A big dry all right, and not just in the fields

I work in a library, I love to read. I’m surrounded all day by books. I see new ones come in and go out, and have a lot of conversations with colleagues and with customers about their favourites and their latest reads.

But I’m suffering a book drought as parched as a Hawkes Bay wheat field. Let me explain: I read the blog, check out the New Titles, take recommendations from many more learned than I, and every book  but one I’ve read or attempted to read this year I’ve given up on.

I’ll tell you about the book I have actually finished, recommended by our blogging guru, robertafsmith. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It was just as she described, a lovely gentle read, which I don’t come across very often, being a fan of bleak in all its forms and I did fall in love with Harold, just a little bit.

But then I moved onto Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I kept hearing his name mentioned and had never read his books, so I gave this a go and at my usual decision point, on page 33 where the library has a label placed. If a story hasn’t grabbed me by page 33, life is too short, so I stop reading. And this fell into that category… maybe fans out there can persuade me to give it another go?

Then there was Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This I could see was a wonderfully written book, but it was spoiled for me by the movie curse. The movie, I thought, was wondrous. And when I started to read the book, they were so close in language and the pictures I saw in my mind, I felt a weird mix of deja vu and sadness and I gave up on that too.

The latest, was given up on for pure laziness reasons. I can read big books, I’ve done it before, but I found Capital by John Lanchester at over 600 pages, was just too heavy to read in bed at night. I feel deep shame at being so shallow and pathetic, both in mind and body, but what’s a girl to do?

So, here’s the challenge. Tell me what to read, please! It can’t be too heavy, just had a movie released based on it or have characters I just don’t care about…

Or, tell me to snap out of it and tell me why I should give the above books a go.

Choice stuff from Munro and Hickinbottom 1902

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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.

The loblolly boy – New Zealand e-book month

The loblolly boy has the gift of flight: he’s invisible to most people, apart from a very few who are known as the Sensitives. The loblolly boy also has the power to Exchange: that is to swap identities with anyone willing to do so. The children who usually decide to Exchange with the loblolly boy are often escaping some miserable aspect of their lives: but they soon realize that the powers of flight and invisibility come at a cost. To become one of these magical, Peter Pan-like creatures brings complications and dangers that most never anticipate. Once someone becomes a loblolly boy, they sacrifice their sensory, human nature: they can no longer eat or enjoy food, or share human contact with the majority of people.

The loblolly boy is also a creature much coveted by sinister figures called Collectors. When the loblolly boy swaps identities with the narrator of this story, we are taken on an exciting, truly imaginative odyssey. We follow the loblolly boy through a chain of transformations and encounters with intriguing, fantastic characters, and travel at a dizzying pace. In the heart of this chamber of mirrors is a swirling logic problem, which acts as both a teaser and a magical, mysterious adventure.

Does the loblolly boy unravel his past and rediscover his family? Who are the red-headed twin girls who can see him so clearly? And who is the dark, sinister, spidery man hovering with a butterfly net in our peripheral vision?

You can read The loblolly boy as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

The loblolly boy is also available as a paper book  and an Audiobook.