Cool stuff from the selectors. What more could you ask for? Food, Cats and Storytelling

CoverDavid Wiesner And The Art Of Wordless Storytelling
This is definitely a book for someone who has an interest in children’s illustration as it contains well-researched and far-reaching essays on the history and development of book illustration as an art form.

David Wiesner is of course the focus, and I enjoyed revisiting his wonderful illustrations. I remember sharing these books with my children, all of us having varying viewpoints about what was happening, delving deeper into each illustration with each reading. This is a beautifully produced book.

CoverFrom the sublime to the ridiculous! Crafting with Cat Hair is the sort of book you just have to have a look at because it is so unlikely. Taking itself completely seriously, this book gives you in-depth instructions on how to use your moggie’s fluff for felting crafting pleasure.  Perhaps if you are so inclined, it could be a way to immortalise your feline friend.

CoverFood Fights and Culture Wars
Chomping away on my couple of pieces of dark chocolate, it was interesting to read about the violent past of chocolate. The chocolate we eat today is barely recognisable as the cacao that was produced by the early Mayan people.

Cadbury (whose Dunedin factory is set to close next year) was founded by Quakers. Their desire to fend off slavery underpinned the chocolate trade. Filled with beautifully reproduced pictures from the British Library, this is a fascinating romp through history and food.

Cool stuff from the Selectors: Thinking about trends

When selecting stock for the library it is always important to think about trends and what might be the next ‘big thing’, and one area that always garners interest is health and wellbeing – that elusive food/exercise/natural remedy/mindset that will provide the magic elixir of anti aging/weight loss/fitness and a long life.
9781906417611978024129652397814892146219781849497749

Is Algae the new Kale?  Turmeric latte anyone? I was unfortunate enough to read that some are suggesting beetroot, charcoal or mushroom becoming your coffee substitute! Forget nose to tail eating, now it’s about root to stem.

If you have been struggling with Mindfulness then you can now rest easy with Mindset – the belief that basic abilities can be developed through hard work, a love and learning, and dare I say it – ‘resilience’. Breathing is also big – not surprising given we all need to do it, but are we doing in the right way? And last but not least, Neuroslimming, giving  you a “mind plan, not a meal plan”.

Tiny houses are still wildly popular, at least the pictures of them in the books are, but I do wonder how many people actually bite the bullet and live in the small but perfectly formed shed in the back yard? Travel stories are still very popular and I have it on good authority that Iceland is the next big thing (and I just happen to be going there in the middle of the year!)

I expect we will see a few more books on Donald Trump this year along with his good mate Putin.  There may be a few books on Fidel Castro and Cuba could become a more popular travel destination?

9783037682029978157687780797817437929959781610397391

The craft area is dominated by a love of anything Nordic and the knitting, quilting and embroidery books are still as popular as ever.  Cooking is still raw, which is ironic considering it’s cooking.

Need some cheering up, then these two titles might help the optimism quotent.

Living by the moon: Wiremu Tāwhai’s legacy

Cover of Living by the moonLiving by the Moon – Te Maramataka o Te Whānau-a-Apanui

In 2014 this amazing little book was released. Beginning it’s life as a MA thesis at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Sadly Pāpā Wiremu passed away before the book was published however with the kind permission of the Tāwhai whānau it was published by Huia publishers. It is a wealth of information for old and young, Māori and non-Māori.

The following is a review I wrote for Te Karaka edition #61 Kahuru 2014 (and reproduced by permission here)

Ko te Kuti, ko te Wera, ko te Haua, e ko Apanui…!

Every now and then you get the opportunity to read a book that not only leaves you feeling privileged to have read it, but more importantly, wiser for having done so. Living by the Moon – Te Maramataka o Te Whānau-a-Apanui is one such book.

Written by the late Wiremu “Bill” Tāwhai, a well-respected kaumātua of Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Whakatōhea and Ngāti Awa, it is a collation of Te Whānau-a-Ruataia inter-generational knowledge pertaining to Te Whānau-a-Apanui lunar calendar. Long before shopping malls, smart phones, “Uncle Google”, and social media, our tipuna planned their lives by the lunar calendar. Every iwi had one. Knowing the lunar cycle, understanding how it affects your environment, and your competence to analyse and interpret correctly those effects, determined your ability to hunt, grow, and gather food. Thanks to Wiremu’s natural skill as an orator, this knowledge is conveyed in a way that is not only easily understood but leaves the reader feeling as though they are sitting with him. It took me back to a time when I was young and would sit with my own father listening to tribal kōrero.

Sadly, Wiremu Tāwhai died on 2 December 2010, before his book, which began as his MA thesis for Te Whare Wānanga o Te Awanuiārangi, was published. However, he left various legacies for future readers within his text. These included the consideration of what is to become traditional wisdom and knowledge such as the maramataka, reminding us of their importance “to sustain a healthy environment for the enjoyment of generations to come.” Encouraging words for all Māori to research their tribal knowledge, build tribal repositories, and openly share this knowledge among tribes and internationally with other indigenous nations.

His final words are for his people of Te Whānau-a-Apanui, encouraging them to continue the exploration of their traditional knowledge basis, record their findings and therefore ensure the distinctiveness and character of the tribe will endure.

Living by the Moon is beautifully written in both Māori and English. As Joan Metge notes in her forward:

Wiremu Tāwhai demonstrates his own gifts as a word-weaver… the rewards [of this book] are greats when the texts are read side by side, paragraph by paragraph.Taken together, they complement and illuminate each other.

Doing this makes the book an easy read, with an insight into a world that once was and that many are now returning to.  It is certainly one book I will return to again and again, even just for the pleasure of reading it.

E Tā, ka rere āmiomio atu te whakamiha ki a koe e te huia kaimanawa mō tēnei taonga i tākoha mai nei.  Māringanui katoa mātou i tōu tiro whakamua i tō whare kōrero kua whakakaohia e koe, hei taonga whakamahi mō ngā uri whakaheke e manakotia mai ana ki ēnei mea.  Nā reira e Tā, ahakoa kua riro koe ki te manaakitanga o rātou mā, ā, e ora tonu ana tōu owha, te owha nā ngā tipuna.  Āpōpō ko te Rakaunui te tīmatatanga o te maramataka hou hei arahi i tō rahi.

Further reading

Canterbury – a hive of activity for 165 years

165 years ago this January, a ship called the Mary arrived in Lyttelton bringing two hives of honey bees from Nelson.

The history of introduced bees in New Zealand is unusually linked with women named Mary. Back in 1839, a woman called Mary Bumby first brought European bees to New Zealand. Miss Bumby, with her appropriately bee-ish name, was the sister of a missionary, and she was bee-autiful:

“A vision of delight. Soft brown hair, worn in ringlets after the fashion of that time, a complexion that entitled her to the name of the ‘Bonny English Rose’ and a smile that lighted up gentle hazel eyes, out of which beaned only loving thoughts.” ‘The Immigrant Bees‘ Peter Barrett (p77).

How she managed to keep a hive of bees alive on a ship for the seven month journey with only loving thoughts in her head, I can only wonder. Mary Bumby and her bees buzzed into Hokianga harbour in March 1839. Before then, we were not entirely bee-reft of bees – New Zealand has 28 species of native bees, but they weren’t great for making commercial honey. And kiwis are sweet on their honey – on average, we eat about 1.5kgs of honey a year – each!

Three years later in 1842, bees arrived the South Island. They were sent over from London by Mrs Mary Anne Allom and sailed into Nelson alive and well. Her reason for sending them over is remarkable:

“My son formed one of the ten cadets who sailed last year for Wellington. After he was gone, I began to reflect upon the many things he would feel at a loss for when he arrived, one among the many, butter; this, I thought might be remedied by substituting honey, when I found there was no bees, at least honeybees, in New Zealand, I accordingly determined that I would send some.” p95, The Immigrant Bees.

Some parents send money to their kids on their OE – Mary Ann Allom sent a colony of bees. You only hope her son (Albert James Allom, who was 16 when he left home and his mother in London) appreciated the effort. The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Adelphi, London certainly did – and awarded her with the silver Isis medal in 1845 for her successful introduction of the bees.

It could well have been descendants of these bees that were sent down to Canterbury by yet another Mary – this time it was the ship Mary, a schooner from Nelson to Lyttelton that arrived on January the 10th 1852 with two bee hives on board. (See the newspaper article in the Lyttelton Times, 17th January 1852 on PapersPast.)

From there, bees have spread through the rest of New Zealand. Māori were the first commercial beekeepers; by the 1860s they were selling large quantities of honey from bee nests in the bush. William Charles Cotton, dubbed the Grand Beekeper in New Zealand, published many books about beekeeping including one entirely in te reo Māori ‘Ko Nga Pī’ (The bees).

For the buzz on bees:
Comb through our catalogue for books about bees or beekeeping.

Cover of 'Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand'Cover of 'In Praise of Bees' by Alizaeth BirchallCover of 'The Honey Spinner' On the Trail of Ancient Honey, Vanishing Bees, and the Politics of Liquid Gold

Search for local beekeeping clubs on CINCH.

Photo of the Canterbury Bee-keepers’ Association, 1912
Canterbury Bee-keepers’ Association. The annual field day of the Canterbury Bee-keepers Association was held on February 27, at the apiary of Mr A. Ireland, the president, at Brookside. The situation is an ideal one for an apiary, being well sheltered by a belt of trees, while clover fields are within easy reach of the apiary. The President’s Apiary [bottom photo]. Members of the Association [top photo].
Swarm these eResources for more about bees:

  • NZ National Geographic Archive –  archive of New Zealand Geographic Magazine with all the articles and images.
  • NZGeo TV – contains hundreds of hours of natural history videos much of which is focused on New Zealand’s people, places, wildlife and environment.
  • Agricultural Collection – wide-ranging agricultural information, from practical aspects to scientific research.
  • Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture Collection – key issues in gardening, landscaping, and other areas of horticulture. Practical aspects as well as the scientific theory.
  • GreenFile – a collection of scholarly, governmental and general interest titles which examine the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done to minimise these effects.

New year, new you

Who do you want to be in 2017? Someone better organised/less stressed/fitter/richer/more fulfilled?

The only thing stopping you is you… or maybe it’s just that you haven’t found the right programme, philosophy or inspiration yet. That being the case, here are some suggestions to set you on the path of the righteous/smug.

Ditching bad habits

We’ve got resources to help you stop smoking, drinking, and advice on how to cope with other addictions and compulsions.

Cover of The mindfulness workbook for addiction Cover of Quit Cover of Healing the addicted brain Cover of Kick your habit

Diet and fitness

There are plenty of titles available with advice on improving your diet, or find an exercise regime that suits your lifestyle.

Cover of Exhausted to energized Cover of Eat to cheat ageing Cover of Feel good for life Cover of Gut gastronomy

Or are you just keen to keep your brain fit and healthy? There are programmes and exercises for flexing your cognitive muscles.

Maybe it’s just time to cope better with stress?

Cover of Our ageing brain Cover of Keep your brain alive Cover of Relax Cover of Do breathe

Money and finances

Is 2017 the year you show your mortgage who’s boss? Try some titles about personal finance, budgeting, and retirement planning.

Cover of Kill your mortgage Cover of The little book of thrift Cover of New Zealand retirement guide Cover of The great NZ work, money & retirement puzzle

Efficiency and organisation

Whether you want some advice on how to attack household tasks more efficiently, bring some orderliness to your possessions, or advice on time management, there are heaps of titles to choose from.

cover of The life-changing magic of tidying up Cover of If it's clutter Cover of Life hacks Cover of How to be a productivity ninja

Better living, everyone.

Cover of Big magic Cover of The achievement habit Cover of Find the good Cover of The school of greatness

Festive Food for the Holiday Season

It’s approaching that time of year. After slaving away at the gym all winter long, desperate to shave those extra pounds for summer, the season of overeating is descending upon us.

Christmas Dinner, 1962.
Christmas Dinner, 1962 by KeteScape is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ License

The matter is not helped by the vast assortment of Christmas cooking books flying onto the shelves. Check out some of our latest Christmas entertaining and recipe books, guaranteed to convert the most headstrong Grinch among us:

homemade-christmas jamie-olivers-christmas-cookbook seasont-eatings womens-weekly-christmas hairy-bikers-12-days-of-christmas

Find more Christmas cookery in our catalogue.

Search our databases and eResources for further inspiration and turn your kitchen into a frenzy of festivity this December:

What mouth-watering, diet-shattering Christmas treats will you be dishing up this holiday season?

Gardening in the best possible taste

Cover of Grow for flavourNothing makes my day like a “hold available” notification from CCL for a crisp new garden book, and this week I got my hands on a real gem. Grow for Flavour by James Wong (of Grow Your Own Drugs fame – not nearly as dodgy as it sounds) is a fresh ray of light in a forest of glossy gardening books that look pretty, but can sometimes be a bit guilty of repeating much the same information.

Don’t get me wrong, Grow for Flavour is very a attractive volume indeed (who can resist an author who photographs his Star Wars figurines in his garden shots?), but it’s not just a pretty publication. It’s full of interesting facts and innovative ideas for getting the best flavours out of your home produce.

Wong argues that much of our gardening ‘wisdom’ is based on (British) Victorian gardening practice – essentially the time when yield was beginning to be prized over flavour, a sad trend that’s come to its lacklustre fruition in our supermarkets today. This book is a strike back in defense of taste. It’s full of simple ways to boost flavour in all sort of fruit and vege crops – and the thing I love best is that all of its tips are firmly rooted in science. (You see what I did there?)

Yep, Wong is a scientist as well as a herbalist and a gardener, which means that his observations, remedies and treatments all have solid scientific research behind them – a nice change in this subject area, where solutions are so often presented without a lick of evidence stronger than “Well my great Aunt Hilda swears by it!”

It’s one of those books I think my partner secretly hates. Inevitably, when I get hold of a volume like this, his quiet evening will be peppered with interruptions along the lines of “Hey, did you know I hate coriander because I have the OR6A2 gene that makes it taste like soap and bleach?” or “Can I turn the laundry bin into a fungus farm?” It’s not uncommon for these exclamations to turn completely nonsensical, like “Aspirin and molasses on tomatoes? Genius!” (Well, it made sense to me…)

We’re well into planting season now, so grab a copy today. You too can be making inscrutable garden related exclamations in no time…

Down in the Vege Patch

Right about now the seedlings from your Supermarket mini gardens and garden centres are basking their leaves in the delicious spring sunshine. Leafy and bursting to stretch their legs, so let’s roll up our sleeves.

mini garden seedlings

Whether you are an experienced gardener or have had your interest piqued recently by the spring buzz, anyone and everyone can enjoy the satisfaction of a homegrown feast.

What better way to save money and guarantee a supply of nutrient rich food for you and your family, then by growing it yourself! Crops in pots, in the ground, with all day sun, or partial shade – it is amazing what you can grow in any situation.

I am into my third summer as a small garden novice and I am pleased to say, my results have bloomed by knowing a small number of essential tips and tricks.

As with any endeavour for me, my first stop was a good browse on the net. We are all familiar with hypnotizing rabbit hole that this can become. There seems to be a growing (excuse the pun) number of blogs with tips, ideas, inspiration and advise. Inspiration and ideas are a key part of why we enjoy getting into our little patch of soil, however unchecked advice or misinformation can lead to frustrations and a long walk up the proverbial garden path.

Much like falling back to my trusty watering can and hoe, I find myself tapping into tried, tested and published sources that allow me to pick the brains of the experts. If you can imagine it, our libraries have a gardening book, magazine, or journal that will provide everything you could possibly want to know. This year I want to try organic pest control and fertilizers, how about you?

Now let’s get those seedlings into the ground.

Suggested reads

For more inspiration and garden paths of discovery, go to our Gardening page or check out these beauties –
Cover of Edible landscaping Cover of Creative vegetable gardening Cover of Organic gardening Cover of The urban kitchen gardener Grown your own vegetables in pots Cover of Garden inspirations Cover of new small garden

 

Basics To Brilliance by Donna Hay

CoverDonna Hay’s latest cookbook is a wonderful reminder of why we continue to collect more and more celebrity cookbooks each year. The photography is stunning (I mean seriously- when did poached eggs start to look like airbrushed Hollywood starlets?), the food makes you want to nibble hopefully at the illustrations, and the writing is almost therapeutic.

Basics to Brilliance reminds me of another wondrous food bible, Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat, only with a better title (I mean, ‘How To Eat?’ – really?- you shove food in your gob and swallow it). Like Nigella Lawson, Donna Hay understands what it is like to be a home cook who doesn’t necessarily have the budget to sprinkle caviar over a salad (and yes, a certain celebrity chef did instruct me to do this), or find out where to track down ingredients so unique that I would have to do my grocery shopping on another continent. The ingredients are basic but the dishes are restaurant quality.

There is also a huge variety of recipes to choose from, from the perfect roast chicken to sticky pork ribs, to heavenly brownies. Donna Hay delivers on the ‘basics’ side by including recipes for food such as poached and soft boiled eggs. You may think this is cheating but for a cook starting out on their intimidating culinary journey, recipes like these are a godsend.

Donna Hay guides you patiently through the toughest times of your cooking life. In one instance she assures you that the ganache you are making will set so don’t be tempted to overwhip it (too late for me though sadly as I had already turned up the beater to its full potential amid much raging and cursing).

Donna Hay is often hailed as being Australia’s most popular home cook and her latest book cements this reputation. This doorstopper of a cookbook will certainly keep you in new recipes for all of next year- though of course you can actually never have enough celebrity cookbooks.

Basics to Brilliance
by Donna Hay
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781460751428

Helen
Central Library Peterborough

The lazy crafter’s guide to Christmas

Sound the klaxons! It is officially two months until Christmas day. Ah-oooh-gah! Panic! Panic stations! PANIC!

But actually, don’t…because unless you’re in charge of the annual Santa parade, two months is plenty of time to get organised for Christmas. Having said that, if you’re on a limited budget and want to bulk out your gifty offerings with some homemade fare, then now is actually a pretty good time to start getting organised in a non-panicky, totally on top of it way. At least that’s the theory.

And that’s how I ended up pulling a bunch of Christmas books off the shelf before Halloween. Because homemade may be cheaper but it also takes longer… What I’m looking for is stylish inspiration, but stuff that’s not too fiddly or requires a lot of expensive ingredients/materials.

Here’s how my festive five lined up:

Cover of Christmas craftsChristmas crafts: 35 projects for the home and for giving – This scores high in the “stylish photography/inspiration” category. If you are the kind of person who likes large paper pom-poms and chandelier drops as tree ornaments you’ll do well with this book. There’s a whole section on place-setting related crafts that I would never do in a million years… however the edible gifts and kids crafts are all cute and achievable. Cookies that can also be tree decorations? I can whip those up in an afternoon, no worries.

Cover of Christmas crafting in no timeChristmas crafting in no time – I picked this book due to the title because I have no time to do anything. Most of the projects within (50 in total) do seem simple to moderately fiddly, but a lot of them feature felt and needlework so if that’s not your aesthetic/strength you might prefer something else. That said, there are some bright, cheery decoration options and pretty idiot proof gift ideas (e.g. flavoured vinegars, vanilla sugar), though typically very northern-hemisphere appropriate (cosy baby boots, hot water bottle covers and so on).

Cover of Christmas joys: Decorating, crafts & recipesChristmas joys: Decorating, crafts and recipes – This book wins in the “who has the best photos of effortless-looking rustic holiday cabins” competition by a Country Living mile. Everything in this book looks beautiful… however most of us cannot pull off hanging beribboned pine branches from our living room doorknobs, or sprigs of artfully placed pine in old jars without it looking mildly ridiculous. The recipes though are mouthwatering, and the gift ideas, very chic – sugar cookies shaped like buttons! Espresso sugar cubes! Bespoke embroidered gloves! Gourmet marshmallows! Rosemary honey! Gifts I’d be happy to receive and only slightly less happy to make.

Cover of Kirstie's Christmas craftsKirstie’s Christmas crafts – I have always enjoyed Kirstie Allsop’s sense of style both in her fashion choices and in her crafty television outings like Kirstie’s vintage home so had high hopes that she would solve all my Christmas gift problems in one fell swoop. Alas, no. This book rates the highest in fussy/fiddly factor. One project involved screenprinting. Making my own silkscreen is several steps too far for this lazy crafter. Saving graces come in the form of a dead easy recipe for summer favourite, limoncello, a rather good looking chutney, and a mulled cider, and a spiced pear martini that I can’t stop thinking about. So mainly the booze and food section.

Cover of Washi tape ChristmasWashi tape Christmas: Easy holiday craft ideas with washi tape – I went washi tape mad a couple of Christmases ago so I am not immune to its easy, removable adhesive charms. Unfortunately the crafts in this book do rather depend on you having acquired vast quantities of washi tape in a variety of Christmas-themed patterns, which I cannot be bothered with, frankly. And the appeal for me is how easy washi tape is to use but somehow they’ve managed to make it all fiddly. I reckon you could make most of the projects with patterned paper and some spray adhesive so if you’ve the time and skill and a fully stocked crafting toolkit, this could be your Christmas crafting inspiration.

Any sure-fire Christmas crafts you want to share or favourite Christmas inspiration type books?