The $181 Dream

Did anyone else watch Inside NZ last week? It was about the ladies who won the old Spagalimis Restaurant at Northlands Mall on Trademe. They ended up opening a gourmet burger restaurant there. The burgers were HUGE and delicious, but sadly their business only lasted 6 weeks as they were unable to secure financing from a bank.

According to the start of the episode, 56000 businesses are started in NZ every year! So if you are part of the 1.4 percent of Kiwis starting their own business in 2010, give it the best chance of success by checking out our extensive collection of business books and resources. We’ve got stuff on small business management, books focussed on the NZ small business scene, a book that gives you 75 green business ideas to consider and even a book promising to help you write your business plan in one day!

The Library has lots of other services to help businesses, like research assistance, document delivery and free corporate membership. So maybe the lesson to be learnt is that buying something for $181 can cause you to go bankrupt, but using free Library resources could make you a millionaire?

Rachael King talks about her new book

I discovered on a visit to Rachael King’s luscious looking new website that she is speaking in Christchurch tomorrow (Tuesday November 10). This will be well worth a visit, she’s a warm and approachable speaker as well a fine writer.

An evening with Rachael King talking about her new novel, Magpie Hall, at Our City O-Tautahi, Oxford Terrace, Christchurch. Tuesday, November 10 at 7.30pm. Tickets $12 on the door or in advance from Morrin on 03 329 9789. Bubbles will be served on arrival and books will be available for purchase and signing.

She flouts the image of New Zealand writers being dour and restrained in their subject matter and tone – her first novel was about a  young lepidopterist named Thomas Edgar and a collecting expedition in the Amazon, and her new book is about Rosemary Summers, an amateur taxidermist and a passionate collector of tattoos. Nothing grey, urban/suburban there.

Rachael’s blog The Sound of Butterflies, named after her first novel (a Montana New Zealand Book Awards winner of the Hubert Church best first book award for fiction in 2007). is essential reading for anyone interested in books and writing, she blogs wisely about the writing process and all sorts of NZ book related matters.

Pull up the blankets, turn out the lights, cuddle your teddy, time to say goodnight

I’ve noticed that there has been a bit of a run on picture books about bedtime lately and they’re all really cute.  Here’s just a couple of my favourites:

9781842709153Bedtime without Arthur by Jessica Meserve is about a girl called Bella who has a very special bear named Arthur who protects her from monsters when she is asleep.  “He is as brave as a knight.  He is as strong as ten elephants.  And he does karate.”  While Arthur is fighting the monsters in the shadows, Bella is dreaming of rainbows and rainforests, but one night Arthur goes missing and Bella has a horrible sleep because she can’t stop thinking about the dragons, slugs and grizzly bears that she is scared of.  She searches everywhere for him and finds that he has made another friend.  This little bear has lots of character and the illustrations are adorable and so bright.

9781842708217One of my favourite illustrators, Chris Riddell has also written and illustrated a picture book about the monsters that hide in your room.  Mr Underbed is about a boy called Jim who is dozing off one night when a friendly monster pops out from under his bed.  His name is Mr Underbed and he’s a bright blue, fluffy thing with a bulbous pink nose and a friendly face, and he tells Jim that it is very uncomfortable sleeping under the bed and asks if he can sleep in his bed.  Jim invites him in but this is only the start of the long string of monsters who want to share his bed, including Pinkie the bedside table rabbit and Grimble, Grumble and Groan the toy trunk triplets.  Will Jim ever be able to get to sleep?

9780747599715Stormy Weather by Debi Gliori doesn’t have the humour of the previous two books and is more of a lullaby for parents to read to their children before bed.  The different animals tell their children how they will watch over them and protect them while they sleep.  The text flows nicely and is a pleasure to read with perfect ryhthm to lull children to sleep.

Hi my name’s Zac and I’m addicted to Shelfari

ArmfulBooksLast week I went of one of the great Technology Tasters that we are running at Christchurch City Libraries.  The Taster that I chose was about Online Bookclubs, which I knew a little bit about but had never actually joined up with one of them so I thought I’d give it a try.  We were introduced to the range of book and reading related websites that are available through the Christchurch City Libraries Internet Gateway.  There are some fabulous resources available here and if you’re ever stuck with what to read next, you should definitely have a look at some of these websites.

The main focus of this Taster was to introduce us to an amazing website called Shelfari.   Shelfari is a social networking site, very similar to Facebook but focused on books and reading.  You have a virtual bookshelf that holds your virtual library, you catalogue your books with whatever information you like, and can join user groups to discuss books with like-minded people and recommend books for others to read.  It takes only a few minutes to sign up and modify the settings to suit your needs and then you can start adding your books and joining groups.  Like Facebook you can also invite people to be your friends and others can invite you to be their friends.

The only downside to joining Shelfari is that I’ve spent more time adding books and joining groups in the last few days than I have reading actual books.

Recent necrology, 13 October – 9 November

Necrology – a list of notable people who have died recently. Now a regular feature on our blog.

  • Donald Beaven, 1924-2009
    Renowned Christchurch medical professor, authority on diabetes and a founder of the region;s wine-growing industry
  • Patrick Hannan
    Journalist, broadcaster and author who surveyed the political scene in Wales
  • Ludovic Kennedy, 1919-2009
    Broadcaster and author whose campaigns against miscarriages of justice speeded up the abolition of the death penalty
  • John Ramsden, 1947-2009
    Leading historian of the Conservative Party who cast new light on the Tories’ postwar progress
  • Geoffrey Tozer, 1954-2009
    Concert pianist who weathered a political scandal in Australia and was later rude about the nation’s culture
  • Helen Watts, 1927-2009
    Versatile mezzo-soprano who excelled in operatic roles while also upholding the English choral tradition