Graphic novels

A selection of covers from the latest Fantasy newsletter. This and other newsletters can be subscribed to from the libraries’ website.

Cover of The Tropic of Serpents Cover of Reflected Cover of Seven wonders Cover of Baptism of Fire Cover of The war of the grail Cover of Powers: supergroup

Working in a library, there are at least two absolutes:

  • There are hundreds of thousands of books I could read
  • I am never going to read them all

With this in mind, I have found the solution. Never again will I have to worry and fret about all those classic titles that cause me shame to admit I have never read. With my new tool, I can sound as if I know the plot to the biggies and nod sagely when people discuss the nuances of character development in The Clan of the Cave Bear or the sense of place in Death in Venice.cover of 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry

My great weapon for feeling superior? 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry by Henrik Lange

This slim but filling book lets you read the classics, from The Bible to To Kill a Mockingbird, through to Lord of the Flies and Catch 22, by simply reading a single page with three cartoon squares.

It sums up the tale, the characters, the subtle plot lines, the good, the bad and the ugly and you can almost head to your book club, safe in the knowledge you can bluff your way through.

Spoiler Alert: Once you read it, if you have a good memory, which thankfully I don’t, you may not be able to actually read the book in the future, because you now know how it ends.

It is written with wit and strips away of of the pretentiousness that can accompany the reading of classics.

One of my favorites was the summing up of The Lord of the Flies

So bad boy Jack sets the entire island on fire which gets a navy ship to come to the rescue. The officer says he would have expected better of British boys

So, dip in and enjoy a classic, you could read a dozen while eating your lunch.

Far be it for me to advocate the use of computers to babysit children, but sometimes Mummies and Daddies need an easy way out before they start going feral themselves. There is always something going on in libraries to help you out but if  the weather is keeping you inside then let me present some electronic aides that may prevent domestic tensions:

BusyThings Award winning quirky and fun online games and activities for 3 to 7 year olds;

TumbleBook Library An online collection of animated books, games, quizzes and puzzles;

Literacy Planet Children can create characters and earn rewards  in return for completing fun tasks around reading  and maths skills;

OverDrive: Our downloadable e-book and audio book collection has a number of items for kids!

If homework looms …

World Book Online Kids An easy-to-use encyclopædia for young readers. Articles, multimedia games, science projects and interactive tools for homework and fun;

Encyclopedia Britannica Junior Search articles, photographs, maps, famous people and more. Aimed at primary level.

All of this and much more besides is available through the library catalogue or at the Source with your library card number and PIN.

Linwood Library and Service Centre at Eastgate opening

Kids reading on a couch at Linwood Library at Eastgate.

Life can be a bit of a slog when you are a teen. Here at Christchurch City Libraries we want to make your life easier. To kick this off let me highlight some entertainment options before heading to the more icky work-related stuff  for homework and research.

Fun stuff

Freegal: Download for free three songs a week to keep from the Sony Music catalogue. It has every kind of music from Top 40 to  Tiny Tim and His Tornadoes(?).

OverDrive: Our downloadable e-book and audiobook collection has a large range of content for teens.

TumblebookCloud: an online collection of e-books, read-along chapter books, graphic novels, videos, and audio books.

Study stuff

Student Resources in Context: valid information accompanied by pictures, audio and video files through a single entry search point – a real time saver.

World Book Online Info Finder: an interactive online encyclopedia covering every known subject.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context: provides balanced information from both sides of social, political and technological debates.

This is but a trickle in the ocean of online information we provide at the Source. Have a look and be converted to a new way to relax and also get those deadlines out of the way.

I love comics, and am always on the troll for good ones. Yesterday I asked Twitter “Comics peeps – do you have any recommendations of comic/graphic novel memoirs or biogs? Or something sciencey?” and got some great ideas for comics reading – most of which are at the library (phew):

Thanks to @feddabonn @patrickoduffy @megingle and @rekuhs. You rock.

Check out more of our comics posts and do you have any 0ther ace comics you’d like to share?

The covers alone say so much about the diversity of imagination you can find in graphic novels. A selection from our latest April new titles.  If you haven’t explored this genre before I’d encourage you to give it go.

Dust off your Daleks and polish up your Pokemon – Armageddon is early this year (9 and 10 March 2013). Our household is full of very earnest discussions about what shade of grey is acceptable for which character, and whether international shipping can be relied upon to deliver the necessary in time for the big weekend. The girl-child is attempting two different cosplay costumes, one from the insanely popular Homestuck online comic series, and the other from something that I am not even beginning to understand. There’s body-paint involved, and horns made out of papier-mache, and that’s all I care to know, frankly.

If you or your dear ones want to join the madness this year, fear not – the library has a range of resources to help sort out those pesky costume issues, study up on pop culture and comics, or just embrace your inner fanboy/girl.
Armageddon Expo 2010Armageddon Expo 2012

And if all else fails, and inspiration is still lacking, travel back in time and read our reports from previous years’ Armageddon visits.

Some picks from our January Fantasy newsletter:

Hunter and Fox cover Vengence by Ian Irvine cover The Red Knight cover The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest, cover Brink of Chaos by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall, cover Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel, cover

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

Have you read any of these books? If so, we’d love your feedback!

It’s no secret that comic memoirs are one of my favest thing: See Draw your life – graphic novel memoirs and this one on Tangles. Fabby Flavorwire has just made my morning by coming up with a tasty list for us graphic novel memoir lovers: 8 Worthy Successors to Alison Bechdel. I’ve read Unterzakhn and  Tangles already, and have Dotter of her father’s eyes at home on my to-read pile.

I’m happy to report we have them right here at Christchurch City Libraries for your delectation:

 Cover Cover  CoverCover

I’ve just been reading (and looking at) a book which I feel like recommending to everyone. It’s the story of a hunting, shooting, fishing Kiwi bloke called Stag which might not sound like it has appeal to many women. But… this book, Stag Spooner; wild man from the bush by Chris Maclean, has everything.

First its a great story – as well as being a hunter, Stag was a talented artist who created what could be New Zealand’s first graphic novel. This is included in the book and will seem immediately familiar to people today. Stag went off to fight in World War II and made a bit of money designing envelopes and Christmas cards for his fellow soldiers to send home to their families. Examples of these also fill the book. Check the family archives – there might be one of these among your grandparent’s World War II memorabilia. Stag’s story also harks back to a time when hunting and fishing opportunities were far richer and many families supplemented their diet and their income by what they could shoot in the hills or catch in rivers and the sea.

Stag was very much an individual as photographs in the book show and also a man for whom his family was very important. The rest of his life story makes compelling reading, as does the story of how this book came to be.

Stag Spooner is also a beautifully produced book.  All the elements – the cover, the layout, the quality of illustrations and paper are just as a good book should be.

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