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Author: J'Shuall of Jackanapery Page 1 of 2

A Pestilence of Plagued Books in Celebration of the Fourth Anniversary of Lockdown! Merry Plaguemas!


Four years ago on this very day, March 26th, in the accursed year of 2020, New Zealand began its lockdown. A tiny little virus, one with the name of a reasonably popular beer, had managed to spread all over the world. Thanks to the swift and decisive action of our government, and our extended unplanned staycations, Aotearoa was one of the first countries able to return to some sense of normalcy.


While to many of us the ‘rona seems a thing of the past, it’s worth remembering that the virus is still around. With our vaccines and proper procedure, it can feel like we’re invincible and everything is over, but COVID still lurks in the shadows and continues to be a danger to our more vulnerable community members. If you’re feeling those cold-like symptoms, it’s still good practice to do a test, just in case. After four years of dodging it, your beloved blogger managed to catch it, while I was planning this very blog. Being ever the model citizen, I too stayed home to make sure I didn’t spread it further. I now write this wearing a mask, lest I spread my post-plague-germs to any others.

So keep an eye on things, make sure you’re updated on your vaccines, and avoid other humans if you’re unwell. If you don’t know what to do, check official government websites, ready to tell you the important health and science facts.

New Zealand’s health is up to YOU!




We managed to get through our plague thanks to our collective willingness to take the important steps to spare the many. Covid 19 is a nasty bugger of an illness and what our lockdown showed, what the following mask mandates, vaccinations, and social distancing showed, was that we as a country care not just for ourselves, but for others. I think that’s really special.

It’s for this reason I think we should celebrate this day, as proof of NZ’s love for one another.

Something something Community something something we are one something something peace and love.


But this is perhaps getting a bit sappy, so let’s talk of how we should celebrate this wonderous (?) day.

I’m a librarian, so my biases are obvious. What better way to flex our superior dealing-with-plague skills than to read about other people’s (real or fictional) experiences? Who knows, it might give us some weird mixed feeling nostalgia of familiar things. If you’re a fan of these types of books, you may have noticed how they hit different now you’ve been plagued.

So why not mask up, lock the outside world out, and experience another plague-related removal from reality, this time voluntarily!

Give the dark my love / Revis, Beth
“Nedra Brysstain left the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy with only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy.  Greggori “Grey” Astor is taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra. She is deeply invested in her studies because a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities and Nedra is determined to find a cure. When she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Station eleven / Mandel, Emily St. John

“One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zhara / Jae-Jones, S

“In the Morning Realms magicians are called abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before. Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about–appease her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control-without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is transforming the magicians of Zanhei into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible. In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Plague land / Scarrow, Alex
“An unidentified virus wipes out most of the Earth’s population, liquefying their bodies. The virus moves as if it has an agenda– it adapts as it moves quickly across the planet. Leon, his mother, and younger sister Grace, who just moved to London from New York, must run for their lives.” (Catalogue)

This mortal coil / Suvada, Emily

“In a world where people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, gene-hacking genius Cat must decrypt her late father’s message concealing a vaccine to a horrifying plague” (Catalogue)

Plague of the undead / Cross, Gary

The boy knew his father was going to kill him. Just like he’d killed everyone else tonight. The boy’s mother, his two older sisters and baby brother, the servants. All of them dead.

When Lucius is ten years old his father returns home one evening as a vampire and destroys his entire family. By luck Lucius is spared. Fifteen years later Lucius has joined the elite group of vampire hunters that saved his life that night. Now it’s his turn to lead the hunt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The merciful Crow / Owen, Margaret
“Fie’s Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin; when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime. But Crown Prince Jasimir faked his death, and Fie’s ready to cut his throat. He offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns. Hawk warrior Tavin, Jas’s bodyguard, magically assumed the prince’s appearance and shadowed his every step, but is beginning to want something to call his own. The trio must form an uneasy alliance to escape Queen Rhusana. — adapted from jacket” (Catalogue)

At the end of everything / Nijkamp, Marieke
“The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named: no one has hope for these delinquent teenagers. When the guards don’t show up one day, the teens are shocked to learn a catastrophic pandemic has occurred outside their walls. Their new-found freedom is now a fight for survival– and there is no one watching out for them. As supplies dwindle, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust– and if they even want to survive in a world that has never wanted them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bleeding Earth / Ward, Kaitlin

“Between Mother Nature and human nature, disasters are inevitable. Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news as all over the world, blood oozed out of the ground, through the concrete, in the water. Lea wishes she could ignore the blood. She wishes she could spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and her girlfriend however she can.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All that’s left in the world / Brown, Erik J
“A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population. When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he is injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. And if this new world has taught the two anything, it is to be scared of what other desperate people will do. So why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other? After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But Andrew’s story isn’t adding up– and it could cost them everything. Jamie has a secret, too: he’s feeling something more than friendship for Andrew. To survive the long road ahead they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire. Together.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wilder girls / Power, Rory
“It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her. It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The enemy / Higson, Charles

“In the wake of a devastating disease, everyone sixteen and older is either dead or a decomposing, brainless creature with a ravenous appetite for flesh. Teens have barricaded themselves in buildings throughout London and venture outside only when they need to scavenge for food. The group of kids living a Waitrose supermarket is beginning to run out of options. When a mysterious traveler arrives and offers them safe haven at Buckingham Palace, they begin a harrowing journey across London. But their fight is far from over-the threat from within the palace is as real as the one outside it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Illuminae / Kaufman, Amie

“The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elantris / Sanderson, Brandon

“Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. When Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden she finds that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. But Sarene doesn’t suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Surviving the Onslaught of “Love!” : Aro-Ace Reads for a Non-Romantic Valentines’ “Celebration”

Unfortunately, Valentines’ Day is here.



As you may be able to tell, I’m not the biggest fan of those old Saint Valentines. No that’s not a typo. Now I’m sure some of you lovebirds with your partners and social life love the opportunity to celebrate this forsaken day. To you I say two things:

1) How dare you! >:(

2) Yeah that’s fair, enjoy what you want. Valentines’ can be a fun day, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it.

However, some of us are curmudgeonly old grinches who despise joy and human connection, so we shall complain!

This so called “holiday” is nothing but a corporate sacrifice organised by and directed to Big Chocolate and Big Flower and Big Card. The companies do not care about your love, they just want to make bank by slapping a heart on their product and demanding your money. And it’s not like they’re even using the real shape of a heart! This is what a heart looks like and don’t you dare use any other shape!


So why do we even celebrate this “Valentine” chap?

Valentines’ Day grew from a Christian celebration honouring Saint Valentine of Rome and Saint Valentine of Terni (who may or may not be the same person). There is also a third Saint Valentine who did things in Africa but he was only mentioned in like one book, so we don’t know much about him. This is why I’ve been calling it Valentines Day, there’s like 3 Valentines. So VR and VT were both priests back in the third century when the Roman Empire was very…. stabby when it came to Christians, so they both got executed. The Christian Church was like “damn, that sucks, they were good dudes and maybe performed miracles, we should recognise that” so decided to make them saints and have a day for them. Supposedly Valentine of Rome healed the blindness of his jailer’s daughter, which was his miracle.

So… what does any of this have to do with love?


Any take on a tale of a Saint Valentine being a romantic dude are fabrications made after Valentines’ Day was made all lovey dovey.

And when did Valentines’ Day become all about romance?

Read More

Boring Old People Books That Are Good Actually™


“It’s a classic”

“What an influential novel”

“This is high art”

“You’ve got to read these 10 million classics before you die”

“Welcome to English class”

We’ve all heard it before. Some geriatric white dude wrote a novel about important things™ hundreds of years ago and we’re expected to care. In some cases, we even have to read it, due to the unfeeling cruelty of our education. When we finally start to read this “lifechanging™” book, all that we gain is a desire to sleep.


But all is not lost. While it seems an insane thought, some classics are actually good. And not in the way that some literary snob who appreciates all the artistic intricacies and fancyness thinks so, but just as good books.

Just so you know I’m not talking out of my rectum because I’ve been paid off by Big Literature (I’ll have you know I’m being paid off by the library, which is a notable difference) I’m going to actually tell you about books I’ve actually read. I can tell you from personal experience why you’d want to open up these dusty tomes and why you’ll maybe even end up enjoying them.

However, because I am a sham and a charlatan who hasn’t actually read that many classic books, I have acquired the assistance of some of the other bloggers to supplement my recommendations. They’ll be talking about some of their favourites just like I will.

So! Without further ado (and quite definitely not much ado), let us see which Boring Old People have written Boring Old People Books that are Good Actually™!

William Shakespeare

“Ooooh la dee dah, Shakespeare, aren’t you so fancioux and cultured.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah I get it. Shakespeare is the English literature author that is inevitably inflicted upon innocent youths by the school system. But some of his stuff is like genuinely good. And not just in a prestigious, high class, literary way, but in a genuine “this is enjoyable” way.

Something that can get lost in history about Shakespeare, considering the grand acclaim his works get, is that these plays weren’t made to be some high intellect academic exercise in storytelling. These plays were public entertainment, the ye olde version of tv shows or blockbuster movies. These were made for us plebeians, to amuse the people.

Twelfth Night


Twelfth Night, also known as What You Will, is my personal favourite Shakespeare play. To let you know why, first we need a little context, a history lesson.

Because the past was the worst, ye olde theatre didn’t allow women to be actors, so every character in a play was played by a male. Yes, even the female characters. Often younger boys would be playing women due to their more slight frames and higher voices.

Now why am I bringing this up? Well you see Twelfth Night is all about gender bending weirdness and is generally super queer. When the main character Viola finds herself shipwrecked alone in Illyria, she disguises herself as a man for safety and maybe other reasons who knows. This means our main character is a man (the actor) playing a woman playing a man, hilarious stuff.

The basic conceit of Twelfth Night is that Viola, under the guise Cesario, is sent by the Duke Orsino to woo the mourning Countess Olivia. The problem is Viola does her job too well, making Olivia fall for her, while she is falling in love with Orsino, who has a “great fondness” for his nohomo best guyfriend Cesario. Love triangles abound! There’s also all sorts of juicy romcom shenaniganry: identical twins, secret weddings, doing anything for your “bro”, mistaken identity, pranks, and manipulation. Everything your heart could desire!

Much Ado About Nothing 


Do you love enemies to lovers? Are you fond of witty snark battles among people who love to hate to love each other? Why, how about you try Much Ado About Nothing. This play feels so modern in its bantering love interests Benedick and Beatrice, who are tricked by their friends into gradually falling in love. There’s also some other story about this lovey dovey couple of Hero and Claudio but they don’t matter as much. Back to the important bit, look at this delightful dialogue:

BENEDICK :  What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet

BEATRICE:  Is it possible disdain should die while she
 hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
Courtesy itself must convert to disdain if you come
 in her presence.

BENEDICK:  Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
 I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and
 I would I could find in my heart that I had not a
hard heart, for truly I love none.

BEATRICE : A dear happiness to women. They would
 else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
 thank God and my cold blood I am of your humor
 for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.


Now, I’m going to say something extremely out of character for a librarian:

Don’t read the book.


“Then what the @#$%&! am I to do then?!” The poor and clueless cry.

Let me finish. So Shakespeare plays are, well, plays, not novels. They are best experienced live. Don’t get me wrong, reading the plays can be great, but sometimes it’s better to watch and/or listen. The problem is that it’s gonna be a rare moment you get to see a production, let alone an exemplary production, in person. Plus that’s expensive, not a very library recommendation. However we do have some recordings of such plays: BBC’s Twelfth Night, BBC’s Much Ado About Nothing and an audiobook version of Much Ado About Nothing. There are lots of versions of these hundreds of years old plays around. If you can get your grabby little hands on it, The Globe’s traditional all male version of Twelfth Night featuring Stephen Fry is really good. Another good choice is a more modern adaptation of Twelfth Night: the film She’s the Man.

Edgar Allan Poe


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

Now in a bit of a change of pace from fluffy romcoms, is the master of gothic horror himself: Edgar Allan Poe. His stuff is just so delightfully creepy and a must read for any lover of horror and the macabre. In addition to his excellence, this is also the guy who is considered to have invented the detective genre with “The Murders of the Rue Morgue.”  Poe wrote short stories, a form I have sung the praises of before, which makes his work easy to pick up for a microdose of fright.

But Poe was no one trick pony, no no. Unsurprising, considering his name, Poe also is famous for his Poetry. Poe’s try is absolutely wonderful, having this brilliant rhythm that practically makes the words flow out of your mouth when reading. Because poetry is excellent as a vocal medium, if you were to read his work I’d suggest reading them out loud, or finding a recording of someone else reading them.

For some odd reason we at the library don’t have any readings of his poetry, but we do have readings of his short stories. Because these tales were written by an old fart, like all the books in this blog, there are many readings available online for free due to the lack of any pesky “public domain”. A personal favourite reading of mine is one of my favourite stories The Tell-Tale Heart, read by the YouTube channel Overly Sarcastic Productions, who also read The Masque of Red Death and other stories.

Whether you are more interested in his short stories or his poetry you can’t go wrong with Poe.

Jane Austen


Pride and Prejudice:  It’s funny.  REALLY funny.  Lizzie Bennet is really relatable as a heroine – she’s smart, has little tolerance for stupidity or men that think they’re better than her.  Mr Darcy is HOT.  I always find it a quick read, one I can knock over on a rainy afternoon, giggling at the sassiness of it and holding my breath that Lizzie and Darcy stop being such boneheads and finally get together.  Jane Austen is the reason that Bridgerton exists too.  Extra points if you go on to read Sense and Sensibility, which is just as delightful.


Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest :  Another book (originally a play) that is really funny.  If you like witty wordplay and sharp clapbacks, this one is for you.  It’s full of knotty situations that the main characters need to talk their way out of, and a hefty twist towards the end.  It can also be interpreted as a bit gay, which is fun too.


Mary Shelley


At age 19, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley adapted a ghost story she told during a writer’s gathering and turned it into Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, a tale of scientific hubris that results in one of the most iconic monsters ever imagined. While the book’s language is extravagant and the story-within-a-story framing device is a bit of a hurdle, once we meet Victor Frankenstein, a young man who pays a terrible price for his intellectual curiosity, the book fully takes off. It has everything a great genre book should have: action, romance, mystery, suspense, tragedy, even farce, as Victor spends the back third of the book chasing his creation across Europe like the Coyote chasing the Roadrunner, while the monster cruelly taunts Victor all the way. Far from the inarticulate brute of the movies, Frankenstein’s monster himself is a eloquent, sympathetic being; a lurching, nine foot tall wretch who chews out his creator at every opportunity for bringing him into a world that is repulsed by him. It’s an indispensable book if you have any interest in Gothic literature or science fiction (being the earliest example of the genre), and once you read it, you start to see its influence on everything from Blade Runner to Barbie.

Bram Stoker


Dracula: You probably are thinking “Why should I read Dracula? I already know the story” but that is exactly why you should. Even the most faithful of adaptations have significant differences, and the most popular versions omit entire characters and subplots and introduce storylines antithetical to the original text. Dracula by Bram Stoker is not a gothic romance or love triangle, but instead a story told through diary entries and journals, letters, and newspaper articles about a group of people who through determination, research, science, and teamwork manage to bring an end to an ancient and evil being who has come to prey on all they love – at the cost of their sanity and their lives.

-The Dracula Enthusiast, our resident Vampire Expert

Charles Dickens


A Christmas Carol: You probably don’t need any introduction to this story but it is truly worth the read, especially since the festive season is upon us! If you’re in your self-reflective era then A Christmas Carol is basically that but make it ✨Victorian man✨. Scrooge gets confronted with the fact that he hasn’t been on Santa’s “Nice” list for quite a while and realizes (with the help of a few ghosts) that he can be a better person. Basically I love this story because it gives me slim hope that one day billionaires will wake up and donate all their money to the poor, and I guess Christmas is quite fun too.


Numerous Authors

One Thousand and One Nights – The Arabian Nights: It has a little bit of everything. If you like stories within stories, you’ve got it. Self-fulfilling prophecies? There’s plenty. Pop culture references before they were pop culture. You betcha (Aladdin is based on one of the stories in this classic). Plus, it’s all framed with the story of one badass heroine trying to escape a murderous maniac by telling him stories interesting enough that he’ll keep her alive till the next dawn. And, if you don’t want to read all the stories you don’t have to. Honestly what more could you ask for?


Editor's Note: So The Arabian Nights is written in Arabic, not English, shock horror. This means that any version you read will be a translation, each translation slightly different. You may want to have a look at the multiple options there are, or not, do whatever, I'm not your mum.

Someone, We Assume, We Don’t Actually Know Who


Beowulf: Look, I won’t lie to you. The story is as basic as they come. There’s this dude called Beowulf, he’s a big ol’ guy with big ol’ muscles, and he kills a big ol’ monster called Grendel for the crime of eating 30 Danish party-goers… every day for like 20 years (you would think the Danes might have called in the cavalry a little earlier but I guess they didn’t want to look like lil nerds who couldn’t even take down one monster). Then he kills another big ol’ monster who happens to be Grendel’s mum. Then he gets to sit around being king for a while before he has to kill — you guessed it — a third big ol’ monster.

Except this one is a dragon and it sets him on fire and bites a hole in his neck, thus ending Beowulf’s story (though being the badass he is, being on fire and bleeding out doesn’t prevent him from killing the dragon anyway — his last words are basically “at least show me the sick loot I got for beating this boss” before dramatically dying all over his new pile of gold-plated dinnerware). So if you like monsters, magic, epic journeys and lots of blood and gore, Beowulf is the story for you! It’s basically LOTR but without all the filler.

It’s not all doom and gloom though — the sċop (bard) who wrote this version of the poem down devotes a weird amount of time to dunking on this loser Unferth who keeps trying and failing to talk down to our buddy Beowulf. Not cool, Unferth — in Beowulf’s words, “in helle sċealt werhðo drēogan, þēah þīn wit duge” (basically, “go to hell you big nerd.”) Classy!


Editor's Note: (Haha, imagine, Stephen, the editor, getting edited by moui. Oh how the turns tabled)

So Beowulf is a super duper old poem, written in English so old it's called Old English. That means you can't really read the original. "But we read Shakespeare, that's in Old English right? We can vaguely understand that." 


Shakespeare's stuff is actually written in early modern English, Old English is an entirely different thing. Behold! The first lines of Beowulf, untranslated! I mean, look at this gobbledygook:
Hwæt! Wē Gārdēna     in ġeārdagum,
þēodcyninga     þrym ġefrūnon,
hū ðā æþelingas     ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing     sceaþena þrēatum,
moneġum mǣġþum     meodosetla oftēah,
eġsode eorlas,     syððan ǣrest wearð
fēasceaft funden,     he þæs frōfre ġebād,
wēox under wolcnum,     weorðmyndum þāh,
oðþæt him ǣġhwylċ     þāra ymbsittendra
ofer hronrāde     hȳran scolde,
gomban ġyldan.     þæt wæs gōd cyning!
I'm sure you can read that easy peasy. 

Because such a cool story is hidden behind this witchcraft (what in the world is a þ or a ð??!?!?!??!?!!??!!?) we have to deal with translation.

First we have Papa Tolkien's translation because we have to respect our elders and Tolkien was a fricken nerd when it came to language. His version is written poetically, so it's all pretty noises and such. If you just want to read it like a novel, we have this prose version by some rando who's probably a cool guy but didn't happen to practically invent the fantasy genre so he gets no name recognition. There's also a summarised version with illustrations by a lead artist on the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy. Once again you don't have to do what I say, I'm not your mum, so feel free to find and read whatever version you want, we have plenty more at the library. For all I know maybe you can read Old English and have been looking for some reading recommendations in that language.

Super editor's note out!

Happy Reading!


Draconic Tales for ‘Appreciate A Dragon Day’! Looking at Real Life “Dragons”!

Here be Dragons…

Photo 106371248, (c) wild_wind, licensed under CC-BY 4.0 DEED

Everybody loves dragons.

All around the world there are countless iterations on the idea of the dragon, oftentimes created independently of each other. Almost every culture has a dragon. That or translators and folklorists are a bit over eager to stamp the title of dragon on anything vaguely scaley. Regardless, you have to admit they are cool.

Besides the part where they don’t exist, that bit kinda sucks. It’d also be super dangerous if they did. But let’s be honest, if dragons did exist, knowing humans and our treatment of large fauna *cough*moa/mammoths/haast-eagle*cough*, we’d probably have killed them off already. Either way, probably for the best.

It is true that we have some “dragons” which are mostly glorified lizards (still adorable though) and other miscellanea.

Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. I have thoughtfully provided a list of dragons for you to pick from all au naturale. And because you lot have been such well-behaved little gremlins, I’ll even share some fun facts on each of these fierce beasties.

A Flying Dragon – Genus Draco

 Photo 339511077, (c) Martin Walsh, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)

Because reality is often disappointing, flying dragons, on top of not being dragons, don’t actually fly. What they do is they glide. That said, those wings of theirs are pretty neat expansions of their ribs and can at least pretend to fly. Do your ribs allow you to pretend to fly? Didn’t think so.

Dehling JM (2017) How lizards fly: A novel type of wing in animals. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0189573. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189573

Central Bearded Dragon

Photo 341430640, (c) Owen Gale, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

The only dragon commonly kept as a pet! Even in New Zealand, the buzzkill that won’t let me have a precious snake as a pet. Some cute behaviour they have is waving their hand to show submission, mostly to show other bearded dragons that they’re chill and not gonna mess with their turf.


Due to them being pets, you can find plentiful adorable images and videos on the internet, so that’s something you can do to fill an afternoon!

Komodo Dragon

Photo 341814950, (c) robert_thibault, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

So there’s something weird with the Komodo’s bite. When komodos attack big prey, like say a buffalo, if they don’t manage to kill the prey the first time, it’ll stalk the prey which eventually dies of infection. The thing is it’s not clear whether this is a purposeful evolutionary thing, because komodo dragons do have venom, or at least something like venom, but scientists don’t know what it really does. Give the topic some research if you want, it’s super interesting.

Boyd’s Forest Dragon

Photo 188207878, (c) Samuel, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Boyd’s Forest Dragons are great, they spend the majority of their lives just hanging out on tree trunks. Unlike most lizards, they don’t sunbathe, instead letting the air heat them, so they can just stay on their tree trunks. If you bug them by coming close, they will just move to the opposite side of the tree and return to their vibing.

What a mood.

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Y’all Just Love Desserts! Looking Back on the Year’s Sweetest Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s beginning to look a lot like our favourite December holiday! And the bells were ringing through the land, bringing peace to all the world and good will to man. What a bright time, it’s the right time to join in any reindeer games.

Yeah, you better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout! I’m telling you why!  Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie. I gave you my tart, and the very next day, you gave it away, which is wild because pumpkin pie is really nice. All I want for this day is sweets! I mean if you manage a pumpkin pie, that’d be great, but it’s not as big of a thing in New Zealand.

Próspero año y día de la tarta de calabaza!

It’s December 25th, and you know what that means…

Merry Pumpkin Pie Day!


But Pumpkin Pie, while delicious, doesn’t have the cultural impact here compared to the US of A. So why not celebrate other sweet-themed holidays. It’s the end of the year after all, so why not take a look back on all the various dessert and candy themed holidays!

Now you might not realise this, but there are so many of these sweet holidays, even the mainstream “actually celebrated” holidays. I mean, think of the major holidays: Halloween is about getting free candy, Easter is about getting chocolate eggs, and Valentines Day (plus it’s evil twin White Day) is about giving people heart themed chocolates. Down to our roots we want excuses to eat more sugar.


Say, if you wanted to have a day for cake, that’s not your birthday, try November 26: Cake Day. There are also subcake days, like pancake day, cheesecake day, cupcake day, sponge cake day, and ice cream cake day. But then you can go hyper specific, like National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day (April 20th). But it’s not just cake, there are so many random desserts that people apparently care enough to make a whole day about. Like who is that excited over Oatmeal Nut Waffles?

For you, dear reader, I have compiled all of 2023’s various mouthwatering holidays into one convenient place. Have I potentially missed some? Maybe. But am I going to check? No. Am I going to insert random other days to teach you a lesson about blindly trusting internet sources without engaging critical thinking and because I think it’s funny? Perhaps.

Enjoy your journey!


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Get Your Greek On! The Percy Jackson and the Olympians TV Show is Out Soon!

18 years after the release of The Lightning Thief, the Percy Jackson series is finally getting a proper adaptation into live action for the first time!

For the first time!

The FIRST time!

You cannot convince me otherwise.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, why not get our Greek on by reading stories about their oh so wonderful mythology?

Now, where else to start our Greek Mythology bonanza than where it all began. No, not with those old geezers from Greece but Percy Jackson! Why not give the old Lightning Thief a reread for the millionth time (or gods forbid, the first time). How else are you going to be able to go through every new episode of the show knowing exactly what minute detail they miss or change? We’ve got to get our smugness supply somewhere. Here at the library, we have all the Percy Jacksons you could ever want. Obviously we have the book, but that’s not all we got! We got the eBook, the audiobook (on CD (which are those old person things used in cars)), the audiobook again (but this time digital), the terrible movie that does not exist, and the graphic novel! So many options, so many books.

The lightning thief / Riordan, Rick
“After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, twelve-year-old Percy is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself, and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.” (Catalogue)

But why stop there?

One of the great parts of Percy Jackson is how he takes these millennia-year-old stories (back when the world was still in black and white) and modernises them, retelling them for newer generations. The Lightning Thief is a delightful hodgepodge of various different myths and legends. However, Mr Riordan wasn’t the first person, nor the last, to do this to Greek myth. So lets have a look at other people’s takes on the monsters, deities, heroes, and tales told in The Lightning Thief.

Super minor spoilers for that book ahead.

That time some spooky grandmas knitted a sock ominously

Threads that bind / Hatzopoulou, Kika
“Descendants of the Fates are always born in threes: one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. The Ora sisters are no exception. Io, the youngest, uses her Fate-born abilities as a private investigator in the half-sunken city of Alante. But her latest job leads her to a horrific discovery: somebody is abducting women, maiming their life-threads, and setting the resulting wraiths loose in the city to kill. To find the culprit, she must work alongside Edei Rhuna, the right hand of the infamous Mob Queen—and the boy with whom she shares a rare fate-thread linking them as soul mates before they’ve even met. But the investigation turns personal when Io’s estranged oldest sister turns up on the arm of her best suspect. Amid unveiled secrets from her past and her growing feelings for Edei, Io must follow clues through the city’s darkest corners and unearth a conspiracy that involves some of the city’s most powerful players—before destruction comes to her own doorstep.” (Catalogue)

Sometimes people are just really stubborn about things… Bull-headed, if you will

Bull : a novel / Elliott, David
“A modern twist on the Theseus and Minotaur myth, told in verse. Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers re-evaluating one of history’s most infamous monsters. — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The Gods really need to get better at holding on to their stuff

Daughter of Sparta / Andrews, Claire
“Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit. Guided by Artemis’s twin—the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo—Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

To be honest, I’m actually quite fond of snakes, I don’t know what all this fuss is about

Medusa / Burton, Jessie
“Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal … and destiny itself.” (Catalogue)

The Goddess of Love is a nosey busybody and more trouble than she’s worth

Lovely war / Berry, Julie
“In the perilous days of World Wars I and II, the gods hold the fates — and the hearts — of four mortals in their hands. They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.” (Catalogue)

Going to the underworld? Pshh, what could be so hard about that?

The shadow thieves / Ursu, Anne
“Something extraordinary is about to happen to Charlotte Mielswetzski. It’s not the very cute kitten that appears out of nowhere. It’s not the arrival of her cousin Zee, who believes he’s the cause of a mysterious sickness that has struck his friends back in England. And it’s not the white-faced, yellow-eyed men in tuxedos who follow Charlotte everywhere. What’s so extraordinary is not any one of these things. It’s all of them. Then Charlotte’s friends start to get sick, Charlotte and Zee set out to find a cure. Their quest leads them to a not-so-mythical Underworld, where they face Harpies that love to rhyme, gods with personnel problems, and ghosts with a thirst for blood. Charlotte and Zee learn that in a world overrun by Nightmares, Pain, and Death, the really dangerous character is a guy named Phil. And then they discover that the fate of every person — living and dead — is in their hands.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Daughter of darkness / Corr, Katharine
“Enter the Underworld in an epic new fantasy, where the Gods of ancient Greece rule everything but fate. Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out. Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts. So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades. The prize of freedom is before her but what will it take to reach it?” (Catalogue)

Even! More! Myths!

Mythos / Fry, Stephen
“The Greek myths are amongst the best stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. You’ll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis. Spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age – in all their rich and deeply human relevance.” (Catalogue)

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods / Riordan, Rick
“Who could tell the stories of the gods of Olympus better than a modern-day demigod? In this whirlwind tour of Greek mythology, Percy Jackson gives his personal take on the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece, and reveals the truth about how they came to rule the world.” (Catalogue)

Percy Jackson and the Greek heroes / Riordan, Rick
“If you like poisonings, betrayals, mutilations, murders and flesh-eating farmyard animals, keep reading…In this gripping follow-up to Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods, demigod Percy Jackson tells the stories of twelve of the original Greek heroes in all their gory, bloodthirsty glory. Want to know who cut off Medusa’s head? Which hero was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus, the winged horse? Percy has all the answers…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Write Your Heart Out! It’s National Novel Writing Month!


Books are great. We all like books here, right? It’d be odd to be on a library blog if you didn’t. But you know, sometimes the books we want to read just aren’t there, because we’re all geniuses with brilliant ideas beyond what mere humankind can comprehend. Which leads us to a problem, we want these books to exist – but they don’t.


That, my friend, is where writing comes in. Why wait for some hack other person to write the amazing book in your head, when you yourself can do it! All you need is that little organ in your noggin and some kind of writing utensil. Perhaps even the device you are viewing this on.

It just so happens that this month is none other than National Novel Writing Month, or as its friends know it, NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is a month-long challenge, celebrating the act of writing, by attempting the gruelling task of writing a novel in a month!


Well, technically it doesn’t have to be a full novel, with the actual numeric goal being fifty thousand words. So, all of you epic fantasy lovers who want to write a thousand-page tome of a novel that you could kill someone with, you don’t have to write all of it in the month. For reference, fifty thousand words is about half of a Hunger Games or a medium length fanfic. While it may seem overwhelming (and it is a lot to write) if you break it down its only like 1 word a second, or 1.7 thousand words a day.

But why put yourself through this? Why do this marathon of writing?

It’s to give you a goal to strive for, motivation to finally actually start putting those ideas from head to paper (or keyboard). So why not try it, even if you don’t succeed in the big goal, you’ll still have written. You’ll still have some of your brilliant idea put into reality. And remember, you don’t have to write good, you just need to write. It doesn’t matter if what comes out is ‘garbage’, you can always rewrite, rework. But to be able to edit and perfect your creation, you have got to start somewhere.

But maybe you’re new to the whole writing shindig and need some advice on how to write good. No worries, below I have included a collection of helpful “how-to” guides, for you to peruse.

Good luck, and merry writing!


The tough guide to fantasyland / Jones, Diana Wynne
“A unique guide to fantasy literature helps readers understand such subjects as virginity, why High Priests are always evil, how Dark Lords always have minions, and useful tips on what to do when captured by a Goblin.” (Catalogue)

Spilling ink : a young writer’s handbook / Mazer, Anne
“After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice, accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot, make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.” (Catalogue)

Rip the page! : adventures in creative writing / Benke, Karen
“Here are the ideas, experiments, and inspiration to unfold your imagination and get your writing to flow off the page This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and unstick old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words; adventurous and zany prompts to leap from; dares and double dares to help you mash up truths and lies into outrageous paragraphs; and letters of encouragement written directly to you from famous authors, including: Annie Barrows, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lemony Snicket, C. M. Mayo, Elizabeth Singer Hunt, Moira Egan, Gary Soto, Lucille Clifton, Avi, Betsy Franco, Carol Edgarian, Karen Cushman, Patricia Polacco, Prartho Sereno, Lewis Buzbee, and C. B. Follett. This is your journal for inward-bound adventures–use it to write, brainstorm, explore, imagine–and even rip” (Catalogue)

Dear Ally, how do you write a book / Carter, Ally
“Have you always wanted to write a book, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re really great at writing the first few chapters . . . but you never quite make it to the end? Or do you finally have a finished manuscript, but you’re not sure what to do next? Fear not — if you have writing-related questions, this book has answers! Whether you’re writing for fun or to build a career, bestselling author Ally Carter is ready to help you make your work shine. With honesty, encouragement, and humor, Ally’s ready here to answer the questions that writers struggle with the most. Filled with practical tips and helpful advice, Dear Ally is a treasure for aspiring writers at any stage of their careers. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how books get made, from idea to publication, and gives you insight into the writing processes of some of the biggest and most talented YA authors writing today.”–Amazon.” (Catalogue)


But I’m not a writer/No way am I doing this fifty thousand words nonsense!

Firstly, thank you for reading through my blog even if you aren’t going to NaNoWriMo. Secondly, I’ll tell you a secret, the goal of 50k, like any goal, is made up, imaginary. The point of the challenge is to get writing, and write to your fullest extent within that time frame. If that extent is just a sentence? That’s fine! You do you! We are all different people and that is amazing! Some people use NaNoWriMo to get started with their poetry!

But what if you wanna celebrate but don’t feel like participating directly – maybe your creative juices have been drained by looming exams?

No worries! The library is, first and foremost, a purveyor of books. So why not read about writing?

Fun fact! The first book here: Fangirl was actually written during NaNoWriMo, and is about writing! Write what you know, I guess.

Fangirl – The Novel / Rowell, Rainbow
“Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.” (Catalogue)

Fangirl. 1 – The Graphic Novel / Maggs, Sam
“When twin sisters Cath and Wren go to college, Cath fears that it may be time to give up her love of the Simon Snow series, and possibly grow apart from her sister.” (Catalogue)

Brooding YA hero : becoming a main character (almost) as awesome as me / DiRisio, Carrie
“Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.  As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Enter title here / Kanakia, Rahul
“Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all. What’s a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Afterworlds / Westerfeld, Scott
“In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy’s novel, slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love.” (Catalogue

The comedienne’s guide to Pride / Thomson, Hayli
“When Taylor is accepted as a finalist for a diverse writers’ internship at Saturday Night Live, it turns her life upside down. And if Taylor wants a shot at winning, she’ll have to come out about both of her secrets: she wants to be a comedian … and she’s a lesbian. The only thing keeping Taylor from self-combusting is her pining for Salem’s most bewitching actress – out and proud classmate, Charlotte Grey. So when Taylor finds herself sitting opposite Charlotte to discuss a school project, Taylor’s simmering need to tell everyone exactly who she is and what she wants burns hotter than ever…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

NCEA Exams are Looming, but so is Fight Procrastination Day!

Ah procrastination, our greatest friend and fiercest enemy. In case you didn’t know September 6 is Fight Procrastination Day, where your procrastination gains tangible form and beats you up.

Wait, gimme a second.


Okay so apparently Fight Procrastination Day is a day where we try to not procrastinate, to do those things we’ve been putting off. I know, I know, it sounds like fantasy, but I have heard from reputable sources that it’s possible.



Now we-

To celebrate???

Man I have no idea where to take this…


I have time

I’ll do it later





Oh look at the time, bright and early…. November!?

Wow, I really let my time go. But I put all this effort into… finding a funny holiday? No no, this is fine, we can save this. November, November, what’s in November. Oh yeah! Exams. That totally works.

Now I just have to write something helpful for study…

You know what? Why fix what isn’t broken. Fellow Teen Blogger Alayne already wrote a brilliant study guide for dealing with the looming exams. So like, read that.

Study Hacks to Avoid NCEA Panic Attacks – Teen Blog (wcl.govt.nz)

No it’s not plagiarism, I’m just sending you to where the information is.

The fact I may or may not have run out of time is completely irrelevant.

The book of big excuses / Turner, Tracey
“Need to weasel your way out of blame? Or explain some strange behaviour? This is the book for you – for every type of situation, here are excuses from the historical to the hysterical.” (Catalogue)


Oh *&@$! I gotta turn in the blog. Guess I’ll just keep my notes to self in. Content right?

An Anthology of Anthologies of Anthologies! S̶͖̎̍̃͠ṗ̸̠O̴̤͑ọ̵͛̇̃Ḱ̴͕̝̞̌̾͌ỳ̷͓̜̄̃̽ ̵̭͓͍̄́͂Ș̵̝̱͍̐̈́͆̇c̷̭̜̹̀̿͝͠Ä̵͕́̿r̶̢̘̗̂͆͛̅Y̵͓̰̬̘̓͠ ̷͈̺̊̈̀ͅh̵͉̀̿̏̚O̸̦̥͖͓̽͛͝ȑ̵̡̼̈́̄́R̸͙͎͗̽ö̶̳̀͝R̴̤̓͘ͅ ̷̨̡̨͍͂s̷̫̠̎͒͂͜T̴̠͕̖͔̈́̒͛̅ơ̶̜̮̝̇͌R̸͉̲̂͌̃ì̵̢͋̈́͒Ȩ̴̟̩̻̅s̵̹̠͈̀͜͠!


On this very dawn of All Hallow’s Eve
Where ghost and ghouls; the horrors you conceive
Come out, come play, do some trick or treating
For that joyous time that’s oh so fleeting
It’s the spooky season: great October
Macabre machinations are in order
And what’s more in spirit of the season
Terrifying ourselves, within reason
A tradition as old as time itself
Only a little hazardous to health
Some scary stories to tell in the dark
Are you afraid? With goosebumps you embark
Into the twilight zone, where you will find
The Cryptkeeper telling tales most unkind
What better a place for the short story
Bound to an end that’s doomed to be gory
A pinprick of fear, or if you have guts
Torment yourself with a thousand papercuts
So gather ’round the fire, go dim the lights
And prepare yourself for a world of frights



Skin and other stories / Dahl, Roald
“”Who could imagine that a woman would kill her husband with a frozen leg of lamb – and then feed it to the police investigating the murder? Or that a greedy group of art dealers would stop at nothing to separate a poor man from a valuable picture – that’s tattooed on this back?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hometown haunts : #LoveOzYA horror tales
“One bite of an apple from a family shrine unearths hungry ghosts. A poison garden unfurls a polite boy’s deepest, darkest desires. Interfering with an Indigenous burial site unleashes ancestral revenge, to a metal soundtrack. An underground dance party during Covid threatens to turn lethal. And on the edge of a coastal rainforest, a grieving sister waits to witness a mysterious ‘unravelling’. The stories in this wide-ranging collection dig deep and go hard. From body horror to the supernatural, hauntings to transformations, and the everyday evil of humans to menacing outside forces, Hometown Haunts will have you glued to your chair … until you leap out of it!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Extremities : stories of death, murder, and revenge / Lubar, David
“A group of high school girls takes revenge on their sadistic gym teacher in the most fitting way possible. Two stowaways find themselves on a ship for the dead. An ancient predator stalks the wrong victim. Here are thirteen tales of death, murder, and revenge”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The Dark-Thirty / McKissack, Patricia
“In that special half-hour of twilight–the dark-thirty–there are stories to be told. Mesmerizing, suspenseful, and breathtakingly original, these tales make up a heart-stopping collection of lasting value, a book not quickly forgotten. From the Trade Paperback edition.” (Catalogue)

Monstrous affections : an anthology of beastly tales
“An anthology of stories explores the intersection of fear and romance, ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.” (Catalogue)

NEvermore! : tales of murder, mystery & the macabre : neo-gothic fiction inspired by the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe
“22 original, modern stories, many by New York Times bestselling mystery and dark fantasy authors, recreating Poe’s genius and atmospheric brilliance through riffs on his classic tales.”–Back cover,” (Catalogue)

Teeth : vampire tales
“The first bite is only the beginning. Twenty of today’s favorite writers explore the intersections between the living, dead, and undead. Their vampire tales range from romantic to chilling to gleeful–and touch on nearly every emotion in between. Drawn from folk traditions around the world, popular culture, and original interpretations, the vampires in this collection are enticingly diverse. But reader beware: The one thing they have in common is their desire for blood… ” (Catalogue)

The complete stories / Poe, Edgar Allan
“Edgar Allan Poe’s gift for the macabre influenced Baudelaire and French symbolism, Freudian analysis, the detective novel and the Hollywood film. His psychologically profound stories, which comprise this book, represent the darker side of the 19th-century American sensibility.” (Catalogue)

Uncle Montague’s tales of terror / Priestley, Chris
“Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house and his regular visits from his nephew give him the opportunity to relive some of the most frightening stories he knows. But as the stories unfold, a newer and more surprising narrative emerges, one that is perhaps the most frightening of all.” (Catalogue)

Man made monsters / Rogers, Andrea L.
“Haunting illustrations are woven throughout these horror stories that follow one extended Cherokee family across the centuries and well into the future as they encounter predators of all kinds in each time period.” (Catalogue)

Slasher girls & monster boys
“Inspired by classic tales and films, a collection of fourteen short stories ranging from bloody horror, to psychological thrillers, to supernatural creatures, to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, by acclaimed YA authors of every genre”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Red Spikes / Lanagan, Margo
“Ten stabs to the heart. Ten tales to jab and poke – at your darkest fears, your secret desires. Margo Lanagan’s short stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have. Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us all. For anyone who likes to be surprised, touched, unsettled, intrigued, or scared, prepare to be dazzled by what a master storyteller can do in a few short pages.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ghosts of heaven / Sedgwick, Marcus
“The spiral has existed as long as time has existed. It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant green dale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny. Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so their journeys begin…”–Book jacket” (Catalogue)


An Anthology of Anthologies of Anthologies! Merry Generic Book Celebration Time!

It may come to no surprise that I am interested in silly holiday celebrations. But where do I find all of these preposterous party-purposes?


To pull back the curtain a bit…


There’s this funny little website I use to look through all the different days of the year, called (shockingly enough) Days of the Year. It tells me every*I mean, I assume, it’s not like I check*Plus it doesn’t seem to care very much about actual “real” holidays that people actually celebrate but pssh we don’t need people or authority holiday for any day I want to look of. Now, these are all super official holidays™ that absolutely everyone™ knows. Like our beloved and much celebrated National Small Press Month. Whether these days are actually pertinent to us in New Zealand is irrelevant. For example, this lovely month of October is none other than Library Month*

*In Canada…

Look, there’s 365 and a quarter days in a year, and each day is generally celebrating like 9ish different things, not even including special months. Not all of them are winners. In fact, there can often be a lot of overlap, like how August 8 is International Cat Day, which is separate from October 29: National Cat Day, or October 16: Global Cat Day.

I like to look through all these days to find exciting and strange holidays to celebrate fun things, but I end up finding patterns sometimes. There are a whole bunch of days that are just gimmes for a librarian writing about books. Days about books and libraries and whatnot. But if I just wrote for those holidays what would be the point? They’d all be the same. Instead, I decided to knock them all out. In the spirit of Canadian Library Month let’s have a look at all the generic book holidays!


National Word Nerd Day (January 9th) | Days Of The Year


National Library Lover’s Month (February 2024) | Days Of The Year

World Read Aloud Day (February 3rd) | Days Of The Year

National Read In The Bathtub Day (February 9th) | Days Of The Year

International Book Giving Day (February 14th) | Days Of The Year


Return Borrowed Books Week (Mar 3rd to Mar 9th) | Days Of The Year

Read an E-Book Week (Mar 3rd to Mar 9th) | Days Of The Year

World Book Day (March 7th, 2024) | Days Of The Year

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the Lost Souls




The gall! I bet they’re just mad because despite being named the 9th and 10th month (novem means 9 and decem means 10 in Latin) they’re the 11th and 12th months. Do they think they’re better than us? BAH!  We don’t need them!



To lean into this generic bookishness, I have gathered some anthologies together for your reading pleasure. A grand variety of different genres and types of story. So go ahead and read, before the baleful November and December rains its fury.

A tyranny of petticoats : 15 stories of belles, bank robbers & other badass girls
“From pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago, take a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.” (Catalogue)

Willful impropriety : 13 tales of society, scandal, and romance
“The Season has finally arrived, filled with the magnificent balls, scandalous gossip, and clandestine romances that every lord and lady in good society has come to expect. But far within the walls of lavish estates and in the dark corners of the city lies a world that the aristocracy dares not touch, with rules and risks that glamour cannot overpower. Yet true love has no boundaries, and heiresses and street thieves alike must use their savvy and strength to create new beginnings and happily-ever-afters. Sometimes luck is enough, but every once in a while, a touch of magic may be needed.” (Catalogue)

That stubborn seed of hope : stories / Falkner, Brian
“A boy helps his sister disguise her birthmark on her first day of school. A seventeen-year-old awakens to find himself trapped in an elderly body. A teenage girl discovers her boyfriend has a life-threatening virus the day after they share their first kiss. A high school student tries to communicate to his hospitalised brother who is in a vegetative state. Brian Falkner serves up bite-sized tales of fear – fear of rejection, fear of dying, fear of disease, fear of the unknown, fear of exclusion, fear of being caught and fear of embarrassment – showing how that stubborn seed of hope hungers our darkest moments.” (Catalogue)

Who done it? : investigation of murder most foul
“When over eighty prominent children’s authors learn they are suspects in the murder of despicable book editor Herman Mildew, they provide less-than-credible alibis.” (Catalogue)

Rags & bones : new twists on timeless tales
“In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, the ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them, the ones that have become ingrained in modern culture, and the ones that have been too long overlooked.” (Catalogue)

Tales from the inner city / Tan, Shaun
“World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict – of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.” (Catalogue)

Athletic Shorts / Crutcher, Chris
“These six powerful short stories chronicle bits of the lives of characters, major and minor, who have walked the rugged terrain of Chris Crutcher’s earlier works. They also introduce some new and unforgettable personalities who may well be heard from again in future books. As with all Crutcher’s work, these are stories about athletes, and yet they are not sport stories. They are tales of love and death, bigotry and heroism, of real people doing their best even when that best isn’t very good. Crutcher’s straightforward style and total honesty have earned him an admiring audience and made readers of many nonreaders.” (Catalogue)

Off the map / Gardner, Scot
“Our home town. Sometimes it feels like the centre of the universe, sometimes it’s the bum-end of nowhere. We are her sons and daughters. These are our triumphs and our heartaches, our fears and hopes for a better life. Getting lost, falling in love, pushing boundaries, exploring the world – powerfully honest stories to make you think and feel, from the award-winning author of The Dead I Know and Changing Gear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sixteen / McCafferty, Megan
“Dating! Drama! Driving!Remember what it was like to be sixteen? Whether it was the year your teeth were finally free of braces or the year you were discovered by the opposite sex, that magical, mystical age is something you will never forget. Sixteen: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday is a compilation of short stories inspired by all the angst, melodrama, and wonderment of being sixteen. Sarah Dessen’s “Infinity” is about a girl confronting two major milestones: getting her driver’s license and losing her virginity. The Dead Girls in Jacqueline Woodson’s “Nebraska 99” have already decided to “do it” and must now cope with being teenage mothers. And Carolyn Mackler’s “Mona Lisa, Jesus, Chad, and Me” explores whether friendship can survive when partying and prayer clash.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The realm of possibility / Levithan, David
“A variety of students at the same high school describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of interconnected free verse stories.” (Catalogue)

Unnatural creatures
“Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds–collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. Magical creatures from the werewolf, to the sunbird, to beings never before classified will thrill, delight, and quite possibly unnerve you in tales by E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries. Sales of Unnatural Creatures benefit 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in their creative and expository writing, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.” (Catalogue)

Explore the World’s Literature for International Translation Day!

I’ll make a bet with you, I bet that for the vast majority of readers of this here blog the best book you have ever read was written in English.

Did I get it right?

Of course I did, I’m a psychic. That and the fact that this is an English language blog, written for a library in a predominantly English speaking country, aimed at teenagers, who (considering our education system) are probably only fluent in English. (If that’s not you, rock on!) One could be mistaken for thinking that only the anglophones can write good books.

Well you’re wrong, Blatant Straw Man!

There is a whole world of great literature that is just waiting for us, if only we could read the funny letters… I mean look at the word “baguette,” what is one to comprehend from these squiggles?

But there is a solution!

(There is always a solution)!

Some wild people have this superpower where they can understand more than one language, unbelievable I know. These people, these “cultured human beings” or “polyglots” for short, take the words of these foreign stories and transform them into words us Anglos can understand. This is called translating, and some lucky books receive this treatment, transcending the boundaries of language.

Wow, look at the calendar, it just so happens to be September 30th, International Translation Day. What a coincidence.

To celebrate these oft forgotten workers, let us embrace the foreign and delight in the stories only they could bring to our eyes.

So, without further ado, let us look at some English books from our collection that weren’t always in our mother tongue (if you’re in the market for more such stories, check out our Books From Around the World list here!)

Beginning with!



The girl from the other side : siúil, a rún. Vol. 1 / Nagabe
“In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed. A young girl named Shiva lives on the other side, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as Teacher. Although the two are forbidden to touch, they seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances. But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her grandmother, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light.” (Catalogue)

Komi can’t communicate. Volume 1 / Oda, Tomohito
“Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi would love to make friends, but her shyness is interpreted as reserve, and the other students keep her at a distance. Only timid Tadano realizes the truth, and despite his own desire to blend in, he decides to help her achieve her goal of making 100 friends.”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The beast player / Uehashi, Nahoko
“Elin’s family care for the fearsome serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. When some of the beasts mysteriously die, Erin’s mother is sentenced to death. Elin is sent to safety and soon discovers that she can talk to terrifying water serpents and the flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers but endanger her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war?– Adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue)

Brazilian Portuguese!


Where we go from here / Rocha, Lucas
“When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has-had-been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid. That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)



You can’t kill Snow White / Alemagna, Béatrice
“A retelling of Snow White from the point of view of the stepmother queen, whose blinding obsession and insatiable jealousy lead inexorably to her own violent undoing.” (Catalogue)

The Count of Monte Cristo / Dumas, Alexandre
“Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.  (Goodreads)

A winter’s promise / Dabos, Christelle
“Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.”– Amazon.com.” (Catalogue)



The storyteller / Michaelis, Antonia
“Wealthy, seventeen-year-old Anna begins to fall in love with her classmate, Abel, a drug dealer from the wrong side of town, when she hears him tell a story to his six-year-old sister, but when his enemies begin turning up dead, Anna fears she has fallen for a murderer.” (Catalogue)

Erebos : it’s a game, it watches you / Poznanski, Ursula
“Ages 12 to 14 years When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname. Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game. Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book jumper / Gläser, Mechthild
“Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother leave Germany for Scotland, heading to Lennox House, her mother’s childhood home on the island of Stormsay. Amy’s grandmother insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House — but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as her new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts — at whatever cost.” (Catalogue)



Maresi / Turtschaninoff, Maria
“Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren’t allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. Then one day Jai, tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her. Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.” (Goodreads)

The legend of Sally Jones / Wegelius, Jakob
“Another gripping Sally Jones adventure – the gorgeously illustrated, prizewinning prequel to The Murderer’s Ape This is the story of a gorilla like no other. This is the story of a fantastic voyage across the world, from the Congolese rainforest to the grand bazaar of Istanbul, from Borneo to London, Singapore and beyond. The story of a mysterious jewel thief and a sad sailor with a heart of gold. A story of friendship and adventure on the high seas. This is the story of Sally Jones.” (Catalogue)

Be Baffled ‘Bout Brilliantly Bad Ballads! Nonsense Verses for National Bad Poetry Day!

I  know
to write
Try good
Just press ent-
er a whole bunch at
random point-
It looks super

It’s another day
It’s another holiday
Who woulda thunk it?

Dear God! The blogger
Is writing verse once again!

Let’s celebrate art
The most fançioux: poetry
but not the good stuff

drop the pretention
rake those nails on the chalkboard
make fun, not good, stuff

just stop counting
abandon the thesaurus
who cares if a haiku is supposed to have a specific amount of syllables? rules? what are those? oh im “breaking the rules” who are you? my dad? hah i can does what me wantses irregardless!

It is national bad poetry day
Where we celebrate creativity
By making and reading poems that may
not exactly be “literary”
There’s so much pomp and circumstance in it
You’d think you could only read poetry
With a lordship and some prestige degree
But anyone can read ’em, they’re fun, try it
Here’s my suggestion: write some pretty words
They don’t have to be good, but maybe they’ll be.
Do whatever you want, follow rules or don’t
I’m sure there’s many a poem in ye.

“But alas”, you cry, “I doth not know how!”
Worry not, the librarian me knows all about crappy poetry

Rhyme is sublime. It’s a crime, I’mma chime, anytime the paradigm of rhyme goes bye. Similar sounds bound together incur profound purr renowned all-around. Astound year-round you crowned amateur litterateur!

Alliteration: an amazing action an author attempts, attracting attention among audiences. Bundling beginnings breaklessly becomes bountiful by bewitching bodies, banishing boredom.

Sibilance: certain s/c sounds said surplus, structured so somehow specialises sufficiently so sibilance stays separate. Sibilance starts sounds ampersand simultaneously starts inside some sounds.

Meter is not just a form of measure.
Iambic pentameter; what Shakespeare
Wrote requires ten syllables in five “feet”.
Feet is a unit, the Bard used iambs

Unstressed then stressed, a meter of two sylls
But I’ll tell you a secret: it’s nonsense,
Gobbledygook! Pick a random number
Of syllables and stick to it. Pretend!

People assume you know what you’re doing.
One format to try: Old Shakespeare’s sonnet
Three groups of four lines, rhyme A B A B
Ten syllables: Iamb pentameter

End it with a rhyming couple of lines,
A couplet, if you will, wrapping it up

Limericks are fun don’t you know
Rhyme A A B B A like so
Write li’l shorter here
For reasons we’ll veer
Answers? Nah, just enjoy the show

Haikus are classic
A sandwich of funny words
It’s easy as pie

Five syllables up
Seven syllables between
Five syllables down

So there it is, go poetry right now
If creativity is hard, then I suggest thou

Should pick up a book, read some nonsense poetry.
Where silly people make silly sounds sillily

The complete nonsense of Edward Lear / Lear, Edward
King and Queen of the Pelicans we;
No other Birds so grand we see!
None but we have feet like fins!
With lovely leathery throats and chins!
Ploffskin, Pluffskin, Pelican jee!
We think no Birds so happy as we!
Plumpskin, Ploshkin, Pelican jill!
We think so then, and we thought so still!”
(Edward Lear, The Pelican Chorus)

The musician Cosmo Sheldrake has turned one of these poems into a song, it’s worth a listen

Fox in socks / Seuss
“Knox in box.
Fox in socks.
Knox on fox in socks in box.
Socks on Knox and Knox in box.
Fox in socks on box on Knox.”
(Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks)

There’s a very fun video of this book as a rap from the Dr. Seuss YouTube channel

Old Possum’s book of practical cats / Eliot, T. S.
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!

(T.S. Eliot, Macavity: The Mystery Cat)

(Also it inspired the brilliant musical Cats and its… less brilliant movie adaptation Cats)

Jabberwocky / Carroll, Lewis
“’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

(Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky)

Cautionary verses / Belloc, Hilaire
And is it True? It is not True.
And if it were it wouldn’t do,
For people such as me and you
Who pretty nearly all day long
Are doing something rather wrong.
Because if things were really so,
You would have perished long ago,
And I would not have lived to write
The noble lines that meet your sight,
Nor B. T. B. survived to draw
The nicest things you ever saw.

(Hillaire Belloc, Introduction)

Michael Rosen’s book of nonsense / Rosen, Michael
“The seagulls think we live at the seaside:
the tower blocks are their cliffs;
they swoop for fish in the gutter
but are happy that it’s last night’s fried rice.”

(Michael Rosen, The Seagulls)


Fun fact: this book’s written by the guy behind this meme:

Forgive me, I meant to do it : false apology poems / Levine, Gail Carson
“This Is Just to Say
If you’re looking for a nice happy book
put this one down and run away quickly
Forgive me sweetness and good cheer are boring”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Witness Librarian Cats for International Cat Day!

The humble Felis Catus, or the domestic cat, is well renowned for its utter dominion over the human race. They began their conquest in ancient Egypt, around 3100 BCE, where they were worshipped. Such worship continues to this very day across the world, where their absolute adorableness grants them easy access to willing slaves for food and pats. Even the last bastion of sense and reason, the library, has not been able to resist their influence. 

This world is catkind’s, we just live in it.

Our deities demand piety, and so shall we give it! Today, on this hallowed day, is International Cat Day, and to celebrate, we at the library shall show off our beloved kits!


A long black cat is lying on its back atop a blue duvet.Firstly, and most importantly, is my cat! Take a gander at Fred! Isn’t he just the cutest! Freddy is a very loving a snuggly cat, who loves being pet and head boops. alFredo sauce is so very fluffy and he meows! Freddles knows what he wants, and if you are doing something he does not want, he will give you a warning chomp. Graciously he shows mercy and only lightly chomps, for a dead servant is not a very useful servant. 10 out of 10 best cat.

A tortoiseshell cat with blue eyes looks wistfully off into the distance.

This beautiful girl is named Pixie, ain’t she cute! She’s very sweet and always wants cuddles. However, she has a dark side, and can be quite cheeky, depending on the person. Pixie loves her owner, protecting her with violence against the foul beast Huuse-B’andd, for the grievous crime of existing.

A cat with mottled brown and white fur lies on its back outdoors.

A cat with mottled black, brown and white fur twists its body to get a good look at the camera.

These contorting cats are Henry Bam Bam (pictured left) and Eevee (pictured right). These cats are well versed in the ancient tradition of being liquid, transfiguring into whatever shape catches their interest, puny human laws of physics notwithstanding. In performing this eldritch geometry they absorb the sun’s rays and relax, biding their time for further world domination.

Five cats are arrayed on and around a cat tree. The largest cat, the mother, is standing at the bottom, with four cats of different sizes and colourings seated above.Mumma Cat, as she was creatively named, was a stray who decided to adopt her family by having four kittens in their house. She is the large calico cat, much bigger than her children.

Mumma Cat’s human decided to keep two of the kittens, Pepper the black kitten and Dahl the ginger kitten. The other two, Pickle the calico and Pepper the tortoiseshell (There is a long tradition of Peppers within their house) were taken in by another librarian (to keep them in the family business, you must understand).

A ginger cat, a black cat, and a tabby sit on a cat tree.Pepper is a magpie, who loves to steal precious treasures (read: random junk) and store them in her dragon’s hoard (under the bed). Further hobbies include scaling her titan servants to rest upon their shoulders.

Dahl, named after the author, though it is apt that his name is the same as a food…because he loves of all things most, food. He enjoys eating food, meowing for food, stealing the other cats food and trying to steal human food.  When he’s got a full belly he likes lots and lots and lots of pats, to play in the empty bathtub, and to cheekily nibble at pot plants for a reaction.

An elderly cat with long white fur is turning to look at the camera.

This old lady is the darling Jessie, captured here enjoying the great wilderness (there’s no fluffy carpet *gasp*). She loves establishing her dominance over micekind by ritualistically attacking her toy mouse in the dark of night, the pitiful desires of humans to “sleep” (whatever that entails) less important than this dire ritual. The children of the house (though they may have grown) are beloved by this empress, however the “owner” (can it really be said that humans are the owners of cats) is unloved, especially when food is not plentiful.

A grey cat lounges atop a black blanket on a bed by the window.Another finely aged gentlelady of refined taste, Shadow enjoys the finer things in life. Such pleasures are that of bathing in the warmth of the firelight and of the LCD screen. She does not deign upon pithy mortals the pleasures of her meow, simply tapping her paw to alert her servants of her dire need for pets.

You might be surprised to learn that I, master of silly and goofy holidays, was not the first librarian to show off genuine article library cats™©☢®. Fellow teen blogger Maiph wrote a blog two years ago for Black Cat Appreciation Day, stealing my gimmick before I even had it, the meanie. So if you need another kitty fix, there you go.

But it just isn’t enough is it? The overwhelming love we feel for kitties can never be truly sated. But worry not, for I have more fuel to add to the burning fire of passion: books on cats!*Please do not literally set library books on fire, I will get in trouble if you do that BEHOLD!

Dewey : a small-town library cat who touched the world / Myron, Vicki
“The story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat, starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the book return slot at the Spencer, Iowa, Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Marvel meow / Fuji, Nao
“The comic misadventures of Chewie, Captain Marvel’s catlike pet flerken. Join Captain Marvel’s pet, Chewie, as she wreaks havoc in the lives of Marvel Comics’ most popular characters. Gain a new persepective on beloved favorites such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, formidable villains including Thanos and Galactus, and antiheroes like Deadpool, as they all become the playthings of this capricious ‘cat’ creature.” — Book jacket flap.” (Catalogue)

Homer’s odyssey : a fearless feline tale, or how I learned about love and life with a blind wonder cat / Cooper, Gwen
“A New York Times Bestseller — Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits — on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.” (Catalogue)

Catwings / Le Guin, Ursula K.
“Four young cats with wings leave the city slums in search of a safe place to live, finally meeting two children with kind hands.” (Catalogue)

Homicidal psycho jungle cat : a Calvin and Hobbes collection / Watterson, Bill
“Calvin and Hobbes are at it again, and this time, our irrepressible friends are taking a walk on the wild side. Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Old Possum’s book of practical cats / Eliot, T. S.
“The inspiration for the iconic musical Cats, T. S. Eliot’s classic and delightful collection of poetry about cats, with whimsical illustrations by Edward Gorey.” (Catalogue)

(Also it inspired the brilliant musical Cats and its… less brilliant movie adaptation Cats)

White cat / Black, Holly
“When Cassel Sharpe discovers that his older brothers have used him to carry out their criminal schemes and then stolen his memories, he figures out a way to turn their evil machinations against them.” (Catalogue)

One cup at a time : a Cat’s Cafe collection / Tarpley, Matt
“Serving up another steaming hot cup of the warm and floofies, this new collection follows your favourite regulars at Cat’s Cafe as well as several all-new characters as they handle the ups and downs of life with the help of their friends. A follow-up collection based on the popular webcomic Cat’s Cafe, One Cup at a Time immerses readers in the gentle, supportive world of cafe owner Cat and his adorable friends. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Connecting the Strings between the Scraps and Fragments: Epistolary Novels


A Letter written in a handwriting style font: J'Shuall of Jackanapery Waitohi Library Wellington J'shuall, you will not believe what I have found within the dark recesses of the library storage. It was a late Tuesday afternoon, pretty groggy weather, when I found it. Most stories are told to you by some narrator, maybe the main character writing it down, maybe by some imaginary storyteller. But not these books, not epistolary novels. These are stories you have to discover, find out on your own, told through fragments of in-world material. I found some files related to them, but they're redacted, hopefully you can figure something out. Strange things have been happening recently, ever since I found those tomes. So like, heads up. Your Loyal Friend, Susan Dorian Nymm

A scanned copy of a classified document that has been liberally redacted. Reading: Item Category: Epistolary Novel Description: Epistolary derives from the Greek ἐπιστολή (epistolē), translated into English as letter. Epistolary novels are composed of a series of documents to tell a story. These include but are not limited to: letters, diaries, REDACTED, newspaper clippings, REDACTED, legal documents, recordings, emails, REDACTED, text messages, internet posts, etc. They lack a traditional narrator. Reference: Testing concluded that REDACTED Knowledge ungiven is taken while reading these novels.REDACTED security leakage REDACTED large mysterious objects. REDACTED hostage REDACTED pineapple REDACTED Sport REDACTED shorts. REDACTED door REDACTED Metastability REDACTED timber REDACTED Further testing could not be performed as new test subjects were unavailable REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED

A phone conversation to "Susan - Work": Susie, dude, you have my phone number I mean thanks, but still Interesting stuff

Transcript of recovered security footage taken from Librarian Head Quarters

[Timecode 23:49 13-10-2023]

[00:00] The camera is high up in the corner of a room. The room is a small office, walled by shelves stuffed to the brim with books. In the centre of the room is a librarian, hunched over a desk. The desk is covered with tomes of various ages, with various notes scattered all over. The room is lit with a single candle. The librarian, an aged and wretched thing, is frantically writing.

Librarian: I am close, I just know it

[00:20] The shadows surrounding the librarian lengthen, but the librarian does not notice, continuing to write.

[01:43] From the shadows a figure emerges, the camera is unable to capture its appearance. The figure can be seen through a person shaped blotch of static and glitches. Loud hum begins to fill the room.

Librarian: So, you finally came for me.

[02:05] The librarian stops writing, turning to look at the figure, before wincing and looking away.

Mysterious Figure: *distorted screeching*

Librarian: You're too late [inaudible] will know.

[02: 30] The figure moves closer to the librarian. The shadows move like liquid, and begin to cover the librarian. The librarian smiles, then grabs something unseen from the desk.
[03:05] Static begins to fill the frame as a loud buzzing can be heard. The entire screen is covered, before vanishing. The mysterious figure and the librarian are gone.


A pink diary page splattered in something black, reading: Dear Diary, I fear my days are numbered. This knowledge was not supposed to leave the vault, but here it is. I've found them, these epistolary novels, novels I know the blog will love. All I need to do now is release them to th Dear Diary, I fear my days are numbered. This knowledge was not supposed to leave the vault, but here it is. I've found them, these epistolary novels, novels I know the blog will love. All I need to do now is releases them into th


Dracula / Raven, Nicky
“A modern, illustrated retelling of the Bram Stoker classic, in which young Jonathan Harker first meets and then must destroy the vampire, Count Dracula, in order to save those closest to him. Bram Stoker’s masterpiece is adapted for a younger audience with all the sinister intrigue of the original novel.” (Catalogue)

Illuminae / Kaufman, Amie
“The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship’s artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Flowers for Algernon / Keyes, Daniel
“When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him.  In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?” (Catalogue)

The perks of being a wallflower / Chbosky, Stephen
“Tells, through Charlie’s letters, what it is like to grow up in high school. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

Book of a thousand days / Hale, Shannon
“Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren’s years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.” (Catalogue)

I hate everyone but you / Dunn, Gaby
“Ava and Gen, best friends, are heading off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. They stay in touch with texts and emails, documenting their weird roommates, self-discovery, coming out, and mental health. As each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship survive the distance?” (Catalogue)

Gabi, a girl in pieces / Quintero, Isabel
“Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy’s pregnancy, friend Sebastian’s coming out, her father’s meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.” (Catalogue)

The princess diaries / Cabot, Meg
“‘You’re not Mia Thermopolis any more, honey, ‘ Dad said. ‘You’re Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo. Princess of Genovia.’ A PRINCESS?? ME??? Yeah. Right. One minute Mia’s a totally normal Manhattan fourteen-year-old. Next minute she’s heir to the throne of Genovia, being trailed by a bodyguard, taking princess lessons with her uncontrollable old grandmere, and having a makeover with someone called Paolo. Well, her dad can lecture her till he’s royal blue in the face, but no way is Mia going to turn herself into a style-queen. And they think she’s moving to Genovia? Er, hello?. Ages 13+” (Catalogue)

Pretenders / Harrison, Lisi
“Five high school freshmen–the Phoenix Five–reveal their friendships, crushes, school and family dramas, and big secrets, as told in their unique voices through journal entries”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The Cecelia and Kate novels / Wrede, Patricia C.
“In Sorcery & Cecelia, the two cousins have been inseparable since girlhood. But in 1817, Kate goes to London to make her debut into English society, leaving Cecelia behind to fight boredom in her small country town. While visiting the Royal College of Wizards, Kate stumbles on a plot to destroy a beloved sorcerer—and only Cecelia can help her save him.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rules for vanishing / Marshall, Kate Alice
“Do you want to play the game? Once a year, a road appears in the woods at midnight and the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons, inviting those who are brave enough to play her game. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose… It’s almost a year since Becca went missing. Everyone else has given up searching for her, but her sister, Sara, knows she disappeared while looking for Lucy Gallows. Determined to find her, Sara and her closest friends enter the woods. But something more sinister than ghosts lurks on the road, and not everyone will survive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Monster / Myers, Walter Dean
“While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.” (Catalogue)

Slithering, Scaley Serpents! Support World Snake Day! Subsume Snake Storiessssss!


Snakes! Sourcing serotonin, sanguine, straightforwardly selfward. So supremely sweet, simply stunning, sensationally spectacular. Snakes secrete superiority so surely; society simply shall celebrate. (Sadly, ‘s’ sounding substitutions shall suffice, so suspend some scrutiny.) Souls stay sore seeing serpents stay solo, separated so soundly. Serendipitously, solving such struggles, some stories surround serpents; sacred sagas, sagely shared, so souls shall strengthen!  Sorry, sibilance shall stop suddenly because it’s kinda hard to make any sense with.

But yeah, World Snake Day! I love snakes, they’re so cute, despite being not allowed in New Zealand. Ironic considering NZ is one of the only places without snakes-


We do have snakes, technically! To commemorate our favourite slithery serpents, I shall knowledge y’all on Aotearoa’s four species of native snakes!

So, it turns out there’s actually two different types of sea snakes, Laticauda and Hydrophiinae. So, what’s the difference?

Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait

Photo 271419032, (c) craigjhowe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Laticauda are known as Sea Kraits, which are basically fence sitters who can’t decide whether to be sea snakes or land snakes, so they do a bit of both. Funnily enough, all of New Zealand’s kraits feed on a diet of mainly eels. Because, obviously, kraits have to prove that they are the best aquatic long bois (which of course they are).

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Hydrophiinae meanwhile are also known as “True Sea-Snakes”, because they live mainly in the sea. For example, our Hydrophiinae, the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, spends about 87% of its time in water. Unlike most snakes, sea snakes birth live young, rather than laying eggs. The Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake eats mostly fish and cephalopods.

Despite these two subfamilies being similar concepts: snakes that swim, they actually independently evolved from each other. Both species are very poisonous, so if you find one, no touch!

Brown-Lipped Sea Krait

Brown-lipped Sea Krait

Photo 98665882, (c) abujudy, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)

Now to the technicalities of how they are native to Aotearoa. So, because sea snakes live in the sea, they sometimes end up drifting to New Zealand. Because they managed to get here by themselves, without the machinations of humans, it’s considered that they are native to the area. In fact, there’s only ever been 1 Brown-Lipped Sea Krait and 1 Saint Giron’s Sea Krait to ever be recorded in New Zealand, yet they’re considered native. And if you disagree with that, take it up with the Department of Conservation. Unfortunately, this means that in reality it is unlikely you’ll ever have to meet any snakes in New Zealand, but you’ll know, deep in your heart, that we technically have native snakes.

Saint Giron’s Sea KraitPhoto 278616112, (c) Yoshitaka Tahara, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

To honour our snakey comrades, I have scrounged up some snakey books for all to read… Plus some on eels, and beautiful serpentine Asian dragons. Unfortunately, few of the fiction books with snakes on the cover have anything to do with slithery friends, just metaphors, bleh.

Happy reading!

A snake falls to Earth / Little Badger, Darcie
“Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Shapeshifters : The Kiesha’ra of the den of shadows / Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia
“Five complete novels. One fascinating world. The NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling author’s tales of forbidden love, bound together in one gorgeous volume. SHAPESHIFTERS tracks the lives of five teenagers who live in a land that has long seen war between the avian and serpiente shapeshifters rage. Although a fragile peace has been established, they face many threats in the following years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Serpentine / Pon, Cindy
“Although sixteen-year-old Skybright feels lucky to be the handmaid and companion to the daughter of a wealthy family, she is hiding a secret that threatens to destroy her position and her closest relationships.” (Catalogue)

The snakes / Jones, Sadie
“‘I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic. When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.” (Catalogue)

Medusa / Burton, Jessie
“Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal … and destiny itself.” (Catalogue)

Tess of the road / Hartman, Rachel
“Tess Dombegh journeys through the kingdom of Goredd in search of the World Serpents and finds herself along the way”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

SilverFin : the graphic novel / Higson, Charles
“Young James Bond, while attending boarding school at Eton in the 1930s, must battle against an insane arms dealer who, by using killer eels, is attempting to create a race of indestructible soldiers on the eve of World War II.” (Catalogue)

Into the river / Dawe, Ted
“When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted. Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made.. he can wait on the bank, or leap forward into the river”–Back cover. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

A magic steeped in poison / Lin, Judy I
“For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her-the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu. When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi-masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making-she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life. But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.” — Provided by publisher” (Catalogue)

Song of silver, flame like night / Zhao, Amaelie Wen
“Lan’s last remnant of her mother–and the fallen Hin dynasty of her ancestors–is a symbol seared onto her wrist, which, if the mysterious boy she encounters is to be trusted, may be the key to freeing her people by mastering the ancient, forgotten art ofpractitioning.” (Catalogue)



Queer Stories for Pride: An Anthology of Anthologies of Anthologies!

Dear reader, it is painful for me to admit this, but I have been lying to you. I have portrayed myself as a wise old librarian, their vast knowledge of all things library, and just all things, is only matched by their eldritch unknowable power. I mean all of those are true, but there is something I haven’t been telling you.

I haven’t read every book in the library.

I know, I know. I feel your jeers, your wails of dismay and betrayal, and I am sorry. Unfortunately we, as (mostly) human beings, have limited time, and energy, and reading can be hard sometimes. It’s an unfortunate situation, but not one without a solution.

See, still all powerful and knowing.

And for that I present you…


So you can get more reading out of your reading.

Now I love a big novel as much as any one, there’s often nothing better than sitting down with a massive tome you’re 99% sure could be a murder weapon if need be and letting all that story flow into you. But sometimes it’s just a lot, and the world moves fast, and committing to a 1000 page story is too much. So why not anthologies?

Anthologies is the fancy person name for a bunch of artsy thingies, in this case short stories, gathered into a single collection. Often times they will have some sort of theme tying them together, but some are more looser than others. They’re usually written by a bunch of different authors, though sometimes authors will make collections of their own work.

But yeah, anthologies are pretty rad. One of the best bits about anthologies is the sense of accomplishment they can give you. You can read an entire story, or multiple stories, in a single sitting. Sure you can do that with novels, if you have the time, but reading one more chapter in an anthology is a whole other story.

So you’re sold, of course you are! But then you may be thinking, what anthology do I read, how do I choose? Silly goose, that’s where I come in! So what’s the theme?

It just so happens to be one of the best months of the year! Yes, even better than National Small Press Month!


In honour of that, let us read about stories of the Ls, the Gs, the Bs, the T’s, the Qs, the Is, the As and of course the +s!

All out
“Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, this collection of short stories crosses cultures and time periods to shed light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.” (Catalogue)

One in every crowd : stories / Coyote, Ivan E.
“Stories for everyone who has ever felt alone in their struggle to be true to themselves. These are honest, wry, plain-spoken tales about gender, identity and family.” (Catalogue)

Kindred : 12 queer #loveozya anthology stories
“Twelve of Australia’s best writers from the LGBTQ+ community are brought together in this ground-breaking collection of YA short stories. What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #LoveOzYA collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQ+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us. This inclusive and intersectional #OwnVoices anthology for teen readers features work from writers of diverse genders, sexualities and identities, including writers who identify as First Nations, people of colour or disabled. With short stories by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to young adult fiction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

19 love songs / Levithan, David
“Born from Levithan’s tradition of writing a story for his friends each Valentine’s Day, this collection brings all of them to his readers for the first time. With fiction, nonfiction, and a story in verse, there’s something for every reader here. Witty, romantic, and honest, teens (and adults) will come to this collection not only on Valentine’s Day, but all year round.” (Catalogue)

Love hurts
“Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts – both brand-new and old favourites – about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak, Patrick Ness and Andrew Smith, and with a new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.” (Catalogue)

Meet cute
“A collection of short stories exploring the moment when a couple meets for the first time–from an African American girl in upstate New York who simultaneously finds a prom dress and a date to a transgender girl who confronts the student blocking her right to use the school restroom.” (Catalogue)

Out now : queer we go / Mitchell, Saundra
“A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom … aliens run from the government … a president’s daughter comes into her own … a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer … a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops … skateboards and VW vans … Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page! This essential and beautifully written modern-day collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors and stories.” (Catalogue)

Short stuff : a young adult LGBTQ+ anthology
It could start anywhere… 

At a summer vacation at the lake, just before heading off to college. In a coffee shop,when the whole world is new. In a dragon’s cave, surrounded by gold. At a swim club,with the future in sight.

In Short Stuff, bestselling and award-winning authors dial down the angst in four meet-cute LGBTQ young adult romances.” (Catalogue)

It’s Dino Time, Literally: Discover Dinosaurs During Dinosaur Day!

Friends, family, acquaintances, we are all gathered here today, June 1st, to commemorate the passing of our beloved Dinosaurs. Truly they were the best of us, I mean, they were huge awesome bird-lizard things that were like super cool. Dinosaurs have been an inspiration for many of us, from becoming an obsession for us in our younger years, to never leaving that obsession, to those silly suits that people can buy that just make everything better. Unfortunately our beloved Dinosaurs were so cruelly taken away from us by some meteors, though that may have been for the best considering how squishy humans are and how big Dinosaurs were. The Dinosaurs’ legacy is continued by their descendants, birds, who are neat. I mean, have you seen geese? They put the “terrible” in “terrible lizard”.

Now, to say a few words is one of the T-Rex’s fierce relatives:

Thank you for your wise words, Sir Cluckington.

But let us not be swamped in sadness, Dinosaurs wouldn’t have wanted us to live in sorrow for their loss. I mean, technically Dinosaurs probably wouldn’t have wanted anything besides food, but hey, let’s be poetic. Let us celebrate their lives, their radical coolness, rather than their deaths. For why focus on the fact they are dead and fossilised, but for the brightness they spark in our hearts.

So, in remembrance, this Dinosaur Day, June 1st, let us look at all the cool media about dinosaurs.


Battlesaurus : rampage at Waterloo / Falkner, Brian
“In this alternate history, Napoleon wins at Waterloo by unleashing a secret battlefield weapon–a legion of giant, carnivorous dinosaurs imported from the wilds of the Americas–and only fifteen-year-old Willem Verheyen stands in the way of the emperor’s plan for world domination.” (Catalogue)

The extinction trials / Wilson, S. M.
“Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this epic new series.” (Catalogue)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur [1] : BFF / Montclare, Brandon
“Lunella Lafayette is an inhuman preteen genius who wants to change the world! THAT JOB would be a lot easier if she wasn’t living in mortal fear of her latent inhuman gene. There’s no telling what she’ll turn into — but Luna’s got a plan. All she needs is an Omni-Wave Projector. Easy, right? That is, until a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call … today!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reptil : brink of extinction / Blas, Terry
“Reptil — the dinosaur-powered graduate of Avengers Academy — is on the brink of extinction! In the wake of his grandfather’s worsening health, Humberto Lopez has taken a step back from crimefighting to focus on his family. Perhaps it’s a sign that he should give up on becoming a hero and finally come to terms with his parents’ mysterious disappearance… or perhaps not! When a mysterious figure ambushes Humberto, what unravels will shake the core of everything that Reptil thought he knew about his past. And it will either change the course of his future – or end it forever!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dinotopia : journey to Chandara / Gurney, James
“After many years of searching, artist James Gurney has discovered a never-before-seen journal by the nineteenth-century explorer Arthur Denison in a used bookstore. Denison’s previous travel accounts, published as Dinotopia: A land Apart from Time and Dinotopia: The World Beneath, introduced a lost island where dinosaurs and humans live together in peaceful interdependence. Now Professor Denison and his saurian companion, Bix, set out on a perilous journey to the long-forgotten empire of Chandara.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Raptor Red / Bakker, Robert T
“A pair of fierce but beautiful eyes look out from the undergrowth of conifers. She is an intelligent killer. So begins one of the most extraordinary novels you will ever read. The time is 120 million years ago, the place is the plains of prehistoric Utah, and the eyes belong to an unforgettable heroine. Her name is Raptor Red, and she is a female Raptor dinosaur. The life of a lady dinosaur in the prehistoric swamps of Utah. When her mate is killed on a hunting expedition she teams up with her sister, a mother of three, and the novels follows their struggle to eat and survive in a dangerous world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jurassic Park / Crichton, Michael
“Before seeing Jurassic World film this June read the original, multimillion copy number 1 bestselling thriller that inspired the first major motion picture Jurassic Park. On a remote jungle island, genetic engineers have created a dinosaur game park. An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now one of mankind’s most thrilling fantasies has come true and the first dinosaurs that the Earth has seen in the time of man emerge. But, as always, there is a dark side to the fantasy and after a catastrophe destroys the park’s defence systems, the scientists and tourists are left fighting for survival…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lost world / Doyle, Arthur Conan
“The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive.” (Catalogue)

Bermuda / Layman, John
“There’s a region in the Atlantic Ocean where planes disappear, ships are lost, and traveling souls go missing… never to be heard from again. And there’s an island within this place, mysterious and uncharted, untouched by time and civilization, where all who are lost end up. Bermuda lives here. She’s a normal, everyday 16-year-old girl, who just so happens to live in an otherworldly dimension swarming with dinosaurs and pirates! It’s made her scrappy, and a survivor, and it’s the only life she’s ever known… until today. Bermuda’s discovered something on her island that will either open a doorway between her world and ours… or destroy them both!” — page 4 of cover” (Catalogue)

Age of reptiles : tribal warfare / Delgado, Ricardo
“More real life’ adventures from the days of the dinosaurs. This series tracks the fortunes – and misfortunes – of a family of Ceratosaurs as they try to survive the rigors of the Jurassic era.'” (Catalogue)

The virtual realities trilogy / Carmichael, Claire
“Andy Tremain has a terrifying ability. Using virtual reality, he can create monsters from his unconscious mind. And he’s obsessed with dinosaurs. A psychiatrist in the United States promises a cure but when Andy and his brother and sister realise they are prisoners rather than guests in Dr Kaplan’s luxurious desert complex, Andy’s dream becomes a nightmare. When his powers change and reality itself begins to shift and tear, Andy is so dangerous that society clearly cannot afford to let him live. So the terror continues…” (Catalogue)

Beneath the Mainstream: Superpower Novels Beyond the Basics

It’s a bird

It’s a plane

No… It’s…


Super cool awesome man….

Again? Really?  I saw him just last week, is there no end to his heroics? Oh and that silly bat-guy too, and some man spider thingy. Wow, how boring. You know, I love superhero media, I really do, but sometimes things just get too popular, too mainstream for old J’Shuall of Jackanapery. I prefer to be a hipster, have something literary enough for my esteemed taste. All you hear about nowadays are these Marvels and these DCs and honestly, sometimes it’s nice to have a change of pace.

Does that mean I hate Marvel and DC comics?


Legal is telling me that the correct answer is no, which yeah, fine. There’s a bunch of gems in the comics, from inventive re-imaginings of beloved characters to straight bangers of classic stories. Our good friend The Wellington Comic Lover is the real expert in that field, guiding you through the weird and wonderful world of comics. Give some of those blogs a look if that’s your thing.

But that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to show you all the interesting things the genre of superpowers, superheroes, and supervillains have to offer in novel form! Now you don’t have to worry about appearing uncivilised by looking at pictures, you can get your superpower goofiness from WORDS!

All without you having to read the billions of volumes about the s-squad, retaliators or good guy group™!

The infinite noise / Shippen, Lauren
“Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.” Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy-he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand. Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist-who seems to know a lot more than she lets on-and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.” (Catalogue)

Steelheart / Sanderson, Brandon
“Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, David’s been studying, and planning, and he has something the Reckoners need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.” (Catalogue)

Dreadnought / Daniels, April
“Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and dies right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantel to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in the ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head. She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer -a cyborg named Utopia- still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.” — Page 4 of cover.” (Catalogue)

Zeroes / Westerfeld, Scott
“Told from separate viewpoints, teens Scam, Crash, Flicker, Anonymous, Bellwether, and Kelsie, all born in the year 2000 and living in Cambria, California, have superhuman abilities that give them interesting but not heroic lives until they must work as a community to respond to a high stakes crisis.” (Catalogue)

The Extraordinaries / Klune, TJ
“If being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom was a superpower, Nick Bell would be a hero. Instead he’s just a fanboy with ADHD, posting online. After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), he sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life). — adapted from jacket and Amazon info” (Catalogue)

Not your sidekick / Lee, C. B.
“Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship-only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.” (Catalogue)

Illusive / Lloyd-Jones, Emily
“After a vaccine accidentally creates superpowers in a small percentage of the population, seventeen-year-old Ciere, an illusionist, teams up with a group of fellow high-class, super-powered thieves to steal the vaccine’s formula while staying one step ahead of mobsters and deadly government agents”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The supervillain and me / Banas, Danielle
“Abby Hamilton’s older brother moonlights as a superhero, but she has no interest in following in his footsteps–until a “supervillain” called Iron Phantom saves her life and warns her that not everyone in the “hero” world is who they seem to be. Now, Abby’s the one who’ll need to leap into action and save the day.” (Catalogue)

Transparent / Whipple, Natalie
“Sixteen-year-old Fiona O’Connell is the world’s first invisible girl, which makes her the ideal weapon for her crime-lord father. But now, she and her mother have escaped and are hiding out in a small town where they’re determined to start a normal life.”– Provided by publisher.”(Catalogue)

Slide / Hathaway, Jill
“Vee Bell, able to slide into other people’s minds, sees someone standing over the body of her sister’s best friend, Sophie, holding a bloody knife but she is afraid that anyone she tells will think her crazy and so she must find a way to identify the killer herself, before he or she strikes again.” (Catalogue)

Gone / Grant, Michael
“In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have “The Power” and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.” (Catalogue)

Wit and Whimsy! Celebrating National Limerick Day!

There once was a man from library
Who thought that just prose was dreary
He wrote all in verse
But soon did he curse
All this rhyme made him so weary

But he had to conquer his fear
For the day of limerick was near
Give them some books
With whimsical looks
And then all the masses shall cheer

Are they all up to snuff?
I mean they sound good enough
Poetry is hard
I’m hardly a bard
So here’s some whimsical stuff:

Tress of the Emerald Sea / Sanderson, Brandon

On a treacherous green sea of spores
So she can save the boy she adores
A sorceress to beat
On a pirate’s fleet
Through the Midnight Sea she explores

Frogkisser / Nix, Garth

A prince turned to frog by saboteur
Must be saved by his love’s sister,
Wizards, dog astute,
Newt of ill repute,
And now a great quest must occur

The princess bride / Goldman, William

A tale told, only the best parts
There’s adventure, a hero with smarts,
Beasts, miracles, fights
And dangerous plights
A love story to capture our hearts

Six crimson cranes / Lim, Elizabeth

A wicked stepmother casts a curse
Taking her ability to converse
Brothers become cranes
She will take great pains
Finding how to make the spell reverse

The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Pratchett, Terry

A cat pulls a pied piper con
A plague of rats to be led on
In comes the “piper”
A wee lil minor
And suddenly all the rats are gone

The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making / Valente, Catherynne M.

A girl from our world so bland
Is transported into fairyland
Through enchanted woods
To get Marquees’ goods
Must return with talisman in hand

Cryptid Club / Andersen, Sarah

The normal lives of the cryptid
Who from humans often will be hid
They are just like us
They don’t like the fuss
Seek this kooky knowledge they forbid

I’ve shared some silly nonsense
So why not join in this madness hence
Make sure you rhyme
Follow beat and time
May your poetry writing commence!

Live Bats and Dead Bats! Celebrating International Bat Appreciation Day with Vampires!

A very cute picture of a New Zealand Short-Tailed Bat

Image: Lesser short-tailed bat, by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Look at them! Aren’t they so adorable, with their cute little faces, ferocious teefies, and big goofy ears. If you didn’t know, today, April 17th, is International Bat Appreciation Day, a much beloved and well known holiday! Bats are like, super cool, so that’s why I have decreed that we shall celebrate their existence! That and I wanted to show y’all some cool books about vampires, but first let’s talk real bats.

The Bats of Kiwiland

Bats are Aotearoa’s only indigenous land-based mammals, making them a truly unique part of our nation’s already unique biodiversity. We have three* different species of bats: the New Zealand Lesser Short-Tailed Bat, the New Zealand Greater Short-Tailed Bat, and the New Zealand Long-Tailed Bat.

New Zealand Lesser Short-Tailed Bat on mossy log

Image: Short-tailed bat, by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Pekapeka – The Short-Tailed Bats: 

Pekapeka are rather unique as bats go, hunting on the ground rather than the air. They are very capable at crawling along the ground and digging with their wings as front limbs. They are omnivores, eating mostly pollen, insects, fruit, and nectar. To attract mates, males will do this little song which is just too cute. Unfortunately the Greater Short-Tailed Bat is likely extinct, as the last time anyone saw one of these bats was 1967, but hopefully they are just being sneaky and are still alive.

New Zealand Long-Tailed Bat on researcher's finger. Aw they are so cute!

Image: Long-tailed bat, by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Pekapeka-Tou-Roa – The Long-Tailed Bat:

Officially voted as New Zealand’s Bird of the Year in 2021, the long-tailed bat is a much more traditional bat than the short tails. It eats insects which it catches while flying, which in fancy science talk is called hawking (because clearly this mammal is a bird.) If you’ve ever seen a bat in Aotearoa, it was most likely one of these beauties, as they often fly at dusk.


And now for the most popular type of bat, Nosferatu! Real life vampires, vampire bats, are a little less dangerous than the ones in fiction. Vampire bats only occasionally nom on humans, so they’re mostly safe. However we need not restrict our imagination by paying attention to “reality”. If the animal kingdom won’t give us murderbats, the twisted minds of humanity shall.



Many a strange and horrific tale of the creatures of the night!


Plague of the undead / Cross, Gary
The boy knew his father was going to kill him. Just like he’d killed everyone else tonight. The boy’s mother, his two older sisters and baby brother, the servants. All of them dead.

When Lucius is ten years old his father returns home one evening as a vampire and destroys his entire family. By luck Lucius is spared. Fifteen years later Lucius has joined the elite group of vampire hunters that saved his life that night. Now it’s his turn to lead the hunt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lost girls : a vampire revenge story / Hartl, Sonia
“Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town, at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes, who invite Holly to join them in their quest to kill Elton before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence. Adapted from book jacket.” (Catalogue)

Youngblood / Laurens, Sasha
“Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change. Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well. When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.” (Catalogue)

Go hunt me / Devos, Kelly
“For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets , this spine-tingling thriller follows seven horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cruel illusions / Fuston, Margie
“Since a vampire murdered her mother, Ava has survived foster home after foster home, determined to get revenge. It’s been ten years since anyone has seen a vampire– until Ava stumbles across a hidden magic show where she witnesses impossible illusions. Ava sneaks backstage and catches them in acts they can’t explain. But they’ve been waiting for her: they are part of an ancient secret society with true magic, and Ava has the same power in her blood that they do. If she joins them they will help her avenge her mother. But if she wants to keep the power they offer, she must participate in a sinister and dangerous competition where illusion and reality blur– and the stakes are deadly.”– Adapted from jacket.” (Catalogue)

Department 19 / Hill, Will
“After watching his father’s brutal murder, sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter joins Department 19, a secret government agency, where he learns of the existence of vampires and the history that ties him to the team destined to stop them.” (Catalogue)

Direwood / Yu, Catherine
“No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things. Aja’s father, the neighbors, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strange string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too. Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. His hypnotic voice lures her to the window and tells her everything she’s longed to hear–she’s beautiful and special, and he wants nothing more than for Aja to come with him.  Following him into the woods may be the only way to find Fiona, so she agrees on one condition: He must let her leave alive if she is not wooed after one week. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eighth grade bites / Brewer, Heather
“For thirteen years, Vlad, aided by his aunt and best friend, has kept secret that he is half-vampire, but when his missing teacher is replaced by a sinister substitute, he learns that there is more to being a vampire, and to his parents’ deaths, than he could have guessed.” (Catalogue)

The hunt / Fukuda, Andrew Xia
“Seventeen-year-old Gene has passed as a vampire for years, carefully following every rule, but now, just as he finds a girl worth fighting for, he is chosen to participate in the hunt for the last remaining humans among ruthless vampires who soon suspect his true nature.” (Catalogue)


Vampires never get old : tales with fresh bite
“Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices! In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out–and going out for their first kill–and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night. Welcome to the evolution of the vampire–and a revolution on the page. Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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