Cool stuff from the Selectors – Nature

9781472152244As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and books by Alex Preston
Having kept notebooks over many, many years, Preston has collected the words of dozens of writers. Each chapter is arranged around a bird, each bird illustrated by Neil Gower. The Guardian gives this book a rave review:

Memoir, or rather memory, gilds the narrative. The most moving chapter describes Preston’s father, bedbound with lymphoma, as he watches a family of collared doves on the rooftop opposite his window. He is woken by a fledgling dove on the windowsill inside the bedroom and tries to rescue the bird. Describing himself in the third person, Preston’s father writes: “Placid and accepting, she allows his right hand to embrace her body… while he emanates all he can in telepathic sedation. It, or something like it, must be working, for her wings remain static and spread, her breast neither heaving nor fluttering … How warm to the touch. He wants to stretch the moment to eternity.” This, perhaps, is the essence of the book, this longing for communion, for connection with things other than ourselves.

CoverBritain’s Wild Flowers: A Treasury of traditions, superstitions, remedies and literature by Rosamond Richardson
Keeping with the literary/nature bent, Richardson traces the history of wild flowers and celebrates the important role they have played in literature as well as their uses in food, medicine and their place in history and myth.  A very beautiful book that is ideal to dip into.

9781473651975Basic Mathematics: An Introduction by Alan Graham
I reserved this book on a whim…I am not known for my mathematical ability and thought that it was about time I tackled what could almost be called a phobia. I must confess to scanning this book and promptly returned it, obviously I will need some more indepth counselling before I can tackle my “issues”. However, in the brief time that this book held my attention I did think it was very user-friendly, tackled basic concepts, and would be especially useful if you were struggling with keeping up with your school age children’s maths.

9780714873527Honar: The Arkhami Collection of Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art
A very disappointing cover hides a luscious book documenting the Afkhami collection of Iranian art. The art in the collection is incredibly varied and at times surprising. Each artist has their own essay, plus there are well written and interesting chapters devoted to the collection itself and to Iranian art history.

9781783963508What’s Your Bias? The Surprising science of why we vote the way we do by Lee De-Wit
We may think that we make rational decisions when it comes to voting but apparently we are just as much affected by our personality traits and unconscious biases as we are by what the news media and political debates are telling us. Perhaps you want to know more about why you think Jacinda is just the ticket or what it is about Bill that makes him irresistible? Apparently you will get to know more about yourself and the bigger political picture!

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.

Photo Hunt October: Poppies in the City

Poppies in the City.
Entry in the Christchurch City Council Annual Plan Photography Competition, 2016/2017 by Tessa Rait. AP16_TERA2.JPG CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ

“The photo was taken during the spring time, and I think it represents the city starting to come to life again. The flowers in the foreground are a contrast to the damaged, popular city centre nightspots in the background, but they make it look beautiful and remind us that life goes on.”   Date: 5 October 2015.

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.

Are you struggling to come up with ideas for Random Acts of Kindness Day?

September 1st is Random Acts of Kindness Day. I must confess to having a certain cynicism about these type of days. Surely every day should be a day of random kindness, just like every day should be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Children’s Day.

Cover of Random Acts of Kindness by AnimalsPerhaps I should try to be more randomly kind and hope that days like this highlight that there are always opportunities to do something nice for someone else, be they a friend or a complete stranger. Even animals are doing it!

So I had a look at some of the suggestions on the RAK page, and wondered how the Library could help out.

I could bake for friends, neighbours, workmates (maybe not  strangers – they might be a bit suspicious!).

Flowers from my garden. Hmm, I might have to work on that one for next year as my garden is not up to much, so some flower gardening books might be useful, or maybe paper flowers would suffice.

I could volunteer; our webpages have plenty of suggestions.

Maybe I could make somethinganything

Make someone laugh, try out some magic tricks!

Take the neighbour’s dog for a walk, perhaps do some training while I’m at it?

Hold a themed party. Sounds like a lot of work, but these party books might give me some ideas.

Reading a story to a child. Now this I can do! These two titles have been suggested by our children’s selector: Oi Frog and Tge Tiny King.

Whatever you do as a random act of kindness on this day, or any other, the Library is sure to be able to help you out.

Cover of The Tiny King Cover of The Cut Flower Patch Cover of 101 Dog Tricks Kids Edition Cover of Cardboard Creatures Cover of A Good Baking Day

Bursting out all over town

The day of writing this post we certainly had a burst of water. A good drop of rain in February makes gardeners smile (except perhaps those who dragged the hose round the garden the night before!). So Burst! of water is a great name for the 22nd annual Festival of Flowers which has just begun.photo of flower

The festival includes old favourites like the floral carpet in the cathedral, a panel discussion and exhibition on the importance of water, garden tours and events like the Edmonds Factory Garden Party. The full programme is here

Cathedral Square is one of the focal points for the festival and includes a charming topiary baby elephant. Bring the kids along for a photo op.

There’s a free outdoor screening of Water Whisperers Tangaroa by Christchurch based documentary maker Kathleen Gallagher. Her previous works included EarthWhisperers, Healing Journeys and Breath of Peace.