Friday, 31 December 2010
Still Alice by Lisa Genova was recommended to me by the ladies at the Village Bookshop, Matakana and it was certainly right up there. Fifty-year-old Alice Howland, a Harvard professor of cognitive psychology, is at the top of her game. Her kids are grown, her marriage secure, her career on fire, when - after mere months of forgetfulness - she finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of early onset Alzheimers' disease. With no cure or treatment, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self slips away. Lisa has a new book due out next year and I am looking forward to that.
Billy T: The Life and Times of Billy T James by Matt Elliott. Of course, I know what happens in this story of one of our favourite comedians. But I still couldn't put it down. This isn't just a tale of a larger than life character, but also of the comedy and entertainment scene in New Zealand. An exceptionally enjoyable insight.
Cry of the Taniwha by Des Hunt. In my humble opinion, this is Des Hunt's best book to date. Matt Logan isn't looking forward to spending the school holidays in Rotorua with his grandmother and her new husband. Matt has taken his metal detector along, and when he and Juzza - the boy next door - unearth a handcuffed skeleton, a dangerous chain of events begins to coil around them. Des is one of my favourite Kiwi authors, especially for the reluctant boy readers (although there is something in here for everyone). A brilliant mix of one of the biggest bangs in New Zealand history with current culture with some good old fashioned adventure storytelling.
Return of the Prophet by Greig Beck. Speaking of big bangs, this book starts with one and the action doesn't stop until the last page. During experiments to enrich uranium in a secret laboratory buried below the ancient Persian ruins of Persepolis, a freak accident with new laser technology accelerates atoms to a speed of light and forces particle collisions that generates the most powerful entity in our universe, a black hole. This is not my usual type of read but I really enjoyed both it and it's predecessor. Boys (and girls) own adventure for grownups.
Room by Emma Donoghue. I have only just finished reading this Man Booker award winning 2010 novel (as in 11pm last night so it definitely comes under both categories to get on this list). It's Jack's birthday, and he's excited about turning five. Jack lives with his Ma in a room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 12 feet by 12 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real - only him, Ma and the things in room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside...Told in Jack's voice, "Room" is the story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. I will review it in more detail in the new year, but is a book that is meaningful in it's simplicity. It's power is in resisting over-dramatising the situation and simply telling the tale.
Well that's five so all I am left with is honourable mentions for the Millenium Trilogy (Steig Larsson), Freeing Grace (Charity Norman), The Project (Brian Falkner), Ape House (Sara Gruen) and Navigation (Joy Cowley).
And that's it for 2010. Have a very Happy New Year's Eve. Stay safe and I look forward to talking to you all again in 2011.
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
The Libraries are always looking for fun and dynamic people with:
- A flair for customer service
- Knowledge or love of books
- The willingness to learn and explore information systems.
These jobs are open to all members of the public and provide a range of interesting and challenging roles that offer great career opportunities.
If you are thinking that a change of career might be on the agenda in 2011 and the Libraries interest you, then bookmark this Jobs page on our website and visit it regularly.
Friday, 24 December 2010
Kiwi Author Gavin Bishop visited the Kumeu Library as part of the Storylines Festival in August so Tina and Cathy asked him to pose with them for a photo opportunity. We have some fantastic authors and illustrators producing some exceptional talent.
So the only thing left to say now is have a fantastic and safe festive season. May Santa bring you the goodies you wanted, may the food be good, the beverages cold and have a very Merry Christmas.
Thursday, 23 December 2010
The tale begins with Luke (a Kiwi school boy who grew up on a farm, can fix anything with a piece of number 8 wire and who has a near photographic memory) and his mate Tommy (a gadget freak and spy in training) in an uncomfortable interview with their Principal after a prank gone wrong. It also involves a Book, which up to that point, they believe to be the most boring book in history and a challenge to them to discover a book that is more boring. A challenge is like a dare to the boys so they can't resist. It leads them into places they have rarely gone before (the library) and places they have never imagined (a hint - Leonardo da Vinci and Hitler).
Although this book is recommended for ages 13+ and placed on the Teen shelves of most Auckland Libraries, it is also suitable for the more advanced readers of the children's fiction shelves. Many of the chapters are short and the pace is fast moving so it would be an ideal read aloud for families. It ticks all the boxes for me and I believe is Brian's best book to date. Five stars.
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
The community language collections at Auckland Libraries include books, books with tapes, audio cassettes, DVDs, videos, CDs, picture books and magazines. Many collections include resources for both children and adults. Languages include Afrikaans, Arabic, Chinese, Danish, French, Gujarati, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Polish, Russian, Samoan, Sinhalese, Spanish, Tamil and many more.
Being part of Auckland Libraries means you can now borrow from any of these language collections for free, and it is also free to request any items to be sent to your local library.
The community language resources are shelved separately from the English language collections. You can find these resources at many of our libraries; for more information, check your local library website about collections held in Auckland, Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere.
Friday, 17 December 2010
- The Passage (Justin Cronin). I am salivating waiting for this book as everyone who has read it has told me how good it is. So I have put it at the top of my Christmas wish list because I can no longer wait (although All Blacks Don't Cry by John Kirwan runs a close second as I have been waiting for that almost as long).
- Greatest Moments in NZ Netball History. I'm a netballer. I'm passionate about it. What more needs to be said.
- Any Boxed set of DVD's of Doctor Who, Torchwood or Babylon 5 (I'm not fussy - Santa has a choice). I love the way these series now have consistent thread running through each season (which of course is also a ploy to make you watch every single episode in case you miss a clue).
- The Gift by Susan Boyle can be playing in the background while I am driving around the country to all those different Christmas dinners, lunches and BBQ's (it should probably be something with more of a beat so I can jump up and down to it in the gym next year getting rid of all the extra calories consumed).
- An E-reader so that if I do decide I can have a holiday next year, I don't need to toss out clothes and shoes which won't fit in my suitcase because I need to take some holiday reading.
So from all those catalogues and websites I talked about yesterday I have narrowed down my selection to my Top 5. Not bad for a Libran Librarian who is terrible at making choices.
Happy shopping (for those of you who still have to attack the malls) and happy relaxing (to those who are smart and organised enough to have finished). Whichever category you fall into have a great weekend.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
The Sunday Star Times list can be accessed through the Stuff.co.nz website.
The New Zealand Listener Top 100 and the New Zealand Herald Best Books lists can both be accessed through the New Zealand Booksellers website.
Our cousins at Christchurch City Library blog have their own "Simply the Best" list (plus a link through to the New York Times list)
And finally one of our favourites. The Kiwi Guru of books and book news Mr Graham Beattie has plenty of links and lists this month on Beatties Book Blog
Now if someone could just find one of those lists that I have left lying around with vibrant highlighting on it, my Santa stocking could be full on Christmas morning.
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Kumeu Library - Monday 20th December at 10.30am. Storytelling, rhymes and Christmas Carols. Everyone is encouraged to dress up in festive themed costumes.
And here (once again) is a brief rundown of where else you might run into one of Santa's helpers.
Helensville Library 3pm, Thursday 23 December
Mahurangi East Library 10.30am, Tuesday 14 December.
Orewa Library 5.30pm, Friday 17 December
Takapuna Library 9.30am, Tuesday 14 and Thursday 16 December Santa Rhyme Time sessions.
Te Atatu Peninsula Library 7pm , Thursday 16 December
Titirangi Library 7pm, Thursday 23 December
Waitakere Central Library 7pm,
Warkworth Library 6pm, Friday 17 December and 10.30am, Monday 20 December Whangaparaoa Library 6.30pm, Thursday 16 December.
See the blog last Wednesday for full details.
Monday, 13 December 2010
Friday, 10 December 2010
- Jeanette (Orewa) really enjoyed 61 Hours by Lee Child. She called it an exciting thriller that she had to keep reading, even when she was tired. For a light read Jeanette recommended The Ballroom Class by Lucy Dillon about a group of characters who attend a ballroom dancing class with a look at their lives and relationships. She also enjoyed listening to the children's audio series 39 Clues (Rick Riordan) in the car with her grandson.
- Judy (Orewa) called Still Alice by Lisa Genova "brilliant" (and I would have to agree with that). "A fantastic book about a 50 year old who gets Alzheimers - written by someone who works in that field and knows her stuff".
- Tina (Kumeu) found a surprising twist at the end of Dead Simple by Peter James. It is the story of a harmless stag night prank. The groom gets buried underground in a coffin. But a few hours later his best friends are dead and with just three days to go before the wedding, Michael can't be found. (This is another one I have read and it a great story)
- Lisa (Warkworth) can't stop talking about The Passage (Justin Cronin) which she recommends as good for the older teenagers as well as adult readers. She won't tell us too much about it as she doesn't want to give the plot away but would say it is in two parts with the first being about a deadly virus creating an apocalypse in the world and the second part taking place in the future. For a lighter read Freeing Grace (Charity Norman) is about a young couple unable to have children who look to adopt. It is called "witty warm and poignant".
- Teresa (Orewa) gives us three recommendations. The color of water (James McBride) is for "adults who wish to be inspired, ordinary people becoming extraordinary, yet they don't see themselves that way". For the teens (girls as well as boys) the Cherub and Henderson's Boys series by Robert Muchamore are still hard to beat. And for the children, her grand daughter will be getting a copy of The Wonky Donkey (Craig Smith) after she took the library copy to school and her whole class joined in.
- Julie (Warkworth) reads horror including the zombies (whereas I draw the line at vampires). Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist (translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg) she rates as excellent, bring into the story ethical questions of what rights the dead have. The publisher's description calls it "a horror story with a heart and a mind". For a rollicking good adventure story that both men and women will enjoy she recommends Atlantis by David JL Gibbins.
So hopefully this eclectic mix of suggestions for summer reading from some of the other librarian voices around Rodney will more than make up for my tardiness. I promise to try better next week. Have a safe weekend everyone. Ka kite.
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Suggestion for Purchase
We welcome suggestions from members for resources to be added to collections. These suggestions are valuable in assisting us to ensure our collections are as up-to-date (and complete) as possible. Click on this Suggestion for Purchase link to take you through to the page where you can tell us what we're missing.
If the item you are looking for is not available at Auckland Libraries, we can inquire if one of the other libraries in New Zealand might have it, and you can request it from them. There is a charge for this (normal interloans cost $5). To find out how to use this service go to our Interloans page.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Mahurangi East Library 10.30am, Tuesday 14 December. Christmas storytime sessions involve storytelling, rhymes and Christmas carols. Children are encouraged to dress up in festive themed costumes.
Orewa Library 5.30pm, Friday 17 December
Takapuna Library 9.30am, Tuesday 14 and Thursday 16 December Santa Rhyme Time sessions.
Te Atatu Peninsula Library 7pm , Thursday 16 December A magical night of stories, songs and Christmas fun for everyone to enjoy!
Titirangi Library 7pm, Thursday 23 December A magical nights of stories, songs and Christmas fun for everyone to enjoy!
Waitakere Central Library 7pm, Wednesday 15 DecemberA magical night of stories, songs and Christmas fun for everyone to enjoy!
Warkworth Library 6pm, Friday 17 December and 10.30am, Monday 20 December Christmas storytime sessions involve storytelling, rhymes and Christmas carols. Children are encouraged to dress up in festive themed costumes.
Whangaparaoa Library 6.30pm, Thursday 16 December. Join us at Whangaparaoa Library for Christmas stories, songs and fun! Wear your jarmies and something Christmassy - Bring a cushion and a mug.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
The Angela Morton collection is a reference collection of books and other materials covering the visual arts of New Zealand from pre-European times to the present day. It is a memorial collection dedicated to the late Angela Morton, who was a North Shore resident devoted to New Zealand art, and the nucleus of the collection was funded from an original family bequest in 1985. Access is provided in conjunction with the opening hours at the Takapuna Library.
The Denny Hulme Motorsport collection was established to commemorate New Zealand's only Formula One racing champion (1967), the late Denny Hulme OBE, who died in October 1992. Designed for both motorsport enthusiasts and casual browsers, the collection celebrates New Zealand's golden era of motor racing and beyond, with an exciting array of past and present memorabilia. Contact Anne Jaynes, the Denny Hulme collections manager at Takapuna Library for more information.
The Chelsea Archives are a collection of records from the Chelsea Sugar refinery (now New Zealand Sugar Company Ltd) dating back to the late 19th century. The Chelsea Sugar Company in its prime was one of the largest companies in the southern hemisphere.
Children’s Literature Collection - Of use to educators who have a special interest in children’s literature. Housed in Takapuna Library, this is a combination of reference and lending material.
Medal Collection - Books by award-winning authors and illustrators of all the major children’s book awards from New Zealand, Australia, Britain, the United States and Canada. Housed in Takapuna Library this is a reference collection for use in the library.
Family history collection If you are interested in genealogy, The Auckland Research Centre has an extensive collection of resources for family history research. This is located on the second floor of the Central City Library.
International documents collection - Auckland City Libraries' international documents collection is made up of material from the United Nations (UN), encompassing the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).
Sir George Grey Special Collections Ta Hori Kerei - Nga kohinga taonga whakahirahira (previously known as 'Heritage collections: Te Taumata o ngā Taonga Tuku Iho') were made accessible to the public in 1997, and are currently housed on the second floor of Central City Library. Since the founding gift to the citizens of Auckland by Sir George Grey in 1887, the collections have grown by purchase and generous donations by benefactors to become one of New Zealand's three major heritage collections.
The Ngā Mātauranga Māori collection includes historical and contemporary material based on Māori content or subject matter. It consists of material written by Māori authors as well as children’s books and easy readers in te reo Māori.Ngā Mātauranga Māori items have a black and white kowhaiwhai label and the word Māori on the spine of the book. This collection includes both lending and reference material. Many of our community libraries have a Ngā Mātauranga Māori section. At Central City Library, you will find the collection on the first floor.
The Manukau Research Library holds the most extensive collection available of materials relating to the history and development of South Auckland and the Counties-Manukau area.
These are just some of the resources you can find around Auckland. It pays to have a good hunt around the website as you never know what you might find that you didn't know you were looking for.
Monday, 6 December 2010
As well as Christmas, this year has also been the season of vampires and more lately, zombies. So in the interests of keeping up to date I picked up I am Scrooge: A Zombie story for Christmas by Adam Roberts.
Now if you have read my reviews in the past, been tempted by the book and ultimately decided it was rubbish and I didn’t know what I was talking about – this is the book for you.
The first time I opened it I think I got to page 5. The second time I persevered until page 48. Then I had had enough. Enough of the blood, guts and brains. Enough of the bad writing. Enough of the story. However, in the interests of good reviewing, here is the synopsis from the publisher:
"Marley was dead. Again. The legendary Ebenezeer Scrooge sits in his house counting money. The boards that he has nailed up over the doors and the windows shudder and shake under the blows from the endless zombie hordes that crowd the streets hungering for his flesh and his miserly braaaaiiiiiinns! Just how did the happiest day of the year slip into a welter of blood, innards and shambling, ravenous undead on the snowy streets of old London town? Will the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future be able to stop the world from drowning under a top-hatted and crinolined zombie horde? Was Tiny Tim's illness something infinitely more sinister than mere rickets and consumption? Can Scrooge be persuaded to go back to his evil ways, travel back to Christmas past and destroy the brain stem of the tiny, irritatingly cheery Patient Zero?"
Like any good book though, this one did teach me something about myself. There is a reason why I don’t DO horror movies, and that now extends to horror reading. I can cope with vampires but zombies are a step too far.
But, if blood, guts, brains and Christmas go together in your mind, this could be the book you want in your Christmas stocking this year.
Friday, 3 December 2010
- Having toured around parts of Northland earlier this year with the irrepressive Donovan Bixley, I was looking forward to his new book The Wheels on the Bus. Yes, it's a familiar tale and it's been done before, but that is part of the joy of this Kiwi styled edition. The birds, mammals, reptiles and vistas of Aotearoa pop out of the pages and children will delight at identifying all of them, including the fantail who appears on every page. The bus travels from Cape Reinga through to Milford Sound stopping at iconic New Zealand spots to pick up a whole host of Kiwi characters. You can sing along as you turn the pages (as we did at Storytime on Monday) or if you want to sit quietly and read the book, you find lots of other things hiding in the pictures as well. This vibrant soft covered picture book will make an ideal stocking filler and is definitely top of my list of picture book purchases for the special kids in my life.
- Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) has a new book out called Cave Baby. The illustrator is Emily Gravett. It’s a fun story about a cheeky baby who scribbles on walls (can anyone relate to that) and a hairy mammoth who takes him for a thrilling nighttime ride. It’s a great read aloud book (I’v tried it out at storytime).
- Something completely different, and a little bit of a tear jerker for the soft touches amongst us is Potato Music by Christina Booth and illustrated by Pete Groves. Each night the family gather around the piano and sing and dance. Pa says the music “helps to keep our dreams and hopes alive”. But then the war comes, boots march by outside and everyone is hungry. Can the music keep them warm and stop them from starving? It’s sad but uplifting – ideal for quiet time with your child.
- The highlight for me of To Market To Market by Anne Miranda is the stunning and hilarious illustrations by Janet Stevens. They fit the simple text so well with the animals and the shopper springing off the sepia background chaos. The book itself has been around for a while (1997) and has been honoured as both a whole and for it’s illustrations. If you find it, have a look and see if you agree with me.
- The Mountain who wanted to Live in a House is Maurice Shadbolt's only known children's story. Published in picture book format for the first time with illustrations by Renee Haggo it is the story of young Thomas who saves the town from a wandering mountain, at the same time helping the mountain to achieve his dream.
Honourable mention must go to the Kiwi classics such as Hairy Maclary and the stories of people such as Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley (some of which were re-issued this year), Yvonne Morrison's kiwi re-workings of the traditional christmas tales (e.g. The Night before Christmas), new releases such as Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam (Juliette McIvor) and the Kiwi Corkers (which also have a Kiwi retelling of the Christmas Carol just released). Do you get the impression I could go on and on? I could (I haven't even mentioned Wonky Donkeys or Piggity Wiggity yet). It's the child inside and it is never more evident than at Christmas time.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
The Libraries in the Rodney area close at 5pm on Friday 24 December.
We will be closed Saturday 25 - Tuesday 28 December and Saturday 1 - Tuesday 4 January over the Christmas and New Year period.
From Wednesday 29 - Friday 31 December the libraries will operate with normal hours but will close at 5pm.
Wellsford, Mahurangi East, Orewa, Helensville and Whangaparaoa libraries will open from 9.30am - 5pm. Warkworth and Kumeu libraries will be open from 9am - 5pm.