Monday, May 31, 2010

Top 5 romance titles with man-tastic covers: Team Back

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
- Anonymous

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 :)

Top 5 animated family flicks that bear repeat viewing

List by Danielle
"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

Top 5 baby knitting books

List by Ramola

"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!

Top 5 fairytales

List by Kalani
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

Top 5 NZ female alternative musicians I most want to be

"You are the best thing that's happened to me since I fell on my face on Tuesday..."
- '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

Top 5 scenes in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

List by Natalie

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

Top 5 favourite Doctor Who episodes

List by Kalani
Compiled by Tosca

"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 :)

Top 5 NZ albums

List by Bridie

"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!

Top 5 picture books for kids who don't like bedtime

List by Margaret

"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.

Top 5 NZ albums and artists

List by Rachael

"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 :)

Top 5 most requsted teen graphic novels series for May 2010

List by Debra

"That pompous phrase (graphic novel) was thought up by some idiot in the marketing department of DC. I prefer to call them Big Expensive Comics."
- Alan Moore

Today's list is courtesy of Debra who is one of our Collection Services Librarians. Debra is the fantastic person who orders for our teen collections. And a wonderful job she does! So Debs - here's your suggested 'Top 5 most requested teen graphic novels series for May 2010' :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Top 5 country music biographies

List by Tosca

“Country music has always been the best shrink that 15 bucks can buy.”
- Dierks Bentley

For as long as I can remember I have loved country music. There's something both haunting and plaintive about this fusion of Celtic, gospel and folk music. Thanks (or no thanks) to my dad and his weird taste in sounds, whether it was American country music or New Zealand country music, you could guarantee it had lots of airtime in our household. A lot of friends (and siblings, truth be told) will wince because, traditionally, the music has been of the 'my dog died, my girl ran away with my best friend, my car's broken down and I can't afford to fix it' variety, which is a huge part of what I enjoyed. Some of it's so silly you've just gotta like it. And some of the artists are so talented that I'm amazed more people don't listen. Somewhere along the way, though, my tastes branched out into bluegrass and zydeco but my first love was country, and a girl never forgets her first love.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Top 5 gardening books

List by Barbara

"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses."
- Hanna Rion

Barbara and I worked together for four and a half years and, during that time, she would make the most gorgeous arrangements for our front desk using materials from her own garden. Customers couldn't help themselves - they'd constantly be touching, smelling or commenting on the ever changing variety. A lot of them, like me, would wonder what a visual feast her gardens must be. Sometimes she'd bring in lots of different fruits - something new each season - and leave them for staff to take home. I never saw the same plant or flower twice in all those years, which made me curious about how big the gardens were. With a recommendation like that, how can you go wrong using her top 5 gardening books?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Top 5 music cds

List by Kalani (6 year old nephew)

"Children learn to talk by experimenting and listening; they can learn to make music by experimenting and listening - unless we stop them!"
- Emma D. Sheehy

Kalani is my 6 year old nephew. Although an only child, he has numerous aunts and uncles who all love music. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this means his music tastes are rather odd for his age. First and foremost he is a diehard Michael Jackson fan (to the point where he copies his moves - rather badly, I must admit). He also gets excited by Tenacious D, The Wiggles, Beyoncé, Elvis Presley, Jonas Brothers, Johnny Cash, The Hooley Dooleys and lots more. Getting him to narrow his favourite artists down to a selection of 5 was easier than I thought it would be. Too easy! So much so that I'd probably be tempted to raid his mind again for more Top 5 ideas. The hard part was getting him to sshh long enough to write it all down.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top 5 graphic novels for horror readers

List by Danielle

'I love fantasy. I love horror. I love musicals. Whatever doesn't really happen in life is what I'm interested in. As a way of commenting on everything that does happen in life, because ultimately the only thing I'm really interested in is people.'
~ Joss Whedon

Sitting in that perfect (crawl)space between good horror fiction and a good horror movie; graphic novels (comics, manga, call them what you will), when done well, can give you an almost cinematic sense of movement and sound, as well as all the pleasures of the deftly-chosen written word. Or, y'know... a double-paged spread of exploding bugs and some new fodder for your next nightmare.

Top 5 paranormal romance series

List by Tosca

"I'd said it before and meant it: Alive or undead, the love of my life was a badass."
- Richelle Mead's 'Blood Promise'

Psychics, weres and vamps...oh my!

Paranormal romance is an extremely popular subgenre of romance fiction that is predominantly popular with women. Why are they a best seller? Possibly it has something to do with the sexy alpha males (in most cases literal alpha male werewolves), witty male/female dynamics, relationships, politics (yes, they have politics in romance stories), happy endings, humour, escapism and, perhaps, because it's not totally real. What are you likely to find in such a book? Psychics, ghosts, witches, vampires, shapeshifters, demons, extraterrestrials and time travel.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top 5 NZ reggae bands

List by Tosca

"My music will go on forever. Maybe it's a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever."
- Bob Marley

My parents have very eclectic music tastes. I say that in a slightly accusatory way but I'm wholly serious. You were just as likely to hear Peter, Paul and Mary as you were Anita Ward, Kid Creole & the Coconuts or Yvonne Elliman. Bob Marley's music was a constant in our home while growing up. I was fortunate in that my parents ensured I heard not just his music but also his beliefs, his philosophies and his politics. I was 14 when I realised that I much preferred his very early recordings, the sort of stuff he produced before he went mainstream. If you've only ever listened to his later stuff I encourage you to make the effort to try some of his early music - it has a really distinct sound. When Bob Marley died in 1981 I was only 5 years old, but thanks to my parents I understood the huge impact he had on New Zealand's own music scene. His music wasn't just a bunch of notes put together - I learnt that it could be political and it could tell histories. Perhaps it was no wonder, then, that indigenous people identified so strongly with his songs of exodus, of redemption, of Jah and of dispossession.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Top 5 books about books

List by Lorraine

Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion...
- Anne Rice

Lorraine has very kindly submitted her Top 5 lists of books...about books!

Top 5 old-school animated classics for the family

List by Danielle

Look for the bare necessities / the simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife...
~ Baloo, the Jungle Book (1967)

As road-tested on pre-schoolers! If you're getting tired of the glossy geometry and smooth surfaces of modern 3-D characters, and the hefty doses of morality, education and behavioural lessons, kick back and enjoy some of our older offerings... guaranteed to include catchy soundtracks inspired by jazz, scat, country and folk music, rip-roaring villains who made evil look sexay, and the kind of friendships between kids and animals that will make your under fives go awwwww... can we get a bear, mummy?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 5 fantasy gods I wouldn't want to worship

List compiled by Danielle

'He is called The Nameless one because even to imagine his name is to become his creature.'
Retrieved from
(Mythology of Raymond E. Feist's world, Midkemia)

Another list that has had to be culled due to over-abundance of choices! Thanks to all those who 'guest-posted' to this list, your (evil) chocolate fish are in the mail!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Top 5 Counties-Manukau bands/musicians

List by Tosca

"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
- Leopold Stokowski

This is my nod to NZ Music Month. I had to keep in the back of my mind that this list had to be based on items we already have in our collections. I think that made it more challenging. Or hard, depending on which way you look at it.

My family are music mad - you either sing or play an instrument. Only one of us can do neither and, being profoundly deaf, he chooses to express his musical ability in another way and writes some pretty fierce lyrics. It seems like we've always had music in one way or another and, much like our family only on a much wider scale, the Counties Manukau area has always had music, too. Because of that I've certainly never been short of good sounds.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Top 5 favourite books recommended by Natalie's mum

List by Mrs. Waters (Natalie's mum)

"A book that is shut is but a block."
- Thomas Fuller

Natalie's mum, Mrs. Waters, has chosen her top 5 favourite books in our libraries, all of which happen to be about quilting and textiles.

Top 5 lingering horrors

List by Danielle

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."
- The haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved reading horror. Earliest creepy memories? 'Bears in the night', the scariest and most nearly wordless of the Berenstain Bears' adventures, and 'The strange disappearance of Arthur Cluck', which had a (then) terrifying night-fight in a barn with an unknown assailant (rat vs owl, in case you were wondering). Then on through night-terrors about General Woundwort (Richard Adams' 'Watership Down'), well-worn Alfred Hitchcock short story paperpacks from the school library, and one memorable night when I had to put 'The Shining' in the laundry because I couldn't sleep with it in my room. Ah, those were the days. Now, I have to convince my three year old that there is, in fact, no monster under the bed, despite not being able to reach down and pick up anything that falls into that dubious area late at night...

Top 5 romance titles with awesome-istic half-naked men on the covers: Team Chest

List by Tosca

“Men are like pumpkins. It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.”
- Author unknown

Is this the reason why recent romance novels do not feature men with actual heads on the covers?? I edit our monthly library Romance and Romance E-interview newsletters and they are both very enjoyable to work with. I'm given such leeway for poking fun of a genre that provides me with lots of amusement and hours of escapism. What's not to like about that? I get to read the best and the worst of romance titles, pester authors for interviews, review books and call it a job :)

Top 5 NZ albums

List by Corin (Digital Services, Manukau Libraries)

I listen to a lot of music with a strong British bent to my tastes. My formative years were the 80's when New Zealand music was very Flying Nun and I found a lot of this not to my taste. I have always been keen on lyric driven music with strong melody. I am a singer myself and I guess that is why it is important to me. However, I have collected Kiwi music over the years. With the broadening of the New Zealand music industry from the late 80's onwards, I have found plenty that I like and listen to. When compiling this list I set myself 3 criteria:

1) I must own the album;
2) It must be in the Manukau Libraries collection;
3) It must not be a compilation.

There are many names that would have vied to be in the list if they had been in the Manukau Collection, The Mockers, Stellar, Supergroove, to name just three. I have also just realised that all apart from GoldenHorse, hail from Christchurch. This is not intentional I assure you......So with these three rather resticting criteria in mind, here are my top 5 favourite Kiwi albums:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Top 5 doomed sci-fi romances (on film)

List by Danielle

'You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else.'
- Ellen Ripley, to the alien (Alien 3)

I love my sci-fi, but it's not kind to lovers... there were *way* too many candidates for this list. For every happy couple scampering off together into the sparkly space forest a la Avatar, there were a dozen couples torn cruelly asunder by aliens, gravity, space-crazed psycho killers or simply the cold, empty vaccuum of space ...

Top 5 Indie films

List by Manurewa Library + Elliot, compiled by Tosca

"I am an independent film-maker first and foremost. I have always cut my own cloth."
- Mira Nair

This list comes to you straight from the warped minds of Manurewa Library staff + Elliot (again with the + Elliot? Yes! Again with the + Elliot). After a lot of hand waving and accusatory gestures with forks and dessert spoons, they are (sort of) proud to present the titles that made the final cut.

Top 5 dvds featuring weddings

List by Tosca

"Wedlock or deadlock? That is the question!"
- Author unknown

I'm a commitment-phobe. If I even hear the word marriage I feel ill. And yet, for some reason, I was still surprised to realise that my top 5 list of wedding movies are all comedies. Some of them quite terrible ones, when you think about it. I mean, what's really so funny about a social misfit who constantly spends her lunchtimes dressing up in wedding dresses for an imaginary wedding? (Muriel's wedding). Eek! Love 'em or hate 'em here's my list.

Top 5 musicals on dvd

List by Jax Williams

"Oh, yeah, I love DVD's. I don't have what you'd call an extensive collection, maybe a couple of hundred or so. But I have something on almost all the time."
- David Fincher

Hard to choose just 5 - in the end I had to cut from my list:

After a lot of scribbling and crossing out here's my final list.

Our top 5 graphic novels

List by Manurewa Library + Elliot, compiled by Tosca

“So only my little brother, Pinek, came out from the war alive… from the rest of my family, it’s nothing left, not even a snapshot.”
- Vladek Spiegelman to his son Art in the graphic novel 'Maus'

It was my pleasure (or cross to bear, depending on how you look at it) to be privy to a rather intense discussion about graphic novels that would/wouldn't make a top 5 list. After much hilarity (involving dinner and dessert) you see below the end result as submitted by a mix of staff from Manurewa Library and Elliot.

My top 5 80s movies

List by Tosca (Digital Services, Manukau Libraries)

"You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal."
- The Breakfast Club (monologue delivered by Brian, as played by Anthony Michael Hall), 1985

Oh, the 80s! Who could forget them? Banana clips, tube socks, fluoro colours, the Rubiks cube, leg warmers, side ponytails, bubble skirts, perms, Bon Jovi, jump rope, Bros, elastics, ripped jeans...and some truly classic movies that epitomised the decade.

Below is my top 5 list of movies that, for me, capture the 80s in all their glorious badness, colour, life, energy and rebelliousness.

Top 5 titles my mum recommends

List by Kay Carter - compiled by Danielle
"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it." ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The shadow of the wind.

I asked my mum to come up with her most recent Top 5 recommendations to help us celebrate Mother's Day here at Manukau Libraries. After she'd given up trying to shoehorn 6 choices into her Top 5 (too many books to choose!), her current favourite recommendations are below.