Recreational non-fiction – a mid year review

I’m a pretty avid reader and mostly I love good fiction, but this year I have made a determined effort to read more non-fiction, but not just any old non-fiction – what I was after was “Recreational Non-Fiction”!

After a great deal of library exploration, and some very, VERY dry encounters with some non-fiction authors and their writing, I soon discovered that I’m particularly drawn towards non-fiction that is;

a) interesting / informative (gotta love what you’re reading about, right?)

b) conversational (this is very important to me!)

c) about an individual’s own explorations on a subject (it’s great to go along for the ride while someone makes discoveries!), and

d) based on the natural sciences (that’s just what floats my boat I guess!)

And I’ve been building a list this year to keep track of the “recreational non-fiction” titles that I have really loved, and here they are along with some notes on each;

2018 – The Best of Recreational Non-Fiction

List created by DevilStateDan

These are my best titles for the year under the banner of “recreational non-fiction”. Most of these titles are new releases, some are from decades ago, all are great! I do have a particular liking for the natural sciences so most of these books will be on this topic…

New Zealand Geographic – I love this magazine for championing and celebrating all the good things in New Zealand’s natural world. Every issue is packed full of interesting scientific projects being undertaken, updates on the status of various endangered species, and how humans are impacting on the environment and what we can do about it as individuals.

Cover of Smith journalSmith Journal – This is a great periodical, full of insight, information, and learning opportunities. Stories about potentially world-changing initiatives mix with current trends in sciences, and the revolution of traditional crafts, all from around the world. Very entertaining read!

The Secret Life of Flies – Do you like chocolate?!?! Then you’re relying on the humble and, misunderstood fly – they are the only pollinator of the cacao tree! Shocking hey!? Flies have so much more to offer the environment than we realise. Have a read of this entertaining and informative book, it may change the way you view these annoying pests for good!

Curious Encounters With the Natural World – This is a masterpiece of recreational non-fiction! Written conversationally (like you sitting with the author at the pub over a couple of pints discussing the natural world!), hugely informative, and hilarious, this book offers a very real access point for those who don’t read non-fiction or find in inaccessible. If you’re interested in the natural world, here’s one for you!

Cover of The truth about animalsThe Unexpected Truth About Animals – Another brilliant book about some of the lesser known creatures of the Earth and their own particular nuances. It’s very easy to read and pretty funny, making the science really attractive and easy to digest. Great dinner party fact fodder!

Blowfish’s Oceanopedia – The story of the seas from the coast to the deep. This book is divided up into quickfire digestible facts on all manner of issues and powers of the most abundant ecosystem on the planet. A great read for lovers of natural science.

Cover of SpinelessSpineless – Juli Berwald really likes jellyfish and this book proves it! Follow her story as she travels the globe learning about the state of jellies in our oceans, how they are coping with climate change, and what’s leading to the huge and unpredictable super-blooms of jellies. There’s so much information in this book about this underrated creature of the seas that it makes you wonder why we know so little about such a successful and abundant animal. A solid, insightful, and entertaining read and I look forward to seeing her future work.

Cover of American WolfAmerican Wolf – Follow the committed souls who observe the wolf packs of Yellowstone National Park. Wolves have only recently been reintroduced to the wild in this region and careful monitoring has led to some quite simply amazing discoveries about the ecological balance of a region. But not everyone is so keen to have the wolves back and as we follow the pack that she-wolf O-Six we learn how hard it is to survive in the wild under diminishing environment and increasing threats. One of my books of the year, this one!

Cover of The soul of an octopusThe Soul of An Octopus – In this book we follow the author as she becomes increasingly enamoured with all things octopus! We get to share the experience of learning SCUBA and see first hand behind the scenes at the New England Aquarium – a facility dedicated to sea life and full of passionate and knowledgeable staff and volunteers. And throughout the narrative we think on the idea of consciousness and emotions in all life – did you know that fish dream?!?

View Full List

I’ll continue to add to this list as the year progresses and I have a feeling that this is only just the start of a beautiful relationship between myself and recreational non-fiction!

Garden CATastrophe

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a cat in possession of a good family, must be in want of another garden to do its business in.

Why, oh why do cats feel the need to cause disruption in the surrounding neighbourhood by leaving unwelcome little packages dotted on newly turned soil or – even worse – having spent hours on your knees planting and/or sowing and generally feeling quite good about your gardening efforts, a few hours later there is a trail of destruction ending with displaced earth and a ruddy great hole containing debris that you want to hurl at said perpetrator of the crime.

The neighbours feign amazement when, in passing conversation over the fence, you allude to the fact that your garden is being treated in this cavalier fashion and are smug in the knowledge that their cat wouldn’t be guilty of such heinous crimes as it is a well-known fact that they faithfully use their cat litter facilities.

Of course, cats are invariably both smart and brazen and they don’t feel the need to cover their tracks. They certainly aren’t visible as the guilty culprit when the dastardly deed has been chanced upon. And what if you have several contenders for the nuisance award … You barely flinch when it happens the first time but then, over a period of time, when yet another plant has been uprooted from the security of its new little home and left a bedraggled mess just a few centimetres from its once promising new start in life, your thoughts turn to RE-EDUCATION! Is it even possible?

As kitten season has just arrived, here are a few books and magazines that prospective owners might feel inclined to flick through to keep their kitten/cats on the ‘straight and narrow’ INSIDE which may/may not make them behave better OUTSIDE (not holding my breath though).

Maybe gardening and cats are just an incompatible combination (especially when you don’t own the latter). Anyway, there a lot of practical tips ‘n tricks available via various formats within the library – so good luck with the training of the new recruits to your household and a Merry Christmas to one and all!!

In their own gardens pleeeaaasssseeee

New magazine and eMagazine titles at your library

Here are some of the new magazines and eMagazines at Christchurch City Libraries:

Interweave Crochet Minecraft World Magazine

Paleo

Each bimonthly issue of Paleo is packed with the latest research, exercise and nutrition, interviews, inspirational stories, recipes, reviews, info to raise Paleo kids and much more!

25 Beautiful Homes

25 Beautiful Homes showcases the best of British interiors every month. Full of homes that intrigue, delight and inspire, the magazine showcases every interior design style, from contemporary to country and high-end to high street.

Interweave Crochet

Interweave Crochet magazine is the place to learn how to crochet or discover a new crochet technique or tip, be inspired, and shop for crochet magazines, books, videos and and patterns.

Minecraft World

Aimed at 7-11 year olds, Minecraft World magazine is an unofficial guide to the Minecraft™ game. Each issue is packed full of news on what’s happening within the online community, tips on achieving various goals, tutorials, puzzles and plenty of expert advice.

Busted: Feminism and Pop Culture – WORD Christchurch

In the 1980s I was very involved in feminist politics, a lot has changed since those times.  We are on the cusp of the first American woman president and women are in some positions of power, but are our lives any better for this?  Many women are choosing to remain single, to concentrate on their careers but still get paid less than men.  Dieting and body image are the mainstay of most women’s magazines, and we seem increasingly obsessed with celebrity culture.  So how does a feminist of many years manage to create a magazine that remains relevent to today’s feminists?

Debbie Stoller. Image supplied.
Debbie Stoller. Image supplied.

Debbie Stoller, is co-founder and editor of BUST:

the magazine was one of the founders of ‘girlie feminism,’ a third wave feminist strategy which re-evaluated and embraced traditional feminine activities.

“Girlie feminism”?? Really?  My old feminist bones are creaking at such terminology, but then I find myself nearly choking when Debbie Stoller declares that Martha Stewart is her third favourite feminist!  Later on she announces that her first and second are Madonna and Courtney Love.  I don’t get it.  However what I do get is that the women’s movement has always been very good at putting the boot in, we haven’t been good at vigorous debate and this has been to our detriment, so with this in mind  I am doing my best to remain open, the old timers in the 70s and 80s believed change would come through politic but Debbie Stoller believes that  “mainstream media is where change will happen”.

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BUST. Image supplied

So what is BUST like?  It is full of women comics, musicians and actors saying positive feminist things.  Tina Fey is a good example, recounting being asked  “isn’t this an amazing time for women in comedy?” and I was like ‘I don’t know is it?’ Do I make what Will Ferrell makes? No.” Feminism via BUST now includes cooking, crafting, creating a wedding, interesting sustainable clothing, sex and travel.  There is no evidence of body shaming or articles on the Kardashians.

Feminism via BUST is palatable, it means the magazine has managed to get to 100 issues and that is impressive, as Debbie Stoller says “there’s not a lot of money in feminism”, keeping the magazine going must have been tough at times.  I came away from this session with a mind full of questions, one hour was not nearly long enough, feminism and what it stands for is a debate of unending possibilities and BUST is challenging our foundations.

More WORD Christchurch

Calling all Book Fiends – to the library book sale

slowThe Annual Christchurch City Library Book Sale is on again.  It’s book buying time again. Yeehah! Diary 11th/12th March and remember the tables are constantly reloaded, so going after work doesn’t mean you miss out. On Friday, they close at 7 pm.

I thought when I started working in the libraries that my mania for reading, borrowing and owning books would calm down … it has, a smidge. Nowadays I keep myself for the one book sale a year. Last year I promised Mr Bishi that I would restrict myself to non-fiction as we still haven’t read some of the fiction I purchased a couple of years ago and all the bookcases are bulging. The look of disbelief and the resigned note of his voice were uncalled for I felt.

Undaunted I headed for Pioneer Stadium and the travel and cooking sections and with neck crooked at a suitable angle and decent sized box ready at my feet I went searching. I was hoping for Slow by Alison Gofton a really good slow cook book I had borrowed but desperately wanted to own. Found a copy too! … And all the other books that tickled my fancy of course.

On one of my many raids at the Library Book Sale I noticed the woman in front of me was picking up the very books I would have gone for if she hadn’t been in front of me.  What to do? We had words … nice words. Turns out she too worked on the eyecatching ways of my sort of cover unless she knew and liked the author already. We agreed to trawl different aisles. It seemed to be the most civilised outcome.

Big bargain book sale

CoverThe magazines are so cheap, worth buying just for the sudoku and crossword puzzles that haven’t been done because our customers respect that it’s a borrowed item and the articles of course. 10 for a dollar I call that excellent value. CDs, DVDs $3. Get that book the kids love that you constantly borrow but would love to own for $1.

And if you are a Friend of the Library (subscriptions in by 28th February) you get to go to the Sale Preview and pre-purchase and help your Libraries at the same time.

In the meantime, will I see you at the world famous in Christchurch Annual book sale? Do you have this thing about owning books as well as borrowing them? Don’t be ashamed you are not alone. Come to the sale and see just how many of us there are.

Like the Library Book Sale event on Facebook for updates.

Christmas 2015 from Zinio for Libraries

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This Christmas and all year round access hundreds of popular eMagazines with Zinio for Libraries.

New Magazines from Zinio for Libraries

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View an alphabetical list of titles, or recently added titles from Zinio for Libraries.

Download Art New Zealand, Brides, Autocar, L’Officiel Paris, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, MOJO, UNCUT, Vanity Fair, Empire and more.

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Brand new titles in Zinio for Libraries. See the full list of titles.

How are you shaping up for the new year?

Some make New Year’s resolutions, some resolve never to make New Year’s resolutions, either way now’s a good time to take stock of your well-being.

Whether you are returning to work from holiday or worked through the holiday period, this time of year is a tricky period of readjustment to family and work expectations. If you are feeling in a rut or envying the work life balance of others it is time to make some gains on your own plans. So get some tools and set some targets to get you to there, whether that be health and fitness wise or making gains on that long-planned outdoor adventure.

A great place to start is our very own Zinio for libraries take a look at these beauties and you get to keep each and every one of them. So no more excuses! You can download these, with your library card and PIN.

Search the catalogue for more titles available on Zinio.

Good January 01, 2015NZ life & leisure January 01, 2015Bicycling January 01, 2015Runner's world January 01, 2015Yoga journal January 01, 2015Running for beginners January 01, 2015Men's fitness January 01, 2015healthy food guide February 01, 2015Working mother October 01, 2014Spirituality & Health Magazine January 01, 2015Good health February 01, 2015mountian bike rider February 01, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Magazines from Zinio for Libraries

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This Christmas and all year round access hundreds of popular eMagazines with Zinio for Libraries.