Books


In an attempt to tame her ever-growing For Later list,  Robyn has decided to share with us on a regular basis the titles that she has recently added to her list. The theory being that, even if she doesn’t ever get round to reading them, she can perhaps do so vicariously through you… So please do share your opinions of her picks – are they worthy, do you think, of inclusion in that lofty list?

Cover: Anger Is An EnergyAnger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored by John Lydon.
He should know; he must be one of the angriest men ever.

The Queen’s Houses by Alan Titchmarsh.
How would John Lydon feel about sharing a shelf with Her Majesty the Queen? Angry probably.

The Unexpected Professor by John Carey.
This has had great reviews and I love a book about Oxford.

Cover: As You WishPeter Levi: Oxford Romantic by Brigid Allen. As above.

Londonopolis: A Curious History of London by Martin Latham.
I also love a book about London.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes.
Let’s face it, I pretty much love a book about anything. This one is about one of my favourite films, The Princess Bride. I’m hoping to add to the three things I know about one of its stars, Andre the Giant: he was a giant, he was a wrestler and Samuel Beckett used to drive him to school.

Cover of WylieI love dogs, I have two of the little beggars and they demand a huge amount of attention and love which I am happy to give. That said I have been rather amazed lately at the number of books published about these canine friends. A while ago it was all about Dewey the Library cat – there were huge waiting lists for this book which seemed to come out of nowhere, but  now we have Buster the dog who saved a thousand lives, Wylie the brave street dog who never gave up, and Divinity dogs to name but a few.

Why dogs, why now? Are we looking for something heartwarming and positive amongst all the angst perhaps? Certainly there is nothing quite like lying next to your dog, feeling their warmth and companionship when life gets  a bit tough, but these dogs are something else. They change lives, they save lives!  All mine do is eat, sleep and chase the occasional cat.

The centenary of World War I has also brought with it tales of doggy heroism, especially in the realm of children’s books. Stubby the war dog : the true story of World War I ‘s bravest dog, Dogs on duty : soldiers’ best friends on the battlefield and beyond, Dog in no-man’s-land and The ANZAC puppy cover all areas from non fiction to picture book.

Don’t miss out on photography books either, Harlow and Sage apparently “took Instagram by storm”, and the delightful  Life and Love of dogs, declares rather fulsomely that it is a:

surprising analysis of the qualities that make a dog attractive in our eyes, a detailed look at how the breeds we see today are a product of our own needs and desires, and more – it sheds original light on this great love affair.

Cover of The life and love of dogs Cover of Stubby Cover of The ANZAC Puppy

 

Quirky Titles Display at Bishopdale Library

“Quirky Titles” Display at Bishopdale Library

There are 211 different books in Christchurch City Libraries to help you name your future offspring, but only one to guide the choice of title for your soon-to-be-published book. And that is the cunningly titled Why Not Catch-21? The Stories Behind the Titles.

I am fascinated by book titles, especially the zany “what were they thinking” offerings. Here is a selection of some of my current favourites.

Huffington Post lists a New Zealand book as having one of their top fifteen most ridiculous titles: the wonderfully rhythmic Come Onshore and We Will Kill and Eat You All. It’s a love story caught in the middle of the cultural collision between Westerners and Maori. Having nailed a great title though, the publishers went all lily-livered and opted for a dreadfully bland blue cover which does nothing at all for the book.

Knitting with Dog Hair is an old favourite of mine – billed as Better a sweater from a dog you know and love than a sheep you’ll never meet. If you love dogs and have a vacuum cleaner, you are well ahead of the pack in this. I’ve missed years of Scottish Terrier sheddings which would, according to the author, have yielded a slightly coarse but spinnable undercoat. I think this activity would have driven me to drink. In which case I could have rejigged the title and called my book Hair of the Dog.

I still wonder at the appeal of British Mousetraps and Their Makers, but this book is regularly borrowed. The cover shows several complicated, scary, medieval looking traps. It makes me wonder if mice of other nationalities would also fall prey to these Proudly British devices.

Cover of Traditional Molvanian baby namesFinally, when you and your partner tire of the sweetness of the whole baby naming thing, have a palate cleansing look at the outrageous Traditional Molvanian Baby Names. This title sounds normal until you realise that Molvania doesn’t exist (the blurb describes it as just north of Bulgaria and downwind from Chernobyl). This book will provide you with much needed comic ammunition for when the in-laws become antsy about your name choice for their grandchild. Just shove a few of these XYZ and K mouthfuls into the mix and they are sure to get back in line.

Imagine then my delight that this interest in wacky titles is more widespread than I had thought. Bishopdale Library has a running display of some of these offerings. It is great to see rare books getting an airing – and apparently they do attract a lot of attention. At Bishopdale, team members are constantly on the look-out for weird and wacky titles to add to their display. If you’d like to help this darling little Community Library – just add your suggestions below!

 

Diwali 2014 posterDiwali is an ancient Indian festival of lights. It is usually celebrated in the autumn season in India.The literal translation of Diwali (also often spelled Divali or Dipavali) is an array of lights.

On Diwali night people light up candles and lamps and decorate their houses. The festive mood brings happiness and harmony among people as they exchange presents and sweets among friends and family members. The celebration generally concludes with a spectacular displays of fireworks.

Diwali was always the festival that I eagerly looked forward to every year when I was a child. Children in India thoroughly enjoy the festivities. As well as helping to decorate the house, lighting lamps and (especially for boys) lighting fireworks, they receive lots of sweets and new dresses and get plenty of time to play along with visiting family friends and relatives.

Christchurch will be celebrating Diwali on Saturday, the 25th of October 2014 at the Horncastle Arena. The festivities include various cultural performances, food and craft stalls, workshops, and exhibitions. Now regularly held every year, the Diwali festival has become one of the most popular events in October attracting huge crowds. Make sure you don’t miss out on the fun!

Photo of Diwali display at Hornby Library Photo of performers at Diwali Festival 2013

Rema
Hornby Library

Here are some picks from our Fantasy newsletter for October 2014. You can read it online or subscribe to get it delivered direct to your inbox.

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Fool's Assasin by Robin Hobb  City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep Sleeping late on judgement day by Tad Williams The Death of King Arthur by Peter Ackroyd

Cover of A is for Alibi - photo by Karen Bishop

The very first Kinsey Millhone book I bought, back in 1992

On a dark, bitterly cold evening in November 1992 I was both  ‘killing time’ and keeping warm in W H Smith waiting with increasing impatience for my delayed home-bound train to make its appearance at  platform 7.

I glanced at the shelves of books and found myself drawn to the large A embellishing a book cover – a cover that looked as menacing and moody as I felt!  Turning to the back cover I decided that I liked the sound of Kinsey Millhone – primarily because she was my age and sounded feisty (an attribute that still eludes me).

She’s 32 years old. Twice divorced, no kids. Sometimes the independence suits her better than it should. Meet Kinsey Millhone, private investigator…

I purchased the book and ran (a practice I haven’t attempted for several years now) the length of platform 7 where I was guaranteed, if not a seat, then at least ‘a lean against’ the side of  a seat in the middle of the carriage. This running remained limited to catching public transport for several years, UNLIKE Kinsey who chose to don training shoes every morning and go jogging. I resonated on every level with her except that one!!

She cut her own hair with nail scissors (brave but foolhardy) and owned the one black dress which she grudgingly climbed into when her investigations necessitated fitting in somewhere more exotic than her office or apartment. Kinsey had life pared down to essentials and I admired that.

Cover of W is for WastedBy the time I had been introduced to Sue Grafton’s character, she had already had G is for Gumshoe published so I had some catching up to do. Now W is for Wasted is in the libraries and I am eagerly awaiting news of the ‘X’ title and then only two more to go.

What motivation and stamina Sue Grafton possesses – to continue with a PI who, even now, has only reached the late 1980s with regard to her case-load (and has only aged a few years – unlike her reader!).

The research that must be done to achieve the successful completion of complex storylines; the well-drawn characters  that have featured alongside Kinsey is an amazing feat of dexterity. I have a mental image of notepads galore scribbled with names of past characters and brief histories of each which would have to be feverishly consulted to ensure names, plots, historical time frames don’t go awry.

Female PIs abound on the shelves of the libraries. Do you have any personal favourites and if so, what appeals to you about them? I’m going to be in need of an older but still feisty character to relate to shortly.

FESTA – The Festival of Transitional Architecture – takes place over Labour Weekend. Remember LuxCity in 2012, and Canterbury Tales in 2013? If you went, you’ll be dead set keen to experience FESTA again.
Luxcity Canterbury Tales - FESTA Luxcity
This year’s big event is CityUps:

Over 250 students from CPIT, Unitec and The University of Auckland transform two blocks of Christchurch’s central city with towering, physical installations to create their vision of a future Christchurch. Beneath these outrageous designs are buzzing urban spaces where pop-up cafes, performance spaces, an all-ages-youth venue, a night market, dance hall, community bike workshop and bike light disco, bars, street games and much more operate.

There is a plethora of other events on too – including this library one:

Book Out and Read In, Sun 26 Oct 11am-1pm

Come along to Julia Morison’s wonderful Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers, on the corner of Colombo St and Gloucester St.  Get a book out from the mobile library or from the nearby Central Library Peterborough – or bring your own. Read amongst the trees of this sculptural installation. Bring your lunch and enjoy a quiet inner-city experience. Read in, chill out.

Here’s me giving the Tree Houses a test read (I’m reading Once in A Lifetime: City-building After Disaster in Christchurch).

Reading at Tree houses for swamp dwellers, Gloucester Street

Other picks:

  • Jelloucity Come and create a colourful, glowing city that is supposed to shake and wobble.
  • Poetica project #5, ‘Emerge’ is a calligraphic, three-dimensional line of poetry by Irish poet William Yeats floating in the Avon. Readings and artist-led liquid poetry workshops accompany the installation. You can write your own liquid poetic message – brushes and water are provided.
  • Picture Palace Parade Charlie Gates, cinephile and senior Press reporter, leads a group on an immersive tour of the old cinema sites of Cathedral Square – a walk through history. This is followed by an outdoor screening of a classic movie.
  • Super WOW disco

See the full programme on the FESTA site.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 839 other followers