Monday, October 31, 2011

Our top 5 most downloaded eBooks

List by Tosca

We have eBooks! You might know this already from an earlier October post in which I wrote about being a bloodless nerd and highlighted some fabulous arts and crafts eBooks. In that same post I mentioned that it was a relatively simple 4 step check out process to get you started and a few people scoffed. Scoffed, I tell you! And so, below the jump you'll find a quick rundown of the instructions you'll need. And remember - you can email me if you get stuck! On with today's list which is, simply, a roundup of our top 5 most downloaded eBooks :)

Honourable mention, i.e. Next 5 on the list:
  • After the kiss by Karen Ranney - historical romance, fiction
  • Brazen virtue by Nora Roberts - contemporary romance, fiction
  • Blink : the power of thinking without thinking - education, history, nonfiction by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Bedding the heiress by Cathy Maxwell - historical romance, fiction
  • Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis complex - junior fiction, science fiction and fantasy. by Eoin Colfer

  • Top 5 TV shows to watch with the lights out

    List by Danielle

    "You know, there's no version of this that ends well."
    ~ Danny, Harper's Island

    Happy Halloween, everyone! I don't think we've quite got Halloween figured out in New Zealand. It feels like we're never quite sure whether we get into trick-or-treating or not, and a lot of the costumes the neighborhood kids show up in are a bit of a half-hearted and embarrassed plea for free goodies, but I wasn't the only person buying up large in the pick-and-mix choccy aisle at the supermarket yesterday. There's a 'Festival of Light' happening at a local church (to offset the celebration of darkness), but my three year old went to daycare today dressed as his favourite hero, Sonic the Hedgehog, complete with spiked and spray-painted blue hair, makeshift blue pointy ears and his fastest running shoes. There, he was celebrating the day with about a gazillion pink fairy princesses, a couple of Disney princesses and a lone Spiderman. No zombies, no vampires, and no witches (unless you count the teachers - and no, I'm not being nasty, the teachers actually dressed as witches this morning).

    That said, I think there's plenty of room for celebration of all things spooky amongst consenting adults, so here are my top picks for TV shows to watch in the dark, or maybe by the gently flickering light of your pumpkin lantern...

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Top 5 cooking challenges for the fearless kitchen explorer

    List by Danielle

    Fervet olla, vivit amicitia: While the pot boils, friendship endures.
    ~ Latin proverb

    I love cooking, and I specially love trying something new (something I may not even be able to predict the taste of), but I haven't had much time or energy to explore in the kitchen lately. To see if I can revive that sense of play, I've come up with some challenges to try out with the help of our cookbook collection, which is fully awesome and expanding rapidly (don't believe me? check the mammoth new cookbooks lists in the New Titles lists each month!). From scary random-number recipes (jellyfish! argh!) to special treats for your family and friends, there might be something here that gives you the kick to try something a little different in the kitchen!

    Top 5 kiddie-friendly scary movies Mr. 7 and I are considering for our Halloween movie marathon

    List by Tosca

    "Any horror element is as much psychological as special effects."
    - Christopher Eccleston (who is, incidentally, Mr. 7's 2nd most favourite Doctor Who)

    Every Halloween I stage a scary movie marathon. This year I had tentatively planned a gore-nography fest with, well, probably very little in the way of plot but bucket loads of blood and guts splattered all over the screen. If there happens to be a little romance along the way then so much the better (because people fall in love over splattered brains, right?). And if there's no romance I'd at least like for there to be one or two survivors who walk away from their experience a little wiser, a little stronger, and probably somewhat traumatised for the rest of their cinematic lives. I've had to change my plans slightly to take Mr. 7's tastes into account because he'll be joining me for the first part of the journey and then, after his bedtime, I'll be finishing it on my own. I've got 5 movies lined up that he has never seen before and so, later this week, we'll haggle over which one (or two) he could/should watch. There's no rhyme or reason to my selection except that they're a combination of movies that I've enjoyed in previous years with the older nephews or that are more (or a little bit less) appropriate for his age. He's a Doctor Who fan (oh! the tears we cried together during Tennant's The End of Time) so he's seen quite an array of scary-ish creatures already, but by the same token I don't want to psychologically scar him with something like Sleepy Hollow, either (even though I *loved* that). I think I've settled on a good mix, although I won't know for sure until the actual movie night.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Top 5 kids' cookbooks I couldn't walk past

    List by Tosca

    There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
    - George Bernard Shaw in Man and Superman

    Once upon a time, Mr. 14 and Mr. 12 and I used to bake a lot. Then, after a day that ended in pony cookies with legs missing and tears and shortbread dough up the wall (don't ask - we still don't talk about that day 7 years later) we never spent time cooking together again. Mr. 7, on the other hand, LOVES it. For some reason, we get along okay in the kitchen. Admittedly, he complains that I don't let him do more on his own but, other than that, he doesn't mind my 'thing' for order/symmetry/even numbers and I don't mind that he talks nineteen to the dozen (apparently without needing to breathe). I was downstairs in Manukau Library picking up a couple of requests and had a sudden brainwave to raid their children's cookbooks section - 641.5 - and came away with the following books/recipes that I think Kalani and I could do together. Bon appetit :)

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    5 arts and crafts eBooks you may not know we have

    List by Tosca

    "It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd."
    ― Penelope Lively

    If you've not yet explored our downloadable eBooks and have been considering it, then how well-timed is this post? It's a relatively simple 4 step check out process that we can talk you through if you get a little bit stuck. You can send me an email if you need help and we'll get it sorted.

    I realised this morning that I've never really had an eBook top 5 list here which surprised me because I read ebooks. Lots of ebooks. I buy them from online sites such as Books on Board and Mobipocket. I also use our library's free downloadable media service, too. I've been on a bit of a crafts reading kick because I have such fun reading the titles. I like to imagine that I can make things, too, when really I'm quite hopeless. (I have a rich inner life, i.e. I live inside my head a little too much). As I was looking for a post quote I came across the one above by Penelope Lively (you can find the article here) that startled me a little. (You'll note, though, that I still used it). I don't own a Kindle. I do own ebooks. I also own physical books. I suspect that may not stop me from being one of the 'bloodless nerds.' And, truly, that's okay by me because I look at it like this: I live to read. So much so that you can, and will, pretty much find me reading anything (graphic novels, nonfiction, fiction, kids, teens, physical books, ebooks), anywhere (in queue, on buses, trains and planes, at weddings and in doctor's waiting rooms, etc.), at any time. How I'm reading isn't an issue for me. The fact that I'm reading at all - the fact that anyone is reading at all - is always cause for celebration in my book. I'm not at all precious about how people come to a love of books - be they in e-format or physical - so long as they do. I don't believe that ebooks are the death of the physical book. I never have done. I don't think it's meant to be a case of 'either/or.' I think it's about having more choices. If you're an ebook newbie I'm not going to push you into it and be all, 'OOH! OOH! OOH! You should *so* do it! You *should*!' I expect you'll do it when/if you're ready. And if this tempts you to do so, well, I'm not going to complain.

    So here's a post from one bloodless nerd to another: 5 arts and crafts eBooks you may not know we have :)

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Top 5 random display books from Manukau Library

    List by Tosca

    "What is more important in a library than anything else - than everything else - is the fact that it exists."
    - Archibald MacLeish, "The Premise of Meaning," American Scholar, 5 June 1972

    What is more important in a library is that I am able to get my hands on anything and everything that catches my interest for whatever awful reason - sense of humour, nostalgia, knowledge. I am forever raiding the downstairs library. No matter how many books I have on the go at any time (as of Friday I had something like 4 requests available for pickup, 21 on the way, 28 issued to my card) - I still think there's room for more. Or at least, that's what I tell myself just before I pop downstairs to steal books off their shelves. Today's list is a quick roundup of my latest batch of Oh-look!-Books!-I-gotta-have-them!-Need-them!-Want-them-now! that I borrowed from Manukau Library. And yes, that is how I talk out loud and in my head.

    Things you might want to know: You can turn on your reading history in My Info! It's a nifty little thing if you're the sort of reader who likes to keep track of everything they read. As a rule, I'm not, but occasionally I like to do a bit of a check and see how much I'm reading and how much of it is trashy/quality and whether or not I need to even it out a bit. To switch on your reading history:
    1. Log in to My Info with your barcode and PIN
    2. Under My Preferences click My Reading History
    3. Click the Opt In button

    My Info will now start keeping track of all physical items issued to your card from this point on. Give it a go :-)

    And now - the books!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Top 5 picture books with non-traditional illustrative styles

    List by Annie, Central Library

    'The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.'
    ~Paul Strand

    We're used to seeing picture books illustrated traditionally – you know, pen and ink, watercolour, oils, photos… Just like in non-book art, illustrators are branching out and playing with other media. What is interesting is seeing how well, or not, these 3D techniques translate to the 2D, flat image seen in a picture book page. That said, it can be difficult even with 'traditional' media to figure out what technique was used.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Top 5 most requested titles for September 2011

    List by Natalie and Tosca

    "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

    Kia ora and gidday! October has arrived, people :) Before I offer up our Goodies list - top 5 most requested titles for September 2011 - I want to take a few minutes to point out some new content on our library website that YOU WILL LOVE OR ELSE.

    Have you checked out our New Titles page, yet? It has, quite quickly, become my most favourite page on our entire website). Our new lists are updated monthly (the first day of every month, to be exact) and display over 100 categories of new adults, children and teens items. The lists consist of our newest books, CDs, DVDs, audio books, kids' material, large print, console games and non-English items. With such a wealth of new items to choose from you won't be disappointed. A big, Big, BIG thank you to Danielle, Julia and Natalie for all of the hard work that went into building these lists :) Try out the new section and let me know what you think of it!

    Did you know that we've added new sections to our website? Our Collections and services section contains four in-depth portals for our blogs, computers, kids, and Maori services.

    October is a very busy and exciting month that sees us celebrating Diwali, the Rugby World Cup 2011 and the school holidays. We're also hosting a number of author talks and presentations from personalities such as Margaret Pope, Spiro Zavos, Dr. Anna Sandiford, and John Dybvig. You can view all upcoming special events and regular programmes in the Events section of our website. Our What's On eNewsletter, edited by the wonderful Jo, provides a wonderful monthly summation of any and all upcoming events.

    On to the top 5 most requested titles for September 2011: teen spies, Gods of Olympus, a New Zealand television personality, a book-turned-film set in Mississippi and the latest Jack Reacher novel. Happy reading!

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Top 5 grassroots rugby pics from Footprints

    List by Danielle

    'Rugby football is a game I can't claim absolutely to understand in all its niceties, if you know what I mean. I can follow the broad, general principles, of course. I mean to say, I know that the main scheme is to work the ball down the field somehow and deposit it over the line at the other end and that, in order to squelch this programme, each side is allowed to put in a certain amount of assault and battery and do things to its fellow man which, if done elsewhere, would result in 14 days without the option, coupled with some strong remarks from the Bench.'
    ~ P. G. Wodehouse, Very good, Jeeves!

    Here for your perusal, may I present 5 of the very cool photos from our new online mini-exhibition, 'Celebrating our history of rugby'.

    As well as a selection of photos of local grassroots rugby, we've recently added over 1,000 new images into the Footprints online database, a record of historical images from the South Auckland and Counties-Manukau area. Many of these come to us from the fantastic back files of Fairfax Media and the Courier newspapers, as well as through the generosity of local photographers (and their families) and historical societies throughout the region. There are some wonderful treasures in there, and you can search the thousands of images by keyword, decade, location and more. Kids with sheep! The Pakuranga Hunt Club! Catching sharks in Mangere! It's well worth a browse.