Wednesday, 26 October 2011

5 Halloween books with recipe goodies that kids and adults may enjoy

List by Tosca

"The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller..."

- Michael Jackson 'Thriller,' with voiceover by Vincent Price

I enjoy Halloween! As celebrations go, it contains all of the elements I need for a good time: scary movies, costumes, decorations and, of course, lollies. This time of year is perfect for staging my annual horror movie marathon. On my own, of course, because my siblings are not horror movie watchers. In our old neighbourhood you would have found them knee deep in preparations for our annual Halloween street party for the local kids. A street party that came complete with games, crafts, prizes for the best (and scariest and most creative) costumes, scary decorations and ending with about 20-30 kids dancing around on our front lawn to a weird combination of horror movie sound effects and pop music. (Although to me, pop music *IS* a form of horror music). We've moved since then and two of the nephews are too old for games like that (or so they tell me but they're the first to eat the lollies I buy), which leaves Mr. 7 celebrating on his own this year. I thought I'd expand (lower?) my movie marathon standards to showcase kiddie-friendly (not *quite* the term I was looking for) scary movies, instead. Before his bedtime, anyway. And everyone knows kiddie-friendly scary movies needs kiddie-friendly scary food! So his mum (which would, I think, make her my sibling - or so my mum says but I've yet to see the birth certificate) and I have a deal: I supply the movies and watch them with him and she takes care of horror snacks. It's a sweet deal and I think I come off all the better for it. I've been scouring our catalogue for Halloween-appropriate, i.e. ghoulish sounding/looking, recipes. Here's a roundup of 5 Halloween themed books I'll be raiding for ideas! I would have loved for this to be a definitive 'Top 5' list but I'd only just remembered last night that Halloween was coming up (yes, I'm a failure as an aunt) and so won't have time to request them, read them and assess them. Instead, I've been terribly shallow and based them on a combination of two things: book cover appeal and summaries. I know. Tosca did a bad, bad thing. Enjoy!

Monday, 24 October 2011

A Special Monday

Yes it is Labour Day. Yes I am at home and finally awake after a fantastic night. But I just wanted to say...

We can do it with speed and skill.
We can do it with strength and guts.
We can do it loose or tight.
We can do it ugly or pretty.
We can do it by many points or we can do it by one.
We can and have done it all ways.
You had faith and so did we.
You are a team of champions and a Champion team
You make us feel like champions too.
ALL BLACKS - We salute you!
Enjoy !!!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Top 5 for Friday - ALL BLACK

There is a gentleman up at one of our northern libraries who is steadily working through the biographies of some of our best rugby players. I know this because I was serving him one day and he started to try and explain who T.P. McLean was. However country girl and rugby nut that I am, I was way ahead of him and we ended up talking tours and teams from the 1970's (when you got up in the middle of the night for a special broadcast long after the Goodnight Kiwi had gone to bed) right through to the present day.

So in honour of said gentleman and all those other rugby officianado's out there (both existing and newly converted), today's Top 5 honours some of our best to pull on the ALL BLACK jersey.


  1. George Nepia. There are a number of biographies about this great player. I, George Nepia has been revised several times with the latest being a 2002 edition.

  2. Colin Meads. aka Pinetree (or Sir Pinetree). More than an autobiography. Colin Meads is considered to be one of the greatest rugby players in New Zealand. Here, he dips back into his playing career and offers comparisons with the modern game. It becomes a social commentary - how professionalism has changed the face of rugby forever. And how the modern player has taken up the challenge

  3. Stu Wilson and Bernie Fraser. aka Ebony and Ivory. So often it is not just great players but great partnerships that we remember. After Bryan Williams and before Jeff Wilson came this mischevous duo of Wellington wingers.

  4. Jonah Lomu. You almost don't need to add his surname. And we couldn't have a Top 5 list without him on it.

  5. And finally the man who we hope on Sunday will be lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft... Richie McCaw. From the front flap: a tribute to a modern-day rugby great charts the career of the proud Canterbury and Crusaders star who first burst into the national rugby consciousness in 2001 when he helped his province to an NPC championship. Soon after, he was making his All Blacks debut in Dublin, beginning a test career that will ultimately culminate at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

There are so many I could have put on this list, it was hard to stop at 5. If you want to read up on some of the others do a subject search for Rugby Union football players -- New Zealand -- Biography. Or if you want to read about Tours, statistics and everything else to do with the All Blacks here is another link.


So all that's left is to stand up and shout - GO THE ALL BLACKS! Finish the job boys.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Matakana and Zinzan

If you are keen enough to head north this weekend and brave the crowds at Matakana, here is an author event that is happening at Matakana at the fantastic Village Bookshop.


Local author Rae Roadley is signing copies of her book “Love At The End Of The Road” Saturday 22nd October 10am – 12noon at The Village Bookshop, Matakana.


“Soon after returning to her hometown in Northland, New Zealand to work as a journalist, Rae meets Rex Roadley through a rural dating service.Rex’s beef and sheep farm at Batley, on the Kaipara Harbour, has been in his family for almost a century. These days the only evidence of the spot’s fascinating historic past is a magnificent two-storyed villa standing alone on the point. ... Rae, a lifelong city dweller, learns to cope with mud, managing a large house and garden, the intricacies of farming, and the frustrations of life in New Zealand’s backblocks, all the while getting to know the locals and an assortment of animals – from wild kittens to wild bulls.

Rae’s charming story is beautifully written from the heart. Not only does she find love with Rex, but she finds out more about herself than she ever knew. Woven through her account is the story of the great house itself at Batley and the history of the surrounding countryside.”



And just to keep it local for the Kowhai Coast today, there must have been more than a few locals watching This is Your Life on Monday night when home-grown boy Zinzan Brooke was honoured. There are probably a number who remember racing up and down muddy rugby fields in Puhoi, Kaipara Flats and Warkworth chasing the Brooke boys. If you want to refresh your memory of Zinny's playing career check out our library shelves for his biography. It's a bit hard to get hold of now, but worth the read.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Be part of the BIGGEST Wriggle and Rhyme in New Zealand

This week it is all about being proud to be a Kiwi and supporting the All Blacks. As part of the REAL New Zealand Festival the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre at Manukau are putting on the Heart of the Nation during the school holidays. And on Friday 21st November, we are going to be there for something special... but we need your help.

Join Auckland Libraries and the Regions’ Sports Trusts at the BIGGEST Wriggle & Rhyme session ever held in New Zealand. It's on Friday at 11.00 am. It will be fun, it will be free (there may even be giveaways). Parking is free. All you need to do is bring along yourself and your pre-schoolers, plus a blanket or cushion. We will be there with the music, songs, and smiles. While Wriggle and Rhyme is normally targetted at babies from birth to two years old, for this special occasion, the whole family is welcome.

So what is Wriggle and Rhyme? Wriggle and Rhyme is based on the SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) principles of Active Movement for Early Learning. Movement is a child’s first language so it is important to provide babies with positive whole body movements’ right from birth to stimulate development of both the brain and the body. Wriggle and Rhyme provides a series of sequenced sessions using a range of music and movement, and explanation of the active movement principles. Virtually every library across Auckland provides this programme. The sessions are run during the school term and last approximately 30 minutes.

Wriggle and Rhyme provides a great foundation for early learning. It enhances bonding, demonstrates safe activities and helps you step by step through the development stages. It’s also a great way to meet other new parents and caregivers in your community.

Come along on Friday and make it a day out. We look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, 14 October 2011

5 knitting books that confirm what I already suspected: I suck at knitting

List by Tosca

'Everybody tells me that they would love to knit, but they don't have time. I look at people's lives and I can see opportunity and time for knitting all over the place. The time spent riding the bus each day? That's a pair of socks over a month. Waiting in line? Mittens. Watching TV? Buckets of wasted time that could be an exquisite lace shawl.'
- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At knit's end: meditations for women who knit too much

Back in mid-June I was gung-ho for knitting. Once again I let my mouth disconnect from my brain and I rashly promised that I would give knitting a go and make a scarf within six weeks. In the bigger scheme of things, it's not that huge a deal. But the reality of it, OH DEAR GOSHNESS, the reality of it! I am a total #fail knitter who has all the co-ordination and grace of a seal out of water.

My maternal great grandmother's name is well known on the east coast of New Zealand for her weaving. I have distinct memories of Nana Pani (Whanaupani McClutchie) and my maternal grandmother, Nana Rongo (Rongomaitauarau Pohe), weaving, knitting, crocheting, macrame-ing (that's not a word, is it?), sewing, spinning and, sometimes, even dyeing their own wool. Holiday evenings at Wharekahika (Hicks Bay) would often see me curled up on the lounge floor watching my gran and great gran weaving flax. To use a very Kiwi expression, they were guns at it. My mum is very craft-y, too, and much like her mum and grandmother before her she also knits, sews, crochets...you get the idea. Somehow, the ability to be able to perform any of these arts bypassed me. Totally. It doesn't bother me too much if I don't think about it, but in June I did stop long enough to think I was missing out on something and felt a sudden burning need to give it a go. I've had better ideas. The upshot of it all was discovering that knitting just wasn't for me. I have a broken knitting needle that can attest to this fact, and a partially knitted scarf sits forlornly on the floor. It was a bit of a blow because I want to find a creative outlet or a hobby. I've been searching for one for years but haven't yet managed to find one that fits, or that I'm good at :( After that somewhat sobering realisation it seemed like every knitting book I came across served merely to confirm what I had just discovered: that I suck most awesomely at knitting. And it wasn't the more rational titles that made me think that, it was the insane ones - the really way out kinda things you can do with some wool and a pair of needles. I'm not talking socks, jerseys or scarves, as you'll see in just a moment. Here are 5 knitting books that remind me of how truly terrible I am at knitting. For my next magic trick I'm going to try to crochet (and hope I don't manage to ruin that for myself in some strange way). Wish me luck, and enjoy the recommendations :)

Vampire knits : projects to keep you knitting from twilight to dawn / Genevieve Miller
Surrender to the allure of knits inspired by the immortals we all love to fear. If you adore Twilight, True Blood,or The Vampire Diaries, this collection of 28 imaginative and beautiful projects is sure to captivate.


Charmed knits : projects for fans of Harry Potter / Alison Hansel
Sit and Knit a Spell You'll soon be knitting enchanting things you didn't know were within your powers. Charmed Knits offers dozens of patterns for items that evoke the mystique of Harry Potter - a Wizard Robe, an Invisibility Shawl, a Quidditch Sweater, Ron's Ragg Raglan, a Clock Blanket, Harry Christmas Ornaments, and more. Easy-to-follow patterns, color photos of the finished projects, and illustrations of special stitch patterns and design elements make it easy for all knitters - from beginners to those at Mrs. Weasley's level - to work knitting magic. Charmed Knits whisks you away on a wonderful journey. Along the way, you can pick patterns inspired by the Weasleys, stock up at Diagon Alley, show your house colors, conjure up gifts, or create pieces to help you feel at home in the magical world of Harry Potter.


Knitting with balls : a hands-on guide to knitting for the modern man / Michael del Vecchio
Men knit ... and have for centuries. Soldiers, cowboys, and sailors traditionally knitted their own garments and today's men are following suit. Don't let society squelch the truth about men and knitting any longer! You can join the uprising of male knitters, even if you've never touched a pair of needles. Featuring classic men's designs with an edgy twist, Michael del Vecchio's bold new guide will show you: 22 original patterns, from the Tribal Sweater to the Felted Military Belt, all the basics a guy needs to teach himself to knit, clearly illustrated, step-by-step instructions for every stitch, how to alter and design your own patterns, tips on how to start your own revolutionary men's knitting group.


Knit your own royal wedding / Fiona Goble
With a cast of characters including the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Price Harry, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a variety of wedding guests plus, of course, the happy couple themselves - and even a corgi - this is one wedding souvenir that will be a must-have for any keen crafter.


Knitting with dog hair : a woof-to-warp guide to making hats, sweaters, mittens, and much more / Kendall Crolius and Anne Black Montgomery
Learn to recycle Rover into beautiful garments and accessories as the authors teach you this wacky new spin on an old craft. Knitting with Dog Hair is the definitive guide to putting on the dog! In this tip-filled, easy-to-use book, the authors tell:

  • How to make Afghan or a beret from your Beagle: you pet can yield yarn
  • How to collect, clean, and store your pooch's fur
  • How to modify your patterns to accommodate pet-spun yarn
  • How to find experienced pet hair spinners, a guide to resources and suppliers

  • From mittens from a Malamute to caps from a Collie, this illustrated guide is the creative answer to that vexing shedding problem. This fetching book is certain to be this year's best in show!

    Tosca's comment: I have no words. Truly.

    Wednesday, 12 October 2011

    On the rocks

    Once upon a time stories of shipwrecks and vessels in trouble was confined to the pages of the history books, with pirates and castaways struggling through heavily romanticised fiction to a happy (usually) ending. Pilgrims to far off lands sometimes managed to safely set foot in new worlds, while for others, the only things that made it to shore were the snapped timbers of boats that didn't make it into safe harbours. New Zealand coasts have many stories to tell of ships that didn't make it across some of the infamous bars guarding our harbours. And people can understand how a storm can create tragedy for those on the high seas, such as the sinking of the Wahine.

    But a calm sunny day on the east coast of New Zealand just out from some of most pristine beaches is a strange place for the latest maritime tragedy to unfold. However the unfolding disaster of the cargo ship Rena will place it near the top of what some in Aotearoa must be thinking of as our very own "Annus Horribilis".

    To find out more about Shipwrecks in New Zealand visit the link for a subject search here.
    To find out more about what the authorities can (or might) be doing to mitigate the effects of the current disaster, here are the results of a keyword search on oil pollution

    And to investigate the effects of oil pollution on wildlife, try this recently released non-fiction title from the Gulf of Mexico explosion. The tarball chronicles : a journey beyond the oiled pelican and into the heart of the gulf oil spill / David Gessner tells a story that extends beyond the archetypal oil-soaked pelican, beyond politics, beyond BP. Instead he explores the ecosystem of the Gulf as a complicated whole and focuses on the people whose lives and livelihoods have been jeopardized by the spill. He reintroduces this oil spill as a template for so many man-made disasters and the long-term consequences they pose for ecosystems and communities.

    Monday, 10 October 2011

    School Holidays at the Library



    Take a rest from school and have some fun at the libraries. We have a bit of everything for kids : from storytimes and crafts to all sorts of quizzes and challenges!

    Helensville Library
    Kiwiana Storytime 10.30am, Monday 10 October

    Create a Kiwiana wreath with us at our Kiwi stories and crafts activity time.
    Kiwiana Storytime 10.30am, Wednesday 12 October

    It's all about Robbie the rugby player! Kiwi stories and crafts.
    Kiwiana Storytime 10.30am, Monday 17 October

    At this Kiwi stories and crafts time we work with the poi. Come on down to learn more!
    Kiwiana Storytime 10.30am, Wednesday 19 October

    Lets get jiggy with it! Come along for a jigsaw theme at this Kiwi stories and crafts activity session.

    Kumeu Library
    Kiwiana Storytime 10.30-11am, Tuesday 11 October

    Listen to some curious stories with a Kiwiana twist, then test your knowledge of Kiwiana in our quiz and join in our scavenger hunt for all things Kiwiana. Cool colouring competition available all holidays!
    Celebrity Pyjama Storytime 6-7pm, Thursday 20 October

    How often do you get to wear your pjs outside of the house? Well, we want you to come down in your pjs for a cool underwater story time and… meet Spongebob! A fun evening for the family.

    Orewa Library
    During the World Cup, Orewa is adopting a second team – Japan!
    Rugby hubbub 2.30-3.30pm, Wednesday 12 October

    Heres a bit of a mix for ya! Learn how to make your very own sushi, learn about the art of calligraphy and then get into the rugby spirit as we have some crafty time making a rugby diorama!
    Rugby hubbub 2.30-3.30pm, Wednesday 19 October

    Ok Squad, its time to get into training mode! Have fun with us at our mini rugby training session. Suitable for those aged four to ten years old.

    Mahurangi East Library
    Holiday sessions for school-aged children

    Thursday 13 October 10.30am, Join us for rugby stories and a quiz, then design and autograph a rugby ball to display in the library.
    Thursday 20 October 10.30am, More rugby stories, then make a goal-kicking rugby finger puppet to take home.
    Regular storytimes for pre-schoolers continue as usual in the holidays, Tuesdays at 10.30am.

    Warkworth Library
    Kiwi sports storytime 10.30am, Monday 10 October

    Do you have a pre-schooler that could do with some entertaining? Well drop on by for our pre-schoolers' storytime with a kiwi sports theme.
    Wednesday 12 October Tell us a story 10.30-11.30am,

    Reader's Theatre for school-age children. Join the children's librarian to help act out a story.
    Monday 17 October Stories around the world 10.30am.

    Pre-schoolers' storytime with songs and stories with an international flavour.
    Wednesday 19 October One world, many stories 10.30-11.30am

    Many stories from around the world, flag making and other crafts. Children can dress up in the colours of their favourite rugby team.

    Wellsford War Memorial Library
    Thursday 13 October Storytime 10.30-11am,

    Stories and activities - match flags and countries with our Memory Flag game.
    Thursday 20 October Storytime10.30-11am,

    Stories and activities - design a rugby jersey and a game.

    Whangaparaoa Library
    Rugby memorabiliaSeptember/OctoberFelix Matheson, winner of BackingBlack national competition, will be displaying some of his impressive collection of rugby memorabilia at the Library.
    Wednesday 12 October Computer Quiz : World of Sport 2.30-3.30pm,

    Join us for an online quiz using the library catalogue. This is suitable for children of school age. Bookings essential.
    Wednesday 19 October Rugby World Cup : Stories and activities 2.30-3.30pm,

    Enjoy rugby stories, songs and make a rugby diorama.

    Friday, 7 October 2011

    Top 5 for Friday - Christian Fiction

    Today's Top 5 post comes to you courtesy of one of my Auckland Libraries colleagues, Rachel. It's always great to have a new voice on the board, because sometimes I think you must get sick of the sound of mine. Even though I try to vary and mix up my already somewhat eclectic tastes, it's always nice to get another opinion. What I like about this post is that it addresses some misconceptions, and that it recommends authors rather than titles. Thanks Rachel.

    I’m assuming that if you are reading this post, you are interested in at least trying Christian Fiction. When I was younger, I never read this genre thinking that it was going to be happy, sappy and that everything was going to work out because they prayed about it. I have been pleasantly surprised by many books that I have since read. Here are some of my favourite authors in this growing genre -

    Deeanne Gist – She is a favourite because she doesn’t stick to the usual formula ie girl in early twenties bemoaning that the guy is never going to come along. Yes, they are still romances (historical ones at that) but the characters don’t often fit the mould!

    Ted Dekker – If you are a fan of sci-fi or Frank Perretti, this is someone you might want to try. My favourite series would be the circle trilogy but all of them are great!

    Trish Perry – Her characters have real problems and while you can guess how the book is going to end – it’s fun getting to it!

    Erynn Mangum – I love her main characters! They are quirky but very loveable.

    Sarah Sundin – She has written a WW2 series which deals with some difficult issues.

    Lastly, an author who I’ve just discovered…Margaret Brownley – also someone who doesn’t use traditional characters in her books. I found them fun!

    Wednesday, 5 October 2011

    The soundtrack of life

    I'm not a fan of all of Jodi Picoult's books. But I am a fan of a lot of them. And this one makes the latter list.



    Sing you Home is this author's latest release. It has been out for a while but because of it's popularity, only ended up on my desk last week for review. It comes with the added extra of a CD of original songs that mirror the plot and (in Jodi's words) "bring the character of Zoe to life for the reader by giving her a real voice".



    I actually picked this book up without reading a review, flyleaf or publisher's summary on the catalogue. So I did not know what to expect other than that there would be music involved (because of the title) and that there would be some ethical dilemma that the characters would have to solve (because that's how Jodi's books work). And I struggle to write this review because I don't know how much of the plot I should give away.



    I thought I had it all figured out reading the first couple of chapters. I knew what was happening as Zoe (our main character) struggled with infertility leading into some personal crisis. And then suddenly it changed. I was surprised (and delighted) as the author through her characters, took me on an unexpected journey to an almost completely satisfactory conclusion. It was the ideal book to get me through a dreary Sunday. In fact it wouldn't have mattered if it had been a great day outside - I would have still have been found on the couch turning the pages.



    If you want "Spoilers" on the plot line, go to our catalogue and read through the summary there. The following is an excerpt from the flyleaf of the book, which gives nothing away, but does provide a sense of what you will find between the covers.



    In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into a career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a news life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people - even those she loves and trusts most - don't want that to happen.

    Sing you Home is about identity, love, marriage and parenthood. It's about people wanting to do the right thing for the greateer good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams. And it's about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family.



    For the observant reader, you may be wondering why I said the book was almost completely satisfying. One of the characters Zoe encountered was Lucy, a rebellious teenager searching for... something. I was left on closing the book, wondering about Lucy's story and hoping that one day Jodi may let us in on her past, present and future.

    Monday, 3 October 2011

    October What's On

    Have you got your copy of the Library What's On e-newsletter yet? Here's a quick run down of some of the things that are happening, but for all the details you need to either check out the website or subscribe for it to arrive in your Inbox at the beginning of every month.

    Diwali : 1 - - 29 October
    Across Auckland we celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, with something for everyone – join in the entertainment, colour and culture at your local library during India's best-loved festival. Events include Bollywood performances, henna painting, sari-wrapping demonstrations, 'Ask me in Hindi' sessions, storytimes and more.

    In local libraries, this means Special Diwali storytimes for pre-schoolers at the following libraries:
    Warkworth Library, Monday 3 October, 10.30am
    Whangaparaoa Library, Wednesday 12 October, 10.30am
    Orewa Library, Thursday 13 October, 11am

    From 1-15 October you can also enjoy displays of Indic language books and artifacts at Helensville, Kumeu, Mahurangi East, Orewa, Warkworth, Wellsford War Memorial and Whangaparaoa Libraries.

    October School Holidays : 10 - 22 October
    Across Auckland it's time to take a break from school. We have a bit of everything for kids and teens at the libraries during a busy October. Expect stories, quizzes, games, treasure hunts, crafts, and a writing competition mixed in with a bit of Rugby World Cup and Halloween fun.

    Check out all the local Rodney events on this website page or go onto the Auckland Libraries website to see what's happening right across Auckland.

    Talks and Presentations
    Investigate an eclectic mix of talks from a diverse range of people in October. If you want to keep it this side of the Harbour Bridge, there are several talks coming up at Takapuna Library, but there is some interesting stuff happening elsewhere in Auckland as well, including:
    3 Oct: Travel Nights: Motorcycling Vietnam (Central City Library)
    3 Oct: Two dogs and a garden with Derelie Cherry (Takapuna Library)
    6 Oct: The Alexander technique – discover how the technique can help improve your posture and quality of life (St Heliers Library)
    7 Oct: Bring your own rose - a Latin American experience (Otahuhu Town Hall)
    11 Oct: An hour with Margaret Pope (Takapuna Library)
    12 Oct: How to watch the Rugby World Cup 2011 with Spiro Zavos (Takapuna Library)
    12 Oct: Hearing health day
    13 Oct: Caught between sunshine and shadow with Georgie Tutt (Pt Chevalier Library)
    19 Oct: Expert witness with Dr. Anna Sandiford (Central City Library)
    20 Oct: The two of me with John Dybvig (St Heliers Library)

    It was a rather despondent weekend, despite great wins to the Junior Warriors and the All Blacks. Still proud of the Vodafone Warriors, commiserations to Dan Carter and I hope the Warriors don't mind if we borrow their mantra for the rest of the All Black World Cup campaign. Come on New Zealand - Keep the Faith.