Saturday, 27 February 2016

Goings On: It's Leap Year Time

It's the weekend.  The last weekend before Leap Day.  So it feels appropriate that we should talk about some of the amazing things you could do this weekend, all in celebration of leap year.

I love hunting around for interesting things and this time I've even managed to come with some that appeal to my weird and quirky side such as the terrifically named play Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die.

I want to go just for the name of the play a lone.

And if you in the mood for something a little bit more Shakespearean then there are several of his plays being performed at the Pop-Up Globe; you can even do a behind the scenes tour.

If you are after something truly interesting and ever-so slightly macabre then you should definitely go to the Open Day at Waikumete Cemetery this Sunday where you can learn how to dig a grave, visit a mausoleum and generally learn a ton of interesting things about death and burial customs.   I'm now wondering if the hosts are going to all dress up as Death because THAT would be awesome.

Talking of death also leads us into questions about life and the universe and the Auckland Stardome has several different shows currently going on such as Dark Universe and the Grand Tour of the Solar System, which sound fascinating and definitely something I would be in to, nerdy SyFyGirl that I am.

Movies and music are another thing that I am in to, so it's kinda handy that there are both Movies in the Park and Music in the Parks so that I can get my fix; even better both events are free.  How cool is that.

And if after all the activity you just want to chill and relax then check out some of the awesome e-magazines, e-books and e-audios that we have got at Auckland Libraries.  With just a couple of clicks you can have some entertainment all for free and to use whenever, wherever you want.  Now that really is awesome.

Monday, 22 February 2016

We have that?! Surprises from our collection: CDs and music

Music is a personal thing for everybody. And we all have that artist we love that we think no one else has ever heard of - you can say you don't, but you're probably lying, because there's a little music elitist in all of us.

Unfortunately, CDs becoming less popular compared to internet downloads means that our library collection has more often than not been a little disappointing to me in regards of international musicians that aren't so 'mainstream'.

That said, the internet isn't all bad in regards to our CD collection. With how easy it is to find music you wouldn't have heard on the radio (because of, probably, those late night YouTube adventures we all have), people's music tastes are expanding. Those people suggest CDs to the library, and as a result our collection, while 'small', is becoming ever more diverse.

More importantly, it's started including things I like!

And that brings us here - me sharing my musical elitism with you. These artists are favourites of mine. While of course they won't be everyone's cups of tea, we now have the CDs in our collections so that you can try a taste of them anyway and make the choice yourself.

Melanie Martinez
Cry Baby

Martinez got her first foot in the door on the TV show, The Voice, singing Britney Spears. Immediately put off? Shame on you. 

This girl has a voice both sultry and sweet, and an unusual one to boot. Of course she didn't win (my favourites never do), but continued making music anyway and just last year, released her first, full and fantastic album, Cry Baby. 

Known for her (very) creepy doll aesthetic, her two-coloured hair, and of course the beautiful breathy voice, Martinez's songs and music videos are an absolute trip, whether you're into them or not - and the themes carried through Cry Baby will keep you coming back to see what else she's working on. 

Racine CarrĂ©e 

Stromae is a Belgian music artist with music so catchy, you'll forget that you're not fluent in French as you sing along.

You may know one of his singles, Papaoutai, which was nicely covered by Pentatonix - and while I do like Pentatonix, the original is so completely different and much more moving. 

Stromae's songs are often influenced by his past or experiences, and thoughts on issues like gender stereotyping (below) and the effect of social media. His latest single and music video, Quand C'est, was an artful yet undoubtedly chilling piece about the effects of cancer (playing on the name 'Quand c'est' ['When is it?'] which sounds like 'cancer' phonetically. If that's not genius, well...).

Mary Lambert
Heart on my Sleeve

If this name sounds a little familiar, you might remember the chorus from 'Same Love' by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, where Mary crooned over her own love.

Taking the chorus she wrote for Same Love, she extended it into a full song ('She Keeps Me Warm') and has just kept going. From hard-hitting spoken poetry to upbeat and joyous "confessions", Mary Lambert has been an advocate for positive bodies, positive love and positive attitudes - of all kinds.

And even with all the messages, Lambert's voice is the kind that will sing you to sleep. Relaxing and simply lovely, Mary Lambert's album Heart on My Sleeve is a must to listen to - and hopefully, you'll go looking for her other stuff online.

What are your favourite albums that the library does, or doesn't have?
Feel free to share your musical elitism with us in the comments below.

And, as always, send us a suggestion for purchase if our collection is missing something awesome.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sneak Peek: Lucifer Or The Devil Made Me Do It

I have, as you may know, a weakest for bad boys. Especially bad boys who have a certain snarky charm.  You know the type of guy,  The one with a wicked but still slightly swoon worthy smile and a way of cutting to the heart of things with some nasty but somehow still charming words.

Forget nice guys. At least in the world of fiction.  Bad guys are the way to go.

The kind of guy who wouldn't hesitate to rip your heart from right out of chest or snap your neck like a twig and do it all with a smile.

Lucifer, and yes it is THE Lucifer, definitely fits the bill in this wonderfully fun show.  The bad angel is this time just a little bored with hell and all that torture so topside he goes all in the name of having some fun.  And fun he does have.  From solving crimes and punishing bad guys to discussing his existential crisis with a delightfully open-minded therapist in exchange for some "naked cuddle time"

Wonderfully portrayed by Tom Ellis (he of Miranda fame) and aptly supported by a cast of intriguing characters Lucifer is the perfect show to indulge in.  And if that isn't enough there are also the comics on which it is based on that you can try out.

The Devil never looked so good...

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Graphic novels for Grown ups: Terry Moore

Image by Terry Moore

Following on from my Paranormal Romance blog post, I also love to read comics and graphic novels. This particular love goes back to my early days as a child using the fantastic Glen Innes Library, borrowing all the Asterix and Garfield that I possibly could (but not Tin Tin, don't shoot me, but it was just never my thing). Fast forward about 15 years later to my early 20s (and that wonderful decade that was the 1990s) and I rediscovered my love at my local comic book store. Comics were wonderful! And they were for grown ups too!

We are pretty lucky these days, as comics are all around us, not only in print or digital format, but also as a source of material for many a movie or TV series. Yes there are the obvious ones, such as the many Marvel and DC adaptations, but there are the less known ones such as Road to Perdition, A History of Violence and Wanted.
As for The Walking Dead, after reading parts of the comic over my husband's shoulder, and hearing that the series was pretty faithful to the comics, I knew the series was not for me (again don't shoot me, I just need a little happy with my comics ;) )

Here are the first of  my all time favourite, cannot recommend ENOUGH graphic novel series, all by the very talented writer / artist Terry Moore, who self-publishes through Abstract Studio.

Strangers in Paradise was the magical series that lead me back to comics in the first place in the 1990s. I was initially drawn to the realistic curvy and beautiful looking women on the posters in the comic store promoting the series. The story then continued to work its magic on me, the tale of best friends Francine and Katchoo and their adventures, mishaps and loves. I was also convinced I needed to find a David of my very own someday (and eventually I kind of did). The series ran for 14 years in total, and I cried ALOT when it ended, these characters were so real to me, and I loved them all. I was also always rather proud of the fact that when I picked up my latest issue from the comic shop, there would be a competition between myself and my significant other to read SiP first, I took to reading it in the car on the way home from the comic shop while he was driving, so he couldn't beat me to it. And yes, it really is that good.

The next series Echo was a little different from SiP, with our heroine Julie being fused with a mercury-type metal after witnessing an explosion in the desert. While this series is a little more sci-fi, Terry's writing still shows the same depth of human characterisation, and it is always a highlight when a character from one of his other series pops up, showing that all his books are living in the same 'Terryverse' (can I live there too?). My significant other tells me this is the series he would most like to see turned into a movie or TV show, I just want them all :)

Mr Moore's latest series Rachel Rising is also well worth checking out. While it is quite different again from his previous titles (a horror comic this time round), it still has all the same humour and excellent writing as the other two titles. In this series, the titular Rachel claws her way out from a shallow grave, and then begins solving the mystery of who murdered her. I have to admit, when this series was first announced, I was a little bit worried, as horror is not really my genre. I should always have faith though, this has been every bit as riveting and character driven as the other books, and always left me wanting more (with a bit of a shiver).   In an interesting side note, I've just seen a review of Rachel Rising over on Goodreads, where the reviewer said that she met the Devil himself (Mark Pellegrino who plays Lucifer in Supernatural) and he recommended this series to her, I can't think of a higher recommendation! This fantastic series is sadly due to end soon, and I'm currently holding my breath to wait and see what will be next for the talented Terry Moore. Whatever it is, I'll be definitely buying it!

(Originally this was going to be a post featuring a whole heap of my favourite Graphic Novels for Grown ups, but as it grew to mammoth proportions, I realised it would need to be a two parter at least, so watch this space for more excellent titles and unmissable authors).