Monday, April 30, 2012

NZSL Week 2012: 5 ways to celebrate New Zealand Sign Language Week 2012

Happy New Zealand Sign Language Week! From Monday 30 May - Sunday 6 May, the country is celebrating New Zealand Sign Language week. And I only just realised (or only just admitted out loud to myself, anyway) that my sign language skills are rusty. Very rusty. How rusty? My brother signs to me and I screw up my face while trying to translate, forget what he just signed, and opt for speaking clearly enough that he can lipread OR (and this makes him groan/laugh in exasperation) I use the one-hand American alphabet to respond to him. There is logic to this madness. I use this version of sign instead because I am quicker at it than I am at NZSL because, you see, it's been so long since I've used it (think yeeaaarrrs) that I've forgotten any of the basic phrases, words, and the entire alphabet *hangs head in shame* Am I a terrible, terrible person? Yes! So what am I going to do about it? Change it, of course! What else? And so! Please find below 5 ways to celebrate NZSL Week 2012. Why not give one a go?

How are you celebrating New Zealand Sign Language Week this year?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

5 random parts of a customer conversation that are eminently requestable

Conversation w/customer went from Dr Who to awesomeness of @neilhimself to graphic novels to Supernatural to conventions & back to to Dr Who 3 days ago via HootSuite ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

The other day I worked at Tupu Library on Dawson Road. Long story made simple: they were a little short staffed for the day and desperate, so they asked me to work. (Yes, I am your last call when you are desperate). And I had such fun! I haven't worked a front counter like that since before we became Auckland Libraries, and I hadn't realised how much I had truly missed it. I was fortunate enough to meet a very lovely customer, Rebecca, while I was at Tupu Library whose love of reading and all things geeky made for the best conversation that day. Rebecca was returning a Doctor Who book (which makes up a part of today's list) and, me being the horridly nosey person I am, asked her for her opinion of it which, in turn, led to this post: 5 random parts of a customer conversation that are eminently requestable. All beginning and ending with Doctor Who, I might add. Because everything leads back to Doctor Who.

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 reactions you will have when you read Nilsen's birdy-filled graphic novel

"I mean, if my life is to be meaningful and full, is it up to me to make it that way, or can I just wait for circumstances to come together?"
- Big Questions by Anders Nilsen

Title: Big questions, or, Asomatognosia : whose hand is it anyway [graphic novel]
Author: Anders Brekhus Nilsen
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Year: 2011
Summary: A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and more than six hundred pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent, stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds—some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness. Big Questions has roots in classic fables—the birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts.

As bus books go, this has to be one of my strangest choices. For books on the run I usually (although not always) choose something that I can easily pop into a bag or a pocket and yank out as needed. (Like some weird version of a bookish Houdini who performs magical tricks by yanking them out of thin air - or out of rabbits?) Or I carry my iPhone so I can grab a few minutes to read some paragraphs/pages/chapters in whatever Supernatural epic fanfic I'm partway through. At something approaching 600 pages, though, Nilsen's book is definitely not of the 'smallish' variety. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Does that mean you should avoid it? Heck, no. Perhaps I'm biased, though. After all, I like big books and I cannot lie. (You other brothers can't deny). Sorry. I couldn't resist doing that. (Although I do admit that I didn't try very hard). It is well worth the workout you'll get carting it around, though. It's one of those stories that sneaks up on you. It's subtle, and tricky like that. Your fellow bus co-passengers will thank you for it. Seriously, those sitting around me were chuckling and smiling at the illustrations and dialogue. I've been catching buses and trains since I was 10 and I'm still not used to communal reading on this scale. It's nice. It's just creepyweird nice. It makes me want to clutch my books closer to my chest as if it were MY PRECIOUS. For some reason, people feel that they can comment on my reading choices on public transport. And more power to them that do so. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting somewhere strange while you, and your co-passengers, contemplate the meaning of life. If you're anything like me, these are the reactions that you'll have. Although, to be honest, all y'all are tonnes smarter than me and won't spend points 5, 4 and 3 just trying to get past the characters :)

Have you read Big Questions?

Monday, April 16, 2012

5 romance book taglines that'd work just as well for movies (if maybe a couple of cheesy ones at that)

"She was carrying two coffees and a donut bag, and right then and there, he fell in love."
- Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

YES! I have a Team Chest romance novel cover as the intro image for this post, however this is NOT a Team Chest post. (I know! I'm gutted, too!). So why do I have a Katie MacAlister novel listed here, then? So glad you asked and, as usual, I'm going to take the scenic route as a form of an explanation, and drag you along for the ride. Every morning I shuffle through my various piles of library books to decide which ones I have to take back immediately. For some reason what is meant to be a simple task turns into me sitting there for about a half an hour while I flip through and re-read various passages (I have no idea why I do this, I just know that I do, and it invariably has me running late for work and skipping along like a dork to catch my bus. Aahh, good times). When I got to MacAlister's novel and read the book's tagline - "He'll need to bare more than his soul to get a mate" - I snorted. Out loud. And then guffawed. Most heartily. I couldn't help it. Don't get me wrong. I genuinely enjoy MacAlister's books. They're funny on purpose. But that tagline? It has about as much cheese as a seventies fondue party. Maybe even more. Which made me wonder...out of all the romance novels I currently have out, which ones have taglines that would work just as well for movies? Et voilà - this list :) (Good grief, I do believe this is a short post. What is the world coming to?). Happy Monday, people, and enjoy today's Top 5!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

5 new Kiwi cookbooks worth slapping a request on

List by Danielle

'I like to think that if you eat food with gratitude then you somehow won't put on weight. It's all about your attitude.'
~ Kim Evans

There's a neat story on the front page of Friday 13th's North Shore Times (read it here on Stuff), about single mum/baker/businesswoman Kim Evans, who went from selling homemade goodies at the Takapuna markets to running not one but two wildly successful Auckland bakeries (Little and Friday), after working her way through something like 18 hour days when her first bakery was getting going. She's just put out her first cookbook, Treats from Little and Friday - which we have!!! yay libraries - so I thought I'd see what else is new in the way of recent Kiwi cookbooks. We've got some gems coming out in 2012, an eclectic mix that runs from fancy restaurant fare to rural recipes for seasonal fruit and veg, with a couple of Masterchef NZ spin-offs thrown in for good measure. Plenty to get your tastebuds going and give you something new to try on anyone kind enough to play guinea-pig for you!

5 reasons why The Book of Awesome totally lives up to its name

Today's post is for Jolene, who told me that I need this book in my life. And she was right :)

Title: The book of awesome : snow days, bakery air, finding money in your pocket, and other simple, brilliant things
Author: Neil Pasricha
Year: c2010
Summary: Based on the blog, The Book of Awesome is a high five for humanity and a big celebration of life's little moments: popping bubble wrap; wearing underwear just out of the dryer; fixing electronics by smacking them; getting called up to the dinner buffet first at a wedding; watching The Price Is Right when you're home sick; hitting a bunch of green lights in a row; waking up and realizing it's Saturday. Sometimes it's easy to forget the things that make us smile. With a 24/7 news cycle reporting that the polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes are swirling in the seas, wars are heating up around the world, and the job market is in a deep freeze, it's tempting to feel that the world is falling apart. But awesome things are all around us-sometimes we just need someone to point them out. The Book of Awesome reminds us that the best things in life are free (yes, your grandma was right). With laugh-out-loud observations from comedy writer Neil Pasricha, The Book of Awesome is filled with smile-inducing moments on every page that make you feel like a kid looking at the world for the first time. Read it and you'll remember all the things there are to feel good about.

I like the idea of this book which, I have to quickly add, was recommended to me by Jolene. Yay Jolene :) A lot of the items listed (either by Pasricha or by others) have a nostalgic feel about them and took me back to my childhood. Specifically, back to a time when life was simple, anything seemed possible and, best of all, you felt protected and loved always. Gosh, adult life can be such a rude shock, can't it? In this post I do little more than recount five examples of what Pasricha considered 'awesome,' and give my reasons for believing so.

Reasons just as good:

  • When you're right near the end of a book - you don't want it to end because you think the characters are your best friends BUT you know that it has to, otherwise people would never get their happy ever after and, remember, I NEED THAT
  • Your favourite old comfy t-shirt - because it smells familiar, and like home (and possibly like your favourite laundry powder that you love to eat - yes, I know somebody who buys their laundry powder because it tastes nice), and reminds you of good times (and even good people). My own favourite comfy shirt is a tunic not a t-shirt, and I wear it to sleep in because of the memories I associate it with. We are strange creatures, are we not?
  • Reasons I would love to have added to the list but I'm not quite at that point yet:

  • Smiling and thinking of good friends who are gone - when are people at that point? One day, though, I hope to be able to remember Tracy with laughter and not sadness. And when I do, I will absolutely understand the reason for its inclusion in Pasricha's book. Until then no pressure, life, no pressure.
  • What simple things do you consider awesome?

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    5 librarian's lists that scream READ ME in this book

    "I thought I'd be a librarian until I met some crazy ones."
    - Edward Gorey, Boston Globe article, 1998, as quoted in Salon

    Title: The librarian's book of lists
    Editor: George M. Eberhart
    Year: 2010
    Summary: Eberhart (American Library Association editor), who admits to compulsive listmaking, applies his hobby to all aspects of the librarian's world, listing, for example, the top 10 things to do when you're a library director, top 10 blogs in six different subject areas, 10 reasons to be a librarian, 10 reasons not to, top 10 library music videos, and top 12 silly reasons to ban a book. Filled with library trivia, history, and information, this is an enjoyable read for anyone who loves libraries.

    Librarians are funny people. Both funny haha and funny weird. I know this to be true because it has been my greatest pleasure to have worked side by side with so many over the last 11 years or so. (Why yes, thank you, I do look good for my age). So I was pretty sure I was on to a good thing when I accidentally came across Eberhart's book which is exactly what the title suggests: a list of serious/humorous lists put together by Eberhart himself (a list-maker extraordinaire which is something I admire because I heart lists - we control what we can to the nth degree, and for me that's lists) and a number of librarians from around the world. Short post for today that is, simply, 5 librarian's lists that scream READ ME in this book :)

    Runner-up lists:
  • 10 unusual rare book genres - e.g. Artillery Election Sermons, Clog Almanacs, Harlequinades (which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with early copies of Harlequin romance novels) and Robinsonades
  • Sean Fitzpatrick's 7 cool tools that librarians should know about - YES! SEAN FITZPATRICK! Not, however, *our* Sean Fitzpatrick the former All Black, but this Sean Fitzpatrick who is the American Libraries Associate Editor. And yes, I admit it, I giggled when I thought it might be the former :)

  • Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    5 great finds at Northcote Library

    List by Danielle

    'People like to believe there are mysteries yet to be discovered, loves to be lived.'
    ~ From 'Daytrippers' by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá

    I moved house about a month ago, so now that the school holidays are in full swing, I'm taking a look around me for the holiday essentials... parks, beaches, playgrounds, and of course my local libraries. Last holidays we were treated to Lucy and the team's fun and hugely energetic Dare to Explore programme at my then-local, Panmure, the highlight of which was a treasure hunt that saw us solving maths, Dewey and alphabet clues as we ran in and out of the library and surrounds. This week we clocked the way the weather was changing and took ourselves to Northcote for a unicorn story and craft session.

    If you've got young kids at home, I really recommend our Mythical Creature holiday programme as a way to unwind while picking up some new books and DVDs. While the 3 year old and I checked out the picture books, graphic novels and cookbooks - and played a game of hide-and-seek in the cute little garden courtyard - my 5 year old daughter got to listen to stories and show off at question-and-answer time, as well as making a very cool unicorn collage - painted in part with her foot! The librarians were really friendly and helpful, and we took home a great stash of books on top of our 2 hours of free entertainment.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    5 songs on YouTube about librarians

    ""What can I say? Librarians rule!"
    Regis Philbin

    I'm reading The librarian's book of lists by George M. Eberhart at the moment (which I'll blog about on Saturday), and Eberhart is, truly, a man after my own heart. Not because he's the senior editor of the American Library magazine (although that's pretty darn special on its own), but because he hearts lists. He doesn't just heart them, HE MAKES THEM. And as anyone who reads this blog knows, I LIVE FOR LISTS. (What is this whole blog about but making lists?). I use them for everything from deciding what groceries to pick up to picking my least favourite tv shows to choosing my third most favourite toothpaste brands. Maybe I use them a little too obsessively because I remember my boss making fun of me for attending all of our meetings - for two years straight - with a huge list of things I'd done and wanted to do still. Eberhart's book is a compilation of all kinds of lists written by himself and other librarians and they cover all kinds of things, such as blogs in different subject areas, reasons to be/not be a librarian, trivia and more. One list I really liked featured 10 library music videos, which made me wonder what variety of clips YouTube offered that was about librarians. I wasn't particularly interested in clips set in libraries, although some of the ones I selected are, but about the people who work in them. You wouldn't believe how many I've watched. SO MANY. Too many to count. And here is my list of the five I liked the most. Maybe next week I'll put together a list of well-known songs set IN libraries. For today, though, 5 YouTube songs about librarians!

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    5 books to help you prepare for zombiegeddon...or to help you get along with them if that's the only option left

    Zombie outbreak.  Zombiegeddon.  Zombie infestation.  Possibly the thought of such a thing happening takes up more of my time than anyone would think was healthy.  But there it is.  I do think about it.  Lots and lots and lots.  I've been eyeball deep in The Walking Dead graphic novels and season one of the television series and have enjoyed every minute so far, but it makes me realise some quite strange things about myself.  (If you were to ask me which I appreciate more, the books or the series, I'd have to say neither, as I'm liking both for different reasons).  Mostly, I contemplate how I would be the stupid girl in the movie I love to yell at who you just know is going to get eaten first because either she's wearing something that doesn't allow for clambering fences and jumping hurdles (like the silly shoes I have on right now with the big flowers on them that aren't good for anything except decoration and are making me limp at the moment) OR I would be the idiot who is totally clueless about the undead in general.  And then I thought about how, in the normal run of things, I'm a pacifist - admittedly an extremely bad tempered one, but a pacifist all the same.  I'm opposed to war or violence as a solution to any problem.  I believe that anything (most things?) can be peacefully settled.  I very much believe we should love our neighbour at all times...but what if said neighbour is a zombie?  One very intent on borrowing your brain rather than a cup of sugar.  What then?  Which made me ask myself: How do I prepare for a zombie outbreak?  I think I found the answer in a couple of ways: 1) read books to prepare for a  zombie war and 2) read books to prepare to love my undead neighbour from afar.  Way afar, way way way afar.  (Not a proper sentence, I know).  Which leaves you with this!  5 books to help you prepare for zombiegeddon...or to help you get along with them if that's the only option left

    Title I would love to have included somehow but the book is missing :(
    Every zombie eats somebody sometime : a book of zombie love songs by Michael P. Spradlin
    Another zombie title I couldn't quite fit in this post:
    Zombies vs. Nazis : a lost history of the walking dead by Scott Kenemore 

    Are you prepared for zombiegeddon?