2048 – what will our world look like?

Cover imageOn 10 December, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While the intent may be clear, are human rights actually enforceable?

At the 100th anniversary in 2048, how will the world look a century on from the adoption of the Universal Declaration?

A recent book by J. Kirk Boyd, 2048 : Humanity’s agreement to live together opens up the discussion about the international movement for enforceable human rights. The 2048 Project aims to create an agreement that will guarantee global human rights and the rule of law, and have it in place by 2048.

Find out more information about Human Rights on our Internet Gateway, or find titles on human rights in our collection.

Where’s your favourite cabbage tree?

A horse & buggy travel through cabbage trees in Long Valley, North Canterbury

Following up on Marion’s post about secret gardens in the city, and given that Tī Kōuka is a ‘symbol for our city’, I want to know where your favourite cabbage tree is in the Canterbury.

My personal favourite is in my neighbour’s yard (not far to go!). So where’s yours? On the banks of Avon River? Tucked up in Heathcote Valley?

Find out about the history and importance of Tī Kōuka here.

Check out some other heritage photos of cabbage trees, in Lyttelton, on the River Avon, near the Worcester Street Bridge. Wonder if any of them are still there today …

Short stories – love ’em? hate ’em?

I love ’em. Delicious snacks of stories. Every word counts. Morsels of cleverness.

CoverI recently finished a new short story anthology edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio called, Stories : all-new tales. Fantastic. Enjoyable. Intriguing. Beguiling. Creepy. I didn’t read everything, as some stories just didn’t appeal, but there’s plenty here to dip into.

I prefer anthologies with lots of authors over a collection by one author, and this book is a treasure-trove of goodies by well-known and less-known authors.

Neil Gaiman’s Introduction delighted me beyond measure. He succinctly captures the whole point of fiction. This section alone is worth borrowing this anthology.

I thoroughly enjoyed the opening tale by Roddy Doyle – despite it’s weird and gruesome topic. I was intrigued by Jodi Picoult‘s story – it’s a change from her best-selling blockbusters. I meandered through Joe Hill‘s story – which is a work of art on the page with roving typography adding a different perspective to the story on the page.

From first timers like Kat Howard (her first published story appears in this anthology) through to Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Moorcock, there’s also plenty of well-known authors, across a range of genres, to whet your appetite, from Diana Wynne Jones, Peter Straub, Jeffery Deaver, Richard Adams and Chuck Palahniuk.

Information is beautiful

Cover imageInformation can be interpreted in many ways, kind of like statistics, you can make it mean whatever you like with the right ‘spin’.

David McCandless has sought out the weird and the wonderful for his book, Information is Beautiful, and by using colour, graphic art, charts, inter-connected diagrams and humour, he brings to life all sorts of random and interesting information. And it is indeed beautiful.

Like the Guinness Book of World Records, you can spend hours pouring over random information, wondering why and how anyone thought to collect and analyse that type of information.

You learn which countries top the charts for being #1 for rollercoasters, going to the cinema, using the web, car theft and cheese (hint, choose from South Korea, Iceland, Malaysia, Venezuela and Australia).

You can read the timeline of internet viral videos (how many have you seen?), find out the most common break-up times on Facebook, work out which Hollywood and Bollywood movies are the most profitable, compare the size of the Aral Sea and Lake Chad from 1978 to 2008 (they’ve both shrunk considerably more than you’d think), discover the most popular US girls’ names (and what tv shows influenced when new names debuted on the chart), learn which Hollywood actors which would be far better than Kevin Bacon to play the game “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”, and find out what facial hair says about a man.

Lose yourself. Learn something. Laugh out loud. Share this book with others.

Celebrating scary movies for Halloween

Cover image2010 is the 50th anniversary of the movie Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock and the 100th aniversary of first movie edition of Frankenstein.

To be honest, I have never watched either of these classics, but it got me thinking about scary movies and how they have changed over the years. I love a good scary movie, even if I am much less inclined to watch them alone and in the dark than I was in my teens and early twenties.

These days, it often feels less about the audience’s mind working in overdrive to imagine the ‘scariness’ that’s happening off-screen, and it seems more about the gore, the violence and the “spell out the plot” viewing.

I thought I might go back through some books to get some ideas for classic movies to watch – such as How to survive a horror movie, Creepy crawls : a horror fiend’s travel guide, and The Rough Guide to horror movies.

Check out our Halloween page for more scary stuff.

So have scary movies gotten scarier? What’s your favourite? Any recommendations?

Write the book and win!

Writing handHave you always aspired to be a published novelist but haven’t quite achieved it yet? Do you have an unpublished (or possibly unfinished) manuscript lying at the bottom of your drawer?

Well, there is hope for all aspiring writers. The news is out. Terry Pratchett & Transworld Publishers have teamed up to create a new award for aspiring novelists, to have their debut novel published. The title of the award is The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now Prize and the deadline is 31 December 2010. And there is money involved.

Read about the full details, and read up on the terms & conditions terms & conditions.

If you need ideas, inspiration and/or writing exercises, then try these on for size:

So get your creative ideas flowing, put fingers to keyboard, put pen to paper, use a dictaphone, whatever it takes to get that first novel finished and good luck to all your seek fame & fortune.

Sharing the comic love

A plug for the fabulous world of graphic novels. If you haven’t discovered  Publishers Weekly, then bookmark it or add it to your RSS feeds to catch the latest news, reviews and gossip from the publishing world. Here’s some highlights from this week’s web edition.

And to further whet your appetite, here are some of the new graphic novel titles come to the Christchurch City Libraries collection over the winter months. Hold onto your hats!

Don’t forget about the graphic novel adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (what do you call an adaptation of an adaptation? … a new book perhaps?).

We’ll be adding the first three titles from the Northlanders series from Brian Wood, in anticipation of volume four being released later this year.

So get ready for some graphic novel treats this winter.

Knitting on Top of the World

Sorry, this is NOT a blog about knitting on top of big mountains, or even particularly about knitting from mountainous countries. It is however a blog about a woman who likes to knit. And since this Saturday is Knit in Public Day (event at the City Art Gallery), it’s a knitting blog post.

Recently, I came across a small article in Vogue Knitting about Mary Taylor, who was inspired by the film Julie and Julia – the story of Julie Powell who blogged about mastering every recipe in Julia Child’s 1961 classic in one year. Julie’s blog became a book, and then became a movie.

So inspired was Mary that she has decided to replicate Julie’s experiences and “blog her way through a masterwork by one of her favourite authors”.

Knitting on Top of the World book cover

In Mary’s case, she’s a knitter, not a cook. So she chose a work by Nicky Epstein, a well-known knitwear designer. And she chose a real doozy of a work to replicate!

Knitting on Top of the World : a global guide to traditions, techniques and design is visually stunning, craftily inspiring, richly illustrated and a real work of passion and love for all things knitted.

It’s also full of very complicated, increasingly complex and explosively coloured knitted garments from all parts of the globe. There’s fifty patterns. She’s given herself four years to work her way through the different patterns in the book. She’s has allocated one month per garment. That’s a heck of a lot of wool, not to mention the amount of knitting to be done!

For someone who is still mastering the basics of knitting (and has been for over twenty years!), I can’t imagine what would possess someone to set themselves such a mountainous task. I’ll be watching her progress along the way to see how she gets on over the coming months and years. You too can follow her woollen adventures on her blog : www.knittingontopoftheworldknitathon.typepad.com

National Geographic Image Collection

National Geographic Image Collection cover A delicious book of stunning photographs to pore over.

National Geographic’s photography collection spans decades and a multitude of topics. A publication of these collections has landed on our shelves : National Geographic Image Collection.

This stunning selection of photographs has been chosen from over 11 million images in National Geographic’s Archives, and is showcased in four major sections, Exploration, Wildlife, People & Culture, and Science & Climate Change.

Continue reading

Working with groups – make it easy for yourself

Cover of SpeakoutHave you landed a new job as a community worker who has to consult with diverse groups?

Are you an experienced facilitator looking for a new perspective on working with different cultural groups?

If you are looking for some ideas on how to fine-tune your skills or expand your knowledge, check out these titles.

Speakout by Wendy Sarkissian and Wiwik Bunjamin-Mau explains step-by-step the process of creating an interactive, drop-in style of engagement with community groups. It also gives clear instructions of how to organise, plan and manage community planning workshops, and make sense of the outcomes.

The Art of Community by Jono Bacon looks at strategies to bring your community together, including how you can use social media to engage with your audience.

World Cafe cover

An oldie but a goodie outlining a different approach to group discussions is The World Cafe by Juanita Brown. It’s a way to host conversations about things that matter, to get people talking and engaging, and to harness the collective intelligence, experience and knowledge of the group to move forward.

There’s also wealth of good ideas and further information on the The World Cafe website.