Friday, 24 March 2017

20 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Last week over on Twitter, there was a glorious celebration of all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer in honour of 20 years of Buffy. Yes, you read that right, 20 years of Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang kicking butt and taking names. If you are on Twitter and want to catch up on some of the fun that was had, check out the hashtag #Buffyslays20. It was wonderful to see lots of the cast members including Sarah Michelle Geller coming on board and sharing their memories and favourite moments of the series as well.

I've managed to maintain my love of Buffy over the years by closely following the comic book series which was launched after the end of Season 7. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy (you may have heard of him, he's done a couple of decent things since *giggles*) already had a plan for Season 8. So when the series was brought to a close by the network, he helped to produce Buffy the vampire slayer: Season 8 as a comic series instead. MORE BUFFY, YAY! I have collected every issue ever since :)

We are currently up to Season 11 in comic land, so if you would like to know just what happened next to Buffy, Willow, Xander, Spike or your favourite BtVS character you can still get your fix too. Auckland Libraries has Buffy the vampire slayer Season 8 available to borrow as an e-book graphic novel series, beginning with Volume 1. The long way home. Or we have the print copies of Series 9 and onward starting with Volume 1: Freefall.

Or maybe you would like to head back to the beginning of the series for a rewatch, in which case we totally have your back there too. We have Buffy the vampire slayer. Season 1 available on DVD for your viewing pleasure (and of course Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6 and Season 7, oh so much Buffy goodness to marathon right there!)

We've also got a number of other Buffytastic goodies that you might be keen to explore. Buffy, the vampire slayer edited by Jennifer K. Stuller is a celebration in itself, with a collection of interviews and essays 'addressing how Buffy inspires the creation of, among other enduring artifacts of fandom, fan fiction, crafting, performance, cosplay, and sing-alongs' Or there is this teenage fiction series based in the world of Buffy. Or perhaps you'd be interested in Buffy: the making of a slayer: the official guide by Nancy Holder, a great behind the scenes book which offers a 'commentary on the creation of the show and explores the characters, the mythology, and the evolution of all seven seasons - and beyond'

So, regardless of whether you are Team Angel or Team Spike, there should be something in there to tickle your fancy, and remind you of just why this fantastic series has endured for the last 20 years. I'd love to hear about your favourite #Buffyslays20 moment in our comments below!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Fairy Tales and Peculiar Resolutions

Just about every year I resolve to add a new genre or sub-genre to my reading repertoire. As a library assistant I feel pangs of guilt when I'm unable to recommend the right book to someone - though I swear this rarely happens! Over the past few years I've resolved to get into crime, paranormal romance, historical fiction, etc etc. I haven't yet succeeded in fully diving into any of them.

Teen fiction has been one of my "must get into" genres for a while. Being a fairly advanced reader in childhood, by the time I got the appropriate age for teen fiction I was passing them over for more serious, literary adult fiction tomes that in hindsight I barely understood. So, there's a giant gap in my adolescence where I missed out on the Hunger Games and Twilight's of  my time.

However, each time I've picked up a work of teen fiction, it's failed to grab me. I cringe at the self conscious descriptions of outfits and the hammy dialogue. Ever an optimist, I kept telling myself that eventually I would find a work of teen fiction that I would love, and I finally did!

I decided to jump on the Ransom Riggs bandwagon and have a go at reading Tales of the Peculiar, and I'm so glad! If I'm honest, I'd decided to read it based on the beautiful cover alone (all books should look like this!) but after realizing the connection to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (also a work of Riggs) I was sold. Those more ahead of the times might have seen the film by now, however it's *still* on my to do list!

Much unlike the teen fiction I'd encountered, Tales of the Peculiar is beautifully written in a way that's complex without being inaccessible to a teen audience, and totally devoid of cringe-worthy outfit descriptions and unnatural 'cool' slang. Essentially a collection of fairy tales, this book reminds me of my favourite authors of magical realism: a little bit Angela Carter in prose, and a little bit Italo Calvino in dark humour. While they all hint at some sort of moral lesson (or lessons) they're not as straight forward as many other fairy tales, allowing the reader to bemuse for a good while after closing the book. The brief sojourns into darker territory (capitalism, cannibalism, greed, murder) are chilling without being *too* scary. Perfect for teens but also wonderful for adults, I would recommend it to just about anyone looking for a good old fashioned cautionary tale, and for anyone who might have grown up on things like Struwwelpeter!

I will definitely be seeking out more teen fiction in the same vein - and you can borrow it here if you'd like to read it too :)

Monday, 12 December 2016

And I Brought Some Corn For Popping...

Christmas cake, mince pies, candy canes, chocolate... food is endless at this time of year, what with work functions and family gatherings and drinks and nibbles with friends.  

I'm kind of glad that I don't cook and that I'm very fortunate to have such lovely people around me who do all the hard work.  

Thanks Mum.
If you're struggling for inspiration for yet another Christmas get-together then why not check out some - if not all - of the books above and below.  There's pretty much something for everyone, be you a vegan, a paleo or raw lover.

And if you more of a traditionalist then we've got you covered too.
There's books on cakes and desserts, both large and decadent; and vegetables from artichokes to zucchinis.

And last but not least books on how to make every kind of cocktail imaginable.

G & T anyone?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Deck The Halls...

Some years Christmas just seems a little blah.  It's either too hot or too wet and there's a serious lacking of snow and blazing fires and mulled wine.

Decorating your home and making your gifts to hand out is definitely one way to get into the Christmas spirit. 

Whether you want to make your own cards or get out the wool and make your very own Rudolph there is something for everyone among our huge range of Christmas books.  Even better you can make some Christmas cookies before you get stuck into the decorating and crafting and have a munch... or two as you go.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Counting down to Christmas

Can you believe there is only a little over three weeks left to Christmas! Usually I have been a little more organised with my Christmas shopping, but I have to admit this year has gotten away from me a little, arrgh!

So let me help you feel a bit more organised as we head into the festive season, with some geekalicious book suggestions for making gifts, decorating, Christmas Day meal planning (lets face it, the food is a pretty important component of the day) and entertainment.

First up has to be getting those gifts ready. Harry Potter fans are sure to love anything you make them from The unofficial guide to crafting the world of Harry Potter : 30 magical crafts for witches and wizards by Jamie Harrington. From Butterbeer Lip Balm to your very own golden snitch necklace, this book is a treasure trove of gift ideas.

Another excellent book to check out is Bonnie Burton's Star Wars craft book, with ideas such as an AT-AT herb garden, an Ewok flower vase, and my personal favourite, the Chewbacca sock puppet - every household needs one!

And now to the decorating, what could be cooler than Lego themed decorations! The LEGO Christmas ornaments book: 15 designs to spread holiday cheer by Chris McVeigh has a stunning array of Lego plans for you to build the most gorgeous tree decorations, you'll be looking truly festive in no time at all, and have fun doing it.

Now, if you are a bit of a The Great British Bake Off fangirl like I am, you will totally love The great British bake off: Christmas by Lizzie Kamensetzky. What better way to plan your Christmas menu! This gem will make you look like a true Christmas goddess with recipes from a variety of contestants and judges Mary and Paul. If someone feels like whipping me up some of Mary's ultimate Christmas Pud, I will forever be in your favour :)

Now that we have made some gifts, got the place looking festive, and cooked up some amazing Christmas noms, you'll be about ready for something nice and relaxing to do.
Personally, I love a good wee Christmas story and every year the lovely Debbie Macomber kindly provides one that really warms the heart. Some of my past favourites have included Dashing through the snow, Starry night and Call me Mrs. Miracle. I'm eagerly awaiting her latest for this year 12 days of Christmas.

Another one of my favourite things to look forward to at Christmas time is the Dr Who Christmas specials. I may still be getting over last year's Doctor Who: The husbands of River Song, which made me laugh and cry in fairly equal portions. The previous years installment Dr Who: Last Christmas kind of terrified me (along with making me want to laugh and cry), guess that is just the magic of Doctor Who!

Righty, I think we're looking pretty organised now - back to finishing that shopping :)