Purplerulz’s Top Five for 2013

To add to the lists being written from everyone’s reading for the year, I’m going to put forward my top five.

This may not be my absolute top five if I had a decent memory and I had kept my completed bookshelf on the library catalogue up to date… New Year’s resolution – I will do this in 2014! But they are ones that have stuck in my mind and have lingered long. They are in no order, I can never just have one favourite book.

cover of Every Day

1. Every Day by David Levithan: Imagine waking up every day in a new body, in a new life. For one teen this is all he/she knows but when faced with true love and a desperate desire to stay put, how will they get the life they long for? Great Young Adult fiction that speaks to adults as well.

2. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes: This little stunner of a book combines the raw pain of Julian Barnes’ grief after the death of his wife, with little known facts and stories about hot air ballooning. Odd combination, but it works. Highly recommended.

3.  The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson: An eighties dystopian novel about a post apocalyptic California dealing with a threat from foreign shores.

4. Perfect by Rachel Joyce: Could Ms. Joyce top the charm and cleverness of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? Why yes she can, this book is very different to her first, but an excellent premise and wonderful characters.

cover of Perfect

5. The Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy: No year of mine can go by without a Cormac or two, and this is probably my favourite book of the year if I really had to pick one. Stunning prose, bleakness and such wonderful characters, he never disappoints. Check out my earlier blog about this great book and author.

And as this is my last day at the libraries for two whole weeks, count them…16 days, I’m arming myself with a couple of recommendations from colleagues and a few movies.

Harvest by Jim Crace and The Novel Cure are at the top of the pile.

I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday period, even if you are working.  May the awesome book fairy shine upon you and the Santa of perfect prose leaves something so excellent, it lingers in your mind for a long time.

Meri Kirihemete!

Mastering the art of Christmas alone

cover of Norwegian by nighTraditionally Christmas is about friends and family, but spare a thought for those who are alone on Christmas day. For them the whole season can be laced with sadness. For the elderly whose friends and family have all gone, the bereaved , solo travellers, or people away from home, Christmas is a reminder of what is not there.

Surprisingly though some have mastered the art of being alone on Christmas day and see it as time out in a busy life, perhaps spending it catching up on rest, eating good food and reading. If you think this might be you, then here’s some reading and viewing suggestions.

Books and DVDs with a Christmas theme:

  • Merry Christmas Mr Bean – Mr Bean needs no introduction and he’ll make you laugh.
  • Joyeux Noel – The Western Front, December 1914. War is raging and heavy casualties have been sustained to both sides. A bloody battle of one of the most savage wars, but out of the chaos and slaughter, a miracle takes form; on Christmas Day, the soldiers of both sides meet in No Man’s Land and celebrate festivities
  • I’m half sick of shadows –  A cozy mystery set in 1950s England that has some delightful characters and will make you chuckle. It is set over the Christmas period and the young heroine is obsessed with the idea of capturing Father Christmas.
  • A highland Christmas – A Hamish McBeth mystery. In the dark, wintry highlands of Lochdubh, Scotland, where the local Calvinist element resists the secular trimmings of Christmas, the spirit of Old St. Nick is about as welcome as a flat tire on a deserted road. Nor is crime taking a holiday and Constable Hamish Macbeth soon finds himself on the job.
  • The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx  – Biography of Motley Crue singer John Corabi. To be fair this has nothing to do with Christmas and I have no idea what its like, but here’s a quote from it  “There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control.” I don’t know about you but I feel better about my Christmas already.

Books and DVDs that will keep you absorbed all day:

  • The Bridge – A woman is found murdered in the middle of Oresund Bridge, exactly on the border between Sweden and Denmark.
  • The Killing – In the course of 20 gripping days we follow leads and observe the consequences of a heinous crime that seem to ramify throughout Copenhagen. As the investigation unfolds, Copenhagen opens up like a Chinese box, full of secrets and power struggles.
  • The Luminaries – our very own Booker Prize winner. Need I say more?

Some light-hearted and entertaining books from 2013

O Superman: Picturing Canterbury

Photo of Superman float in the 1978 Hay's Christmas parade.
Superman float in the 1978 Hay’s Christmas parade.

Is it the same Superman who was in the 2007 Santa Parade? I think so!
2007 Santa Parade

Explore our sampler of Christmas photographs from our collection. We also have images of the Hay’s Christmas Parade.

Browse DigitalNZ sets of images:

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