Tuesday, December 25, 2012

5 books somebody needs to turn into steampunk films

"Steampunk is nothing more than what happens when Goths discover brown."
- Charles Stross

Not so secretly, and miserable brown-coloured everything aside, I adore steampunk: the fashion, the gadgetry, the clothes, the dirigibles, the mix of science and fantasy and, most especially, the endless possibility of what can be achieved when technology beyond its time is suddenly made normal. I'm not about to debate what I think steampunk is in this post. That's a discussion we can have for another time. (I've found that it means quite different things to different people, and I think there's room for all of us in the melting pot). One of my most favourite steampunk novels is not a classic such as The Time Machine by HG Wells, nor is it Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne or Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is, strangely, a relatively recent-ish novel; A Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti and, for me, it captures everything that I think steampunk is: adventure, fantasy, romance and hope. That could be my fanciful thinking, though. A little while back - early this year? Late last year? - a friend and I were having a conversation about books that we absolutely think would be fantastic as steampunk films. I've left the odd bits of conversation in so you can truly see how crazy we are - and yes, we really do think and talk like that - and a little bit of a story refresher for those who may not remember/know the storyline. My only wish now? That someone actually *would* movie-ise them. (And yes, I know that's not a word, but I'm writing this post not you).

It's Christmas day, people, and officially this marks the end of our 12 Posts of Christmas series. I'll be back at least once more this week with one last post before 2013. I'd like to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas!

Honourable mention



  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • The Bible - or at least parts of it (although this could be considered sacreligious)
  • Heidi
  • The Hobbit - iron dragon
  • Little Women - the little women are NANOTECH!
  • Mansfield Park
  • Pollyanna
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • A Tale of Two Cities - more desperation and darkness. Could you imagine Madame Defarge in this setting?


  • Monday, December 24, 2012

    Top 5 most requested autobiographies for November 2012

    "When my journal appears, many statues must come down."
    - Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

    Greetings from the far north! I'm currently visiting the parental unit in Tai Tokerau where, I'd like to briefly brag, the scenery is as total amazeballs as you might think it would be. Also where, oddly enough, I can't get coverage at mum's place in Waipapakauri, but can get full bars while standing on Ninety Mile Beach. That made me LOL in the loudest way.

    Today's list is the simplest ever: our Top 5 most requested autobiographies for November 2012. Happy Christmas Eve, people!

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Top 5 get-your-geek on

    Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m a Doctor Who / Torchwood / Star Trek / Star Wars pseudo-geek. I know enough to sprinkle references and quotes into pretty-much-every conversation, but I can’t do it word-for-word. [My ex’s PIN is a line from Star Wars: A New Hope. Yes, I still know it. No, he hasn’t changed it.] Some of us at work refer to ‘Worf Days’: from the times Worf said 'maybe today is a good day to die' (from a Klingon phrase Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam). When you know it’s all going to be full on, like an invasion or an attack – and you just go into the day full steam ahead and take on whatever comes.

    The preponderance of Doctor Who related titles makes me fully aware of where my geekdom loyalty lies.   Honourable mentions:
  • The science of Doctor Who by Paul Parsons
  • Star Wars: where science meets imagination / introduction by Anthony Daniels


  • Saturday, December 22, 2012

    Top 5 most requested crime/mystery novels for November 2012

    "Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book."
    - Mickey Spillane

    Introduction here. Or, better yet, an 'introduction here' that would have actually been an introduction. Due to ISP issues (saying it was connected but absolutely was not connecting - oh, interwebs, I thought you'd deserted me) this post published minus an introduction *sigh* And, as a result, I had to race into a local library (Otara Library you are full of win) to pop in and finish it. Only now I can't remember what it was that I wanted to actually write. It would have been EPIC, though. So I'm going to shush my face (as Mr2 says) and let you at the list: Top 5 most requested crime/mystery novels for November 2012.   If you get a chance make sure to check out what our most popular library books were for this year!  


    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Top 5 books for a roadtrip

    "Babies are born with the instinct to speak, the way spiders are born with the instinct to spin webs. You don't need to train babies to speak; they just do. But reading is different."
    — Steven Pinker

    Today's list is courtesy of the fabulous Anne, Libraries Advisor Youth Service Development. Take it away, Anne :)

    We had a discussion earlier this year about whether or not reading was natural. Like we all know from experience – babies make noise. It comes to them as naturally as some of their other bodily functions. In fairness there is an element of learning as they pick up the sounds and make sense of them, but in much the same way I believe movement is a babies first language, sound (or speaking) comes in a very close second. However reading is something that they have to learn to do.

    And that may be one of the reasons why the joy of listening to a story never grows old. I am a fan of stories, storytelling and, by extension, this year have become a fan of the audio book. It may be something to do with an increasing commute and disillusionment with some of the random radio stations my car tuner picks up. It may just be one way to read a book without having to turn a page. It certainly does have its up side as while I am still number well down the list waiting my turn for a copy of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, I have already read it... on audio book. There might not be as many copies available through the library system, but as many people have not yet discovered the advantages of the audio book, they still come through much quicker.

    So for those of you about to embark on the traditional long holiday haul to other parts of the country, here are my Top 5 to make the drive more bearable (and with something for everyone).

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    Top 5 most requested nonfiction for November 2012

    "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
    - Charles W. Eliot

    In my mind, this introduction was going to be an absolutely stunner. I was going to wow you all with my wit and way with words. And then I woke up and realised that's so not my style. Instead, I'm going to keep it simple. Today's Top 5 list features an NZ cook, a rugby player, The Rod (as in Stewart AND I see that they managed to fit the word 'knickers' in to the synopsis somehow), rushing woman's syndrome, and a place on the Shore that makes the most amazeballs food I have ever seen. I give you our Top 5 most requested nonfiction for November 2012.



    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    5 books about container gardening that are perfect for a commitment-phobe like me

    "Plant carrots in January and you'll never have to eat carrots."
    - Anonymous

    I'm not a plant person. (Or a cat person, dog person, child person). I'm not NOT a plant person, but neither do I feel that it's my purpose in life to own or raise or grow one. As a diehard commitment-phobe, they smack too much of permanence. I had given it a go in the past, and realised quite quickly that I have no gardening skills whatsoever. Things die when I get a hold of them. (You can kinda see why it's just as well I don't have pets or kids). In my mid teens I collected cacti. At first, I thought they'd be hardy enough to withstand even my bouts of manic overwatering/manic avoiding. Not so. Every single one of them died. And yet people still kept giving them to me as gifts. D'oh. Looking back now, I think it was more that I couldn't find the right balance between caring too much and not caring enough. (Story of my life, really). So, the other day, thinking that maybe it was time I grew up and stopped being a Tan Peter Pan, I thought that I could trial pot plants for a few months. If they survive my care (such as it is), then maybe I could try something a little more permanent. Like...an actual goldfish instead of an image of fish bones on my bag (see attached image). Maybe. I'm not sure. A colleague suggested I could work my way up to being a puppy guide dog walker but, really, I fear for the well being of the dog. One step at a time. Beginning with container gardening! More specifically, herbs. I went for herbs because I'm more likely to remember to look after them if I'm going to eat them one day. (One track mind here, folks). And so, if you're scared of commitment like I am (seriously, even calendars scare me, and this was pointed out to me by the calendar-selling sales assistant), try a pot plant - a teeny, tiny one - to start with. And maybe one day, I, too, will be a real live girl! You don't know how much I fear for these pot plants - as experiments go, I've had better ideas. Lucky for me I work in a library with loads of books that can help. Like these ones below. Which will hopefully help me avoid plant murder. Maybe. I think.


    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Top 5 most requested items for November 2012

    "There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read."
    - G.K. Chesterton

    I think I'm somewhat of a voyeur because I am always interested in what other people are reading/watching/listening to. It is the best part of conversations with other people. It is the worst part of conversations with other people. And so even as a small part of me goes SQUEE because YAY MORE BOOKS, an even smaller part of me groans in misery because my TBR (to-be-read) list cannot contain much more awesomeness. And yet I throw more at it, anyway. (Although not Fifty shades of Grey because I'm SO OVER THE HYPE OF IT. People, you need to find a new vanilla-BDSM book to OOH and AAH over). Today's list offers up some bad sex (although not so bad either of them won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, no, that honour went to Canadian author Nancy Huston), the 17th book in the Jack Reacher series (I still can't bring myself to watch Tom Cruise play the lead role - it's enough to make me want to cry), a lawyer in prison for the murder of a judge, and the youngest of the Walsh sisters. Et voilà! The top 5 most requested items for November 2012. ALL fiction.



    Monday, December 17, 2012

    5 CDs to take on a girlie summer road trip

    "House rules, Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole."
    - Dean Winchester (as played by Jensen Ackles and I had my photo taken with him la la la la) in Supernatural, season 1, episode 1

    Summer is here! And I'm a melted popsicle. Seriously, this heat? *keels over* It's only two days worth of it and I'm already voting we adopt the custom of siesta like the Spanish have. Is it so terrible that I was making up a to-do list that would involve sitting in the car just so I could have cool air? I see you silently judging me. If this were twitter, my hashtag for this moment would be #unrepentant. My sibling and I have planned a road trip home to the Far North for Christmas. Think lazy days exploring Ninety Mile Beach or driving up to the Cape for spiritual feels. I'm not allowed to drive her car. For a number of good reasons, all of which begin and end with my terrible taste in angry girl music that then leads to my driving like, well, an angry girl. That doesn't stop me from enjoying the drive, though, because everybody knows that the best part of any girlie road trip is, of course, the music. And I'm prepared! I so am. Two of the five CDs I'm taking are all about the nostalgia - they remind me of long, hot summers in Wellington visiting family or being at the beach. (After all, what is Wellington but a series of never ending beaches? You win, Wellington! You really do). Two CDs are by women whose music I've only kinda discovered this year, and I'm really appreciating their retro feel. And the other CD is just because I can. Roll on girlie road trip because I WILL BE IN YOU!

    What music is necessary road trip music for you?


    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    5 graphic novels you need to request now right now

    "Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."
    - PJ O'Rourke

    I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to graphic novels. Not because I'm any good at picking them. (If anything, I'm absolute rubbish at knowing what to try next. It's because I have next to no filter when it comes to books. I will try anything and everything at least once, and sometimes this goes against me). It's more that I'm lucky enough to work with amazeballs people who, almost daily - by email, text, Facebook message, Twitter, and in person - give me suggestions. Totally unsolicited. Once they've given me one, I find a whole heapload more that I just have to read. Which results in a Top 5 list much like this one. My parents encouraged me to read comics as a child. They wouldn't just buy them, though, we'd also talk about them. I distinctly remember, as a 9 year old, falling in love with Peter Bromhead. Well, his editorial cartoons in the Auckland Star, that is. My parents noticed my interest, and so Bromhead would, often, be a part of our dinner conversation. We would discuss the point of the cartoon in relation to whatever current events were taking place both nationally and internationally at that point in time. I am lucky enough to work with people who do the same - recommend titles or writers and, afterward, want to talk about them. The other day, someone told me to give Marbles: mania, depression, Michelangelo, & me : a graphic memoir by Ellen Forney a try, so I've requested it already, and am impatiently awaiting its arrival. Once I've finished it, we'll catch up and trade opinions and thoughts. And, as is usually the case when I'm in the catalogue, I came across 5 other graphic novels that, really, have to be bumped to the top of my TBR list. Today's list is: 5 graphic novels you need to request now right now. Have I steered you wrong yet? (Don't answer that just in case I have). They're an unusual mix of books, too - cooking, fantasy, life in Jerusalem, love in a time of a galactic war, and aliens in Australia. I know, right? You're welcome!

    What graphic novels are you reading right now?

    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Top 5 books I need in my life like air

    The worst part of working in a library is that, daily, I am tempted by ALL OF THE BOOKS. The best part of working in a library is that, daily, I am tempted by ALL OF THE BOOKS. Whether I'm on the front counter or in a support role in a backroom, this is, I believe, the true beauty and the beast of being a part of a public library. As a result, my TBR (to be read) list is phenomenal. I'm one of those people who finds inspiration/ideas from my surroundings. This means that everything I see, everyone I talk to, other books I read, or films I see, or CDs I hear, lead to my coming across MOAR recommendations to request or look up. I quite happily suffer from a perpetual case of DO WANT and DO LIKE and grabby hands. It makes me ask, though, what is the true purpose of a TBR list? Do we really want to get to the bottom of the pile and know that we've read/watched/listened to everything? Because I suspect I'd suffer from heartbreak if I ever really did complete it. I don't know this for certain because I've never managed to get there. And so what do I do with today's post but freely confess that I've found more to add to my list and, if I've done my job right, to yours, too. This particular list is made up of titles I've come across/heard about/read of that, really, I'm convinced I need in my life like air. Happy 12 Posts of Christmas, people!

    How big is your TBR list?

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    5 books I need to read before the films come out

    "Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different."
    ― Stephen King

    Anna Karenina. Les Miserables. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Great Gatsby. On the Road. The Hobbit. The host. The raven. The mortal instruments. Thirteen r3asons why. Cloud atlas. The lucky one. One for the money. The vow. The hunger games. Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter. Breaking dawn. Life of Pi. World War Z. Is it just me or has 2012 been a huge year for books into film? Some released, some still to come in what little is left of this year and, already, a few queued up for 2013. I rarely have hard and fast rules. Mostly because 1) I'm too lazy and 2) life's too short to be that inflexible. As much as possible, though, I try to live by the following commandment: Thou shalt not see the book-of-the-film without having read it first. I try not to break it because, I'm sure, somewhere a fairy dies when I do. These days, though, I find myself having to read at a furiously quick rate just to break even with things I even vaguely think I might want to watch. I can't keep up. And yet...and yet, here I am, with a list of more books I need to request/read before their celluloid equivalent is due. Luckily, some of these still don't have a set cast yet, so I can (kinda/sorta) take my time.   Don't forget, for the next few days we are all about the 12 Posts of Christmas. This means that I'll be throwing all sorts of Top 5 lists at you every day up until Christmas in an effort to seduce you back into libraries/reading. Or something like that.  


    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    5 strangely named science books

    "Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science."
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Remember how in yesterday's post I said that strange and unusual titles manage to find me without my even trying? Today's post is proof positive, yet again, that I meant it. I came across the book A neutron walks into a bar: Random facts and big ideas about our universe and everything in it and, before I knew it, had this list below. It's a gift. A gift that I can't return and/or get a refund on and so I've learned to live with it and revel in it. And so I give you: 5 strangely named science books.

    Today is the first day in our (now 3rd) annual 12 Posts of Christmas series, people! We're blogging every day up to Christmas Day with recommendations that will make you laugh, geek out, make grabby hands in trying to get your hands on them and, hopefully, make you want to share them with everyone including strange people you meet on your morning bus rides to work (Please tell me it's NOT just me who does that). Roll on the madness!

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    5 (of 150) essential things every guy should know about science

    "If you're a real man, you get a kick out of things that go boom, catch fire, and smell really, really, bad. What you might not know is that science is what makes it all happen."
    - Bobby Mercer, How do you light a fart? And 150 other essential things every guy should know about science

    I believe that we all have a talent or a gift. For most of us, this will probably manifest itself in useful ways. Like being able to save lives as a doctor, or mould young minds as a teacher. Me...not so much. My gift is that I can find the strangest and most unusual books/titles in our collections without even trying. Actually, if I'm honest, then I'll admit that I find unusual EVERYTHING without trying - books, shoes, people, hats, animals. You name it, it all finds me. (In this instance I'm thinking of the strange guy who came up to me at Armageddon earlier this year and SNIFFED MY HAIR. If this were Twitter, my hashtag for this would be #thisismylife because, really, it is). Today's pick is all about the miscellanea. To be precise, 150 essential bits of science trivia that every guy should know. Really! Mercer's book is actually called How do you light a fart? And 150 other essential things every guy should know about science. It was hard for me to choose my top 5, so I settled for picking the 5 that made me WTF the most AND/OR made me snort/giggle (snortiggle? Gnort?) the loudest. Read them. Laugh about them. More importantly, rejoice in the fact that we (and the men who need to know these things) are, possibly, just that little bit smarter. And grossed out.

    Quick note: I have to apologise for my absence. Work is crazybusyflatout at the moment, and writing Top 5 posts, for the next couple of weeks or so, is going to be a snatched, guilty pleasure. Tomorrow - 13th December - kickstarts our third year of 12 Posts of Christmas, where we post every day leading up to Christmas Day, about all sorts of random-ish things. So! Bring it on :)

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Top 5 books I always leave my own secrets in

    "For sale: baby shoes, never used."
    - Ernest Hemingway

    There's a story behind today's post quote. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway's friends bet him that he couldn't write a story in six words. He did, they paid up, and so the six-word memoir was born. Once upon a time, a few years ago, I read one of Frank Warren's Postsecret books and the Smith magazine Six-word memoir series (which were inspired by Hemingway, hence the quote) and discovered that a few people had left secrets/memoirs of their own inside it. I was fascinated. They were heartfelt, a little sad, a little hopeful, and a whole lotta poignant. I decided to return the favour and do the same. And so I grabbed a pen and some note paper and sat down to write one secret. Some six or seven secrets later (all in different coloured pens and on different coloured bits of paper because that's how I roll), I realised how incredibly freeing it felt to do such a thing. Cathartic, even. As a result, every year I request all of the books listed below and I re-read them. Every single page, probably twice over, and I pore over the artwork and its attached confession. Looking for meaning. Looking to see how it fit/related to the author's secret. And once I've re-read them, I then write out a secret/memoir for each title and slip it into the book. Am I concerned that people may know which secrets are mine? Not particularly. Sometimes, I think secrets - or the nature of them - lose their power to hurt or sting or hold you back or stop you from looking ahead with hope when you set them free. And yes, I'm fully aware of how dorky that sounds, but I don't think that makes it any less true. These books are particularly good when you're feeling in a reflective mood. (Or if you're slightly voyeuristic, and perhaps I'm both). So read them. They really are that good. And maybe, just maybe, you'll feel like you can share your anonymous words, too. I hope so.

    Also try:

  • It all changed in an instant : more six-word memoirs by writers famous & obscure / from Smith magazine ; edited by Rachel Ferschleiser and Larry Smith
  • Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Top 5 shades of Fifty Shades

    "So," I asked, "Do you like the feel of a feather on your naked skin?"
    "I'm not sure," she said "Maybe if you took it off the pigeon first?"

    - From Fifty sheds of grey by C. T. Grey

    Art thou fed up to the back teeth of Fifty Shades of Grey? Have your eyeballs been singed by the spiciness of the dialogue and the raciness of the character shenanigans? (What DOES Anastasia do with that pancake flip? Why WILL you never look at a toothbrush the same way again? In fact, you may even chuck yours out). Yes? Well, that's just too darn bad BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE I haz five shades of Fifty Shades!

    "What does that EVEN MEAN?" you ask.

    Simple: It means I took some time out of my day to look up any and all Fifty Shades parodies and/or Fifty Shades-related THINGS and STUFFS to make up this post. Beck had two turntables and a microphone. I have four Fifty Shades parodies, two sex books, a compact disc, and a pukeko in a ponga tree. (I lied about the ponga tree). (The pukeko is real, though). (Ok, no it's not, I lied about that, too). (I am a lying liar who tells lies). While you read this post, imagine me with no words whatsoever, because it would be the truth. Sexytimes parodies? Speechless. (Enjoy it while it lasts because I am never silent long). And yes, I've requested them all. It is my duty to take one for the team *said with hand solemnly on heart* Plus, I need the giggles. You're welcome, et voilà!

    There is also:

  • Fifty shades of ecstasy : fifty secret sex positions for mind-blowing orgasms / Marisa Bennett
  • Fifty shades of pleasure : a bedside companion : sex secrets that hurt so good / Marisa Bennett
  • Thursday, November 1, 2012

    5 things this book taught me about living with a man

    "You've reeled in the man you love. Well done. But the work is far from over. In fact, it's only just begun. And I'm not talking about perfecting your Sunday roast. You, dear, are a work-in-progress. You must diligently maintain a basic grooming routine, both to keep him satisfied and to continue to become the most glamorous and beguiling woman in your - and his acquaintance."
    - Jennifer Worick in How to live with a man and love it!

    Title: How to live with a man and love it!
    Author: Jennifer Worick
    Publisher: Allen & Unwin
    Published: 2005

    I'm single. In fact, I'm allergic to commitment of any kind. Seriously, I can't even own a pet or a pot plant without hyperventilating and feeling like I'm trapped. Twice, though, I've considered marriage. The first time, well, least said...least said. With the second time, I had a dream that I was walking down the aisle and for some reason that made me wake up crying (sobbing, actually) and thinking that all of my choices, and my identity, were being taken away from me. (Yeah, I know, drama queen much?). This all adds up to no marriage, no settling down, no kids. (If I can't do pets or pot plants I most certainly can't do kids). So what better match for a commitment phobe like me, than Worick's tongue-in-cheek relationship humour? Last week on the Auckland Libraries blog I mentioned Worick's book Things I want to punch in the face which, in turn, led me to this find. And this book, OH THIS BOOK! Rib-hurtingly funny, wholly irreverent, and with a dash of truth thrown in here and there, too. Because OF COURSE, right? This is the part where I could tell you that I conducted some terribly scientific experiment to round out this post - but we both know I'd be lying through my teeth. Me being me, I picked out five random tips and ran them past friends and siblings. What a series of emails and conversations that was! Here are 5 humorous things this book taught me about living with a man (were I to settle down), and some responses to them.

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    5 books I've requested thanks to their trailers

    "Stop Instagramming your food and put it in your pie hole!"
    - Jennifer Worick in Things I Want to Punch in the Face

    Book trailers and I have an awesometastic love hate relationship. Basically, I love to hate them. Not because they're particularly bad, but more because in my (somewhat delusional) mind I have a *very* specific idea of what the characters look and sound like. And it doesn't ever seem to match up with their trailers. I know, drama queen, much? I think the problem is that I get so emotionally invested in long running series that I feel and behave like only I know what the characters could possibly be like. Obviously, I need to learn to trust the author a little more. Until that point, I'll avoid series fiction trailers, and stick with either one offs, or nonfiction. Like these! These? I have no previous knowledge of, and they actually look/sound FUNNY. And this week I need the funny. I give you: 5 books I've requested thanks to their trailers. Enjoy!

    Do you watch book trailers? Do you LIKE them? Do you ever read the books they're about?

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    5 bookish sites/blogs you will like (the implied OR ELSE is totally your imagination...)

    "Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
    ― Mark Twain

    So. This ridiculous thing happened. I left you all to your own devices and headed off to Toronto to do THINGS and STUFF. Mostly, to attend a dorky convention for the tv show Supernatural, while sliding in trips to sightsee as well. Strangely, the highlight of my holiday wasn't meeting Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. It was a quick two minute conversation with Mark Sheppard about Doctor Who (Mark played Canton Delaware), New Zealand and our atrocious accents. That brief moment where he indulged my fangirlness? Forever top of mind. And hearing him debate with another fan why setting up partisan Doctor Who camps is actually bad for the fandom as a whole? Be still my geekgirl heart. I'm back in NZ physically, even if my brain is still in North America somewhere. (This gives me an excuse to go back and get it again, right?). Surprisingly, my first post is not Toronto/Supernatural-related. Nor is it Armageddon related. Despite what this intro may lead you to believe. (By the way, it was fantastic to meet/see some of you during the Saturday/Sunday of Armageddon!). Those will come a little later next week, though, I promise. Today's post is a quick list of bookish bloggy/websitey type recommendations I lose my collective mind over BECAUSE I live to feed your literacy addiction. YOU'RE WELCOME. So! Did you miss me?

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    NZSL Week 2012: 5 picturebooks featuring deaf children

    "I’ve always wanted to write a book relating my experiences growing up as a deaf child in Chicago. Contrary to what people might think, it wasn’t all about hearing aids and speech classes or frustrations."
    – Marlee Matlin

    This is an exceptionally late post because, well, it was kind of personal and I wasn't so sure I really wanted to post it.  My brother is deaf. Or 'profoundly deaf,' as the doctor told my parents umpteen years ago. It's not obvious when you look at him. That should go without saying, and yet it doesn't. I say it not to be daft on purpose, but because it's the first thing out of people's mouths when they realise. As if you can wear your deafness as blatantly as a roadside worker in a high-vis vest. The next thing people do is start shouting and over enunciating, at which point my brother gets incredibly frustrated and says, "I'm deaf. Not stupid," in a speaking voice as clear as mine. And that confuses people more, as if deaf people should be immediately identifiable by their speech pattern. Maybe sometimes people are, and maybe sometimes people aren't. His journey, his life experience of being deaf, has been an emotional roller coaster for all of us; both incredibly hard and joyous to see. Of all the things I've blogged about, both personally and work wise, this will be the hardest. I've only ever blogged about him once, and never again until now. I was never sure that I would be able to strike the right tone. I was never sure that I would find the right words that wouldn't see him turned him into a curiosity, instead. More than anything, I didn't want to inadvertently belittle or trivialise his life. It was always far too personal a post to write. It's not that I don't care, it's that I care too much. So what changed? Nothing huge. Just a chance conversation with my brother about what he would have like to have seen more of as a young child and he said, "Picture books with kids like me.  Where was I?  Where were kids like me?"  I'm happy to say that now, some thirty years later, there are more than a few, some of which I deliberately hunted out for this post.  This is for my brother :)  

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    5 sites my fangirl self follows like I need air BECAUSE REASONS

    "Fan girling: Any girl extremely obsessed with any celebrity, t.v. show, movies, books, or other entertainment/media who is participating in fan activities such as message boards, fanfiction, or convention.
    Has been used in the past as derogatory but has become less and less so in certain fandoms. Fan girling frequently happens with large amounts of squee."
    - UrbanDictionary.com

    Large amounts of squee? You say po-tay-to, I say "Define large!" Sure, sane people might argue that this post title isn't a particularly good one. I mean, really, "5 sites my fangirl self follows like I need air BECAUSE REASONS." Bizarre, right? Luckily, I have never declared myself to be sane OR good OR non-bizarre like. Therefore, I win at life. And my prize? The interwebs. ALL OF THE INTERWEBS. I make no bones about the fact that I consider myself a fangirl. I earnestly tell people I'm just a nerdy girl with a laptop and an inappropriate love of Jensen Ackles and we all laugh about it but, at the heart of everything, it's the truth. I enjoy tv shows, movies, books and all things geeky SO MUCH that I get all flail-y and GAH and ACK and lose the ability to use my words and just experience FEELS because my fandoms are that awesome. These five sites listed below are where I get to revel, celebrate and indulge my fangirlness in all its crazy. What do they do that's so great? They keep me in the fandom loop with fanfic, fanvids, fanart, cranky mcranty pants posts about sexuality and the concept of beauty and why people shouldn't tag AO3 fic like it's Tumblr run amok, and they dedicate gifsets to Jensen's mouth and Jared's dimples. Yes, we are crazy, we are plentiful, and we are on your screens. So, here's to fangirls the world over!

    Honourable mention:
    LiveJournal.com
    From the site: "LiveJournal is an online community, a social network, and a place for self-expression. We strive to create an environment where you can connect with others, share your thoughts, and be yourself. Our core values guide us to protect and cultivate that community."

    Tosca: LiveJournal is where I find some of the fanfic I read. If you know where or how to look you, or even who to follow, you can find some great stuff. Of course, you also find some truly, TRULY, terrible stuff. Beyond terrible.



    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    5 dating books that terrify yet fascinate me

    List by Danielle

    'It's universal because it's based on natural attraction, what all women are hardwired to respond to, and attraction is an emotion, not a decision.'
    ~ From 'The Manual'

    You know the books I mean: you can get ANY and every girl/guy you want -- if you follow my xyz algebra of love, memorise these simple and literally irresistable pick-up lines, treat them as an enemy to be conquered, fix your own broken self up (because it's actually all your fault) with tanning/smooth sales patter/a hard-ass attitude makeover... I want to read them. I don't want to read them. (I can't make up my mind. I think I do. I am morbidly curious about how bad they actually are.) I feel tacky having them on my desk (this is not my book about 'creeping in the club'! I don't know how these shamelessly self-promoting abs got here!), and I really, really wonder where the many missing copies of each have wound up. They're hilariously funny, until they start talking about the targeted gender and then they are just super scary. Yes, there are books aimed at both men and women. Nobody is exempt from being crept on/hypnotised/sold a false bill of sale.

    (Please note: there are many excellent and honestly wise and funny dating guides out there on our shelves: you can browse through some of them here. I just went hunting for some of the more left-field dating books after coming across the monumentally scary-looking 'The Manual' on the New Titles list.)

    5 brilliant movies based on graphic novels/comics

    List by Julia, Natalie, Renee, Clint and Danielle

    "Don't worry, miss. I've got you."
    "You've got me? Who's got you?!"
    ~ From Superman : the Movie

    Ask a bunch of librarians for their favourite graphic novel/comics-inspired movie, and you get some wildly different picks. Some of us are superhero blockbuster fans, some of us go for indie classics, some of us like the action, and some the rich mythology accompanying the iconic characters. When I saw the Avengers (the first time), it made me want to dive into the comics and find out more about the backstory. Libraries are perfect for this - DVDs, comics, anthologies, compilations, animations... your one-stop shop for Comic Book Month!

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    5 new books to help you make/craft/grow/cook in the holidays

    List by Danielle

    'Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for.'
    ~ Jerry Seinfeld

    School holidays are coming up fast, guys, and the weather's finally starting to show the odd dry patch. Here is a taster of the latest books for kid-friendly activities from the New Titles list, but there are plenty more where these come from (jump on the catalogue and browse through books on cooking, games, gardening and crafting with kids). Get a shot of fresh inspiration these holidays, from simple and delicious recipes and ideas for stuff to make and do and grow and go outside and muck around with, to books that will make you laugh and say yes, SO TRUE, how awesome that it's not just my family that does that (recent fave: Katie Workman's Mom 100 Cookbook, just hilarious and very recognisable).

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    5 geeky bookish links totally worth sharing

    "Also, if you're sweating the difference between a geek and a nerd, you're definitely a nerd, you dork."
    - John Scalzi, the writer, HERE on Twitter (and OH how I LOL'd)

    I spend the first and last part of each work day clearing RSS feeds for a variety of topics. I've arranged them all into folders with names like Libraries, Geekology, Books, New Orleans, Social Media and a few others. I skim somewhere around 1000-1500 articles/blog posts/websites a day. Probably a little more. A lot of them I use as inspiration for post ideas, some to increase my readers advisory knowledge (I can never have too much), some I share on our work tweetstream or Facebook page, ones that aren't quite appropriate for work I share on my personal streams, some that are relevant to my role I share with other librarians in the same field as I am, others I read to keep up with new technology, some stuff is political and for general awareness, others I read for geeky giggles and chuckles, and then there are things I so much want to share with SOMEBODY ANYBODY that I save them up for instances like this. Lucky you, right? *Hint: this is where you nod politely and agree with the crazy person writing this post* Last week I skipped a geekology post :( So this week you're getting two; one here today, and one over on the Auckland Libraries blog this coming Friday. Two in one week. YOU'RE WELCOME! And so I give you: 5 geeky bookish links totally worth sharing.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Top 5 most requested nonfiction titles for August 2012

    "To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company."
    - Andre Gide

    The meaning of life, a food truck, a woman a would-be-king abdicated the throne for, rushing to and fro, and a cafe (or two, rather) with the most amazeballs food - what do they all have in common? Our top 5 most requested nonfiction titles list for August 2012, of course. Like, what else, right? Happy reading. (I know, I'm getting better and better at this 'short intro' thing. WIN!).

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Top 5 most requested items for August 2012

    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it."
    - Oscar Wilde

    I find myself having conversations about books in the strangest of places. I always think that I've gotten used to the idea of random book chats in random non-bookish type locations, and then one comes along to prove me wrong. (On purpose, I'm sure). Today's was while standing in queue at a petrol station. I was waiting to be served when the gentleman in front of me turned around, spotted my nametag (yes, I wear this everywhere to work/home from work because I have no shame about who I work for - in fact, I'm kinda proud of it) and asked me if I'd ever read Lee Child, had I heard that Tom Cruise was playing Jack Reacher in the movie version of the first book, how did that happen (insert exclamation mark), and did we still have romance novels because his wife likes them a lot? FTW! And that timely conversation reminded me that it was time to post our top 5 most requested items for August 2012. One of which happens to be the latest Lee Child novel. Spectacular timing.

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    5 geeky graphic novel/comic book links

    "Using comics to promote literacy? Well I’d hope comics would do so anyway, regardless of "trends"." - Declan Shalvey

    KAPOW! BANG! KABLAM! Holy birthday cake, Batman - it's Comic Book Month :) Throughout September we're celebrating the wonderful world of graphic novels/comics with a series of events, competitions and workshops taking place across the city. I remember last year when Onehunga Library had a Cosplay parade and customers/dressed up as characters. It looked like so much FUN *sigh* I wish I could've been there to see it. Don't miss out like I did - find out now what's happening this September. I'm feeling a tad bit guilty at the moment because our New Titles lists were posted this morning and within err ten minutes I'd found/requested 13 new graphic novels because obviously I don't have enough to read. Oops. Knowing my luck they'll all turn up at once and instead of finishing my assignment I'll be nose deep in superheroes, villains and kickbutt plans to save the world. Life being normal, then heh. To kickstart my Comic Book Month celebration I'm sharing 5 geeky graphic novel/comic book links that y'all might enjoy.(One I use all the time, and the rest I've started following recently-ish). Feel free to suggest sites/blogs you follow - I never say no to new links. Happy Comic Book Month, everyone!

    Do you read comics?

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    5 books all about the awesomeness of steampunk accessories and art

    "Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown."
    ― Jess Nevins

    I was playing in the catalogue (I call it play, others would call it work, but if I think of it like 'play' it seems a little less like 'work' and, truly, how can it be work when I find such great stuff?) and looking for titles to add to the Romance eNewsletter (yes, that IS a shameless plug for you to read or subscribe) when I came across THIS BOOK: Steampunk softies : scientifically minded dolls from a past that never was. I'm not sure what that means, but I know I LIKE IT. I can't make them, because hello, I'm not in the least bit crafty, but I like them all the same. A number of people I follow on Twitter who are incredibly crafty (I've seen their Doctor Who amigarumi characters and WOW) would love this book. And so what, you say? So THIS, I say! They are adorable. And I don't just say that because it's steampunk. Ok, yes, I DO just say that because they're steampunk and I heart steampunk-related things times three. Seriously, I browse things like this all the time. It got me thinking, though, what steampunk crafts books do we have? And who can I con into making me some of these things? I can answer the first - you'll find them below. The second mmm not so much. I'm still working on it :) I give you: 5 books all about the awesomeness of steampunk accessories and art.

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    5 unlikely tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

    List by Danielle

    "It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, Sovereign of all England!"

    "Pull the other one!"


    I've been reading Sarah Zettel's Camelot series of late - four historical fantasy romances starring Gawain and his brothers, one book per knightly brother - and took a look to see what else we've got on the Arthurian myths and legends. Turns out: a whole heap! Though less graphic novels than I'd been expecting. Yes, we've got everything from gangland Arthur to high-school-teen Arthur, through muppet Arthur and Python Arthur to some actual historical retellings of the stories made famous by authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sir Thomas Malory and John Steinbeck. Yes. STEINBECK.

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    5 cookbooks with recipes from the frontlines

    "Our homeward step was just as light
    As the tap dancing feet of Astair
    And like an echo far away,
    A nightingale sang in Berkley Square"

    - A nightingale sang in Berkley Square, 1939, lyrics by Eric Maschwitz, music by Manning Sherwin

    Recently, I've joined in with the #collectionfishing themes on Twitter. It's a kind of a game that people play. Well, people who are interested in working with, or delving into, online collections. Each week a theme is set, and people go fishing in all sorts of online collections and share what they've found, or what they hold. I've only been doing it for a week or two - and when I say 'I've' I really mean 'Auckland Libraries' because I've been doing it on our work tweetstream - for a couple of weeks and OH! The things I've seen. The curious, the poignant, the straight up bizarre. It's fantastic. It was while I was keeping an eye out for #collectionfishing links for the #feast theme that I came across the image attached to this post of soldiers preparing a hangi in the Western Desert. It's a curious picture that made me a tad bit teary eyed because here is a little bit of home in a place that is oh so far away from it. I liked it so much I wondered what we had on our shelves that matched this topic - cookbooks and recipes from wartime. So I rounded up what I could get my hands on at such short notice, read them, admired the pictures, didn't understand the schematics for huge ovens AT ALL, and have tried a recipe or two already. With adjustments obviously, because the quantities are GINORMOUS. Even if you're not interested in #collectionfishing or wartime recipes, you've got to admit, this is pretty damn interesting all the same. This week's theme is #cars and, wow, have I seen some great things people have shared so far. To give you an idea, here's ours from yesterday. And so I give you: 5 cookbooks with recipes from the frontline. I might even see you playing along on Twitter with all of us, too. You can find Auckland Libraries on Twitter at: @Auckland_Libs.

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    5 geeky links I totally have to share

    Microsoft: "You’ve got questions. We’ve got dancing paperclips."
    - Unknown

    Next to no intro from me today BECAUSE REASONS. Reasons that are all to do with the links. Link goodness. Link love. Linky McSlinky. (It's like I always have to go that one sentence too far that makes it all suddenly so absurd). I'm thinking of making this a regular weekly post where I round up geeky links I've seen that I feel are worth sharing. Or something. Hopefully, you find a gem or two. Happy weekend, people!

    5 Team Chest romance covers

    "We are all fools in love"
    ― Jane Austen

    Gratuitous shirtlessness. Abtastic poses. Ripped bodies. (Mostly) headless men leaning with intent. Bared chests. Some romance covers are absolutely ridiculous and make me laugh until I wheeze. (I know, attractive, right?). Others make me poke at the covers with a finger and wonder if this is what Ken would look like if he were 'real.' (That would be Ken from Ken and Barbie). And some make me cheer out loud. I adore romance covers fullstop - the good, the bad, and the cracktastic. Team Chest: romance novels that show, well, male chests. Don't look at me like that. As far as I'm concerned it's right up there with yo-yos in space (which, by the way, I heart times ten). I know colleagues, friends and family (and co-bus passengers I see daily) whose mouths get that pinched moue of distaste that people read romance books that are so blatantly sexual. Call them cliché , call them porny, call them what you want, these covers work for a reason: readers know exactly what they're going to get in the way of a story. So, romance junkies who are all about the abtastic men, I salute you, and gift you this post: 5 Team Chest romance covers!

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    5 trips to the darker side of Fairyland

    List by Danielle

    'Ellum do grieve,
    Oak he do hate
    Willow do walk
    If Yew travels late'
    ~ From Faeries

    This is inspired in part by Scriven's fab selection of recent fairytales on the Auckland Libraries blog - including fairytale knits! - and in part by reading the wonderful Locus Award-winning The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making, by Catherynne M. Valente. I love fairytales, and I love it when authors take the old familiar settings, characters and motifs and make something dark and eerie and wonderful and new with them. I'm particularly fond of stories that give me a sense of the strangeness and power of Fairyland and its denizens. I think it *should* be scary - a trip to Fairyland should give you pause, should tempt and terrify in equal measure.

    Also recommended:
    • Wicked lovely, Melissa Marr's YA series - darkly beautiful, enjoyable if you've got a reasonable tolerance for angst and teenaged love triangles
    • Erica Hayes' erotic Shadowfae series - flawed, and the characters aren't particularly likeable, but she has some nice imagery that gives you all the glorious tastes and scents of fairy life, alongside the crazy sights; especially in the stand-alone second book, Shadowglass
    • Kissing the witch / Emma Donoghue - before she became uber-famous for the amazingly strong and unforgettable Room, Donoghue wrote this book of short interconnected stories that explore the relationships between female characters in fairytales
    • Any anthologies from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
    • Victorian fairytales, French fairytales, fairytales in picture books... it's all good!

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    5 geeky links (from one geek to another)

    "Roses are #FF0000
    Violets are #0000FF
    All my base
    Are belong to you"

    - Unknown

    Some of you will get the poem that goes with today's post. YAY! Some of you won't, and that's okay. It's kind of a dorky/geeky thing that makes me laugh whenever I see the t-shirts. (Yes, of course there are t-shirts, and I've seen some at ThinkGeek.com because THOSE GUYS, THOSE GUYS, they think of everything, right?). I told it to my sister and she wore this fabulous look of confusion that always makes me want to say to her, "Y U SO BEAUTIFUL?" I've never bothered to read any geeky stuff to her since. (Not even the one I really wanted to, which was: "There’s no place like 127.0.0.1"). Short post because REASONS. Namely, who wants to hear me prattle on? It's all about the links. So, from one geek to another - 5 geeky links that are totally full of win.

    Small note: As I was hunting up images for this post I came across this one in Flickr by the Library of Congress that is gorgeously amazeballs. Just wanted to mention that.

    Honourable mention:

  • SDCC: San Diego Comic-Con International group on Flickr - Comic-Con is my mothership and one day - ONE DAY - I shall attend. Until then, I visit the SDCC Flick group more times than is good for me and IMAGINE
  • Friday, August 10, 2012

    5 new cupcake/cake pop books

    "My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already."
    ― Dave Barry

    Mmm, cake! Who doesn't like cake? Strange people, that's who *makes with the frowny face* And who can resist adorable looking cupcakes and cake pops? Possibly, I've never tried very hard, but come on, look at these covers and tell me you don't want to either eat them or make them? Cupcakes I can handle. Cake pops not so much. They're quite fiddly and detailed, and I am so not a details person. When my nephews were younger, we used to bake cupcakes or biscuits on a Saturday, but I know for a fact that ours never looked like this. So go, shoo *makes shooing motions* read and request and make ALL OF THE SWEETS. And if you DO make some, take a picture and send it in. Bon appetit!

    Top 5 most requested items for July 2012

    "Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere."
    - Mary Schmich

    Finally, a book has come along to bump The Hunger Games from it's spot as number one most requested title for the last few months. And what book knocked it off? A book that I've seen people reading in airport departure lounges, on buses and trains and standing in line at the post office. A book that I've heard people discuss with equal parts awe and scorn. A book that people are talking about in book clubs, emails, newspapers and radios. That's right, Fifty shades of Gray. Two series, five books (if we'd had more spaces I'm sure the last James book would've been on here somewhere) - I give you our top 5 most requested items for July 2012.

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    5 books about the funny side of fashion

    "So soon as a fashion is Universal, it is out of date."
    - Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

    Some random, weird catalogue search led me to this book *points left* which, in turn, I chucked aside in favour of the ones listed below because REASONS. (Yes, this is my excuse for everything). Seriously, these books will make you rejoice that fashion comes and goes the way it does. What I'm a little bit scared about is that so many of these things will, more than likely, come back again - maybe not knitted or crocheted. Possibly quilted? Who knows. After all, that is the way of fashion, is it not? And I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Consider it: paisley underwear, tartan underwear, fondue sets, cravats, smocks, knitted tank tops, blue eyeshadow, knickerbockers (ok, so maybe they're NOT knickerbockers but they ruddy well look like it!), hotpants (you think I'm kidding but I'm not), breast pockets that accidentally resemble breasts, lederhosen, crochet patchwork skirts, knitted ties, vests with fringe (don't ask where her hand is because I'm not sure), enough sideburns to do Movember proud (and you could use the hair to knit a dress out of) and loads of clothes that look like a re-enactment of the curtains-as-clothes scene from The Sound of Music. I did have a couple moments where I swore I saw a couple outfits my mum used to make me wear as a child. Forever traumatised. Also: LOVE YOU, MUM! (That was in case she's reading this blog right now). I promise, if you request all of these, you will laugh. So hard it hurts and you'll feel like you're hacking up a body organ. I know, right? You're welcome! And so: 5 books about the funny side of fashion.

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

    5 new graphic novels

    Roschach's Journal: October 12th, 1985

    Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

    The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.

    The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."


    ― Alan Moore, Watchmen

    Graphic novels. Comics. Illustrated novels. Comic strips. Narrative work. Whatever you choose to call them, we hold an interesting (and varied) selection of graphic novels, and we receive new titles all the time and for me, it's like Christmas every day of the year. During the nine years I've worked in public libraries, it has never ceased to amaze me how discussions about what to call 'graphic novels,' and whether or not they qualify as 'art' or 'literature' and are 'worthy' (you wouldn't believe how much I hate this type of value judgement about books) can get heated. And unnecessarily so. I remember, about five years ago, being told that graphic novels were for lazy people who couldn't be bothered to read full length novels. That took me aback. My parents had given me comics - and I mean actual comics - as a kid. I never received the impression from mum and dad that this form of reading was 'less than.' I had always been taught that the issue should never be about how people are reading, or what format they're reading in. People are still reading. That's worth celebrating. I spend a fair bit of time in the New Books lists each month, and the new graphic novels list gets a serious workout, and here are 5 that I've picked out. (That, not coincidentally, I've also requested and am working my way through at the moment). And while I'm thinking about the new book lists, they were updated just the other day. So make sure to check them out!

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    5 awesome links because it's Friday and I love you all! (Except you - you I don't like very much at all)

    It's Friday! That is always, always, always a good enough reason to have a Top 5 post made up of awesome links. That and I'm in a silly mood. Life is good, if as bizarre as ever and, although I will forever despair of the fact that work gets in the way of my being able to read fanfiction all day/every day, I enjoy when people send me links like this in the course of my job. Warning: This post contains exclamation marks aplenty. Because REASONS. (But mostly because that's how I roll). Enough of the chit chat from me - THE LINKS, people, THE LINKS!

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    5 books to make milk come out of your nose

    "I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."
    - Woody Allen

    Humour is, of course, subjective. What makes me laugh will, possibly, make you fear for my sanity. (If you don't already). And what *you* find funny may be be too subtle for me, or so clever it leaves me for dust. I would think, though, that we could meet somewhere in the middle and find something worth chortling over. Maybe it'll be one of the books on this list - some of which I've finished already, and a couple I've just started. Happy reading!

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    5 new foodie DVDs

    Will looked horrified. "What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?"
    ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

    The first day of every month is my favourite library day. I almost wish I could say because something spectacular and wondrous happens, but that isn't the case. (Well, it is to me, but wouldn't necessarily be so for anybody else). It's totally geeky, and you'll probably laugh (go ahead, you have my permission to do so) - the first day of the month is when our new titles lists are updated. It used to be a digital services tradition that when they were posted we'd go through the new romance list and read aloud the best and the worst of the titles (seriously, I adore romance novels, but where do they keep finding all these breathlessly silly virgins and autocratic megazillionaire tycoons?). Post-amalgamation, and with the four of us in different parts of the city, it's not something I do the same way, anymore. Sure, I still heart the lists, and I'll still read them (this one I've saved until the end of this month), I'll just do it at home in the evenings and chortle to myself. (Ok, it sounds more pathetic than it is, trust me). My unabashed love of the DVD documentary list runs a close second to the romance one, and with good reason. Well, five good reasons this month, and all to do with food. More specifically, Spain (oh, how I heart you, Monsieur Stein! You make me want to turn the world into one great, big, long epicurean curiosity), British chocolatiers (WIN!), a cake boss (say it with a New Jersey accent, you know you want to), a bit of River Cottage attitude, and the bad boy of baking. Et voilà, I give you 5 new foodie DVDs. I don't think there's anything I can add to that, really, except bon appétit!

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    5 new cookbooks for busy worker folk

    List by Danielle

    "Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us."
    ~ Henri Matisse

    Grey, dampish weather, lines of rush-hour traffic, dark by the time you get home... if you're a keen cook but are finding your enthusiasm is low for hanging out for hours in the kitchen at the end of a busy workday, or your bank account's feeling a bit tight and pinchy at the thought of fancy ingredients, we've got a stack of great new cookbooks on this month's New Titles list. Easy to prepare, simple ingredients, but still really inspiring recipes that look like fun to try. You can even try making your own (healthy yeah sure blah blah blah whatever) takeaways!

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    5 airship adventures for teens

    List by Danielle

    "Invention, my dear friends, is 93 percent perspiration, 6 percent electricity, 4 percent evaporation, and 2 percent butterscotch ripple."

    Steampunk, wonderful steampunk! I've been reading my way through the YA category of this year's Locus Awards for sci-fi and fantasy, and two of the five books nominated this year have a distinctly steampunkish feel (though Ian McDonald's very enjoyable Planesrunner is actually 'electricpunk', taking place in a parallel universe where oil has never been used as a source of energy). All of the books below have plenty of adventure, interesting and imaginative settings, awesome steampunk technology and brave, smart, resourceful heroes and heroines. They're really good for readers who aren't scared of a little dose of science with their fiction - a little bit of 'how the rollercoaster works' alongside the whole rollercoaster ride. All that, plus - airships! Air pirates! Mid-air battles!

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    My Top 5 Margaret Mahy… with memories

    Sorry for the delay in getting this posted! But, I have spent the morning running around, putting up displays and organising a condolence book.

    I've been in shock since I heard the news of Margaret’s death yesterday. Today, I am wearing a limited-edition t-shirt put out by Storylines (www.storylines.org.nz) emblazoned with Margaret's lion drawing – and purple accents (her favourite colour).

    So... my Margaret books and memories… in order of the memory.

    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    5 teen books about girls who like girls

    "Jesse Halberstam does not feel like a member of my family. Sometimes she doesn't even feel like a member of my species. She's so...I don't know, I can't explain her."
    - The difference between you and me by Madeleine George

    Growing up, our household was all noise and drama llama (no offense to llamas). We were encouraged to speak about all kinds of issues at the dinner table (or coffee table, bedside table). As far as my mum was concerned, nothing was verboten. Some of my friends weren't so lucky. When I was in high school, one of my friends suspected she might be attracted to girls instead of boys. Having been raised in a very conservative family where they weren't encouraged to speak freely about, well, very much, she didn't really have anyone to talk with. I remember suggesting she come home with me and chat to my mum, but she was too embarrassed, and I was too hesitant to insist. We ended up at the library becoming an impromptu bookclub of two. I agreed to read Annie on my mind with her as support and, in return, she agreed to read a book of my choosing. I chose Anne of Green Gables, which I'd read a tonload of times and she never had. I bet you're sitting there thinking, "WTF, Tosca? How the heck do the two go hand in hand?" They don't. The two weren't related in any way whatsoever other than the almost similar first names of the main characters. What can I say? We were kids, and one of us was trying to find answers from any book with a character she might have been able to identify with. After about three or four years, we drifted apart as friends. I wish, though, that we could be in school again today. The quality and range of teen stories featuring girls who like girls is better than it's been in years. And getting better all the time. And if you don't believe me, make sure to check out the review links for each of the titles listed below. (I've read three on this list and am heads down in #4 and #5). So this list - 5 teen books about girls who like girls - is for an old friend, wherever she may be. (And I bet neither of us knew, at the time, that a few years later I'd be going through the exact same thing). (Which doesn't mean that you can't try them, too).

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    5 lewd books in our libraries

    "Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion."
    - Democritus

    lewd adj \ˈlüd\ Definition of LEWD 1 obsolete : evil, wicked 2 a : sexually unchaste or licentious 2 b : obscene, vulgar

    Apparently we are purveyors of lewd novels *quizzical look* Or one lewd novel in particular. And here I thought we were a library. Seriously, just when I think the whole mainstream media storm in a teacup that is Fifty Shades of Grey couldn't possibly get any stranger, it does. Just to spite me, I'm sure. A couple of weeks ago I read an online NZ Herald article that called Fifty Shades of Grey 'lewd.' I was a tad bit surprised because it's quite tame in comparison to a lot of other erotic novels we hold. (I'm assuming mainstream media have never heard of Lora Leigh and other erotic romance writers like her?) Do I consider these books listed below to be lewd? No. I don't. Others would, perhaps. And I suppose that for as long as we have differences of opinion about what constitutes 'literature' or 'art' or 'good reading,' it's always going to be like that. Some part of me hopes that the 'lewd' label doesn't stick. In my mind it's as dismissive a term as 'mummy porn.' And you know my opinion on 'mummy porn.' No judgement there, right? Wrong. Mainstream media are totally judging your reading interests and sexual proclivities. It's no wonder fanfic writers and readers - and romance readers, for that matter, too - are leery of mainstream media. I was a bit Ragey McRagerson for a while, there, and then a colleague pointed out the quote above and I settled down. Everything else in the world is opinion. Now, though, I wonder what else we have in our libraries that might fall under the heading of 'lewd,' so I've rounded up 5 titles that contain people doing things/talking about doing things of an adult nature, and probably, enjoying it, too. How very dare they! Et voilà: 5 lewd books in our libraries.

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

    Top 5 most requested items for June 2012

    "Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world."
    - Voltaire

    Books! The topic of today's post. To be specific, our most popular books. What are they? A teen trilogy (seriously, the entire trilogy is on this list), a New Zealand novel (yay Emily Perkins!) and a 'lewd' first novel (published fanfic). I'd like to quickly point out that the term 'lewd' isn't mine, it belongs to this NZ Herald article. In my mind, the label is right up there with 'Mummy Porn.' Seriously, no wonder my fellow fanfic readers/writers and romance readers are leery of mainstream media. The whole Fifty Shades kerfuffle has not been handled well *winces* Make sure to visit the Top 5 blog again tomorrow because, hey, lewd books - we haz 'em, and I'll be highlighting 5. And, no doubt, rolling out a Cranky McRanty Pants post to go with them. For now: Top 5 most requested items for June 2012.

    Friday, June 29, 2012

    5 books that make up my second attempt at Spine Poetry

    Falling together
    Circus of ghosts
    Of love and evil
    Miss Fuller
    Twice kissed

    - Tosca, but not really - read the post and you'll see what I mean

    Spine poetry. What is it? Take the spines of books and make poems out of them. It really *is* that simple. And how can you avoid it? You can't. Not if you're reading this blog, anyway. Congratulations - you're my first captives :) Most days I have books lying around on my desk waiting for me to review them, add them to a blog post, finish reading them or, sometimes, remember that they're there. Yesterday, in a moment of whimsy, I decided to try my hand at Spine Poetry...and spent a couple of minutes frowning, shuffling, frowning some more, re-arranging, and (you guessed it) frowning again. Finally, I decided I had a poem bad enough to share. What do the books have in common? Nothing, really, except two things: they were on my desk, and they're all fiction. Et voilà! 5 books that make up my second attempt at Spine Poetry. The first of which you can find on our tweetstream (complete with pic) here.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    5 items I'm reading because people said I should

    Stefan: You're staring.
    Elena: I'm gazing.
    Stefan: It's creepy.
    Elena: Its romantic.

    - Stefan and Elena from Vampire Diaries (YES, I said Vampire Diaries!). Who said creepy couldn't be romantic...?

    My desk is almost empty of books today, and there's a pic to prove it. Yesterday there were enough for me to indulge in a whimsical moment of spine poetry. Albeit bad poetry on my part. Today, I am down to 5 cds (most by Iron and Wine), a junior fiction book (thanks to a review by Emma of Booksellers NZ blog) and my TARDIS mug (fill it with hot water and it disappears from one side and appears on the other - almost as good as the real thing), and a nonfic title I picked up in New Orleans while visiting the Laura Plantation (which Laura wrote after reading Gone with the wind and disagreeing with Mitchell's portrayal of plantation life). This is...unusual for me. Often staff walk by and stop and browse and ooh and aah over covers and/or strange titles. I like to think they're impressed. Mostly I think they're horrified at how many odd gems we have hidden in our collections. And then I think that their next reaction is fear that I somehow manage to unearth them without even trying. It's like a blessing. And a curse. What's a girl to do when she's waiting on books to come in? Apparently, she relies on others for recommendations. And today's list is made up of 5 items I'm reading because people said I should. So there :)

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    5 picture books about families with two dads, two mums, and two uncles that I believe Mr 8 should know about

    All at once, the suitcase burst open.
    "Oh, my, it's a little girl from the jungle!" said the Queen.
    "You're the child we've always wanted," said King and King.

    - King & King & family by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

    Earlier this year a sibling and I were discussing the book And Tango makes three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. For those of you who don't know Richardson's book, it's a true story about a penguin that was raised by two male penguins. We were discussing picture books, this one in particular, when Mr. 8 walked in partway through the conversation. When he realised we were talking about a penguin family with two daddies, he looked puzzled, and somewhat confused. (Much later we'd find out that he'd gone to our mother, a counsellor, with all of his questions about why two mums or two dads couldn't marry each other, which is more or less how this post came about). It was then that I realised we'd never really talked about how some families have two mums/two dads. Not deliberately. It was more that we'd all assumed the boys would grow up seeing all sorts of different versions of families all around us and not see same-sex parenting as a curiosity. After all, Mr. 8 knows firsthand about single-parent families (his mum) and how extended families provide help and support and babysitting detail (his mum's siblings and parents), but zero about same-sex families. In fact, other than my dad's late brother, I couldn't even think of extended family members (such as aunts, uncles, etc.) in same-sex relationships. I couldn't come up with anyone in my family whose whanau resembled And Tango makes three. Is that important? Yes, I believe it is. I don't want him to believe that the idea of 'family' is about numbers (i.e. how many people make up a 'family') or sexuality. I don't want him to think that his way of being parented is the only way. I don't want him to think it's the 'right' way, because I don't think that it is. It's only *one* way. Nor do I want him to grow up 'tolerating' or 'putting up with' people. I want Kalani (Mr. 8) to enjoy people as they are, where they are. I want him to value people and never, not at any time, think that anybody's whanau is less in his eyes because they have two mums or two dads or even two uncles. If I want him to grow up with that way of thinking, though, it has to begin with us, in the home, and I'm going to start with these picture books.

    Note: I had kinda noticed that we don't have a whole lot of recently published picture books on this topic so I've got a list of recommended/reviewed titles that I'm going to suggest the library purchase for our collections. Comments, as ever, are always welcome.

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    5 books to read before the movies hit our screens

    List by Danielle

    'While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years.'
    ~ Abraham Lincoln : vampire hunter

    Take a look at the library's most requested titles and - okay, 50 Shades of Grey aside - you'll usually find a fair few titles on there that have recently come out as movies. Nothing makes people want to read a book so much as a big, shiny movie version. Good news: the 5 books on this list still have available copies, because the movies aren't here yet!

    (ps. Fans of Robert Pattinson rejoice and check out both 'Cosmopolis' and 'Bel-Ami', below!)

    Also coming out soon:
    The hobbit (watch trailer) NZ release: 28 November
    Cosmopolis (watch trailers) NZ release: 1 November
    Bel-Ami (watch trailers) NZ release: 26 July
    Anna Karenina NZ release: TBA
    On the road (watch trailer) NZ release: 13 September