Fashion magazines: inspirational, or evolutionary leftovers?

416345574_lgFashion magazines have come in for a lot of criticism. People are critical of the illusionary effect of Photoshop to carve away waists, arm flab and create blemish free darlings with thigh gaps and extra white teeth. Are young women and men suffering trying to live up to these ideals that owe more to computer programming than healthy eating?

As someone with three nieces, I have posted more than one video on their Facebook pages showing how cover girls are created – make up, lighting and computer magic. I tell them weight is about health not about the ability to squeeze into skin tight jeans that will only lead to cystitis. (No they have yet to defriend me)

Despite the need for us all to be media savvy, there can be no doubt that at the same time we are fascinated by what we see. Fashion magazines still sell because though few may enter that world some say there is an evolutionary need to seek out beauty, appreciate creativity and basically people watch. At one point in our history, a symmetrical face free from blemishes indicated good genetic stock and those who knew how to create things led us from the cave to double glazed homes. We also needed to evaluate people quickly to see if they were friend, foe or competition. This may seem a leap in thinking, but if so explain to me Kim Kardashian?

Whatever your opinion of fashion magazines the library does have access to them in both print and digital format with Zinio for Libraries and PressDisplay. With Zinio you can read Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar for free – at the same time as the print comes out. When you do, just remember – beauty is fascinating, but fleeting.

Cover of Marie Claire (Italian) Cover of Vogue France Cover of Instyle Cover of Marie Claire Cover of Elle Cover of Esquire Cover of Nylon

Fash mags in our collection

Find more fashion magazines by searching on the subject Fashion – Periodicals and Clothing and dress – Periodicals.


See also our pages on:

Genealogy – my way

Cover of Tartan: Romancing the plaidThe library Family history guide must be one of the most popular digital resources that we offer. It is a site for those with an eye for detail. Those who like to paint their life canvases with accuracy. This is not my way at all.

My approach to my ancestry is more like unpacking the intricate layered notes of a complex perfume: the light high green notes of New Zealand, the wide warm middle notes of South Africa and the deep peaty tones of Scotland. And I can legitimately lay claim to my Scottish roots. I have a clan, I have a tartan, my parents (born in Scotland) moved to tropical Durban and created a little Scotland there for us. A lot of the time this Scottish aspect of my genealogy lies fallow, but it took just one book to shake it up all over again.

When I first glimpsed Tartan: Romancing the Plaid, I was captivated by the model’s neck; it is such a beautiful cover. When I focussed more carefully I saw the tartan shawl, and I was hooked. This is a gorgeous book which shows how widely loved tartan is, how its appeal straddles borders and oceans and ages. So much care has been put into producing this book, right down to the little tartan ribbon book marker that has been thoughtfully provided. This book is now on my To Buy list.

Cover of Maw Broon's CookbookIsolated from her large family, my mother did her best – she was not a gifted cook, but she kept an old recipe book and fed us Scottish Fayre when she could. Every year near Christmas the mail boats would bring us gifts from the homeland – annuals like The Broons and Oor Willie. Imagine then my joy at discovering Maw Broon’s Cookbook in the library. This book is like Scottish History on a plate. It looks and feels like an old recipe book, and won an award for its clever, realistic presentation. I have already bought this book.

The Big MusicBut, if you really want to capture your personal genealogy, you must find its music. I read Kirsti Gunn’s The Big Music about a year ago. It is a read that will take you straight to the Highlands of Scotland. It is one of the few books I have ever read which desperately needed a CD to go with it. Big Music is the oldest form of Scottish bagpipe music that exists. You can hear the beginning of this book being read on this YouTube clip. The point where the bagpipes start playing roots me to the spot. Excavates who I am to the very soul.

So where do you stand on the family history spectrum? Are you beavering away with documented, perspectival accuracy, or do you paint your canvas with broad swathes of memory?

눈 온 8월이 포근한 이유

올 겨울 눈을 만나셨나요?  어쩜 그렇게 몰래 함박눈으로 잠깐 내리고, 또 아침에 살짝 내리다 가버리던지요….., 그래도 산 머리에 쌓인 하얀 눈 옷은 한껏 겨울 산임을 과시하네요. 아무리 추운 겨울이라도 눈이 오는 날이 포근해지는 이유는 왜 일까요 저만 그런가요?

8월에 소개할 책들입니다.

Korean books
Korean books. Flickr, August-2015-IMG.jpg

초록 가죽 소파 표류기 -출판사 문학동네의 ‘ 대학소설상’ 3회 수상작으로 명지대학교 문예창작과에 재학 중인 정지향(23)작가의 작품입니다. 사랑과 우정, 가족 간의 갈등, 사회로의 진입 실패, 재능에 대한 회의 등 오늘 날 젊은이들의 고민을 다양한 에피소드로 그려낸 성장 소설입니다.

전경린의 네 번째 소설집 “천사는 여기 머문다” 는 저자가 11년 만에 펴낸 소설집으로  짧지 않은 시간 동안 써온 9편의 단편이 수록 되어 있습니다.  작가와의 첫 만남이든, 이미 전경린을 좋아하는 분이든 다시 한번 작가의 매력을 경험 할 수 있는 기회가 될 것 같아 소개합니다. – “천사는 여기 머문다. 그 곳은 선 악을 넘어 우리 생의 내부에서 비상하는 생명을 은유한다. 살아 있음의 절정에서 당신의 얼굴에 천사가 떠 오른다.”-작가의 말 중에서

비가 오거나 심하게 추운 날 생각나는 라면 한 그릇과 잘 어울리는 그것(?)  이번에 소개할 책은 웹툰작가 오묘의 “아는 사람 이야기” 1편과  2편 입니다. 그냥 만화라기에 좀 더 진지한 이야기. 내 친구의 친구 경험담 처럼 한 다리 건너의 흔하디 흔한 이야기. 그다지 특별할 것 없는 일상의 이야기가 가슴에 와 닿는 건 마치 보통 우리들에게도 있었던 일들인 양 친근함, 그 이유겠죠.

Papanui도서관이 지진에 의한 건물 수리로8월 12일 부터 10월 12일 까지 문을 닫습니다. 예약하신 책들은 Fendalton 도서관에서 찾으실 수 있습니다. 반납하실 책들도 가까운 도서관에 반납하세요

Close your eyes – Michael Robotham is coming to Christchurch

Cover of Close your eyesChristchurch crime fiction fans are in for a treat when Michael Robotham, one of the best crime writers working, visits on Wednesday 26 AugustHe’s coming to Christchurch with his latest book, Close Your Eyes, but he’s got an impressive back list. His books Shatter and Lost won the Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s Crime Novel of the Year – good old Australia – a Crime Novel Award named after a criminal.

Shatter and The Night Ferry were shortlisted for the Crime Writer’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award; Say You’re Sorry and Life and Death made it to the shortlist for the Crime Writer’s Golden Dagger Award. We’ll have to wait until September to see if Life and Death wins.

I always like a crime writer who started as a journalist. Even better if they started as a cadet rather than doing a post-graduate degree in Journalism (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s just that writers who have had to distill the facts of a story into a small space jostling with lots of other stories know how to grab your interest. And I fondly imagine cadets learning their craft by having their copy scrutinised by cynical hard-bitten reporters squinting through the smoke from the fag permanently attached to their lips. Probably an image that was way out of date when Michael Robotham was working on evening newspapers. If it was ever true. Perhaps I’ll ask him when he comes to Christchurch. I also have a question about going to school in Gungadai.

Event details

An evening with Michael Robotham
Wednesday 26 August 6pm to 7.30pm
South Library
Free event, complimentary tickets can be picked up from South Library or Paper Plus Northlands Mall. Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Paper Plus. For more info or to reserve tickets please call Kathryn Hartley Ph: 03 941 6649 or

Michael Robotham: ghosting and crime Michael on Saturday Morning with Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand National, 15 August.

Hear Graham Beattie’s review of Close your eyes on Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand National, 12 August.

Cover of Life or Death Cover of Watching you Cover of Say you're sorry Cover of Bombproof Cover of Lost

Quick Questions with Suki Kim – WORD Christchurch

Cover of Without you, there is no usSuki Kim is coming to Christchurch on Sunday 30 August as part of the WORD Christchurch Shifting Points of View events in the Christchurch Arts Festival. Her topic: On North Korea: Inventing the Truth and she’s in conversation with Paula Morris. She answered our quick questions:

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I have never been to New Zealand. All I know about Christchurch is the earthquake of 2011. So I am sad that I did not get to see the city before that, but I am also looking forward to seeing how a city recovers from such a horrific natural disaster.

What do you think about libraries?

Essential for one’s soul. With the rise of eBooks and online magazines, I do not know how libraries will transform, which worries me. But I still love going to libraries, the smell of books, and finding quiet nooks where one could hide.

What would be your “desert island book”?

Cover of Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I don’t know how to ride bicycles or drive cars or swim … every year they make my New Year’s resolution.

More about Suki Kim