Holiday boredom-busters

The holiday season is upon us and it’s a great time to spend time with some quality books, movies, and music.

Here are some titles that will tantalise you with their mystery, entertain you with their storytelling, amaze you with their creativity, and leave you with a sense of satisfaction. We’ve got Fiction, Audiobooks, Graphic Novels, Music CDs, and DVDs, all just waiting for you at your local library.

Cover of An unwanted guestSo firstly, if you find yourself in the mood for a well crafted locked-room mystery in the style of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, get yourself a copy of An Unwanted Guest by mystery master Shari Lapena. It’s a group of strangers held captive by the elements in a secluded boutique hotel. When the guests begin to fall victim to murder the story weaves and wraps around in a classic whodunit style with a good twisty-turny plot. A perfect choice for a bit of summer escapism.

How about hearing some tales of the Norse Gods, written and read by Neil Gaiman – a self-confessed devotee of the classic sagas.

Cover of Norse mythology by Neil GaimanThese stories are fantastical, full of deceit and murder, trickery and beauty, and expertly read by the author in the audiobook edition available on our eResource BorrowBox. You’ll discover the strange relationship between Thor and his brother Loki, learn how the Gods came to be in possession of their most treasured artifacts like Thor’s hammer, named Mjolnir, or how Loki came to bear his children – a brilliant story of Loki’s trickery coming back to bite him. Amazing stories and a privilege to be able to listen to the author present them just as intended – casual and conversational storytelling.

What about music…? If you’re looking for some tunes this season then I would suggest you check out the award-winning new album from Kiwi contemporary music legend Eve De Castro RobinsonThe Gristle Of Knuckles. New Zealand’s contemporary music is in a fine state if this album is anything to go by. It’s from the hand/mind of one of the countries most respected music educators and composers and features many of our most celebrated musicians. It’s outstanding – dynamic, inventive, masterfully performed, and well worth a listen if you like jazz and contemporary music as an artform.

Cover of DemonAnd there’s always a Graphic Novel to help you while away an evening.

A darkly comedic tale of a man who wants to die but instead, whenever he tries to die, he just shifts over into whoever is around him. A brilliantly funny and darkly curious take of modern life by an expert artist. It’s simplistic artwork counterpoints the bleak nature of the subject matter – a comedy about suicide!? And what results is book of gravity and heart.

And finally, what to watch..? If you like twisted retellings of classic folktales then you’ll love Tale of Tales

A grown up fairytale from the legendary Giambattista Basile that is dark, twisted, and engrossing. Three kingdoms exist within the lands, each ruled by very different monarchs. Through the lives and demands of the people and the supernatural worlds, their stories intertwine to create a masterpiece of imaginative film making. A brilliant cast and a story that will stay with you long after.

Definitely some good options if you’re looking to enter our Summertime Reading Challenge!

Happy festive season and good reading to you,

^DevilStateDan

한 해 마감은 도서관과 함께

올 해도 Summertime Reading Challenge 가 시작되었습니다. 좋아하는 책 많이 읽으시고 다양한 상품도 받으세요. 가까운 도서관에 준비된 엽서나 온 라인으로 등록하세요. 12월 1일 부터 내년 2월 28일까지입니다. 어린이는 0 – 13살까지, 어른은 14이상입니다.

 이 달에도 많은 새로운 책들이 도서관에 들어왔습니다.  여행계획이있으시다면 도서관 전자책을 가져가세요. 훨씬 가볍게 떠나실 수 있을거예요. 도서관 카드 잊지마세요.

림태주 작가의 ‘관계의 물리학’ – 사람에 대한 애정, 세상과의 관계에 지치고, 나답게 살기를 원하지만 끊고 맺음의 균형에 서툰이들을 위한, 작가 특유의 위트와 통찰력이 시적인 감수성으로 잘 그려진 책입니다.

나는 그냥 버스기사입니다’ 운전하며 글 쓰는 버스기사 허혁, 자신의 버스안에서 바라본 세상, 그 세상 속의 자신을 이야기한 책입니다. 

우리 엄마가 나와 형제들을 키우며 느꼈을 슬픔과 기쁨, 괴로움을 똑같이 겪으며, 나는 엄마와 다시 이어졌다. 딸을 키우며 단 하루도 엄마 생각을 안 한 날이 없다. 그만큼 엄마가 절실히 그리웠다. 우리 엄마는 얼마나 외로웠을까? 이런생각을 할 때마다 가슴이 무너졌다 – ‘ 시읽는 엄마’ 프롤로그 중에서. 

달빛 변호사’ 저자 김영훈 – 현직 변호사로서 법정에서 일어나는 또 다른 세상의 이야기를 소설 형식을 빌려 쉽게 풀어나간 책입니다. “ 법정은 우리 삶의 축소판이다. 법정에 선 이들은 원고와 피고, 피해자와 가해자를 가리지않고 모두 어려운 상황에 직면한 사람들이다. 이들에게 격려와 위로가 되어주고 다시 일어나 앞으로 나아갈 버팀목이 되어 주는 것이 변호사의 역할이다.”  

혼자서 본 영화’ – 여성 학자 정 희진이 20년간 본, 저자 자신의 인생 영화 28편을 책에 담았습니다. 한편 한편 섬세하게 분석한 이책은 영화를 좋아하는 분들에게 새로운 재미에 빠져들게 합니다.

 ‘ 나는 간호사 사람입니다 :단 한번의 실수도 허락하지않는 삶을 사는 사람들의 이야기’ 저자 김현아 – 간호사로 일하며 일반적으로 우리가 알고 있는 단순한 백의 천사가아닌 그들의 애환과 고초를 자신의 경험을 통해 이야기하고있습니다.

지난 11월 14일Te Hāpua: Halswell 도서관에서 “땀띠” 라는 사물놀이 팀이 크라이스트 쳐치를 방문해 교민들을 위한 아주 툭별한 공연을 펼쳤습니다. 크라이스트 쳐치 시립 도서관에서는 항상 여러분을 위해 준비되어 있습니다. 도서관 웹-사이트 참고하세요.

Dan recommends: The best of fiction

Another year is coming to a close and it gives me pause to think about what an amazing year it has been for fiction! We’ve been bestowed with such a wealth of quality new releases, from longstanding authors continuing to deliver, debuts of such genius it boggles the mind, sequels that have been waiting more than a century, and a bold author new takes on an old classic.

Catalogue link to Flames by Robbie ArnottMy highlights for this year start with not only the best book I’ve read this year but possibly the best I will ever read, ever!

I’m talking it up, I know but here’s some of the reasons why… Flames is a tribute to nature, the environment, our place in it, the unseen elements, the powers that rule, and the lives of all things. It weaves myths and small gods into the fabric of the environment, masters of unseen systems which shape lives unbeknownst to the humans inhabiting their land. This is an astonishingly good book. It’s elemental, blurs the lines between reality and mythology, sweeps you up in atmosphere and the sense of place, and the use of language is sublime. The story is set in Tasmania and centres around a family with deep connections to the land and environment. A young woman sets out south, alone to the wilderness of ancient Tasmania, while her brother sets out to build her a coffin and sends a private detective to track down his sister and bring her home.Through the course we discover an ageless world, gods of nature, young people coming of age, and what it is to engage with your world. Superb effort and the best thing I’ve read this year – quite an effort given the next titles I’ll share with you!

Catalogue link to Macbeth by Jo NesboWhen Hogarth Shakespeare set out to create modern retellings of the great works of Shakespeare, they were inspired by their choice of Jo Nesbo to retell Macbeth. Macbeth The master of noir violence and mystery has done an absolutely brilliant job of turning Macbeth (the man) into a Scottish police officer, wracked with guilt of the past, plagued with addiction, and hungry for power. It’s so obvious to me now that Macbeth was MADE for the Scandi-Noir genre treatment. It’s gritty, dark, violent. Full of power, betrayal, and characters walking the fine line between sanity and madness. For this story Macbeth is head of SWAT in a dangerous and corrupt town and together with his mistress, Lady, the rags-to-riches casino entrepreneur, they embark on a powerplay to seize control of the city. But Macbeth has a sketchy past full of drug abuse and violence and as he relapses things get out of control, people get killed, lines get blurred… A great read and a must if you like Scandi Crime!

Catalogue record for The shepherd's hut by Tim WintonThe next two I’d like to share are by two of the most important authors of our contemporary world right now – in my humble opinion. The first is the Australian writer Tim Winton and his newest book The Shepherd’s Hut. It’s the very colourful and memorable account of a young man forced by circumstance to take to the outback roads of rural Western Australia. Such brilliant descriptive writing will have you smelling the eucalyptus in the air, and hearing the crispy arid saltlands crunching underfoot. Jaxie is running and he’s got a vague destination in mind – north. And he’s got to survive the perils of rural Australia, criminals, and the very land that seems to want to kill him from heat, thirst or animal attack. An outstanding book from a great Australian author and written in vernacular language too, strengthening characters and adding some lightness!

Catalogue record for Don't skip out on me by Willy VlautinThe other amazing offering comes from an American author; Don’t Skip Out on Me

Willy Vlautin is one of my favourite authors writing today and his works just keep getting better and better. He writes of contemporary everyday life and he tells the stories of working class Americans and the very real struggles faced by ordinary people in the America of today. This one is concerning a young American Indian man who passionately desires to be a champion boxer. He begins his journey on a ranch in Nevada where an ageing couple has adopted him, and follows him to Arizona as he sets his mind to a life of pugilism. Beautifully written and full of the heart and pathos that Willy Vlautin is famous for. A stellar effort and worthy of much praise.

Catalogue record for Only killers and thieves by Paul HowarthAnd now for the fans of gritty Historical Fiction and WesternsOnly Killers and Thieves

Another great debut from Australia that really captures the Australian Gothic story. It’s the story of two young men, not boys but barely men, after a traumatic family event that sees them on a journey not of their choosing. The book describes the brutality of life in 1800’s Australia, the treatment of the indigenous population, and the rigourous adherence to the ‘old ways’ in this vastly alien and seemingly lawless world. If you like your reading to be vivid, violent, confronting, and troublesome then you’ll sure like this one!

Catalogue record for Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. BarkerI was originally going to keep this list of highlights to five titles but there’s another one that came to my attention recently. It’s the sequel (a prequel to be more precise) that’s taken over a century to come into existence. Dracul

The official prequel to the great work, this one penned by none other than Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and authorised by his estate. It’s told in the familiar form of diary entries and personal notes, and tells the story of Bram himself who along with his siblings encounter some serious evil and a creature so powerful and unknowable that it threatens their very souls. So well written and very readable, good pace (bit of a page turner), and language that would please the original author. A great read for fans of horror, mystery/suspense, or the classics. Definitely one of my best picks for 2018 and a worthy inclusion to this highlights package (and my colleague Fee loved it too)!

Now I look at the titles that missed out on inclusion to this list with some sadness – like I say, it was a remarkable year for quality fiction! Here at least you have a selection for your holiday reading this summer. Grab one at your local library, settle in with a cup o’tea (or something else), and get some amazing stories in for the hols.

Happy reading,

^DevilStateDan

Overdrive Libby for travelling families 方便旅行家庭的电子书

旅行的季节又到了!很多华人朋友都利用孩子假期、圣诞节和春节回国探亲或出国旅游。有时在图书馆遇到华人顾客因出国前忘记还书需交超期罚款很是同情。自己也曾在回国时为找孩子的英文阅读材料煞费苦心。其实,这些问题都可以用图书馆的电子资源eResources 解决。OverDrive Libby尤其适合在外旅行的家庭,因为每一家庭成员都能从中找到所需要的资源。

OverDrive Libby 基本信息

OverDrive是世界领先的电子阅读平台,为超过70个国家的图书馆和学校提供电子书、电子有声书和其它多媒体资源。基督城图书馆的Overdrive拥有几千小说类和非小说电子书和电子有声书。有基督城图书馆借书证的顾客可免费借阅。您可在任何时间借阅和预定各十本书,下载后线下阅读。使用OverDrive Libby最大的优点是您可将下载到电子设备的书随身携带到任何地方,所借阅的书到期会自动归还,不用担心超期罚款。

下载Libby插件

Libby是OverDrive新开发的插件,可下载到手机(iPhone 和Android)、电脑、iPad、平板电脑tablet和除Kindle以外的电子阅读器eReader。下载步骤如下:

  1. 用您的设备在谷歌Google上查找Christchurch City Libraries,进入网站主页在,在主菜单上找到eResources。
  2. 点击Featured标题下的Overdrive eAudio & eBooks,进入OverDrive说明网页。滚动到下方,在App Information标题下,根据您使用的设备点击Libby—Apple App Store(苹果设备),Libby—Google play(安卓Android设备),或点击Meet Libby 图标(见下图标)进入Libby插件安装网站在App Store, Google play 和Microsoft中选择点击与您的设备相关的图标进入新网页。
  3. 在新的网页上点击install,下载安装Libby插件。安装完成后,您会在您的设备上看到Libby的图标。
  4. 双击您设备上的Libby图标打开Libby插件,用借书证号和密码注册您的账号。注册完毕方可进入Libby阅读平台借书。

Libby 电子书阅读平台

所有准备工作完成后,您将进入Libby电子阅读平台选择并借阅您心意的作品。有大量适合成年人阅读的电子英文书,其中的旅行指南类书籍是旅行的好帮手。希望读中文书的顾客可点击页面左上端collection图标旁的下拉箭头,在eBook标题下找到并点击Chinese eBooks链接进入中文书网页。您可以同样方式浏览青少年电子书 和儿童电子书(包括少量中文儿童读物)。

您如果在使用中遇到任何问题可到各图书馆获得帮助。祝大家旅行季节愉快!带着“掌上图书馆”读万卷书,行万里路。

Hong Wang
Network Library Assistant

Big Library Read – The Girl with the Red Balloon 1-15 October

No Holds, No Waitlist for Historical Fantasy eBook as Christchurch City Libraries Joins Largest Digital Book Club

You can enjoy Katherine Locke’s The Girl with the Red Balloon eBook for two weeks with no waitlist.

Christchurch City Libraries’ members can join thousands of readers worldwide in the largest global digital book club, Big Library Read. From Monday 1 October to Monday 15 October, booklovers can borrow, read and discuss award-winning author Katherine Locke’s The Girl with the Red Balloon eBook with no waitlists or holds by visiting http://christchurch.overdrive.com or downloading the Libby app. More than 19,000 libraries and schools around the world are participating.

Big Library Read is facilitated by OverDrive, the leading platform for eBooks, and eAudiobooks. It is available in more than 90 percent of public libraries in the U.S. and Canada. The Girl with the Red Balloon was chosen by a popular vote of readers and librarians.

“I grew up on family stories and to me, they were as powerful, transformative and magical as the fiction I read in books,” states Locke. “I hope you enjoy the story and, more importantly, I hope you swipe to the last page thinking about your family stories, the magic of your own story, and the magic of storytelling.”

The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the story of sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum who accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin and becomes caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall — but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything — including her only way home—to stop the process.

Big Library Read is an international reading program that simultaneously connects millions of readers around the world with an eBook through public libraries. The Girl with the Red Balloon is the 17th selection of this program which began in 2013 and takes place three times per year. The free program runs for two weeks and all you need is a Christchurch City Libraries card to get started. The Girl with the Red Balloon can be read on all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets and Chromebook™ without waitlists or holds. The title will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, and there are no late fees.

The Girl With The Red Balloon

To join the discussion, learn about past Big Library Read eBooks and download Libby, visit biglibraryread.com.

Dear Diary Day

Dear Diary Day is observed each year on 22 September. If you have kept a diary, today is the day to go back and reread your efforts – or if you don’t have a diary, today is a great time to go about starting one.

Diaries are acknowledged to be excellent ways of letting off steam, and effectively becoming a better person (though if you are like me, realistically, you just brood on what you have written and become all the more grouchy – but then I am a bit ‘special’ like that). There is also nothing quite like going back and rereading these snapshots of your life – be they good or bad – and, in the process, enjoying a lot of memories, and learning from your mistakes.

Dear Diary Day, is also a great time to acknowledge those great diarists who have taken the ultimate step in diary keeping – namely, committing their memories to print. Here are some great reading picks for ‘Dear Diary Day’ that will hopefully inspire you to write up your thoughts for posterity too:

Cover of The Kenneth Williams diariesThe Kenneth Williams Diaries: The Telegraph recently predicted that in twenty years time, Kenneth Williams will not be remembered as a Carry on favourite, but as one of the English language’s finest diarist. It is impossible not to agree – this volume of his diaries is devastatingly honest both in his assessment of others, from Joe Orton to Tony Hancock, and of himself. Deliciously waspish, and often unbearably tragic, these diaries really do bring readers closer to a fine autodidact and one of Britain’s most underrated performers.

The Noel Coward Diaries: These erudite and witty diaries bring to life one of Britain’s most beloved theatrical figures – Noel Coward. A man of seemingly numerous talents from acting to writing, Coward’s diaries take us through theatrical tours, his own private struggles with depression, and ultimately priceless stories of his contemporaries and of himself. A sheer delight to read, Coward’s diaries are rewardingly gossipy but always without any sort malice, just like the man himself.

The Diary of Virginia Woolf: These diaries from one the 20th century’s most important and ground-breaking literary giants, are a real privilege to read. Virginia Woolf’s diaries take you to the very heart of a genius – dispelling the myth of a sobering and snobby intellectual, and replacing this with a complex, sensitive, and even humorous woman. With descriptions of other famous literary figures – from Katherine Mansfield to T. S. Eliot – as well as descriptions of day to day life, and her journey through writing, this first volume of her diaries is a fascinating and eye-opening read.

Cover of The diary of a young girlThe Diary of A Young Girl: Just after receiving a blank diary for her birthday, Jewish teenager Anne Frank and the rest of her family were forced into hiding in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. This beloved classic is her evocative and honest record of those two years in hiding in a claustrophobic attic, along with her parents, sister, and others desperate to escape the horror of the Nazi regime. Over seventy years since its first publication, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ remains an unforgettable testament to one of the most shameful events in world history, as well as a moving tribute to the spirit of a remarkable young girl.

The Diary of Samuel Pepys: You couldn’t really say that you love reading diaries and not read Samuel Pepys. A member of parliament who rose to the position of Chief Secretary to the Admiralty, Pepys is better known now for the diaries he wrote throughout the 1600s. Recording such historical events as the Plague and Great Fire of London, these astonishingly honest and ever entertaining diaries also chart the author’s own life – from political chicanery, to his own sexual adventures and domestic conflict.

Cover of The diary of a booksellerThe Diary of A Bookseller: Shaun Bythell’s hilarious diary charts a year in the life of the largest secondhand bookshop in Scotland. It is one of the ultimate books about books, packed with stories of eccentric book buyers, sound book recommendations, and accounts of stock purchase trips to auction houses and estates. With its wonderfully barbed and ever-entertaining style, this is a diary enthusiast’s and book shop lover’s dream.

The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh: These classic diaries reveal Evelyn Waugh in all his cantankerous yet honest and genuine glory. A must for Waugh fans, and anyone wishing to delve into the history of this era, these diaries are a mesmerising read filled with hilariously indiscreet portrayals of his peers, and great insights into the creation of Waugh’s beloved work.

Journal of Katherine Mansfield: The diaries of Katherine Mansfield contained in this volume, are mainly drawn from the last years of her life as this beloved author struggled but bravely strove to continue writing. Despite war time losses, and the immense pain Mansfield found herself in, she manages to write of the beauty of things surrounding her, and movingly reflects on her life, and celebrated writing.

Cover of Ancient as the hillsAncient as the Hills: James Lees Milne was a writer and English architectural conservationist, now best known for his compulsive diaries. Kept over the course of 60 years, his diaries cover a fascinating half century in history – from war time England to Blair Britain. Along with engaging descriptions of his own life and work, Milne observes a fascinating array of people from Nancy Mitford to Mick Jagger – always with absolute honesty and a fantastic eye for detail.

I Will Bear Witness: These powerful diaries are Jewish scholar Victor Klemperer’s record of life in Nazi Germany. His eloquent and mesmerising entries describe the day-to-day horror of life in Hitler’s Germany with important detail, candour, and courage.

Read more

Spring it on – Get Healthy

The best part about spring is the end of winter and the days getting longer and warmer. It’s also a time to look after your health, and Christchurch City Libraries has some great health eResources for you to get information on everything from the common cold to yoga. Start with Consumer Health Complete and Health & Wellness Resource Center.

Some things to research may include:

The common cold
These always lurk around into spring – discover what scientists have found so far in their quest for a cure.

Food tribes
Thinking about joining the Paleo gang or doing the plant-based vegan thing? Explore some scientific facts first.

Medicines
The Gale Encyclopedia of Prescription Drugs: A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Common Medications is a great resource if you want to find out more about a medicine that you have been prescribed.

Fighting allergies
Flowers and grasses spring into life and release pollen, which won’t fill you with joy if you suffer from hay fever. Find out the latest information and remedies to help with your allergies.

Getting fit
If you’re starting up your exercise regime again after a winter break, be sure not to injure yourself – get some tips on getting fit.

Te Reo in the Whare

Kia ora!

It’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) from September 10-16, and what a great opportunity that is for us all to celebrate and learn the beautiful Māori language. Kia kaha te reo Māori …

But what about if you’ve not got the time right now to learn a new language? What about if you’re so busy with work and whānau and friends that the idea of having to learn new words and new sentence structures is just way too hard. Well guess what, e hoa mā – it doesn’t have to be scary. You and your whānau can start on your reo journey from within the comfort of your own whare.

Everyday items around the house

What are some household objects you use all the time? What sorts of clothing and food items do you always have in the wardrobe or fridge? Find out the te reo Māori words for these items, and use them every day:

  • Where are my hū (shoes)?
  • I’ll meet you out at the waka (car)
  • Would you like some rīwai (potatoes)?

Keen to find out some common Māori kupu? Check out First Thousand Words in Māori or First Words in Māori.

Cover of First Thousand Words in Māori Cover of First Words in Māori

Instructions

You can use te reo Māori to give instructions to your tamariki and other whānau members. Do you feel a bit self-conscious, or think they mightn’t understand you? Guess what? You don’t need to worry about this anymore – there are lots of ways of giving instructions that you might already know, or that you can use with gestures to make sure that people can understand what you’re saying:

  • Whakarongo mai (Listen to me) – touch your ear
  • Haere mai (Come here) – beckon
  • Kia kaha (Be strong)

Cover of The Raupō phrasebook of modern MāoriScotty Morrison’s The Raupō Phrasebook of Modern Māori  has a great chapter on phrases and questions that you can use around the home, as well as lots of other useful phrases you can use at work, school, or play when you start feeling more confident.

Read books

Having some easy Māori language books at home is a great way to pick up some basic Māori words without even trying. If you’ve got tamariki – children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even little next-door neighbours – get them together for a reading session. With so many children’s books available in te reo, you’ll be learning new words before you know it.

Have a look for Māori translations of old favourites, like Te Pāmu o Koro Meketānara (Old MacDonald had a Farm), or new stories like the Bud.e Pānui books for people just starting to read in Māori. And if you don’t quite feel confident enough to jump straight into full Māori books just yet, you can always try picture books with singalong CDs so you don’t need to worry if you don’t say the word absolutely right.

Cover of Te Rua Rāpeti Cover of Te Pāmu o koro Meketānara

Sing songs

Tamariki can also help you to learn some Māori by sharing the songs they learn at school.

  • Mā is white, Whero is red – learn the Māori names for colours
  • Mahunga, pakihiwi – have fun playing heads, shoulders, knees and toes

Check out Anika Moa’s two Songs for Bubbas CDs or Waiata Mai: Sing along with Aunty Bea to get started.

Use tools

Are you worried there are too many new words for you to actually remember any of them? Don’t worry – the folks at the Māori Language Commission have your back, and want to support you this Māori Language Week. Check out their collection of useful information and phrases, and find out more about Māori language and culture. They’ve even created some special resources for this year, so why not have a look at them, and challenge yourself to buy a coffee or a ticket for your ride to work, or find out what the wifi password is at your local cafe.

So take the plunge this Māori Language Week – kia kaha te reo – and include some Māori kupu into your conversations with these everyday words. Even by starting off with just a few words a day, you’ll start to build up a kete of Māori kupu to use in everyday conversations, and you’ll become more confident to use those words outside the whare. Over time, there will be more people using more te reo in all areas of daily life, and that is what we need for a strengthened, healthy, Māori language.

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria – My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul.

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Throughout Te Wiki o te Reo Māori we’ll be blogging about ways you can help strengthen the reo.

Hello springtime

Spring has almost arrived – depending on which definition you use*  – and the weather is certainly reflecting this.

It is easy to be inspired by nature. When I was younger I used to take every opportunity to make something out of whatever I could find in the garden. Daisy chains, bouquets, weavings, dried flowers that just looked dead…couldn’t have anything nice in the garden with me around. Those lovely red roses would soon find themselves dangling from my bedroom door frame in a preserved state of shrivelled brown decay.

Christchurch City Libraries has a wealth of books that are full of ideas for the nature loving craftarians out there. Here are just a few:

Helen Ahpornsiri creates beautiful artwork out of pressed flowers. Her book, Helen Ahpornsiri’s A Year in the Wild, is a beautifully illustrated (with her pressed flower art – no paint in sight) account of the four seasons of the natural world. I will commission husband to make me a flower press at once. Or just use a heavy book.

For fans of both Shakespeare and the natural world, I introduce you to: Botanical Shakespeare, exquisitely illustrated with the flora and fauna cited in the works of the most famous playwright Shakespeare, alongside accompanying verses.

Though a British guide, Margaret Wilson’s Wild Flowers of Britain is so beautiful to look at that it really transports me to a scene straight out of English romance novel. The author was a keen botanist and documented, in watercolour, (over the course of a number of years!) a thousand British and Irish plants.

As a huge Tolkien fan, no way could I pass up on Flora of Middle-Earth. This book is a catalog of each and every plant found in Tolkien’s fictional world, Middle-Earth. Nerdy bliss.

The Great Library Seed and Plant Swap

Where & When: At a library near you

About: The seed swap has proved wildly successful over the years, just bring in your leftover seeds and we’ll put them out to share (though don’t worry if you don’t have any this year, you can always bring some next year 🙂 ). We welcome vegetable, herb, flower, native, and heritage seeds. You can also bring any spare potted-up seedlings. Yay gardening.

Check out our gardening page for gardening information and resources.

A Naturalist’s Bookshelf

Now about that spring cleaning…

*The astrological/solar beginning of spring takes place at the vernal equinox on Sunday, 23 September. The meteorological reckoning has the beginning of spring as 1 September.

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year

Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah (literally translated as ‘the head of the year’) is one of the most important dates on the Jewish calendar. It is a time for seeking forgiveness and in effect, beginning the year with a clean slate. Celebrated over two days, Rosh Hashanah is marked through traditions such as blowing a shofar (a hollowed out rams horn), casting off sins into a river, and dipping apples in honey (a symbolic hope for a sweet new year). It is a celebration filled with hauntingly beautiful ancient customs and symbolism, and even for those who are not of the jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah and jewish tradition in general, is fascinating to learn about.

Judaism has hugely informed western ethics and law, making awareness around this faith important. The library has some fantastic books on Judaism both for children and adults. as well as great resources on jewish history.

Cover of The story of the Jews by Simon SchamaOne of these gems is Simon Schamas epic ‘The Story of the Jews which details the suffering and accomplishments of the Jewish race from 1000 BC to the Holocaust, to modern day. Schama tells the Jewish story with empathy, insight, and even humour.

More locally the library also holds Jewish Lives in New Zealand a beautifully produced book which records the achievements of over 8000 New Zealanders who identify as Jewish.

If you are really wanting to go the extra mile and are keen to attempt some Hebrew, our free online learning resource ‘Mango Languages’ has a course you can try on both biblical and modern Hebrew. Again, there are also some great books in our collection you can use to supplement your learning, both for children and adults.

Wanting some Jewish themed movies? The library has a fantastic selection of these too, including these five great picks:

  • Chariots of Fire, a classic movie which tells the story of two runners in the 1924 Olympics- one a Scottish Christian, the other Harold Abrahams, a Jewish man seeking to overcome the world’s prejudice.
  • Fiddler on the Roof A musical with universal appeal, Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of a poor jewish milkman living in Tsarist Russia as he and his wife seek to find husbands for their three daughters. With touching themes of family, tradition, and human tragedy, Fiddler on The Roof is also packed with excellent music and timeless jewish humour.
  • A Place to Call Home: Set in post war Australia, and featuring a seriously fantastic Jewish heroine, this binge-worthy TV series is the ever addictive saga of Australian royalty – the Blighs. Happily the library holds all four parts to this series, because once you start, you really won’t stop.
  • Daniel Deronda: This beautifully filmed adaptation of George Elliott’s classic novel, tells the parallel stories of Gwendolyn Harloth, a beautiful but spoilt gambler, and Daniel Deronda, a sensitive and brilliant young man. Unique for its time, Daniel Deronda explores the theme of Jewish identity in the nineteenth century with a beautiful sympathy and understanding.
  • Gentleman’s Agreement When a journalist decides to research anti-semitism as empathetically as he can by telling people he is Jewish, he witnesses first hand the bigotry that is rife in 1930s America. A classic movie which remains as relevant and effective as when it was first released in 1947.

There are so many amazing Jewish authors it is hard to recommend just a few you could try, but here is my attempt with five very different writers:

  •  I Will Bear Witness ‘I Will Bear Witness’ is the incredible diary of Jewish scholar Victor Klemperer. Written in Germany during the second world war, these powerful and mesmerising diaries describe day to day life under the Nazi regime with important detail, candour, and courage.
  • Foundation: Asimov’s classic Foundation series is the forerunner to other space age Science fiction. The first book in this trilogy begins the tale of the death and reestablishment of the Galatic empire. While brilliant Mathematician Hari Seldon attempts to gather the Galaxy’s finest thinkers in order to preserve knowledge and ideas for the next generation, corrupt warlords threaten to destroy their ‘Foundation’ and potentially, any hope for the future of mankind.
  • The Catcher in the Rye: This unforgettable classic is sixteen year old Holden Cauldfield’s simultaneously hilarious and tragic story (narrated directly from a Sanatorium) of the events that happened to him just before Christmas. In Holden/Salinger’s own words “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it”. This is exactly how you feel after reading this.
  • Cover of The Finkler QuestionThe Finkler Question: This Man Booker Prize Winning novel explores what it means to be Jewish and the dark theme of anti semitism. ‘The Finker Question’ tells the story of two friends- Sam Finkler a Jewish author and philosopher, and Julian Treslove, a less successful BBC worker. When Treslove is attacked as he walks home that night, there follows his exploration of who he is, opening up a story of identity, old age, justice, and love. A wonderful story told with compassion, humour, and intelligence.
  • Exodus This gripping epic tells the story of the birth of Israel through the eyes of Karen, a German Jewish teenager orphaned by the Holocaust; Kitty a glamorous American looking to make a new start in life, and Ari, an Israeli freedom fighter raised on a kibbutz and determined to see the survival of this new nation. ‘Exodus’ is a fast paced novel written with passion and insight, one of those reads that really is impossible to put down.

Rosh Hashanah began on Sunday evening 9 September, and ends on the evening of Tuesday 11 September. Whichever way you decide to celebrate, shanah tovah everyone!

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