Celebrating the men in our lives: Father’s Day

Father’s Day; celebrated on the first Sunday of every September.

“…father (Gus Watts) and Ralph, fixing our troublesome car.” File Reference: HWC08-SO109CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

Father’s Day seems a good time to reflect upon what dad has done for you over the years. Perhaps his crowning achievement is simply to have survived having you as a child. Sure, you didn’t ask to be born…but I for one am somewhat glad I was. And I was not a particularly pleasant child if stories are to be believed.

“Tarts!” toddler me shrieked and pointed at the tights-clad ladies walking down the street. And that was just the beginning.

In view of my tumultuous childhood (my behaviour, not my parent’s parenting) I have been trying harder to practice the art of gratitude – with varying levels of success – as gratitude is an integral part of any healthy relationship and just as important for your own happiness as it is to that of those around you. Thankfully it doesn’t have to be a grand or expensive gesture; sometimes the little things say so much. And what better day than Father’s Day to pour a little energy in to this endeavour, and let your father know how grateful you are to have him in your life.

  • Here are some ways you could show that, this September:
    • Pay back that ‘loan’ you have been owing him for years
    • Invite him over (or out) for dinner
    • A voucher for his favourite bookstore perhaps
    • A card with a nice message
    • Family tickets to the Canterbury Astronomical Society public open nights
    • Tickets to one of the WORD Festival events
    • Let him whatever kind of man he is that he’ll always be “Manly As”. (All Right have some cute posters and postcards that might do the trick)

Or if your budget is a little higher, Christchurch also offers some unique, unusual and out there options: try sensory deprivation float tanks, suspending him high in the air at Adrenalin Forest, hot air ballooning or an east-west coast (and back!) scenic train ride.

My go-to Father’s Day/Father’s Birthday present of the last decade has been a bit less inspired; the unique coffee related contraption. So far we’ve cycled through the Vietnamese coffee brewer, rude coffee cups, several travel coffee mugs, chocolate coated coffee beans…

Father’s Day cardmaking at Shirley Library, 2016. Photo from Flickr.

Here are some books from our collection to help you get started and perhaps provide some much needed inspiration.

DIY Father’s Day Gifts

A Father’s Bookshelf

Images of Fathers Doing Their Thing

Here are a couple of photos of fathers from our digital image collection on Kete Christchurch. Kete Christchurch is an online resource bringing together records of local events, people and places – current and historical. You are welcome to contribute your own images to the collection, for the enjoyment of all Cantabrians 🙂 To do so, register an account.

The Farm Bloke

Jack, Jill, Neville (father) & Trevor Holt on tarmac machine borrowed from Burnside Engineering to lay driveway at Holt residence, 36 Brighton Rd Green Island, Dunedin. c. 1953, Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ

The City Bloke

My father at Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch ca 1923, after returning from 1st World war.” Photo from Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ

Happy Father’s Day!

Photo Hunt October: A Hunting Party

A Hunting Party.
Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2010 Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch HW10-S-CW-055. CC-BY NC-ND NZ 3.0

“Hunting party somewhere in NZ. Walter Scott Blaikie is standing on far left. Others unknown.”

Date: Between 1895 – 1910?

This image is available as a free postcard as part of our Christchurch Photo Hunt promotion.

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: Group of Young Men by a Railway Hut

Group of Young Men by a Railway Hut.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Glyn Williams. Kete Christchurch PH14-098.jpg CC-BY-NC-SA NZ 3.0

Subjects unknown. Photo reproduced from a  glass negative.

Date: 1910s

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.

How Fathers Occupied themselves at the Beach: Picturing Canterbury

How fathers occupied themselves at the beach playing cards, 1953 Kete Christchurch, HWC08-LYT-045. Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ.

These Dads had 15 children amongst themselves. These families went to Corsair Bay regularly in the summer.  One family travelled by bus from Bryndwr to the Christchurch Railway Station to train to Lyttelton and then launch to Corsair Bay.  The other two families walked from Sydenham and Central City respectively to the railway station to train to Lyttelton and then launch to Corsair Bay.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present.   Anyone can join and contribute.

A shed of your own

Backyrad BuildingMy Dad had a shed.  It was wonderful. Everything had a place, from the oddments of timber to the jars of old nails that he had painstakingly bent back into shape.  It was a place that I was allowed to visit – occasionally – but only the proviso that I didn’t stay long, and I didn’t interfere with whatever happened to be going on.

He would have been a great supporter of Menzshed:

It is a place where men can go to, socialise, have a yarn, be creative, share ideas, share skills and spend time with other men while working.

Men are the primary focus and are seen as the most in need of what Menzshed have to offer.  The website shows plenty of activity and branches throughout the country.

TheToolsheds community in Christchurch has focused on the Kiwi statehouses of the 30s and 40s that were often built with wonderful tool sheds in the back garden

The plan is to rescue a large handful of them from demolition in Christchurch’s earthquake red zone and turn them into port-a-com units for use by adventurous community groups.

Cover of The dark knight of the shedPerhaps you fancy setting up a shed of your own? In The Dark night of the shed: Men, the mid-life crisis, spirituality and sheds the author decided to build a shed to give himself the space to think, and to perhaps curtail the midlife crisis that was fast encroaching in the form of lycra, buying a new sportscar or starting an affair.

My Cool shedIf you prefer your sheds with a bit more ‘how to’ and less angst then Backyard building might be a good start, and if like me you like looking but not necessarily actually doing anything then My Cool Shed: An Inspirational Guide to Stylish Hideaways and Workspaces could be just the ticket.

Mainly manly crafts

Cover of The Complete Illustrated Guide to woodworkingEvery now and then, we get a comment that our Craft book collection contains endless knitting, crochet, felting, and sewing books, and very few manly crafts or hobbies.

When thinking of manly crafts or hobbies I immediately think of woodwork and metalwork, projects such as upholstery maybe, or landscaping, making furniture etc. Plenty of men do jewellery making, toy making or perhaps even whittling. There’s drawing and painting, sculpture, making models, flower arranging. You will be pleased to know that we cater for all these interests and that the dominance of the so called womanly crafts is not as great as it may seem.

Cover of The Knitting Man(ual)You will of course find many titles in the craft section but other parts of the library also include many crafty/hobby topics:

Cover of Kiwi collectorsIn the craft section you will find subjects including toy making, pyrography, and concrete crafts to name a few, and or course plenty of knitting and needle work – and remember that our friendly staff are always be able to help out.

Perhaps this book could also be inspiring: Kiwi collectors : curious and unusual Kiwi hobbies

Manly crafts

Does craftingSearch catalogue seems synonymous with women, or am I jaundiced by the amount of knitting/crochet/beading/embroidery/cross-stitch books that I select for the library? Not that I am complaining, as I do love all these books, but every now and then I get a plaintive cry from a male library user – “Where are the crafting books for men?”

With all the hundreds – and possibly thousands – of craft books that are published each year I see very few designed specifically for men, but even as I am writing this I’m thinking “What is men’s craft?”

Is it woodworking or woodturning, making wooden toys, crafting things out of metal, or leather, or making gadgets … Plenty of craft is also genderless such as jewellery making, pottery, or perhaps floristry, and apparently plenty of men knit.

Search catalogueMaybe when we think of men, it’s more along the lines of hobbies –building, models, creating things for the backyard, furniture making or garden adornment?

Do men craft to create things that are useful, as opposed to women’s craft which is more about making life more attractive?   These are big questions!

If men have UFOs I suspect they take up a bit more room than my knitting or unfinished embroidery, perhaps the shed is essential then, or at least the building of it could keep a man happily occupied for a long while?

How to dispose of your husband

Cover: Great North RoadTired of fighting for control of the TV remote? Fed up with having to entertain your partner every evening? Sick of being the one who has to organise social events?

Try this: Great North Road, 1086 pages of pure reading pleasure, by sci-fi stalwart Peter Hamilton.  I gave it to my husband (let’s call him ‘Derwood’) two weeks ago, and I haven’t had to talk to him since. He arrives home every night from work, takes off his cycle helmet, picks up his plate of weetbix and vanishes. Depending on the weather, he is reading either in the garden (hammock), in the lounge (sofa), the family room (armchair by open French doors), or the bedroom (with accompanying cats). The giant size of the book means it’s a bit of a challenge to sling it in his backpack and take to work, but I have a feeling his patients are lucky they’ve got his full attention there, otherwise he’d probably be balancing it on their heads while fixing their shoulders or backs.

Up until a couple of years ago, Derwood was a one-man reader, Stephen King or no-one. Then I managed to bully him into reading Perdido Street Station, and he was off. Since then, he’s gotten to know China pretty well, and has also been spending time with Justin Cronin, Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Simon Green, and even Charlie Higson (zombies, not spies). Simon and Charlie seem to be a bit light for him, though – if I really want some peace and quiet of an evening, it has to be the great dense volumes of space opera or world-building or urban fantasy (NOT the vampire-y bodice-ripping ones) that involve multiple characters and storylines, with elements of fantasy and/or philosophy, and with some mystery thrown in. So it’s a bit of a relief to have thought of Peter Hamilton. I read his Night’s Dawn Trilogy a few years back, and  loved it, but I have to confess that the big world-building sci-fi books are a bit beyond my scattered concentration abilities at the moment.

I reckon with the rest of Hamilton’s back catalogue still to go, I’m sorted for the next couple of months, but after that I’ll be on the lookout again. Any suggestions as to where I should go after this? I’m thinking maybe Alastair Reynolds, but am open to all other offers …

Is this a sexist blog about OverDrive?

Cover I want to write about the variety of content we have on OverDrive by highlighting what men will find engaging. Men and boys are sometimes reluctant readers (sexist assumption number one) so I wanted to bring attention to the titles we have on OverDrive on war and adventure because that is what men like (sexist assumption number two).

Am I being presumptuous?  I want to tell men and boys about The Field of Bones concerning the Irish division at  Gallipoli rather than Baby Names Your Child Can Live With? I expect that they want  to go Walking in the Footsteps of Private Lynch rather than having  Lessons in Letting Go.

Do men really want to read about Fight Club rather than hearing about the adventures of Country Brides?  I may indeed be wrong as I personally can’t stand romances – I know that in life there is no walking off into the sunset.

I guess making rash generalisations is never a good idea – but then again I can’t think of one woman I know who would want to read about New Zealand Railways.

Am I a realist or am I sexist? Do I generalise to a fault or are there generalisations out there for a reason?

Is there a man out there willing to put his hand up and say YES! I love a bodice ripper.

“I’m looking for a book for my husband/son/brother…what can you recommend?”

Cover image of book "What could he be thinking?"Are men as hard to find library books for, as they are to buy presents for?

In a female-dominated workplace such as the Library, I often look at our book displays and recommendations, and wonder if we are doing enough to cater to the needs and wants of our male readers. What else can we be doing to make the library more “guy-friendly”?

As we review the best reads of 2010 and prepare displays brimming with good books for you to take away on holiday, we want to know what authors and titles you blokes have enjoyed and would recommend to the other fellas out there. Tell us what kinds of books you want us to have ready for you to grab and go. And if you are not a man but go hunting for library books on behalf of one, tell us what has been a successful find.

Do men have more sophisticated tastes than we give them credit for, or will a pile of action-packed thrillers and mysteries suffice?