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July 2009

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  • Selector, Simon

    Selector : Magazine

    09.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    selectoraWe’ve culled a couple of magazines in the YA area and now we’re left with a few empty shelves. There are many, many magazines and periodicals in the adult collection that could be added to the YA collection – which would mean they’d be free for YA card holders (and free to reserve). But which magazines? Will you help us decide? The one that gets the most votes in the next four weeks will be added (on trial) to the YA collection.

    Votes must be in before the 6th of August.

    We’re also interested in any other magazines you think we should get.

    Below is a brief description of the magazines to choose from, along with a voting form. You can vote once per day (so you could vote for the same magazine each day if you like). Each vote will put you in the draw for a library DVD voucher. You must be a WCL cardholder to be eligible to vote, and you must be between 13 and 18.

    Read more…


  • Books, Internet, Simon

    10pm Question at 10:45am

    09.07.09 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    the_10pm_questionKate de Goldi’s great book (and NZ Post Book Award-winner), The 10pm Question, is being read in the morning on National Radio’s Nine-to-Noon programme. Because of copyright it’s not available through Radio NZ’s podcast service (which I recommend a look at, regardless) but that’s no reason not to start listening. You are on holiday. Part 5 is tomorrow morning, at 10.45am.

    Also, here’s an interview with Kate de Goldi we did late last year.


  • Espionage, Grimm, New

    Reserve CHERUB #11 Now

    09.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    We’ve put an order in for Brigands MC, the eleventh CHERUB book, so if you’re keen to read it reserve it now!

    For clues about what happens have a look at the CHERUB website, or if you’re very short on time this blog post.


  • Simon

    Congratulations!

    09.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    Oh nice, well done. You are familiar with QR codes. Obviously! We may try to use them in the future. You just never know.

    Please comment and if you’re a WCL cardholder (YA only) we will send you a bag of junk (i.e., the free things that come with magazines). What a deal.


  • Art, Grimm, Library

    Into Photography?

    08.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    Are you studying Photography or just keen and naturally talented? We asked Françoise, library staff member and photographer, about photography books and resources and she’s given us a list (yay, list) of recommended reading and viewing.

    1 The Genius of Photography, by Gerry Badger (770.9 BAD)
    This landmark book explores the key events and images that have marked the development of photography. What is it that makes a photograph by Nan Goldin or Henri Cartier Bresson stand out among the millions of others taken by all of us every single day? The Genius of Photography examines the evolution of photography in its wider context: social, political, economic, technological and artistic. A great reference book on this evermore influential artform.

    2 A Century of Colour Photography, by Pamela Roberts (770.9 ROB)
    This comprehensive collection offers fine examples of the art of colour photography, covering every major technical and artistic development in colour photography over the last 100 years, since the Lumière brothers made the autochrome process commercially available in June 1907.

    3 Contemporary New Zealand Photographers, by Hannah Holm & Lara Strongman (770.9931 CON)
    Designed to accompany the exhibition that toured New Zealand in 2006, this book is a must for anybody interested in photography today in New Zealand. All the major contemporary photographers of the country are featured here with text and some key images. An essential reference.

    4 Magnum (779 MAG)
    Founded in 1947 by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and other eminent photographers, Magnum is an agency of elected photojournalists who independently photograph what they choose rather than what they are assigned. Regarded as the best of their profession, their images can have a lasting impact on viewers and be truly inspirational. Magnumdegree is a book about history and humanity, journalism and art, offering a vision of the contemporary world at the beginning of the new millennium. It contains over 600 colour and black-and-white photographs by 69 Magnum photographers, including original contributions from Cartier-Bresson.

    5 Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography, by Ute Eskilden, Florian Ebner and Bettina Kaufmann (779.2 STR)
    The street allows photographers to conceal cameras and catch subjects unaware, in informal settings. By contrast, the studio permits both photographers and subjects to present carefully composed images to the world through elaborate staging and technical tricks. Street and Studio provides a revealing look at the history of photography through the contrasts and tensions between these two traditions.

    6 The Polaroid Book, by Steve Crist and Barbara Hitchcock (779 POL)
    In existence for over 50 years, the Polaroid Corporation’s photography collection is the greatest collection of Polaroid images in the world. Begun by Polaroid founder Edwin Land and photographer Ansel Adams, the collection now includes images by hundreds of photographers throughout the world and contains important pieces by artists such as David Hockney, Helmut Newton, Jeanloup Sieff and Robert Rauschenberg. The Polaroid Book, a survey of this remarkable collection, pays tribute to a medium that defies the digital age and remains a favourite among artists for its quirky look and instantly gratifying, one-of-a-kind images.

    7 Digital Photography Masterclass, by Tom Ang (775 ANG)
    One of Britain’s best-known photographers, Ang has hosted a popular BBC TV series called A Digital Picture of Britain and won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. In this book, the author teaches how to look at the world with a photographer’s eye and offers tutorials, photographic assignments, and step-by-step image-manipulation exercises. A perfect introduction for budding photographers.

    8 Fashion & Advertising, by Magdalene Keaney (778.92 KEA)
    In these workshops, World’s Top Photographers discuss and explore the technical and artistic aspects of photographer: lighting, composition, colour, tone and imaging. Stunning images and in-depth interviews plus checklists and tips-and-hints panels make this book a beautiful and practical manual.

    9 Henri Cartier-Bresson in India, by Henri Cartier-Bresson (779.9954)
    From 1947 through the 1980s, founder of Magnum, Henri Cartier-Bresson photographed all aspects of India’s multi-facetted society, from refugee camps to the Maharaja of Barodea’s birthday celebration. His gift of observation and connections infuse all these photos, revealing the essence of a country that has captured the world’s imagination.

    10 Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs, by Ans Westra, Luit Bieringa and Cushla Parekowhai (770.92 WES)
    Born in the Netherlands, Ans Westra came to New Zealand in 1957. In a few short years she was to embark on her life-long photographic journey documenting the lives and cultures of New Zealanders. This book is an in-depth insight into more than 130 documentary images by one of the most influential photographers of this country.

    11 Life, by Lennart Nilsson (779.949611 NIL)
    Lennart Nilsson took the first image of a living human embryo in the 1960s and stunned the world. Life is an amazing book of images documenting human life from DNA through fetal development and birth. The second half of the book focuses on the human body, its organs, tissues, and the things that eventually threaten life – bacteria and viruses. Science meets Art in this incredible journey to the centre of the human body.

    12 Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, by Wim Wenders, Peter-Klaus Schuster and Nicole Hartje (779 WEN)
    For many years, famous German Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, Buena Vista Social Club) has taken an old panorama camera along with him on his travels. The result is a collection of landscapes and cityscapes, photographs of architecture and nature where few humans appear, taken in the United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, Cuba and Germany.

    13 Africa, by Sebastiao Salgado (779.996 SAL)
    This stunning book, entirely in black and white, is a photographic document of Africa by Sebastiao Salgado, but also a homage to the history, people, and natural phenomena of this continent. Renowned Mozambique novelist Mia Couto describes how today’s Africa reflects the effects of colonisation as well as the consequences of economic, social, and environmental crises. Moving and inspiring.

    Françoise has also kindly subcategorised them for us like so -

    • General (Historical, Overview, Theme): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    • Techniques, How-to: 7, 8
    • Individual Artists: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
    • New Zealand: 3, 10

    Want more?
    Visit the library Art Resources page for books, magazines, useful websites and other tools, including art-related online databases. Oxford Art Online, for example, is great for searching for biographical information on famous photographers (you’ll need to enter your library card number and surname to access).


  • Exclusive academies for rich kids who form cliques, Simon, Top 10

    Top 10: Series about fabulous rich girls

    06.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    The success of the Gossip Girl series has led to a number of similarly-themed series. They tend to have several things in common: the main characters are girls, who are rich, or share the same social circles as the über-rich, and they go to an exclusive private school; the books are usually set in (or near) New York; and most of the characters favour style over substance (afterall, it’s difficult to be friendly towards someone in a denim skirt). Sometimes they’re undead, or even just dead.

    So here’s a list (in no particular order):

    1. The Gossip Girl - The series so popular it’s now a television series! It’s set on the Upper East Side of Manhatten, which is New York’s Oriental Parade, only vastly more wealthy and stylish. No beach, however. The books are about a group of friends/enemies, their designer clothes and parties. The Gossip Girl herself anonymously writes about them. The school is called the Constance Billard School for Girls. There’s a gazillion books in the series.

    2. The It Girl - The ‘It Girl’ in the title went to the Constance Billard School for Girls but was so poorly behaved she was sent to the very exclusive Waverly Prep boarding school. She will do anything – anything! - get to be one of the Waverly elite. This series is one of the two Gossip Girl spin-offs (all were created by Cecily von Ziegesar, but most are written by other people).

    3. Gossip Girl: The Carlyles - The Carlyle triplets move from Nantucket to NYC after the death of their grandmother. They go to Constance Billard (and St. Jude’s School for Boys, for one of them is a boy) and quickly prove to be even more vicous – and fabulous - than Serena, Blair, etc. (Official website for Gossip Girl.)

    4. The Ashleys, by Melissa De la Cruz - At Miss Gamble’s Preparatory School for Girls the three reigning princesses of popularity are all named Ashley; hence ‘The Ashleys’. New-comer Lauren is determined to enter their group. This series is set in San Francisco, and not New York, which is a shame but there you have it. (Official website.)

    5. The Clique, by Lisi Harrison - The Clique are a group of girls who are the top of the popularity food chain at their private school.  The books are notable (according to the Library School Journal) for the characters’ cruelty. Awesome! It’s set in Westchester County, New York, where the X-Men hang out (incidentally). Who would win in a fight? The first book was made into a direct-to-DVD film, newly arrived at the library. (Official website.)

    6. Inside Girl, by J Minter – Fourteen-year-old Flan Flood’s family are all incredibly beautiful socialites, but she decided to break with tradition and goes to a typical public school. It’s a spin-off from another series by J. Minter, The Insiders, which is more in keeping with the other series in this list. Set in and around lower Manhattan. (Official website.)

    7. Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard - Three years ago the leader (Alison) of a group of girls disappears. Now someone calling themselves ‘A’ is threatening to expose the secrets of the group, who all fit the Gossip Girl mold. With a bit of mystery thrown in, the series has been called ‘Desperate Housewives for teens.’ (Official website.)

    8. Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz – Set amongst Manhattan’s elite teens, Blue Bloods throws vampirism into the mix. (Official website.)

    9. Vampire Academy, by Rachelle Mead – St Vladimir’s is a private academy (in Montana, not NY) for vampires and the half-vampires who protect them. The series is notable for being set in a gritty and dark world which doesn’t hold back. Perhaps not so in keeping with this list, but the academy is about as exclusive as it gets and one of the main characters is a princess. A vampire princess. (Official website.)

    10. The Luxe, by Anna Godberson – Most reviewers remark that this series is essentially Gossip Girl - Manhattan, rich glamorous people, and so on – set in 1899. I’m not sure what the ‘Luxe’ in the title refers to, but funnily enough 1899 was the year that Lux soap was launched in the UK. (Official website.)


  • Events, Happenings, Simon, Wellington

    Japan Festival

    06.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    japanfestToday is the first day of Wellington’s inaugural Japan Festival, which will run until the 11th of July at the Town Hall and the Ilot theatre. It is ‘one week of Japanese themed activities, including a musical fair, business breakfast and highlighted by a Japan festival day with food stalls, crafts and entertainment.’ The Japan festival is this Saturday, the 11th of July, from 1pm, and there will be loads to do.

    I’m looking forward to the food stalls the most, as when it comes to Japanese food I can’t stop.


  • Grimm, Music, Top 10

    Top 10: Books with Music

    04.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    There’s a surprising amount of music-themed literature in the library; here is but a small sample.

    1. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn – He wrote Nick, she wrote Norah, which is really the only way I can imagine writing a novel properly with someone else.
    2. Pop Princess, by Rachel Cohn – With a name like Wonder Blake it’s only a matter of time before she becomes one (a pop princess) by way of a music competition.
    3. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K. L. Going – Curt is a skinny punk genius and Troy is an overweight social leper, together they make a fabulous music odd couple and a cool story about turning your life around.
    4. Beige, by Cecil Castellucci – Katy (who is nicknamed “Beige” by her friend who thinks she, well, lacks a bit of colour) goes to live with her father, an “aging punk rock legend”. There’s a soundtrack that goes along, or rather a “suggested listening list”, so it’s a multi-sensory experience.
    5. Duet, by David Hill – classical and popular music do mix, with awkward, life-long ramifications, in this New Zealand romance.
    6. Gangsta Rap, by Benjamin Zephaniah – Ray, Prem and Tyronne form a rap group in London and they’re a hit, but rap and violence often go together.
    7. Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen – Owen’s mix CDs, one mysteriously called “Just Listen” help pull Annabel out of her shell and face her demons.
    8. Rock Star, Superstar, by Blake Nelson – Being in a popular rock band sounds ideal, but it tests Pete’s relationship with his girlfriend, Margaret.
    9. The Last Days, by Scott Westerfeld – The sequel to Peeps; here the chapter titles are all band names, and the evil beneath New York is back (with the rats).
    10. The Commitments, Roddy Doyle (thanks to Reading Rants – I forgot about this one) – Both the book and the movie were a huge smash hit in the very early 1990s. Ride, Sally, ride.


  • Grimm

    What’s Been Going On Then?

    03.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    Recently on the teen blog:

    Happy holidays.


  • Books, Espionage, Fantasy, Grimm, Horror, New, Simon

    Some more new books

    02.07.09 | Permalink | Comment?

    New books for the week - part two.

    Eagle Day, by Robert Muchamore (405 pages) – The much-awaited latest book in the Henderson’s Boys series. Charles Henderson is a British spy, who leads some kids in actions against the Germans during WWII (it’s not set in the present, obviously). There’s an official website with all kinds of interesting content and downloads.

    First line: ‘It was eleven at night, but the port of Bordeaux crackled with life.’

    Goldstrike, by Matt Whyman (265 pages) – Teen hacker Carl is being pursued by a bounty hunter and an al-Queda assassin. His only recourse is to hide out in a warehouse guarded by Cleo, a hyper-super-computer that doesn’t like intruders …

    First line: ‘In black suits and dark glasses, the three men stand out among the throng.

    Stolen, by Vivian Vande Velde (158 pages) – On the same day that a child-stealing witch is supposedly immolated in a house-fire, a girl appears in the forest with no memory of where she’s from. Could she have been taken by the witch six years earlier?

    First line: ‘The old witch saw that she had gone too far.

    Eternal, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (307 pages) – Miranda’s life is saved by her guardian angel, Zachary, but she’s consequently converted into a vampire. She is adopted by the King of the Mantle of Dracul, and Zachary pretends to be her assistant in an effort to save her soul. Has werewolves and romance also.

    First line: ‘I may be heaven-sent, but I’m not perfect.

    The Bower Bird, by Ann Kelley (196 pages) – Twelve-year-old Gussie has many plans; she wants to be a photographer, loves animals, and needs to cope with her parents’ divorce. Alas! She also needs a heart and lung transplant, and time isn’t on her side.

    First lines: ‘We’ve been here for two weeks. I’m still not well enought to start at the local school.

    Plague of the Undead : Chronicles of Blood, by Gary Cross (300 pages) – It’s 1650, and Lucius’ father – a newly-made vampire – has just killed his family. Lucius survived, and joins an elite band of vampire hunters, tracking down the master vampire who wants to turn the world into a vampire race. Written by a NZer!

    First line: ‘The boy knew his father was going to kill him.

    Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, by Nico Medina (290 pages) – Margarita “Madge” Diaz is ‘fat, foxy, and fabulous’; she and her rival, student-body president Bridget Benson, decide to compete with one another be named prom queen. The loser will back off, for good. Both will do whatever it takes to win.

    First line: ‘I hate Bridget Benson.

    Saving Rafael, by Leslie Wilson (410 pages) – Jenny and Raf are in love, but they live in Nazi-ruled Berlin – and Raf is Jewish. They join with others who must try to stay alive and eventually flee from immense danger.

    First line: ‘We were in a cow byre, ten of us, cleaning out the stalls in our thin striped calico skirts and jackets.

    Blood Sun, by David Gilman (400 pages) – This is the third in the Danger Zone series of books about eco-hero teen Max Gordon. Official website here!

    First lines: ‘Darkness devoured him. Eyes wide with terror, he saw only the gaping void, heard his desperate breathing hammering through his skull as the rasping one-eyed monster pursued him.

    Raven Rise : Pendragon Book Nine, by D. J. Machale (544 pages) – book nine is the second to last in the series and finds Bobby Pendragon trapped and the final battle for Halla about to begin. Can he save the world? The book cover says this is The Lord of the Rings for the Alex Rider generation. Discuss.

    First sentence(s): “Ibara!” The tunnel remained silent.

    Ghost Medicine, by Andrew Smith (357 pages) – After the death of his mother, Troy just wants to spend the summer hanging out with his friends and being sort of invisible, but life gets in the way with complex, dangerous twists and turns.

    First sentence: I can see myself lying in the dirt, on my back, on a warm, starry night, with my feet up on those rocks, ringing a swirling and noisy fire, listening, laughing, seeing the sparks that corkscrew, spinning above me into the black like dying stars, fading, disappearing, becoming something else; my hat back on my head so I can just see my friends from the corners of my eyes.

    Half Way to Good, by Kirsten Murphy (320 pages) – from the back cover: “A funny and moving novel about dealing with love, death and everything in between.”

    First sentence: Waiting wasn’t anyone’s idea of fun.

    The Stepsister Scheme, by Jim C. Hines (344 pages) – Cinderella (real name Danielle) is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte shortly after her (Cinderella, that is) marries Prince Armand. Martial arts expert and fairy-blessed Talia – or Sleeping Beauty – comes to the rescue, but not before Armand is taken to the Realm of the Fairies. Talia, and Snow White, both part of the Queen’s Secret Service, join with Danielle to get Armand back.

    First line: ‘Danielle Whiteshore, formerly Danielle de Glas, would never be a proper princess.

    The Poison Garden, by Sarah Singleton (284 pages) – Thomas’ recently deceased grandmother leaves him a magic box that enables him to enter a mysterious garden. He encounters her ghost there, where she reveals that she belonged to arcane guild of chemists. She was poisoned during a struggle for power, and now Thomas must find the murderer before he himself becomes a victim.

    First line: ‘High in the tower the bell tolled, counting out eleven hours.

    Bang, Bang, You’re Dead, by Narinder Dhami (247 pages) – A gunman is rumoured to be somewhere in Mia’s school, and the place is being evacuated. Mia has a dreadful feeling that the gunman is her brother, Jamie, who has been acting very weird lately. Can she get to him in time? This book has a terrific twist at the end that’s right I read the end first

    First line: ‘The scene is normal: a family at breakfast on Monday morning before the kids go off to school.

    In brief:

    Brown Skin Blue, by Belinda Jeffrey (211 pages)
    Butterfly, by Sonya Hartnett (214 pages)
    Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories, by Deborah Ellis (169 pages) – a collection of short stories about teens whose lives are affected by the drug trade.


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