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.