My Pub Quiz Fantasy – The Man Booker Prize

This will be one of the favourites

I am quite spectacularly useless at pub quizzes.  How can it be that I know nothing at all about Paris Hilton and her ilk, dangerously little about the All Blacks and am so abysmally bad at the recognition of pop stars. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been reduced to banging my glass of Pinot Gris onto the table and demanding: “When will they ask me something that I know?”  To which the Pub Quiz Wunderkind (PQW) from Customer Welcome countered – “What do you know, exactly?”

Well PQW, I know about The Man Booker Prize – the literary event that everybody loves to hate. Writing careers are made or broken on its back and it is about to wreak its annual havoc on the 9th October. I love the Booker prize for the massive interest in contemporary fiction that it inspires, so I took a vow to read every single Booker prizewinning novel from the beginning of time. Here’s what I have to look forward to this year:

You can’t look at this list of loveliness and not be moved to ask: Which book would you choose as the winner? And this being the Booker prize, the follow on question: Which book will actually win?

Fast forward to my fantasy. It’s Pub Quiz night and some poor suckers have been saddled with me as a team mate. A double point question comes up: “What was the third novel written by Booker Prize nominee Damon Galgut?”

This is my fantasy, so only I will know the answer. It is the unforgettable The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs. The crowd will go wild. The PQW will come over all respectful, I’ll be shouted another glass of plonk and my team will win.

Is this too much to ask?

What are your picks for this year’s Man Booker?

Food for the mind?

I love poetry.  I love reading it from those lovely slim volumes it often comes in, or from the heavy, thin papered volumes that are many years older than I am, and that’s old!

The 821s seem to be a less visited section of the library at times, but I urge you to venture there, as you will find stunning imagery, beautiful language and use of rhythm and rhyme that takes you out of the hum drum of daily life in a way that only great poetry can.

The library shelves have a huge variety of poetry, from the classics of English prose, such a Tennyson or Wordsworth, to the great New Zealand poets, Hone Tuwhare, Sam Hunt, Owen Marshall and Lauris Edmond to name a mere four, through to contemporary global poets discussing the problems of today’s society through their work.

Iggy McGoven is an Irish poet and writer. His new collection, Safe Houses, is yet to arrive on our shelves, but we do have  The King of Suburbia, which I enjoyed immensely.

Jessica Le Bas’ latest collection, Walking to Africa provides insight and understanding of the journey and experiences of a mother whose child experiences mental illness. In an interview on the Mental Health Foundation website, she said, “I’m excited to publish a collection of poetry that legitimises the nature of mental health continuum, as a part of what it is to be human, individual and different.”

Alison Wong must be riding high after being named the 2010 fiction winner for the New Zealand Post Book Awards for her first novel, As the Earth Turns Silver.  Her book of poems, Cup, which I  enjoyed reading, mixes poems of family, daily life, heartache and renewal.

I have always loved Owen Marshall’s writing, whether fiction or poetry, and his second collection, Sleepwalking in Antarctic and other Poems was no exception. This was inspired by a trip he took to the great southern continent in January as Antarctic Arts Fellow.

What do you love about poetry, what do you loathe about it even? Who is your favourite poet or maybe you can share a favourite poem perhaps.

The re-branding of Gale Cengage Resource Centers

LogoSome of you may have noticed  title changes in some of our Gale Cengage online products. This is because Gale has re-branded its Resource Center products into In Context. We will continue to get the same quality information that we have come to expect from these resources but now they will also have a more interactive interface!

What benefits will be derived from this apart from name changes I hear you ask? Gale has told us that “It’s not just a replacement. It’s a reinvention”. Goodness!

In practical rather than marketing terms this means increased media content such as interactive maps, audio and video. These products will also include more user tools such as Web 2.0 sharing to popular social networks, search assist that suggests keyword phrases, ReadSpeaker text-to-speech technology and customizable RSS feeds.  Gale’s aim is to transition to a “user experience which integrates content with engaging, highly-relevant and media-rich results delivered in context through Web-like portal pages.”

Endless information for the motivated mother!

I’m sure many of you will know the drill. 19-year-old boy, didn’t like school, but loved sport.  Managed to get some NCEA subjects, but not enough.  Imagines that life really could just be about snowboarding and surfing. Has no qualifications and is perhaps slowly feeling that his prospects are not looking great.

In wades Mum!  (That’s me).  Looks up Learning on the Christchurch City Libraries website. Heaps of things to keep me happy for weeks. The Pulse Te Auaha, our site for teens, has a section on further education and careers.

Tertiary Education Commission has a ton of information about careers, and where to go for information. Modern apprenticeships enables you to input what types of jobs are of interest and then gives you a link to coordinators who can be of help.  There is the University of Canterbury site that has information about Bridging literacy coursesLiteracy and Numeracy for Adults has learner resources that you can download and an online assessment tool designed to provide information on levels of reading, writing and numeracy skills. Industry training organisations has about every possibility for training opportunities in the country and has me positively salivating at all the opportunities awaiting my son – if only he was interested!  That is the crux of the matter.

So, undaunted I have turned to the library again:

So now, all I have to do is get him to decide where he wants to work,  and to get a qualification.  Easy…

Christchurch City Libraries – opening hours this week

Kia ora, Christchurch City Libraries have resumed normal opening hours EXCEPT Sumner Library. We will let you know as soon as we have information on Sumner’s re-opening. See our Customer Alerts page for more information.

Got your voting papers yet?

Have you got your voting papers yet for the 2010 Local Body elections? The official government website can answer all your questions but here are a couple of crucial points.

What do I do if I don’t receive a voting pack? You will need to enrol or update your enrolment details. Enrolment forms are available at PostShops, by calling 0800 ENROL NOW (0800 36 76 56), by freetexting your name and address to 3676 or from the elections website  You can also check your details and enrol online at the website. You will need to request a ‘special’ voting paper from the electoral officer at your local council.
Can I enrol after 20 August and still have a vote? Yes, but your enrolment form must be dropped off to a PostShop or be posted by or on Friday 8 October 2010. You will also need to request a ‘special’ voting paper from your local council electoral officer.
Take your opportunity to vote for the people who will guide our city through the difficult post quake years. Find out about many of the candidates on this website You can search by your street or by your region.
Our full election information page has lots more useful links.