Monday, February 28, 2011

Top 5 most looked at posts for February 2011

We've had a wonderfully eclectic mix of posts for February 2011 and, for those of you who are new readers, this is little more than a roundup of the most popular posts viewed this month. Weirdly, though, 2 are from last year. How odd!

Top 5 flicks from the back catalogues of today's Oscar nominees

'I live in Spain. Oscars are something that are on TV Sunday night. Basically, very late at night. You don't watch, you just read the news after who won or who lost. '
~ Javier Bardem

List by Danielle

I may not have seen most of this year's Oscar-nominated films - I might see one movie at the cinema every six months at the moment, if I'm very lucky, I swear it takes me that long to save up for the teeniest-weeniest popcorn and choc-top - but there are some great movie moments in the filmographies of the actors nominated this year. So instead of hocking an arm and a leg and going out to see the latest movies, I'm taking the chance to reacquaint myself with some old (and not so old) classics, courtesy of our DVD collection.

Top 5 things mum does to be as self-sufficient as possible

List by Tosca

"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie."
- William Shakespeare

About 3 or 4 years ago mum announced she wanted to move to Kaitaia (where her father is originally from) permanently. It caused some amount of concern. After all, why would anyone 'sane' give up the city for paddocks, livestock and gumboots? My parents are, currently, in Taipa which is a seaside town about 20 mins outside of Kaitaia and, after having been here for a few days I've not seen any cows or gumboots on mum's front lawn. I still question her sanity but this visit has given me a chance to see what the fuss is all about ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Top 5 DVDs I kid myself I'm actually going to have time to watch while on annual leave

List by Tosca

"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."
- Alfred Hitchcock

I'm on annual leave this coming week and I have a stack of cookbooks and fiction (romance, murder mysteries, historical fiction, steampunk etc.) to keep me more than amused. Between that and catching up with mum, seeing dad in hospital, visiting my grandaunts in Kaitaia (my mum's Ngai Takoto and that's where her dad's from), catching kaimoana and trying to soak up the sun (without catching sunstroke which I've never yet managed to do), I'm sure I'll have more than enough to do. But just in case I don't, I'm taking 5 DVDs with me. I sternly told myself that five was my limit and that none of them were allowed to be Supernatural season one, Supernatural season two, Supernatural season three, Supernatural season four or Supernatural season five. (My obsession with Dean and Sam Winchester borders on the obsessive/possessive). It was touch and go for a moment as to whether or not I'd cave and take them, anyway :) My final selection is a combination of movies and tv shows. I figure I'll try the first episode in each series, that way if I can't stand them then no harm no foul. Just a quick list.

Top 5 cookbooks with quick, simple and easy to prepare recipes that appeal to a terrible cook like me (that I stole off of Manukau Library's shelves)

List by Tosca

"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn."
- Garrison Keillor (I heart Garrison Keillor and couldn't stop snorting with laughter when I read this quote)

I'm not a great cook by any means. I like to cook and bake - I'm just not particularly good at it. My recipes never look like the ones in the book and I sometimes feel cheated when that happens but not enough to do anything about it and improve my somewhat meagre skills. I've lived on my own a couple of times and, each time, started out with the best of intentions and made an effort to eat proper sit down meals. Then, somewhere around the the 1 year mark of living single, I got brassed off with the effort of it all and resorted to eating tuna on vogel standing up at the kitchen sink or, much worse, potato crisp sandwiches *guilty look* Mum would come through about once a fortnight or so and, as mums do, ask if I was eating well and peek through my cupboards. I looked like a model daughter and she never knew (well, she will when she reads this post) that the reason my cupboards were so well stocked was because I never opened them. Eep. I adore cooking shows. Anyone who knows me will know that I quite happily waste away a Saturday combining cooking shows with online work. I have favourite chefs who make it all look so effortless - THE LIARS :) This year (well, this coming month, anyway - I always start out with the best of intentions...and get sidetracked) I've decided to start give cooking a proper go and start with some simple-ish, quick and easy to prepare meals. Easy for me which is probably baby steps for all of you. So I raided Manukau Library. Again. And grabbed five cookbooks that I think fit this category. Nobody hollered at me during this visit (btw the staff member concerned read the post I wrote - because I flicked her the link - and laughed uproariously) so they're used to me sneaking in and out with an armload of books each time. I've also included my five favourite recipes from each book although there's no rhyme or reason to how I chose them. Bon appetit!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top 5 books I spotted on Manukau Library's display shelf that staff hollered at me to put back

List by Tosca

"Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own."
- William Hazlitt

We've recently re-located and are now settling in to the new building on Osterley Way and it's pretty but oh! I miss the cataloguing team :( And if I'm honest I'll admit that I miss the new books trolley just as much. For the last two and a half years it had been my pleasure (and probably their burden) to sit over the wall from cataloguing staff where, I assure you, every day there was like my own personal Christmas. I miss them. And I feel slightly guilty that I so easily look to Manukau Library (on the floor below me) to take their place...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

5 books from Manukau Library that I hope will help explain earthquakes to a child and provide ideas for helping

List by Tosca

I, along with the rest of the nation, have spent a good part of the last 24+ hours scouring the internet for snippets of news and updates about the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that affected Christchurch yesterday afternoon. It should not have been a surprise, then, that my nephew Kalani - or Mr. 7 as I call him - came home bursting with questions about earthquakes and volcanoes. And was. So we set some time aside last night to talk about what he knew about earthquakes already, what he'd been told by his teacher and what was actually happening in Christchurch right now. Thanks to numerous online news clips we were able to see how things really are. It left Kalani feeling anxious and concerned - he kept stroking the screen in sympathy - and led to his asking some very technical questions about how earthquakes happen. It left me feeling appalled and saddened and teary eyed. It also made me realise how unprepared I was to discuss seismology with a child and that if I expect him to understand anything about it I need to refresh my own knowledge. Thanks to Manukau Library I now have a selection of books to look over with Kalani that should, hopefully, answer a lot of questions. Last night I wasn't in a frame of mind to build on his initial questions and encourage him to think of ways in which he and I can help the people of Christchurch so tomorrow night that's what we're going to do - list ways we can help and then actually put them into action. I'd imagine it was a lot for a 7 year old mind to process just before bedtime - it was a lot for me to process and I'm 35 - and so it was a very sombre pyjama-clad boy who said to me: 'I'm glad I'm safe but I'm so very, very sorry for Christchurch.' So am I.

Ordinarily my lists proclaim themselves to be the 'Top 5' of anything and are, more often than not, tongue-in-cheek. Today, I'm simply listing 5 books that I'm hoping will tell me how to explain what happened and provide a 7 year old with some ideas for how we can help.

Otautahi: nga whakaaro aroha me nga inoi atu ki a koutou katoa.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top 5 romance novel covers with hairy chests

List by Annie

"What's with you men? Would hair stop growing on your chest if you asked directions somewhere?"
- Erma Bombeck

So, what do you prefer in your romance heroes? Hair or no hair on their chests? Yep, there are guys out there who are naturally hairless. Oh, and some supes, too – elves for instance. (Legolas with hair doesn’t bear thinking about.) What I can’t get are the hairless shapeshifters. Surely, if you turn into a wolf / bear/ tiger / panther (whatever) part of the time, you’d have chest hair while human?! One of my workmates dared mention ‘the boy from Twilight’ – my reply – ‘BOY! I’m not talking about BOYS!’ Oh yes, the search for these covers led to some interesting discussions in the workroom, and voting on covers – ‘Is that chest hair, or just a shadow?’ and ‘Yeah, there’s hair, but it’s not like it's Burt Reynolds, is it?’ After hunting on the shelves, I saw one cover – with chest hair – that has completely traumatised me. I can’t even remember which shelf it was on, it was so bad. Usually I don’t mind hanging out in the romance section, checking out covers – and sniggering where appropriate – but this cover left me feeling sullied. I swear, the only reason I figured out the figure on the left was the hero was the chest hair. NOTHING else gave it away. While on a roll here, how many barbarian lords would have had perfectly hairless, i.e. waxed, chests! Hmph. Just the right amount of chest hair means he’s a real man, doesn’t it? (I’m not talking Burt Reynolds, or hairy backs or other such icky things.) Damn fashion.

Herewith, my top 5 covers with chest haired guys...

Honourable mention:
  • The lost duke of Wyndham / Julia Quinn - I love most Quinn novels, this one I’m a bit undecided on.

  • Monday, February 14, 2011

    Top 5 reasons to LIKE Auckland Libraries on Facebook

    List by Tosca

    "My oven has a button that says 'Stop Time'. I know it's probably supposed to say 'Stop Timer', but I don't touch it, just in case."
    - Facebook status update (not mine but I wish it were because it's so full of WIN)

    Auckland Libraries has a Facebook page. It's true - we do :) When I emailed all of the family I've ever known (and some I've never known) and asked them to check it out and click 'LIKE' if they support it, one of my siblings said, 'Why should I? Give me one good reason why I should.' I've always been a sucker for a challenge and 'Oneupmanship' is my middle name (ok, so it's not, but maybe it should be), and so a top 5 list was born. Here are 5 reasons to LIKE Auckland Libraries on Facebook.

    Honourable mention:
  • You'll get to bump in to any one of the funny, witty and talented staff who will be responsible for updating the Facebook page - not that I'm biased :) You'll get to virtually meet Anne, Jo, Rachel, Sean and Tosca
  • Tosca's typos and oddball sense of humour - either a wonder to behold or something to fear (I'm not sure which)

  • Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Top 5 titles foraged from the processing trolleys (9 February 2011)

    List by Danielle

    'Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.'
    ~ Christopher Morley

    This post is to salute the tireless efforts of all of the cataloguers, processors and acquisitions librarians out there - or, as one of them describes the profession, 'de-confusers'. Thank you to those women - without you there would be no searchable library catalogue, no New Books list, and no NextReads to fill my 'to-be-read' shelves!

    Today is my last day working in a shared office with our local team of 'de-confusers', and while I will miss the trolleys of shiny new books, CDs and DVDs that trail them like delicious chocolate boxes of fresh treats, I will miss those hardworking ladies even more. Even though we are moving to the exciting new Manukau Library and Research Centre - we will miss you so much!

    Top 5 2010 reads

    List by 99shelby

    Some people have dogs. Not me. I have a therapist. I'd rather have a dog.
    From 'Last night I sang to the monster', Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

    This is a guest post by my good buddy 99shelby, who, like me, skims the cream off the Teen NextReads eNewsletter each month and has found plenty of good reads to keep her going in 2010. From teen novels that deal with some serious issues but aren't afraid to make you laugh, to complete candyfloss for the brain (and the odd paranormal twist), have a go at one of these gems.

    Top 5 horror movie endings

    List by Danielle

    I think in the case of horror, it's a chance to confront a lot of your worse fears and those fears usually have to do, ironically, with powerlessness and isolation.
    ~ Adam Arkin

    Horror endings can be occasions for great cheesiness. I've just finished a debut horror novel that I enjoyed - right up to the ending, which made me roll my eyes, as the seemingly-defeated Big Bad came back for one last "Boo!" in an all-too-predictable epilogue.
    Think you've killed the ghost, Mr Hero? Oh no, look at the glowing eyes and sinister smirk, it has possessed the neighbour's bunny at the last moment... just in time for the sequel!

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Top 5 China in Your Hands

    List by Annie

    "Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
    - Hal Borland

    It’s Chinese New Year – and how better to celebrate and acknowledge this event, than by reading some of these books set in China. Whether they’re historical or fantastic, they’re worth checking out.