Love – in all shapes and sizes

Cover of The Selected Works of T. S. SpivetEvery so often a list of new library titles or library recommended reads pops into my email box courtesy of the Libraries Email Newsletters. This is a fantastic feature which results in me placing a flurry of holds on what usually turn out to be great reads.  Currently I’m reading this one:

T.S. Spivet’s fans at the Smithsonian Institution consider him a cartography genius–in fact, they’ve awarded him a prestigious prize they’d like him to accept in person, complete with a keynote speech for the celebration. What they don’t know is that he’s only 12 years old. But he’s nevertheless determined to get from his parents’ Montana ranch to D.C., and so he hops a train to begin his crossing of America. Along the way this precocious boy muses on everything from his impending fame to the garbage found on city streets and comes across some equally wide-ranging travellers. Cleverly illustrated, annotated, and printed, this debut is one of a kind.

The Selected works of T.S, Spivet is a book with everything; a humorous coming-of-age novel featuring a child prodigy with definite leanings towards Aspergers, a mysterious family, trains, science, insects, adventure and within its margins delightful little maps, diagrams, anecdotes and explanations.  It also has a rather bizarre and enchanting website.

It’s a book I currently adore (and I haven’t finished it yet – the ending could be dreadful – don’t tell me!).  Yet, for 3 weeks the book languished on my bookshelf – un-opened and unappreciated. Why?  Well, because, it’s not the cover exactly… it’s the shape – it’s the wrong shape!  It has the shape and feel of a text-book – it has the squarish weight of a history text-book whose tedium has not yet  enabled passage beyond the Tudors and you remain trapped in a dreary struggle to remember the exact order of luckless royal wives.

Why should the shape of my reading material matter so much? But it does (and it’s a pain to lug around on the bus).  This – and the title – conjuring images of dull, 18th century poetry by someone you are probably supposed to have heard of but haven’t – must make it a booksellers nightmare.  Indeed, I saw a huge pile of them for sale in the remainders book shop.  Which is why Libraries’ Email Newsletters offer a brilliant way to discover the joys of the uglies you’d never choose to pick up in the library but could become your own true (book) loves.

P.S. What books have you reluctantly read – only to find a true gem?

Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel shortlist

logoThree books have been short-listed for the Ngaio Marsh Award, New Zealand’s first ever crime novel award. A panel of seven local and international judges has selected the shortlist from crime, mystery and thriller novels written by a New Zealand citizen and published in New Zealand in 2009. The winner will be announced on Friday night of the Christchurch Writers Festival during the Setting the Stage for Murder evening (10 September 2010).

Two of the short listed authors, Neil Cross and Vanda Symon will be on stage, along with Australian based Michael Robotham and English writer Simon Kernick.

The three finalists are:

Library Week Photos #2 – Libraries on display

We are sharing some photos of our libraries, to celebrate Library Week.
Here are some of library displays, because we love to show our wares.


View more photos of library displays on our Flickr site.

Credo Reference: all your questions answered

If  you’re working on a research paper, trying to win trivia games, complete that annoying cross word puzzle or just curious, Credo Reference has something for you! Our Credo Reference collection contains over 100 searchable and browsable full text online reference books from some of the world’s leading publishers, including Bloomsbury, Collins, Penguin and Thames and Hudson. For example:

Bonus attributes

  • Crossword Solver – Enter the letters you do have and question marks for those you don’t and see what Credo can do!
  • Measurement Conversions – covers area, weight, fuel consumption, speed volume etc.
  • Credo concept map –  enables you to quickly find information when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for and want to expand your knowledge of a given area.
  • Image search – pictures of everything you have in mind!

You can access Credo Reference and many other useful electronic resources from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.