Trinny and Susannah invade NZ

Body Shape BibleIt seems like every time you switch on the telly, Trinny and Susannah are talking about “great boobs” and manhandling someone. According to these doyennes of style, John Campbell should be wearing a Hedi Slimane for Dior suit (state the obvious!) …

Trinny and Susannah’s Body Shape Bible is their most recent book,  and their Trinny and Susannah undress the nation series is on TV1.

If you want to find out if you are shaped like an hourglass, an apple or a bell, there is an online shape calculator to help you figure it out. You can also peruse some of the other books by Trinny and Susannah.

Style advisers have always had a good audience – remember when people got their “colours” done and books like Colour me Beautiful were popular? Everybody knew if they were a “Winter” or “Spring”. Some other books about fashion and style you might like:

There are plenty more books on women’s clothing and our Fashion page.

Young Writers

Young writersThe Christchurch School for Young Writers continues to produce quality collections of writing by some extremely talented young people from all over New Zealand. The Polar Bear Ward is the seventh in the Re-Draft competitions and series of books and it’s heartening to see the “virtuousity and variety” of these poems and stories by pupils from Year 9 to Year 13.

These young writers have produced creative, intelligent and exciting work across a wide range of themes; much of it quite dark but with some lighter moments. Curmudgeons who despair for the future of the English language should be cheered by the skill on display here – creative writing is  not only alive, it’s being done well.

William Morris and the Pattern groupies

William MorrisNot long now till all you pattern/textile lovers get a real treat.
From 4th March to 29th June 2008 the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu will exhibit Morris & Co. The World of William Morris, the largest collection of the famous furnishings ever seen in New Zealand.

We’ve produced a backgrounder to Morris & Co.  if you want to do some investigation into the man and his work.

Morris is also revered for the Kelmscott Chaucer, perhaps one of the most beautiful books ever produced.

WallpaperIf you want to explore the world of pattern and textile design further, there are some wonderfully illustrated books to explore. Wallpaper by Lachlan Blackley is filled with modern genius, and it has links to the designers’ web sites so you can go even further down the design rabbit hole.

A movie was made recently about Australian textile designer Florence Broadhurst. She was quite an extraordinary character:

By the time of her death in 1977 Florence Broadhurst had lived and worked in Australia, Asia, and England; performed professionally on stage; been befriended by royalty; exhibited her paintings; and started an internationally successful wallpaper company whose success was based upon her own designs. She also found time to run a trucking company, start up a dress salon, play marbles with a strong competitive streak and agitate for women’s rights.

Librarians in smocksSee more books on wallpaper, textile design and textile designers.

The library has a bond with Morris & Co design – our smocks are styled with his patterns from Sanderson.

Dancing like a star

Dance your way to fitnessI’d love to be a dancer. I like krumping, Latin, gymnastic acrobatic balletic moves,  and anyone who can do the splits I reckon is a superior species. A lack of talent might hinder my dream, but it’s one I can indulge in vicariously. So you think you dance Australia is compulsory watching for dance fans … and tonight the Dancing with the Stars juggernaut returns.

If you want to learn to dance, try CINCH our community information dance. They link you to classes in Christchurch in a variety of dance styles. We’ve also got books, music, videos/DVDs, magazines and articles that will help you learn more about your chosen style. Search on the dance style or look at our subject listing dance and here’s a sample of dance goodies:

The Oscars and Red carpet fashion

Made for each otherWell the Oscars are done and dusted for another year. It was good to see some well deserved recognition for the Coen brothers and Tilda Swinton amongst others.

The Academy Awards are not only a big event for the movie world, they are one of fashion’s shining moments. The Oscars web site has some pages showing us what’s hot on the red carpet this year and in years gone by.

The Library also has some books on the Academy Awards and some focus on fashion and style in particular:

I think my favourite Oscar outfit is the one Cate Blanchett wore in 1999 – a John Galliano design featuring gauze, lace and gorgeously intricate floral embroidery on the back.

Titles that tickle Part 2

Ma he sold meThe pursuit of funny and titles that tickle continues …

The Guardian has just reported the shortlist has been announced for the year’s oddest book titles. Hooray for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. Candidates include the particularly charmingly titled If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.

Others on the shortlist: Cheese Problems Solved, How to Write a How to Write Book and Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues.

New in our libraries too are some other corkers:

  • Ma, he sold me for a few cigarettes
    Perhaps not one to laugh it as it’s subtitled “a heart-rending memoir”, but the title reminds me of the Monty Python skit when four Yorkshiremen are trying to outdo each other with how bad their lives were: “House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!” Continue reading

The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen book clubP D James once famously said that Jane Austen’s books were “Mills and Boon written by a genius” which goes a long way to explaining their enduring appeal, I suppose.  Austen’s novels have remained popular over the years and it is she, more than any other who has inspired contemporary “chicklit” authors in tales of love and misunderstandings.

 The Jane Austen Book Club (currently screening in New Zealand cinemas) is about a group of Austen appreciaters who gather to discuss her works but find that their own love lives mirror those of the characters in her novels.  The recent release of the movie which is based on the book by Karen Joy Fowler prompted me to wonder – how many other books out there are inspired by the works of the fabulous Miss Austen?  Continue reading

Green is the new black

Green is the new black coverTamsin Blanchard’s new book, Green is the new black, helps those of us who want to be fashionable, as well as ethical and organic, and not destroy the planet in our quest for fine fashion. While much of the content is British-based, the ideas are sound and certainly worth a read, to get some ideas on shopping, make-up, holidays, jewellery and hobbies.

How to live off grid cover imageIf you’ve ever dreamt of unplugging from the rat race and living off the land, without being connected to ‘the grid’, the electricity and mains water grid that is, then sit back and enjoy Nick Rosen’s tales of his ‘journeys outside the system’ in How to live off-grid.

Having enjoyed many holidays living ‘off grid’ in a hut in Majorca, Nick sets off around the the UK in a camper van, occasionally accompanied by his wife and baby daughter, to discover the many ‘off-grid’ communities throughout the UK. Along the way, Nick meets hermits, backpackers, hippies, ex-businessmen, as well as ordinary working parent families.

Want to find other ways to reduce your impact on the planet? Check out our Internet Gateway resources on sustainable living.

NZ Poet Laureate has own blog

Milk and honeyMichele Leggott, the current New Zealand Poet Laureate, has her own blog. Michele is posting her own and other poets’ works and comments on her experiences during her official year. The blog also lists poetry reading events and a useful list of poetry websites from New Zealand, the Pacific and around the world.

The New Zealand Book Council has a biography of the poet.
Find the Christchurch City Libraries holdings of her publications here.

Best of the Booker

Hot off the Press:

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced today (Thursday 21 February) a one-off award – The Best of the Booker – to celebrate the prestigious literary prize’s 40th anniversary. The Best of the Booker will honour the best overall novel to have won the prize since it was first awarded on 22 April 1969.

…  visit Debate and let us know who you think should make the Best of the Booker shortlist.

PossessionWhat are your picks? Check our list of previous winners.

The ones that stick in my memory are ones that have all been made into rather fine movies: Heat and dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the 1975 winner which later was made into a movie starring the gorgeous Greta Scacchi, the 1989/1990 double whammy of Remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Possession by A.S. Byatt, and 1992 winner The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. 2000 winner  The blind assassin by Margaret Atwood is an astonishing read. But if forced to pick “the best of the Booker” I’m plumping for Possession by A.S. Byatt. It combines the scope and splendour of the best Victorian novels with modern wit. It’s big, juicy and readable. Continue reading