Monday, 30 January 2012

Reaping the summer harvest

Have you found yourself with a surplus of gorgeous summer fruits?

If you're wondering what on earth to do with it all, then it's time to get your preserving pans to the ready and learn to bottle it, can it, freeze it, dry it, store it. It's a good excuse to start practising so that you can make your own Christmas gifts for 2012!

There's a cornucopia of books to start you on your way, including:
- Making the most of your glorious glut : cooking, storing, freezing, drying & preserving your garden produce by Jackie Sherman;
- Put 'em up! : a comprehensive home preserving guide for the creative cook, from drying and freezing to canning and pickling by Sherri Brooks Vinton;
- Can it, bottle it, smoke it : and other kitchen projects by Karen Solomon;
- Tart and sweet : 101 canning and pickling recipes for the modern kitchen by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler;
- Canning & preserving with Ashley English : all you need to know to make jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys & more; and
- The art of preserving by Lisa Atwood, Rebecca Courchesne and Rick Field.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Top 5 books about iPhone photography

List by Tosca

"There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are."
- Ernst Haas

I heart my iPhone. Indecently so. In fact, I heart it so much that it goes everywhere I do and it sees whatever I see. I am never more than a jacket pocket away from taking a picture, clearing an RSS feed, catching up with family on Facebook, sharing a link on Twitter or staying on top of both work and personal emails. Thanks to the quality of the camera, and a small variety of apps, I've re-discovered how much I enjoy taking photos (one of which is attached to this post). Judging by my instagram stream maybe a little *too* much. (Feel free to go through my images on my instagram stream, any image I take is purposely meant for sharing and inviting comment). Some of my photos are quite beautiful, and some are amazingly dumb. A sibling asked me the other day, "Why do you take so many photos? Why do you feel such a burning need to share them all? Do you think people really care?" (There is no critic more harsh than your own family members). I take so many photos because so many things catch my interest. I have no clear answer. I just know that sometimes things/situations/people catch some part of your mind and, for reasons not always known to you, need to be captured forever. Need to be documented. And so I take a photo...for me, for the moment, to show beauty wherever you find it (yes, even in the most strangely mundane things/places), for the art of it, for personal satisfaction, to create memories, for entertainment, for reflection, in the hope that what I see in my head translates just as well as a physical image, to challenge (myself and others) and always, always because sometimes a photo I've taken can frame feelings and thoughts I sometimes cannot find the words for. Whoa. This turned into a rather deep post and that wasn't my intent. But I'll roll with it, anyway. I've used all of the books below in my hope to be able to achieve all of the above. Not fanatically so, though, just in ways that work for me. So, if you have a passing interest in photography that is coupled with an indecent stalker-ish type of love for your iPhone camera, this post is just what you need :)

What camera apps do you use?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Public holiday hours

Don't forget Auckland Libraries will be taking a break on Mondays for the next couple of weeks, when 54 of our 55 libraries close on Monday 30 January 2012 to celebrate Auckland Anniversary Day (with normal opening hours resuming on Tuesday 31 January) and then again on Monday 6 February for Waitangi Day, with usual opening hours back in operation from Tuesday 7 February.

The only exception is Botany Library which will remain open on both public holidays, from 10am - 5.30pm.

Don't forget to stop by your local library for some long weekend reading, music, viewing or those audio books (children's and adults) if you are planning a long car journey! And hopefully summer is here to stay so it will be a fantastic one for everyone. Don't forget the sun screen and drive safe everyone.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dare to Explore - Books about books part 2

Yesterday we had Ania's Dare to Explore Top 5 children's fiction titles about books. Which got me thinking about a couple of picture books I have read recently that we can add to the list.

Look, A Book! by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood
Another great contribution to the world of books about books, and where they can take you if you let your imagination go. Look closely at the illustrations made up all sorts of unusual objects. The words are simple and although it tends towards a sophisticated or complex picture, it will only take a small amount of guidance for children to enjoy it.

That Book Woman by Heather Henson
I recently read an adult fiction based on the story of the Pack Horse Librarians who are part of American history during the Depression years. This book tells their story in picture book form from the point of view of a (perhaps) 10 – 12 year old boy. He can do lots of things, but he has no desire for “dumb old books”. However he is impressed with the perseverance and bravery of the woman who rides the pack horse in every kind of weather to deliver the books. He wants to give her something for her trouble and doesn’t realize that he has given her the best gift of all… by becoming a reader. Watercolour illustrations catch the tempo and feel of the book ideally, and in some places it is left to these illustrations to tell the story rather than words. A lovely book.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dare to Explore Top 5 - Books about Books

Ania who is the children's and teens librarian at Birkenhead Library has provided us with her Top 5 list of inspiring children's fiction about books and stories that will make you take more and more books from the library and read, read and read more!

Inkheart / Cornelia Funke
Meggie’s father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life. One day one of those characters abducts tries to force him into service but Meggie fights for his dad and mum using words and stories.

The emerald atlas / John Stephens
The Emerald Atlas is the magic book that allows Kate, Michael, and Emma to travel through time to find their parents. But can they correct the future? Would you try to change the past if you could?

Bad dreams / Anne Fine ; illustrated by Susan Winter
Imogen touches the cover of a book, and she knows what will happen to the characters inside, even she can feel their emotions… Would you like to do it too?... Would’t it hurt others?

The inside story / Michael Buckley
In this story they all meet together: Alice, Mowgli, Jack the Giant Killer, Hansel and Gretel, the Headless Horseman to help get the story right like it should be.

Voices / Ursula K. Le Guin
Memer, young girl will discover the power of the written word in this fantasy novel. This is a very powerful story for advanced readers.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Dare to Explore Celebrations

Around the Auckland Libraries this week, celebration events are being held to congratulate all those who have successfully taken part in Dare to Explore - Auckland Libraries Summer Reading Adventure.

This new programme has been an outstanding success with estimated participation from of over 6,000 children around Auckland. We have heard some fantastic stories, received from great photos and emails from parents and children and the libraries have been abuzz with explorers at Man vs Wild Picnics, waterslides, scavenger hunts, magician and storyteller sessions and lots of other activities.

We have heard that several children have completed ALL 52 challenges that were set as part of Dare to Explore. One young lady is reported to have been to 53 out of the 55 Auckland Libraries. One passport was stamped as far away as Hutt City Library in Wellington.

So if you see a whole lot of very excited (i.e. noisy) children and proud parents, grandparents and caregivers at our libraries this week, cut them some slack. They have been working at their reading all holidays and this is their reward.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Barefoot running - are you up for it?

Have you caught the barefoot running bug? It seems that there are more and more people who are enjoying the buzz of running as nature intended, that is, without shoes.

There's plenty of scope for discussion - some folks are dead-set against it, while others passionately advocate for barefoot running.

I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall a while back, about a tribe of Indians who ran vast distances barefoot. It was a fascinating read.

Now a friend has been raving about her new "five finger" running shoes, which are basically like a sock with individual toes that protects your feet from the elements, so giving the impression of not wearing shoes.

While I prefer to go barefoot whenever I can, I am not sure that running barefoot is quite my thing - or perhaps it's just that I would rather be swimming or kayaking or tramping or cycling rather than running.

If you want to give it a try, then why not download Barefoot running : step by step by Ken Bob Saxton and Roy M. Wallack as an ebook, or you can place a hold on the print version.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dare to Explore - Our People

Auckland is made up of people from all over the world. As part of Dare to Explore we have invited you to check out books by New Zealand authors as well as books about people from other countries. Here are a few ideas we have found about people and places from other cultures.

If you lived here: Houses of the world by Giles Laroche. Hot off the press is this lovely non-fiction picture book with collage style illustrations of houses from right around the world. Houses can be caves chiseled into the hills or built from earth and cow dung. We find out where they are located, who lives in them, when they first (or last) were built and a fascinating fact about all of them. You can catch fish from your bedroom in palafitos, live in one house with dozens of other families or need to have a good sense of direction as in some places all the houses look alike, and they are all white. Treehouses are even included. A fascinating read.

Little kitchen around the world By Sabrina Parrini. “Delicious international recipes that kids can really make” shouts the byline on this book. So, as international cooking is one of the challenges in Dare to Explore… Our People, I thought I would try out a couple of the recipes from this recent release. After all, if I can make it, then a kid will definitely be able to. It is really well set out for a recipe book, and appropriate to it’s target audience with each recipe have a flag for the country it is from, a rating on it’s ease and the number of servings… plus a photo of what the end product should look like (absolutely vital in my experience even if it leads to disappointment when I look at my results). I also like that as well as a list of ingredients, a list of equipment is provided with each recipe. A perfect read for the young chef.

For you are a Kenyan Child By Kelly Cunnane and Ana Juan. Experience a day in the life of a young Kenyan boy. Who, although he wakes to a rooster instead of an alarm clock and eats bugs instead of an apple for a snack, isn’t so much different to you when his mother gives him a chore to do. There is just so much going on in his village it is easy to get distracted. It’s vibrant, colourful and interesting. Read about a boy like you (or your brother) in another part of the world.

The Little Refugee By Anh Do and Suzanne Doh. The picture book version of the memoir Australia’s Happiest Refugee, this is both the story of another culture and a survival story. The sepia tones of the old life in Vietnam and as the family try to escape to another country give way to the colour of life in a new land, not always easy, but perhaps it will be all right in the end. Poignant, well told for the audience and with great illustrations from Bruce Whatley to compliment the story.

To explore the peoples and cultures, and find reading from picture books to chapter books by Kiwi authors and about New Zealand people, go to the Dare to Explore...Our People page on our website.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Chinese New Year - The Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Dragon flames into life at Auckland Libraries from 18th January. The zodiac sign of the dragon flies in to mark the start of the lunar new year. The lunar new year is one of the biggest celebrations in the East and is an event that is celebrated all over the world.

Join us at Auckland Libraries to explore Eastern culture and traditions of the Year of the Dragon with a variety of exciting FREE activities, displays, stories and presentations at our 55 libraries. Find out what's happening at a library near you on our events website including our storytimes for little dragons.

For all those kids out there doing Dare to Explore and who want to know more about China and Chinese New Year, have a look at this selection of books I have read recently.

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year! By Demi. Small simple and colourful, this books describes the traditions that surround Chinese New year, when you sweep out the old, start anew with dragons dancing, feasts and gifts. Just like Matariki it is in harmony with the seasonal cycle of harvesting and planting. Like many festivals around the world there is food and we are introduced to some of the delicacies of the festival. Dragons, fireworks and lights scare away the evil spirits. This is a delightful picture book to introduce this cultural festival which is part of our city.

A Ghost in my suitcase By Gabrielle Wang. I loved this book. I thought I would say that right off the bat. It’s a fantastic story of a young girl who has lost her mother and who travels back to China to visit her grandmother and release her mum’s ashes in the place of her birth. But it is much more exciting than that as Celeste uncovers family secrets and dangers… and a gift she didn’t know she had. The title should have been a clue to the ghosts in the story, but somehow I missed that. As well as the ghosts we are also introduced to a new and different world through the eyes of a young Australian in a way that seems completely natural. Readers will be able to relate Celeste as she tells her impressions of China in a voice just like their own.

The Red Piano By Andre Leblanc and Barroux. This book, produced with the assistance of Amnesty International, is inspired by a true story of a young girl who grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970’s. Educated young people were sent to camps to do manual labour to erase elitism. One such young girl dreams of her former life and her love of music. In the village outside the camp she goes to the house of Mother Han and plays on the old piano hidden in a back room. If she is discovered she will be punished and the piano destroyed. The hardship of the story is illustrated in tones of sepia with garish red accents. It is exceptionally well done and brings to the reader the story and the sense of this time in another country. Recommended.

Chinese New Year at Auckland Libraries continues until 11 February.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Celebrating 50 years in print

To celebrate 50 years in print, an anniversary edition of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle has been published. If you've enjoyed tales by J.K. Rowling, Margaret Mahy, Tamora Pierce, Alan Garner or Susan Price, but you *still* haven't read Madeline L'Engle, then now is definitely the time to check it out.

The book begins with the classic line, "It was a dark and stormy night", and is the tale of a young girl, Meg Murry, whose scientist father disappears after working on a project called tesseract. After a night time visit from Mrs Whatsit (later joined by Mrs Who and Mrs Which), Meg, her brother Charles and a school friend Calvin O'Keefe, set off across time & space to find her father.

It has won all sorts of awards over the years, including the Newbury Medal, and is the first in a series of stories about the Murry and O'Keefe families.

There's a Facebook page, as well as a 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Blogs tour which kicks off this week where bloggers are riffing about A wrinkle in time and its impact over the past 50 years.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Best of 2011 # 4

Here's another couple of librarian's view of the best books of 2011.

The first comes from Loryn a senior librarian at Mangere Bridge who specialises in children's and teens services. This is a mix of junior, teenage and adult fiction.

Darius Bell and the crystal bees by Odo Hirsch.
"The bees on the Bell estate are dying. There'll be no more delicious honey, and without the bees to pollinate flowers, no more fruit and vegetables. No more of Mrs Simpson's glorious pies and cakes! Worse still, Mr Fisher the gardener will have to leave the estate, along with his family. Darius Bell is determined that something must be done, even if the dastardly Mayor is against him..."

Gold seekers by Jane Johnson
The best children’s novel I’ve come across in a while. Well written and well researched with a great message.

Let me whisper you my story by Moya Simons
Set in WW II and a great history read for children to learn more about the world we live in

The Visconti House by Elspeth Edgar
Just remember this was worth the time reading it. And now being enjoyed by the children I suggest it to!

Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess
A very powerful story set in a boys home in England – read and enjoyed by the adults and teens I suggest try it.

The last Chinese chef by Nicola Mones
"Struggling to get back on her feet in the wake of her husband's premature death and stunned by a paternity suit against her husband's estate, food writer Maggie McElroy plans a trip to China to investigate the claim and to profile rising chef Sam Liang."

The second set of titles come from Matthew who has returned to summer at Warkworth as acting Library Manager there.

Young MacDonald had a farm written by Anna Crosbie ; illustrated by Scott Tulloch
Neat New Zealand children's book with lots of cool farm machinery that little boys love to point out! (and probably the big boys as well judging by Matt's reaction to it)

Life Class by Pat Barker
A well told story that focusses on the emotional effects WWI had on a young generation

Friday, 13 January 2012

Chillin' out under the stars with free movies

I'm excited about free movies in parks over the coming months, all over the Auckland region.

How cool to be able to head outdoors, with friends & a picnic, to sit back, relax and be entertained under the stars. Wicked.

There's a wide range of movies, including Kiwi flicks Sione's Wedding, Love Birds and Boy.

Check out the movie listings and locations online, and look for event updates on Facebook, or follow @moviesinparks on Twitter.

There's also the music in parks series of events happening too. Follow @musicinparks onTwitter for regular updates.

See you there!

2 CDs, 2 groups, 2 clips, and 2 reasons they belong in your life

List by Tosca

"There is nothing either good or bad but twittering makes it so."
- NOT a quote by William Shakespeare, and found here (along with a few others)

I enjoy playing on Twitter. The people, the conversations and the incredibly quick pace mean I'm endlessly entertained. There is always some gem of a link, website, book, film, video clip, political issue, celebrity faux pas being discussed at any time, by any number of interested parties. And I can pick and choose what catches my fancy. It's like...magic. Where other people see disorder and frivolous chatter, I find some kernel of beauty in the visual cacophany that is this medium. Sure, most of the time what I personally tweet adds no value whatsoever to anybody's life (let alone mine) so it's probably just as well that I do it for my entertainment alone. (I promise we don't run our work tweetstream like that). More often thank you'd think, though, there are seemingly out-of-the-ordinary links that lead to the most surprising conversations that, in turn, lead to some great recommendations. In this instance, 2 CDs for 2 groups that come complete with 2 video clips that serve as 2 reasons they belong in your life right now. Or something much like it.

I need to thank two people (one person/one organisation?) for this post: @IArtLibraries (Library as Incubator) for my last 2011 music recommendation, and a certain craftaholic I follow on my personal tweetstream for my first 2012 music recommendation. Mad respect!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dare to Explore Booklists - Pirates, Mermaids and Go Aqua

One of the challenges in the Go Aqua set is to read a Pirate or a Mermaid book. Luckily we have heaps here at the libraries, as well as lots of other books about the sea and water sports.

Pirate Underpants! By Tom Easton and Matt Buckingham. One of the books from the Poor Pirates start reading series.
Captain Flint is in a bad mood. His ship (The Stuck Pig) is too slow to catch any ships because it sails are full of holes. He comes up with a plan that gives him patched up sails but leaves his crew in their underpants. But are they fast enough to catch up with the treasure on the Spanish Galleon. A lively funny tale for first readers.

The fierce little woman and the wicked pirate by Joy Cowley was one of my favourite picture books from last year when the original 1984 story was reissued with wonderful new illustrations. The little woman is fierce and fiesty and the pirate is wicked. But he does need something from the little woman. A true kiwi classic.

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson is a forever favourite and has been adapted many times. So the story of a little mermaid who is prepared to give up life under the sea for the love of a prince on land is often available in different formats (picture book, children's fiction, fairy tale anthology and DVD) in the library.

The Deep End by Ursula Dubosarsky and Mitch Vane. One of the Aussie Nibbles readers
I can still vaguely remember learning to swim at school. Although we had a deep end, we could still touch the bottom and stand up in it. I’m sure if we had a deep end over my head when I was learning to swim, that I would be just a little bit scared about jumping in. Read how Becky overcomes her fear and her pride when she achieves her goal. Although not strictly a mermaid book, learning to swim is the first step to finding your inner-mermaid. This is an easy to read first chapter book with simple text and illustrations, well spaced out to help the new reader.

Check out the Dare to Explore... Go Aqua pages on our website for some more things to do in the water this summer (we didn't include things to do out in the rain - but why not put on your gumboots and raincoat, take mum and dad and go splash in some puddles) and check out our Dare to Explore Booklists for more ideas of water books to read.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Best of 2011 # 3

Rebecca Cooper works for the Marketing Department in Libraries. She helps us put together a lot of our fantastic posters and was a vital part of the team that worked on Dare to Explore. She is always a sunny voice at the end of the phone and incredibly busy. I don't know when she finds time to read...

Heartbreaking and yet innocently inspirational in some ways. It made me realise that the events of September 11 will affect the psyche of many generations to come.

Storey's illustrated guide to poultry breeds : chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, emus, guinea fowl, ostriches, partridges, peafowl, pheasants, quails, swans / Carol Ekarius. (2007)

As a new mother of hens this book fascinated me. It was also the cause of lunchtime hilarity on a number of occasions.

Hokitika Town / Charlotte Randall (2011)

I've started this and I'm taking it away on summer holiday with me. The story (narrated by a young Maori boy in his phonetic spoken English) immediately gives you a new perspective on things. His confusion as to why the English boats wear cloaks (sails) for example - beautiful imagery.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dare to Explore - Survival Stories

My introduction to survival stories came many (many) years ago when a teacher at primary school used to read to us from chapter books every day. There are a couple I remember vividly. One of them was the Newbery Honor Book My side of the mountain by Jean Craighead George. I am not sure exactly what it was that attracted me to the book as a child. Perhaps the running away from the City and the independence of striking out on his own. Perhaps it was the interaction with nature because I was an outdoors farm girl. It could have been the pull of having an eagle for a pet and companion. It almost certainly wasn’t (at that time) that Sam spent a lot of time reading up and storing knowledge so that he could undertake this adventure at his local library. Maybe it was just a great children’s adventure story about a boy escaping and looking after himself – something a lot of children can probably relate to as a dream.

My side of the mountain hasn’t dated much since it was first published in 1959. The same can be said for a more modern survival story Hatchet by Gary Paulsen which was first published in 1987 and which quickly became a favourite, a classic (and also a Newbery Honor Book. Brian’s arrival is slightly more violent and unexpected than Sam’s, the result of a plane crash. And he spends less time in the wilderness but that doesn’t detract from the struggle and the adventure. As he struggles to find anything edible by the side of a lake in which the plane landed, you can almost taste the juice of the berries he finally finds and gorges himself on. You can almost smell the spray of the skunk he disturbs in his cave one night and feel the jabs of the porcupine quills as they stab your leg. This is children’s writing at it’s best for both boys and girls.

Hot off the press is an epic survival story The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence. Based on the true story of the race to the South Pole, this book tells the adventure as seen through the eyes of James (or Jimmy) Pigg, one of the twenty ponies chosen to go on the expedition. The hardship of the life in Russia, gives way to the unsettling roll of the an ocean voyage and the piercing cold of the Antarctic for this pony. There are “storms at sea, killer whales and calving glaciers, crushing ice and gaping crevasses, frostbite and hunger and blinding blizzards”. It’s a fantastic and well researched story.

Another new book on Scott's Antarctic Expedition is the non-fiction No Return: Captain Scott’s Race to the Pole By Peter Gouldthorpe. This recent release is a superb addition to the resources that tell the story of the Antarctic Expeditions over 100 years ago. Told as a narrative with incredibly detailed illustrations to support the story, the information is naturally absorbed as you read. For those that know the story, this is a great retelling. For those that are new to the adventures of Scott and the men who perished with him on his adventure, this is a fantastic introduction and highly recommended.

The Little Refugee is Anh Do’s memoir The Happiest Refugee told in picture book form. Life in Vietnam was tough, made even more so by the war that came. So Anh Do’s family risk everything by buying an old wooden fishing boat and trying to escape to another country. And even when they finally arrived in Australia, things weren’t always easy. The sepia pencil illustrations of the struggle give way to colour in the new land as the family struggle to see if everything will turn out all right in the end.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Best of 2011 #2

The next Best of 2011 comes courtesy of Helensville Children's and Teens Librarian Rachel.

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis - This book is a biography of Katie Davis who moved to Uganda when she was 19 to spread love to it's citizens. She adopted 14 Orphans at age 21 and continues to be a mother to them. She is an inspiration and a demonstration of love in action.

Bow-wow bugs a bug by Mark Newgarden & Megan Montague Cash - It's a children's picture book and you may be thinking what the?!? This is a sophisticated picture book with no words. It's illustrations are cute and all the adults (and children) that I have shown it to have had a good chuckle.

Book of spies by Gayle Lynds - "The library can be a dangerous place..." Any book that starts like that grabs my attention very quickly. I enjoyed it so much that most of my branch has read it as a result! It's a thriller about a secret library. I don't want to say anymore in case I spoil it for you hehe.

Save me from myself by Brian "Head" Welch - This book is another biography but from a famous guy who used to belong to the death metal band Korn. This guy was on drugs and living a lifestyle that wasn't exactly conducive to living a long life. This book details that life and how he managed to change it around. It gave me a better perspective on what life is like for those people who end up in a bad place due to drugs and alcohol.

The Brick Bible by Brendan Powell Smith - A visual version of the Bible done in Lego. It's very cool!

Utterly Charming by Kristine Grayson - This book is a fairytale with a difference. This is told from the point of view of the evil stepmother Mellie. She is sick to death of her story being told wrong and aims to change it. Because it's a romance, the love interest is none other than Prince Charming! Yes, it's light, fluffy and a title page that would make me be embarrassed to read it in public but rest assured, it is a good read and the cover doesn't really match the story.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Exploring the Auckland region

Having recently moved back to Auckland, I'm still getting to grips with how much there is to do across the region.

Exploring the regional parks is high on my to-do list, and trips to Tiritirimatangi and Rangitoto Island have been suggested by several people.

I'm keen to explore the Waitakere Ranges so I've put a hold on Walking the Waitakere Ranges by Alison Dench & Lee-Anne Parore.

I'm also interested in Te Araroa (a walking trail that runs the length of New Zealand), which snakes down the coast from Waiwera via Torbay and Devonport, and then it actually passes right through urban Auckland. I'm sure I'll need the accompanying book to point me in the right direction.

Any secret gems you want to recommend?

Friday, 6 January 2012

My first 5 books for 2012

List by Tosca

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."
- Frederick Douglass

I wanted to write my 2011 top 5 lists for graphic novels, fiction, nonfiction, dvds and cds that I'd taken out this year. I thought it'd be a nice way to wave goodbye to 2011 and see in 2012. Two things stopped me: I'd deleted my reading history of everything I'd taken out from January 2011 - November 2011, and had read/watched/listened to 299 items from October 2011 - December 2011. The thought of trying to go through 299 titles and choose my best of the best was somewhat daunting, to say the least. It left me feeling a bit deflated. And then I thought why don't I make this post a simple list of my first 5 books for 2012, instead. Which, I think, works quite well with a couple of book goals I have: 1) get back into young adult fiction and 2) read widely. As beginnings go, it's not too bad!

What book did you kickstart the new year with? What book goals do you have in mind?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What will I do this year?

I know, I know, New Year's resolutions are so cliched. But maybe by putting it out there in public view, then I might actually stick to them! And since there's plenty of resources at the library, it *should* make things a little easier. Check back next year to see how I did.

So here goes ... in 2012, I plan to :

So while there's nothing *too* bold on the list, I have kept it short to help me achieve these goals!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Best of 2011 # 1

In the time honoured tradition for this time of year, it is time for the Best of 2011 lists. I have asked a randomly chosen group of people for their input and will be posting these throughout January.

First up is Vicki Clarke. She is Service Delivery Manager for the six Kowhai Coast Libraries in the North and West of Auckland, but may also be known to a lot of you as Library Manager at Kumeu Library or as Acting Library Manager for Rodney Libraries. As I discovered when looking at most of the lists, there is something in here that I will be putting on my request list.

Skippy dies / Paul Murray. A sad and memorable 'tragic comedy', this is a story of a group of teenage boys in a boarding school. The story is about their teenage angst (why on earth I read it I don't know!), their obsessions, relationships, and part of their journey in finding out who they are in the world. I'm glad I'm all grown up.

Open : an autobiography / Andre Agassi. I know, this has been out for a while, but finally I found it on the shelf! I really enjoyed this as a very honest expose of his life from being drilled for hours by his father, through his tennis career and marriages to Brooke Shields and the now Mrs Agassi, that other very famous tennis player.

The garden in the clouds : from derelict smallholding to mountain paradise / Antony Woodward. This memoir is set in Wales, about the author dragging his somewhat reluctant family to live on a hilltop farm, and their struggles to develop and present their garden for public tours in the presitigious 'Yellow Book'. No I had never heard of it before either.

The tent, the bucket and me : my family's disastrous attempts to go camping in the 70s / Emma Kennedy. This had me in stitches. The title is self-explanatory - if you're going camping this summer, this could be a really helpful guide of how not to do it.

A world history of art / Hugh Honour & John Fleming. Wow, a big book that gave me a short walk through art from prehistory through to the contemporary. I found the older history more interesting, so stopped reading once it got to the 1960's.....

Euan Macleod : the painter in the painting / Gregory O'Brien ; with a foreword by John McDonald. I would like to own one of this New Zealand artist's works. (My birthday is in March.)