Thursday, April 28, 2011

Top 5 books I nabbed from Auckland Central Library's nonfiction display shelves for quirky titles and/or covers

List by Tosca

I adore libraries. I live to raid their shelves for items I have never seen before because, in a nutshell, I love books. Big books, little books, old books, new books, heavy books, light books, tatty books, pristine books - if it's got pages I'll read it. And smell it. And stroke it. And, if it moves me in some way, I'll probably dog ear its pages, too. Some people tell me that my love of books is incredibly naive and sweet and those people I happily ignore. Yesterday, between meetings, I had 15 mins to nip down to the second level of Auckland Central Library and look for ideas for a top 5 post. I'm fatally attracted to display shelves - my goldfish attention span is never more happy than when presented with row upon row of display books. The 'Supernatural' fanfic-reading girlish part of me SQUEEs with delight. The grown-up half of me wants to assure you that I walked around calmly while carefully choosing books. We all know that wasn't the case. A few students darted away from me whenever I lunged madly for books and I know I startled a couple of staff members when my sense of humour got the best of me and I snorted/laughed at a few titles and covers. I won't apologise for my enthusiasm. Books are serious business :) Here's a list of what I ended up with, in the order I think they deserve to be in, and I most certainly look forward to my next visit there! (Run, hide...)

Honourable mention:
  • Science without the boring bits : cranks, curiosities, crazy experiments and wild speculation by Ian Crofton




  • Everyday dada / Sian Bonnell
    Culinary confusion abounds in an absurd reality of the everyday.

    Tosca's comment: Dada with food. Mr 7 would have been tickled pink by the pictures in this book and would have waited until I was asleep before trying them out with any and all food in our cupboard. I'm sure I would've awoken to wheatmeal/whitebread squares all over the kitchen floor. I was equal parts amused (the child inside of me clapped its hands in delight) and appalled (the sane being my mother raised couldn't believe someone would waste food in this way).

    Bedfords : Kiwi style / Wayne Stevenson
    This book is a photographic celebration of the numerous Bedfords New Zealanders have owned and loved. From day one, Bedfords were quickly put to work in New Zealand. They were the backbone of many industries of the day - on the roads, land, farms, and wharves; in the forests, factories, towns and cities.

    Tosca's comment: The Eagles! Bedfords (the automobile), in my mind, spell freedom. I equate them with open roads, blue skies, no ties and wanderlust - not because it is or isn't true. More because I misheard a lyric from an Eagles song as a child and it forever stuck. The line I thought I heard was 'It's a girl, my lord, in a flat Bedford...' when I think it was actually 'It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me...' By then the imagery had taken hold and so Bedfords - be they bus or van - have forever been cool to me. A pictorial book of Bedfords and New Zealanders that, really, serves to emphasise what I think of them already.

    The knitting man(ual) : 20+ projects for guys and the people who knit for them / Kristin Spurkland ; photographs by John Valls
    "Twenty-plus knitting patterns for men's clothing and accessories featuring a range of projects for knitters of all skill levels and reflecting a contemporary urban aesthetic"--Provided by publisher.

    Tosca's comment: You had me at 'The knitting man(ual).' Seriously, you did. I wasn't sure if the title meant knitting projects men can make themselves or knitting projects women can make for men. Then I opened the book and saw a guy with a tattoo of a skull with a skein of wool for hair (is 'skein' the right word? Do skulls have hair? Will I be forever short?) and knitting needles through it and had to take it home. Mum tried to teach me to knit. It was a total #fail. So I make lists of things that I want her to make me heh. The intro states that men were knitting in support of the war effort during World War II, which I never knew. I don't know men who knit. I'm wishing I did. I did think, though, that it'd have to be a certain kind of guy (alternative, geeky, couldn't care less what people thought of him) who could pull off wearing these items and making them look good.

    The coffee oracle / Stacey Demarco
    "Finally today’s coffee drinkers can use their favourite brew to reveal the future! At last oracle reading is not limited to the old-fashioned cuppas; cappuccinos, flat whites and even espressos can be read. Stacey Demarco’s handy guide to coffee reading is based on the wisdom of her Greek aunts who taught her to read a traditional cup as a young girl, and she has since expanded this medium to include the modern café culture. This book lists hundreds of common symbols that can be found in the foam, the crème or bottom of your cup. There are a variety of photos demonstrating the appearance of symbols, and the importance of their position. It’s an easy and fun reference book that can be enjoyed during the ritual of your morning coffee or whenever you need guidance. This book will take coffee drinking to another level and will be a great conversation starter amongst friends and work colleagues!" -- Publisher's description.

    Tosca's comment: You can read coffee the same way you do tea leaves. While I don't want to (never had my tea leaves read - did get my palm read in New Orleans at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street, does that count...?), this did tickle my funny bone. And make me thirsty for coffee.

    Every-thing that can happen in a day / David Horvitz
    "Artist David Horvitz knows how to transform the mundane details of everyday life into unexpected quirks that inspire people to action. Over the course of 2009 he posted a new initiative on his blog every single day, enjoining readers to follow his lead and insert some art into everyday life. The popular blog not only inspired people to act; they also documented their actions. Everything That Can Happen In A Day features some of Horvitz's favorite ideas as well as an astonishing array of images that document people following Horvitz's cues. From accompanying mail carriers on their routes to fast food restaurant Tai Chi, poetry readings in ATM kiosks and sticking your head in a freezer and photographing it, this book serves as an excellent source for making sure that on any given day nothing feels ordinary."--Publisher description.

    Tosca's comment: I want to take a photograph of my head inside a freezer and upload this photo to the internet with the tag '241543903' so it appears alongside of all of the others. In amongst the possible ideas of what you can achieve in a day, there are some quite useful, thoughtful, odd, subversive, reflective and daft ones, too. Like: Spend an entire day not knowing what time it is; hold a public reading of Bradbury's 'All summer in a day'; find a comment fight on a YouTube video and read these comments with friends in an overly theatrical manner; cover up the sun with a finger.

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