Friday, March 15, 2013

Top 5 most popular Staff Picks posts

Oh! You guys go for a month without any posts from me and then KABOOM! I'm all up in your grill. ISN'T IT WONDERFUL? *Hint: This is where you nod politely and pacify the crazy blogger*

Back in December our Staff Picks blog went live. It made sense, right? We are librarians. We have lots of titles, and opinions about what you should read/watch/listen to. And that was exactly the intent of the blog, that we would offer up recommendations to YOU (you being 'the world, the universe'). Let's face it, if librarians can't recommend books out loud, and if readers can't put their faith in our word, what kind of a world would this be? A stink one, I reckon. So! The very fabulous Karen Craig put out an expression of interest and I remember we discussed, briefly, the idea of receiving maybe 4 or 5 responses. We received sixty. Yeah - sixty. We put together guidelines for the kinds of content we wanted our people to write about, and then we trained them in using Blogger and, as I like to put it, got the hell out of the way. That was, really, all that was needed. They were bursting to talk about books and movies and music. They'd just needed a place to be able to do so. And you know, it seems to work for them and y'all. Since it went live, it's had roughly 18,500 hits without, to be honest, much input from me other than training. And every day, just when I think I can't be any more impressed by what our staff review, and how they write, I am undone all over again. They're so talented, and I am ohsovery proud of them. And you guys need to read about it. I don't regret much in my life. I think life is incredibly short in the bigger scheme of things, and the fact that none of us gets out alive is reminder enough for me to not take myself too seriously. If I could regret ONE thing, though, it would be that I don't write half as well as they do :) Check out the Staff Picks blog, request their recommendations, and take time to admire our talented staff. I do it every day. As a taster, here are the top 5 most popular Staff Picks posts!

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden - posted by Stanley, Ranui Library
"Though these situations are larger than life, I found they come off as devastatingly realistic. It is easy to find yourself in the character’s shoes as they battle with the invaders, clash with each other, and reflect on the serious consequences of their action. You wonder what you would do in the same situation. This is not a Hollywood blockbuster with “good guys" and "bad guys”, bulletproof heroes, and a trite happy ending."

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan - posted by Laura, Leys Institute Libary
"When I finished Atonement half of me felt annoyed with the author for leading me up the garden path, but with Sweet Tooth I was in full admiration of McEwan; the book is much too tongue-in-cheek to provide any real attachment to the characters, who in my book deserved all they got, and the reader is much more aware that there is something not quite right - that there is surely an epigrammatic sting waiting to be revealed, which makes it rewarding rather than heartbreaking."

Good in a Crisis by Margaret Overton - posted by Monica, Orewa Library
"Reading Margaret Overton’s memoir was like listening to the latest gossip about the family train-wreck: a case of “Oh no- she didn’t: tell me more!” Most people I know have a “Margaret” in their family or circle of friends (I certainly do), and some of us have even been a “Margaret” at one stage or another, and the wonderful thing about her sometimes brain-dead moments is the knowledge that she is a highly intelligent woman (an anaesthetist), who throughout the book keeps trying to understand why she does the things she does. This knowledge had the effect of distilling the moments of stupidity, making them more entertaining, but also intensified the message of understanding and forgiveness, and I learned a few things while I laughed."

Caspar David Friedrich by Johannes Grave - posted by Nick, Central City Library
"The scholarly text and sumptuous images speak of weighty metaphysical themes, of the artist’s heroic effort to give form to the ineffable qualities of the sublime experience. And so its fitting that this book is heavy, packed with quality reproductions, as it sets out to masterfully chart the liminal realms of the romantic contemplative reverie. Its a journey I can whole heartedly recommend!"

100 Cult Films by Ernst Mathjs & Xavier Mendik - posted by Jonny, Central City Library
"The authors combine relevant contextual detail and witty commentary and feel just long enough to get an impression of each film. They are convincing in their justification for most of the films inclusions. Of course if, like me, you love films you may well be outraged by the exclusion of your favorites and inclusion of others. These sorts of appreciators' arguments are part of the fun of reading a 'best of ' list."

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