Scratch and grab

Cover of Chicken Whisperer's Guide to To Keeping ChickensWhen I told various people we were thinking of getting a couple of hens they assured me we would love having them. My thoughts were more along the lines of: chooks = garden turned over and manured = eggs. Not ‘chooks – I’ll love having them in our life’.

The first few nights of the fat bottomed girls being in residence in the coop involved our flatmate climbing into the coop, showing the girls where the roosting bar was and physically lifting them into place. A new ramp was made, the f-b girls learnt to motor up it in no time and the flatmate went back to having a life.

Cover of Dirty ChickWe are quite besotted with the big footed raiders already, but due to space restraints we’ve stopped there. Otherwise there would be a couple of pigs grubbing around somewhere as per Antonia Murphy, author of Dirty Chick. She moved to New Zealand from the US, her pipe dream being to have a bit of land, some chickens etc. Things get a bit out of hand and ever so slightly stressful as her stock wander the neighbourhood amongst other things. Let’s say she takes to country life with gusto… I wouldn’t say she calmly bestrides the chaos, but she copes with great humour and I am quite envious of her menagerie.

Cover of The Chicken ChroniclesAlice Walker on the other hand had been raised with chickens for eggs and meat and finding herself living in Mexico realised they were missing from her life. Enter Gertrude Stein, Babe, Glorious, Rufus and Agnes of God, turning her thinking to the interdependence of humans and the chickens. The Chicken Chronicles is more a memoir of a journey.

Meanwhile at Chez Bishi, and I can’t say we weren’t warned, Camilla and Priscilla have been escaping their carefully established playground away from my vegetable gardens and been caught scratching and grabbing with the odd guilty glance over the shoulder and then running away when in danger of being put back in the playground. The kids would never have got away with what these two chicks manage.

Are you thinking of taking on some egg laying devices? Still sitting on the roost perhaps? Afraid you might find yourself clucking round the garden with small feathered friends in tow? Take the plunge: you’ll be in good company.

Our Book Sale is on NOW!

Kia ora. Our Big Bargain Book Sale is on today (Friday 20 March) until 7pm, and tomorrow (Saturday 21 March) from 9pm to 4pm. It is in the stadium at the Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre. Books for kids, for fiction-lovers, for gardeners, for cooks, for fashionistas DVDs, CDs, and jigsaw puzzles too.

In a new addition this year, a coffee cart inside so you can browse with caffeination. Highly recommended, A++, would attend again.

Photos from last night’s preview.
Something for everyone at the Book Sale
Bags of books
Book sale books
Book sale

Short and sweet

Cover of Stone MattressShort stories are delicious. Like chocolates in a box, you pick one that looks good and indulge in a bite-sized treat. I was recently stuck at Auckland Airport and lifted the lid on a copy of Stone Mattress, nine tales from the ingenious mind of Margaret Atwood. I must admit I found these stories rather moreish. Three tales and seventy five minutes later, I heard my name over the loud speaker and had to make a frenzied dash for the departure lounge.

Cover of Dear LifeOne of my favourite short story authors is Alice Munro who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 for her work. Her latest title Dear Life contains ten bitter sweet tales that resonate at the deepest level of the human psyche.

Cover of Between my father and the kingAt the moment I’m savouring the most recent collection of stories by Janet Frame. The critics say Between My Father and the King contains some of her best writing and includes previously unpublished work.

For exceptional collections that will give you a taste of other cultures and times, try those by Haruki Murakami, Yiyun Li, Edna O’Brien, Colette and the ever-perceptive Rose Tremain.

Apparently, the short story is one of the hardest genres to get right so I’m forever grateful that these authors have mastered the art. Short stories must be one of the most honest and immediate forms of communication around. They encapsulate moments of insight by some pretty amazing human beings and are a perfect treat at the end of a busy day. Happy sampling!

Murakami unleashed: Auckland Writers Festival programme is out

Last night the programme for the 2015 Auckland Writers Festival was released and people gave a collective squee. Haruki Murakami is the headliner. This is doubly exciting – he is one of the best writers of our time and he doesn’t appear much on the literary festival circuit. We are not worthy, but we are excited.

Cover of Colorless Cover of Camp David Cover of Not my father's son Cover of Being Mortal Cover of Hi is for hawk Cover of Nalini Singh Cover of The bone clocks Cover of Captain Underpants

And there are more names, names, names:

Explore the full Auckland Writers Festival programme.

Here’s how Twitter is responding – with the hashtag #AWF15 as your gateway to the good stuff.

Squeaky clean reading?

Cover of Holy Sh*t
Holy Sh*t: A brief history of swearing

Today I stumbled upon an app that I can quite safely say I will never use. Clean Reader can instantly sanitize any of the books in its store to make them squeaky clean and free of profanity.

Occasionally we get a customer who does feel that a book contains too much bad language.

I have read this book from cover to cover and it is disgusting!”

Libraries have, and always will be about choice. I choose not to read nasty psychokiller thrillers but I don’t mind a bit of cussing. I don’t have a problem with someone else wanting to read these books – actually that isn’t quite true as I really do think they are mysoginistic and nasty, but I will always defend the right for the library to purchase these books and for our customers to read them.

So don’t expect to see a clean reader attached to our eBooks, but it is out there if you need it. I wonder if there is an app that can remove nasty sadistic psychos, probably not. Maybe I could make one?

Young Adult books for kids

Are you a great reader? Have you started to outgrow the kids section in your library? Look no further, because here are some suggestions of great books in the young adult section that won’t upset your parents too much.

Horror
Cover of Cuckoo SongDo you like doll-eating girls and girl-eating cinema screens? If you answered yes, or if you’re just confused, read Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge! Sinister and peculiar but also great friendships and ladies on motorcycles in the 1920s.

If you like clever, weird books then you might also like any of Kelly Link’s short story collections, filled with people-eating couches and handbags with entire towns inside.

For something more traditionally creepy try Rhiannon Lassiter’s Bad Blood, all about messy families and dealing with step-siblings and oh hey, a doll who likes to play with scissors.

Fantasy
Cover of Book of a Thousand DaysFor a non-traditional zombie story try Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot, set in a pseudo pre-Columbus America.

The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is a retelling of Maid Maleen set in ancient Mongolia (favourite character: ‘My Lord’ the cat), and Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series is full of sensible witches, insensible Feegles and a lot of humour.

Contemporary
Melina Marchetta and Jaclyn Moriarty are both Australian and write great quirky high school stories. I particularly recommend Saving Francesca and The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie, but Moriarty also has a new series that combines contemporary with fantasy beginning with A Corner of White.

I also have to recommend Annabel Pitcher’s My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, which is both hilariously funny and heartbreaking.

Crossover
Cover of The ThiefLastly there are some series shelved in the kids’ section which cross over into young adult and are too great not to mention: Hilary McKay’s Casson Family series, all about — you guessed it — the Casson family; Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series (beginning with The Thief) which features lots of intrigue and spying set in a pseudo ancient Greece; and Elizabeth Wein’s Aksum books which feature even more spying and intrigue but are set in ancient Ethiopia.

Want more? Check out our list for ‘if you like reading young adult books‘ or fantastic picks from fellow librarian AliReads! For the books from this blog post plus a few extras, head over to my list on bibliocommons.

Or if you’re looking for something different, leave a comment and I’ll put together another blog post. Alternatively Kate de Goldi is available on Booknotes Unbound as the Reading Doctor with some great suggestions all inspired by real questions.

 

Big Bargain Book Sale – this Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March

booksalefry

The annual world famous in Christchurch Big Bargain Book Sale is at the Pioneer Recreation & Sport Centre, 75 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon.

  • Friday 20 March 2015 9am – 7pm

  • Saturday 21 March 2015 9am – 4pm

We don’t recommend frying our books. Buy ‘em, don’t fry ‘em.

Big bargain book sale banner

“I have read all your books” – A farewell to PTerry

I met Sir PTerry the same year I met my future husband. It was 1985 and I was 18 years old. I have, it seems, spent my entire adult life with him. Which may explain why I am very thankful that I have today off, and am sitting in a darkened room and erratically weeping-while-laughing.

I’m not sure I can do justice to the man – there are people all over the world who write much more betterer than me, and who cared just as passionately about him. You can (and should) read all of these things on the interwebs. You also can (and should) read all of his books. All I can do is say, thank you – you made me laugh, and cry, and fall in love, and feel brave, and learn things, and re-evaluate the way I thought about things, and champion books that (at least in those early days) no-one else thought were worth a damn. I almost preferred it that way – I think I didn’t want to have to share, and it felt so very special when I met those few others who felt the same.

When you came to Christchurch and I got to ACTUALLY meet you, you were every bit as scary and amazing and inspiring as I’d hoped you would be.

I fell in love with Vimes. I wanted to be like Granny Weatherwax (but always knew I was probably a lot more like Agnes Nitt). I adore the Patrician (One Man One Vote). We temporarily borrowed a cat called Greebo. I will ALWAYS want to own a dragon called Errol.

I have read all of your books; even the slightly less-outstanding very early ones (and those ones by you and Mr Baxter that I didn’t like so much but read anyway, because YOU’d written them). I’ve read them on planes and trains and boats, and in the garden and the lounge and in bed and at work. I’ve read them out loud to my family, and to my friends, and occasionally to random strangers.

I think my life would have been an emptier, colder place without you, Terry Pratchett. I probably wouldn’t have been a librarian, and I certainly wouldn’t have been a writer of small silly things.
You have made me a better person, and I can’t believe I have to carry on in a universe where you no longer are.
Cover of Going Postal Cover of The colour of magic Cover of Wintersmith Cover of The last hero

Personal names in the catalogue

Cover of Final Curtain
Ngaio Marsh’s novels are shelved under Marsh.

If you are a regular user of our libraries, you may have noticed that the writer’s name will usually be listed surname first in the catalogue. This order is important as an author’s fiction will be shelved under the part of the name which appears first in the catalogue listing.

Working out which part of the name is the surname or family name is usually straightforward, especially in the English-speaking world. It is normally the last part of the name, eg,

This general rule may be affected if the surname includes a separately written prefix (van, de, etc), or if it is a compound surname. The writer’s preference in the way in which his or her name is written is also taken into account.

Cover of Frog
Mo Yan’s novels are shelved under Mo.

However, a more common issue is that some nationalities follow different conventions. Therefore the last part of the name may not be that chosen for listing in the catalogue, eg,

  • Mo Yan is listed as Mo, Yan, not as Yan, Mo; and
  • Trinh Khanh Tuoc is listed as that, in direct order, not as Tuoc, Trinh Khanh.

For many, Icelandic names tend to prove the most bothersome when it comes to identifying which name the author is listed under. Icelandic names are in fact listed under the first given name, followed by any other given names, patronymic and family name, in direct order. Thus

Cover of Strange Shores
Arnaldur Indriðason’s novels are shelved under Arnaldur.

If you are unsure where to look for an author’s fiction on the shelves, you may find the answer in the catalogue – check the Full Record tab of a title in the catalogue and you will see how the author is listed.

Or, of course, ask your friendly librarian!

It’s Booktacular – Big Bargain Book Sale – Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March 2015

The Library book sale is a Christchurch institution. And a bit of a booklovers’ frenzy! One of my favourite things is seeing people with all sorts of carrying devices filled to the gunnels with books books BOOKS. It is booktacular.

KidsLibrary book sale 2013Library book sale 2012

The 2015 Big Bargain Book Sale is on soon at the Pioneer Recreation & Sport Centre, 75 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon.

  • Friday 20 March 2015 9am – 7pm

  • Saturday 21 March 2015 9am – 4pm

I am not immune to the charms of this annual sale. Though I think I narrowed my selection down after this picture. Because I didn’t have a suitcase on wheels like some Christchurchians did.

2010 Library book sale