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 voilĂ ! 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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Top 5 Georgette Heyer historical romances

List by Annie

"My style is really a mixture of Johnson and Austen - what I rely on is a certain gift for the farcical. Talk about my humour if you must talk about me at all!. . . I don’t know about my historical feeling: I’d prefer a timely word about my exact detail. Talk about my books as being just the job for people who are fed-up with kitchen sinks and perverts, and want a gay romance, with authentic period detail. I know it’s useless to talk about technique in these degenerate days - but no less a technician than Noel Coward reads me because he says my technique is so good. I’m proud of that."
~ Georgette Heyer, quoted in The Private World of Georgette Heyer. 1984. 152-153

Oh Georgette! Mention her name in any given group, and there will be a number of people (not just women) who will come over all fangirl / fanboy. If you asked for their favourites – debate would be vigorous. Positions and opinions would be heartfelt. But, at the end of it, we would all agree that reading Georgette was life changing. I’m serious here.

When it comes to moulding your future reading tastes and inclinations, one author will often stand out. For romance readers, particularly historical romance readers, it will be Georgette. Oh, we’ll have flirted with others. Maybe we have current favs and raves, but… our hearts will always belong to Georgette. And, if we think about it, our current favs will have Georgette-like qualities. (Seriously – I <3 Julia Quinn. Witty. Great supporting cast. Quips. Jaded heroes. Opinionated heroines. All found in Georgette.)

Can’t you tell I WAAAYYY-more-than-<3 Georgette? Normally my Top 5 intros are so short. I can rave and rave and rave about Georgette for days and days and days…

Instead, I’ll move on and rave and rave and rave about my favourite books instead.

Monday, June 18, 2012

5 teen thrillers to keep you guessing

List by Danielle

There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart's controls.

Some of you may not know that we have not just one lovely library trove of new titles goodness, but TWO! Not only can you visit the library website and browse your way through a parade of new books, movies and music in all their pretty colour-covered splendour, but you can also sign up to an RSS feed and get new books in an assortment of flavours dropped into your inbox daily -- including teen fiction! Just my cuppa tea. How else am I going to know if the current love for dystopias is holding strong, or what the newest paranormal hottie is (tooth fairies! goblins! banshees!)? The answers are in my email each morning. *happy sigh*

I have found some gems lately, too. The sort of books that keep me up past my sensible bed time, make the morning bus ride a sheer pleasure (though too short), and cause actual pangs of agony when the lunchbreak ticks to a close.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

5 items I watched/listened to because that's what being a fangirl makes me do, ie. stupid things :/

Fangirl: A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obesessions."

Let the record reflect that I am not obsessed, I don't glomp, grope or tackle. I do, however, hang out on LiveJournal and I attend Armageddon (which is a Con). By Urban Dictionary's definition I'm not much of a fangirl. My kind of fangirlness is a little less cray cray. No less silly, however, I'll own up to that now. When I like, I like *intensely* To the point where I request/watch everything we have that features whatever current film/tv show/actor I'm 'in like' with. More recently: Supernatural, Sherlock (the BBC modern adaptation), Teen wolf (yes, the teeny bopper one, and don't judge me for it), Inception (tell me that didn't do your head in and that you don't need fanfic to sort out the threads and put them right) and, more recently, Chuck and Gossip girl (yes, the show I said I'd never watch), both of which I'm about to start BECAUSE OF REASONS that's why.

THAT MAN *points up* attached to THIS POST *stamps foot* is Ed Westwick. Dark, brooding, ridiculously good looking, cheekbones so sharp they can cut glass. I've never met him. I very probably never will. Lately, though, I find myself thinking I should watch Gossip girl JUST BECAUSE he's in it. Not for the looks (although those certainly don't hurt). More because I like the character that he plays. Chuck Bass is filthy rich, pompous, hedonistic, ambitious, clever, somewhat rude, quick with a response, rocks a business suit like nobody's business and schemes with the best (the worst?) of them. I watched an episode in passing the other day (sibling IS a fan) and Westwick/Bass delivered a line that had me going, "What? WHAT? GIMME!" *makes grabby hands* And I did that thing I do where I get all SQUEE and indulge my weird behaviour by working my way through his movies and audiobooks (he's British, who WOULDN'T want to hear that voice?) (Ok, so that's not a rational reason, but I never ever said I was rational now, did I?). Now I've run out of everything of his we have in our libraries... except Gossip girl itself. So, this week I bite the bullet and give it a go. The Ed Westwick thing, though, isn't the worst of my fangirlness. Oh no, it gets better/worse. As you'll see from this post: 5 items I watched/listened to because that's what being a fangirl makes me do, ie. stupid things for awesomely irrational reasons :/

What crazy, mad, wonderful things does your fangirlness/fanboyness make you do?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Top 5 most requested items for May 2012

"If we didn't have libraries, many people thirsty for knowledge would dehydrate."
Megan Jo Tetrick, age 12, Daleville, Indiana

BOOKS! WE HAZ THEM! Seriously, if the CAPS LOCK didn't singe your eyeballs then it's official, nothing will. I know, right? You're welcome :) Seriously, though, we do have books. I'm going to keep today's post short and sweet. (Shelve your disbelief, people! Some days I can do quick - I just let my fingers run away from my brain and then, wow, before I know it we've got a loooooong intro). *shamefaced look* As I was saying, I'm going to keep today's post short and sweet and remind you of a few things before I introduce the title: If you're a person after my own heart and are constantly looking for new books to read THEN try these:

  • our new titles lists - SO MUCH CHOICE. Books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, sheet music. Our lists are updated at the beginning of each month, and will keep you busy for a whole week while you work your way through all of them (this I know from experience)
  • our NextReads eNewsletters - emailed eNewsletters that arrive in your inbox, all you have to do is subscribe. They're FREE, and contain some fantastic reading suggestions (once again I know this because I've met the editors and they LIVE FOR BOOKS)
  • our Auckland Libraries tweetstream - where we share library/geeky/book related links and information with followers (and the world and the universe and, well, you)
  • See? Short! And so, today's list: Top 5 most requested items for May 2012 :)

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    5 more CDs for NZ Music Month

    List by Danielle

    'Thank you for inviting me round for tea, what a lovely garden this is, your house is so nice
    Yes, I'd love some crostini, did you make it? how crunchy, shall I open the wine?'
    ~ Goon, from 'Mofoso'

    Music Month part two: five cds just a little bit louder, rockier and more raucous than the first list (metrosexual lyrics above aside, and you really need to listen to the ominous bassline in the song above to get the full effect). Also, there are swears on some of these - you are warned. Thanks again to Amplifier for all of the band info.

    Honourable mention:
    Local Kid / Fur Patrol: how could I not listen to one of the NZ rockers that Tosca most wanted to be?

    Five CDs that made NZ Music Month rock

    List by Danielle

    'There's only six miles of bad road between you and I
    Only six miles of bad road and blue sky
    If he gets there fast, you won't feel his breath
    You won't catch my eye
    But I count the time and I watch the days
    Till he helps you fly'
    ~ Jordan Reyne, from 'The proximity of death (Blue eyed boy)'

    Last year, I listened to a cd a day for NZ Music Month. The only criteria I had: the artist had to be from NZ, and the cd had to be one that I'd never listened to before. I don't listen to the radio much, so the artists were often completely unfamiliar, too. I totally recommend this as an exercise in musical exploration, especially if, like me, you're normally a bit timid in your listening habits and tend to 're-listen' (the musical equivalent of re-reading).

    This year, I listened to about 35 new cds over the course of May, and while there were certain cds that I couldn't even finish despite the always-intriguing cover art and inventive band names, there were plenty that I plain loved, and a list of 13 or so that I plan to buy. I had too much trouble choosing just 5 favourites, so there is another top 5 queued up as a companion to this one. There is a big helping of boy angst on this year's list, lots of guitars and percussion and pop/rock with the kind of energy that keeps you awake on cold winter mornings when even your pc doesn't want to start up. I'm not much good at describing music, so thanks to Kiwi music site Amplifier for info on the bands, it's an awesome site and a great source of NZ music. They even sell the Shortland Street theme! Huh.

    Honourable mention:
    New Hot Nights / Luger Boa: big loud fun rock which is not entirely worksafe