Help me find my next book please

It was C. S. Lewis who said that “you can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me”.  Escaping into a good book is a real joy but it isn’t always easy to find that perfect book even when browsing library shelves!  This is where Novelist Plus comes in.

NoveListPlus is a reader’s advisory service for adults and children with over 250,000 fiction and nonfiction titles. Use a favorite author or title as a template to locate other authors and titles of interest or  you can learn more through feature articles, book discussion guides, and book award lists.

Another attribute of  this electronic resource is the easy to use search criteria. For example if I wanted to search for a fictional book on dragons for teenagers, then using the search criteria I am given a large list on books to cast my eye over – complete with book summaries and ratings.

My favourite part is the  “Author Read alike” function which allows you to find other authors who write like your favorite author.  For example a search on Bernard Cornwell brings up five other authors who write like him.

You can access NoveList Plus and many other useful databases from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.

Night writer: Craig Cliff

There’s an old riddle: what do post-its, perspiration, literary schizophrenia, and Flight of the Conchords have in common? Well, okay. It’s not an old riddle. I just made it up. And the answer is my recent interview with Wellington-based writer Craig Cliff.

We had planned to meet up for a chat after Cliff’s “Hot off the Press” session at this year’s Press Christchurch Writers Festival. When the festival was cancelled, we opted for an email interview.

I had a few questions for Cliff after reading his first book – A Man Melting: Short Stories. I didn’t end up asking him what he does for his “day job,” something I’d pondered in a previous post. (I’ve since discovered he’s quite open about his work as a policy analyst on his blog.) I had more pressing questions such as: does he have a favourite episode of Flight of the Conchords? Answer: “The New Cup.”

All joking aside, A Man Melting is an illuminating read and I found myself, time and again, amazed at Cliff’s understanding of people,and his ability to build such true and layered characters. I had really looked forward to meeting him at the festival and then, post-earthquake, to having some questions answered that could bring a new depth of appreciation to his debut novel.

I wasn’t disappointed. Read my full interview with Craig Cliff!

New Zealand’s literary high achievers honoured

CoverThe Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement have been announced. The winners are:
Cilla McQueen for poetry; James McNeish for non-fiction; and Joy Cowley for fiction.

These awards are New Zealand’s most prestigious and recognise an entire body of work by those who have made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature.  They are worth $60,000 each.

At the presentation ceremony, Creative New Zealand Chair Alastair Carruthers thanked the writers for the outstanding contribution they had made to New Zealand literature. “These three writers represent the essence of New Zealand’s literary heritage.  Through their work New Zealanders can celebrate this nation’s cultural identity,” he said.