES of romance novels - the good, the bad and the oh-so-racy and occasionally I get a tad bit arrogant and think that, 'red hot read' wise, nothing would surprise me. It usually turns out that I then come across a book where the author manages to turn that little bit of nonsense on its head. This particular list highlights the raciest romance reads I've come across this week.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn."
- Irvin S. Cobb
I love films and watch a wide variety of genres, including comedy, romance, thriller, action, drama, indie, musical, documentary, fantasy, the occasional sci-fi and once or twice a horror.
When it comes to comedic movies, again I watch a variety, but I find one type of comedy to be a step above others more often than not.
The films that consistently tickle my funny bone are British comedies, which have a rather different style of humour to their often brash American counterparts – more subtle, dry and eccentric.
The following are five British films that I, and those watching them with me, thoroughly enjoyed and got a laugh (or two or twenty!) out of.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
'Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.'
- John Buchan
Tosca says: I asked my sister to list her top 5 crime fiction series titles - boy was that an undertaking! You should see the paper with the scribbles on it: authors were ordered and re-ordered, crossed and highlighted, crossed again and then ticked, notes were made in the margin and then scribbled over again...you get the point. Why? For the simple reason that my sister takes books seriously, and crime fiction even more so.
Monday, June 21, 2010
My kids love repetition and they love their favourite characters, and being able to come up with a new title in a much-loved series, waiting for them on the hold shelf, is the occasion for shiny-eyed excitement and car detours to the local library.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
"It's never over till it's over."
Some books become your best friends. So much so that the thought of them ending is more than enough to cause a twinge of pain and panic. Then there are the books that are mind numbing and sleep inducing and you'd give anything to try to finish chapter one, nevermind the whole book. Oh yes, I went there! Here's my list of books I can't bring myself to finish for both good and bad reasons ;) Do you have a list like this? We'd love to hear from you! Simply leave your own version as a comment.
The Da Vinci code / Dan Brown
While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, a baffling cipher found near the body. As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci - clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. The stakes are raised when Langdon uncovers a startling link. The late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion - an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. Langdon suspects they are on the hunt for a breathtaking historical secret, one that has proven through the centuries to be as enlightening as it is dangerous. In a frantic race through Paris, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu find themselves matching wits with a faceless powerbroker who appears to anticipate their every move. Unless they can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle, the Priory's secret - and an explosive ancient truth - will be lost forever.
Tosca's note: B-O-R-I-N-G. I swear this book became my 'go to sleep' bedside book. If I couldn't rest then I'd yank this out and read it. Sure enough, two paragraphs in I'd be fast asleep. Never got past chapter 1 and I had it out for 2 months *winces* I did enjoy the movie, though. In fact, I've found that those who liked the book detested the movie and vice versa.
Eclipse [book 3 in the Twilight series] / Stephenie Meyer
As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob - knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?
Tosca's note: Oohh I'm not a fan of the Twilight series. I've read books 1 & 2 and the first few pages of book 3 and then given up. I'm usually a stickler for reading books before watching their movie adaptations but this is definitely one I'm going to pass over. Bella's whole co-dependency vibe is not my cup of tea.
Beyond reach [book 6 in the Grant County series] / Karin Slaughter
Sara Linton resident medical examiner/pediatrician in Grant County, Georgia, has plenty of hardship to deal with, including defending herself in a heartbreaking malpractice suit. So when her husband, Police chief Jeffery Tolliver, learns that his friend and coworker detective Lena Adams has been arrested for murder and needs Saras help, she is not sure she can handle the pressure of it all. But soon Sara and Jeffery are sifting through evidence, peeling back the layers of a mystery that grows darker by the day until an intricate web of betrayal and vengeance begins to unravel. And suddenly the lives of Sara, Lena, and Jeffery are hanging by the slenderest of threads.
OMG! What the heck was going on in Karin Slaughter's mind with this novel? Since Slaughter's debut (btw is that her real name because if it is it's fantastic and if it's not then it's a cheap marketing ploy that works really well) 'Blindsighted' I've followed every Grant County novel with almost fanatical devotion. Until this one! And it's my own darn fault. I'm an inveterate 'last page reader' and if any book was going to cure me of it then it would have been this book. Seriously, I read the ending *SPOILER ALERT AHEAD* saw that Jeffrey got blown up - WHAT THE HECK?! - and then, predictably enough, was shocked and teary eyed and then closed the book and refused to read it in its entirety. I liked Jeffrey Tolliver (literary crush, thing) and, now, I don't want to pick up that book ever again. It's my own fault for reading the ending first but wow, way to kill a buzz *sigh*
Inspector Morse : the remorseful day [DVD] / starring John Thaw & Kevin Whatley
Super sleuth, Inspector Morse has an ear for music, a taste for beer, and a nose for crime. He sets out with Sergeant Lewis to solve each intriguing case.
I'm a diehard Morse fan from way back and I was stoked to find that Manukau Libraries holds a copy of every single episode starring the very brilliant John Thaw. I worked my way through all of them and then got to the last one, figured out what was going on in the first few minutes, promptly burst into tears because it was so gosh darn sad and switched it off. Then I chucked the remote at the tv screen *wails* I'm not ready for it to end! EVER grr. One day, maybe, I will be but oohh I'm not convinced.
Curtain: Poirot's last case / Agatha Christie
Arthritic and immobilized, Hercule Poirot takes up his last case, relying on old friend Captain Hastings to be his eyes and ears as he hunts down the slipperiest criminal of his career.
Tosca's note: Hercule Poirot is my idol for the simple reason that he was all about symmetry and order. Having grown up in a household of 6 other siblings this was bliss. I started collecting Christie's novels from as early as 9 or 10 and, over time, lost copies. A few years ago an aunt gave me hardback copies of almost every book in the series, making it possibly one of the best birthday presents I ever received. I cannot bring myself to finish the last Poirot novel because I'm not ready for my lifelong love affair with Poirot to end just yet. Maybe, one day, I'll be ready to but I really don't think so.
Hmm, I've just realised, looking at these titles, that they're all crime.
Friday, June 18, 2010
List by Elliot, Mark, Merrin, Stuart & Tosca
'Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted'
- Hesketh Pearson
Wednesday night is our regular quiz night and we all meet up for dinner beforehand. It's a great opportunity for us to catch up, rant and generally kick back and relax...until I bring up top 5s. It gets some quite intense discussion going, i.e. we argue. When I say 'argue' I really do mean argue. I ask for ideas for lists and then one of us makes a suggestion and then BANG! It's all on, complete with finger-stabbing gestures, protests lodged, personal fouls, titles boo-ed, impassioned speeches and, eventually, agreements reached - always with much laughter and hilarity in the end. This particular list was subjected to that same 'rigorous' (and I use that term very loosely) process before being pronounced complete. It is my pleasure to present to you our list of top 5 films with memorable quotes.
"Feelings are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place."
- Judith Wright
Sometimes the way I react to books isn't necessarily about how well-written or solid the storyline is. More often than not it's to do with how the book makes me feel or what kind of reaction it evokes. For example, Andrew Davidson's 'Gargoyle' was exceptionally well-written and yet it didn't move me. I admired the skill and the talent it took to write the novel but had no feeling or empathy whatsoever for the characters involved. I saw myself more as an interested observer. Then, earlier this year, I read 'The arrival' by Shaun Tan and immediately felt like I had a personal connection to the story, which is weird because I'm NZ Maori and this is my homeland. I know no other country, unlike the father who sets off to make a home for his family to join him. There's no rhyme or reason or even method to my madness, I only know that there are definite books I don't enjoy other than in a technical sense. There are also titles I hope to never read again in their entirety. My reasons are nothing to do with logic and all about my own personal prejudice and bias...and the top 5 of those are listed below.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
"What is the use of a book', thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
- Lewis Carroll
I was reading the Top 5 animated family flicks that bear repeat viewing post, and this comment struck a chord with me:
“Shrek is deservedly an animated classic, with not only a great plot but so many tiny in-jokes and sly digs that happily shoot over the heads of small kids and score a hit with parents.”
Not only is that absolutely true, but it made me think about how there are some really awesome picture books that the same could be said about.
"Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but is hardly suitable for delicate boys."
Soccer madness has taken hold of the world. I don't understand it - the madness fever or the game itself - but I do appreciate the skill and drive of the players involved. As I sit here typing this intro Danielle is saying, 'That's right, Tosca, alienate our fan base.' Hah!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Top 5 urban fantasy/paranormal romance male vampires who make Edward Cullen look like a lightweight with fangs
"I am a big fan of vampires. I've always been obsessed with the genre, and the beautiful romanticism and erotic kind of nature of the immortal being, the undead who lives on human blood."
- Alex O'Loughlin
I'm not a Twilight fan. In fact, most days I'd rather gouge out my own eyeballs with a teaspoon than face the Twilight phenomena. The only thing I thank them for is that they brought youth into the libraries in droves. La Meyer must be commended for that. And the marketing machine behind the Twilight hype - curse you and clever you at one and the same time.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Paul is the very quirky editor of our Science Fiction newsletter. If you haven't yet read one of his issues you really, really are in for a hoot! They're irreverent, fun and chocker block full of book goodness ;) Danielle (editor of the Fantasy newsletter) and myself (editor of the Romance newsletter) have offered to 'guest edit' a Sci-Fi issue and then sat back and smirked as the curses started. Paul has this terrible idea we would overrun it with half-naked men and unicorns. You know...he may well be right!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
"It's a strange world."
- Elijah Snow (character from Warren Ellis Planetary series)
Cyberpunk science fiction - what is it? Simply put, cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction. If you're anything like me that still leaves you with a 'What the...?' kinda feeling. The term was originally coined in the early 80s (yes, the era of legwarmers, banana clips and Square Pegs) and is a mix of low life, pop culture and high tech - think of hackers & artificial intelligence in the post-dystopias of the near-future (thanks Wikipedia). The titles below were ones that featured in one of Paul's NextReads science fiction newsletters. Since that list went out we have actually found a few more (thanks to The Cyberpunk Project website) which have been added as an 'Honourable mention below'.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.
- Julia Child
The ever lovely Rachel has submitted a list of her top 5 foodbooks. Rachel regularly reviews for our website and is as passionate about books as she is about cooking and this enthusiasm comes through quite clearly in a lot of her foodie book reviews. If you've never read her literary criticisms of our books then you're in for a treat - they are in turns thoughtful, hilarious, evocative, provocative and, most of all, downright entertaining. Enjoy :)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
- Tessa Dare
The next time I blithely state in a Romance E-interviews newsletter that I'll post one romance Top 5 list per day for a full week, somebody kick me :) It's hard work, this imagining!
Historical romance - consider it: carriages, corsets, high society, dashing heroes, décolletage, rakehells, witty repartee, gaslight, parlour room drama, intrigue and scandal. Reputations were made and lost at the turn of a card. What you said wasn't important so much as how you said it. The good will of the ton accounted for much. Marriages were matches of standing rather than matches of affection and passion. Historical romance covers often belie the social conventions and mores of the time - they are lush, seductive, vivid in colour, passionate (for something so still), evocative and, sometimes, downright scandalous looking. It's the contradiction that probably gets my attention.
"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."
~ P.J. O'Rourke
The wonderful Natalie told me what our top 5 most requested titles were for May 2010. Two of them I expected (numbers 2 and 1) and the other 3 - seriously, what are you people reading? Kidding! Is there something slightly strange about us wanting to share what other people are requesting? Absolutely. Does that make you slightly voyeuristic for wanting to see what your fellow bibliophiles are reading? Sure does :) Enjoy.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
- from a list of funny 'Love' quotes by kids
Caution: reading these books may cause extreme blushing. You have been warned!
Ok, so the post opens with a love quote about a dog licking your face so it can only get better right? I mean, I'm not about to list books that involve dodgy and illegal acts with animals because EWW. So you can relax, now. What I am going to list, though, are the 5 best (or worst, depending on your point of view) of the raciest romance reads to cross my desk all week. And geez do I see heaps (and call it 'research' - all in the name of work). The reason for the dog/love quote is because 3 of the titles listed below feature shape shifters as the heroes. In fact, they're all lions. Kings of the jungle. Rowwwrrrrr! And I couldn't find a cat/love quote, so there.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.”
- Henry Ward Beecher
The first day of the month is my favourite book day ever. Totally geeky and totally true. Why? It's the day our new books lists are posted to the website and if there's one thing I absolutely heart much, it's new books. The minute that Natalie says they're up I'm pretty much not worth talking to for a half hour or so. I pore over every list looking for books whose titles and blurbs catch my eye. The highlight of this session are the giggles I get out of the some of the Mills & Boon titles and descriptions. I groan and giggle and yell at the computer screen (all of Digital Services and half of Cataloguing can attest to this fact) and generally mutter 'What the...?' lots. It's a beautiful relationship LOL
"Film lovers are sick people."
- Francois Truffaut
The fabulous Natalie (yes, Natalie of our Star Wars top 5 list fame) was knee deep in reports today, being the first of the month, and very kindly gave me our top 5 most requested books that are also movies. 'Cause we're caring/sharing people (go on, you know we are!) we've posted it here for all to enjoy. Is it just me or are the first 4 titles all girly books that are guaranteed tearjerkers? Where applicable we've also posted the link to the film :) YAY! Thanks, Natalie, for grabbing the titles.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Earlier in May I posted a list called 'Top 5 romance titles with awesome-istic half-naked men on the covers: Team Chest.' It was, in short, my own version of Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan's 'Team Chest' book covers list - romance covers that feature the male chest, the whole male chest and nothing but the male chest. This time up I'm posting my 'Team Back' list :)
"RJ: Loads of food! Heaps of food! Food out the wazoo!
Verne: Well, you know, whatever kind of food comes out of a wazoo, I really don't think we're interested in eating."
If you have small children, and they find a film they like, then chances are you'll be watching it over. And over. And over. Again. Fortunately, film-makers these days seem to excel at making family-friendly tales that not only enchant small children with their bright colours, fun animation and cute stories, but give parents enough sly humour and smart characterisation to get by on your ninth, your tenth, your happily-ever-after umpteenth viewing! Note: this is a non-Pixar list, since Pixar pretty much deserve their own Top 5!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
"Honey, have you ever seen a man knitting socks?"
- Ezer Weizman
Ramola lists her Top 5 baby knitting books and, even better, these are all titles that she has used patterns from. You can't get a better staff recommendation than that!
Compiled by Tosca
"If you can see the magic in a fairytale, you can face the future."
- Danielle Steel
My mum read fairytales to my siblings and myself as children and, as a result, I am a longtime fan of Hans Christian Andersen's stories. Even though they were desperately sad. Heck, maybe because they were so desperately sad. Kalani, however, enjoys fairytales with happier endings - even if someone has to smooch a slimy, pond dwelling creature to get there! His favourite teacher, Miss Damon, has been reading fairytales to the class over the last couple of months and these are Kalani's favourites. Complete with unedited comments. Two stories have wolves, one has a sneaky blonde, one features a giant and one sees a princess playing kissy face with a frog. All, as Kalani has pointed out, live happily ever after (unless you're a giant, or a wolf...). Feel free to leave your own Top 5 fairytales as a comment - or even your own favourite Hans Christian Andersen tales :)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
- 'Beautiful' by Fur Patrol
Putting this list together I have realised 2 things about myself. I am either a stalker from way back in the day OR (and this option I like better) I really enjoy music. So much so that of the 5 musicians/bands listed below, I have seen 4 live. Some of them multiple times - in fact, Fur Patrol, Elemeno P and Stellar* I probably chased all around the North Island. I would blush but who'm I kidding? I have no shame! These guys were that good I wanted to see and hear them over and over again. I imagine a lot of it had to do with where I was/who I was at that point in time. Listening to them recently leaves me with a rather bittersweet feeling of nostalgia for that version of me, and a reminder of exceptional friends, good times, awesome road trips, great parties and a general feeling that the world was waiting to be explored. Music has that effect.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A long time ago, in a galaxy not that far away, The Empire Strikes Back was released in movie theatres. 30 years ago this month, in fact. If this list makes you feel nostalgic for some Skywalker family drama, Manukau Libraries will let you borrow a copy. Just don't fail us by not bringing it back, because some of our librarians have turned to the Dark Side.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"Yeah? Well, I'm the Lord of time!"
- Doctor Who (as played by David Tennant), from 'The girl in the fireplace,' series 2, volume 2
Kalani, my 6 year old nephew, is a Doctor Who fanatic. He has seen every Eccleston, Tennant and, more recently, Smith episode. There are, however, only 5 he likes to watch over and over again. Lately, he has been making noises about being allowed to watch my Torchwood discs. That definitely ain't gonna happen anytime soon. I'm not prepared to talk to him about the adult themes. Ever ;) Kalani's reasons for each of his choices are his own and are unedited - which you can probably tell by the excessive use of exclamation marks.
Do you have a favourite Doctor Who episode? If so, leave us a comment and tell us what it is :)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."
- Victor Huge
At the beginning of May we sent an email around to all library staff asking for Top 5 list recommendations to celebrate NZ Music Month. Bridie submitted her list - which you see here before you today - and that's pretty gosh darn amazing considering she herself doesn't work for us, her mum does :) How cool is that?
Enjoy Bridie's list!
"The hardest people to convince they are at retirement age are children at bedtime."
- Shannon Fife
This fun list was submitted by the lovely Margaret and is just perfect for parents, caregivers and guardians who have children that do not like bedtime (I think I was one of these children).
Thank you, Margaret :) If you have a book you think fits this list just right, simply leave your suggestion as a comment.
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
- Leopold Stokowski
This 'Top 5 NZ albums and artists' list was sent to us by Rachael, who writes: I don’t really listen to music without analysing it, I can’t help it, I like music better when a lot is happening. Adeaze and Katchafire top my NZ music list, both have a lot of vocals and hamonies, they keep my listening ear trained by giving me the chance to find every voice/harmony and sing it. Katchafire also has a great range of percussion instruments, I try to hear and listen to every instrument from the voices down to the cabasa. Fly My Pretties is very Kiwi, great to really listen to, lots of different instrument and voice combinations. Hollie Smith and Fat Freddy’s are good for chillaxing with.
So...kick back and enjoy Rachael's NZ Music Month list :)