Cool stuff from the selectors: Fashion, architecture and insects

9780714873343On Eating Insects

In theory I like the idea of eating insects, it makes sense in a world where food could become scarce – it would seem that we are unlikely to run out of insects or plagues of locusts, but what about putting this into practice? “Bee Lave Taco or Moth Mousse” anyone?

On Eating Insects is not just about exotic sounding recipes, it gives us a holistic view of the subject with thought-provoking essays and fascinating stories of field trips into the world of the people who have eaten insects for centuries.  The political, cultural and ecological aspect of eating insects is also examined, creating a book that will leave you thinking, and perhaps looking at that ant nest in your garden in a slightly different light.

9780847858521The Art of Dressing: Ageless, timeless, original style

Style icon Tziporah Salamon profiles the chicest and most celebrated older women of today, while imparting practical tips on how to put together beautiful outfits

With headings such as “Good shoes and a good handbag are a must”, “Consider the whole effect: you are creating a work of art, a painting”, and “Enlist the services of a good seamstress and tailor” you would be forgiven for thinking that this book is not for the average middle-aged woman – and you would probably be right. However if you love to pore over books that include colour, style and a touch of whimsy then this is definitely the one for you.

As an aside, what is it with older women and hats?

9781614282273The big book of the Hamptons

Another book to peruse, salivate over, and wonder how some people have all the luck. I have been obsessed with the Hamptons and their general surrounds since I started reading fiction set in this location. The Hamptons are always depicted as full of beautiful but comfortable homes nestled near the beach, eccentric but lovable families, arty types, romantics….wealthy but not pushy.  This book does not disappoint.  It’s big and it’s full of photos.

There’s a reason why artists and writers, movie stars and moguls, musicians and composers, fashion designers and decorators, architects and craftsmen, fisherman and farmers have flocked to the Hamptons for all these years.  They are drawn by the glorious landscape, the extraordinary light, and the promise of pleasure.

9780714873497Mobitecture: Architecture on the move

The Camper Kart – a pop top in a shopping cart, the QTvan, a camper for mobilty scooters or the A47 mobile library – all the buildings in this book are designed to move.  Some are practical and actually work, some are purely experimental, and others are art installations.  There is sure to be plenty of inspiration for anyone interested in the idea of small houses, camping ideas or houses of the future.

Maude Chisnall, aged 16: Picturing Canterbury

Maude Chisnall, aged 16. Kete Christchurch. PH16-019. Entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jill Hodgkinson. CC-BY-NA-SA-3.0 NZ.

Maude Chisnall. Photo taken by Standish & Preece. High Street, Christchurch.

Date: c.1902

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

A magnificent disaster, or a really good read?

Cover of Crinoline: Fashion's most magnificent disasterI’m a sucker for Victorian fashion, the sillier the better – and it’s hard to beat the Victorian crinoline for ingenuity, ridiculousness, and sheer presence. So I was pretty excited to get my hands on a shiny new copy of Crinoline: fashion’s most magnificent disaster.

Co-authored by Denis Pellerin and Dr Brian May (yes, that Brian May – no stranger to extreme fashion himself), Crinoline documents the rise and fall (metaphorically!) of this most capacious of undergarments through a rather unexpected record – stereoscopic images. It’s a sumptuous boxed set, containing a richly illustrated history and a stereoscopic viewer (designed by May, patent pending). This nifty little fold-up apparatus allows you to see the images in the book in 3D, as they should be viewed.

Victorian crinoline
Crinoline, circa 1869, United Kingdom, by W.S. & E.H. Thomson. Gift of Elizabeth Ridder, 2000. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH007988)

The second work by the pair on this subject, the book is meticulously researched and very readable. Through 3D images and other documentary history, we get a real sense of the outrage, amusement, and titillation the undergarment caused in Victorian “social media” – cartoons, pamphlets, periodicals, and that hugely popular parlour entertainment, the stereoscopic viewer.

The crinoline was actually a huge (sorry!) improvement on previous womenswear fashions, replacing the layers of heavy petticoats needed to achieve fashionably bell-shaped skirts. Its lightness and ease of movement was a liberation (and also an excellent personal space generator – I can attest to this, having worn a couple to fancy dress events). However it also had its hazards: there were many cases of women being horrifically injured, or even killed, when their crinolines caught fire, became caught in trams, or suffered other wince-inducing vehicular mishaps.

When I first came across mention of Crinoline, I thought the combination of topics could be a little forced or gimmicky, but this really isn’t the case. Pellerin and May have actually hit upon a very real convergence of two tremendously popular coexisting technologies that, when looked at together, provide a vivid and altogether fascinating glimpse of Victorian fashion and attitudes.

More information

Jo,
Lyttelton Library

Photo Hunt October: Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951

Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Merle Conaghan, Kete Christchurch PH14-142 CC-BY-NZ-SA NZ3.0

Float of the Floral Procession as part of the Canterbury Centennial held in Christchurch, February 1951.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Of beards and men

Of Beards and ManI have never seen my husband without a beard. Were he to remove it in the dead of night and presume to present himself at breakfast without this major accessory, I might fall about with the vapours and require resuscitation. Come to think of it, I have never dated  any man without facial hair. Heaven knows what this says about me!

Good thing then for both of us that it’s 2016 and Beards Are In! Without turning a hair, turns out I have married a fashion icon – and all because he couldn’t be bothered with all the hassle of shaving when he was very young. And it was OK in his particular field of endeavour – engineering. Only geologists are more likely to have facial hair, and I dated one of those as well.

Exactly how popular are beards right now? According to the Huffington Post June 2015, over 67% of New York men have beards. After reading a very entertaining review in The Oldie magazine on the book entitled Of Beards and Men (The Revealing History of Facial Hair), I did a catalogue search only to find that Christchurch Libraries did not (yet) own this book. Which is why we have the marvelous Request An Item form online. If ever you see an item you would love to read, and we don’t have it on our shelves, you can put in a request for the library to buy that item – and you may well be lucky. Like I was with Oldstone-Moore’s fascinating book on the history of beards – of which he says:

To a surprising degree, we find that the history of men is written on their faces.

But even if history is not your bag, there are loads of other books where facial hair plays a prominent role:

Book-O-BeardsFor example, have you ever been mortified when your little one screams blue murder at the sight of their first bearded man? Try Book-o-Beards which is billed as a “wearable book”  This means it has “die-cut holes, which invite the reader to try out the six bearded masks.” This is beard-speak for: How To Terrify Your Toddler At Bedtime In Six Easy Steps.

Once you’ve damaged the littlies, move right on to your resident Young Adult with the graphic novel: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil which is a “smooth fable of a man whose unkempt facial hair ravages the tidy city of Here”.

After that, how about a bit of travel writing with the intriguingly entitled Drinking Arak Off An Ayatollah’s Beard, or perhaps you are more interested in a gender record breaker? There’s To the Poles (without A Beard) about a young British woman who walked into the record books by becoming the first British woman to reach the South Pole on foot, and a year later hauled her sled to the more physically challenging North Pole.

The Art of Growing a BeardSome people, however, need instructions for everything. Not for them the simple act of ceasing to shave. Oh No, they need a book to tell them how to grow a beard, and amazingly, the library has that too. The Art of Growing a Beard will help you to get your beard “through the awkward growing-in phase with dignity, and tips on everything from grooming to eating and kissing.”

But let Oldstone-Moore (who does indeed sport a beard. I checked) have the last word:

The clean-shaven face of today, Oldstone-Moore says, has come to signify a virtuous and sociable man. Whereas a beard marks someone as self-reliant and unconventional. History, then, has established specific meanings for facial hair, which both inspire and constrain a man’s choices in how he presents himself to the world.

So, not only has my husband saved time on shaving (and money on the cost of  razors for something like 35 years), but he is also self-reliant, unconventional and something of a trendsetter.

Who’d have thought!

See some facial hair of days gone by in our set Moustaches for Movember.

Cold climate knitting

Wow, we have some great knitting titles from the Scottish highlands and islands, and Scandinavia at our libraries.

Other titles:

Groups:

Our Zinio for Libraries collection includes several knitting eMagazines that you can download for free and keep. PressReader has knitting magazines that you can view online. You will need your library card number and PIN/password.

Off the Shelf (4)

As followers of our blog will know, voracious reader Robyn has been sharing with us on a regular basis the titles that she has been adding to her For Later shelf. Here are some more titles that have recently graduated to her Completed shelf.

Cover for Maker & MuseMaker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry

This truly is a beauty. The pieces are breath-taking but the very best thing about it is the chance to read about  women as designers and makers as well as consumers.

Cover for Weeping BritanniaWeeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears by Thomas Dixon

Who knew that the British are actually quite emotional? Not me until I read this book. Turns out they’ve been giving free reign to their lachrymose tendencies for centuries, with a bit of time off for a more martial approach between 1870 and 1945. It’s full of fascinating facts such as Queen Elizabeth II crying in public (more accurately dabbing at the corners of her eyes) for the first time at the age of 71, when the royal yacht Britannia was  decommissioned . The author is the director of the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London so he knows what he’s talking about.

Industrial Vintage Interiors by Maria Eugenia SilvaCover for Industrial Vintage Interiors

A biggie and almost a beauty, this is probably one for the true enthusiasts who can pore over page after page of metal stools. It’s a world where your cat has to be grey to (mono) tone in with your colour scheme.

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2016

Cover of WanderlustWhere do you knit? Do you knit in the privacy of your own home? What about in the tearoom at work or the waiting room? Have you knitted on the train, tram, bus or ferry? What about the park? Have you taken your knitting to a café or library?

Saturday, 18 June is World Wide Knit in Public Day and you are encouraged to do just that. Grab your knitting and knit in public. Do I hear you ask ‘why’? I say, ‘Why not’? It is a great way to show the world that knitting isn’t just for little old ladies with grey hair and pink cardigans.

World Wide Knit in Public Day at Central Library Peterborough

Join us at Central Library Peterborough with fellow Peterborough Street-ers Knit World to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day. Bring your knitting or crochet and enjoy tea, coffee and a chat on Saturday 18 June from 12 to 2pm. Better living through stitching together! Find out more.

Midwinter Woolfeast at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

This year, Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre will be hosting a Midwinter Woolfeast from 10am to 5pm. The Midwinter Woolfeast will have artisan dyers selling their wares as well as a whole series of workshops for knitters.

Knit around the Orbiter

How about knitting on the bus? Knit around the Orbiter!:

Celebrate World Knit in Public Day with fellow knitters and crocheters doing a loop on the Orbiter bus. Then we will pop along to a café. Bring your knitting or crochet and friends. There will be some wool and knitting needles and crochet hooks and tuition available. It takes approx 1hr 40 mins to knit all the way round.

Here’s our blog post on last year’s Knit around the Orbiter event.

More knitting action

If you can’t make it to a Knit in Public Day event, don’t worry, some of our libraries have knitting groups. Just look in our events calendar.

Cover of Cozy country knitsNow if you like the idea of knitting in public, but don’t want to be seen doing it, you could try yarn-bombing, but I think I’d prefer the company of others at a WWKIPD event. I might meet someone new, learn a new technique or introduce someone to the art of knitting.

“Wear only one interesting piece of clothing at a time”

Supported by the strength of a cult following of dedicated, fashion‐forward young men around the globe, designer Mark McNairy has risen from an under‐the‐radar favorite to a driving force in contemporary American style

9780062377401 Mark McNairy’s book F**K Ivy has hit the library shelves. (As the title might indicate the book is not for those of you who prefer their books expletive free).  Mr McNairy sees himself as the sort of guy who tells it like it is – bad words and all.

He starts off with thoughts on jeans –  “Levis … Period”.

How to care for jeans? “Don’t wash them.  Dirt is like cool” … and remember that “your cap does not have to match your sneakers”.

This is a book to pick up and read in ten minutes with plenty of pictures and often just a few words on each page.  I quite like his style, it’s simple, based on tradition with a twist, and his clothes are not made in 3rd world sweatshops.  He is however a man full of contradictions. In one breath he announces that rules are supposed to be broken, and then proclaims that you  should never, never, never button the bottom on any jacket, and that brown brogues are the first pair of proper shoes you should buy.

So if you like your fashion with a touch of grit, mixed in with some humour, confidence, and attitude (plus  few choice words) then check Mark McNairy out.

See more on our fashion page.

Off the shelf (3)

As followers of our blog will know, voracious reader Robyn has been sharing with us on a regular basis the titles that she has been adding to her For Later shelf. This time she reports back on some of the titles that have graduated to her Completed shelf.

Some lovely books that have come off the For Later shelf recently.

Cover for Robert KimeRobert Kime by Alastair Langlands. Matthew Dennison, author of a great book about Vita Sackville-West, reviewed this in that madly aspirational magazine World of Interiors. He said that Kime can “claim to devise schemes that genuinely appear ‘undecorated’: stylish but lacking obvious contrivance, with nothing matchy-matchy and not too much strangulated coordination”. An irresistible recommendation and the book did not disappoint.

The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits by Simon Schama. Power, Love, Fame, the Mirror, the People – these themes are covered with Schama’s customary skill; matching great stories with images from the National Portrait Gallery in London. This book accompanies a television series of the same name.

Cover for Portrait of FashionA Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery by Aileen Ribeiro with Cally Blackman. A happy accident that two books featuring the collections of the National Portrait Gallery  arrived at the same time. Amazing that so few of the images overlap. The reproductions in this one are bigger and more colourful than in The Face of Britain but then they should be; clothes need detail.