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!