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 :)

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A wretched hive of scum and villainy


Following on from my previous blog post 'I need a (Super) hero!', I'm feeling the need to add some balance to the force by sharing some of my all time favourite villains with you. I'm sure you'll agree there is nothing like a good villain, and several of the ones on this list are super good indeed. Or is that bad? So bad they are good anyway! So in no particular order I bring you:

Kingpin. I might not have put Kingpin on this list, if it wasn't for the fact that I am currently working my way through Daredevil on Netflix. Kingpin is the ultimate scheming crimelord, and apparently first appeared in the pages of Spider-man. But he really made his mark as Daredevil's archenemy. Vincent D'Onofrio is a revelation, playing Kingpin (also known as Wilson Fisk) in a superb manner. Fisk is a brute of a character in the comics, and while he still is in the series, there is so much more depth to his character. Even as you (really really) want to see his downfall, you still can't help being sucked into his burgeoning relationship with Vanessa, and feel a little sorry for him after THAT backstory. For a bit more post Netflix Kingpin, check out Daredevil: The man without fear or Daredevil: Born again.

Next up is Spike from Buffy the Vampire slayer. The bleach blond vamp was most definitely a highlight of the series for me. Watching him transform from the earlier days where he was one of Buffy's greatest foes, to becoming a sometimes unofficial member of the Scooby Gang, to finally becoming Angel's competition for Buffy's affections, he always entertained and was never boring! I was always Team Spike I have to say, sorry Team Angel fans. I think it may have been the accent, I'm always a sucker for an accent ;). For anyone wanting some more Spike in their life, you can either start watching the series from the very beginning here, or check out his very own comic Spike: The complete series.

My next villainous bad boy is Loki, as in the Marvel version of. Loki is the adopted Asgardian brother of Thor, Son of Odin. He wants the throne his brother will inherit for his own, and is constantly scheming up ways to take it. Tom Hiddleston brought Loki to life rather deliciously in the Marvel cinematic universe, and made the villain everyone's favourite (sorry Thor!). You can see just how deliciously for yourself in the movies Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The dark world. I just love it when he pops up for cameos in other comics, such as the third volume of Ms Marvel: Crushed, and even better, he has his own series you can check out called Loki: agent of Asgard. I almost think he wrote the blurb for it himself, "The God of Mischief is stronger, smarter, sexier and just plain sneakier than ever before".

On my list next is Moriarty. While I'd like to pretend I was being all literary here, and a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle, in reality this is all about Sherlock, the TV series. Sherlock is AMAZING, and so his nemesis Moriarty as played by Andrew Scott. I'm not sure if it is that fabulous accent (I think I mentioned my weakness for accents earlier), or the slightly unhinged yet hilarious way that Moriarty plays games with Holmes that makes the series for me, but it definitely would not be the same without him!

Last up is Darth Vader, who is quite literally the Daddy of all villain hood *giggle* (On discussion with some of my fellow librarians, they felt that joke was a little misleading, as he's really the Daddy of a hero, but I'm going with poetic licence here). When I researched all time great villains, Darth Vader came in at the top of many lists, and I 100% have to agree. Lets not talk about his less than stellar days as Anakin (I try to pretend the prequel trilogy doesn't exist), but his height of glory in the original trilogy which you can check out here. This is the villain that launched thousands of cool toys (just look at that photo above) and has been cosplayed in so many awesome ways (that pink Vader princess is a huge favourite of mine!). Don't just take my word on it, I hear Kylo Ren agrees big time ;) If you want more of a Vader fix, check out his newest comic series Star Wars: Darth Vader.

We love you too Spike

Monday, 26 September 2016

A musical education




Music has always been a big part of my life. Well, actually, that’s a lie. Music became a big part of my life when I hit my teenage years, when like any young person, I looked to music to help forge my identity. Up until then, I basically listened to what my parents listened to; the local ‘classic hits’ station, and their records of Elton John, Abba, The Bee Gees and Celine Dion. (A bit daggy, but it influenced my taste: I still love that classic-with-an-edge sound) I have vivid memories of a young me climbing on top of furniture and ripping off my t-shirt to spin above my head to the sounds of Tina Turner, which might have been a sign of my taste to come.

In my early teens, wanting to know what all the fuss was about, I got into music magazines. I eventually discovered a love for folk, blues, indie and rock n’ roll music, which persists, and hosted a rockabilly-themed 21st. Along the way of my musical education though, I ended up listening to almost every type of radio known to Auckland; classic hits, pop, more poppy, student radio, all rock, all kiwi, and even all Christian.

I am more settled in my tastes now, but this brings me to two of my favourite loves: music and books. Ohh, there are some good musical autobiographies out there, and no shortage of people wanting to spill the beans about their fifteen minutes. However, what separates pure, delicious, gossip fodder from a great autobiography, to me, is the level of self-awareness an author brings to their story, to an art form which has attracted and repulsed, mythologised and angered, or just been plain tolerated for as long as humans have consumed art. Here are some great examples of musical biographies I have discovered over the years.

All cards on the table, Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield, is one of my all-time favourite books. It tells the story of the rock journalist Rob, and two of his greatest loves in the world; music, and first wife Renee Krist, who passed away suddenly after five years of marriage. What could easily be a depressing read instead becomes a vehicle for a celebration of life.  Music was a huge part of their life, and a backdrop to the momentous and mundane moments of their lives; developing their writing careers, adjusting to married life and doing small-time America. You will marvel at the way a connection between two people grows, mostly based on a shared appreciation for some groups who happen to make noise with their mouths. There is also, for extra music geek credit, a mixtape relating to certain periods of the author’s life featured at the start of each chapter, which makes for some fun googling.

The more I’ve read, the more I’ve seen that partners of (the mostly male) famous musicians tend to be relegated to the background, even when they were perfectly influential people themselves. You might have heard of the name of Pattie Boyd. Famous for marriages to George Harrison and Eric Clapton, she was a well-known model in the 1960’s, who withstood years of intense public scrutiny, witnessed Beatlemania up-close, interested The Beatles in spiritual matters, survived two neglectful marriages, and later in life, became a respected photographer. Her autobiography ‘Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and me’, tells all of this with gusto, and gives an un-blemished view of the behind-the-scenes life of living with worldwide fame. Especially inspiring for the casual reader is her late-in-life resurgence to re-claim her sense of identity, after years of being in the shadow of her partners. Although it is not a literary masterpiece, it is an interesting cultural snapshot of the 1960’s.

For anyone who enjoyed the movie ‘Walk the Line’, like me, which lead to my obsession with Johnny Cash, ‘I Walked the Line’, will be an interesting read. I’m currently reading an excellent biography of the man himself, but I became curious to read Johnny’s first wife’s memoir, which was released in 2008, after it was revealed that it would publish of scores of letters from Johnny, and tell Vivian’s side of the story of the most famous love triangle in country music history.

Modest and wary of fame her whole life, Vivian wanted to redefine what she called the ‘Nashville view’, of her presence just being a roadblock to Johnny Cash’s and June Carter’s storybook romance. More than half of it is taken up by Johnny’s letters to Vivian in the early days of their courtship, when he was posted in Germany during WWII. While a bit long and tedious, they provide some interesting tidbits into the psyche of Johnny Cash, and his early dalliances with alcohol and women. The second half mainly focuses on Vivian’s story of being on the receiving end of June Carter’s determination to get Johnny Cash. Not as much a technical history, it is more of an emotional history, and shows how the truth tends to get twisted into rock n’ roll mythology over the years.

Please let me know of any great music autobiographies you love!



Friday, 16 September 2016

World's biggest zine!



On July 21st  2016, Zine Library Day, in a public workshop at Auckland Central City library, we created one of the world’s biggest zines.

Our zine, titled Zine doggo yeet crocco yeet nice crocco dile dun deet look nice on feet has a page size of 1240 x 845mm (slightly larger than A0), and has 8 pages, excluding covers. It is a collection of mostly art, with some poetry and prose, made by the general public as well as feature artists Chippy and Holly Paynter.

In preparation for the event we researched other large zines and found two main competitors: one created at the MCA in Australia in June this year, and one at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA in 2012.

Both of these zines were fold-out, and when folded, are smaller than ours.

The MCA zine is an A6 concertina, and though it has many pages, its page size is much smaller than our A0+, therefore we win.

The Carnegie Library Zine has 6 separate sections that collective fold out to 6’ x 8’, but folded up it is approximately 13” x 13”.

So yet again it folds down smaller than ours and therefore we are the champions.

But seriously, it’s the biggest zine in the world, or at least in the top 3 depending on how you look at it. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped us make it happen!!


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Disney's Pete's Dragon - movie review



I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent 60 percent of this film trying not to cry into my 3D glasses lenses. It's so sad and it's so sweet! Disney are the kings of pulling at the heart strings. They don't hold back with their orphans (Pete played by Oakes Fegley); their talented actors (Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban); their thoughtful music score (note however, that it is not a musical!); their lost dog picture book allegories (꒰๑•̥﹏•̥๑꒱); or their lost dragons!

Elliot the dragon is an especially quality piece of CGI from Weta Digital, and he was clearly perfectly thought out to appeal to kids. I'd certainly buy a stuffed Elliot, and I wouldn't be surprised if I saw him in Disneyland stores on my next visit! Think...enormous, green, fluffy dog, with all the cute doggy mannerisms.

I'm a little too young to remember the original Pete's Dragon (1977) with any clarity, so this charming remake was entirely new to me, and likely will be to most children. Although elements of the animated dragon remain (clumsiness, traditional neck spines, a vivid green shade), new Elliot is the perfect cuddly protector. I haven't seen so many small children so quietly enthralled in a long time.

More than anything, this film evoked nostalgia and memories in me! Every moment of lush New Zealand greenery was a reminder of my own childhood, which consisted on occasion of playing for hours on end, nearly completely alone, in the New Zealand bush.  Although my young dragon years were spent trespassing in private bushland behind Blackpool Beach on Waiheke Island, the lush foliage of the filming locations, particularly the Rotorua Redwoods Forest, will feel familiar to many bushwhacking kids and adults.

As a child it certainly seemed as if a taniwha could rise at any moment from the underground streams that ran through the bush, and in Disney's Pete's Dragon, this thrill finally becomes real!

Disney's Pete's Dragon opens in New Zealand cinemas on Thursday 15 September, 2016.

Our thanks to Disney for providing tickets to an advanced screening for our reviewer.


Saturday, 30 July 2016

I need a (Super) hero!




So I was at the gym earlier this week, and the song Holding out for a hero by Bonnie Tyler came on my workout playlist. As I puffed along, I suddenly thought YES! my next blog post has found me! My previous graphic novel posts (Graphic novels for Grown Ups: Terry Moore and Graphic novels for Grown ups: Part 2) have been for the most part not very superhero focused. Sure, Powers by Brian Michael Bendis is about cops solving crimes that involve capes, but the focus of the series is more of a crime noir one than that of your traditional superhero book.

But I'm pretty broad in my comic book reading tastes, and love me some superheroes as much as the next fangirl or fanboy. In fact, in the early 90s, it was those cool Fleer Ultra Marvel collectable cards that got me back into comic reading in the first place. My younger brother brought some home from school, and before I knew it, the collector in me took over, and the Card Crazy stores were my favourite place to hang (anyone else remember them?). Those Marvel cards were intriguing, I loved the art, and was fascinated by the characters, and so I got hooked. I'd also always had a soft spot for Batman, so DC was my friend too. There's no DC vs Marvel favouritism here, I love 'em equally, along with Image, Dark Horse and way too many other publishers to name.

This is an exciting time to be a fangirl or boy, with the plethora of movies and TV shows based on all our favourites (and can I tell you HOW MUCH I geeked out about Tyler Hoechlin from Teen Wolf being cast as Superman in Supergirl...YES YES YES...ahem, sorry, sidetracked there). So here are a few of my favourite heroes.

First up is a bit of a newcomer, but I gotta tell you, I adore her! In Ms Marvel, G. Willow Wilson introduces us to Kamala Khan, who takes on the Marvel mantle (as in Captain Marvel) in a spectacular fashion. Kamala is the first Muslim character to headline her own book, which in itself is a wonderful thing. But she is also such a fangirl (she even writes fanfic I would totally read), which makes her in book cameos from characters such as Wolverine, Loki, Carol Danvers and so many others such a joy. This is such a well written book, watching Kamala juggling her new role as a superhero with her role within her family and community and finding her place in both makes for a superb read. I couldn't read this series fast enough, and I can't wait for what's up next for Kamala. (And can I please have my Kamala Pop! figure now Funko, thank you very much).

Talking about Wolverine, he's up next on my list. He has always been the highlight of the X-men books for me. In fact, don't tell anyone, but our youngest son MAY have the middle name Logan for this very reason. He's gruff, slightly antisocial, but is often the best mentor around (just ask Jubilee, Kitty Pryde or even Ms Marvel). For many years, the origin of Wolverine was unknown, even to himself. A mutant with a healing factor, he was a subject of the Weapon X Programme, where Adamantium was fused to his bones turning him into a super soldier.  Wolverine: Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith tells this tale, and is considered to be one the best of them all.

And how could I miss Wonder Woman! Oh how I wanted to be Lynda Carter when I was younger, with those cool bracelets and that lasso. I love that Diana more than holds her own in the Justice League (where would those boys be without her!), and yes, I am hanging out for her stand alone movie which can't come soon enough. We have loads of great Wonder Woman titles in our collection, but I'm going to share Wonder Woman: Warkiller mostly because it is written by the brilliant Gail Simone, but also because it features a team up with another favourite of mine, Black Canary.

Next up is Daredevil. I'm proud to say I had read several Daredevil titles before the Netflix series came out, mostly because one of my favourite artists David Mack did some of the art for them (he also did the covers for the Alias books, featuring Jessica Jones). If you are a fan of the Daredevil of Hell's Kitchen, you really want to check out Daredevil: End of days by the sublime Brian M Bendis. This series features the death of Matt Murdock, and has Ben Urich hunting down the meaning of his mysterious last words. A number of Matt's former foes and lovers feature in this compelling story.

And I have to finish with Batman, because I do have a bit of a soft spot for Mr Wayne. It wasn't really the movies (ALL the movies), because none of them really quite get it right for me. I think it may be because he is a self made hero, he isn't from another world, he didn't get bitten by anything radioactive, he just worked at making himself a hero. Sure, a dark broody vigilante orphaned one, but a hero nonetheless. I also think he has such a great gallery of villains to play off against. There are so many fab Batman comic series, but I'm going with Batman: The long Halloween as one of my all time favs. I love the stunning art by Tim Sale, and Jeph Loeb has crafted a must read series about a new serial killer in Gotham called Holiday, who is killing to a monthly schedule. This is a classic Batman, the detective at work title.

So who are your favourites? and do you have a whole new appreciation for the character Aquaman after seeing that latest Justice League trailer?
Jason Mamoa, you are 100% rocking it dude ;)

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Disney's The BFG - movie review


I was always going to love The BFG. Roald Dahl has forever been a fixture in my life, and what’s more, I snagged a free ticket – the greatest of many perks in library work! However, I was honestly surprised at how much I loved it, nay, respected it.

Firstly, whatever kind of new-fangled expensive CGI techniques they used, I am on board completely. I generally have a fairly low cringe tolerance for anything even facing in the direction of the uncanny valley, but I am very happy to say they the film was never even close to such territory. The BFG’s enormous mug is actually very realistic, alternating between crinkly and charming and touchingly solemn. At first I was furious to discover that my primary school teacher was NOT cast in this role, but I’ve since eased up. Peter, you would have been marvellous – but Mark Rylance does a wonderful job.

The landscapes are colourful, fantastic, stunning enough to rival your favourite avant-garde/surrealist directors. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciated the use of colour, and the palette is very of the moment in its techni-coloured shades of nebula/galaxy. In true Dahl fashion, there are plenty of silly gags (read: farts) to allow for chuckles across the age spectrum, and also some sage life lessons – i.e., bullies sadly exist (Jemaine Clement is brilliant as the main antagonist, the Fleshlumpeater), families are often neither neat or nuclear, and happiness invariably occurs alongside a dose of sadness. Of course in the end, kindness prevails – but if you’re into having your heartstrings tugged *gently* then it’s pretty much a winner in that respect.

If I had any complaints, I suppose it would be that there was nothing really scary about the film, which, to dedicated Dahl fans, may seem an aberration – especially as (in my opinion anyway) the trailer seemed to promise some chills. And you know, it’s about a little girl being kidnapped by a giant man and taken away to a land where other giants – GIANT giants considering that The BFG is really a runt of a giant – eat little children. But, if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, giving up on the more sinister side of Dahl’s oeuvre and making way for his sentimental elements, then I believe you will enjoy it. What it lacks in wickedness, it more than makes up for in lovely visuals, charm, silliness and warmth.

The BFG opens in New Zealand cinemas on Thursday 7 July, 2016.

Our thanks to Disney for providing the movie passes to our reviewer.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Popcultural Picturebooks: Spotlight on Elys Dolan

Image by Elys Dolan  www.elysdolan.com

One of the best things about becoming a parent was the wonder of sharing all things magical, geeky and pop cultural with our two mini-geeks. I'm not sure who was more enraptured about their first viewing of Star Wars: A new hope, but I suspect it may have been their Dad and I. We have since gone on to share the geek loving wherever we can, with Dr Who, Star Wars and Minecraft themed Christmas trees, themed birthday parties (we have a Harry Potter one coming up in the few months) and visits to Armageddon all on the agenda.

We are equally as big on reading to our mini-geeks, and I'm fairly proud of the fact that I can use the threat of one less bedtime story to get them to behave at the end of the day, they NEVER want to lose a story. So when we find our two great loves intersecting, life is extra good!

One of the VERY BEST authors who successfully does this, is the fantastic Elys Dolan. Her picture books are a marvel, with big glossy pages full of super fun art, hilarious dialogue and sneaky humour. There are always lots of hidden in jokes to be found. Her books are rather like Pixar movies, kids love them, but there is a little something there for the grown ups to get a sneaky laugh from too. There are references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and Ghostbusters, and her latest offering even has a bit of a throw back to those fun action movies of the 90s. What more could a geek parent and mini-geeks ask for really? Here are some of her book highlights which you can borrow from our collection.

Weasels was the first Elys Dolan book we had the good fortune to come across. I initially borrowed it because I noticed that one of the subject headings on the library catalogue was Megalomania: Children's picture books, and that is just not something you see every day!
In this book, the author asks what is it weasels do all day? and would you believe it is PLOT WORLD DOMINATION. They have created a machine to enable them to take over the world, but just as countdown commences, disaster strikes. The boys loved seeing the plotting weasels and working out just what happened to the machine, Mummy loved all the coffee and health and safety in jokes.

When I found Nuts in Space on the shelf at the library I was so excited. The weasels lady had done another book AND it referenced both Star Trek and Star Wars, it really can't get much better than that. (And no, I am not one of those purists that thinks there can only be one great Star thingy, I love them equally, so there ;) ) In Nuts in space, a rather furry Trekkie type crew have found the celebrated Lost Nuts of Legend and are on a mission to return to their home planet. Unfortunately, a hungry crew member has eaten the map, so they have to make a few stops on the way to ask for directions. The highlight for the mini-geeks and I had to be the Death Banana, which was a super fun spin on the Death Star.

The mystery of the haunted farm introduced the boys to the joys of Ghostbusters, or rather the Three Pigs Ghost-hunters, who are on the job at Farmer Greg's place with their Phantom Finder 5000, the latest in Scare-o-Meter equipment. Something is amiss down on the farm, with zombie ducks at the pond, and an array of other supernatural creatures taking over the barn (Frankenhorse and The Mighty Donkula anyone?) We didn't expect that twist in the ending, which made the book even more fun. There is nothing like a good twist!

My Mr 6 was very proud that our libraries ordered Steven seagull: action hero after he put in a suggested purchase for it. Steven Seagull is a retired cop (I hear there are rumours he was kicked from the force for being too much of a renegade) who is asked to come back and help save the beach. Some perpetrator has been stealing the sand and leaving massive holes everywhere. A gull's gotta do what a gull's gotta do, and Steven takes on the case and checks out the usual suspects. Does he manage to save the day? I'll leave that for you to find out, I'm off now to look up old Steven Seagal movies ;)

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales



In our library, the staff all take part in a reading challenge we call DER (Dare to Extend your Reading). Every few months we read a book based on a different theme. We do it so that we read something that we might not have read ordinarily, which is a great way of growing our collection knowledge so we can help our lovely customers to find just the perfect book.

Over the last two months, our theme was a book that was a modern retelling of a classic. It was really interesting to see how many of us ended up reading retold versions of classic fairy tales such as Snow White, Cinderella, The little mermaid and so on. You can check out some of the reviews here on our Pinterest page.

I really loved my book, and it got me thinking about just how many fractured fairy tales I have enjoyed over the years. Fractured fairy tales are the fairy tales we know and love, but changed up a little, such as changing the characters, setting or the point of view. I just love seeing favourite characters doing new and unexpected things!

So here are a few of my all time favourites, and I would LOVE to hear about yours in the comments. I'm always looking for another good read.

First up is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I loved this when it first came out, and was even happier when it was turned into a movie featuring Anne Hathaway several years later. This is a retelling of Cinderella, but this Ella (who was cursed at birth to always be obedient) is incredibly smart and sassy. Yes there is a glass slipper (and a happily ever after), but Ella doesn't wait to be rescued by her Prince, she takes matters in her own hands and heads off on a quest to reverse her curse, with many adventures along the way.

My read for the DER challenge was Spelled by Betsy Schow, which was a whole new spin on The Wizard of Oz. In this version,  our main character Dorthea, the Emerald Princess, is a bit of of spoilt brat. She is sick of being cooped up in the castle due to a family curse, and when her family decide to marry her off to a prince without her consent, she makes a bit of a bad wish, undoing magic in the realm and losing her parents. It is now up to her, Prince Kato (who is now a chimera)  and insolent servant Rexxi to try and put things right, without dying in the process as the Gray Witch chases them, intent on stealing Dorthea’s magic for herself. Many other fairy tale favourites pop up along the way during this fun read. 

I've already blogged about graphic novel series Fables by Bill Willingham before in my Graphic novels for Grown Ups post, but it is definitely worth a second mention. In this series, all the fairytale and folklore characters we know and love have been forced from their homelands by the big bad 'The Adversary', and they are living in a secret community called Fabletown within our world New York. They call themselves Fables (we're the mundys), and anyone who can't pass themselves off as a mundy ends up at the Farm in upstate New York. All of your favourites are there, mostly in whole new ways you have NEVER seen them before. The central ongoing relationship between Snow White and Bigby (also known as the Big Bad Wolf) is possibly my favourite literary relationship ever!

And from one for the grown ups to one for the kids. The true story of the 3 little pigs by A.Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith  is a fun wee tale I've loved sharing with my mini-geeks at home. The wolf tells his version of those famous events concerning those certain pigs in this entertaining read. Who knew just how much trouble a sneeze can get you into? 


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Alice Through The Looking Glass - Movie Review


Many of us have an enduring affinity with Alice in Wonderland in at least one of its many incarnations. I have fond memories of an obsession with my cassette tape copy of the original Disney film’s soundtrack. A Unbirthday Song was my cue to pick up the (toy) mic and subject my house to the gift of karaoke.

Later in life I was given the opportunity to study the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass through the excellent Annotated Alice, which explains literally everything you might ever want or need to know about the satire-dense texts.

Most film-goers now will be well aware of Disney’s 2010 Tim Burton-helmed reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. The lush backgrounds, elaborate wardrobes, extensive special effects, and expanded storyline have inspired a renewed interest in the classic cult film adaptation, and it was inevitable that a sequel would follow up on Mia Wasikowska’s plucky 1800s Alice.

Central to the film's heart are the themes of family bonds, forgiveness, regret, and as always with Alice themed works, the importance of personal fortitude. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) and the Hatter (Johnny Depp feat. oodles of make-up and special effects) find their pasts having a direct effect on their presents in both Underland and 1800s London. As always, the adventure is sparked by the both of them having discovering that something formerly concrete to their lives is not quite as it seems…

Expect another gorgeous wardrobe of gloriously vivid and textured outfits for every character, especially those of Alice and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway). Particularly of note are the numerous fantastic stylised naval uniforms, many of which I left the theatre coveting.

As Through the Looking Glass follows directly on from the first film you may want to take advantage of a rewatch of the first (the DVD is conveniently available from Auckland Libraries), as Through the Looking Glass is a complex story, traversing time and space…I won’t say much more so as not to spoil any plot points!

Very young children may find the fast paced and intricate plot difficult to follow, but the visual spectacle was more than enough entrance most watchers at my session. Much like Maleficent, Disney’s newest reimagining of a classic, is no rigid re-enactment of the original tale, and you can expect to enjoy an engrossing original story with much homage to elements of the books.

Our thanks to Disney for providing tickets to an advanced screening for our reviewer.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

'The Jungle Book' Movie Review


I was excited, based on my last post about children's movies, that I got the opportunity to go see The Jungle Book at the cinemas recently. As I said, I am a sucker for children's movies, especially Disney ones (don't judge me). 3D glasses perched on my face, I prepared to enter the world of the iconic Mowgli, and his talking animal friends.

In case you have been living under a rock for several decades (or a century, for that matter, if you include the source material), the story is based around Mowgli, a 'man-cub' orphan, played with great vivacity and sweetness by 13-year old newcomer actor Neel Seethi. Mowgli is rescued from almost-certain death by a panther named Bagheera, who decides to bring him to wolf Raksha, a new mother. Raksha, along with wolf-clan leader Akela, decide to bring Mowgli up as their own son.

However, trouble appears on the horizon in the form Benghali tiger Shere Khan, voiced with ferocious precision by Idris Elba, who wants Mowgli for himself. Eventually Mowgli, with the encouragement of Bagheera, decides to leave the wolf pack for their own safety. Bagheera wants to accompany him to the nearest 'man village', but they get separated along the way. Left to fend for himself, Mowgli encounters a python with a hypnotic voice, a massive orangutan obsessed with fire, and a sloth-bear enamoured of honey. He eventually finds the village, and ends up embracing his own unique abilities along the way.

This is a beautiful film, visually. The Disney animation is so iconic, I was surprised at how well it translated to live-action. The jungle looks magical and lush, especially through the eyes of an eight-year old boy. Ben Kingsley, and Lupita Nyong'o, who play Bagheera and Raksha respectively, bring a warmness and protective nature to their bond with Mowgli, which really fells like the beating heart of this movie. It is beautiful to see a supportive bond on screen being celebrated. Idris Elba gives a fantastic performance also, but for very different reasons. If that's not enough to convince you, then Bill Murray singing certainly will. He is like the outrageous uncle we all wish we had. The story has its tense moments, which keep the story flowing, but it never spills over into pure terror territory. Maybe don't take very young children, but I suspect older children will adore it. Overall, a beautiful movie full of spirit, music and suspense for the whole family.

Keep an eye on our New Titles lists (updated monthly) for when The Jungle Book DVD is added to our collections, and be sure to place a free hold.

Our thanks to Disney for providing tickets to an advanced screening for our reviewer.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Wiling The Winter Away

Click click click, clack, clack clack...

There is something very soothing about the sound of knitting needles busily working away and with winter slowly making an appearance now is the time to pull out those patterns and wool and curl up on the couch with a hot cuppa and craft those wintry evenings away.

Of course if knitting's not your thing there are a realm of other crafts that you can do from the toasty warmth of the sofa, from crocheting to sewing to stitching to colouring.  And here at Auckland Libraries we have plenty of books to help get you started.

So get into that wintry mood and get crafting.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Three Words - NZ, Women, Comics




I'm a huge fan of short comics. Upon discovering NZ author (as well as comic artist and zine-maker) Sarah Laing, I fell in love with the simplicity of her autobiographical comics. After this, I kept seeing her work everywhere. And then I noticed - I kept seeing NZ comic artists everywhere. And a lot of them were women. Or, they've been there the whole time, and I never bothered to look.

But now, I'm bothering.

Earlier this year, Three Words: an anthology of Aotearoa/NZ women's comics was published. A whole anthology of comics from our very own artists, from all over the country, with the purpose of getting our creative women and their work out from the shadows and into a book - into your libraries, onto your coffee tables, into your hands.

And the theme? Simple - each artist would give three words to another, and in return, receive three words from someone else. Then, they incorporate those words into a comic (literally or figuratively) which you get to feast your eyes on.

With a huge variety of artists - from those who breathe comics, to those who are doing them for the first time - Three Words is a diverse and fantastic way to get to know the women who you probably pass on the street, and the creativity that they put on the page.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Little Bit Of Something New

I love finding new things and, as always, our hardworking selectors at Auckland Libraries have been busy ordering heaps of new titles to add to our collections.

It's always exciting and interesting seeing what is coming out; a new book by a favourite author, a sequel you've been waiting absolutely ages for or a title that sounds and looks intriguing that you just have to add it to your holds lists.

That Sugar Guide  ---  The Girl Who Fell ---  Wink Poppy Midnight  ---  What's For Dinner  ---  At The Edge Of The Orchard  ---  See Me  ---  The Ice Child  ---  Crow of Mist and Fury  --- Six of Crows  ---  The Glittering Court

And it's not just new books that we order but new music CD's, DVDs, AudioBooks, ebooks and eaudio, magazines and a host of other things, all to enhance our collection.

We find a lot of our new titles by looking through magazines and newspapers, websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook.... you name it and our selectors are looking through it.

Of course we miss things too, mostly because there is just so much information for us to look through.  We is why we rely on you, our customers, to let us know if we have missed something.

Water or Gold  ---  Harmony House  ---  Lukas Graham  ---  Mind of Mine  ---  Telluric  ---  I'll Forget 17  ---  Blues of Desperation  ---  Beautiful Lies  ---  Know-it-all  ---  The Narrows

Many of our new titles are from customer suggestions which is just awesome - would you believe we get around 900 suggestions for purchase a week.

Now that is pretty wonderful.

So check out some of the new titles in our collection and maybe make a few suggestions of your own.

Spotlight  ---  The Dressmaker  ---  Human Universe  ---  Suffragette  ---  Brooklyn  ---  The Night Manager  ---  In The Heart Of The Sea  ---  The Peanuts Movie  ---  iZombie  ---  Ripper Street

Monday, 4 April 2016

Olfactory Observations with Lizzie Ostrom




I love perfume. I love it as much as a person on a pretty stringent budget can – I usually can’t afford it, thusly, I love to read about it. I spend an inordinate amount of time trawling on fragrantica.com, and if I’m honest I feel that my profile there is the most revealing profile of myself on any social media forum. I think knowing that I *will* wear Autumn/Winter scents in Spring/Summer, that I am definitely not above wearing Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy, and that I suffered an addiction to Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium during my formative years is pretty much all you need to know about me.

Perfume can say a lot about a person – about their real or imagined selves, or at least whether or not you could stand being in a tight space with them.
In Lizzie Ostrom’s Perfume: A Century of Scents, you learn that it can say a lot about people in a much broader sense – politically, socially, geographically and more. As a harbinger of cultural developments and nuances, perfume is convincing and enthralling. Via a selection of 100 perfumes spanning 1900-1999, Ostrom waxes philosophical about their meaning, function, and creation and there is some interesting and still very relevant content – for instance, the façade (and ensuing mark up!) of ‘natural’ products (newsflash: a lot of toxic chemicals are natural), the cult of the celebrity and the ever-present devices of the advertising industry – how it has changed, and how it really hasn’t changed.

As a cultural investigation, it is impressive. But it’s also just fun to read, especially if you’re like me and are a person who loves perfume, and finds themselves asking strangers “Are you wearing Kenzo???” or slightly unnerving them by guessing which scent they’re wearing (I do this to patrons frequently, I’m not sure if they’re actually unnerved but I will definitely suggest Ostrom’s book to them in the future).

Whether you grew up during the 40’s and wore Madame by Rochas, or the 70’s when Jovan Musk was all the rage, or the 90’s when everyone wanted to smell fresh and preppy and loved Tommy Girl (memories of walking down Jervois Road with my mother as child come flooding back whenever I smell this!) – I think you will enjoy it. I remain heartbroken that Cacharel’s LouLou didn’t make the list, but I am willing to forgive.

Enjoy! And P.S - isn't Lizzie Ostrom gorgeous??? You can marvel at her here.


 




Thursday, 31 March 2016

Graphic novels for Grown ups: Part two


Continuing on from my blog post about my great love for Terry Moore, here are some more of my must read graphic novels for grown ups. There is a little something for everyone here, and it is really interesting to note that one of these series are currently in production as a new upcoming TV series, and another is about to launch season two through the Playstation network - so get in first and read the books so you can be all 'I totally know what's happening next' like all those Walking Dead comic fans ;)

First up on my list is the fabulous Fables by Bill Willingham. This is a series that I WISH was going to be a TV show, but I'll settle for the fact that I can play the spin off game The Wolf Among Us (anything to get my Bigby fix). In this series, all the fairytale and folklore characters we know and love have been forced from their homelands by the big bad 'The Adversary', and they are living in a secret community called Fabletown within our world New York. They call themselves Fables (we're the mundys), and anyone who can't pass themselves off as a mundy ends up at the Farm in upstate New York. The best thing about this series is seeing beloved characters in a whole new light. For example, I'm never going to look at Jack (as in Jack and the beanstalk, Jack be nimble, and Jack Horner....he's pretty much any Jack you can think of) the same way again, he is hilariously a bad bad boy. And that Bigby I mentioned before? That's the big bad wolf in human form, and I adore him like you wouldn't believe. He and Snow White may be my most favourite Ship ever. I've read this series over a long 10 years, patiently waiting for each new volume, and yes, I may have shed tears when the final volume was released not so long ago. You are super lucky though, because now you (lucky reader) can binge the entire series like there is no tomorrow!

And then you can also read the two spin off series Fairest and Jack of fables.

Next up on my must reads list is Ex Machina by Brian K Vaughan. Pretty much anything written by Mr Vaughan is very good squishy indeed, but this series is my ultimate favourite of his. First up, please note this has nothing to do with the movie by the same name (I got a little excited when I read about the movie, but nope, something else). This series focusses on Mitchell Hundred, also known as the superhero The Great Machine. While on the surface this looks like a superhero / sci-fi comic, in reality it is such an interesting statement piece on politics, as in light of Mitchell's superhero actions during the 9/11 tragedy, he is elected the mayor of New York City. The story flips between his current role in office, and flashbacks to his time as The Great Machine (and the mystery surrounding how that came to be). With a rich cast of (often plenty flawed) characters, this is seriously good must read stuff.

Preacher by Garth Ennis is the series that is about to hit our screens (it starts screening in the US in May) and this is the potential next Walking Dead. It has such a dream cast, and I CAN'T WAIT to see what they do with the source material. This series was always a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I collected every issue, but always felt slightly guilty reading it, because OMG they went there, and with all the bad language imaginable (and I was such a good girl in those days, which was about 15-20 years ago). But it was such compulsive and compelling reading and I always had to know what came next. Jessie Custer is a slightly conflicted small town preacher who ends up with a bit of an unusual ability. As a result of that, he heads out with his ex-girlfriend Tulip (she is soooo kick butt, I love her) and an Irish vampire named Cassidy on a mission to find God. Yep, you read that right, a preacher and a vamp on a quest to find God. They have the craziest adventures on the way, and meet some highly disturbed and disturbing characters, some of whom I have tried my best to forget since finishing this series a long time ago, bahahaha. I think it says something about this series, that when my husband and I first moved in together, we were both collecting and reading this individually, and neither of us was willing to be the one to stop buying it, so we both brought it until the very end, lol.

Last up on my list is Powers by Brian Michael Bendis. Now, Mr Bendis is another writer who you totally can't miss with, I love anything of his that I have read. I started reading his comics way back when with Alias, which was one of the first 'adult' Marvel comics written under the Max imprint. That series featured the now rather well known Jessica Jones, ex super heroine and current private eye (thanks Netflix for bringing her to life). I loved Jessica, but for me Powers was where it was at. It is another superhero comic with a difference - this one focusses on Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, two homicide detectives who work on cases that involve those with 'powers'. The cases are gritty, and the dynamic between the two lead characters is unmissable. This was made into a TV series that played through the Playstation network last year, and season two is due to start in May this year.....bring it baby!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Literary Houses - nostalgia, fantasy and magical places




I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the fiction of my childhood for a number of reasons over the past couple of months. I found out about the death of Jonathon Crombie, who played undeniable heartthrob Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables. I mean yes, he left us nearly a year ago, but I only found out a few weeks ago. Silo cinema screened The Secret Garden, and then The Princess Bride. Plus, taking two postgraduate papers at Summer school alongside work left me exceedingly keen to ignore adult life and delve into something cosier and more magical. Valentine’s Day has probably also had something to do with it – I’ll never again find a love like Tom Sawyer or Samwise Gamgee, after all.

In typical me fashion, I’ve wanted to revisit the literature but I can’t decide. I can’t choose, and what if I find it’s just too junior now and it ruins it for me? I huffed and puffed and requested and returned. Until I found the perfect book. I could not have imagined a better one. I stumbled upon it on a goodreads wander, swooned, and located a copy in the central basement. It’s one of the best basement treasures I have found yet.

Children's Literary Houses is an illustrated guide to famous dwelling’s in children’s fiction. The dwellings’ are taken from such literary delights as The Secret Garden, Little Women, David Copperfield and Alice in Wonderland. The art is gorgeous, and the excerpts are superbly well-chosen. And as if it weren’t already perfect for my current dilemma, it just happens to be written by Lisa Tuttle – one of my favourite science fiction/fantasy/horror writers, prolific from the 1980’s onward – and Rosalind Ashe, who appears to be of the same oeuvre. I infuriatingly cannot credit the beautiful illustrations, which are simply credited as “Copyright Dragon’s World Ltd, 1984”.

Dragon’s World Ltd, though, appear to be an absolute goldmine of fantasy, science fiction and esoteric art publishing out of Surrey during the late 70’s and early 80’s. For fans of Chris Achilleos and Heavy Metal etc, it should be worth investigating. And an added Bonus: Rosalind Ashe, I discovered, published Literary Houses two years prior, and it is just as brilliant.


So if you're looking for a smorgasbord of nostalgia with some beautiful - have a look! 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Excitement Level Over 9,000! Children's tales coming to the screen in 2016



I am a big fan of all things Disney. (Does it hurt my feminist credentials to admit that?!)

That's why I was so excited to find out that two Disney tales are returning to the silver screen this year; The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. Whilst browsing Youtube, I was side-tracked by two other movie announcements; The BFG, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I got really excited, thinking about these upcoming movies, then I realised; ALL THE MOVIES I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO WERE KID'S MOVIES.  

However, with actors such as Eddie Redmayne, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Emma Watson, studios are breaking out the big guns. These are the kinds of films that bring up nostalgia for generations of movie-goers, and looks set to make them the major blockbusters of the year. I am definitely excited for Bill Murray as the bumbling bear Baloo. And Christopher Walken as the giant 'orangutan' King Louie? Genius. What am I saying? Go ahead, indulge your inner child.

The Jungle Book, with stars including the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray and child actor Neel Sethi, will be the first to arrive on NZ's screens, premiering in April this year. The trailer promises a sweet hearted, but action-packed story. Prepare to be dazzled by the beautiful Indian wildlife, and to have your heart stolen by the plucky new Mowgli.

The second to open in New Zealand this year is The BFG, premiering in July, with a cast of actors including Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall and our very own Jermaine Clement. There is only a teaser trailer out at the moment, but as Roald Dahl and director Steven Spielberg fans know, there's only so far you can (hopefully) go wrong.

*hyperventilates* Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. A Harry Potter prequel; what more can I say?! With an upcoming 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' play premiering in London this year, prepare for further Rowling mania. The announcement trailer doesn't give much away, but the plot basically is actor Eddie Redmayne playing 'Magizoologist' Newt Scamander, author of a future Hogwarts textbook on the subject, who chases down magical creatures in 1926 New York.

The second Disney story adapted for the screen, Beauty & the Beast, is technically not appearing to cinemas until 2017, but there is a lot of buzz around it already. Fans are freaking out about the casting of Miss Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson, as book-loving Belle. With her large fan base and Brown University credentials, she is the perfect casting. Other actors in this astonishingly talented ensemble include Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, and Stanley Tucci.

What movies are you excited to see this year? Any other kids movies coming out this year that I've missed? Let me know in the comments below!




Saturday, 27 February 2016

Goings On: It's Leap Year Time

It's the weekend.  The last weekend before Leap Day.  So it feels appropriate that we should talk about some of the amazing things you could do this weekend, all in celebration of leap year.

I love hunting around for interesting things and this time I've even managed to come with some that appeal to my weird and quirky side such as the terrifically named play Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die.

I want to go just for the name of the play a lone.

And if you in the mood for something a little bit more Shakespearean then there are several of his plays being performed at the Pop-Up Globe; you can even do a behind the scenes tour.

If you are after something truly interesting and ever-so slightly macabre then you should definitely go to the Open Day at Waikumete Cemetery this Sunday where you can learn how to dig a grave, visit a mausoleum and generally learn a ton of interesting things about death and burial customs.   I'm now wondering if the hosts are going to all dress up as Death because THAT would be awesome.

Talking of death also leads us into questions about life and the universe and the Auckland Stardome has several different shows currently going on such as Dark Universe and the Grand Tour of the Solar System, which sound fascinating and definitely something I would be in to, nerdy SyFyGirl that I am.

Movies and music are another thing that I am in to, so it's kinda handy that there are both Movies in the Park and Music in the Parks so that I can get my fix; even better both events are free.  How cool is that.

And if after all the activity you just want to chill and relax then check out some of the awesome e-magazines, e-books and e-audios that we have got at Auckland Libraries.  With just a couple of clicks you can have some entertainment all for free and to use whenever, wherever you want.  Now that really is awesome.

Monday, 22 February 2016

We have that?! Surprises from our collection: CDs and music



Music is a personal thing for everybody. And we all have that artist we love that we think no one else has ever heard of - you can say you don't, but you're probably lying, because there's a little music elitist in all of us.

Unfortunately, CDs becoming less popular compared to internet downloads means that our library collection has more often than not been a little disappointing to me in regards of international musicians that aren't so 'mainstream'.

That said, the internet isn't all bad in regards to our CD collection. With how easy it is to find music you wouldn't have heard on the radio (because of, probably, those late night YouTube adventures we all have), people's music tastes are expanding. Those people suggest CDs to the library, and as a result our collection, while 'small', is becoming ever more diverse.

More importantly, it's started including things I like!

And that brings us here - me sharing my musical elitism with you. These artists are favourites of mine. While of course they won't be everyone's cups of tea, we now have the CDs in our collections so that you can try a taste of them anyway and make the choice yourself.

Melanie Martinez
Cry Baby

Martinez got her first foot in the door on the TV show, The Voice, singing Britney Spears. Immediately put off? Shame on you. 

This girl has a voice both sultry and sweet, and an unusual one to boot. Of course she didn't win (my favourites never do), but continued making music anyway and just last year, released her first, full and fantastic album, Cry Baby. 

Known for her (very) creepy doll aesthetic, her two-coloured hair, and of course the beautiful breathy voice, Martinez's songs and music videos are an absolute trip, whether you're into them or not - and the themes carried through Cry Baby will keep you coming back to see what else she's working on. 

Stromae
Racine Carrée 

Stromae is a Belgian music artist with music so catchy, you'll forget that you're not fluent in French as you sing along.

You may know one of his singles, Papaoutai, which was nicely covered by Pentatonix - and while I do like Pentatonix, the original is so completely different and much more moving. 

Stromae's songs are often influenced by his past or experiences, and thoughts on issues like gender stereotyping (below) and the effect of social media. His latest single and music video, Quand C'est, was an artful yet undoubtedly chilling piece about the effects of cancer (playing on the name 'Quand c'est' ['When is it?'] which sounds like 'cancer' phonetically. If that's not genius, well...).

Mary Lambert
Heart on my Sleeve

If this name sounds a little familiar, you might remember the chorus from 'Same Love' by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, where Mary crooned over her own love.

Taking the chorus she wrote for Same Love, she extended it into a full song ('She Keeps Me Warm') and has just kept going. From hard-hitting spoken poetry to upbeat and joyous "confessions", Mary Lambert has been an advocate for positive bodies, positive love and positive attitudes - of all kinds.

And even with all the messages, Lambert's voice is the kind that will sing you to sleep. Relaxing and simply lovely, Mary Lambert's album Heart on My Sleeve is a must to listen to - and hopefully, you'll go looking for her other stuff online.

What are your favourite albums that the library does, or doesn't have?
Feel free to share your musical elitism with us in the comments below.

And, as always, send us a suggestion for purchase if our collection is missing something awesome.