New. Zealand. Book. Month.

1 March 2013 – New Zealand Book Month starts. But what is this Book Month, I hear you ask? If you are like me, and addicted to grammar, there are a number of possibilities. Month celebrating New Zealand books? Month celebrating books in (but not necessarily of) New Zealand? Or if you’re really lateral-thinking, a new Month celebrating books in/of Zealand, largest island in Denmark.

Less likely, that last one, I admit. So let’s have a look at what the official website says:

The clear goal of New Zealand Book Month is to form a North to South community of readers. Kiwis passionate about books, determined to share them with each other and spread the word. Telling and retelling stories, and recommending new books to read.  From friend to neighbour, school bus to sporting field, workplace to playground.

This sounds pretty good to me, whether I am thinking about New Zealand books, books in New Zealand (or even Denmark, really). As someone who can frequently be found reading, on buses, in the workplace, in playgrounds, even on a sporting field (although only by mistake, this last one), I think the idea of passionately and determinedly sharing my love of books and reading has to be a good thing.

And even though a small part of me wants to shout, but EVERY month should be Book Month, I reckon we can put some extra effort in for a few weeks. Let’s challenge ourselves to READ more, SHARE more, and spread the booky love in March.

While there’s still a few days left before celebrations officially kick off, why not think about something YOU can do in March? A bit like New Year’s resolutions, but without all the sweaty exercising and guilt-trips.  Here’s some ideas (or feel free to add some of your own below):

CoverKaren HealeyCover Rachael King

  • Attend an official Book Month event (find library events here, or scan the NZ Book Month website for more local happenings).
  • Find and enjoy a great Kiwi read – Christchurch-based, or further afield.
  • Be like the old shampoo ad – pick your favourite book, then go tell two friends, and then they can tell two friends, and so on and so on …
  • Visit your local library and check out the staff picks and hot picks (or even better, ask your friendly librarian for their favourite reads)
  • And as an extra for experts kind of challenge, find and read a book about or from Zealand, Denmark.

120 capacious rooms at Warner’s New Hotel 1902

Warner’s Hotel The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] in the NZETC. 1903:

As a piece of architecture, “Warner’s” is an ornament to Cathedral Square, a handsome addition to the city, and one of the finest hotels in New Zealand …

The main dining room, which is one of the largest and handsomest in the colony, faces the main entrance, and has room for 200 guests. In the daytime this room is lighted by skylights, but at night innumerable electric lights of various colours, playing upon the rich display of silver plate and specially imported glassware on the tables, give to the whole apartment a look of extreme elegance. The dining room generally has been furnished with good taste and luxury …

In the northern end of the buildings, and completely cut off from the private portions of the establishment, are the public and private bars, fitted with handsome cedar fittings and bevelled plate glass mirrors. The public bar is a large and handsome apartment furnished with numerous luxurious couches, upholstered in crimson velvet. A smaller private bar adjoins, equally well appointed, and both are equally supplied with the choice wines, liquors, and cigars, for which “Warner’s’ has so good a reputation.

At the back, and separated by a splendid system of lavatories, is the fine billiard room, fitted with two exhibition tables. The approach to the upper stories is by a broad staircase carpeted with heavy Wilton carpet and with brass mountings …

Search the catalogue for more photographs of  Warners Hotel.

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We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

I will share some of the interesting ads and pictures from it in a series of posts – there’s lots of information about local businesses and places in 1902.