Moonlight in Odessa – a real taste of Ukrainian life

Recently I was interested to find a character in a novel whose background was very like mine. Daria, the heroine of Moonlight in Odessa at Christchurch City Librariesthe recent novel Moonlight in Odessa is an Odessan girl, growing up at the same time as me.

Daria faces the dilemma of applying her skills and education in the dramatically changing world of post-perestroika life in Odessa. Because she is smart and well-educated, and also kind and attentive to people surrounding her, Daria’s journey to a new, more quality life gets a reward at the end.

The author Janet Skeslien Charles spent two years living in Odessa and I would highly recommend Moonlight in Odessa to anyone who is planning a trip to Ukraine or, who like me is learning the ways of a new country.

Poets aloud – Canterbury Poets’ Collective Autumn Reading Series

If you want to hear poets reading aloud, the next couple of months in Christchurch will give you ample opportunity. The Canterbury Poets’ Collective Autumn Reading Series will have both open microphone and guest readers. 

Where: Madras Café Bookshop, 165 Madras St, Christchurch – licensed and BYO.
When: Wednesdays, 6.30 pm How much: $5 entry
You could also win a $20 MCB voucher as the audience vote for the Best Open Mike Poet each night.

The schedule is as follows (with links to our catalogue where we hold books by the poet):

Read more about poetry on our website.

(Information courtesy of  Tim Jones’ excellent blog Books in the Trees).

Good things always come in threes

We’ve been lucky enough in Christchurch lately to have some great musical acts performing here.  Just over a week ago we had Diana Krall with support from Melody Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux at the Westpac Arena.  That was a great concert and I was pleasantly surprised by how good the venue was considering the sound quality at other concerts that I’ve been to there. 

It’s always good to see several amazing musicians in one concert, as it was with Diana Krall, and this week we have another three music greats visiting the city.  On Wednesday night at Westpac Arena my Dad and I are off to see Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, and Mick Fleetwood.  All three of these guys have been around for donkey’s years but are still going strong and are out there touring the world.  I’m not a die-hard fan of them but they make some great music and when I get the chance to go to a live concert I jump at the chance.  I’m counting down the days until James Taylor and Carole King play at the Vector Arena and I know when they take the stage I’ll be buzzing with excitement.

If you can’t make it to the concert or you want to prepare yourself for Wednesday night, check out their music that we have in the library:

Dead Dames – Josephine Tey 1896-1952

Josephine Tey is best known for her mystery novels  featuring gentleman detective Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, but she also enjoyed success during the 1930s as a playwright with both John Gielgud and Larry Olivier starring in her plays. She published several non-mystery titles under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot.

Born Elizabeth MacKintosh in Inverness, Tey trained as a physical education teacher but spent most of her adult life nursing her invalid parents and, of course, writing.

Her first detective novel The man in the queue was published in 1929 and introduced Alan Grant. He went on to feature in six of her titles but most notably in The daughter of time. Here the Inspector, incapacitated and hospitalised, turns his detection skills to the historic mystery of the the Princes in the Tower to determine whether Richard III was guilty of murdering his nephews.

Josephine Tey rejected established mystery formulas and instead strove to tell a variey of stories in a variety of fashions. The novelist Robert Barnard described her work as falling between the mystery novel and the “novel proper” and her titles are populated with “real” people and authentic although now slightly dated dialogue.

A pathologically private person, Tey gave no interviews.  John Gielgud said she was  “proud without being arrogant, and obstinate, though not conceited”. She died of liver cancer in 1952 and gifted her entire estate of £24, 232 18 s. 8d and future royalties to The National Trust.