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.

Cool Stuff from the Selectors

9781770858084The Secret Life of Equations: The 50 greatest equations and how they work.

Before we go any further I need to come clean.  I have no interest in equations and I have no mathematical ability, but even I could appreciate this book!

l=Iω: Apparently this is useful for iceskaters and explains why when an iceskater pulls their arms in, they decrease “moments of inertia,” and the velocity or speed automatically increases.  Who would have thought there was actually an equation for this?  It would seem that there is an equation for everything. How to choose your next secretary? Try p( χ) = – χln(χ) .  Filled with pictures and set out in a way that you can dip into this could well be a good introduction to viewing the world from a different perspective.

Real Raw and Relatable: A Collection of Stories from the people of South Auckland.

This is a lovely book.  Humans of South Auckland was created out of the tragedy of suicide, and from that came this book, a gentle reminder of humanity and the power of story.

These are usually the words that follow when I tell someone I’m from South Auckland…

“So do you carry a knife with you, you know like…just in case?”

My answer is generally “yes, I do, but I carry a fork too, ’cause I never know who’s going to invite me to dinner.’

Hacksaw Ridge9781629131559

The book that inspired the movie.  This is the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who served in the American Army’s 77th Infantry Division in World War II.  Desmond was a medic who refused to carry a weapon and, for this,  was often insulted by his fellow soldiers.  However, during the battle for Okinawa he rescued 75 soldiers and became the first and only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of honour.  The DVD is on due for release in March and is on order for the library.

And from the Fiction Selector…

9781784297268The mystery and thriller genre leads the fiction and it shows little evidence of it tailing off. For a start, vast numbers of readers will be waiting for the new Paula Hawkins novel Into the water. For those who like the historical mystery, Lindsey Davis  is back in Ancient Rome with The third Nero. Two men on the trail of a woman on the run is the focus of the latest Mason Cross novel Don’t look for me. William Shaw is described as a crime writer with a social conscience  and his latest, Sympathy for the devil is worth waiting for.

Bestselling French writer Delphine de Vigan has an intriguing story of what happens when a close friend tries to steal her friend’s life. If the dark Scandinavian thriller is to your liking, there’s an interesting one, Quicksand, by Malin Persson Giolito. And if all these thrillers keep you up at night, why not try one of the many British Library Crime Classics which give you light thrills but not shudders.

Cool stuff from the selectors: How the other half lives

9780865653313Located near Palm Springs, Sunnylands was the palatial home of philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Created out of barren desert, Sunnylands is now a huge, palatial masterpiece of over the top opulence. No detail was too small – carpets, furniture, and china were all specially made, luscious gardens formed, and a golf course created.

Luckily for us all, aspects of the house and grounds are beautifully represented in this sumptuous book. But along with the fabulousness of the place was also the fabulousness of the people who visited. Guests were carefully chosen for each weekend. Once they arrived and were housed in the various rooms in the guest wing, where they would be provided with a written potted history of the other guests’ achievements and interests. Seating arrangements for the lavish dinners were carefully chosen so that conversation would flow smoothly. Activities for the weekend were outlined and a jolly time was had by all.

A magnificent book if you like to delve into life as you will never know it, beautifully photographed and enough written material and social history to make you feel a little less voyeuristic.

9781848221840Edward Bawden was an English painter, illustrator and graphic artist, known for his prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture.

Scrapbooks – by the delightfully named Peyton Skipwith –  is a compendium of ephemera that Bawden has collected for more than 55 years.  There seems little rhyme or reason to most of it, drawings of stage design are interspersed with Christmas cards, newpaper cuttings, invitations and cigarette cards. The colour reproductions are quite beautiful, especially the drawings and graphic works of Bawden, and most pages have interesting notes about where the particular pieces may have originated and some background information to try and make sense of the seeming randomness of it all.  The is a lovely book to dip into and gives you a great insight into the life and times of a prolific and talented artist.

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.

Cool stuff from the Selectors: Children’s and adult fiction

CoverWild animals of the North by Dieter Braun
A children’s book about the animals who live across the 3 regions of North America, Europe and Asia. This book has been getting a lot of good reviews. The illustrations are stars. They are bright, stunning and show the animals as full of life and personality. This is the first in a series that will cover the animals of the world.

The Guardian has great examples of the illustrations.

CoverAnother animal book, this time from the always superb husband and wife team of Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. (They have produced 16 books together): Flying Frogs and Walking Fish : Leaping Lemurs, Tumbling Toads, Jet-propelled Jellyfish, and More Surprising Ways That Animals Move. 46 creatures in the typical paper collages against crisp white background style, showing  how they might march, stroll, tiptoe or perhaps glide soar or coast.

Fiction

On the fiction front there are promising titles such Days Without End by the Irish writer Sebastian Barry, which is a kind of literary western along the lines of that terrific novel The Sisters Brothers. Barry’s earlier novel  The Secret Scripture has been filmed (with Rooney Mara, Vanessa Redgrave and Eric Bana) and is expected to bring more publicity to this very talented writer.

Other titles coming up from first rate novelists include Michael Chabon Moonglow, Alice Hoffman Faithful,  Alan Moore Jerusalem,  Ron Rash The Risen,  Zadie Smith Swing Time Stephenie Meyer The Chemist.

So … something for everyone

<9780571277001978057121528797800081898089781631491344978006243631397802411441529780751567670

Cool stuff from the Selectors: Art, Science, and a bit of literarty

CoverCoverCover

The art of typewriting
Our Selector has always found creating a picture using type to be rather appealing so has enjoyed the 570 illustrations ordered into letters and numbers, punctuation pictures, interlocking words, animals, household objects, maps and texts.

An Astronomers Tale: A Life Under the Stars
Gary Fildes, Bricklayer and average guy,  had a secret.  Eventually he came out – and followed his passion to become an astronomer.

The Fall of the House of Wilde
A new and interesting slant on the many times subject of biography Oscar Wilde which puts him as a member of one of the most dazzling Anglo-Irish families of Victorian times, and also how the family were involved in the broader social, political and religious context of the times.

CoverCoverCover

Hankie Couture: Handcrafted Fashions From Vintage Hankerchiefs
Designs for that special doll in your life, or perhaps you will just enjoy browsing the pictures, I know I did!

Black Dolls From the Collection of Deborah Neff
Keeping with the doll theme, but from a totally differnt angle this book presents over 100 unique handmade African American dolls made between 1850 and 1930 from the collection of Deborah Neff, a Connecticut-based collector and champion of vernacular art. It is believed that African Americans created these dolls for the children in their lives, including members of their own families and respective communities as well as white children in their charge.  Stunning photography.

Outlander Kitchen
You’ve read the books, watched the TV series, now it’s time to cook Mrs. FitGibbon’s Overnight Parritch; Geilli’s Cullen Skink; Murtagh’s Gift to Ellen; Sarah Woolam’s Scotch Pies and Atholl Brose for the Bonnie Prince.

Can I recommend …

CoverI’ve just found a new way to add to the ever-increasing list of book titles that I have great difficulty getting around to reading but have kept on my ‘For Later’ shelf in BiblioCommons. The cliché ‘better late than never’ springs to mind.

My shelf currently stands at a very respectable 17 (I’m sure there are people out there in ‘Library land’ openly gobsmacked at this paltry total BUT I have just had a cull. I was completely ruthless and it took only 2 minutes to cut it back from 27 to 17.

Oh the internal debating and agonising I didn’t put myself through! Most of these tomes have been on my ‘For Later’ shelf for an eternity and have either been recommended to me via colleagues and customers or I have read a favourable review in a magazine or newspaper and placed it onto the shelf before I forget the title.  Then I forget to look at the shelf and pick my next read from it – well nobody’s perfect!

Now I have another method by which I can add to this list – on the front page of the Christchurch City Libraries website right at the bottom of the page is a link called Books. This takes you to New in Books, Staff Picks, On Order and then Recent Comments.

ExampleRecent Comments deals with any comments or reviews of books from newspapers, library borrowers and library staff.  In a steady flow, these brief comments automatically move from one book to the next book that has been recently reviewed. Clicking on the cover will bring up a synopsis of the story line, publisher details followed by the heading OPINION where all the reviews appear.

Sometimes a certain sentence within a review personally resonates and is all that is needed to push you from apathy to action. Before you realise it, you’ve clicked on the book cover and are placing a hold OR adding to your ‘For Later’ Shelf.  If inclined you can even give the book a star rating.

Anyone out there enjoying the freedom of reviewing the books they read or feeling that they would like to give it a whirl?

Cool stuff from the selectors: Children’s books

5 new children’s books in Braille by Dorling Kindersley

The DK Braille series is fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (UK). Designed especially for visually-impaired children and their parents, these tactile reference books are a wonderful way for curious readers to learn and discover.

9781465436115Our Children’s selector was very excited to see these titles as there has been very little published by mainstream publishers in the past for sight-impaired children and these are by far, in typical DK fashion, superior than other titles she has seen.

A variety of techniques, other than braille are used to make the reading experience come alive to the sight impaired reader. Titles include:

See our list of children’s books in Braille.

9780385373258Beatrix Potter & the unfortunate tale of a borrowed guinea pig Deborah Hopkinson

A delightful and quirky account of the animals in the Young Beatrix Potter’s household, in particular an unexpected mishap to Miss Nina Paget’s Guniea Pig while in Beatrix’s charge. Beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Voake.

Under Earth, under water  Alexsandra Mizielińska

There is lots to explore and discover with this book. One sitting was not enough … Check out its website to learn more about this fascinating book. 

Cool stuff from the selectors: Design, birds and the never ending fascination of the Kennedys

CoverRaptor: A Journey Through Birds

Marketed as a “stunning debut”, Raptor is a hymn to these magnificent birds and James Macdonald Lockhart explores all fifteen breeding birds of prey in the British Isles- from the hen harrier swimming over the land in the dregs of a May gale on Orkney, to the ghostly sparrowhawk displaying in the fields around his home in Warwickshire. Our Science selector says it probably won’t take off like “H is for hawk” but that it does look really interesting.

Why Fonts matter 9780753557235by Sarah Hyndman

It was a surprise to me,  as I have previously shown no interest in why fonts matter at all!

Why do some types feel playful, or expensive  or even make words look happy or sad?  But best of all what does your favourite font reveal about your personality and can this be used in the dating game?

The Kennedys9780547250250 still manage to fascinate, and having done the men of the family to death, publishing is now starting to focus on the women.

Rosemary Kennedy was the eldest sister and was born with learning disabilities – a secret fiercely guarded by her family.  After a frontal lobotomy authorised by her father Joe Kennedy,  Rose was left permanently disabled and hidden from the world and her family.

9780007548125Kathleen in comparison was similar in temperament to her brother Jack — charming, energetic and socially adept. Her bright personality attracted attention in London when she arrived with her father, the American ambassador. She defied her mother, marrying a Protestant Englishman, something Rose Kennedy never forgave her for.

Cool Stuff from the Selectors: Fiction Picks

Here’s a selection of interesting fiction titles coming up.

Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover

Richard Russo Everybody’s Fool
He’s one of the most readable US authors and here he returns to the small town in upstate New York that featured in his first novel Nobody’s Fool (which became a memorable movie with Bruce Willis and Paul Newman).

William Shaw The Birdwatcher
Author of a very impressive crime fiction trilogy set in 1960s Britain returns with a tale of murder on the Kent Coast linked to The Troubles.

Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata
Set in Switzerland and dealing with a young boy and his friendship with a young Jewish pianist at his school.

Anthony Cartwright Iron towns
An interesting state of the nation novel, set in his home town of Dudley, featuring an ageing footballer in a struggling team.

Mark Haddon The pier falls
A collection of short stories by the author of the bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The stories range from science fiction and Victorian adventure to one about a woman travelling to Mars.