Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday Top 5 - Where to find us

You would have to be some sort of hermit, or have just been rescued from two years on a desert island, not to know that this is the last week of the Rodney District Council and that from 1st November we will all be part of Auckland City.

We've already touched on what that means for Library goers (more books, more resources, the same friendly smile). But today I just want to point you towards where you can find us on the World Wide Web because, we're not going anywhere.
  1. Rodney Libraries website. We have changed and updated our website. This only went live a couple of days ago so there may still be a couple of glitches to work out (let us know if you find anything). It looks a lot like the Auckland Libraries website which covers all 55 libraries, but if you want to look for specifically local content, this is the place to come.
  2. Rodney Libraries blog. Our daily diary of book reviews, library events and news from the library and literary world (plus local snippets) stays in the same place with the same look. With the departure of blogger rodneylibraries (Kris - Good luck for the future), regular posts will happen Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But there may be posts on the other days, so don't forget to check us out.
  3. Rodney Libraries Facebook page. Your chance to interact with us on one of the most popular social networking sites in the world. Links through to our catalogue and our blog. Tell us what you like best, what you want, and watch out for news of events happening in your local library.
  4. Rodney Libraries Twitter. Get quick updates and news by following rodneylibraries and/or kowhaireader on Twitter.
  5. Rodney Libraries Flickr. Relive the action from Clifford storytimes, see the team in action at work and out promoting the libraries at schools and Shows, watch as we make improvements to our libraries and find out what display has gone up in your local library.

Of course, for a catch-all the place you really need to check out next week is the new Auckland Libraries website. I know I will be.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Settler's Creek - Carl Nixon

I loved Carl Nixon's novel Rocking Horse Road so I was eagerly looking forward to getting to grips with his new book Settlers' Creek.

The Publishers description is intriguing and designed to get people to pick up the book. "Box Saxton just wants to bury his teenage stepson's body in the churchyard near the farm where Box grew up. What happens, though, when the boy's biological father, a Maori leader, unexpectedly turns up in the days before the funeral and forcibly takes the boy's body? According to Maori custom the boy must be buried in the tribe's ancestral cemetery at the small coastal town of Kaipuna. According to the law there is very little Box can do. With no plan and little hope, Box gets in his old truck and drives north, desperate and heartbroken." This blurb conjures up memories of newspaper headlines, endless calls to talkback radio and racial tensions. And it is true that the book does explore the ties that the Maori and the Pakeha have to the land that they call home.

But to me that is not the real story behind Settlers' Creek. As Box says at one point, ethnicity has nothing to do with it. It is personal. And this to me is the real power behind the journey we go on with the central character Box as he tries to come to grips with the loss of the young man he has always considered to be his son in one of the worst possible circumstances - suicide. It is a journey of many unanswered questions, which is perhaps as it should be in the situation and the reader is left to draw many of their own conclusions. The book does not preach or come down on the side of either party. It simply tells a story, real and gritty and one that I will probably go back and read again to fully appreciate it's power and all the different nuances. I have to say it wasn't what I expected, I wasn't sure how I felt as I was reading it, but on writing this review I have discovered that it will stay with me for some time.

In short - highly recommended.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Celebrating our History

We are into the last week of Rodney District Council and there can be no better time than to celebrate our history - a lot of which you can find out about at ... your local Library (of course).

Here are just a few of the resources we have at Rodney Libraries for you to be able to find out more about the wonderful place we call home.

The easiest way to find books on the area you want is to carry out a Subject Search. Simply enter the area you want to investigate, say Helensville, followed by NZ History and you will find a whole range of items. So your search will look like Helensville N Z History

Digital Resources
The Local History button on our home page takes you through to some wonderful resources including the websites of most of our local Museums and the website for carrying out a local Cemetary search.

In addition our e-resources (which will soon be known as Digital resources) contain old newspapers, a library edition of Ancestry Online and much else that will be of use.

The district's Geneology resources are now housed at the Whangaparaoa Library. We do this in partnership with the Hibiscus Coast Geneology Society. For the keen geneologists amongst you, this is an absolute treasure trove that can account for hours of your time.

Indulge yourself and take a look at our history, bearing in mind that some of these books and items are irreplaceable so you may only be able to view them in the library.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Changes for the northern libraries online

Just to give you a heads-up that things will be changing a little bit for the Rodney Libraries online sites when we become Auckland Libraries, in Auckland Council. We'll still be on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook as "rodneylibraries". This blog will still exist and will change focus to reviews and community news. The Rodney Libraries website will be part of the new library website for Auckland Libraries. We'll be updating our weblinks over the next week or so.

Probably the biggest change you'll notice is the way that you will be able to search our collection. There will be 3.5 million items and the new 'Catalogue and site search' will let you find what you want. There are lots of different options to refine your search so ask a librarian (after 1 November) if you want a tour.

Remember - after 1 November - there are 55 library sites you can use your library card at AND you can reserve anything from any of those libraries to be sent to your closest library in the Auckland Council region for FREE.

On a personal note this will be my last post as rodneylibraries. I am going to start a new job in November as well. I'll be leaving everything in kowhaireader's very capable hands.
Thanks for your comments and feedback. Have fun with the new collection!

kris aka rodneylibraries

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Kiwi Author receives Australian Award

Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2010 have awarded a Kiwi author one of their top awards.

Best Book for Language Development:Young Children 2-5 years went to Our Daft Dog Danny by Pamela Allen (Penguin Group Australia)
Our Daft Dog Danny is the story of a brother and sister who visit their Uncle Peter and his dog Millie at the beach. But one day they took their dog Danny with them and everything went wrong. The judges said the book "has a wonderful pace and natural flow. There are lots of opportunities for children to pause, think, reflect and predict – to really engage with the story. The language is strong and introduces children to a range of important literacy skills like questions, commands, different verb forms and tenses.
Pamela Allen makes effective use of alliteration and descriptive language, presenting characters and a story everyone can relate, all enhanced by the delightfully captivating and colourful illustrations."

The Awards were started in 2003 to enhance people’s awareness of the role speech pathologists play in literacy development, gradually develop a nationally recognised pool of books that speech pathologists can recommend for the development of oral language and speech and/or sound awareness and to promote the Association. For more information on the Association go to their website.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A Summer Affair

If your idea of a summer holiday includes exploring and developing your writing or artistic creativity, then the University of Auckland Summer Workshops could be for you. They run between 8th and 12th January at the Auckland Campus and include some of the following:

Waking the Sleeping Dog: Introduction to Writing (Judith White)
In at the Deep End: Writing Short Fiction (David Lyndon Brown)
Narrative and the Novel (James George)
Writing Fiction for Children and Teenagers (Lorraine Orman)
Freeland Journalism and Non-fiction Writing (Paul Smith)
Life Writing (Deborah Shepard)
Poetry Holiday (Siobhan Harvey)
Saying what you have in Mind (Marinus Ferreira)
Expressive Colour Painting (Suza Lawrence)
Joy of Creativity (Gail Haffern)
Children's Book Illustration (Sandra Morris)
Photoshop for Artists (Dietlind Wagner)
Advancing your Life Drawing (Geoffrey Arnold)
Botanical Painting: Native New Zealand plants (Connie Robertson)
Digital Collage: Creative Imagery (Dietlind Wagner)
Nature Journalling at Tongariro National Park (Sandar Morris)

There are also language intensives for beginners in French, Italian and Spanish as well as a series of Lecture courses in art and philosophy.

Numbers are limited on most courses to 15 participants so you will need to get in quickly. For further information look for a booklet at your local library or go online to

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Three of New Zealand's leading writers - Joy Cowley, James McNeish and Cilla McQueen were honoured at tonight's 2010 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement at Premier House in Wellington.

Administered by Creative New Zealand, each writer receives $60,000 in recognition of their significant contribution to New Zealand literature. They were recognised in the categories of non-fiction [James McNeish], poetry [Cilla McQueen] and fiction [Joy Cowley].

Minister for Arts and Culture Christopher Finlayson, presenting the awards on behalf of the Prime Minister said, "I am delighted to see the life work of three more outstanding writers recognised through these awards tonight. The Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement are some of the most coveted in New Zealand, and government is pleased to support these awards through the Arts Council. It is money well spent in rewarding excellence, raising the profile of our writers, and of course inspiring new works."

Well-known children's writer Kate De Goldi was also present at the ceremony where her achievements were acknowledged as the 2010/11 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers' Fellowship recipient.

For a full report check out this newslink

Monday, 18 October 2010

Auckland Libraries – more information

From 1 November, the 55 libraries within the Auckland region will join together and be known as Auckland Libraries. You can borrow from and return to any of the 55 libraries. You’ll enjoy better services and benefits right across Auckland.

From 1 November, you can use your library card at Auckland Libraries to access approximately 3.5 million items including fiction and non-fiction books, CDs, DVDs, console games, audio books, foreign language and reference materials, plus over 100 eResources providing access to the world’s information.

Borrowing fees and loan periods will be consistent across the 55 libraries.

Free membership

There will be no joining or membership fees for residents of Auckland. Everything is free to borrow except for bestsellers and rental items (DVDs, CDs, console games). Charges on children’s or teens’ overdue books or items no longer apply except for rental collections. Audio books will be free to borrow.

Out-of-zone subscriptions
The subscription fee for residents living outside the boundaries of Auckland Council from 1 November is $160 per annum.

Existing loans
Items borrowed before 1 November will be subject to existing terms. If renewed after 1 November the new terms and conditions will apply.

New overdue fees and how to avoid them
Any items borrowed or renewed after 1 November will be on the new borrowing terms. Overdue fees for an adult book will increase to 50 cents per day. Borrowing a bestseller book remains at $5.

Reminder notices is a free email service to help you manage your borrowing. It will be available region-wide from 1 November. With this service, you get a reminder email advising of any items due back in 3 days. You then have the choice of renewing the item, or returning it by its due date. This service is currently available in Auckland, Franklin, Manukau, Papakura, North Shore and Rodney.

Look out for colourful posters and leaflets now available at your library. More information will be available from 1 November. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please ask your librarian.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Top 5 for Friday - GOLD and SILVER

The inspiration for this week's Top 5 comes from the most intense and unbelievable netball game I have seen in a long time. I couldn't watch - I couldn't not watch. I am (of course) talking about the match up between the Silver Ferns and the Australian Diamonds last night for the Gold Medal at the Commonwealth Games. Even at the end of normal time. Even at the end of extra time. Then it was just a matter of who held their nerve and blinked first. AND WE WON!!

Back to the Top 5 on Friday - Sporting heroes and sports stories about pursuing your dreams of Gold and victory.
  1. Changing Colours - The Irene Van Dyk Story. Well after last night this had to be top of the list. Our flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony may have hailed from South Africa but there is no doubt that she is now a very proud Kiwi.

  2. High Flying Kiwis by Mark Taylor. Who says Kiwis can't fly. Read about 100 of our sporting heroes, from Cardigan Bay to Colin Meads, Jack Lovelock to John Walker, celebrate our sporting tradition in this 1988 book, which was later followed by Volume 2 published in 1994. An honourable mention that looks like it is worth a read is Hard Man Fight Back for inspiration about those Kiwis who have truly beaten the odds.

  3. Titch: Sevens is my Game by Heather Kidd. Gordon Tietjens. Legend. Almost single-handedly the steely-eyed fitness fanatic from the Bay of Plenty has taken a sport that was once regarded as little more than a pre- or post-season muck-around and spearheaded its development into a global game. Which we are very good at - more Gold.

  4. Chariots of Fire (DVD). The 1924 Olympic Games are the setting for this classic tale of athletic rivalry, class conflict and living by your values. A true classic.

  5. And finally back to the netball with Sterling Silver (DVD). Archival footage of some of their unforgettable moments in the sport, with present-day conversations with the legends.

Congratulations to the Ferns. You are legends and I think Gold and Silver go together really well when it is a Gold Medal for the Silver Ferns. If you are interested the team are flying home and will be arriving at Auckland approximately 11.50am tomorrow (Saturday), so get out there and welcome them home. Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

One City - 55 Libraries - All yours

We are excited! The "Super City" that we become part of on 1st November signals the creation of a "Super Library". Instead of the resources of just seven Rodney Libraries, from the 1st of November your Library card will work at all 55 libraries through Auckland. That's right - 55 libraries.

Here is a snapshot of what it's going to look like:
  • 55 Libraries from Wellsford in the north through to Waiuku and Tuakau in the South

  • You can borrow (in person or by request) from any of these libraries, and return your books to any library

  • Choose from a massive 3.5 million library items. As well as the items you already find at Rodney Libraries (fiction and non-fiction books, CD's, DVD's, audio books, magazines, activities and events) we will have access to some new resources such as sheet music and downloadable audio books

  • Free general borrowing remains as do free requsets from other libraries

  • Some borrowing fees will reduce. Rental DVD's will be $2 for a week (instead of $5). Some items we currently charge for will be free

That's just a snapshot of the changes but there are many more. Call into your local library and pick up one of the Auckland Libraries brochures to find out more. And watch this space for more information in the lead in to 1st November.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Man Booker 2010 winners

Congratulations to Howard Jacobson, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2010 for The Finkler Question published by Bloomsbury).

"Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick. Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central, London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you have less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses. And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30 pm, as Treslove, walking home, hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country, that he is attacked. And after this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change."

Any full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe is eligible for the prize. Such a book must be a unified and substantial work. Authors must be living at the time of the award. No English translation of a book written originally in any other language is eligible.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Clifford the Big Red Dog

If you see a large red version of man's best friend wandering around the Rodney Libraries over the next couple of weeks, don't be surprised. Children's favourite, Clifford the Big Red Dog, is making a return visit to all of the Rodney Libraries during October.

Kumeu - Monday 11th October, 10.30
Mahurangi East - Tuesday 12th October, 10.30am
Wellsford - Wednesday 13th October, 10.30am
Warkworth - Friday 15th October, 10.30am and again at 6.30 pm
Helensville - Monday 18th October, 10.30 am
Whangaparaoa - Tuesday 19th October, 10.30 am.
Whangaparaoa - Wednesday 20th October, 10.30 am and again at 4 pm
Orewa - Thursday 21st October, 11.15am

Come along, bring your camera and enjoy storytimes with Clifford at your local Library.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Celebrate Kiwi Music with 2010 Winners

Congratulations to all the winners at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards last week. We have a fantastic selection of Kiwi Music in Rodney Libraries and you can listen to some of the winners by taking them out.

Vodafone Album of The Year Winner: Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke

Vodafone Single of The Year Winner: Kids Of 88 - Just A Little Bit
Other finalists: Dane Rumble - Cruel, Gin Wigmore - Oh My, J.Williams - You Got Me, The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo

Best Group Winner: The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo
Other finalists: Shapeshifter - The System Is A Vampire, The Checks - Alice By The Moon

Best Male Solo Artist Winner: Dane Rumble - The Experiment
Other finalists: Connan Mockasin - Please Turn Me Into The Snat, J.Williams - Young Love

Best Female Solo Artist Winner: Anika Moa - Love in Motion
Other finalists: Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke, Hollie Smith - Humour And The Misfortune Of Others

Breakthrough Artist of The Year Winner: Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke
Other finalists: Artisan Guns - Autumn, Dane Rumble - The Experiment

Best Rock Album Winner: The Checks - Alice By The Moon
Other finalists: Dimmer - Degrees of Existence, The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo

Best Pop Album Winner: Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke
Other finalists: Anika Moa - Love in Motion, Dane Rumble - The Experiment

Best Urban / Hip Hop Album Winner: David Dallas - Something Awesome
Other finalists: J.Williams - Young Love, Young Sid - What Doesn't Kill Me

Best Aotearoa Roots Album Winner: Opensouls - Standing In The Rain
Other finalists: Fly My Pretties - A Story, Hollie Smith - Humour And The Misfortune Of Others

Best Music Video Winner: Tim Van Dammen - Just A Little Bit (Kids Of 88)
Other finalists: Nathan Hickey - Buffalo (The Phoenix Foundation), Sam Peacocke - Sleepeater (Shihad)

Best Electronica Album Winner: Bulletproof - Soundtrack To Forever
Other finalists: P-Money - Everything, Shapeshifter - The System Is A Vampire

Best Gospel/Christian Album Winner: Edwin Derricutt - Three Hours South
Other finalists: John Michaelz - Walk on Water, Magnify - Wonderland

Other finalists: John Psathas - UKIYO NZTrio - FLOURISHES, Strike Percussion - Sketches

Vodafone Peoples' Choice Winner: Stan Walker
Highest Selling NZ Single Stan Walker - Black Box
Highest Selling NZ Album Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke
NZ on Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year Stan Walker - Black Box
International Achievement Award Stan Walker

The recipient of the Legacy Award is Shihad. Shihad is also inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

Winners of Technical Awards
Best Album Cover to Paul Johnson for Buffalo (The Phoenix Foundation).
Best Engineer to Lee Prebble for Buffalo (The Phoenix Foundation).
Best Producer to The Phoenix Foundation for Buffalo.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Top 5 for Friday - Kowhai Kapers

It's major festival day in Warkworth tomorrow with the annual Kowhai Festival Huge Day Out. So in honour of Warkworth and the Kowhai Festival (and because I am from this part of the district and am biased) here is this week's Top 5 celebrating all things Kowhai.

1. The Little Kowhai Tree by Witi Ihimaera A delightful little picture book which is extremely popular. A lonely little kowhai tree longs for a brother to keep her company. When her wish is granted, she is left to protect him in a forest crowded with fairy tale creatures, nosy weka, inconsiderate pigs and chainsaw-wielding woodcutters. Will he survive? Suggested level: junior.

2. Kowhai Gold chosen and edited by Quentin Poper. A classic anthology of New Zealand verse published in 1930. This is a real gem of colonial and early 20th Century poetry, with names such as Duggan, Fairburn and Mansfield.

3. Souvenir programme from Warkworth's First Kowhai Festival in September 1970. This is a Library Use only item but is a fascinating look at the area at the beginning of the seventies.

4. Kowhai and orchid : life on two islands by Robert Paterson. A little more obscure on the Kowhai theme but this 2009 book about "The life of a Kiwi Presbyterian minister in New Zealand and Indonesia" looks like an interesting read.

If you want to visit Warkworth this weekend for the Kowhai Festival check out the official website here for what's happening and when.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Auckland Libraries

From 1 November 2010, the libraries within the Auckland Council region join together into one library network. You will be able to use your existing Rodney Libraries card at any one of the 55 library sites (or 4 mobiles) to issue something from the giant 3.5 million collection. Borrowing from the general collection is free and lending fees and charges will be the same at all Auckland Libraries.

Look out for more details on handouts and posters in your local library from today.

Library staff are excited about the changes and we hope you will be too!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Kiwis take on the Commonwealth

Despite bad publicity and the media's worst predictions, the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi got underway this week.

The official website for the New Delhi Games

New Zealand Olympic Committee Commonwealth Games website

Radio New Zealand Link
TVNZ Newslink
TV3 Newslink

So what exactly is the Commonwealth? To find out some of the history behing the Commonwealth, you can (of course) do some reading at your local library. Have a look at this link of resources which includes items on both the Commonwealth and the Games.

If you want to know more about India, where the Games are being held, to find out just what conditions are like for our athletes, click on this link for a range of items for both adults and children.

And of course, it goes without saying but GIVE IT HEAPS KIWIS!!!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Flourishing for everyBODY

That's the theme of the 2010 Mental Health Awareness Week which runs from Monday 4 October to Sunday 10 October 2010.

The statistics on mental health are quite sobering. One in five Kiwis are affected in some way by mental illness. And the sad thing about it, is that we don't talk about it. There is still a very large stigma surrounding any type of mental illness, from anxiety attacks and feeling blue through to addictions and afflictions such as Bipolar and Anorexia.

So what is Flourishing. Here's an excerpt from the Mental Health Foundation
Over the last century or more, the focus on mental health in society has been on mental disorders, and either treating or preventing them. So much so that most people think about mental health only as a problem or something negative.
There are also many more stressors on mental health today generally relating to increased pace and complexity of life.
Flourishing is a measure of mental health that has been developed within the last decade and can be used to determine the level of positive mental health in populations. When someone is flourishing they experience, most of the time, positive emotions, positive interest and engagement with world around them, and meaning and purpose in their lives. Evidence suggests that people who are flourishing are less at risk of physical and mental health problems and have better social relationships.
Flourishing is about focusing on the good things in life. It’s about the things we aspire to, both as individuals and as members of a wider community.

If you are looking for resources closer to home, the library can help, not only with the health databases which you can research from home. Look on our Library Non-fiction shelves around Call (or Dewey) number 616.8 and you may find something that will help. Sometimes it just a boost in your own self confidence that you need so another good place to look is number 158.1.

Kia whitianga te rā, ka hihi, ka whakamana, te hā, te hē, kia whai kikokiko, kia puāwai te mauri
The sun arises with each new day; its rays beckon opportunities to all living things.

Monday, 4 October 2010

What's on in the library this week 4-9 October?

It's the second week of the school holidays. School aged children can join us for holiday activity fun.

Helensville Library 10.30 am Craft: Crowns

Helensville Library 10.30 am Craft: Knights
Orewa Library 2.30 More Medieval fun!
Whangaparaoa Library 2 pm More medieval stories and fun

Kumeu Library 10.30 am Medieval mayhem! Craft activity and stories
Mahurangi East Library 10.30am More Medieval stories, fun and activities
Warkworth Library 10.30 am Knights, princesses and dragons. Dress up Day for more medieval fun and stories at the Library.
Wellsford Library 10.30 am Medieval dragons in the Library
Whangaparaoa Library 6.30 pm Medieval dress-up Storytime at the castle

NB. Check with your local librarian about times for Storytime for toddlers

Friday, 1 October 2010

Follow a Library Friday

TODAY is "Follow a Library Friday". This is a Twitter idea to see how many fantastic libraries there are out there and who is following them. It's actually crept into some of the other social networking media such as YouTube and Blogging.

If you want to find out what it's all about, log onto Twitter and follow us. We're @rodneylibraries and @kowhaireader and if you want to find out all about this event just use the #followalibrary.

The other side of the world is waking up so there will be some great places to visit over the weekend.

Ka kite

Zoo Africa Night for Aucklanders - Sunday 3 October

Spend an unforgettable evening in Africa at Auckland Zoo's annual Africa Night (4.30pm – 9.30pm) on Sunday 3 October and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes of this continent that's so famous for its awe-inspiring wildlife.
Your urban safari begins at 4.30pm with a behind-the-scenes tour and the chance to get up close to some of Africa's most well known wildlife including lions, hippos, rhinos, and giraffe before enjoying a traditional African dinner in the Old Elephant House. A special guest speaker will entertain you with tales of Africa following a live auction, which offers you the opportunity to bid for some unique and affordable items.

The night is a joint fundraiser for the Auckland Conservation Fund and Zoological Society of Auckland to help support conservation projects as well as provide grants to further conservation work or studies.

Medieval Top 5 for Friday

In keeping with the theme of Medieval Madness for our School holiday programmes, Kris has come up with a Top 5 reading and viewing list for those who enjoy the Middle Ages.

The pillars of the earth / Ken Follett. "Set in twelfth-century England, this epic of kings and peasants juxtaposes the building of a magnificent church with the violence and treachery that often characterised the Middle Ages."

Robin of Sherwood. The complete first series [DVD videorecording]. ""Robin of Loxley is chosen by the mystical Herne the Hunter to become his 'son' and champion the oppressed. Gathering a band of comrades around him he fights a guerilla campaign against their Norman dictators, particularly the Sheriff of Nottingham and his deputy, Guy de Gisburne. Later he is succeeded by Robert of Huntingdon, renegade nobleman. This retelling of the legend introduces a strong fantasy element, with black magic and the old religion"--IMDb." (We also have Series two and three as well as other retellings of the Robin Hood legend).

Doomsday book / Connie Willis. "Kivrin knows everything about the Middle Ages - she's read all the books. She knows it's dangerous: cutthroats in the woods, witch hunts, cholera, and millions dying in the plague. For a young historian, it's fascinating. When Kivrin's tutors in Oxford's history lab finally agree to send her on an on-site study trip, she jumps at the chance to observe medieval life first-hand. But a crisis that strangely links the past and future leaves her stranded in the most deadly and terrifying era in human history, face to face with the heart-rending reality behind the statistics. And while she fights for her own life, Kivrin finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope in this dark time. Five years in the writing, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph. Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the timeless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit."

A knight's tale [DVD videorecording] "The rousing story of lowborn Willian Thatcher's quest to change his stars, win the heart of an exceedingly fair maiden and rock his medieval world. Follow this fearless squire and his band of medieval misfits as they careen their way toward impossible glory that's part romance, part road trip and part exuberant swashbuckling." (and as an added bonus it stars Heath Ledger)

The name of the rose / Umberto Eco ; translated from the Italian by William Weaver. "A tale of murder and suspense set in medieval times. In 1327 William of Baskerville, a visiting Franciscan, is called upon to find out who is killing the monks at an isolated medieval monastery. Brother William must decipher coded manuscrips for clues and penetrate the cunning labyrinth of the abbey library."

Of course if I was doing the list, I would have added something from the Arthurian legends, but Kris probably just forgot, so I will save it until next time. Have a great weekend everyone.