Thursday, 31 December 2015

Can't Cook Won't Cook

I love food.

Unfortunately for me I am the world's worst cook.  Trust me. You don't want me anywhere near your kitchen or your oven or any kitchen appliance that makes beeping noises.  If it can be burnt, flattened or fall apart I'm your man... well woman really.

So as you can imagine cooking is pretty much off my agenda.  Occasionally though I am filled with the sudden yearning to make something, anything really, as long as it tastes yummy and requires very little cooking.

You can guess then how thrilled I am that there are now a plethora of cookbooks made for someone just like me.  Books that require very little, if any, cooking.  Books that are filled with yummy delicious easy recipes that even a bad cook like me can fail at... *cross fingers*

And don't get me started on mug cookbooks. Because yes there is a God and she's a woman who hates to cook as much as me.  Mug cookbooks are the best.  Seriously.  You just have to try them out. Because once you do you won't want to cook any other way.

Mmm do I smell something burning....

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Elixir of Life

I love a good cup of tea.

Something I entirely blame my parents for, who were and are, tea drinkers and nothing else.  Glass of water?  Nope.  A mug of coffee? No way.   Tea was the elixir of them all.  And in our household it was drunk morning, day and night ... and pretty much everywhere in between.

So it's probably not that surprising that I am a tea drinker myself... even if it did take awhile.  Because yes like the Gemini that I am I flirted with other drinks before hand.  Milo as a kid, then coffee in my 20's, followed by hot chocolate - which I still love - and then finally tea.  And not just tea with milk the way my parents have always drunk it.  But tea in all its forms.  Black tea, milky tea, green tea, herbal tea, fruit tea.... you name it, I drink it.  And like any addiction I've got to have the accessories too which probably explains my ever growing collection of tea cups and mugs.  Because yes you've got to have more than one.

And now I have discovered that there's books about tea and that we have a whole collection of them at our library.

Now that is awesome

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Have Feet Will Travel

Travel books are my mojo. 

Particularly weird and quirky travel books about everyday people going off on not so ordinary adventures. The fill me with all sorts of warm-fuzzies and glowy feels and make me want to see the world and isn't that the way it should be. 

Of course the list of places that I want to visit is long and never ending but that's half the fun, as is picking which destination to go to first....

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Very Bookie Christmas

I love books.

Especially books about books.  Because who wouldn't.  And luckily for me and you there are plenty at Auckland Libraries to choose from.  Tales of bookstores and bookclubs and libraries and librarians and so much more and isn't that just the bestest thing.

It just makes you want to dance.

And when you've stopped dancing you can collapse onto a comfy chair with a glass of wine and a large (make that a very large) slice of Christmas cake and start on that huge pile of books that you have surrounded yourself with.

I have a feeling I may be awhile...

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Blood and Guts: Or A Very Gory Christmas

I love a good thriller.  Whether it's reading one or watching one.  There is just something about a good crime story with plenty of body count, a headless corpse... or two, and lots of twists and turns that is highly addictive.

And the Holiday Season is a perfect time to catch up on all the gory, mind griping, can't-stop watching/reading-until-you-know-who-did-it crime.  Even better there is a fun of guessing who the real killer is.

Only thing is once you start you can't stop and you find yourself impatiently waiting for the next in the series.  Or at least you do if you're me.

At least I have Luther to get me through this Christmas while I impatiently patiently wait for the next series of Sherlock, Bosch, Broadchurch...

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Purr, Purr, Meow, Meow - It's The Cat Post You've Always Wanted

I am the mad cat lady.

Or I would be if I a) lived on my own or b) my lovely partner finally gave in and let me embrace all things catish.

Luckily for me and the world I haven't yet managed to persuade him to let me have free reign and adopt all the cats.  Because if he did we both know our house would soon be a feline paradise.... or hell and that we would quickly succumb to our feline masters and be their slaves for life. Until then I have to settle for reading all the cat books and dreaming of all things catish and Garfield related. Because Garfield is my life role model

Purr, purr, meow, meow.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

As some of you probably know by now I have a thing for Christmas books.  Especially romance Christmas books.  And with covers like these who can blame me.

There is just something about the idea of a roaring fire and snow and mulled wine and snow and gingerbread and snow.... that makes me go all gooey and warm.

And did I mention the snow?  I did?  Oh good.

That I have currently got nearly all of these at home waiting for the holidays to start so that I can curl up on the couch and fall into a Christmasy romance hole will come as no surprise then.

Now someone hand me a glass of that mulled wine...

Monday, 14 December 2015

Cats And Mice And Everything In Between

I just love this time of year because it gives me a chance to catch up on all the wonderful reading lists and to add to my every increasing to-be-read pile.  You the know the one. The one that is so long that it would probably take a whole year of dedicated reading to just get through it.  Still think of all the lovely books I could read...

Books like Firefly Hollow and Crenshaw, featuring both real... and imaginary animals.  And the fact that I am adding both of these to my to-be-read list as I type has nothing to do with my compulsive reading habit - okay it totally does..  I also want a cat name Crenshaw.  Because seriously who wouldn't.  An imaginary cat no-less. Now that is all kinds of awesome.  Just as all these books are. So check them out, share them with your kids, your friends kids and have a summery indulge of all things magical.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Don't you just love books with pictures.  Big, glorious, colourful pictures that tell a story in a way that words often can't.

And with summer upon us there is nothing better than stretching out upon a comfy blanket under a shady tree with a pile of picture books to wile away a hot, sunny afternoon, all while eating strawberries and drinking ice cold lemonade.  Because you have to do these things right.

Personally I want to read them all

Monday, 7 December 2015

Zinio! Zinio! Zinio! Or How To Read All The Magazines

If you're like me you're probably already a Zinio fan but if you've never heard of Zinio before then I highly recommend that you give it a go. Once you do you will never look back.

Because Zinio is THE way to read all and any magazine - or at the very least a large and continually growing collection of magazines.

Missed out on an issue from a few months ago? No problem because it could be on Zinio.

Wanting to keep all the issues of your favourite mag so you can go back to them again and again? Why yes with Zinio you can keep all the issues you download for as long as you like.

Interested in saving money and the planet? With Zinio you no longer have to worry about storing that ever-growing stack of paper magazines or buying an expensive subscription because now all you need to do is go to Auckland Libraries Zinio page, browse through our collection of titles, download the issue of the title you want to your portable device (Android, iPad, iPhone, etc.) and you're good to go.

Going on holiday but not wanting to fill you holiday bag with a pile of magazines? Then Zinio is the answer. Browse, click, download and wham bam you've suddenly got room to carry all that shopping or present giving you're planning on doing.

Now I wonder how many magazines can I fit on my tablet...

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Books and Blogs

The internet is a magical thing. It's easier now than ever before to write to someone on the other side of the world, or even a whole audience, about something that you're passionate about. Or just want to rant about, or want to share with the world. Or share that photo that you think is super cool, and want it to reach more than just your facebook friends.
Welcome to blogging, where you can make a living out of writing about your life, or sharing recipes, or making rugs out of newspaper (to just name a few). It's impressive just how many blogs are out there, and how many one-person blogs have become businesses that support a team of staff. I only recently fell into the 'blogosphere' (mostly craft blogs, myself) and let me tell you - there is definitely something for everyone.

And they're now extending their reach into your local library, with books about what they do and who they are - so with this, I present to you my favourite (so far) bloggers and their books.

Take for instance, Elisabeth Dunker at Fine Little Day. A designer, creator and now with a book to add to her repertoire, Dunker loves collecting things, making knicknacks out of other, smaller, knicknacks (in her book, she made a curtain out of doilies, which I'm particularly fond of) and crafting small beauties with her family... and then posting about it on her popular blog!
Now, even without the internet handy, you can check out her stuff - by checking out her book (also called Fine Little Day) from the library.

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is a popular author with a book published a while ago (Let's Pretend This Never Happened) and another one more recently. I found Furiously Happy while finding my holds on the holdshelf - it was waiting for someone else to pick it up, but I couldn't resist the creepily ecstatic taxidermied raccoon on the front cover (her first book features a mouse in a cape with a fancy hat) and picked it up to have a gander at the first few pages before hastily shoving it back under that lucky persons name on the shelf.
This woman is hilarious. I haven't read those books yet (I have her first, ready for me to read it - and I'm still on the waiting list for the second) but that's why her blog (about her travels and book events, and her, mostly) comes in handy. Chuck Furiously Happy on hold, read her first book and then sit at your desk in love with her blog until that request finally comes for you.

Ebony Bizys is the mind behind Hello Sandwich, a personal, as well as craft and lifestyle (and photography) blog based in Tokyo, Japan. Her new book, Hello Tokyo, is now in the libraries and is packed with an adorable pastel mix of topics, as well as notes about Japan and the culture there (which I am obsessed with).
With a smattering of crafts and how-to's, Bizys creates a guide on the various things she does on and off her blog - examples of favourite zines, how she started her blog, or how she makes an obento (Japanese lunchbox). To top it off, the book is very well designed (most bloggers books are, but this one is a particular favourite of mine) - and reads just like her lovely, modern (but simple) blog.

If you've ever looked eagerly at a craft recipe (tutorial? Hmm.) and then sobbed because the first step is 'Pour your prepared concrete into your previously made mould' or something equally as unrealistic (I love tutorials that assume you're already a pro) and you have no idea how to prepare your concrete or when you supposed to make the darn mould, then Materially Crafted is for you.
Victora Hudgins of A Subtle Revelry starts at the beginning, with the understanding that every crafter has to start somewhere. She explains the right way to spray spraypaint, the difference between cement and concrete, and how to take your first baby steps in a craft where everyone already assumes you know 'the basics'. Her blog is just as clear - super simple steps and easy to follow recipes so that you can get your craft on.

More and more bloggers are publishing books, so if craft or lifestyle (or humor) isn't your thing, no fear - the library will no doubt continue adding to its collection with variations of blogger books. Interested in blogs online but not so much print? It's even easier - finding an awesome blog for you is only a Google away.

Do you guys have a favourite blogger/vlogger?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

An Avalanche of Bookie Gifts

It's that time of year again.  You know the one.  Where you have to go out and face the hoards as you hunt for that exclusive gift.

If you're anything like me, the thought of facing it all has you heading for the hills with a good book and a ice cold frappe and ignoring it all.  This year though I have the absolute perfect solution: Online shopping.  Trust me it's the answer to everything. You can even do your shopping in your pyjamas. How awesome is that?

As always when I am hunting for gifts, I seem to find things that I want for myself and they seem to magically appear in my shopping cart before you know it.  Because of course you have to buy a few things for yourself.  Don't you?  And the wonderful thing is that all of these gifts are available right here in New Zealand.  Which means little to no shipping costs and super fast delivery.

First up is a colouring book.  For adults. Because yes that is a thing. A very big thing. And it seems there are colouring books of all kinds from Game of Thrones to Outlander to Sherlock. So how could you not check them out?

A notebook is always a necessity and this Penguin notebook featuring famous books seems like the perfect gift for any book lover.  Bookmarks are also another necessary thing and something you can never have enough off.  My current two favourites are this Owl paperclip type and this Winnie-The-Pooh one.

For something for the book or word lover who has everything, how about a set of fridge font magnets? Guaranteed to improve your spelling and your language.

Something that I treated myself last year was a Wonder Woman eyeglasses case.  Because how could I not?  And because it is just so perfect and also very handy as a safe place to put your sun glasses.

You can never have too many mugs.  Or at least you don't if you're me.  And these Christopher Vine designer mugs are absolutely beautiful,  Even better, they come in a variety of patterns and colours and there are bowls and plates and jugs too.  I'm very tempted to collect the entire lot.

Tote bags are another thing that I tend to have a lot of.  Mostly because I'm always breaking the handles on the things from overloading them with library books.  Luckily the tote bags I buy are only $2 so really you can easily buy 1 of every design.  I'm currently eyeing up this mosaic one as well as the pineapple one.

I've been in a bit of a Martha Stewart mode lately, trying everything from baking to home decorating, and the next two items are things I have been lusting after for absolutely ages - an ampersand light, perfect for that night time reading, and a chaise lounge chair, which is my idea of heaven.  Only thing is once I get this chair I may never want to leave it.

So that's my Christmas wish list.  What gifts have you been eyeing up?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Authors are our rock stars: Sarah J Maas at Central Library

Auckland Libraries recently had the pleasure of working alongside our friends at Allen & Unwin, to bring you what was the rock star author talk and book signing of the year!

More than 100 fans, and their friends and family, descended on the Central City Library to attend Sarah J. Maas’ only New Zealand appearance.  The 100 tickets that allowed fans to listen to the author talk and gain priority access to the book signing went like hot cakes, and for several weeks library staff were answering emails asking if people could be placed on the waiting list if people didn’t collect their tickets in time. Plus, we had people living in Wellington, Whangarei, and Cambridge book tickets! >THAT< was the level of excitement!

On the day, the event opened with a brief author talk, where Sarah had the audience enthralled with her completely relaxed self-admission that she was practically unrecognisable without her makeup, has loved Lord of the Rings since she was a teenager, and she had Legolas adorning her bedroom walls!  After charming everyone with how down-to-earth she was, Sarah then spent the next four hours signing books for her fans, chatting to them one-on-one, and posing for photographs – in other words, she totally set the bar way high for future author talks!

This event was a great example of collaboration between Auckland Libraries and a publisher to provide a (hopefully not) once in a lifetime opportunity to meet an author who has something of a cult following.  Auckland Libraries provided the location and managed the ticketing, while Allen & Unwin organised the arrival of Sarah and provided a complete set of her books as a prize for an online competition asking: what question would you ask Sarah if you could only ask her one question?

Jenna and the team from Time Out Bookstore were there to help fans fill any gaps in their collections, and helped fans buy treebooks - because it is really challenging for an author to sign an ebook.  It was a great afternoon, and Jenna obviously enjoyed interviewing Sarah in front of a very engaged audience – an interview which showed that Sarah is a thoroughly lovely person as well as a talented one!

This was seriously one of the best author talks we've ever held, not only because Sarah spent so much time with each of her fans, but also because of how amazing those fans were.  Two young fans had to leave the signing early, because of a job interview and a work meeting respectively, and they were upset that they were going to miss out on their chance to have their books signed.  A quick chat with the two lovely ladies at the front of the queue and they were able to get their books signed with no fuss, and a very special memory of the day.

After her marathon signing session Sarah was driven off into the night to start her two week vacation in New Zealand, and if you are on Instagram you can follow Sarah and see what an amazing New Zealand fangirl she is!

But don't just take our word for it: read Tearaway eMagazine's great article about Sarah’s visit to the Central City Library too.

Photos courtesy of Dan Liu.

Friday, 13 November 2015

A few of my favourite things: Paranormal Romances

I love a wide range of fiction genres. Crime, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Urban fiction and Steampunk are right up there in my favourites. But top of the pops for me over the past few years have been Paranormal Romances. This has been an ever growing and popular genre, and our collections are just chokka full of paranormal goodness. These following Paranormal Romance series are my personal top 5, and are full of amazing world building and characters and plots I have laughed and cried over.

One of the first authors I came across when I started my love affair with Paranormal Romance was MaryJanice Davidson with her Queen Betsy series. MaryJanice is just so hilarious, and takes characters that should probably be pretty darn unlikable and makes you kind of love them. The titular Betsy begins the first book in the series Undead and unwed by losing her job, getting killed, and finding herself a member of the undead. She is also pretty disgruntled about the fact that the vampire community think she is their prophesied Queen; Betsy just wants to buy pretty designer shoes ;)

There is the tall, dark and gorgeous (and rather undead) Eric Sinclair to complicate matters further, as her potential consort to the unwanted throne. As the series progresses we meet werewolves, mermaids, zombies and Betsy's rather hellish younger half sister and so much more. MaryJanice has done several other series that both stand alone and tie into this one, including the Fred the Mermaid series (which starts with Sleeping with the fishes) and The Wyndham Werewolf series (we have Derik's bane). If you like a whole lot of humour with your paranormal romance (and really nice designer shoes), then MaryJanice is the author for you!

Next up on my list is Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series which the TV series True Blood is based on. I was not initially a fan of the book series, which is entirely down to my stupidity in choosing a random book halfway through and then being completely confused about what was going on. Then I became 100% addicted to the TV series, so I went back to the books to fill my need for Sookie between seasons. When I actually started with the first book Dead until Dark, I totally loved the series (funny that). There are some pretty major differences between the books and the TV series, but I loved them both in their own way (and I way prefered the way the books ended to the way the show ended, ahem). If you don't know, Sookie is a waitress is a small town in Louisiana, with the 'gift' of being able to read minds. Due to the creation of True Blood, a synthetic blood, vampires have come out of the closet as it were. Local vampire Bill is rather attractive to Sookie, as she discovers that vampire minds are closed to her, which to a telepath is like all her Christmases have come at once. Vamps are still finding their new place in the world, and it makes for a fantastic series!

Perhaps my favourite paranormal vamp of them all is Bones from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. In the first book Halfway to the grave Bones takes main protagonist Catherine Crawfield (known as Cat) and helps to turn her into a completely kick ass vampire killing machine, which is kind of an interesting place to start when he is a vamp himself, and she is a half vamp! Cat is on a mission to take out as many vampires as she can to avenge the attack on her mother, but somehow learns along the way that maybe not all vampires are bad.  These guys are just plain HAWT and so are lots of their buddies that we meet along the way (personal favourite: Vlad Tepesh, who just happens to be that most famous vampire of them all - he even gets his own series which starts with Once burned).

I discovered Ilona Andrews and her Kate Daniels series when I took part in an online chat with NZ author Nalini Singh (another fav who features below). When I asked Nalini who some of her favourite authors and series were, this was on her list, and boy can I see why! In the first book Magic bites we meet merc Kate, and she is AMAZING. Easily one of my favourite kick butt heroines out there for sure. Kate's world is in a bit of a mess. Technology went too far and so magic decided to fight back, and now the world is hit by magic waves where tech doesn't work, and all kinds of magical beings exist, which is usually not really a good thing. There are two factions in Kate's city, the Shapeshifters lead by alpha Curran (talk about alpha male at his best), and the People, who operate vampires, which are mindless beings that are controlled by navigators. The world building in this series is fantastic, wouldn't want to live there, but love love love my visits!

And talking about fantastic world building, Nalini Singh has created not one, but two fabulous series, set in worlds similar yet oh so different to our own. We can be extra proud of Nalini as she is a New York Times bestselling Kiwi, based right here in Auckland. I have been lucky enough to meet her a couple of times at book events, and she is as amazingly nice as she is talented, with lots of time for her fans, especially on social media. The first of her series is my personal favourite the Psy-changeling one, which starts with Slave to sensation. While each book in the series focuses on a couple and the development of their relationship, there is a brilliant overarching storyline that is further developed with each book in the series. It focuses on the changing dynamic between the three main races (the Changelings, the Psy and humans) and in particular the crumbling of the Psy race (a race with psychic abilities) and its impact on society. I LOVE THESE BOOKS!

Second up by Nalini is the Guild Hunter series, which starts with Angels' blood. I do love this series too, but I always find it interesting chatting to other fans, everyone seems to love one slightly more over the other. To me this is a slightly darker series, set in a world where we are ruled by Archangels. Elena, the main protagonist is a Hunter. Her job is to hunt rogue vampires that have run away from their Angel masters. I do love the totally different take on vampires in this series, and Archangel Raphael is terrifyingly gorgeous! I'm personally hanging out for more about Ilium, I just can't get enough of the Angel also known as Bluebell ;)

For more about these fantastic authors (and nice comprehensive lists of all their series and titles), you can find their websites at:
MaryJanice Davidson
Charlaine Harris
Jeaniene Frost
Ilona Andrews
Nalini Singh

(PS - you may have noticed I managed to sneak an extra series into my top five, MWAHAHAHA!. Sorry, just couldn't choose between Nalini's ;) )

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Comics that taught me more than school did

I was never big on subjects like social studies or biology, I didn't know which was the 'good' Korea, or who David Attenborough was (I know now, don't worry). Let's face it, most school subjects have the ability to suck the joy out of someone's curiousity, and as a teenager I didn't care about what I didn't know.

And then, one day, I found a comic book about Jane Goodall, and two other women I had never heard of - Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas - and their work with primates. I read it - and I learnt something. I knew Jane Goodall was a scientist who was obviously really important, somehow, but I never really bothered to find out why (gasp) - which is why I was surprised about how interesting the comic was. And so I dug deeper into our catalogue for something a little, well, deeper than your average superhero comic.

Sure, some/most of it is biased, some of it is fictional ('based off a true story') - comics (or graphic novels) are often more personal and about the author - but I know more about things than I did before, and that, to me, is a win. I'm learning about what civilians thought about the introduction of 'the veil' in Iran - not how the news or internet portray it, but by someone who actually was there in that time. Or what happened after the Hiroshima bombings, even ten years later. Or what particle physics really is. So, if you're looking to learn a bit more about what's going down in Israel (without the vague news reports), or who the heck is Dian Fossey and why was she so great, take a look. And keep looking. We have plenty of graphic novels and illustrated books on stuff that you could have probably learned if you had bothered to listen in Social Studies (not me), and a lot more they wouldn't teach you.

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
"Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life" - Marjane Satrapi shares with us the good and bad about the religon and law in Iran, and how they, with other things, affected her as a child growing into a young woman. An in-depth look into her personal life, Satrapi doesn't spare details as she looks back on how she got where she is now, and what she and others went through (and still do). Also a film, if that's more appealing!

Strange Fruit. Vol 1. Uncelebrated narratives from black history - Joel Christian Gill
"A collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity." - This graphic novel is about multiple African Americans and their amazing stories that never made it into any history book. An insightful look into the life of the people who did what did what they had to to survive, and some recognition (finally) for their hardships.

How to understand Israel in 60 days or less - Sarah Glidden

"A charming memoir and a sensitive examination of a highly-charged issue, Sarah Glidden presents an account of her 'Birthright Israel' tour." - Glidden goes to Israel as a Jew who refuses to accept what is happening and has happened between the Jews and the Arabs. She finds out what the difference is between reading about her 'birthright' in books and articles, and experiencing it firsthand herself - as well as finding out the difficulty of coming to terms with her beliefs and identity.

Primates: the fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas - Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
"These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology--and to our own understanding of ourselves." - This nonfiction graphic novel shares the history of these significant women scientists and how they became such influences, giving you a quick read that is sure to be informing - but not boring!

Hark, a vagrant! - Kate Beaton
"Hark! A Vagrant takes readers on a romp through history and literature—with dignity for few and cookies for all—with comic strips about famous authors, their characters, and political and historical figures, all drawn in Kate Beaton’s pared-down, excitable style." - If you haven't heard of Beaon's insanely hilarious and popular webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant, you will have surely seen it somewhere before (and if not, you will soon!). A much lighter take on what were some pretty dark times, Beaton shines a light on the important people of history - and it's usually not as romantic as we think (although not all of the comics are 'educational', you'll still have a good laugh). Also, sexy Batman. Her newest collection of comics, Step Aside, Pops, is also in our collection - though you'll have to go on the waiting list for that one! 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cool cosplay for Halloween

As Halloween sneaks upon us, it is time to think about what cool costume you are going to wear for that party, that cosplay event or even trick or treating. As in most areas of my life, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate all things geeky, and Halloween costumes are the perfect opportunity!

Will I be a gender-swapped Joker? Or maybe a classic Harley Quinn? I know my boys will always want to be someone from Star Wars (Palpatine is the current favourite). Perhaps you are looking for something to wear to Armageddon, which is also almost upon us. Our library collections are the perfect place to start your search for the ultimate costume or cosplay.

Quite possibly one of the best places to start would be with 1000 incredible costume & cosplay ideas : a showcase of creative characters from anime, manga, video games, movies, comics, and more! by Yaya Han, which is just jam packed full of awesome costume ideas. From Speed Racer to Battle Angel Alita, Captain Jack Sparrow to R2D2 and many many more. This is a wonderful book to get you all inspired, but note that it doesn't have tutorials on how to make the costumes.

However, Geek knits : over 30 projects for fantasy fanatics, science fiction fiends, and knitting nerds by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr totally has you covered with a vast range of actual knitting patterns designed to help you 'embrace your inner geek'. I really really need someone to make me a George R R Martin Dire Wolf, a Communicator Purse and a pair of Cthulhu Gloves. Anyone? Guess it's time for me to take up knitting!

I was pretty excited to come across Geek mom : projects, tips, and adventures for moms and their 21st-century families by Natania Barron, as it looks to be the perfect Mum Manual for me :). It says that it 'explores the many fun and interesting ways that digital-age parents and kids can get their geek on together'. As well as helping you to come up with some thrifty Halloween costumes, there are also loads of other cool things, such as hobbit feasts, magical role-playing games and home science experiments. I need this book pronto!

The fangirl's guide to the galaxy : a handbook for girl geeks by Sam Maggs is just one of the best books ever! With chapters on how to rock awesome cosplay, write fanfic with feels, defeat Internet trolls, and attend your first con, what more could you want?

Lastly, in The big book of Halloween fun by Susie Johns, there are loads of more traditional costume ideas which could easily be adapted to be geektastic. The Eezy Zombies just scream Walking Dead, the Mucky Medieval Peasant would be totally be at home in Westeros, and any Harry Potter fan will love the Wonderful Wizardly Warlock. My personal favourite is the Truly Terrifying Mummy, which brought back many happy memories of The Mummy and Brendon Fraser *happy sigh*.
Not only does this book have loads of costume ideas, it also covers you for Pumpkin carving and Halloween crafts, fiendish food and drink ideas and even some games for your younger Halloween participants. I can't wait to whip up a batch of skeleton popsicles and wicked witch hats!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Comic Book Month, Baby!

It's my favourite month of the Auckland Libraries year - September! This means...

Comic Book Month!

Every year we in the Libraries host a whole bunch of comic/fandom themed events, and generally go crazy about one of my most favourite formats for reading. At first, September was all about celebrating comics and graphic novels, but slowly, this month has also been expanded to include things like movies, cartoons, zines and other geekery and pop culture.

Already underway, Auckland Libraries has had some awesome events such as LibraryCon, a fantastic Panel of comic artists/cartoonists, and other community library based events (I myself ran a small cartooning workshop in one of my fave libraries, ho ho ho).

Displays are up, people are buzzing, and as always we have our comic book card comp - where you get a stamp for each comic you read, open to all ages (not staff, unfortunately ): before I was staff, I went crazy for this!) to get awesome prizes.

If you've ever read any of my posts, you'll know that I am crazy for comics. I go wild for graphic novels, I fangirl over fanart and cry over cartoons. So you can expect, with the amount of buzz about them this month, that I'll be preparing some awesome graphic novel-related posts soon.

But for now, I'll share with you the place to check if you wanna see if there are any events near you - and remind you (or share for the first time, if you don't already know!) about our cosplay workshops! Although they start at the end of this month, I'm still gonna pop the info here so you can check it out.

And remember to have a gander at our new titles page, where you can see all the new graphics we've gotten our mitts on for adults, as well as teens and kids, so you can pass your geekery on to the next generation (and always take some time to scroll through our non-fiction lists for some hidden gems, like this or this).

If that isn't even for you, also check out the popular culture nextreads eNewsletter. Not just for comics, this newsletter puts the light on some new releases, actor/screen related biographies and general popculture-y awesomeness.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

I Wanna Try On Your Clothes


Everyone looks great in What We Wore A People's History of British Style. The book is a collection of photos contributed by Brits of their former selves in their teens and early twenties. You may recognise some of the contributors like artist Tracey Emin. But most are fairly anonymous, people who after the golden glow of youth have settled into lives as machinists, youth workers, company directors and so on.

The photos cover a broad time period from the 1950s through to the late 90s. Some of the kids equate with a particular time and culture - 90s riot grrls, 80s new romantics and 70s soul fans with 'fros and flares. 

Others have cobbled together their own style from disparate sources. As in one photo from 1983, a bleached blond guy in his late teens or early 20s is dressed in school trousers, frayed Victorian undertaker's coat, old winker picker shoes and a cowboy hat. He looks cool and slightly smug. In the accompanying text he says, "Walking the streets of East Anglia dressed like this was a potentially life threatening pursuit." But I bet he preferred attention, good or bad, rather than indifference.

Elsewhere, others are less brave, engaging in smaller acts of rebellion, modifying their appearances with makeup or iffy haircuts and band t-shirts.

Although, I'm not sure this book really is a history. Photos are grouped into chapters, shaped around a particular activity such as shopping or going out. Other chapters are organised according to where the photo was taken - at home, or on the street. And within each chapter, the photos jump about from decade to decade, not following in chronological order, or tracing a particular style narrative. It's more a book to flick through.

And it's a great book to browse. You may identify with the people in the photos. You too may have affected the same style and listened to the same music. Or the photos may date back to a time before you were born and you may wish you were a teenage punk, Goth,  shoe gazer or whatever. Either way the book is testament to the golden years of youth.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Beautiful tiny things

Particle acceleration has never been as super cool as it is right now. Literally. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has recently been rebooted and its magnets have been cooled to a temperature of minus 271.3 degrees Celsius. The thought of that sort of cold puts a New Zealand winter into perspective. I wonder if one of the Collider curators had to call the LHC helpdesk to say the that the quarks had stopped, and a bored operator suggested a reboot. Who knows? In any case, the results of the restart have been impressive.

I've often thought that physicists have a gentle literary humour. Check out the elegant overtones in the LHC Beauty Detector or ALICE through the looking glass. Beauty scientists have identified up quarks, down quarks, strange quarks, charm quarks, top quarks and bottom quarks. All of this from the decaying bottom lambda particle, which actually doesn't sound very beautiful at all.

A theoretical physicist with a unique but not always gentle sense of humour is Dr Sheldon Cooper. Theoretical in both senses of the word. Who can forget the episode of The big bang theory where Penny asks him to teach her physics?

Other fictional characters have attempted to come to grips with the sciences, with varying degrees of success. Catherine Tate's Lauren reciting the Periodic Table of Elements is always guaranteed to generate a laugh.

Fictional scientists tend to be portrayed as having no style. As Lauren says, they commit terrible fashion crimes. In real life however, scientists are often chic, rich and single. Tatler magazine devoted recent coverage to Britain's top 30 geeks who are, apparently,"genuinely hot, successful and single." So if you are interested, you'd better get in quick, because singleness is not a steady state and these men and women may not stay that way for much longer.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Reading Between The Wines

Have you always wanted to join a book group? I have.

Have you tried and failed, because you couldn't decide on a reading list, or because you're all talk and no organisation? I have.

Have you finally felt cohesive and confident enough, after a couple of wines, to really bond with people about literature, only to find yourself shy again the next day? I have.

I'm sure you all have too, and luckily enough, my lovely manager Laura has addressed all of these issues, and organised Reading Between The Wines. It's basically what it sounds like - we want you to come to bars and drink with us (responsibly, of course) and talk about books! There are no reading lists, no rules, and no expectations and we will be armed with recommendations and actual books, library cards in case you're not a library member (shame on you!) and if you don't know how to do the digital library and e-book thing, we can help you!

We're having our first shindig this Thursday 3rd September at the Gypsy Tea Room (455 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn) from 6pm. No pressure to be a sparkling wit or equipped with soaring intellectual insights, just come, hang out, eat bar snacks, and maybe make a new best friend.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Werewolves, walking trunks and magical dresses!

My 'second' update! The trouble with reading books you don't know about is that you're always going to come across one or two that didn't particularly float your boat. Fortunately, books aren't written to take everyone's fancy, so if a werewolf romance or shenanigans in love (or fantastical tourists) sound like a bit of you, then grab these books for what could be your idea of a good time.

A book by a female author - Bitten by Kelly Armstrong

Elena is your average everyday modern woman - except, she's also a werewolf. The only female werewolf in the world, in fact. After being transformed against her will by her lover, Clay, and finding she didn't fit in well, she left her 'pack' to try her hand at becoming a normal person again, living in cities and working your normal 9-5 job with an even normal-er fiancee. It's been years that her pack has tried to contact her, but now the Alpha is calling her back - the pack family is under siege and someone is murdering humans on their land.

A paranormal romance, this one was the first werewolf romance I've read since Twilight (if you could call it one). While not a huge fan of Elena herself, I could definitely see how Armstrong became the immensely popular author she is today if this was her first in what is now a HUGE series.

A book by an author you love that you haven't read - The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

I'm a fan of the hugely popular Discworld series, but I came in late to the books - starting with Going Postal. I had read a few of the older ones, but never bothered to read the first, as I'd already seen the movie. However, when this category came up, I thought I might as well. An earlier work and you can tell, it was still interesting to read of the 'beginning' of the Disc.

Rincewind is by far the most useless wizard in Ankh-Morpork. He only knows one spell, and even then he's never used it. When Ankh-Morpork's first ever tourist Twoflower turns up, with a sentient trunk and bundles of gold, it's Rincewind who gets stuck with him as a tour guide. All his life, Rincewind has tried to avoid trouble - but all Twoflower seems to want is trouble. Seeing dragons, meeting barbarians and getting in pub fights is all on his to-do list, and Rincewind is unfortunately dragged along.

A book with a love triangle - The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag

Cora is a scientist, with no time for love, or feelings of any heartfelt manner. Walter is the young man with a heartbreaking voice at the bookstore, who is hopelessly in love with her. And Etta is Cora's troublemaker of a grandmother, who sells dresses that are magic. Everyone is nursing a broken heart, and only Etta takes any steps to fix them. Not hers, of course, but definitely Cora's. When Etta's magic goes awry, nothing goes to plan as Walter finds 'love' elsewhere and Cora gets entangled in a strange crime regarding her parents death.

Van Pragg is a unique storyteller. Every chapter follows a different characters perspective and gives insight to how everyone reacts to Etta's well intentioned magic. The different perspectives did get me a bit confused at times, but it was a magical read with lots of twists and turns.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Computer Chess

 Computer Chess is set in a cheap Californian hotel, around 1980, and revolves around an annual chess tournament for programmers. Or as one character puts it, "the computer plays chess versus other computers.

Visually the movie is bold, idiosyncratic and shot like a low budget eighties documentary. Director Andrew Bujalski and cinematographer Matthias Grunksy used old 1969 Sony video cameras, the resulting footage in hazy tones of black and white. There's also the occasional split screen and overlaying text like an image on an  overhead projector.

The cast includes many non-actors some of whom are software developers, who add credence to their lines. Their costume and appearance, nerdy and awkward. They look more like the real deal. Less like Hollywood actors dulled down for comedic effect.

You could be lulled into thinking nothing much is happening beyond the chess tournament. But strange things happen. There is a short sequence of washed-out colour that ends with one character stuck in a repeated loop of movement like a chess piece. There's also an influx of cats, night wanderings down long corridors and a lingering 'mysterious lady' who haunts the hotel lobby.

Also staying at the hotel, touchy feely couples attending a relationship workshop. When the two groups interact it is often uncomfortably funny, as in one programmer's re-birthing and another young reserved programmer's dalliances with an older swinging couple.

Initially Computer Chess looks like a dry documentary from the digital dawn about the semblances of artificial intelligence. But it's weird and funny, with a lot of strange things happening beneath the surface. 


Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women

I haven't blogged here in a very long time. Probably due to being back at university, but also because to be honest I haven't enjoyed anything as much as I enjoyed reading the Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women, edited by A. Susan Williams which I read, I think, about a year ago now. Basically everything I've read since then has been an author I discovered thanks to this anthology, and everything else has been re-reading what I'd already read by familiar authors in the collection. So, I thought I would just get it off my chest how much I adore it. It's an incredible anthology, possibly the only collection of short stories of which I haven't sneakily skipped a couple (or a few, or like half?). And, every time I go back into it I find out something new and impressive about various authors. It includes the obvious gold standard queens of female fantasy - Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Leguin, and our beloved Janet Frame. However, the lesser known writers are actually just as good or even better. I don't know if they're really lesser known, I figured out I was a bit late to the party with Shirley Jackson, but anyhow. A little list of my favourite figures from the anthology:

Leigh Brackett: Her story in the anthology, 'The Lake of Gone Forever' is a stand out to me, and I just found out she wrote the screenplay for 'The Empire Strikes Back'??? I'm embarrassed I wasn't already reading her. If you like good science fiction, find her here!

Anna Kavan: 'A Bright Green Field' also stuck out to me in this collection (for all the good things you want in sci fi/fantasy: imagery, spookiness, palpable political allegory) and I then found out she has some ties to the New Zealand literary landscape. Kavan spent 18 months or so here, meeting the likes of Frank Sargeson, and offending some with her bleak characterizations of New Zealand published back in the UK - quoted as saying that New Zealanders live "in temporary shacks, uneasily, as reluctant campers too far from home". In 'Anna Kavan's New Zealand', Jennifer Sturm offers a broad and sympathetic reading of Kavan and her time here, analyzing the effect of her time here on later works (notably her novel Ice), and her indeed quite fond feelings toward our still relatively young, and culturally ambiguous country. It's an interesting, if slightly glum read - Kavan was not a happy woman, but, as often goes her writing did not suffer. You can find more of her here, and I suggest you do.

Leonora Carrington: I had only known Carrington as a surrealist artist, and her painting 'The Giantess" graces the anthology's cover. Her writing is as wonderful and odd as her art, and "My Flannel Knickers" manages to stand out in the collection at not quite 3 pages long. You can find more of her here.

Christine Brooke-Rose: I adore Christine Brooke-Rose, and fell in love with her about a paragraph in to her story 'The Foot', narrated by the phantom pain in the amputated foot of a beautiful young female patient. Very nasty and disturbing, and full of exhaustingly mellifluous sentences. Brooke-Rose is not easy to read, in fact she can be very hard to read, but she is very, very worth it. If you want an author that plays with language and narrative stance, but doesn't leave you feeling like that was the entire point of the exercise, please read her! After I read 'The Foot', I was dying to read her collection 'Go When You See the Green Man Walking' and tried to suggest a purchase, only to learn it was out of print. However, a few months later on in October 2014 I learned that it had been republished, and promptly had it ordered in, and you can find it here.

I could go on forever. Joanna Russ introduces the anthology and is another favourite, and whose literary criticism is essential, particularly 'How to Suppress Women's Writing' which I am suggesting for purchase right this second. Kit Reed is definitely worth a look. Muriel Spark is in there, Octavia Butler too. I'm not even really a fan of Anne McCaffrey (bit romantic for me?) but that said her short story in this anthology "The Ship Who Sang" might actually be my favourite (and, to be honest, it's very romantic and made me tear up). I recommend this anthology to everyone I know, and am slowly making it my mission where possible to add as many of its authors as I can into our collection. If you're into sci fi or feminism then it's essentially a guide to people you should know about, and would like to have been. Read it!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The goodness of Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is something of a treasure to libraries, and not just because of the incredible books he writes. He is a strong advocate for fiction and reading which is very evident in his recent lecture 'Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming' 
It is no wonder with quotes like "Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one" that Mr Gaiman is beloved by librarians the world over :)  

The following are my top 5 Neil Gaiman recommendations. This was a pretty difficult list to narrow down, but these are my personal favourites - I'd love to hear which are yours!

Number 5
I'm going to cheat a little and link both The Sandman comic series and the various Death comic mini-series together, as they are after all connected. The Sandman comics were amongst the first I read when I was getting back into the whole comic scene in the mid 90's, and it is easy to see why they are considered classics in the genre.
The series centres around Morpheus, also known as Dream from The Endless, and he and his siblings Death, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, Delirum and Despair take us on a series of unbelievable exploits. The series has a very mythological feel to it, as do many of Mr Gaiman's works. I'll always have a soft spot for Death, who is always so much fun to cosplay, and the deluxe edition of her tales are well worth checking out.

Number 4
Mr Gaiman is a very diverse author and writes for ALL ages. He has many titles for kids under his belt, from the super cute Chu series of picture books to the rather spooky Coraline (I still look at buttons and shudder). But my favourite of these is the wonderful Fortunately, the milk.
Mum is away and Dad is in charge, and he's forgotten the milk for breakfast! Luckily he has some rather marvellous adventures getting it. Such a fun story to share with the littles (or not so littlies) in your life.

Number 3
From the very creepy beginning of The graveyard book where a small toddler manages to survive his entire family being murdered by a mysterious assassin, I was hooked. Bod (Nobody) Owens ends up being raised by the spooks at the nearby graveyard, a crazy assortment of characters. This was one book that stayed with me long after I finished it, in the very best way possible. I'm not sure how you can be creepy but heart-warming at the same time, but this book somehow manages it.

Number 2
Unbeknownst to me, I already owned a Neil Gaiman book long before I was even a fan. Another of my all time favourite authors is Terry Pratchett, and I own many of his books, including Good Omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, a witch, which a little later down the track I realised was a collaboration with that same comic guy I really liked :)
In this fantasy comedy about the impending end of the world, Aziraphale the angel, and Crowley the demon are on a mission to find the (rather nice) 11 year old Antichrist and avert Armageddon.

And in my top spot - Number 1
Stardust is probably the only book I own in any format I can get it. I have the exact hard copy as pictured above. I have the stunning 4 part graphic novel set, beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess. I have the DVD of the movie adaptation (the book is better, lets face it, it usually is - but the movie is pretty lovely). To me this has the same magical timeless quality of The Princess Bride.
Tristran Thorn sees a falling star, and sets out to retrieve it in order to win the heart of his supposed one true love. He is not the only one questing to retrieve the star, and a fantastical adventure ensues. This book makes it not only on my top five Gaiman list, but also on my overall top five book list!

So those are my personal favourites, and I have missed so many wonderful titles I also loved off this list - the novels American gods (hopefully soon to be a TV series) The ocean at the end of the lane and Neverwhere, the stunningly beautiful The sleeper and the spindle (he retells the classics like no one else), his recent short story collection Trigger warning: short fictions and disturbances....I could seriously go on! Thanks Mr Gaiman for letting us share in your daydreams, they are indeed a magical (and sometimes very spooky) place :)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Don’t Forget the Motor City

A lot of the movie Only Lovers Left Alive, takes place in Detroit. And I had never realised a city in ruin could look so beautiful. Some of my favourite scenes involve the two central characters, long-term lover vampires Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve, (Tilda Swinton) driving around Detroit’s empty streets at night. Past vacant lots of long grass, two story homes where families haven’t lived in for years and magnificent buildings in ruins.

At a New York Film Festival press conference, the movie’s director Jim Jarmusch, talked about how he was drawn to Detroit’s “post-industrial visual feeling” and described what had happened to Detroit as “sad” and ‘tragic”.  Detroit made and lost a fortune with the auto industry and was weakened by racial conflict and crime. The city is now bankrupt and near abandoned.

But Detroit was once known as “the Paris of the West” and the grand buildings stand as testament to Detroit’s moneyed past. During one of Adam’s and Eve’s night time drives they visit the Michigan Theatre. Adam shows Eve around and tells her (and us the audience) about the theatre’s past. It was built in the 1920s for “huge sums of money”. And “built ironically on the exact same site Henry Ford built his very first prototype.” The huge theatre seated 4000 people and hosted concerts and “even movies”. Now, further irony, the theatre has become a carpark. Nobody seems to know what to do with such a vast space. While Adam is talking, the camera slowly moves across the ornately decorated ceiling, crumbling but still beautiful. The scene ends with the two actors standing back to back looking up at the ceiling, dwarfed by the sheer size of the place.

For me, this is the best Detroit-by-night scenes. It’s striking, atmospheric and I think it sums up Detroit’s past and present.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Crossing off my Reading Challenge! Part One (and a half)

As everyone might remember, in April I posted my Reading Challenge for ya'll to see. I've since made progress (as one should hope, seeing as we're halfway through the year now - scary!) and here it is - Update One-and-a-Half (having already shown my undying love for cat warriors in my 'first' update).

Alright! What have I read so far?

A book published this year - First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (Published January 20th, 2015)

As we already know from a previous post before I thought to make my challenge public, First Frost is by my very favourite adult fiction author, Sarah Addison Allen.
The Waverly family is plodding along nicely, until suddenly everyone loses spirit. The first frost is coming, and everyone is uneasy. Claire doesn't know if her magic is working - or if she even had any to start with, and Bay, her niece, is trying to make her way through high school after her powers make a huge mess of her reputation with the one person who matters.

I cannot possibly explain how much I love her books, but just take my word for it. Apparently, they're similar in style to Diana Wynne Jones (says a well-read friend) which I haven't read (yet) so if you're a fan of hers, these books might be for you. When I finally could get my mitts on this latest one from SAA, I read it in one go - not hard, as this ones quite a bit shorter than her others - and loved it, as I expected.

A book with a number in the title - Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why is about a teenage girl who, before committing suicide, records 13 'reasons' of why she came to the conclusion to do so, and then sends them to the people 'responsible' for her death. The main character, Clay, receives them one morning in the mail, and slowly listens to why the girl he thought he was possibly in love with killed herself.

It's a morbid read that does well in showing how suicide and depression is still taboo and 'ignored' - despite how common it is and sheds some light on why that can't happen anymore. In that way, I respect it. I just didn't think it was for me - not because of content/themes, but because the main guy, Clay, got on my nerves a little.

A book with non-human characters - Black Wings by Christina Henry

Maddy is an Agent - someone who leads the dead to the after-life. She's also broke and in need of a flat-mate to help pay her rent. Enter Gabriel, a hunky guy who just happens to know about her past and her mother's death, and who inadvertently brings a whole bunch of demons knocking on Maddy's door. She has to fight or die, and with Gabe's help, she finds she is much more than just an Agent.

A paranormal/fantasy romance. Angels, demons, 'Agents', titan-like beings that like to mess stuff up. A fun read that was easy to get through, but not for if you're wanting some serious thinking to go on - so it's like most of the books I read, haha.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Matariki - shine bright you beautiful stars

I chose to blog about Matariki as I knew very little about what it actually meant and the history behind it. Which is totally embarrassing as I have been living in New Zealand for over 10 years.

All the information I talk about in this post was found by researching on different sites I found through Google. It was a good learning experience for me and Matariki is such an interesting topic.

So, for those who are like me, here is a quick low down on what Matariki is all about.

Matariki is the Maori name for small cluster of stars called the Pleiades in the Taurus constellation that rise during the New Zealand winter. For early Maori Matariki was strongly connected to the seasons and was an indicator of the forthcoming year.

The Maori New Year signals a time for connecting with, and giving thanks to the land, sea and sky. It's also a time for the community to farewell those departed and acknowledge the year gone by, and to turn to the future and celebrate new beginnings.

As Matariki is all about getting involved, how about checking out the events that will be happening across Auckland Libraries? We have some really neat children's events planned. Click here for the Auckland Libraries Matariki events page.

Also, how about checking out this page on how to find Matariki, click here to take a peek. If you do happen to find it, please share your photo's with us, we would love to see them.

And lastly, you have to check out Dayne Laird's photos of Matariki from 2014, they are absolutely amazing. Check out his beautiful photos by clicking here.

Your Favourite Media, second edition

As promised, here is the next exciting installment of Your Favourite Media, in which I interview someone who is not me.

Hello Tim and welcome to popculturAL! Tell me, what is your favourite kind of media?

Hi! I love vinyl records and music in general. I like to have music around as much as possible so mp3 is a good portable option. Vinyl at home is the best place to listen to music though. I enjoy movies, TV and books as well.

Where do you get your records from?

Real Groovy, Trade Me, plus sometimes Discogs and Ebay. I haven’t been to a record fair for a while but they’re great fun and you always find something there. I buy from op shops too but less often, it’s harder to find good stuff there but a good dig can be rewarded if you’re lucky.

How do you get ideas of what to buy/listen to next?

Tangents. Someone played with someone on some record… The internet.

What kind of music do you mostly listen to?

I'm a rock and blues fan. Mostly guitar-based music, but not exclusively. I like twangy guitar and I’m into great country artists like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. A friend gave me a Mickey Newbury record recently so I’ve been listening to a lot of him lately. I’ve been thrashing the song “If You Ever Get to Houston (Look Me Down)” for the last couple of weeks. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Multi Love is on high rotation at home at the moment too. I’d love it if all the Mutton Birds albums got released on vinyl.

I totally agree! Did you ever buy a record that you ended up not liking?

Yes, a Patsy Cline record with 80’s overdubs. I love Patsy Cline, she’s one of my all time favourite singers, but those overdubs really suck.

What do you use the library for?

Books and DVD’s mostly. It’s a great place to rent DVD’s from and books are good to have around the house. My missus gets out a lot of design books which I like to look at too. Our five year old daughter is asking a lot of questions about 'the olden days' right now so we’ve got some history books with photos out at the moment.

What is your favourite record?

That changes constantly, earlier this year it was Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk then their self titled album from 1975. It’s also been Sentimental Hygiene by Warren Zevon and Aldous Harding’s LP recently. Right now it’s Lovers by Mickey Newbury and the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album (pink vinyl with a photo print and embroidered patch). The Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle (with the comic book) and Neil Young’s Eldorado are a couple of my more valuable favourites. I have more Neil Young records than any other artist (about 46).

How many records do you own?

About 1200 LP’s and 12 inches and around 200 45’s.

Wow. Do you keep track of all your records?

Yes, but I’m a bit behind. In more recent years I started including additional information on my list like label, year, country, catalogue number, condition.

What upcoming music events are you looking forward to?

Next week my missus and I are going to Sam Hunt with David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights at the Kings Arms. Then Fleetwood Mac in November. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing Haruki Murakami at the Writers Festival recently too.

I hear Murakami is also a serious record collector. Would you like to share anything else about your music habits?

I’m a bit addicted. I really love acquiring more music, especially the hold-in-your-hand format of vinyl. It’s really hard to not buy vinyl.

We all have our addictions! It's all fine as long as no one gets hurt, right?


Tim, thanks so much for sharing your love of vinyl records here at popculturAL. Stay tuned, readers, for the next exciting installment of Your Favourite Media in which I interview someone about something that they love and are possibly addicted to, but in a totally healthy and reasonable way.