Festival love, exciting and new – Auckland Writers Festival 2016

After the second full day of public programming Masha, Moata and Roberta have got some highlights to share, and surprisingly have found great enjoyment from unexpected and unfamiliar quarters, finding new writers to enjoy.

Listen to part 1, highlights from the day (5 mins, 59 sec)

Listen to part 2, what’s on the schedule for Sunday (2 mins, 26 sec)

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First full day of festivalling – Auckland Writers Festival 2016

It was full steam ahead with all things literary today as we, your festival angels, attended sessions, took frantic notes, felt our brains get bigger, and tried to process it all.

Listen to our audio wrap up of our day in “festivalling” and what we’re looking forward to on Saturday.

AWF16

(8 mins, 10 sec)

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True tales of the festival – Auckland Writers Festival 2016

And we’re off!

With the schools programme portion of the Auckland Writers Festival wrapping up today, the public programme has now kicked off and my fellow festival-goer Roberta and I attended the gala event, True Stories Told Live: Altered States.

Jeanette Winterson and Roberta
Jeanette Winterson and Roberta, CCL Flickr File Reference: 2016-05-12-DSC00929

The concept is a simple one. Gather a clutch of writers, give them a lose theme to work to, and let them have 7 minutes in which to weave a story but one that is true and personal. In keeping with the “Read the world” tagline of the festival it was an international set of authors – Carmen Aguirre, Pettina Gappah, Tusiata Avia, Peter Garrett, Joe Bennett, Herman Koch, Vivian Gornick and Jeanette Winterson – each with an entirely different take on the theme, different message, different style, and different sensibility.

They were all excellent though for my money Carmen Aguirre kept me hooked and Jeanette Winterson was heartfelt and humorous, but a nod must also go to Festival Director Anne O’Brien who set the scene beautifully by telling the audience just how important literature is and that “literate citizens build better worlds”. It’s not just about literature either, it’s about literacy too. Stirring words which were very enthusiastically received.

Roberta and I retired to our accommodations following the performance and had a chat about our faves and our picks for tomorrow which proves to be a day jam-packed with excellent author sessions.

Listen to part 1 (4 mins 29 sec)

Listen to part 2 (5 mins 9 sec)

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The ‘all in one’ Audiobook!!

Playaway player
Playaway player

If you are an audiobook enthusiast you may be interested in trying one of Christchurch City Libraries pre-loaded audio-books called ‘Playaways’. Playaways are very convenient as you don’t need a disc player, MP3 player, or computer. About the size of a pack of cards, these convenient audiobooks contain an entire book and can fit into a purse or pocket quite easily, they run on a small battery. Great for listening to (with small headphones) whilst walking, working, relaxing and can be listened to whilst travelling by using a cassette adapter or plug into an auxiliary port in your car’s audio system.

This form of audiobook has several small convenient buttons to adjust, sound level, voice speed, a skip forward or back chapter button and a time remaining in chapter button and of course on/off button.

If you are feeling unwell or unable to concentrate to read a book, lie back listen and relax with simply  a touch of a button you can be taken into another world by an experienced storyteller.

Christchurch City Libraries have many popular titles. They are available for adults, young adults and children. To find Playaway audiobooks, keyword search using Playaway or subject search by Audiobooks.

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Next time you are at your library ask for a demonstration. Earphones are available to purchase for a cost of only $2.50.

 

American Sniper is our Big Library Read – 17 to 31 March

OverDrive has made the title American Sniper its Big Library Read and it will be available in both eBook and eAudiobook format from 17 March until 31 March 2016. You can put your holds on the eBook or eAudiobook now, and you’ll be notified when it is available.

BLR-FB-Cover

American Sniper was one of the bestselling books of 2015. The New York Times bestselling memoir of a U.S. Navy Seal was even the source for Clint Eastwood’s academy award nominated movie. This controversial title is considered to be ‘a first-rate military memoir’ by Booklist. It details the effects of modern warfare on the writer, his fellow soldiers and his family. The author Chris Kyle is considered the most lethal sniper in US history. His fellow soldiers during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head.

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You can find out more on the Big Library Read page, where you can also listen to the Professional Book Nerds podcast interview with Taya Kyle, widow of American Sniper author Chris Kyle and the author of American Wife.

We have had a number of Big Library Read events here at Christchurch City Libraries. These events are sponsored by OverDrive (one of our main eBook and eAudiobook platform providers). Every few months they choose a title and make it accessible to absolutely everyone for a given period of time. The idea is to create one massive worldwide book club. As a librarian I love this concept!

If you haven’t taken part in what is basically a worldwide book club event then maybe this is the title that will change all that. See what you think …

What was popular in 2015?

Cover of Through the seasons: The free range cookYou may have read recently in the media about the top titles borrowed from Christchurch City Libraries in 2015, but that just scratches the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got even more to share with you.

If the publishing industry is a literary popularity contest then these titles from our library collection are the cool kids in school.

In non-fiction last year food and health were the overriding themes. Last year’s king of the culinary castle, Simon Gault was ousted by kitchen queen Annabel Langbein in 2015 with her Through the seasons: The free range cook taking out top spot.

Honorable mention must go to Dr Libby Weaver for appearing no less than 5 times in the top 10 non-fiction.

Cover of PersonalIn fiction, Personal by Lee Child finally made the top spot after getting pipped at the post in 2014.

Mysteries, thrillers and suspense titles continue to be popular and is reflected in the most popular authors for adults list which for the second year in a row was topped by James Patterson, but there’s still ran audience for perennial favourites like Danielle Steel, and even more perennial Agatha Christie, whose popularity continues unabated.

Novels by Lee Child also make a strong showing in the top eBooks list (5 times in the top 20), though the number one spot goes to Eyes on you by Kate White.

The most popular eAudiobook was cross-generational film-franchise juggernaut The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, with the three books of the series taking out the top three spots.

In fact, books with successful movie tie-ins made up a whopping 14 out of the top 20 eAudiobooks, showing that fans of franchises like Harry Potter, and the Divergent series aren’t solely interested in the visual part of “audiovisual”.

Cover of We're going on a bear huntIn kids books, again classic titles were very popular with Michael Rosen’s We’re going on a bear hunt, originally published in 1989, continuing to find an audience and securing the number one slot.

Geronimo Stilton featured strongly in the most popular kids’ titles and was the overall most popular author of children’s books whilst still leaving room for old favourites like Enid Blyton, Dr Suess and Margaret Mahy.

For teens The maze runner by James Dashner was the most popular fiction title with several other “books of the movie” also appearing in the teens top 20.

Top of the top titles

Cover of Cross Justice by James Patterson    Cover pf The race against time by Geronimo Stilton Cover of The maze runner Cover of Eyes on you Cover of The hunger games

See more annual lists of popular titles.

The most popular items in our collection

The best of British eBooks – Askews

At Christchurch City Libraries we are blessed with three eBook platforms vying for our attention. There is OverDrive, the big flashy American one with the largest collection that also includes downloadable eAudiobooks. Then there is Wheelers which consists purely of New Zealand content and culture. Last but by no means least is Askews which primarily provides access to British content that is out of print or can not be found in OverDrive. It is not as well-known as the other platforms which is disappointing. Is it that classic British reserve that is its undoing? Its unwillingness to shout at the top of its lungs – I am here and I am amazing? In case it is I will agree to be its advocate and champion.

Cover of The Queen Cover of Behind the scenes at the museum Cover of Bring up the bodies Cover of Atonement Cover of A demon in my view Cover of Cold Granite Cover of The Collaborators Cover of Charlotte Gray

Askews has all the big names in current Brit lit such as authoresses Kate Atkinson, Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel, and Ruth Rendell. Then we have the authors Sebastian Faulks, Bernard Cornwell, Ian McEwan, and Stuart MacBride. All this literary talent and more awaits you as we head into the silly season where your money is hoovered from your pockets. The fantastic thing about Askews is that you can borrow and place holds for free and never have to worry about overdues fees. What can I say, the library provides the cheapest entertainment this summer! So if you haven’t dipped your toes into Askews yet, please do.

Stig @ the Library comes to Christchurch

Kids at Queenspark School were super lucky to get visit from a rock star this week. Stig Wemyss, one of the most popular narrators of audio books for kids, visited the school as part of his ‘Stig at the Library’ NZ tour.

Stig Wemyss is an actor, writer and the voice behind heaps of children’s audio books.  If you have borrowed kid’s audiobooks from the library before you’re almost certain to have heard him read you a story that had you laughing out loud. He has narrated stories by the funniest authors around, including Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths.

Stig Wemyss at Queenspark School
Stig Wemyss at Queenspark School

According to Stig, narrators are the ‘rock stars of kids books,’ and he certainly showed us why. He treated the kids of Queenspark School to an hour of silliness and laughter.  He showed us what it takes to be a narrator and got heaps of the kids up the front with him to try his audition techniques.

He read one of Andy Griffith’s short stories from his book Just Stupid and had everyone engrossed in the story. It is no wonder that Stig is so popular because he is a natural performer who brings Andy Griffiths’ and Paul Jennings’ crazy, silly, hilarious stories to life.

Stig has been touring NZ to promote Borrow Box, a great new eResource that libraries around the country, including Christchurch City Libraries, now have available for customers.

Borrow box logoWith Borrow Box you can borrow and download eAudiobooks to your computer or mobile device whenever you like, wherever you like. There are heaps of eAudiobooks to choose from, including books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, Jacqueline Wilson, Enid Blyton, Morris Gleitzman and Jackie French.

Check out Borrow Box now and download an eAudiobook read by Stig Wemyss.  I guarantee it will have you laughing out loud.

아이들과 함께 할 10월의 이야기

곧 아이들 학교 방학이 시작되네요. 온 가족이함께 할 수 있는 신나는 정보를 소개 할까 합니다.

Fun PalacesFun Palaces 2015라고 들어 보셨나요? Fun Palaces는 1960년  영국 연극 연출가 Joan Littlewood 와 건축가 Cedric Price에의해  ‘신나는 실험실’ 과 ‘거리의 우주’라는 상상의 이야기가  그 시작이 었답니다. 이러한 시도는 2014년 Stella Duffy를 중심으로한 여러사람들에 의해 현실화 되었답>니다. 그리고 세계 최초로 크라이스트쳐치 에서 시작을 하게 되었습니다. 10월 3일 부터 4일까지 City Centre 여러 곳에서 누구나 참여 하여 즐길 수 있는 여러 행사가 준비 되어 있습니다. 예술, 과학 그리고 다양한 문화 행사를 직접 경험하고 배울 수 있는 유익한 프로그램을 시내 곳 곳에서 만날 수 있답니다.  시내에 위치한 Central Library Peterborough에도 이 행사와 연결된 여러 가지 프로그램들을 준비했답니다. 아이들과 함께 방문해 보세요.

이 달의 책입니다.

Korean books
Korean books, Flickr Korean-Oct-2015-2.jpg

재명훈 작가의 SF소설 가마틀 스타일 – 우리는 어떻게 태어났을까? 세상에 태어나 문득 스스로를 바라보게 된 순간 어떻게 생긴 자아와 어떻게 생긴 몸이 ‘나’의 많은 부분을 구성하고 있었던가. 또한 그 두 가지가 내 기대와 맞지 않았을 때, 세상은 우리에게 어떤 모험을 제시했던가. 맨 처음 그 모험의 길이 펼쳐졌던 우리 인생의 어느 순간에 우리는 과연 그 여정을 감당할 만큼의 용기와 적당한 정도의 위대함, 그리고 인간성을 갖추고 있었던가. 이 책이 던지는 질문은 그런 것들이다.— 「작가의 말」중에서

김탁환 작가의 역사 추리 소설 목격자들을 소개합니다. “방각본 살인 사건”, “열녀문의 비밀”, “열하광인”으로 이어지는 김탁환 작가의 백탑파 시리즈의 또 다른 이야기입니다.

Children's books
Children’s books, Flickr Korean-Oct-2015-1.jpg

유다의 별 – 2014 한국 추리 문학대상을 수상한 도진기 작가의 작품으로 1920~1930년대에 실존하며 340여명을 죽음으로 이끌었던 사이비 종교 집단 백백교와 현대에서 벌어지는 연쇄 살인사건을 접목시켜 흥미진진하게 이야기로 풀어낸 추리 소설입니다.

이번에 소개할 읽는 어린이 그림책은 천미진선생님의 산골짜기 연이네 비빔밥입니다.

Fendalton Library Children’s Book Sale도 잊지마세요

Like a virgin

I am not at all a technophobe. I need wifi to live. I live a reasonable proportion of my life online. I feel naked without my phone being within arm’s reach.

And yet, until recently I had never read an ebook or listened to an downloadable audiobook.

Yes, I was a library digital download virgin.

Why?

Cover of Magpie HallI guess I just really like the heft and feel of a book in my hands. But, realising that it was actually a ridiculous thing for a web librarian to not have even tried digital library titles, and spurred on by our Community Read, I decided to give it a go and read New Zealand novel Magpie Hall on my phone.

And it wasn’t bad, actually. I thought I’d perhaps find the text too small, but I was pleasantly surprised. I chose to read in browser rather than download it. The  interface was uncluttered and the text smooth and screen-friendly. And though it was odd not to be able to see my progress via the turning of accumulated pages, Wheelers had thoughtfully included a percentage figure at the top right of my screen so I could tell when I was nearly halfway or approaching the end of the book. Nice.

Cover of The Fangirl's Guide to the GalaxyNext up, I downloaded an OverDrive audiobook (and detangled my long neglected earbuds). This format was also pretty easy to use if you get yourself the free app. Having never tried an audiobook before I found myself enjoying how the reader interpreted the prose. Because I was reading, sorry, listening to something that was quite humorous and lighthearted in tone (namely, The Fangirl’s Guide to The Galaxy – expect to see a review on this blog in the near future) it was nice to have that echoed in the delivery. It wasn’t all that different to the voice I hear in my head when I’m reading something myself, albeit with an American accent.

Cover of As You WishI’ve since discovered that some audiobooks are actually read by the author, like As You Wish, about the making of the movie The Princess Bride, a book that I read on paper when I COULD HAVE BEEN LETTING WESTLEY READ IT TO ME WITH HIS LOVELY POSH VOWELS, OMG! There are also audio cameos in As You Wish, including Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal. I’d be willing to wager that Billy Crystal does a better version of his voice than the version of it I did in my head.

Similarly, I would happily listen to Carrie Fisher read one of her books because, someone once described her voice as “sonorous” and I’d have to agree that it’s very listenable. I love hearing writers read their own work. You never have to worry that they’re misinterpreting it.

From talking to other people who have more experience with audiobooks, it seems that a lot of the enjoyment of a book in this format can come down to whether or not the voice of the person reading it to you is a good fit. Timbre, accent, speed and intonation, if they’re wrong or jarring to your ear, can have a distracting effect. So it’s pretty handy that our downloadable audiobooks have a short excerpt available, right there in the catalogue. Just click and listen to see if the voice of the reader suits you or not. Easy.

So on the whole, I’d have to say my first fumbling forays into downloadable library content have gone pretty well. I still do like the feeling of a physical book, but I’ll certainly not look down my nose at an eBook every now and again (especially when travelling).

Feel like being brave and giving digital downloads a go? Then you may be interested in the following info –

Updated:I totally forgot to mention that when I accidentally wiped all the data off my phone (don’t ask) and had to set it up from new, when I reloaded the OverDrive app it knew exactly where I’d got up to and asked if I’d like to start listening again from that point. Bloody clever!