Lumber on an epic scale

cover of BarkskinsI discovered at the weekend with a rapidly beating heart, that one of my all time favourite writers,  Annie Proulx, has released a new novel.

Thirteen years since her last novel, Barkskins is, by all accounts, a rip snorter. According to what I can glean from good old Mr Google, it is 736 pages long, spanning 3 centuries, and tells the story of two French immigrants in the new land of America. They are bound to a feudal lord for three years and are sent to work in the dense and remote forests of the New World in exchange for a promise of land. The book follows them and their descendants from 1693 through to the 21st century and various family members travel all over the world, including to little old New Zealand.

Annie Proulx first caught my eye when I read The Shipping News, another great story of families, set in Newfoundland. I have never forgotten the ways she described snow and ice and barren landscapes and the families and eccentrics who lived amongst it.

Cover of The shipping news

Accordion Crimes was also a favourite, charting the lives of immigrants settling in America through the life of an accordion that is handed down through families; Jewish, Irish, Italian and many others.

Both The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain (a short story originally), were also made into movies, both well worth watching.

Ms Proulx, now in her eighties, was a bit of a late bloomer, with her first short stories published in her 50s and her first novel in 1992. She has gone onto to publish 13 works and win over twenty literary prizes, including a Pulitzer prize for The Shipping News.

Her novels and short storys are filled with hard bitten complex characters and landscapes that are wonderful described, I find I get immersed in her stories and I think this is because she herself has led a full and intense life, always on her own terms. She has been married and divorced three times and has raised three sons alone. She worked as postal worker and a waitress, and early on a writer of magazine articles on everything from chilli growers to canoeing.

She has two history degrees, drifted the countryside in her pickup truck, can fly fish, fiddle, and hunt game birds. But for all her life experience, she has said that she likes to write about what she doesn’t know, rather than draw on what she has already experienced. If you haven’t read her books, I strongly recommend them.

So, I’m on the library waiting list, hoping the book arrives quickly so I can again revel in her wondrous prose!

A Murder in Time – Join OverDrive’s latest global eBook club – 23 June to 7 July

{C04E4869-9DB3-4EF4-B0C1-544EF1AD7EF8}Img400Big Library Read is back in town. This time the title is a little less controversial than American Sniper. OverDrive’s latest for you eBook lovers is A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain. It involves time travel, murder, a clever FBI agent, and the quest for justice and truth.  Sounds brilliant, and a bit exhausting! Luckily you will have from 23 June to 7 July to access this eBook. Borrow now!

If you are not sure of what the Big Library Read is then it is basically OverDrive, one of our eBook providers, making an eBook title available (without limitations) globally on its platform. So people in Dublin, New York and Brisbane are participating in this global eBook club at the same time as you are!

Big Library Read

Here’s a more complete summary of this Big Library Read title:

Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact. Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

If this eBook sounds like you, then pull up a comfy chair and download away – let yourself be filled with the joy of participating in the latest literary love-in.

New Zealand Geographic Archive says my brain is safe!

NZ-geo-web1 (300x212)So apparently earwigs cannot actually eat your brain as your brain is protected by bone that it can’t get through, actually it won’t even get past your eardrum. This cheers me up no end as I have a hysterical reaction when things with wings go anywhere near my ears. Earwigs actually get their name from the shape of their wings which look like our ears. So all those B grade horror movies are purely fantastical.

Unfortunately grounded in the harsh reality of nature are the tongue biters that enter the mouths of snapper fish, suck their tongues dry of blood and then replace it. They then happily chew on parts of what the fish eats. So how did I know this? Well I heard all about this from a couple of short videos from the New Zealand Geographic Archive The archive gives you access to award-winning local content covering New Zealand’s places, people, wildlife and environment. The searchable content comes in the form of stories and images from 25 years of New Zealand Geographic and video ranging from 2 minute short films to multi-part one hour series. You can access all this content through the New Zealand Geographic Archive or through NZGeo TV which lets you search videos first. This is a proud New Zealand eResource which allows you to be entertained and increase your knowledge all at the same time in a package that is visually gorgeous. Have a peruse today!

Ways to think about the bottom line

db-EconomistArchive-CKEY897144There are people with money, who know what to do with money and think about money. I am not one of them. My foolishness started early. “I will go to university and get a degree in history not accounting”, I said at 18. My student loan will have 9% interest from the minute I borrow, but I was not concerned as they told me that with my degree I would be making more money. Did I think to query this advice? No. At 28 I was still poor despite my education but was told what you need is a post graduate qualification to get ahead in your career. Did I think to query this advice? No. Two and a half years later I completed by distance my Masters. The investment in my education came to $55,000 according to IRD which took over 20 years to pay back and I am still no richer. So where did it all go wrong? Did I invest badly? Did I heed the wrong advice? So far yes on both counts. My own advice? Never doubt it is all about the bottom line. Being broke all the times loses its charm quickly. To learn about this bottom line we have:

colored backgroundBoth these eResources are available from home or in libraries for you to learn about money, business, finance and investment. The Financial Times (sober reporting) will tell you of events and the Economist (loud opinions) will help you interpret and learn from that event. The two archives are cross searchable via Gale NewsVault making comparisons and carrying out research easier. Delve into these two and learn from my mistakes!

Literature, culture, economics, and history anyone?

KTT Four into the eResource foldWho doesn’t like something new? These four wee beauties are online portals to authoritative information about a huge range of subjects. They were on trial and were popular enough to be made permanent residents of our collection. So from now on, you can access:

The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2012The Economist has been highly regarded for providing independent global, economic and political analysis since its first publication in 1843. More content will continue to be added;

Listener Historical Archive, 1929-1991The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC to reproduce and expand on the content of its broadcast and television talks. It is regarded as the premier cultural studies magazine of the mid-20th century;

TLS_Cover_Septembe_1074419a (194x250).jpgThe Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive, 1902-2010 – (TLS) is the world’s leading newspaper for cultural studies. It offers comprehensive coverage of the most important publications as well as reviewing theatre, cinema, music and exhibitions;

19th Century UK Periodicals – a collection of often rare online British magazines, journals and specialty newspapers that aim to provide an in-depth view of life in the Victorian age.

All of these eResources are accessible from home or in libraries and can be searched individually or as part of the wider content included in Gale NewsVault.

So if you are looking for a answer to a query or feel like reading something informative and interesting then these newbies are a great place to start.

Read all about it – The Independent comes to eResources!

KTT Read all about itOnline newspapers are popular at the library and come in a variety of forms. There is the instant appeal of today’s news with PressDisplay or there are newspaper archives, such as our latest arrival to eResources – The Independent Digital Archive 1986-2012.

We have a number of these newspaper archives. Our customers like their historical, genealogical, political and social coverage. So why add The Independent? As per per its name, it aims to be a broadly centrist publication. It offers an alternative voice to the centre-right and right-wing views of The Times and the Daily Mail which we also provide access to. With no affiliations to any major political party or corporation it has taken some controversial stands including opposing the 2003 Iraq war and criticising the UK and US governments policies in regards to the War on Terror.

In short, it offers balance to the collection we already have. You can cross search this newspaper with numerous others using Gale NewsVault to help formulate your own balanced opinion or just browse through its issues and contemplate the fashion, gossip and news of the day. If it is news you are after – from today’s headlines or the headlines of 400 years ago we have online newspapers for you!

Welcome Access Video!

ckey923530-AVOD-250wIf you are like me and only have poor person’s TV (not SKY) then you are constantly channel surfing and finding yourself stuck with cooking, renovation and dating shows. Well, surf no more – the library can now connect you to a new eResource – Access Video. It has over 10,000 world-class documentaries, award-winning educational films, and helpful instructional videos on every known subject.

Personally I am in heaven, as though I may not have access to the History Channel I can now watch a number of history documentaries from a variety of sources including the BBC. I have even set up my own account so I can save videos I want to watch in future. Now don’t roll your eyes at the thought of “educational” films as they can be entertaining too. I defy you to open this eResource and not find something that takes your fancy. I had a wee look at a documentary on “Animals in Love” and went all gooey over the Orangutan kissing his partner’s eyes and the capuchin monkeys that throw rocks at the boys to get their attention … is that what I have been doing wrong?

This eResource will be a source of information, entertainment and mirth for all. What else can I say but lights, camera and action!

Access Video

Cool stuff from the selectors – from Patti Smith to Star Wars

Cover of M TrainOur Music Selector has been seeing lots of great music biographies lately, she said that this will be one of her highlights: M Train by Patti Smith

Reviews have been ecstatic, I particularly like this one by Nick Hornby

The most beautiful, incredible autobiography – it will make you ache for a time and a place that you probably never knew, New York in the 1970s.

Cover of The Ultimate guide to Vintage Star WarsGetting ready for the new Star Wars Movie? There have been a few adults and children’s books ordered including The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985. Unparalleled coverage of Star Wars action figures. Organized by film or television show, and by release date, the book is divided into two parts: action figures and accessories.

Cover of CosmosCosmos: The Infographic book of space
Using Infographics – the latest and increasingly popular method of explaining tricky subjects, the authors have laid bare modern science and the cosmos. Will appeal to stargazers and space enthusiasts of all ages.

…. And something for the children

Cover of A great big cuddleA Great Big Cuddle : Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen
Sometimes children’s poetry can be ignored in favour of a picture book but you will not be disappointed with the latest offering from the two biggest names in children’s publishing, Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell.  Rosen’s poems fizz off the page with sound and rhythm, energy and laughter, as he captures in the most remarkable way what it means to be very, very young. Chris Riddell has produced some his most extraordinary pictures ever to bring this world to life. It’s a book that will be enjoyed by the oldest grown-up and the youngest child and a future classic.

Cover of Over the hills and far awayOver the hills and far away : a treasury of nursery rhymes by Elizabeth Hammill
A collection of 150 rhymes from across the globe, beautifully illustrated by 77 world-renowned artists.

 

The (very) long list

Cover of Every Time a Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me DiesBooks I couldn’t resist adding to the For Later shelf this week.

Every Time a Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me Dies: The Life of Gore Vidal by Jay Parini
Because the title is a deathless quote, because the cover features Gore Vidal with a cat on his shoulder, because the author has written a biography of William Faulkner.

Cover of Vintage Paua Shell JewelleryVintage Paua Shell Jewellery: Art Souvenir, Tourist Kitsch, Kiwi Icon by Elly van de Wijdeven
Because the words vintage, paua shell, art, souvenir, tourist, kitsch and kiwi are irrestistible. Icon is overused. Now where did I store all those collectible fern leaf brooches?

4 Real & True 2: Landscapes, Photographs by Wim Wenders
The great German director turned 70 in August. What better way to celebrate his birthday than by looking at some of the landscapes and images he has chosen to record with his analog camera?

Cover of The Memory of TimeThe Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art by Sarah Greenough
Photography’s relationship to time, memory and history investigated by contemporary photographers. The main attraction is Sally Mann, whose Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs is one of my reads of 2015.

Cover of Diversity in Disney FilmsDiversity in Disney Films: Critical Essays on Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality and Disability
This should be interesting: Disney films explored with perspectives from critical whiteness studies and masculinity studies as well as old style race and gender.

Read my previous posts about the comings and goings on my For Later shelf.

Cool stuff from the Selectors: history and intrigue

As a book selector I am constantly purchasing books that seem so interesting, so compelling, and I know I should read them – but I don’t.

Two recent books sparked my interest; I know that someone will love them but probably not me. I will have to live vicariously through others’ enjoyment.

Cover of the Real Peter PanDriving home last week I heard an interview of Piers Dudgeon, the author of The Real Peter Pan: The Tragic Life of Michael Llewelyn Davies. Michael was the fourth of five brothers who were the inspiration behind J. M Barrie’s Peter Pan. The author described a tragic story: both parents died and the children were in the guardianship of Barrie. He paradoxically saved them from a life of poverty, yet there have always been questions about his relationship with and domination of Michael. In the wrong hands this book could be salacious gossip, but by all accounts the author gives a balanced account.

Cover of WilloughbylandWilloughbyland is another title that took my attention.

Willoughbyland would become a place of terror and cruelty, of sugar and slavery. As Matthew Parker reveals, the history of Willoughbyland is a microcosm of the history of empire, its heady attractions and fatal dangers.

A group of exiled Cavaliers have established a new settlement in the Amazon led by their founder Sir Francis Willoughby, a man of extremes who is set to have a spectacular rise and fall.  A book that seems to have it all, wild locations and equally wild “natives”, seduction, spies, planters, mercenaries and political dissidents. What more could you ask for?