Shakespearean Spinach – Auckland Writers Festival and beyond

Cover of Shakespeare Saved My Life, by Laura BatesIt’s tricky to write anything new about a man born 450 years ago, tricky to sum up what an impact he’s had on the world with words, just words. After thousands and thousands of adaptations and spin offs, it seems there’s always more to say and always a new angle to take. That’s why I’m fascinated to see what they have to say about Shakespeare in the Auckland Writers Festival free session: Shakespearean Spinach. Notre Dame University professor Peter Holland will be talking about what Popeye, the Dude, R2-D2 and Quentin Tarantino have to do with Shakespeare. If you’re in Auckland for the festival, come alone to this free session and find out!

Closer to home, see who else is coming to the WORD Christchurch events in May, or if you need a Shakespearean fix right away, head along to the Canterbury Repertory Theatre’s production of Richard the Third on till March 28th. 

Or even closer to home (in fact you don’t even have to leave your home) you can join in with the Big Library Read and read Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard, on till April the 1st.

There are hundreds of books in our collection on the topic of Cover of Shakespeare: The Bard's Guide to Abuses and AffontsShakespeare, and even more in our e-book collection, including an incredibly valuable resource of insults, Shakespeare: The Bard’s Guide to Abuses and Affronts, available through Overdrive.

You can also kick back with Naxos Video Library’s collection of Shakespearean plays, which you can stream through library computers or at home with a library card and PIN.

Then you can search our catalogue for Shakepearean DVDs, graphic novels, audiobooks, and so much more

This is only brushing the surface of everything the library can offer when it comes to Shakespeare, as we can only really brush the surface of the impact he’s made on the world. On a personal note I, for one, probably wouldn’t exist at all without him, because my parents met through a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That starts off a train of thought about the countless number of connections people have made with each other through Shakespeare over the last centuries. Do you have any serendipitous connections in your life relating to the Bard of Avon?

Make music at Peterborough Street’s Sound garden

GAP Filler’s Sound Garden will be officially launched at 100 Peterborough Street Thursday 26th March, 5pm-6pm so come along and create an alternative beat for our city.

BOOM bang buzz, wine wheeze WHOMP, squeak squawk SMACK, clang clatter CRACK these are the sounds of our city! These days the rumbling of mortar grinding and the jangling of steel being dragged from demolished buildings is a constant background noise to our city life’s beat. The lovely people from GAP filler and Greening the Rubble and a pack of volunteers from the neighbourhood including myself from Central Library Peterborough have got together to create Sound Garden 2.0.

Photo of the Peterborough Street Sound garden under constructionOn a wet rainy day its was delightful to see so many people turn out and get stuck in to creating something for us to all enjoy. In this case a rubble strewn car park has been transformed into a whimsical palace where you have the opportunity to create music from improvised instruments or just have some fun. It is a great opportunity to bring the kids back into town and explore our new inner city.

Volunteering gives you a warm fuzzy feeling and I got to meet the lovely people from Greening the Rubble and GAP filler who have created so many wonderful transformations and our Amy Mountney the first artist resident of Life in vacant spaces’ microhouse. After heaving our wheelbarrows full of mushroom and arboriculture mulch and getting down and dirty planting our flower beds, I was rewarded with the sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something new and working with a great team.

The Sound Garden is a lovely for a picnic with the kids or you can pick up a coffee and something to eat from the food trucks handily located next door or indulge in a spot of retail therapy at Arts Central which is full of artisan goodies. It is a great opportunity to bring the kids back into town and explore our new inner city you have the opportunity to create music from improvised instruments or just have some fun.

Pop across to Central Peterborough Street Library, pick up the GAP filler mini golf clubs (deposit required) for the GAP filler mini golf course and take the opportunity connect to our free wi-fi and borrow some books we have the biggest range of children’s books or choose from our massive range of magazines and check out our foreign language collection.

Come on you know you want to!

Search our library catalogue for :

Our set of Soundgarden images.

Kia ora New Central Library / Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi

Kia ora. Take a look at your New Central Library / Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.
New Central Library / Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi

Here is some information from today’s media release (Thursday 26 March 2015):

Christchurch City Council today agreed to call for expressions of interest from contractors to build a new library of about 9,850 m2 at a total cost of up to $85 million.

Along with digital, specialist and print collections the Central Library will have a cafe, 200-seat community arena, exhibition space, outdoor terraces, and areas for families, children and youth.

Libraries and Information Manager Carolyn Robertson says the New Central Library facilities and lay out are based on 2,400 ideas from residents collected during last year’s Your Library, Your Voice campaign.

Through clever design we’ll provide the mix of family-friendly areas and quiet places people told us they wanted. The New Central Library will be able to offer programmes that were never possible in our old building. We’ll have activity rooms for things like craft sessions, as well as a film and editing unit and a music studio. I’m looking forward to holding author talks in the community arena.

New Zealand company Architectus worked in partnership  with Danish library experts schmidt hammer lassen (all lower case) and project director Carsten Auer says the design was developed in discussion with Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāi Tūāhuriri rūnanga.

Outdoor terraces and openings on upper floors face culturally significant points in the Canterbury landscape such as Horomaka / Pātaka o Rākaihautū  (Banks Peninsula) and Maungatere (Mt Grey).

The ground floor is a public space that’s an extension of Cathedral Square. We want people to feel like they belong here and, once they’re inside, we want to make access to information as easy as possible.”

Interior ground floor - atrium

Scratch and grab

Cover of Chicken Whisperer's Guide to To Keeping ChickensWhen I told various people we were thinking of getting a couple of hens they assured me we would love having them. My thoughts were more along the lines of: chooks = garden turned over and manured = eggs. Not ‘chooks – I’ll love having them in our life’.

The first few nights of the fat bottomed girls being in residence in the coop involved our flatmate climbing into the coop, showing the girls where the roosting bar was and physically lifting them into place. A new ramp was made, the f-b girls learnt to motor up it in no time and the flatmate went back to having a life.

Cover of Dirty ChickWe are quite besotted with the big footed raiders already, but due to space restraints we’ve stopped there. Otherwise there would be a couple of pigs grubbing around somewhere as per Antonia Murphy, author of Dirty Chick. She moved to New Zealand from the US, her pipe dream being to have a bit of land, some chickens etc. Things get a bit out of hand and ever so slightly stressful as her stock wander the neighbourhood amongst other things. Let’s say she takes to country life with gusto… I wouldn’t say she calmly bestrides the chaos, but she copes with great humour and I am quite envious of her menagerie.

Cover of The Chicken ChroniclesAlice Walker on the other hand had been raised with chickens for eggs and meat and finding herself living in Mexico realised they were missing from her life. Enter Gertrude Stein, Babe, Glorious, Rufus and Agnes of God, turning her thinking to the interdependence of humans and the chickens. The Chicken Chronicles is more a memoir of a journey.

Meanwhile at Chez Bishi, and I can’t say we weren’t warned, Camilla and Priscilla have been escaping their carefully established playground away from my vegetable gardens and been caught scratching and grabbing with the odd guilty glance over the shoulder and then running away when in danger of being put back in the playground. The kids would never have got away with what these two chicks manage.

Are you thinking of taking on some egg laying devices? Still sitting on the roost perhaps? Afraid you might find yourself clucking round the garden with small feathered friends in tow? Take the plunge: you’ll be in good company.

To read or not to read that is the question: Overdrive’s Big Library Read!

KTT The big library ReadNow we all know that eBooks are now an accepted and popular way to experience the written word. What better way to experience this phenomenon than with a global love-in and read-in with the Bard?

As of right now you can go to the OverDrive website and check out Shakespeare Saved My Life : Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates as part of the Big Library Read. The Big Library Read allows unlimited check outs until the end of March on a selected eBook in OverDrive libraries the world over. For example, somewhere in Ireland a beautiful Irish Colleen is reading this eBook just as you could be! Cosmic!

The eBook itself looks fabulous. Kirkus reviews calls it:

An eye-opening study reiterating the perennial power of books, self-discipline, and the Bard of Avon.

Basically the eBook is about how a Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer called Laura Bates decides to teach Shakespeare in solitary confinement. Here she creates an unlikely bond with Larry Newton, a convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and an agile mind on his shoulders. Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships.

Sounds brilliant. All you need is your library card number and password/PIN and you will have a happy alternative to watching that horrendous TV programme The Bachelor NZ which I definitely do not watch…

Te Kupu o te Wiki – The Word of the Week

Kia ora. To celebrate Te Reo Māori we are publishing kupu (words).

Kīwaha (colloquialism)

Kei mahurangi kē koe.
You are away with the fairies.

Kupu (word)

hang on / wait.

Taihoa kia hoki mai a Māmā.
Wait for Mum to get back.



This week in Christchurch history (23 to 29 March)

Cover of The Road to the West Coast23 March 1866
Road to the West Coast officially opens.

23 March 1977
Durham Street overbridge opens.

24 March 1887
First City Council offices open. This building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street was designed by S. Hurst Seager. It was the first public building in Christchurch to break with the prevailing tradition of Gothic, Classic or Venetian style.

The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890]
The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0034
25 March 1879
New Zealand’s first telephones in operation in City.

25 March 1930
New Zealand’s first country library service begins as Canterbury adult rural education scheme under the auspices of the W.E.A.

27 March 1848
Canterbury Association decides to buy land from the New Zealand Company.

27 March 1856
First wool cargo shipped to London from Lyttelton (via Auckland).

28 March 1981
New South Brighton bridge opens.

More March events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

The New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival 2015

Book cover of Jazz: A History of America's MusicThe Cavell Leitch New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival is coming to Christchurch from 7 to 12 April 2015. The festival has been providing Christchurch with great international and local performers since 1999. This year there are a variety of ways to get some jazz in your life, from lunchtime concerts in The Gym at the Arts Centre, to music matched with food and wine at The George with the Jazz Dine series.

James Morrison’s A to Z of Jazz looks to be one of the highlights of the festival. Accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne’s James Morrison presents a musical journey through the history of jazz showcasing his talents as a multi-instrumentalist. Many different styles and eras of jazz will be represented with music from jazz legends like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. If you want to get a crash course in jazz or just want to experience some jazz classics played live, check it out on Saturday 11 April.

Cover of DukeYou can get a taste of James Morrison’s A to Z of Jazz through our Freegal eResource. To learn more about James Morrison, have a read of his biography from our Oxford Music Online eResource.

Another highlight of the festival is England’s Hank Marvin playing as part of the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz quartet. He is a musical icon that has transcended genres, from his innovative slap-back guitar echo and early rock ‘n roll with The Shadows through to solo albums and folk-jazz. When playing music with the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz he is accompanied by accordion, rhythm guitar and bass players which is an original folk-jazz sound. Have a listen live on Friday 10 April.

Have a look at items related to Hank Marvin in our library catalogue. You can also find him in our Freegal eResource. To find out more about Hank Marvin, have a read of his biography from our Oxford Music Online eResource.

Book cover of Bloody MaryOther performers this year include:

Listen online to some of our Jazz & Blues eResources:

  • Jazz Music Library includes works licensed from legendary record labels, including Audiophile, Concord Jazz, Jazzology, Milestone, Nessa Records, Original Jazz Classics, Pablo, and Prestige. Also included are Marian McPartland’s Peabody Award winning Piano Jazz Radio Broadcasts and never before released performances from the Monterey Jazz Festival and great jazz venues. Listen online to 1000s of great jazz tracks.
  • American Song provides online access to over 100,000 tracks from  every genre and music period of American history.
  • Freegal lets you download and keep free tracks from their huge database which includes Jazz, Big Band and Blues.

Read some of our previous jazz and blues blog posts, including posts about previous New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festivals.

Our Book Sale is on NOW!

Kia ora. Our Big Bargain Book Sale is on today (Friday 20 March) until 7pm, and tomorrow (Saturday 21 March) from 9pm to 4pm. It is in the stadium at the Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre. Books for kids, for fiction-lovers, for gardeners, for cooks, for fashionistas DVDs, CDs, and jigsaw puzzles too.

In a new addition this year, a coffee cart inside so you can browse with caffeination. Highly recommended, A++, would attend again.

Photos from last night’s preview.
Something for everyone at the Book Sale
Bags of books
Book sale books
Book sale

Guess who’s coming to Christchurch? David Walliams, David Mitchell, Helen Macdonald, Xinran, Steve Braunias, Nick Davies.

Ōtautahi you are in for a right treat.  WORD Christchurch – in association with the Auckland Writers Festival – is bringing six top authors to town for its Autumn Season 13 to 17 May.

For some top whānau fun, head along to David Walliams (Thursday 14 May 6pm). He will be reading from Awful Auntie and talking about his kids’ books – with plenty of time after to get your books signed.

It is a really crackingly good non-fiction line up. Helen Macdonald’s book H is for Hawk was picked in lots of top books of 2014 lists, and has the silverware to match – attracting big literary prizes like the Costa book of the year.

If you like gritty, investigative journalism, then Nick Davies’ Hack attack is the session for you. Or  have a drink at the Heritage Hotel for Steve Braunias and hear him talk about satire, politics, and the recent election campaign. Xinran will be talking about China and the single child policy.

If fiction is your cup of tea – David Mitchell is talking on Sunday 17 May. His latest The Bone Clocks is a genre-splicing treat, and you might also know of Cloud Atlas.

Cover of Awful AuntieDavid Walliams
Cover of H is for Hawk
Helen Macdonald
Cover of Hack Attack

Cover of Madmen
Steve Braunias
Buy me the sky
Cover of Bone clocks
David Mitchell

So, read the books and get your tickets sussed. If you are keen to attend a few sessions, your best bet is to get a season pass – with that you’ll get entry to all sessions (except David Walliams, book that separately).
Go to our page on WORD Christchurch.