The summer hols of a bookie nerd

CoverI tried to go to the West Coast for my summer holidays. I tried to go there in October as well to see the white herons nesting. The roads however, insisted on being either snowed in or washed out. After much pounding on keyboards I ended up in Hanmer instead. And what is there to do in Hanmer but relax? (Well alright you could rush around in jet boats, on foot, or on bicycles and bounce around on the end of a rubber rope, but that’s my idea of hell)

My book loving friends always look to me to for a haul of nice new library books to bring on holiday and some new authors for them to try. They introduce me to a few as well. We read each other’s favourite authors and put the ones we like on our ‘for later’ shelves. Can you tell I’m a librarian?


So –  total relaxation, hot weather, lots of books to lounge around reading and lashings of lemonade– my summer hols were my idea of bliss.

My new finds:

  • Ben Sanders – a New Zealand mystery writer in the tradition of American police detective fiction. Well worth a read.
  • Donna Malane – The NZ Marcia Muller. Her detective is every bit as entertaining as the American equivalent.

Their new finds

  • Brian McGilloway One of the new generation of Irish crime writers. If you like a good police procedural give him a go.
  • Anne Holt and Kjell Eriksson Anne Holt is hot property at the moment, but hands up those who have heard of Kjell Eriksson. His books are not your run-of- the –mill Scandinavian crime. They’re a bit different and I find them entertaining and a sometimes thought provoking.
  • Colin Cotterill His contribution left my friend chuckling and begging to take the book with her to finish.

The joys of the Summertime Reading Club

Summertime Reading Club winner Daniel with Mark of Paper PlusChristchurch kids have been busy over the hols with the Summertime Reading Club. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who entered for their great work. Have a look at photos of the prizegiving at Central Library Tuam on Friday 25 January 2013.

Summertime Reading Club

  • 1st prize Daniel Powley
  • 2nd prize Ashleigh-Jo Smith
  • 3rd prize Teighan Connolly

SCAPE colouring competition

SCAPE Colouring Competition - winners on display at Central Library Tuam

1st prize Arna Emslie

SCAPE Colouring Competition - 1st prize

2nd prize Jack Sheedy

SCAPE Colouring Competition - 2nd prize

3rd prize Alisha Warwick

SCAPE Colouring Competition - 3rd prize

Runner up Jessica Olds

SCAPE Colouring Competition - highly commended

Runner up Jason Yun

SCAPE Colouring Competition - highly commended

Runner up Oliver Wheeler

SCAPE Colouring Competition - highly commended

View photos of the SCAPE colouring competition.

Photography competition: Reading a book in your favourite summer place:

1st prize Angus Steve: New Brighton

Summertime Reading Club

2nd place: Hannah Warwick


3rd place: Amelia Kirkness


Highly commended: Arlia O’Sullivan


Highly commended: Katie Morison


Highly commended: Emma Rashbrook–Field


Beauties (2)

Cover: Love looks not with the eyesThe big beautiful books just keep on coming and who am I to turn them away? I have a new category (a list can’t be far away) – “Books too big to be taken home”.

Love looks not with the eyes is a collection of over 400 photographs of the work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Anne Deniau is a French woman who photographed the models backstage at Givenchy, where she met McQueen when he did his first collection there. Their relationship continued for the next 13 years until McQueen’s sad death.

The photographs are very beautiful, but the really interesting thing about them is that they are taken behind the scenes – there are none of the models on the runway and the clothes really star. All the amazing details are here to be examined: the embroidery, the make-up, the hats, the sets. Also seeing how the beautiful genetic freaks that are the models tower over the ordinary mortals who design, make and fit the clothes. And how many of the models smoke.

Cameron Silver has a bachelor’s degree in theatre and after he graduated he began a career as a modern-dayCover: Decades interpreter of Weimar cabaret songs.  While travelling the United States interpreting, he visited second-hand shops, finding some great men’s clothes but lots more women’s. With the soul of a true collector he bought them without quite knowing what he was going to do with them.

Other true collectors also buy things without knowing what they are going to do with them – generally what they do with them is stuff them into already crowded cupboards, telling themselves they will mend, alter, display or in some way use them.  Cameron Silver is made of sterner and richer stuff. He decided to retire from interpreting and open a vintage couture boutique in Beverly Hills, specialising in “only the finest pre-worn clothing”. Not only that, but the clothing had to look modern.

After he’d been buying and selling these clothes for 12 years or so, he decided to write about them. Decades, a look at clothes from the 1900s to the 1990s, is the result. And what a result. The book  combines lovely big photographs from fashion magazines with publicity shots of movie stars, and well-written observations of how fashion changed as society did. It’s really worth a good poring over, but park near the entrance of the library if you plan on taking it home.