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March 2013

The Archives

  • New Zealand, NZ Book Month, Rachel and Rebecca

    It’s still New Zealand Book Month

    14.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on It’s still New Zealand Book Month

    Did you know? In fact, we’re almost half way through New Zealand Book Month! Exciting stuff! So have you read any homegrown authors? Been to any events? If you answered no to both questions then never fear, there’s plenty more happening and you can find out about it here. Perhaps that seminar on writing YA fiction at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie  on Sunday 24th of March is for you. In the meantime we bring you a spotlight on the wonderful Karen Healey. If you’re an aspiring writer yourself then I urge you to check out her website FAQ page which is full of useful hints and tips. And then read her books for inspiration!

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGuardian of the Dead is her debut novel and won a whole lot of awards. It’s easy to understand why because there is so much to love about this book! The heroine, Ellie Spencer, is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality. Throughout all of this Ellie remains one of the most calm and collected heroine’s we’ve ever encountered. She’s on a mission to save the world which drastically changes her life clearly, but it doesn’t derail it. Instead, Ellie keeps going, gets excited about going to university and majoring in Classics. She simply takes all that she’s learned from these life-changing events with her, because that’s what smart girls do. And we love her for it.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Shattering introduces us to another fantastic heroine. Keri is still in shock from her older brother’s suicide when her former bff Janna suggests that perhaps it wasn’t suicide but murder. Sceptical but hopeful, Keri agrees to meet with her and Sione to talk about this possibility (apparently Janna’s older brother Schulyer’s suicide started a pattern of one male per year killing himself, the link being age and that they were in Summertown for New Year’s Eve). The three start to investigate and discover something’s Not Quite Right with the town, and some of the townspeople. While some of the reveals were obvious, there were enough surprises to keep us interested. What we loved in both these book is that Karen Healey addresses issues of race but it’s not the focus. Somehow along the way she gets us to consider the context of Maori myths. Did the colonials impact their written recording for example? Mostly though, The Shattering, is an incredibly engaging mystery with a New Zealand flavour.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen We Wake is set in Australia but we’ll forgive it because this book is, quite simply, stunning. As well as shifting in setting When We Wake falls into a different genre. Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027 – she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice. But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened. Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity – even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

    If you still don’t believe us then check out the book trailer here although you’ll have to look past the American accent. That handy link will take you to Karen Healey’s website, did we mention that you should check it out already? Yes, yes we did and we’ll do it some more because it’s that good.

    Hope you’re reading some New Zealand authors this month!

    R n R

  • Library, Library Serf

    The new and improved Overdrive

    13.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on The new and improved Overdrive

    Overdrive – the home of many of WCL’s e-audiobooks and all the e-books – has had a makeover. The new site features are explained in this news post here. Included is an introductory tutorial, hosted by a polite and competent Overdrive librarian.

  • Internet, Library Serf, Movies

    Catching Fire Fashion Extra

    12.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Catching Fire Fashion Extra

    We at the teen blog like fiction and fashion, so when you put them together you get a winner. We do love the Catching Fire couture photos that have cropped up recently. Even the chairs are awesome. Finnick looks piratical (<3 the word piratical, any excuse to use it), and we’re not sure whose dress is better, Johanna’s or Katniss’ (which looks like it’s part-weapon). Stuff informs us that Effie is wearing Alexander McQueen. Here’s Perez Hilton on the topic.

    Also, make sure you re-read the book while you wait for the first teaser trailer. The movie website (complete with impressive flaming logo) is here.

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    Go Gucci!

    08.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Go Gucci!

    I have exciting news for ya’ll! Luxe Italian brand Gucci has made a strong move towards ethical fashion, creating a handbag range using only legally-produced leather from the Brazilian Amazon. This is the world’s first collection of zero deforestation handbags, and they were debuted for the very first time just two days ago at Paris Fashion Week. Woo to the hoo! Their new range will feature three styles and is strictly made with responsibly-sourced leather from cattle ranches that guarantee no deforestation. You can see the sweet new goods (plus read more about them) here

    Good for Gucci, I say! As you know, I love a brand with heart and an ethical conscience, and I think this is an epic move for such a massive luxury brand. Full respect!

    Diana Zanetto, Gucci’s executive vice president and chief merchandising and licensing officer, says: “We know that consumers are changing. Consumers are not satisfied only with beautiful products – they want to know where the products come from and how they are made.”

    Word up! Each bag from the new range will feature a GCC brand mark, and will also come with a ‘passport’, which documents the origin of the bag and also informs the buyer about exactly where the bag’s materials were sourced from. At the mo, Gucci is sourcing the leather from five cattle ranches which are certified by the National Wildlife Federation and Rainforest Alliance, and is seeking to increase this number.

    While I don’t have the… resources to rush out and buy one, I do think this is a big move towards eithical and sustainable style, especially considering the epic scale of Gucci. Here’s hoping it’s a the start of many beautiful (and ethical) things.

    Syndetics book coverGucci : the making of / [editorial coordination by Gucci].
    “An unprecedented publication showcasing Gucci as never before, including thought-provoking essays, commentaries, and authoritative anecdotes along with previously unpublished contemporary and archival photographs. Published in conjunction with the opening of the new Gucci Museum in Florence, Gucci is the ultimate celebration of the world-renowned fashion house. Gucci: The Making Of is a dynamic record of a much-coveted brand that will be a must this season for anyone with a love of fashion and an interest in contemporary culture.This gorgeous book designed by Arnell offers an in-depth look into Gucci’s origins, identity, influence, and innovation, including fabrication methods and appropriation of signature materials, past and present, and its influence among high society and Hollywood. The book is a heartfelt and personalized tribute to the heritage and influence of this iconic, multifaceted brand.” – adapted from Amazon.com

    Syndetics book coverGucci by Gucci : 85 years of Gucci / creative direction by Douglas Lloyd ; texts by Sarah Mower ; editorial coordination by Gucci.
    “From paparazzi photographs to full page spreads in Vogue, this aptly lavish pictorial history chronicles Gucci’s evolution since its 1921 inception in Florence, Italy. The range of shots and locations tells the story of Gucci’s ubiquitous place in popular culture, without the aid of captions or credits (both relegated to the end of the book). Aside from a lengthy introduction recapping Gucci history, the collection allows the images to speak for themselves. The mix of old and new Hollywood celebrities shows Gucci spanning time, from Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minelli and Clark Gable to Brad Pitt, Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna. Taking out the distraction of celebrity, the vibrant Gucci ad campaigns focus on the decadence of the many shoes, handbags and jewelry lines. After 400 pages, the show of luxury and opulence may overwhelm the uninitiated, but for fashion students and enthusiasts, this is a volume worth studying. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.” – adapted from Books in Print.

    Also!! I’m attending an exciting fashion event this weekend, which I can’t wait to share with you next week. STAY TUNED.

  • Books, Rachel and Rebecca

    Faves of our faves

    07.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Faves of our faves

    If you’ve been following our blog (long shot we know) then you may have worked out that we’ve got some favourite authors. Because even librarians aren’t impartial. But what do you do when you’ve read everything that your favourite author has written? Well, why not check out what they’re reading instead! The wonderful Goodreads makes this ever so easy. All you need to do is look up an author and if they have “(Goodreads author)” beside their name they will most likely have a ‘bookshelf’ – in Goodreads lingo, a list to the rest of us – of their favourite books. Here are a few favourites from our favourties:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNeil Gaiman it appears, is a big fan of fairy tales. Which really isn’t that surprising if you consider the content of his books. Here in the library we have a fantastic collection of fairy tales (although sometimes you need to look past the covers) which range from the classic Grimm’s fairy tales to less known stories from all round the world. Why not check out some Korean or Greek folklore? Neil Gaiman in particular recommends Alan Garner.

    Maggie Stiefvater’s books have some consistently gorgeous covers. As do these three that she’s rated highly on Goodreads recently. A coincidence? Well yes, probably. Because good covers and good books are not synonymous as we’re sure you know. However, so often it is a good cover that makes you pick up a book in the first place. So why not check out these gorgeous covers?

    book cover courtesy of Syndetics book cover courtesy of Syndetics book cover courtesy of Syndetics

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKaren Healey is one of our newest faves. Check out next week’s blog post to find out the reasons behind our infatuation! Sneak peak though: she has a fantastic list bookshelf of recommendations on Goodreads including Q & A by Vikas Swarup (the original title of Slumdog Millionaire before the movie came out), Paper Towns by John Green (another of our faves), Graceling by Kristen Cashore (see below), The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (which we’ve recommended before), several of Sarah Dessen’s books and the classic Anne of Green Gables (a must read for every independent young woman).

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRobert Muchamore isn’t a Goodreads author but, like most contemporary authors, he does have a website which includes a page of recommendations. As well as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins the list includes Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie and The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan. It’s not a huge list but does give a few suggestions of where to go while you’re eagerly awaiting the next CHERUB or Henderson’s Boys instalment.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKristen Cashore is another one who isn’t a Goodreads author and therefore we had to search further afield for her recommendations. But really all we did was search “currently reading” on her blog and will now give you some of the results. The Hunger Games makes it onto the list as well as The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (which we both loved and are still finding a list to fit it into) and the D.J. Schwenk trilogy (Dairy Queen, The Off Season and Front and Center) which feature the awesome heroine D.J. who, “in case you haven’t met her, is a high school gal who’d much rather spend Friday night playing linebacker than painting her toenails and going to a dance” in the words of the wonderful Kristen Cashore.

    Goodreads is really good at recommending books based on what you’ve already read, so if you’ve run out of ideas (and have exhausted our extensive and ongoing list of recommended reading!) then we suggest making a Goodreads account and to start rating some books! Enjoy 🙂

  • Books, Grimm, New

    Looking forward to:

    06.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Looking forward to:

    Here are some action-filled books we’ve got coming in the next few months. Some steampunk, even!

    Quicksilver, R J Anderson (May) – the sequel to Ultraviolet. “Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want – popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it. Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual… talents. Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab. She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills – and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.” (goodreads.com)

    Level 2, Lenore Appelhans (soon) – “Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend… and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her. Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.” (goodreads.com)

    Emilie & the Hollow World, Martha Wells (April) – “While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure. Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father. With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.” (goodreads.com)

  • Books, Library, Library Serf

    Read some YA in another language

    05.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Read some YA in another language

    Did you know that Wellington City Libraries has a collection of books in languages other than English? We do! Some of them you may recognise.

    Christopher Paolini: the Inheritance cycle in Chinese (Yilalong, Zhang lao, Di guo: San, and Di guo: Xia)

    Ally Condie: the Matched trilogy in German (Cassia & Ky auf Deutsch: Die Flucht, Die Auswahl, Die Ankunft).

    Lauren Kate: Duo luo tian shi (Fallen in Chinese)

    Suzanne Collins: we have The Hunger Games in German, Chinese, Spanish, French

    Stephenie Meyer: remember Twilight? Well, we’ve got the series in (deep breath) Chinese, Japanese, Korean (these have cool covers), Russian (some), Spanish.

    P C and Kristin Cast: a selection of the House of Night series in Chinese.

    So if you’re at home in another language, or you’re looking for a challenge, this is the perfect place to start. Here’s a complete list of teen fiction books in other languages, including some non-translated titles.

    If there’s something in another language you think the library should definitely get, then let us know (you can fill in a suggestion to buy here).

    Library Serf

  • Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: March 2013

    01.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: March 2013

    Beautiful Creatures is on at the movies at the moment, which means the book’s in demand (is Ethan more likeable in the film?).

    1. Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare [no change]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Looking for Alaska, John Green [no change]
    4. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 1]
    5. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [up 1]
    6. Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl [old/new]
    6. The Indigo Spell, Richelle Mead [new]
    8. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    8. Scorched Earth, Robert Muchamore [up 2]
    10. Guardian Angel, Robert Muchamore [down 6]

    Other interesting popular titles include Mockingjay, Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Cardcaptor Sakura 4, and Prodigy by Marie Lu.

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue


    01.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Overdressed

    I have a… treat for you this week. My utterly fashionable and very well-read workmate, Emily, did what I wouldn’t couldn’t – she read this book:

    Syndetics book coverOverdressed : the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion / Elizabeth L. Cline.

    She’s kindly written a wee spiel about it for us, so read on and conquer!

    Confession: I’m addicted to cheap fashion. Despite an otherwise strident sense of social justice, I’ve tended to block off the part of me that worries about where my clothes are coming from in favour of snapping up bargains.

    It was with a sense of trepidation that I picked up Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed, nervous that my worst fears would come true. Cline explores the dangers of the way that we shop, exploring the phenomenon of fast fashion, dwindling quality of construction, conditions for garment workers and the afterlife of our charity shop donations. Conversations about cheap fashion are hard, often coming across as preachy and striking fear into the heart of those, like me, who relish the fun and creativity that comes with clothes. Overdressed isn’t going to make you feel good. At first. But Cline manages to turn a dour subject into something of a manifesto for the ethical fashion enthusiast, acknowledging the fun that comes with dressing well even as she addresses the problems with our taste for ever-cheaper goods.

    Image courtesy of Carrie Harwood.

    There are too many scary trends highlighted in the book to recount in detail but the most striking point for me was the huge slump in quality in modern clothing. Amazingly, a bargain basement woman’s outfit at the turn of the twentieth century was around US$200. In today’s money, a huge investment! Well into the 1960s and 1970s clothing prices for the everyday outfit strike the modern reader as staggeringly expensive. Modern clothing has ditched the sharp tailoring and quality fabrics that make the outfits of Mad Men so covetable in favour of simple, synthetic pieces with pretty shoddy sewing. It’s not just the planet, workers and retailers who are getting a rough deal from modern fashion, it’s the fashionistas themselves. Future generations will begrudge us the gorgeous quality vintage that we can snap up now when we leave behind a legacy of raggedy, polyester clothes.

    The good news is that Cline’s recipe for becoming a more ethical shopper doesn’t involve the dire commandment to build capsule wardrobes stocked with crisp white bamboo shirts and tailored pants. Here are some tips that I picked up and (hopefully!) want to put into practice:

    • The most important point! Get a feel for quality. Next time you’re shopping take the time to feel fabrics, check out buttons and seams and read labels. I had a neurotic trip to the mall after reading Overdressed in which I madly felt up clothes all over the place, it really helped to curb those impulsive spends on cheap, throwaway items. Set your own benchmark and don’t settle for the barely sewn on buttons and seriously flammable looking polyesters.

    • Work out roughly how much you spend on fashion each year and figure out how you could make the same amount of money go further on items from quality retailers and secondhand or vintage buys. Stores like Savemart offer secondhand gems without the pricetag.

    LOVE this! Truly a second-hand gem.






    Image courtesy of Carrie Harwood.

    • Shop what’s already in your wardrobe and have fun experimenting with outfits and unusual combinations. Organising your wardrobe into shirts, skirts, dresses etc will help reduce the “I’ve got nothing to wear” panic that causes constant shopping trips.

    • Think carefully about charity shop donations as they receive a lot of broken and flimsy donations that are no good for anyone. Repair any flaws in the garment, try it out in different combinations with your other clothes or offer to your friends before donating.

    • Learn how to sew! Girls in the past would alter most of their clothes to get that perfect fit whereas now we tend to accept clothes the way they come. Our library is full of guides for the absolute beginner. Learning how to repair and alter your wardrobe is a huge asset and Overdressed already has me lusting after my own sewing machine. If you’re not into DIY sewing look out for alteration services.


     Get your stitch on!






    Image courtesy of Mandy Ferrugia.

    The moral of the story: something needs to change pretty soon but ethical fashion doesn’t have to be uninspiring. Face your fears and give it a read.

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