Tramping around NZ

Avoiding potential Christmas Day family feuds, I went tramping on Christmas Day and was lucky enough to have have had a ‘white’ Xmas here in New Zealand, with snow falling on Christmas Day night and Boxing Day morning. It was fantastic sight to wake up to, snow-covered mountain tops in Lewis Pass, along the St James Walkway.

It made me dream up lists of other places to escape to throughout New Zealand, tramping far enough in to get away from the hum-drum of every day life, and I have found several books to keep me inspired, including:Rakiura book cover

Rakiura by Rob Brown, with luscious photos of windswept beaches, wild forests, and wildlife not usually seen;

New boots in New Zealand: nine great walks, three islands and one tramping virgin by Gilllian Orrell;

Classic tramping in New Zealand by Shaun Barnett & Rob Brown.

For anyone who thinks that this whole tramping lark is a tad out of their league, then I’d recommend Don’t forget your scroggin : a how-to handbook for New Zealand tramping by Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater. And for anyone taking kids tramping, check out Pick up a pack: a guide to tramping and camping the New Zealand way by Keith Olsen.

Also, don’t forget to have a look at the Department of Conservation website too, to find out about parks and campsites throughout New Zealand.

Are you being served…well?

10 simple strategies for selling to the stubborn, obnoxious, and belligerent Christmas is always and busy and hectic time of year for those in the retail and customer service industries.  Around this time it’s never more apparent which businesses and organisations provide good customer service and which don’t. 

Last year a marquee company came a cropper when an abusive email illustrating its poor attitude towards one of its potential customers spread like a virus and gained much notoriety and media attention.  This year a gourmet caterer’s lack of judgement (and manners) via email has created a similar furore and has prompted another customer to come forward complaining of similar treatment.  Never underestimate the power of word of mouth (or email, in these instances).  It can be the difference between life or death for a business. Continue reading

w00t and Te Qaeda- Words of the year

WordsMerriam-Webster’s Word of the Year 2007 is one for all you gaming types – w00t. It first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t (“leet,” or “elite”) speak—a computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters.  It is an acronym for “we owned the other team”.

“Facebook” proved its potency by coming in second.

On a more local note, Public Address bloggers and commenters came up with Te Qaeda. Nice to see the Flight of the Conchords “It’s  business time” take out third place.

For those lexophiles amongst you, our Dictionaries listing is the place to be.

Best Music of 2007

2007 musicIf you want to find out what music was a hit with critics in 2007, check out the Metacritic list. Each year they do a brilliant job at pulling together the picks of the various music mags and site. Albums that pop up on a few lists include:

The December issue of Q has a cd that brings together some of the standout tracks of ’07 – the sublime combo of Bjork and Antony Hegarty “The Dull Flame of desire”, Cold War Kids “We used to vacation”, Interpol “Pioneer to the Falls” and the swirling mini-epic “Watch me fall apart” by Hard-fi.

TIME Magazine has come out with 50 Top 10 Lists. Their songs of the year incorporates a video. Rehab as sung by superslim beehived diva Amy Winehouse comes in at number one (Her cd Back to Black also hits the top spot in the Best albums list). Other top songs are Rihanna and her Umbrella (“the sexiest song of 2007”) and LCD Soundsystem’s All my friends.

I’d add some surprises like Happy Monday’s tasty Unkle Dysfunktional, Grinderman’s dirty low down grit and Rufus Wainwright’s gorgeous Release the Stars. Gigs of the year – Muse at Westpac Arena and Lloyd Cole at Al’s Bar.

Are you prepared to nail your colours to the mast? What was your favourite song, performance or top album? What was on high rotate in your home?

Enthusiasm for TV Comedy

Inside Little BritainI’ve just re-watched the TV series Seinfeld from the early episodes when the inimitable George Costanza had more hair and Kramer had less. When, like me, you have a short attention span, an episode of a TV series is a better viewing prospect than a movie.  And there is nothing better than a bit of comic genius to relieve holiday stress.

If you are a Seinfeld aficionado, you might like Curb your enthusiasm – the tv series created by (and starring) Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld. Larry is continually picking fights and getting into scrapes in his battle with society. He is in touch with day to day annoyances and trivialities. Curb is an acquired taste,  but well worth checking out if you like your humour acid, excruciating and drier than dry.

Another quirky series to check out is League of gentlemen. It is another “character” type show a la Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show (which has just started on TV2), and the quality of the comedy and acting can have you close to tears.

For more comedies, search our catalogue for:

A treasure trove of Kiwi music

The Verlaines and The Clean returnBeing a librarian means that you get to see a lot of books, particularly new ones.  It’s not every day that you audibly gasp with delight when a new book falls into your hands but it happened today.  The little black Kiwi songbook is the just about the best thing since sliced Vogels. 

Why the excitement?  Well, it has the chords and lyrics to over 120 classic kiwi songs of the pub-rock variety and features many songs from APRA’s top 100 New Zealand songs of all time.  Songs from The Clean, Dave Dobbyn, the Finns (in various incarnations), Scribe, Opshop and The Exponents are all included.  It’s an absolute must for budding buskers or summer party guitarists.  Grab this and the Outrageous Fortune soundtrack and you’ll be in full Kiwi party mode in time for Christmas.

The Meta-blog

The rough guide to bloggingThe prefix meta- is generally used to describe something that is self-referential, or about itself.  Metadata is data about data.  A metamovie might be a movie about movies and so it’s only right that there should be a blog about blogs or blogging.

Until relatively recently having your own web presence required a reasonable amount of IT geekery and was not free.  With the advent of blogging anyone with basic computing skills can carve out their own niche in cyberspace.  For more information on how to set up your own blog check out our Creating your own online space page from the library website.

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Summer holidays – What will you be reading?

1812One of the joys of a summer holiday is lying under a tree reading.  Or on the beach.  Anywhere really. But choosing what books to take on holiday can be tricky … do you take one big book, a few paperbacks? Fiction or non-fiction?

Sometimes I put all my eggs in one basket. I had been so thoroughly absorbed by Anthony Beevor’s Stalingrad and Berlin that tackling 1812 : Napoleon’s fatal march on Moscow by Adam Zamoyski seemed a good idea. It probably took up half of my baggage allowance. Alas I didn’t like it at all.

Body Shape bibleSo this year?  I wouldn’t mind curling up with any of these:
Trinny and Susannah’s Body Shape bible – a nice one to dip into as the queens of body wrangling do their thing.

The Golden age of censorship Paul Hoffman – It is 1984 and video has just arrived in Britain’s homes. With it comes a widespread distrust and fear. The public dread a deluge of porn, ultraviolence, cannibalism and dismemberment. So the censor gets given sweeping powers.

Plutonium: a history of the world’s most dangerous element by Jeremy Bernstein. I’m a sucker for any fission related reading.

And for something juicy who could resist Dark Possession by Christine Feehan: “Manuel Manolito De La Cruz, one of those dark, irresistible Carpathian hunks who can only thrive with one woman by his side, has found his life mate in MaryAnn Delaney …  Feverish jungle encounters with Jaguar-men and MaryAnn’s shocking discovery of her inner werewolf add spice, while growing tensions in the Carpathian world create other problems.”

What will you be reading?

Best Book Covers 07

New book designIn amongst the various book related “Best ofs” for 2007,  here’s a little gem – The Book Design Review’s Best Covers of the year. Maybe you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but these are jolly enticing.  Heck, you even get to cast your own vote!

Book covers is another blog dedicated to the appreciation of good book design.

In New Zealand Bookman Beattie’s blog is a great source of information on books and their exteriors (and content). The Spectrum Book Design Awards gives the thumbs up to the best in book design.

If you want to find out more about beautiful book covers, read our earlier post Don’t judge a book by its cover and search the catalogue for books on book design.

Best of the New Zealand Bestsellers for 2007

Mister PipPress Release: Booksellers NZ Lloyd Jones’ book Mister Pip, by Penguin Books, has topped the Best of the Bestsellers list beating international and national titles to be the overall number one bestseller in the Booksellers New Zealand Best of the Bestsellers List for 2007.

This year’s bestselling books were:
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Penguin Books) took the top spot for New Zealand Fiction
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (Penguin/Viking) International Fiction
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (Simon and Schuster) International Non-fiction
Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Corgi) Children and Teens
and once again the iconic Edmonds Cookery Book (Hachette Livre New Zealand) takes top honours for New Zealand Non-fiction.

Memory Keeper's daughterThe SecretEdmonds
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