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.