Audio Content


Photo of road works

Road works in Hercules Street, Shirley.
Photo by Valerie Livingstone.

Some people might think that I love road works with all the road cones, big trucks and stop’n’go men.

I do, sort of. It is a sign that things are being repaired. There is a great website to help you get around the city and suburbs. With a bit of planning, you should be able to get to where you want to go without too much difficulty.

What I don’t like is being detoured down streets I have never been down and sent off in a direction I don’t want to travel in.  When I find I’m speeding down the road at a top speed of 20 km/h, I try not to stress over the fact that I’m going to be late. Sometimes, no matter what road I go down, I get stuck in a slow line of traffic, going the wrong way.

My solution is talking books. I get to hear quite a few on my way to work. At the moment, it’s Three Men in a Boat, but I have listened to Agatha Christie and Torchwood.

When you are delayed by road works, what do you listen to?

P.S. Not enough road works in your life? CTV have turned our road cones into an entertaining short film.

When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. ~George Saunders.

I have always enjoyed reading short stories, most probably because I have the attention span of a gnat coupled with a huge need to dissect and psychoanalyze given situations to their ‘bare bones’. Well, nobody’s perfect…

Cover of Summer LiesAt a recent Book Discussion Scheme Bookclub the members (including myself) were given Summer Lies by Bernhard Schlink to read – a very good example of this genre – several short stories of exceptional quality.

Schlink’s characters are all so believable that it is quite frightening at times. They have lived the majority of their lives; spun their dreams; lived through their hopes, fears and ambitions – they have a history which, given that the majority of them are in late Middle Age or the ‘Autumn’ years, naturally provides the platform for reflection in these stories. I proceeded with the last story first – just love to live my life ‘On The Edge’! – and was instantly gripped by The Journey to the South.

I could understand and – if not exactly empathize – certainly see how Nina had become disappointed in life because of the decisions she’d made at an earlier time. The wistful ‘If only’ factor is such a common human behaviour when diverse personalities start to reflect on their earlier years. Her inability to face the truth behind her earlier decisions in life now unsettle her. It is only when she forces herself to view her actions objectively that she does become happier.

Cover of Don't Panic, Head for the HillsThe library has short stories literally throwing themselves off the shelves.  Simply typing in ‘short stories’ in the catalogue search box brought up a staggering 4356 results – I was so overwhelmed I quickly started applying ‘filters’ to keep the whole exercise manageable.

I immediately relate to the catchy, pithy titles  such as Don’t Panic, Head for the Hills or Shallow Are the Smiles at the Supermarket (what a truism), but always make time tor revisit my perennial favourites  such as The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham; The Grass Harp by Truman Capote and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What a choice!  And not only in book form – for those of you who prefer listening to reading, short stories on audiobooks in a number of different formats abound.

Who else out there in ‘reading land’ has a particular short story favourite they might want to share with others?

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This month’s science fiction newsletter includes the following titles:

The Time Traveller's Almanac Iron winter by Stephen Baxter Work done for hire by Jow Haldeman Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie Orfeo by Richard Powers A pleasure to burn by Ray Bradbury

For more newsletters or to subscribe to this one go to our newsletters page and click the big blue subscribe button.

Teenagers these days seem to have phones glued to their hands. This is all very well but trying to decipher a text sent by one of them leaves me worried about the state of the English language. Surely before you start breaking the rules of the English language you have to know them first? I am not sure many employers would accept a job application where most of the vowels are missing?

I think this is where ebooks offer a compromise – technology and the wonderful world of reading combined. The library offers alternatives to teens who maybe aren’t so keen on the traditional form of reading. There is:

OverDrive : Our free downloadable audio and ebook service that includes over 1300 titles aimed at teens. We have the Hunger Games Series in audio and ebook format, the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth and The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. 

TumbleBook Cloud : an online collection of ebooks, graphic novels (just like comics!) and audio books. Titles include classics needed for school in ebook and audio format as well as modern titles for recreational reading.  An excellent resource for reluctant readers and ESOL students.

All you need is your library card & password / PIN to access this new mix of technology and imagination.

Now that the weather is warming up we tend to think in terms of leisure opportunities rather than work. Our online resources are not all for academic endeavours. We also aim to cater for your recreational needs with:

Freegal : Downloadable music and music videos from Sony for you to keep for free. Includes all sorts of music. Yes it has One Direction!

Mango An online language learning system that can help you learn the most popular languages in the world for travelling, or if you just want to show off to friends.

OverDrive Free e-book and downloadable audiobook collection. Over 10,000 titles to choose from to download to your computer or portable devices.  An e-reader is so much easier to carry on a plane!

PressDisplay Why get out of bed to get The Press from your local diary? PressDisplay allows you to access over 1200 full page replicas of current newspapers from 100 countries  including  The Press. International coverage includes major newspapers from most parts of the world in their native language.

Music online Streams every kind of music from Bollywood to Balkanic jazz to Arabic swing.

Naxos Video Library and Naxos Music Library: One streams videos of classical music performances, opera, ballet, live concerts and documentaries while the other streams the largest range of classical music online.

All you need to access any of these from home is a library card and password / PIN and some spare time this holiday season. That will be the challenge!    

It seems like just the other day to me, but OverDrive actually started in October 2009 with only 350 downloadable audiobooks. It was a bold leap for the library into the world of digital content that we continued to build on in 2011 when we added e-books.

This week we have reached a milestone with over 10,000 titles on OverDrive for you to choose from. With Christmas coming up, who doesn’t want to escape into another world? We continue to add titles to this service each month as there is an insatiable thirst for new content with over 9,000 checkouts in November! This is one hard working collection. If you haven’t tried it yet then I encourage you to do so.  Luckily you can place up to 10 holds for free.

What do the top ten  OverDrive titles in 2013 tell us about ourselves? From what I can pick up from the list below we are romantics, though by the number of Sylvia Day books in the top ten we like our romance to pack some heat rather than smelling salts! When we are not sighing over fleshy details then we seem to enjoy a good murder/power struggle where good triumphs over evil. Hurrah!  

  1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Killing Floor by Lee Child
  3. Blood and roses by Sylvia Day
  4. What happened in Vegas by Sylvia Day
  5. Future perfect by Suzanne Brockmann
  6. Accidental bride by Christina Skye
  7. Die Trying by Lee Child
  8. Bad luck and trouble by Lee Child
  9. The black echo by Michael Connelly
  10. Considering Kate by Nora Roberts

So is your favorite OverDrive read included in these titles? Do you prefer action to romance or a combination of the two!! With over 10,000 titles now available for you to check out there really is something for everyone. Explore your passions this holiday season.

Christmas is looming large and I know there are many of you out there thinking about purchasing e-book devices. This is where we can help! Our OverDrive service is free for library members and contains over 10,000 e-book and downloadable audiobook titles just for you.

We also have a list of devices we know are compatible with the OverDrive service. So before you start shopping make sure your portable device is on the above list!

One of the more popular e-Readers are Kindles. The Kindle e-Reader from Amazon does not support Overdrive titles available from New Zealand libraries. It would prefer you to buy from Amazon. At the moment there is a trial programme in the United States between OverDrive and Amazon but it is unlikely to be available in New Zealand anytime soon.

On a positive note the Kindle Fire tablet is compatible with our collection.

So happy shopping this Christmas and feel free to pop into your local library to escape charging shoppers and Christmas music!

Ever wanted to learn a new language online or improve your English skills from the comfort of home? We  have your answer in Mango. It has undergone an upgrade and now provides access to over SIXTY languages for free! If you want to seduce your partner with sweet Italian phrases or travel to a foreign country and converse with locals then Mango is for you. The languages you can learn include:

  • Arabic;
  • Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese;
  • Italian;
  • French;
  • Japanese;
  • Korean;
  • Russian and many more!

Mango also has lessons for people wanting to learn English if their native language is:

  • Arabic;
  • Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese;
  • Japanese;
  • Korean and more!

Access Mango free through the catalogue or the Source  from within libraries or at home and start chatting away in foreign languages like a native. Buona fortuna! That’s good luck in Italian my peeps!

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