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  • Great Reads, Isn't that cool?, Librarian's Choice, New Zealand, Nicola, Non-fiction

    Spotlight on YA Non-Fiction

    13.03.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    I’m pretty proud of our non-fiction section. It’s small but concise. It has lots of books that will teach you about all the important things you need to know: from passing algebra to how to cook roast chicken, from surviving high school to how to get dressed in the morning. In this series, I’ll look at one or two books from each dewey section, highlighting my favourites. Some sections will have more books than others, due to size or the variety of topic contained within. If you have any books you’d like to spotlight, please leave them in the comments!

    000s – Generalities
    Dead StrangeBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    This book is a miscellany of the bizarre unexplained phenomena that puzzle ‘experts’ everywhere; an A-Z of oddness. It’s fairly tongue-in-cheek, and if you’re not convinced you’ll at least be entertained. I’m a bit of a conspiracy theoriest nut (although I find them enjoyable rather than believable) so I had a lot of fun reading this. It’s a fairly exhaustive selection, and it even introduced me to a few I hadn’t heard of before…

    100s – Philosophy and Psychology
    i.d : stuff that happens to define usBook Cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a collection of real stories, each illustrated, with an Q and A with the story teller about what happened next. It’s so much more than the sum of its parts, however. Each illustration conveys the emotion of the story being told, whether positive or negative. Each discusses a certain incident; the moment when a teenager learns to stop being negative about her body, or the time an immigrant girl really feels at odds with her mostly white companions. The illustrations themselves are done in a scratchy, naive style, which help to convey the fraught emotions of each of the stories.

    200s – Religion
    Understanding IslamBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Islam is in the news a lot these days, but without talking about the context of this religion. It’s a bit simplistic to say that this book will teach you “everything” you need to understand about Islam -an extremely diverse faith- but it’s an extremely good place to start. It looks at the different sects within Islam, some of its cultural traditions (again, it’s an extreme diverse faith!) and its core tenets. It also discusses the history and the contributions Islamic people have made to the world, which are often left out of discussions. It really helped me gain a pretty good, if basic, understanding of Islam and its definitely worth picking up if you follow international events.

    300s – Social Sciences
    Where children sleepBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a fascinating collection detailing, like it says in the title, the places where children from around the world sleep. A two page-spread consists of the photo of each child, a small description of where they live, their home life and their ambitions, with a full page colour photo of their ‘room’. It’s a simple concept that never comes across as patronising or proselythising; it manages to communicate the massive inequality in different parts of the world, as well as social issues that affect the featured childrens’ lives.

    400s – Langauge
    Punctuation Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This book is never going to set the world on fire but your English teacher will thank you for reading it, especially if you’re having trouble writing essays. While studying where and when to use things like commas might seem a bit redundant, this book will help you use them skillfully, which might mean the difference between a merit and an excellence.

    The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native treesBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    A great read for the budding botanists (ha ha) out there. It’s a classic, and for good reason; it’s got plenty of pictures showing the distinguishing features of each type of tree. I like to think of these kind of books as ones that will be useful during a zombie apocalypse: telling the difference between rangiora and ongaonga could certainly save you a lot of pain and trouble! Each section on the tree contains pictures of its leaves, fruit or flowers, and stems or trunks. While there’s not a whole lot of written information in this book, it also lists other books that could be helpful.

    600s – Technology
    After Toast Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    A trend among cookbooks aimed at a YA audience is that they try a bit hard to be ‘trendy’: losts of ‘slang’, lots of references to texting, and criminal overuse of the word “mates.” Luckily, this book skips all those traps, focusing instead on simple, easy recipes that might even be healthy. They’re split into sections by meal, with and index at the back. There’s a handy guide at the beginning, explaining what tools you’ll need, how to tell if certain meats are cooked, and various other ‘how to’ sections that are pretty useful.

    Style Me Vintage: make up Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The verdict every year seems to be that the ‘vintage’ look is ‘in.’ But what do the fashion scribes mean by vintage? Marilyn Monroe-esque fifties glamour or the frivilous flapper look of the twenties? The dewey freshness of the seventies or the enigmatic sleekness of the thirties? Once you’ve worked that out, come and grab this book. It’s got looks for every decade from the twenties to the eighties; by matching the right make up to your outfit, you can be assured of steering clear of fashion anachronism. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from mixing the looks up: a fifties mouth with a twenties eye, for serious glam. It’s also got some great tips and techniques for beginners, like how to put on false eyelashes. Which are apparently essential for a few looks…

    700s – Arts and Recreation
    Back and Beyond: New Zealand painting for the young and curiousBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The 700s, with their focus on the arts, often provide the most visually appealing books to be found anywhere in the library. This is a prime example, featuring gorgeous reproductions of amazing paintings from New Zealand artists both traditional and contemporary. Each painting is accompanied by a brief text describling the themes of the piece and the artist’s other work. It’s never dry or boring; it manages to convey both the common themes and the diversity in paintings from New Zealand.

    Legends, Icons and Rebels: Music that changed the worldBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a fantastic new book that profiles 27 artists who changed the face of music forever. Again, it’s a lovely looking book, with a beautiful full page depiction of each musician. It contains a brief biograpy of each person, and explains their influence on music. For example, I didn’t know that Little Richard mentored The Beatles AND Jimi Hendrix AND toured with the Rolling Stones. Pretty awesome, if you ask me! It also has a two CDs, each with a famous song from each artist or group.

    800s – Literature
    Critical Companion to William ShakespeareBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Shakespeare plays form a pretty much intrinsic part of the English ciruculum. But even the most conscientious English teacher might have trouble helping you to navigate the themes, characters and language of whatever play you’re studying. That’s where this book comes in handy: it has information on all of Shakespeare’s plays, each of them broken down into easy to read sections. There’s a scene by scene synopsis of the play, a commentary on the themes, and then an entry on each character and what motifs they embody. It’s fairly dense (as you might imagine) but never becomes unintelligable.

    900s- History and Geography
    Diary of a Soviet SchoolgirlBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The brutal conditions of Soviet Russia are often neglected in the study of history. This diary, written by a teenage girl from 1932-1937, demonstrates just how hard the lives of ordinary people were during this time.  Nina Lugovskaya’s father was arrested for being a “counter-revolutionary” and Nina herself was eventually arrested and sent to a gulag.  What makes this diary especially fascinating is that the passages that were used as evidence against her are underlined, and this has been kept in this reproduction of the diary. It shows just how seemingly minor complaints could be interpreted as showing author was “preparing to kill Stalin.”  It also shows the persistance of other facets of ‘ordinary’ teenage life: Nina talks about about boys, her friends and her disdain for school and her teachers. Unlike the Diary of Anne Frank, this story has a happier coda: Nina survived her time in the gulag, and was eventually pardoned.

    Lady Gaga: Critical Mass FashionBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter (and you’re a Gaga fan) then this is perfect for you. Even if you’re not, you can’t fault the book on the aesthetic front: there are some stunning photographs of Lady Gaga’s extreme outfits, which are definitely worth a look.  It’s not a hard-hitting expose of Gaga’s metoric rise, rather a faintly fluffy piece of biography, but it’s a fun palate cleanser about one of the most notorious pop stars of the last 10 years.

  • Fashion Friday, Le Chic Librarian, Uncategorized

    Fashion Friday

    28.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Normcore, is it a thing?  A new ‘trend’, a joke, something you need to be wearing right now?!

    According to The Cut, who broke this very important story yesterday, the latest trend for the youngsters in New York is to dress ‘normally’.  Not like a fashionista, hipster or an authentic individual, but with a sameness which means they blend into the crowd. (Or look like an extra from Seinfeld).  Plain mum-jeans are a feature, as are socks and sandals, New Balance sneakers, baseball caps and plain t-shirts and jumpers.  (Alexa Chung’s buddy Dev Hynes favours a turtleneck).

    Is this real? Do you – or would you – dress like this?  I have been digging my trackpants lately…
    However, not everyone belives.

    Here’s an example of library normcore – a workmate wearing her totally normal, plain (and comfy) Nikes.  (Co-ordination with the carpet way too fashiony though).


  • Fashion Friday, Le Chic Librarian

    Fashion Friday – extra

    15.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    (OOPS I missed my week, so you can have this extra post today!)

    (Vera Wang Fall/Winter 2014 – Fashion Gone Rogue)

    As the high fashion treadmill trundles on, with New York fashion week kicking of the Fall/Winter Ready to Wear 2014 shows (what you will be wearing in 2015? Blah, who knows!) it all seems rather yawn-some.  The same big name designers putting out some interesting and knockout clothes (Karen Walker LOVE, Proenza Schouler COMPLICATED LOVE); the same old street style coverage (which Style.com and Tommy Ton do BEAUTIFULLY) its all a bit predicatable.  New York is currently suffering under an Polar Vortex, so this has shaken things up style-wise, but you may find yourself asking “what does it all mean”?!

    Syndetics book coverWhy fashions matters.
    Aha!  This wonderful new book by Frances Corner – the head of the London College of Fashion – might help.  Certainly a bit weighty in substance,  it looks at the social and economic impacts of fashion and it will help you understand fashion’s place in the world, putting it in a much wider context (than the internet ha ha!)  Sometimes you have to stop and assess, take it all in and learn why leather midi skirts/slogan tees/platform boots are SO important.

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue


    14.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, today is the day of LOVE! While I can’t stand the raging commercialism of Valentines Day, I do like to acknowledge it in a cheap and simple way, and show my friends and family a bit of love! Yesterday I had a go at making these pretty bikkies for the fams, and today my ootd is a shout-out to V Day:


    Excuse the awkward photo angle, but I really wanted to show you the cute lovebird print on my top! I also tried out my nail art skills with a simple love heart on my index finger… if it wasn’t quite so smudged, I would photograph that for you, too.

    We have a delicious new book which falls in nicely with today’s theme, as it features Wellington fashion designers Love Hotel:

    Syndetics book coverLady Luck : conversations with creative New Zealand women / by Mariana Collette & Lisette Prendergast ; photography by Susannah Tucker ; illustrations by Connie McDonald ; design by Ceire Hopley.




    I have just reserved this book and I caaaaaan’t wait for it to come through. It features so much local talent! Highlights for me include blogger Gala Darling, musician Ladi6 and, of course, Wellington fashion designers Love Hotel. Last year we featured an interview with Love Hotel, and I still just adore their pieces – you can take a peek at some of their new goodies here. This lovely new book is full of gorgeous illustrations too; check out the cute drawing of Love Hotel designers Ella and Harriet below!

    Photo: Love Hotel

    Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    Beauty by Dita

    24.01.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Image: fashiongonerogue

    If you feel like you’re in need of a hair and makeup shake up, then you’re in luck!! We’ve just ordered the highly anticipated new beauty book from Dita von Teese:

    Your beauty mark: all you need to know to get the hair, makeup, glow and glam / Dita von Teese.

    While the book hasn’t hit our shelves yet, I do recommend you reserve it here. Miss von Teese has a strong style and her makeup is always impeccable, so I’ve no doubt that her book will be loaded with tips and tricks for those of us with… less beauty product prowess (like me!) This book is a must-see if you’re into the vintage vibe. Perfection.

    Image: fashiongonerogue

  • Fashion Friday, Le Chic Librarian

    Fashion Friday

    10.01.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Cindy – FOUREYES

    Candice – FOUREYES

    Syndetics book coverFoureyes : New Zealand street style / Alex Blanco … [et al.].
    Foureyes is a street style blog run by four fashion and photography loving guys, you’ve probably heard of them by now.  I guess they have one of teh most influential fashion blogs in New Zealand and one of the only blogs that focuses on street style photography. (Check it all out here).  NOW they have a book, which is actually pretty cool.  Therre’s some quirky stuff in there (do people really dress like that?  In Auckland apparently? Good for them I say).

    I don’t read that many NZ street style blogs.  The most obvious one is good old Stuff’s Daily Street Style (in the Life and Style section).  Photographers from around NZ feed into that – such as Street and City Photos (which i don’t really like, too ernest) and Femmehysterique (which is from Dunedin, refreshingly different).  Do you have any good suggestions?

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    Christmas: Fashion Highlights

    27.12.13 | Permalink | Comment?

    Well I hope that Christmas was very good to all of you this year!! I had an awesome day with my family, and got some really nice presents. A couple of fashion highlights are a Hello Kitty necklace identical to this one (if I wasn’t quite so slack I would’ve photographed the real thing for you – I’m sorry, but I was too busy indulging in Christmas choccies!) I am super stoked because, even though I’m waaaaay too old for it, I love Hello Kitty. Funnily enough, my four year old niece also got some Hello Kitty goodies for Christmas and was equally excited… Hmm!! I also got some very pretty new swimwear, which is similar to this. So pretty!! However, this is the view out our office window as I write this post:


    Blaaaah!! Hopefully me and my hot new swimwear can enjoy some warmer, sunnier weather soon. And you, too!! Catch you in 2014!

  • Fashion Friday, Le Chic Librarian

    Fashion Friday

    13.12.13 | Permalink | Comment?

    I am back!!!!

    Yes, Le Chic Librarian has returned. From a year of complete fashion fabulousness and oh my goodness, the things that happened while I was away – Kim K became the world’s most glamorous mother, J-Law had a haircut, the 1990s and grunge made their fashion comeback, an awesome Glassons flagship launched on Lambton Quay, Marc Jacobs left Louis Vuitton, Alexa Chung turned THIRTY (!) and continued to look awesome.
    Meanwhile, I was travelling the globe searching for inspiration, following fashion weeks, stalking street style.


    Or, perhaps not…..


  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    What I Wore

    29.11.13 | Permalink | Comment?

    As you may have noticed, I love me a bit of ootd (or wiwt, depending on your preference!) action. Just something about looking at other people’s real, every day outfits (i.e – outfits that aren’t put together by a magazine stylist with oodles of fab expensive clothes and accessories to select from) is so fun, and also great for getting ideas for your own outfits! If you’re loving this trend too, I can recommend this book:

    Syndetics book coverWhat I wore : four seasons, one closet, endless recipes for personal style / Jessica Quirk.What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style
    “Quirk, the blogger behind What I Wore, a personal fashion-based blog she’s written since 2008, explains season by season and week by week how to build a fabulous wardrobe. Original, full-color illustrations created by the author will help readers have fun getting dressed and feel confident and stylish every day.” (Syndetics summary)

    Written by the author of the What I Wore blog, this book is rad because it helps you to get the most out of the items in your wardrobe, by suggesting lots of different ways to wear them. It also suggests items that come in handy for each season, and is full of beautiful illustrations - and, of course, ootd pics!! Definitely get it out!

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    Catching Fire

    22.11.13 | Permalink | Comment?

    I think ya’ll know what movie started this week – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Woop!! I can’t wait to see it this weekend. If you want to relive a little of the magic of the first movie before you see the next one, get it here!!

    The hunger games [videorecording] / Lionsgate presents a Color Force/Lionsgate production ; a Gary Ross film.
    Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.

    This week has seen Jennifer Lawrence in a range of luxe get ups as she attends a billion photo calls and premieres of her latest flick – let’s revel in some of the fabulousness:


    All photos from fashiongonerogue

    So many dresses in just a few days… lucky girl!

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