Books


Obsessive-compulsive disorder, anally retentive, neat freak – the terms are out there.

Book Cover: The art of clean up

I’ve always been a little obsessive about order. When in stores, often red and large, my husband comes up to me and whispers “You’re doing it again”, and I realise I’m organising the bins of DVDs, making sure they are all up the right way, putting the ones that go together, well, together. If I am eating out and they bring cutlery, I will make sure they are straight and perfectly lined up, along with the salt and pepper and I’ll put things in order of colour, length, size – aahhh that’s better!

I actually feel agitated when I see disorder but can’t do anything about it.

At the library, I like to tidy, I like lining things up, straightening, and I get a real sense of calm when I have tidied and made things ‘right’. My brain relaxes. Libraries are perfect places to work if you have the ordered (compulsive) gene and I’m not the only one drawn to the order of a library shelf. So when a book arrived as a reserve for me, I did wonder about it, not sure I’d put it on hold, but it really appealed to me. I then found out a fellow librarian had put the book on hold for me, knowing I would love it. And I do.

Book cover: Unstuff your life

The Art of the Clean Up by Ursus Wehrli is a gem of a book. Well, it spoke to me. A book that on one page has an innocent bowl of alphabet soup photographed, then on the facing page has the soup sorted, so that the letters are lined up a-z and the carrot chunks are in a nice line underneath, perfectly spaced, you understand. On another page, the left page has a car park full of cars, on the facing page, the cars have all been parked in colour matching chunks. The photographs are lush and ordered and are  funny and quirky or weird and disturbing, depending on the way your mind works – I did a little survey among my workmates to see their reactions.

There are heaps of books out there to help you organise your life if you feel it is out of control. There are people who will come into your house and sort it all out for you, I have wondered if this is my dream job.

But I do wonder if it is healthy to fight your natural inclinations. I don’t fight my need for order, don’t get embarrassed by it or feel I have to curb it  and I think if you are a naturally messy person, just go with it. I guess as long as the health department doesn’t need to be informed, and it makes you happy, all is well.

Are you a lover of order or chaos? What makes your brain go aahhh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of Colin McPhillamy as Plum

Colin McPhillamy as Plum

Congratulations to the lucky winners of the six double passes to ‘Plum’:

  • Jane Craker
  • Jennifer Leahy
  • Sally Cox
  • Kirsten Rayne
  • Colette Lim
  • Graeme Smart

Did you miss out? Fear not – there is another chance to win!

Today, at 1pm at Upper Riccarton Library, Colin McPhillamy (the actor who plays P.G. Wodehouse in ‘Plum’) will present an illustrated talk on Wodehouse and will read excerpts from his writing career. Colin will also talk about the play and there will be time for a Q&A session at the end.

Three spot prizes of double tickets to ‘Plum’ and an autographed show programme will be given away during the talk.

It promises to be a very interesting presentation and, who knows, you could be one of the lucky spot prize winners. Make sure you don’t miss out!

On Friday 22 August we are having our Community Read 2014 : One book one community with The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi.

For this month thanks to Allen & Unwin and Wheelers everyone can read the 10PM Question as an eBook at the same time!

10pm Question cover

You can read the 10 pm question as an e-book from our Overdrive collection and Wheelers collection.

10 pm question  is also available as a paper book and an audiobook.

Here’s a selection of covers from our August Fantasy newsletter.

Cover of Joe Abercrombie's Half a King Cover of Sarah Beth Durst's The Lost  Cover of Charlie Fletcher's The Oversight Cover of Erika Johansen's The Queen of the Tearling Cover of Simon R. Green's Property of a Lady Faire Cover of The Given by Vicki Pettersson

 

As well as short stories this month’s newsletter features collections of short stories by the likes of Terry Pratchett, Patricia McKillip, and Sherrilyn Kenyon. You can read the whole newsletter one our website or subscribe and it will get delivered to your inbox every month.

Cover of The Lewis manHow do you like your detectives?  These days you have a choice – and it boils down to full cream and frothy or black and bitter.

That is: fat or thin.

For some time now the lure of the thin, fraught, whisky drinking, cigarette smoking, dark and brooding detective has held sway. Their love lives are a shambles, they have few friends, long memories for cold cases and, coincidentally, they almost always work in bleak, sleety climates and in landscapes that feature a lot of rocks. Like Inspector Lewis in Peter May‘s Lewis Trilogy, or Michael Connelly‘s Harry Bosch (tough, complex and unflinching) and Karin Slaughter‘s Will Trent who has: more issues than you can shake a stick at.

Cover of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective AgencyAnd then along came Alexander McCall Smith‘s Precious Ramotswe and her The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Set in hot, dry Botswana, Mma Ramotswe (fuelled by tea and biscuits), runs a cheerful establishment in pursuit of Botswana’s criminals. With a happy home life and a healthy appetite, she was the forerunner (in 1998) of a  whole slew of fat, happy detectives.

Like Dr Siri, the plump State Coroner in Laos, who solves exceedingly grisly murders with the help of a motley crew, a wife, a best friend and a good supply of favourite foods. Colin Cotterill has won numerous crime writing awards; his most recent offering is The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die.

Still in the Tropics: Tarquin Hall‘s Vish Puri solves multiple cases in between Cover of The Case of the Deadly Butter Chickenepisodes of gluttony. The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken would have you believe that is all there is to his writing, but like any good Indian meal, there are a number of accompanying side dishes and perplexing red herrings.

Finally there is Inspector Singh, a fat Sikh who works in South East Asia. The parallels are all there: the heat, the food, the marriage. But Inspector Singh is quite a prickly gent who  hasn’t endeared himself to his superiors. So he is allocated all the cases in far-flung outposts in Cambodia, Bali and Malaysia. And of course, he hates to fly.

I hope you never have to choose a Detective Inspector in real life. But, when you are cosied up in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night with a good murder mystery, will your detective be cuddly or sinewy?

Take your pick.

 

A new book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager focuses on the past six years of the John Key-led Government partly through email exchanges between blogger Cameron Slater and National party figures.

It’s been in the news and is already out of print.

So we like many are waiting for the book in paper – but in the meantime we have it as an eBook. Hot off the digital press.

If you want to wait for the paper book you can place a hold. Or read his earlier books.

 

National Poetry Day is a one-day celebration of poetry run each year in conjunction with the New Zealand Post Book Awards. It takes place on Friday 22 August 2014. There are lots of things happening this year so get your poetry on.

National Poetry DayNational Poetry Day competition 2014

Write an original piece of poetry and drop it into your local library or enter online by emailling entries to competition@christchurchcitylibraries.com for a chance to win prizes.

Any style or topic, 200 word limit. You can enter as many poems as you like. The first prize will be book vouchers to the value of $100. There will also be a $50 book voucher for the runner up. Entries open Monday 28 July and close 5pm on National Poetry Day (22 August 2014). Winners will be announced Monday 8 September 2014.

See conditions.

More poetry competitions you can enter.

More Christchurch events

Information from Booksellers New Zealand.

Christchurch – Poetic Licence

When: Friday 15 August, 5.30pm -7.30pm 
Where: Sydenham Room, South Library, Christchurch
What: Following the success of last year, South Island Writers (SIWA) and Airing Cupboard Women Poets would like to once again invite you to polish your best poem and air it in public to get you warmed up for the 2014 National Poetry Day celebrations. An Open Mic, open to all fabulous emerging or published poets – SIWA and Airing Cupboard give you the licence! Bring your friends and family. Sign up at the door if you’re reading. Drinks and nibbles provided. See you there!  (Note: An official warm-up event, the week before National Poetry Day)
Entry details: Free entry. Sign in at the door if you’re reading

Christchurch – Poems4Peace 2014 Poetry Anthology: Christchurch Launch

When: Wednesday 20 August, 6:00–7:00pm.
Where: Room 3, Upper Riccarton Library, 71 Main South Rd, Sockburn, Christchurch
What: The year-long 2014 Poems4Peace programme provides a platform to make contemporary poetic voices heard and contribute to influencing a whole new generation of peace-makers in NZ and beyond. Earlier in 2014, Printable Reality and Splice, in association with New Zealand Poetry Society and Michael King Writers’ Centre ran a poetry competition as part of  the project. General public, local and international poets were invited to compose poetry expressing the concept of inner-peace and peace for our world. The results are collected together in the Poems4Peace 2014 Poetry Anthology, which will have its Christchurch Launch in the lead-up to National Poetry Day. Christchurch poets will read their poems and books will be available for sale. Everybody welcome!

Christchurch – Poetry for Lunch

When: Friday 22 August, 12:00pm -1:00pm
Where: Canterbury University Bookshop, University Drive, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
What: Join UBS for its traditional National Poetry Day celebration with readings from wonderful local poets Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Roger Hickin, Frankie Macmillan, Ben Brown and James Norcliffe. Free coffee vouchers for the first 20 audience members.
Entry details: Free.

Poetry at WORD Christchurch

WORD ChristchurchWORD Christchurch Writers and Readers festival starts on 27 August, and it has a great lineup of poetry events including:

Twitter Poetry Night

Twitter Poetry Night will be teaming up with The Pantograph Punch and publishing a poetry mix-tape and then a favourite NZ-poem-themed Poetry Night on Sunday 24 August, at 8pm. It will be a ‘favourite NZ poem’ themed night. What you need to do is record yourself reading one of your favourite New Zealand poems, then send the recording to @PoetryNightNZ.

Find out more

The First World War is a focus of our History and Current Events newsletter, but there are some titles for the modern history lover too; some picks from the August History and Current Events newsletter:

Book cover of ANZAC girls Book cover of The three Emperors Book cover of The Romanov sisters Book cover of The Zhivago affair Book cover of Chinas second continent Book cover of AmalgaNations

 

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

Saturday 9 August was celebrated in Finland and worldwide as the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tove Jansson, Finnish artist and writer. Born in Helsinki into a Finland-Swedish family of artists – her father was a sculptor, her mother an illustrator – Tove Jansson is perhaps best known in this country as the creator of the Moomintrolls.

Tove JanssonFinn Family MoomintrollMoominsummer MadnessMoominland MidwinterMoominpappa at SeaMoominsummer MadnessThe Exploits of MoominpappaWho Will Comfort Toffle?The Moomins and the Great FloodThe Dangerous JourneyThe Exploits of MoominpappaMoominland MidwinterMoominvalley In NovemberTales From MoominvalleyComet in Moominland

Being lucky enough to have some sneak peeks before the opening night of Plum, The Court Theatre’s new play, has really got me giddying up at the prospect of actually seeing it.

Photo of The Muse and Plum

Laura Hill as The Muse and Colin McPhillamy as Plum (courtesy of The Court Theatre)

At the photo call in the Heritage Hotel this week, Laura Hill (the Muse) channelled Wallis Simpson (only younger and much prettier) with a touch of Dita von Teese and was unbelievably at ease while being photographed. Perhaps they have classes at drama school in how to obey instantly when asked for the “1940s off to the future” look.

Colin McPhillamy (Plum) was resplendent in a specially commissioned cardigan featuring every Arran pattern known to an expert knitter. He had taken one for the team in having his normally full head of hair shaved to resemble P. G. Wodehouse’s less well-covered pate, while Laura Hill’s brunette look called forth the question “who’s in charge of the wig”?

And I cannot resist sharing the set model which is made, to scale, before each show so the set construction team, props and tech departments know what to expect when it comes time to build, install and light. Do they keep them all and if they do can I see them? All of them?

Photo of scale model of set

Scale model of the set for ‘Plum’ (courtesy of The Court Theatre)

Plum is a world premiere set at the most critical time of P. G. Wodehouse‘s life. The man who set off to be interned with a copy of Shakespeare, a pair of pyjamas and a mutton chop was accused of lending “his services to the German propaganda machine” and he never returned to England for the rest of his long life.

It’s going to be quite the combination of script, actors, costumes and set. I can’t wait.

Intrigued? Enter our competition and you could win one of six double passes to see Plum, courtesy of The Court Theatre.

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