Polish language books

Polish language collection launchAre you of Polish descent? Do you have friends who are Polish and are looking for a good book to read? Well, look no further. Christchurch City Libraries have recently unveiled a new Polish collection. This collection is to replace the Polish Association of Christchurch’s original collection as their building was destroyed in the February 2011 earthquake.

The new collection was unveiled on the 21st March 2013 by Her Excellency The Ambassador and was attended by members of the Polish Association, their families and invited guests. Her Excellency also unveiled the first of a series of plaques commemorating the lives of famous Polish people. This is the first plaque to be unveiled in a series called “Polish Trails in New Zealand”.

This plaque marks the achievements of one of Poland’s foremost poets, Adam Mickiewicz. He is regarded as the Polish national poet, essayist, publicist and political writer, prime representative of the Polish Romantic period. He is known primarily as the author of the poetic drama “Dziady” (Forefathers) and national epic “Pan Tadeusz” (Sir Thaddeus).

An English copy of Pan Tadeusz was donated by the Polish community and accepted on behalf of Christchurch City Libraries by Carolyn Robertson, Libraries Manager. Adam Mickiewicz was often compared to Byron and Goethe, and he was also very active in the struggle to achieve independence for his homeland, spending many years in exile where he died in 1855. His remains are laid in Krakow, Wawel Cathedral.

Polish author, Alina Suchanski’s new book Alone: An Inspiring Story of Survival and Determination was also launched that evening. She read a moving excerpt from the book and told us about the inspiration for the book. The book is about the early childhood during the war of her stepfather, who was a well-known personality in Christchurch.

Fiction A to Z: picks from our latest newsletter

Some picks from our April Fiction A to Z  newsletter:

Cover: Scent of Darkness Cover: A Thousand Pardons Cover: Little Exiles Cover: The Taste of Apple Seeds Cover: How to Get Filthy Rich  in Rising Asia Cover: The Town That Drowned Cover: Nothing Gold Can Stay Cover: The Garden of Last Days Cover: Pictures of You

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A Brain of a different hue

Search catalogue for The Rosie ProjectMy last blog lamented a book drought…it has ended with a small joy of a book. In The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, we meet Don Tillman. a geneticist living in Melbourne. Don tells us of his life, which is navigated using very strict, logical rules and boundaries which are obvious to all around him and the gentle reader, but strangely not by Don himself, as classic Autistic traits.

Schedules and routine make up his life, but he increasingly becomes aware that he should have a life partner, to enable him to fit in. He devises a 16 page questionnaire that he plans to use to narrow down his search and to enable him to find the perfect match.

Of course, as with life itself and all good romances, his course will not run smooth, and perhaps he will find his match where he least expects to.

Full of quirkiness and gentle humour, I found I really warmed to Don, and was hoping he’d find someone who ‘got him’ as he was, without him having to compromise too much of what made him interesting.

At a speed dating event, Don tries to apply his criteria to the women he meets:

Rather than ask about IQ, I decided to make an estimate based on Olivia’s responses to questions about historical impact of variations of susceptebility to syphilis across South American populations. We had a fascinating conversation, and I felt that the topic might even allow me to slip in the sexually transmitted diseases question.

I often sense the square pegs in our community feel pressured to fit in, when their unique take on life and their way of view of the world adds to society as a whole and to the lives of those around them.Search catalogue for The Curious incident

If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory, as I am, you’ll see a little of Sheldon in Don. It seems I’ve come across a few autistic spectrum heroes in my reading and viewing lately. The Bridge, a Scandinavian television crime drama, has a wonderful female lead, Saga Noren, whose detective brilliance is not bound by emotion or ties to others.

Of course there is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. A wonderful murder mystery, narrated by Christopher Boone who has Aspergers.

The Rosie Project was a fun read, it had a light touch, driven by a search for love and acceptance and with an ending that made me go awww.

Have you read great books or watched movies about people who think outside the square, or refuse to fit the dreaded square hole? Do share!