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Category: Isn’t that cool? Page 1 of 5

Literary Cookbooks for Edible Inspiration

You know what two things are great? Books and food. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, if only there was a way to bring these two great things together!”

Well be despondent no longer! Because I am about to introduce you to some of the literary cookbooks we have in our collection.

These are cookbooks full of recipes inspired by the food in fiction, the deftly described deliciousness, the succulent snacks that your favourite characters munch on at feasts or as they head off on an adventure. Did you find your mouth watering as you read about the fellowship snacking on Lembas Bread in the Lord of the Rings? Or maybe you got a hankering for some forbidden Turkish delight such as that given to Edmund by the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Or perhaps your stomach started grumbling at the mention of Deeper’n’Ever Turnip’n’Tater’n’Beetroot Pie in Mossflower? Whatever your literary cravings, there’ll be a cookbook out there with something that will entice you.

So let’s have a look at these cookbooks, paired with the books that inspired them. After all, what better summer activity can there be than to lie in the sun with a book while snacking on the same thing as the character you’re reading about!

The Anne of Green Gables cookbook : charming recipes from Anne and her friends in Avonlea / Macdonald, Kate
This book contains recipes inspired by the food written about in Anne of Green Gables, but it also has some of L.M. Montgomery’s own recipes because the book was written by one of her granddaughters!

There are quotes from the book paired with each recipe so you can see how the food fits in with which book and which character.

Anne of Green Gables series / Montgomery, L. M.
Admittedly, I found Anne a bit annoying. But more people love her!


Jolly good food : recipes / McEvedy, Allegra
Relive some childhood nostalgia (if you were a child who read Enid Blyton, that is) and eat some tasty food. Enid Blyton’s books are full of wonderful descriptions of picnics and midnight feasts and “lashings of ginger beer” and this cookbook has recipes from or inspired by many of her books!

Enid Blyton has written many, many books, so here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:

Famous Five Series / Blyton, Enid
The classic adventure series featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, George, and of course Timmy!

The Faraway Tree Series / Blyton, Enid
Some fantastical ridiculousness. Also, in newer editions of these books, Fanny has been renamed Frannie. Just putting it out there.


A literary tea party : blends and treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and book lovers everywhere / Walsh, Alison
This book features a plethora of recipes inspired by many, many books. There are recipes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Brian Jacques’ Redwall Series, Sherlock Holmes, The Hobbit, Agatha Christie, The Borrowers


The little library cookbook : 100 recipes from your favourite stories / Young, Kate
This one’s another collection of treats from a wide variety of books. If you like the sound of  Choclatl from His Dark Materials, Marshmallows from Tomorrow When the War Began, or Pear and Lemon Cake from Comet in Moominland then check it out!


The Pooh cook book: inspired by “Winnie-the-Pooh” and The house at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne; / Stewart, Katie

I’m mainly featuring this book because some part of me sniggered at the title. My childish proclivities aside, it does contain a lot of tasty recipes! From Poohanpiglet Pancakes and Biscuit Cake, to Honey Tart and Toad in the Hole, there’ll be something for everyone!

Winnie-the-Pooh / Milne, A. A.
Because who doesn’t wish they were a Bear of Very Little Brain living in the woods with a pot of honey and all your friends nearby?


Roald Dahl’s revolting recipes / Dahl, Roald
“Recipes for savouries, puddings, cakes, sweets and drinks, all of which have appeared in Roald Dahl’s books.” (Catalogue)

We’ve also got Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting recipes!

Like Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl has written a LOT. Here are a couple of highlights:

Matilda / Dahl, Roald
Ah, Matilda. She’s super-smart, she loves books, and she’s great at pranks that serve some good comeuppance. Why not make yourself one of Trunchbull’s cakes and enjoy it while you read?

Skin and other stories / Dahl, Roald
You’ve surely read his fantastic children’s books, but have you read any of his much creepier works for older readers?

If you haven’t, well… They’re quite different!


The unofficial Narnia cookbook : from Turkish delight to gooseberry fool–over 150 recipes inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia / Bucholz, Dinah
Now the tasty food you make will distract you from the fact that somehow Christmas is still a holiday over in a whole other fantasy world Father Christmas has to sneak in to deliver presents.

The chronicles of Narnia / Lewis, C. S.
Definite classics. But Susan deserved better.


The Unofficial Recipes of The Hunger Games
This cookbook takes you on a culinary journey through all three of The Hunger Games books. It starts you off with the more basic food Katniss and her family were eating in District 12, then there’s the decadent food of the Capitol, the meal on the train on the way to the Quarter Quell, and the food offered in District 13.

If you’re feeling adventurous there are some more questionable sounding recipes you can try as well, such as “Charred Tree-Rat” and “Mom Everdeen’s Breakfast of Mush”.

The Hunger Games / Collins, Suzanne
Some good teen dystopia. And it’s confirmed that Panem is a future version of North America.

Books about books and books within books

Some of you may have read The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. It’s got a sequel too, The Night Country. If you haven’t read them, they’re both books about Alice who lives with her mother and has spent her whole life moving from place to place trying to avoid bad luck. Some weird stuff happens, her mother goes missing, and Alice figures out that it has something to do with a book of creepy cultish fairytales that her estranged grandmother wrote: Tales from the Hinterland. There are snippets of these fairytales throughout the two books, which are, as I’ve already said, creepy. And fascinating – throughout Albert’s book, everyone who reads these fairytales seems to become an also-creepy-fan of both the stories and their author.

They sound cool, right?! I mean, who doesn’t like the sound of a dark fairytale?

But sadly, you/me/we/the person reading The Hazel Wood never gets to read all these tales in full. At least not in The Hazel Wood, but I’ll get to that later.

Tales from the Hinterland is an example of a book within a book, and in this case, it started out as a fictional book. I’m saying fictional here because when Melissa Albert wrote The Hazel Wood, and created Tales from the Hinterland as something important to the plot, Tales from the Hinterland didn’t exist. She never planned to actually write these tales. The Hazel Wood is a work of fiction, and Tales from the Hinterland was a fictional book within that book.

At least, it was a fictional book until earlier this year when it was released as a real book! (and yes, we do have copies you can get out)

Let’s go over that again. Author writes book about a book. People like author’s book, she writes another. Readers have been interested enough in the book-within-the-book that author and editor decide to make the book in a book a real book.

There, nice and clear, right!?

Books within books within books within books…

Anyway, it shouldn’t be a surprise that people who write books sometimes also enjoy writing about books. And, in my case, that people who like reading books also like writing about books.

The point of this post is that I want to write about books that don’t exist and books that started off not existing. There are lots of them out there, a few different kinds, some that I wish were real, and some that (like Tales from the Hinterland) eventually became real! And, if you find this as interesting as I do, I want to know which books you’ve read about that you wish were real and you could actually read too!

Let’s get into it! (And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to give you links to the real books in our collection that you can read.)


The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death
This book within a book remains fully fictional. Ellen Kushner has written a short story with the same name, but it’s completely different and is about characters from her earlier book Swordspoint: a melodrama of manners. The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death can be found in Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword and it’s obviously very important. Two characters bond over it, it becomes a play and, in the words of one of the characters, “It’s not trash. It is full of great and noble truths of the heart. And swordfights.” There are a couple of these things in The Privilege of the Sword as well.

From what goes on in The Privilege of the Sword, we know that The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death is about the swordsman Fabian who is bound to kill Lady Stella, but they love each other, and there is an antagonist in the awful Mangrove with his awful moustache, and also Stella kisses Fabian’s friend Tyrian! And there are many swordfights and a scene with hunting cats on the roof, and it’s all very dramatic. But The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death is not a book we’ll ever get to read.

So you want to be a wizard
This not-real book appears in Diane Duane’s real book of the same title. In the real So You Want to be a Wizard, Nita finds the not-real So You Want to be a Wizard at the library. It looks just like one of those other books about a future career, except in this case the career is wizardry. Which is… not a Real Thing. But isn’t this such a wonderful idea!? That you can just find a book that has snuck itself onto one of the shelves in a library (an occurrence surely not possible here, due to our diligence and constant shelf-checking), a book that is there specifically looking for you, and that it is there to guide you on your journey to becoming a wizard? It’s a book that I think would just be so cool to read for real, because it would mean you were a wizard. For real.

The not-real So You Want to be a Wizard is a fictional non-fiction book, in that in the world of the book that it’s in, it’s a textbook for new wizards. Come on, that explanation makes perfect sense.

Over the woodward wall
This one’s just like Tales from the Hinterland, in that it was a fictional book within a real book (the real book in this case being Middlegame by Seanan McGuire), until it got written and published a couple of years after Middlegame.

Over the Woodward Wall is one of those weird stories about children who go off on a surreal adventure. Think The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Book of Changing Things and Other Oddibosities. But this one was written by McGuire’s fictional alchemist, A. Deborah Baker, and contains hidden messages about her own agenda and doctrine that she wants to sneak through to future generations of children. There are quotes from Over the Woodward Wall at the start of each Middlegame chapter demonstrating different aspects of this doctrine and if you’ve read both books it’s fascinating seeing how the prewritten snippets of Over the Woodward Wall work their way into the published version.

Middlegame won an Alex Award last year, which is an award for for books that were written for adults but have special appeal for young adults, so make of that what you will.

My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant
Now THIS is a book that I wish I could read! My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant, by Uriah C. Lasso (unscramble that name and see what you get) is a book given to the main character Bradley in Louis Sacher’s There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom to use for a book report.

My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant is about an unnamed child who’s living with their aunt and uncle because their parents have been (get this!) accused of stealing an elephant.  There are excerpts from My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant in There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom that show just how great it is – like when the lawyer gets the child to eat peanuts so they can say if asked that they can eat fifty thousand peanuts a day. Totally manageable for a child and a normal number of peanuts of have in a house that has no elephants in it at all! (Question: Do elephants actually like peanuts?)

This nonsensical logic is just the sort of thing I like to find in a book, so since you can’t read Uriah C. Lasso’s My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant, you might as well go and read Louis Sacher’s Wayside School series for the same sort of fantastic nonsense.

The Princess Bride 
“What!” I can hear you saying, “The Princess Bride’s a real book/a classic movie!” Well, you’re right. The Princess Bride is a real book by William Goldman. BUT Goldman’s The Princess Bride is, as Goldman writes, merely an abridged version of the Florinese classic of the same name by S. Morgenstern. Except S. Morgenstern does not exist, Florin is not a real place, and the only The Princess Bride is Goldman’s.

S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride is a fictional book, that a fictional version of Goldman says is his favourite book from when he was a child (and according to the introduction of the 25th anniversary edition, still is). The fictional Goldman’s father read The Princess Bride to him as a child. Later in life Goldman realised that his father had left out a lot of the boring historical detail, the Morgenstern version wasn’t as exciting and swashbuckling as he remembered, and it was out of print and very hard to find, so he decided to write an abridged version so other people could love it as much as he did.

The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern is different to the other books in this list because of the way it exists within the world of Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Goldman’s framing of his own novel as a retelling of another fictional narrative is an effective and interesting literary device and is an example of metafictive or self-conscious storytelling.

Ok, that was possibly too much literature-nerd talk. Just know it’s fascinating.

There’s also another fictional book alluded to in The Princess Bride, which is its unpublished sequel Buttercup’s Baby. Some editions of The Princess Bride include a sample chapter of Buttercup’s Baby, but the fictional Goldman informs us that due to legal problems with the Morgenstern estate he has not been able to publish it.


So that’s a few of the books-within-books that I’ve come across. There are definitely more – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the actual guide), Don’t Go Out Alone, The Book of the Dead, The Neverending Story, Diseases of the Sheep… but this post is just getting far too long with the books I’ve already written about.

So now it’s over to you. What book within a book do you wish you could read?

An exciting Out on the Shelves update!

Unlike what you may have heard, librarians are actually human. And as such, we do like to boast a bit when we win things. So on with the boasting!

Back in June was the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week (actually two weeks, but we’ll let that slide!). If you don’t know what that is then I’d definitely recommend having a poke around the Out on the Shelves website, or even reading this blog post about it that we put up in June.

Anyway.

There’s a Campaign Week, there’s a Display Competition, and we won some things!

There were three categories, each with a winner and a runner-up. One is for the Best School Library Display, which we aren’t eligible for, but congratulations to St Hilda’s Collegiate School, the winner, and to Northcote School, the runner-up! You can see their displays on the Out on the Shelves website.

The winner of the Most Creative Display, however, was very exciting for us here at Wellington City Libraries. This category was won by our very own Johnsonville Library!

Check out their fantastic (and award-winning!) display:
A collage of four pictures of the Johnsonville library display. Largest at the bottom is the whole display, a table covered with a selection of pride flag scarves, a sign across the from saying "Out on the Shelves”, rainbow-themed books on stands, then a large rainbow arch across the whole table. The second picture is a close-up of a group of colourful painted wooden figures holding a sign that says “Pride!”. The third picture is of two small wooden people holding a sign that says “Be Trans and throw hands” above two 3D printed penguins that are holding hands. The last picture is of a small wooden Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair in his famous mittens and mask pose. He is wearing all pink, except for his mittens and socks which are rainbow.
Johnsonville Library is lucky enough to house Tūhura – The HIVE, our makerspace. The HIVE is full of all sorts of exciting things, a loom, a laser-cutter, and several 3D printers, to name but a few. And this display has made excellent use of these exciting things. There are those fantastic 3D-printed penguins and wonderful rainbow arch. And what about those pride-flag scarves adorning the table? They were woven right there on the loom in the library by expert staff, interested passers-by, and by many keen queer kids who use the library. And do you see those laser-cut wooden figures of people waving flags and banners? Those were painted for this display by some of the young people at one of the recent Youth Nights. Ka pai e hoa mā!

The Most Creative runner-up was Martinborough Library in the Wairarapa who also did a great job. But of course we’re firmly behind our own here in Johnsonville.

The winner of the Best Community Space Display was Dunedin Public Libraries down in …Dunedin.

But the runner-up was Te Awe Library, our CBD branch just off Lambton Quay!

Have a look at the Te Awe displays:
A collage of four pictures of two displays, clockwise from the left they are: first the whole upstairs display around the corner that sticks out into the young adult area. A large picture of a bookshelf has been stuck to the wall, on these shelves are the heading “Out on the Shelves”, holders for bookmarks, and pictures of book covers. Along the top are real books on stands. Hanging from above are rainbow paper chains and pompoms in pride flag colours. The second picture is a close-up of the fake bookshelves. The third picture is of the second display in the downstairs area. There are rainbow paper chains along the top, then a colourful heading of “out on the shelves”. On the left side are pictures of book covers, on the right side are posters of the Out on the Shelves booklists. Between the two sides is a vertical line of pride flags. The last picture is a close-up of a bookmark holder on the first display.
Such excellent rainbow chains! And those shelves look almost real (Out on the Shelves, get it?). There’s pompoms and flags and bookmarks. So fun!

A whole bunch of our libraries had awesome displays as well — check out these from Karori Library and Arapaki Library on Manners Street!

A collage of two displays. Left: A rainbow pyramid of books at Karori Library, decorated with person-shaped cutouts in various colours. Right: A brightly-coloured display of books at Arapaki Library, decorated above with rainbow streamers and balloons.

So that’s our celebratory blog post! We’re very happy to have taken part in the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week, very proud of our displays, and very excited to have won things!

Introduction to Warhammer

During the school holidays, we have all kinds of cool stuff going on under the banner of General NerderyNow, we would hardly be doing that title service if we ignored the kingpin of all things nerdy and wonderful: Warhammer 40K.

Ain't no party like a Warhammer party.

Warhammer is a miniature wargame set in the fantastical realms of a far future society in which human civilisation has stagnated and is beset on all sides by aliens, supernatural creatures, arcane powers, and Lovecraftian horrors. Since its inception in 1987, it has become the most popular miniature wargame in the world.

The excellent folk at Te Awe Library on Brandon Street are staging an Introduction to Warhammer event on Sunday May 2, 2-4pm, so you can learn all about the game, the hobby, the world and its characters, and receive a free figure to paint and take home, either to add to your army or start a new one. We are generously supported by the kind and dedicated bunch at Warhammer Wellington — your source for all your (other)worldly needs.

To register for this event or to find out more, email the team at Te Awe Library, or message us on Facebook or Instagram. To find out what else we have going on for the school holidays, visit our calendar or check out our blog.

What’s On for Wellington Pride?

Wellington Pride Festival logo, dark field, rainbow design surrounding

Join us for the Wellington Pride Festival 2021!

This month, from 13-27 March, is the Wellington Pride Festival | Tū Whakahīhī e te Whanganui-ā-Tara. As New Zealand’s longest-running Pride festival, Wellington Pride is the annual celebration of rainbow pride in our city, featuring LGBTQIA+ performers, historians, writers, artists, musicians, and — of course — librarians doing their thing for the community. Wellington City Libraries always joins in on the fun, and this year we have a selection of awesome events that you might be interested in coming along to. Check out the deets below!


Queer Stories: Discovering LGBTQIA+ History at the Library
Friday 19 March, 5.00 – 7.30pm
Newtown Library

Join some very cool librarians as they trace how LGBTQIA+ stories are told through the library’s collections in print, online, and on film. The event will conclude with a free screening of a queer film from our collection, and we anticipate rainbow cupcakes will be consumed voraciously!


The Queer History of Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Thursday 18 March, 5.30 – 7.00pm
Te Awe Library

Join us for an evening of sharing Wellington’s queer and takatāpui oral history. We’ll being hearing kōrero from historians Will Hansen and Roger Swanson, both involved in the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ), as well as Kay’la Rian representing Tīwhanawhana celebrating the organizations 20th anniversary. More speakers to be announced!


Queer Experience and Expression
Thursday 25 March, 5.30 – 7.00pm
Te Awe Library

Hear from a variety of local queer and takatāpui artists about their experiences through their unique form of artistic expression. Celebrate the LGBTQI+ perspective that comes through in all varieties of expression. We’ll be hearing from illustrator Sam Orchard, Wellington-based artist and musician Olga Lapin, and Dr Elizabeth Kerekere — artist, LGBTQ+ activist, scholar and NZ politician with the Green Party.


Rainbow Storytimes with Hugo Grrrl and Friends
Sunday 14 March, 2 – 3pm at Johnsonville Library
Monday 15 March, 11am – 12pm at Karori Library
Saturday 20 March, 2 – 3pm at Kilbirnie Library
Sunday 21 March, 2 – 3pm at Te Awe Library

Okay, okay, I know if you’re reading this you’re probably not a kid, and you’re probably thinking these events are for kids. And they are! But they’re also for you. Come along for a most enchanting hour of stories, songs and games with some of Wellington’s most excellent drag performers, including Hugo Grrrl, Harlie Lux, Amy Thurst, and many more. So wholesome, so fabulous, so great — even if you’re not a kid, you’ll dig it! And if you’re an aspiring drag artist yourself, you should come along to see how it’s done!


Out in the City
Sunday 27 March, 11am – 5pm
Michael Fowler Centre, 2nd floor

Yes, your favourite library again has a stall at your favourite LGBTQIA+ community event of the year — Out in the City (it used to be called Out in the Park if the name sounds a little unfamiliar). We’ll be there all day handing out our signature queer literary icon badges (as well as the usual rainbow library ones!), and talking about LGBTQIA+ books, movies, online resources and more. Come and say hi!

Tūhono: Submissions are Closed!

Well, folks, this is it — submissions for Tūhono, our inaugural poetry journal for children and teens, are officially over. We received nearly 200 valid entries, all of which are going to be included in the final publication.

At the moment, the editorial team is hard at work adding all of the poems into our design templates, and we’re super excited with how it’s looking! We thought we might share with you some of our favourite moments reading through the poems. One of the first entries that really stood out to us was this poem by Thyme, age 16. It’s called ‘Included Components: notes to my past self in the form of a contents list.’

CONTENTS:

ASSORTED COMPONENTS: BLOOD, CONNECTORS, BONES, ETC       Factory Settings: Standard. Possibility of inherited deficiency.
(blood tests aren’t as bad as you’d expect them to be, and you won’t regret getting them)

BRAIN, 1 COMPONENT           Factory Settings: Open to programming. Runs best when fully charged.
(you’ll want to be proud of this, and that’s fine, but remember it’s okay not to be the best. it’s okay to get lower marks. let yourself fail sometimes)

CHEST, RIBS, TORSO   Factory Settings: Standard Breathing. Growth in chest area expected and normal.
(you won’t like how it changes. look after your ribs when you work this out)

ARMS, 1 PAIR       Factory Settings: Standard Flexibility. Bones will remain malleable for approximately 12 years.
(you’ll break them three times, but don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt as much as you think. don’t worry about your first cast’s awful color – you’ll have plenty more opportunities)

LEGS, 1 PAIR         Factory Settings: Average Length, Standard Flexibility.
(you might not like these either, but understand there’s nothing wrong with them. standard sizing is frustrating but you will find yourself a pair of pants that fit properly)

EYES, 1 PAIR        Factory Settings: Slight Nearsightedness, Standard Cone Cells. Optic nerves also included.
(you’ll get them tested, and think that they’re okay, but don’t be afraid to test them again later. school is easier when you can read the board)

HANDS, 1 PAIR            Factory Settings: Standard Flexibility, Multiple Fingers, Opposable Thumbs. Useful for grasping.
(they won’t always feel like they belong to you – they do. they’ll learn to create nice things, and sometimes not so nice things as well, but I promise you the scratches will fade eventually

I can reveal that we’ve chosen this poem to open the collection — but it’s just one of literally hundreds of exceptional pieces of work from Wellingtonians aged 5-18 that are making their way onto the page, all of which explore in different ways what it means to be connected, whether that’s to yourself, to others, or to something that you can’t quite see or feel, but know is there. More updates are in the pipeline as we approach publication, so keep your eyes peeled!

Looms, flags, and a lot of (queer) yarn

If you’ve visited Johnsonville Library recently then hopefully you’ll know that we have a space downstairs that’s packed with all kinds of exciting stuff. It’s called Tūhura/The HIVE, and it’s a makerspace full of tech and toys, lasers and Lego, robots and recording equipment, and, most excitingly (or so I think, but I may be biased), a loom!

Since we opened the new Johnsonville Library we’ve tried to keep the loom warped up so anyone can come in and try their hand at weaving a few rows. We’ve had almost everyone, local Johnsonvillians, a Paralympian, even the WCC Chief Executive, come in and have a go. And just last week I took the latest scarf off the loom and tied up the ends in tassels.A newly finished scarf lies folded on the small loom in the Johnsonville makerspace. The stripes on the scarf go (from left to right) blue, pink, white, pink, blue.

Isn’t it beautiful? Admittedly, we did strategically fold it to only show the neatest end of the weaving, but it’s still beautiful when unfolded and laid out. Look at those warped stripes! The lovely colours! Wait a minute, those colours look familiar. Could that be the Transgender Pride Flag?

Why yes, yes it is!

Claude, a grey, green, and yellow caterpillar is sitting on a cushion crocheting the last row of a scarf. The stripes of the scarf are, in order, yellow, white, purple, and the last one is black.

And that’s not all! Claude, our favourite crocheted caterpillar, was so inspired after seeing this scarf come off the loom that they decided to crochet a creative scarf of their own. Is that colourful close-to-completed scarf there another Pride Flag? Of course! It’s the Non-binary Pride Flag.

But I digress.

When we warp up the loom (attach the vertical threads to the loom. There are two yarn components you use when weaving. The warp goes up and down. The weft goes from the weft to the wight. Yes, I know that’s bad), we get to choose what pattern we put on. And if we want to show our support for trans people then we will damn well do that! And write a blog post about it too.

Now, I hope that this particularly excellent scarf shows you that knitting, weaving, crocheting – fibrecraft in general – is pretty cool. And there are so many cool things you can do! There are more things to create than these (undeniably amazing) scarves. Crochet your own Claude! Knit a political hat! There are so many free patterns available online, not to mention the books available through your local library. You could try your hand at some Subversive Cross Stitch, or create yourself some Literary Knits. Literary crocheting is also available.

OR you could get into something a bit bigger and a bit more public. Have you ever heard of yarn bombing? If you haven’t, then you are in for a treat! Yarn bombing, guerrilla knitting, knitted graffiti, whatever you want to call it, is when you create a carefully crafted cover for something out in public. It could be for a pipe, a tree, a statue, or whatever you feel would benefit from a bit of beautification. We’ve got a few books about yarn bombing, or you could just wander around Wellington and keep an eye out for artfully decorated bollards and poles.

A picture taken looking down the street towards the Tawa Community Centre entrance. It is a sunny day. Lining up with the left side of the picture is a pipe attached to the building, that has is wearing a rainbow cover.There’s a particularly fine example of yarn-bombing outside the Tawa Community Centre, just around the corner from the Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library. Yes it’s a rainbow. Did you really think I would let go of the queer thread weaving this post together?

Speaking of queer threads, that wonderfully proud scarf that you may remember is now on display in the HIVE at Johnsonville Library. And speaking of the HIVE, I can highly recommend dropping in there on a Friday evening for our fibrecraft HIVE 101. If you ever feel like learning a bit more about weaving, talking to someone about knitting, or just settling down for an evening with some crochet, come on by!

A Very Special Message for our Teen Writers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently sent a very kind message of encouragement for our WCL Teen Writers, following their huge success participating in the Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 Challenge, in which they collectively wrote well over 100,000 words in their bid to write a whole novel over a month of isolation. Here’s what the Prime Minister had to say:

I want to pass on a quick message to everyone involved in the WCL Teen Writers group — and I want to start by saying thanks.

Right now, we’re living through really challenging and uncertain times, and for many people, it’s been tough. I know young people are facing their own unique challenges, from adjusting to distance learning, giving up special occasions like school balls, and not being able to meet up with your friends, but so many of you have put in an amazing effort and played your part to help keep this virus under control. Thanks for this — it’s so important.

I was interested to hear about your online writing group, the work you’re doing, and the support you provide each other. This is a really good example of the positives that have come out of the COVID-19 response. You’ve all come together online to support each other, share your work and ideas, and embark on some pretty impressive projects. I hope you’re enjoying the group and will continue to keep in touch when life returns to something a bit more normal.

All the best with your writing — I’m sure I’ll be seeing your work in bookstores soon! For now, though, stay safe and look out for each other.

— Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern

As you can imagine, the Prime Minister’s message generated considerable interest on our WCL Teen Writers Discord server, from the joyous but mostly coherent:

…to the joyous but not so coherent:

…to the reflective and compassionate:

…and right back around to the disbelieving:

Thank you, Prime Minister, for your words of encouragement, motivation, and solidarity. Rest assured, we’re still writing and keeping connected (and of course the banter is still top-quality), and hopefully will be for a while yet! Here’s what one of our talented writers had to say about the group:

If you’re a keen writer, or even just really like reading, we’d love for you to join our vibrant community on Discord! Just email us or message us on Facebook with your name and school year level, and we can send you a link to join!

Database highlight Bloomsbury Drama Online

We’ve got some amazing databases available at WCL and over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighted a few which I think are pretty awesome. You can access this particular database through the “Arts and Design” link on our online databases page. It’s pretty incredible, especially if you’re studying drama or (and!) Shakespeare. The blurb:

“Drama Online is a one stop shop for anyone with an interest in drama. This award winning database features over 1,200 classic and contemporary play texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare. Background to the plays are provided through critical scholarly works, theory and practical ‘how-to’ guides. There is also streaming video of live performances from Shakespeare’s Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A. Theatre Works. Search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters. There is plenty here to discover.”

I really enjoyed the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Othello, Macbeth, and Titus Andronicus. It’s an amazing way to view Shakespeare performed by the best actors, in interesting and unique productions – sometimes you need something new to bring the Bard to life – and free, as well!

Our Tumblr got a facelift!

Recently the WCL Tumblr got a fresh new look – check it out! It should now be heaps easier for you to see what cool stuff we’ve been posting lately, plus there are some neat new features, like being able to comment on posts using Facebook! Choice. Below is a wee peek of the new look, or head on over to Tumblr to check it out in full!

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