29 September, 2013

20th Century Boys Vol. 01: Friends by Naoki Urasawa [Aimee, Howick Library]


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I love reading graphic novels but until recently hadn’t read any manga.  I think I just felt too lazy to read something back to front.  Pretty silly, but there you are.  So this year for Comic Book Month I decided to give manga a go.  So far, so good! (and it doesn't take long to get used to!)

Here’s a quote nicked straight from the summary to explain what it’s about:

"Humanity, having faced extinction at the end of the 20th century, would not have entered the new millennium if it weren't for them. In 1969, during their youth, they created a symbol. In 1997, as the coming disaster slowly starts to unfold, that symbol returns. This is the story of a gang of boys who try to save the world."

Intriguing, right?  At the centre of the unfolding story is a mysterious cult headed by an as yet unknown man named “Friend”.  It’s awesomely creepy.  But then to counter the creepiness, there’s a lot of humour surrounding the protagonist Kenji and his friends.  The story flips back and forth between ‘present day’ and flashbacks of Kenji and his childhood buddies.  Having just started volume 2, I’m no closer to predicting what is going to happen, but it’s definitely an enjoyable process.

If like me, you’ve found the concept of manga a bit puzzling, I’d recommend this as a jumping off point.  It’s filed under our adult graphic novels, so rest assured that it’s not fluffy teen content (not that I find teen graphic novels less worthy, but each to their own).  Come to the manga side!  It’s surprisingly excellent.

Title: 20th Century Boys Vol. 01: Friends
Author: Naoki Urasawa
ISBN: 9781591169222
Published: 2009
Publisher: Viz Media

 - Aimee, Howick Library

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty [Judy, Orewa Library]


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Cecilia is searching in her attic for a little piece of cement, (her souvenir of the Berlin Wall)  to show her daughter, when she accidentally comes upon the letter ...

'For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick. To be opened only in the event of my death'.

The secret revealed is something horrific, something she would rather not have known, but which explains a lot about her husband, and which tosses her into an emotional storm.

The story twists and turns, with romance and drama, angst and joy.  Everything comes together in one of the most surprising and original styles I have ever read. No wonder it's on the New York Times Bestseller List. If you are looking for a gripping book to soak into over the holidays, try Moriarty.

Title The Husband's Secret
Author:  Liane Moriarty
ISBN: 9780399159343
Published: 2013
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, Sydney

 -Judy, Orewa Library

26 September, 2013

One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau [Tim G, Northcote Library]


Kittens, zombies, young love and ghosts are cool. We all know this. Joey Comeau, the author of Overqualified and co-creator of the web-comic A Softer World, also knows. What makes this horror-comedy-romance so good is that Comeau figuratively, and sometimes literally, locks our cool elements together in a confined space.

The story begins amid a maelstrom of emotions. Jackie, our protagonist, is dealing with a traumatic event. Her first-kiss tree has been cut down, making her want to smash things. Ann, Jackie's best friend and unrequited crush from school is having problems too; her mother is becoming a zombie. Charlie and his blind dog Mitchie are trudging through their daily routine, headless ghost and all.

After the rockiest of starts the story takes us through one bloody thing after another, down a path littered with painful, lonely, confusing, scary and euphoric events in the lives of our characters.

At this point I could say that you are in for one hell of a ride, and leave it at that; it would be the truth, but it would misrepresent the book. As the cover may suggest, this story also has a fluffy side. So consider yourself warned; there are tender, heart warming moments of love, fear, vulnerability and sadness within these pages. I love this book for the way these aspects coalesce into a warm, cuddly and bloody whole.

Title: One Bloody Thing After Another
Author: Joey Comeau
ISBN: 9781550229165
Published: c2010
Publisher: ECW Press

 - Tim G, Northcote Library

25 September, 2013

Simply Wonderwoman: a survival guide for women with too much to do by Joanna Gosling [Monica, Orewa Library]


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I love books for wannabe domestic goddesses: I take them out regularly and can’t wait until that wonderful time (usually while the dinner is cooking), when I can sit down with a cuppa and take a peek. Unfortunately, I am usually disappointed when I flick through them and realise that the down-to-earthness of the author is highly overrated, the ideas are too bizarre to implement or I fail to bond with the author (who can trust a woman giving penny-saving tips who looks like a Barbie doll and lives in a mansion?).

This book is different: I would actually buy this one. There is enough information to reference long after the initial excitement of a new book has died down, and I love the way Joanna writes: I have enjoyed her conversation as much as her ideas, and have been inspired to find out more about her - and what an interesting person she is!

This book is full of practical and fun ideas such as asking your local butcher to sharpen your kitchen knives for a small bribe, decanting leftover paint into glass jars and labelling them, to use for easy touching up later, and how to make salt dough fridge magnets. I have already taken many of her ideas on board, which is a testament to the relationship she builds with the reader, including using washing soda in my washing, cleaning my engagement ring in bicarb (it now glitters), and painting the inside of a jar to make a pretty vase. Be prepared to wait a while for this book, as I am sure it will be held onto for as long as possible by those crafty patrons who have already ordered it.

Title: Simply Wonderwoman: A Survival Guide for Women With Too Much To Do
Author: Joanna Gosling
ISBN: 9780857830586
Published: 2011
Publisher: Kyle

 - Monica, Orewa Library

Dexter Season 7 DVD [Paul, Birkenhead Library]


Remar,  James - DEXTER - SEASON 7 Everyone’s favourite serial killer is back for more in Season 7 of the wickedly good drama, Dexter.
I had heard some rankled pants being rumpled by all the rinky-dinkiness in the plod-plot of this series. And its true, its very wrinkly, rather poorly ironed, and yet... its Dex!

At the end of Season 6 when SPOILER saw SPOILER do SPOILER - I hope I'm not giving anything away here, it frankly wasn't very feasible to see how things could be continued.

And yet they were. Which in its own way is quite splendid, and would be the moreso if it weren't at "heart" being done to reach a commercial milestone (8 seasons) rather than say, for any dizzily good storytelling.

Still, here we are slightly impatient, ethereised upon a table-ish, I & perhaps you, ogling not-so-horrible Dexter as he reiterates his rites righteously and wrongly. There are many subplots overlapping like wavelets against the "Slice of Life" and Dex is soon quite harried looking. (When did he become not the scariest character?) SPOILER happens, then SPOILIER SPOILER SPOILER. Need I say more?

Sure, the show has jumped the shark. Actually, it's doing the hula hoop with them now. But it's a curious thing that despite the lazy use, reuse and abuse of the same old same old old tropes (the ringing cellphone that ends scenes, the brown lycra top that signals Dex is on the prowl, the hammy & cheesy broken weeping-swearing by Debra, etc, etc et cet argh) its okay. Who, after all, doesn't have a Dark Passenger who sounds silly when you mention it aloud?

(Image courtesy of JBHiFi).

Title: Dexter Season 7, DVD
Distributor: Universal Pictures (Australasia)
Year: 2013

 - Paul, Birkenhead Library

23 September, 2013

Kitchen Table Memoirs: Shared Stories from Australian Writers edited by Nick Richardson [Suneeta, Highland Park Library]


We all have memories of special occasions, daily ritual, confabs and disagreements, tete-a-tetes and heart-to-hearts that have occurred around a particular table in our own lives.What makes Kitchen table memoirs so readable is that the stories in there could be yours or mine.

Inspired and edited by Tasmanian journalist , Nick Richardson, who came up with the idea after writing an article on food and families, this compilation of anecdotes is as engaging as it is easy to read. Richardson writes the introduction and sets the tone for the 20 other contributors, a medley of well-known Australian writers, comedians and chefs. Martin Brown tells of the lost art of table climbing; John Tully prepares a divine meal as a chef working in the  Antarctic; Annabel Langbein sits us down at a family table in Italy; George McEnroe talks of the table as a vital piece of furniture in her house around which seven people had to find innovative ways of making space, as the room wasn't big enough for seven chairs! These are some tasters that make up a collection filled with nostalgia, humor and best loved recipes. Central to every story is always the table (kitchen or other), a silent witness to the joys and sorrows of family life. The icing on the cake of this wonderfully heart-warming book is that the proceeds from it are being shared with Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief agency, in order to help put food on the tables of those who need it.

Enjoy!

Title: Kitchen Table Memoirs : Shared Stories from Australian Writers
Editor: Nick Richardson
ISBN: 978073331879
Published: 2013
Publisher: ABC; HarperCollins

 - Suneeta, Highland Park Library

Unwind by Neal Shusterman [Clare, Massey Library]


At some time in the future, abortion has been outlawed. However, unwanted babies can be left on doorsteps, and teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 can be 'unwound'. This is a process which harvests the organs of the unwanted teen for use in replacement surgery, while keeping their consciousness alive.

The story begins with 16 year old Connor discovering that his parents have signed his unwinding order. In revenge, he buys his mother flowers, telling her he loves her and gets a B+ for the first time, causing his Dad to sit for hours in stunned remorse. It is, however, too late.

He runs away and is joined on the run by a ward of state who isn't musically gifted enough to be kept intact, and a 'tithe', a tenth child who has been raised to believe that unwinding is his religious vocation. They end up with an underground railroad of runaway unwinds, trying to stay alive until they turn eighteen.

Although catalogued as a teen fiction book, it is thought provoking and entertaining enough to be read by anybody. It touches on some very adult issues such as the meaning of consciousness, what it is to be alive, harvesting of organs and pro-life, pro-choice arguments.

The author keeps the action coming and takes each character on a wild journey, which sees one of them contemplating becoming a suicide bomber or 'clapper' and two of them romantically involved. It is imaginative and well-written, and a must-read for those who enjoy futuristic, fantastical dystopia.  

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
ISBN: 9780857079978 (pbk.)
Published: 2007
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

 - Clare, Massey Library

22 September, 2013

Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline [Anita, Blockhouse Bay Library]


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I was told 'You must read this book, it's really good' by a colleague (yes you Rhiann), so I duly ordered it , took it out and then it languished in my book pile for a bit. Why?? The cover did not really entice me, but as the saying goes about books and their covers I did not want to judge -  I gave it a go, and  once I started reading I could not put this book down.

Set in the not too distant future of 2044 the world is an ugly place. Most people escape the grim surroundings by being jacked into a virtual on-line universe called OASIS. For many the motivation is more than just escape, for hidden within OASIS is a puzzle to be solved, 3 keys to find that open three gates, and the ultimate prize is a massive fortune and ownership of OASIS. All the riddles are based on the now deceased creators favourite decade - so get ready for plenty of pop culture from the 1980's, primarily video games, movies and songs.

Five years after the competition started Wade Watts, nearly 18 is the first to gain the first key and open the first gate.  All of a sudden the race is on as thousands of competitors join the hunt - among them the sixers - an organised group of powerful players who are willing to go to any length to win the prize, and Wade must use all his wiles and knowledge to stay one step ahead of them.

This book will please all those who have ever enjoyed playing spaceys and D&D, but it is also a great adventure novel with lots of action, clever strategy and a likeable main character. And by the way, the author Ernest Cline was one of the writers responsible for the movie Fanboys. This is his first novel.

Title: Ready Player One: A Novel
Author:  Ernest Cline
ISBN: 9780307887436
Published: 2011
Publisher: New York, Crown Publishers

 - Anita, Blockhouse Bay Library

19 September, 2013

Gunnerkrigg Court [Vol. 1] Orientation [graphic novel] by Tom Siddell [Anita Smith/ Blockhouse Bay Library]


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I like graphic novels - but the quirky and unusual ones with a bit of humour, not so much the Marvel and DC action heroes type. The Gunnerkrigg Court series is just the sort I enjoy the most. With a cast of unusual characters and a gradual unfolding of the bigger picture, so far there are three books in this series with, I hope, more to come as the intriguing story line is not complete.

The story starts with Antimony Carver, a young girl just starting study at Gunnerkrigg Court - not your run-of-the-mill boarding school. Yes it has uniforms and classes, best friends (Kat), but it also has robots, body snatching demons, magic, forest gods, and an array of interesting characters. Suffice to say many strange things happen and there are many strands that develop in the storyline - we even go back in time to witness past events that involve Annie and Kat's parents.

I am really enjoying this series, you can really see how the artist has developed and improved his drawing technique over the books, the style is graphic and not over-fussy. The drawings, plus the clever and funny dialogue, make these books particularly enjoyable, I like how the characters grow up and develop. This is an award winning series, originally posted as a Webcomic (found at http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/), so if you finish book three and want to read more you can go online and keep on reading.

Title: Gunnerkrigg Court (Vol 1) Orientation
Author: Tom Siddell
ISBN: 9781848561755 (hbk.)
Published: 2008
Publisher:London: Titan

 - Anita, Blockhouse Bay Library

17 September, 2013

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger [Paul, Birkenhead Library]

First things first: in case you were wondering there's no actual raven-on-postman menage a menagerie ooh la lah in this book. So don't go all Venn diagram mental rotation Heath Robinson on me. No, one day they fell in love, and then there's an egg. Hey... presto-bingo.

And then it hatches.

I really want to say more but you'll likely get all tiffy about spoilers, and then there'll be slaps with wet bus tickets at dawn, or something. Suffice to say it's a faerytale that Niffenegger has reworked as a prep for a choreographer to turn into a dance. Yup.

There are dark elements in this telling, modernized with creepy technological bits, and I think she did do a good job of reworking what I thought was going to be a standard lushy love tale, but overall I'd say it was a slight thing. A modest riff when you think of what the SFF genre gets up to. (But hey, its a swift read! I recommend charging into and through it in one go for the better impact. Okay it's a short story.) And maybe, given that its ComicBookMonth it's yet another reminder of how broad the possibilities of "comics" have become. Not that you need a reminder about anything, ever.

Anyway, I have to say its main interest for me is because its Niffenegger working up her doodly talent in tandem with her scribbly one. Certainly there's some good looking illustrations here. I liked the elaborate nest on the dorm bed and the one of the doctor drawn so it's oddly - painfully - reminiscent of the nest. And just admire the clutter of raven beaks and claws throughout the book..

Then read this fabulation of fables by Brian Wildsmith. Totally awesomer. Esp the donkey on page 111.

Title: Raven Girl
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Published: 2013
Publisher: Jonathan Cape

 - Paul, Birkenhead Library

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand [Kathy, Collections Orewa]



Elin Hilderbrand is a Nantucket resident and this is where a number of her stories are set. She always creates interesting characters and although her writing style is easy to read, she manages to cover relationship and family issues really well.

Beautiful Day is about a wedding being held at a family holiday home on Nantucket, and is set over three days. The bride's late mother has left detailed instructions for the wedding of her youngest daughter in a notebook that the family reverently refer to as they plan the ceremony and reception. Although Jenna is the bride, it is her elder sister Margot that features most in the story. With a large gathering of family and friends there are plenty of complex family dynamics, relationship dramas and planning disasters to keep the reader involved. Snippets from the notebook feature throughout the book, as do 'outtakes' from minor characters which help round out the story and give different points if view.

The only niggle I have is with the cover, pedantic I know, but I do wish designers would read the book before they create a cover. The bride is shown holding a bunch of sunflowers when the advice in The Notebook is quite specifically a bouquet with at least 5 different flowers!

Probably not my favourite title by this author, but an enjoyable read.

Elin talks about the book in a video on Amazon - interesting to see what her take on the story is and to see views of beautiful Nantucket Island.

Title: Beautiful Day
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
ISBN: 9780316099783
Published: 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown, & Co

 - Kathy, Collections Orewa

16 September, 2013

The World's Strongest Librarian : A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Joshua Hanagarne [Surani, Waitakere Central Library]



Obviously the main reason I selected this book was because of the word 'librarian' in the title!

As I started reading this insanely funny and heartwarming biography, I more or less fell in love with Josh Hanagarne. His writing that is.

Told in his unique voice, Josh starts off with how book-obsessed he was as a child and fell head over heels in love with Fern from E. B. White's Charlotte's Web, and we see his life progress from there. Diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome at elementary school, he tries to gain control of his tics over the years. Despite many treatments his tics worsen, and many aspects of his life are affected: his girlfriend, his Mormon mission, his college career, countless jobs, his sense of self and, slowly, his faith.

The one thing that eventually provided some relief turned out to be weight-lifting. With encouragement from his father, and the guidance from an eccentric strongman, Josh quickly went from lifting dumbbells and barbells to performing increasingly elaborate feats. Within a few years Josh had turned his hobby into a way of life - and an effective way of managing his Tourette's.

What I loved the best about Josh's story, other than the way he overcame his disorder, are the quirky anecdotes he's included about life as a librarian in Salt Lake City. Every time he recounted a strange incident I imagined a gentle giant of 6'7", looming over the stacks and confronting the strange and weird world of library patrons.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has had to overcome something momentous in their life or to anyone who admires the strength of others!

Title: The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
Author: Joshua Hanagarne
ISBN: 9781592407873
Published: 2013
Publisher: New York: Gotham Books

 - Surani, Waitakere Central Library Henderson

14 September, 2013

I Am an Emotional Creature:The Secret Life of Girls Around the World by Eve Ensler [Sue W, Central City Library]

syndetics-lcEve Ensler is a strong voice  in literature spot lighting   the rights of women and is creator of V-day, the global campaign to end violence against women. As a writer, her works further champion the embodied experiences of womankind in ways that are both revelatory and always astute, frequently hilarious and often poignant. Her earlier works, The Vagina Monologues and The Good Body, met with critical acclaim and this latest work, is another powerful narrative focusing on the fictitious experiences of girls around the world. Ensler covers  a wide range of cultures and experiences in these powerful pieces, each with its own distinct flavor and narrative style. This book should make required reading on high school curriculums and will have wide spread appeal for women of all ages, not to mention male readers who are attracted to the subject matter and appreciate powerful writing. I love the piece where the girls are playing the "would you rather game", one reluctantly, because the rules state you have to pick at least one of the options, even if they are both equally repulsive to you.

Title: I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World
Author: Eve Ensler
ISBN: 9781400061044
Published: 2010
Publisher: Villard

 - Sue W, Central City Library

12 September, 2013

Dominion by Randy Alcorn [Christine, Takapuna Library]




Clarence is a large man with strong convictions and conservative morality.  He writes a couple of columns for a newspaper; one about sports, one more on current events.  His Christian faith waivers when his sister and niece are killed in a senseless over-the-top drive-by killing.  The police admit that such crimes not solved within 24 hours rarely are solved at all.  Clarence befriends the detective on the case and pushes for continued investigation and involvement.  He is not always helpful to the case!  As an added dimension to the crime story are many stories of casual racism, stereotyping and some outstanding kindness.  Again and again the word 'dominion' crops up; the gangs fight for their turf, politicians and their staff for political power.

Title: Dominion
Author: Randy Alcorn
ISBN: 9781590525937
Published: 1996
Publisher: Multnomah Book

 - Christine, Takapuna Library

09 September, 2013

The Folly of the World by Jesse Bullington [Paul, Birkenhead Library]


True, I guess, public libraries are conservative institutions, steeped in politeness. Thus it's kind of splendid that they stock a book like this so nonchalantly. Doubly so when you consider some items stocked are actually carefully R-rated and carry warnings. You know, contains material of a sexual nature.

Sexual nature? Bullington would laugh his fluffy head off! This is nothing like fifty shades for lamps. Sure, violence in fantasy has pretty much always been there. And Richard Morgan for example, added in sex that is pretty much indistinguishable from that violence. (Does it add punch that his heroes are - well, 'gay' doesn't even seem to be the right word. Neither of the characters are particularly happy.). Then along comes Bullington.

For starters, if you like stand-up comedians that make an art form out of OTT swearing, then try this. This guy uses more, franker. And frankly, he's funnier.  He's not earthy, he's chthonic, and he totally sticks it to good taste, twisting the plot in like a knife into all sorts of other dear things. You know, like sexual nature..

Weirdly, this only applies to the first 200 pages. After that things get bogged in this odd cod medieval local body politics. The way the characters wilfully deny what's bothering them because it frightens them might be an authentic thing, but it's kind of bewildering to read.

Still, awesome first section! And he's written two others, equally scatologically demented.

Author: Jesse Bullington
ISBN: 9780316190350
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2012

 - Paul, Birkenhead Library

07 September, 2013

30-Second Economics by Donald Marron [Ina, Mt Albert Library]


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Normally I wouldn't find economics the most attractive thing on my reading list but this book came across my way and I found that it makes the topic actually exciting! I have never seen a concept based book that was as concise and as easy to understand than this one. The book presents 50 of the most thought provoking economic theories in history, each presented and explained in a short and easy to understand way.

So here's why I think you should read it: It's actually more relevant to your life than you think. Firstly, they are theories which you either hear all the time about (on the news or similar) but never really quite understand and then just try to ignore, or they are things that you deal with all the time and you never knew it was called that! It’s funny, you get started by thinking, "oh I'll just read one" and soon you notice you're half way through the book  - it's actually addicting.

The thing that makes it so easy to read is the design: Laid out so that every theory only gets one double page (where one side is text and the other an explanatory illustration in retro style), there is not too much complicated info to retain as the space is simply too limited to get to the boring parts. The side bars next to it even reduce the 30 second explanation down into a "3-second crash" blurb (so in case you have forgotten, want a quick update or simply want to learn the sentence by heart to impress everyone at your next barbeque, it's right there). In between and around all the theories you get glossaries and pages with important or influential people of the history of money.
 
What I liked about the approach of this little book was the attitude that everything is a work in progress. Economics and running countries is a complex task and there will always be different views on how to do it. So through all these sometimes contradicting ideas and theories, you get an overview, learn something and then get intrigued to make up your own mind about it.
So for everyone who likes to know how things (might) work, history buffs and yes, maybe even students, this is fun and entertaining to read.

Author: Donald Marron
ISBN: 9781742661766 (hardcover)
Published: 2011
Publisher: Millers Point, N.S.W.

 - Ina, Mt Albert Library

Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean [Stanley, Central City Library]


 

Most of the things that “everybody knows” are not true – Batman. Everyone knows that graphic novels (sorry, comics) with superheroes are just about your average middle-aged man-child in tights, who saves the world through violently defeating the bad guys, right?

This underrated classic, from the author of The Sandman and American Gods, doesn’t play by the rules – and is better for it. The story begins when our hero is murdered at the hands of gangsters. Reborn as a plant-human hybrid, she must uncover her origins, and find out what led to her death.

Set in the comic world of Lex Luthor, Gotham City and Swamp Thing, the action takes us to locations as diverse as Arkham Asylum, and the Amazon rainforest. Gangsters, corrupt cops and Susan’s lovers and friends almost take a back seat to the gorgeous illustrations that beautifully portray her world and interior life.  I loved the way this tale was told – a journey told through dream-like pictures and at a slower pace than the average graphic.

If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work, or a different take on the action/mystery/superhero story, then this is for you.

Title: Black Orchid
Authors: Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
ISBN: 9781401233358
Published: 2012 (Deluxe edition; originally published 1989)
Publisher: DC Comics

 - Stanley, Central City Library

06 September, 2013

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away [Erika, Central City Library]

The world of Cirque du Soleil is always both breath taking and mind blowing - an experience of music, the amazing things people can do with their bodies, and richly imagined worlds with stunning costumes and amazing sets.  I have been lucky enough to see two shows live in New Zealand, and I have watched several of the shows on DVD - Worlds away takes some of the best elements of Cirque du Soleil and blends it together with a story of young love.

Mia and the Aerialist take you on a journey through the different worlds of Cirque du Soleil - complete with heroes, villains, and breath taking acts that will leave you wanting more.  Every act is different, but the style and grace of the contortionists is totally absorbing, the acrobatics of the aerialists is breath taking, and the laughter of watching the clowns and other acts having fun is just plain infectious.

This is a truly unique movie, and if you have never had the pleasure of watching a full Cirque du Soleil performance then I highly recommend that you check out some of the other DVDs in our collection.  This movie is also available on Blu-Ray.

Title: Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (DVD)
Author: Erica Kathleen Linz, Igor Zaripov, Lutz Halbhubner, John Clarke, Dallas Barnett.
Released: 2012
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment

- Erika, Central City Library

(Image courtesy of JBHiFi).

04 September, 2013

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere by Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry [Anne, Helensville Library]


Gaiman's original novel, Neverwhere, is as twisty and freak-out as you'd expect - and the graphic novel adaptation doesn't disappoint.

Richard Mayhew lives a very bland and boring existence. His life is dictated for him - by circumstance, by work, by his girlfriend.

When Lady Door appears on the scene, he chooses to help her. And thus his life spirals out of control. Or, maybe, under his control...

This is a gloriously rich and powerful graphic novel - graphic in content and illustration, as well as format.

Check it out and journey to London Below.

Title: Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere
Author: Mike Cary
Artist: Glenn Fabry
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication date: 2007

 - Anne, Helensville Library

02 September, 2013

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw [Emma, Birkenhead Library]

Shanghai, megacity, late first decade 21st century.  Here we meet characters of this novel - all immigrants from Malaysia by some means.  Phoebe - young country woman, she just wants to better herself; Yinghui - ex-activist come businesswoman; Gary - mega pop-star in Taiwan; and Justin - seemingly conservative, family spokesman and deal-maker.  Everyone seems to teeter on the edge of extreme success - or failure.

Last, in his own voice, appeared the master narrator - Five Star Billionaire.   At first I thought he was not a real person, then I realised he was.  As the story progressed, more and more of each person's past and present was uncovered,  and although it wasn't really rational, I could not get rid of the sense that the Five Star Billionaire somewhat cruelly controlled everyones' destinies.

The story unfolded tantalisingly, gradually.  From early on I sensed the subtle interweaving of a slim connecting thread between the characters, which is why Five Star Billionaire chose them as his puppets.   Five Star Billionaire revealed his grand plan in the final chapters, but on the way, the story depicted the hard-ness of getting on in a massive, big and competitive city - the struggle to succeed; and the fragility of fortunes.

This book kept me turning the pages just to see what turn people's lives would take next, and how the Five Star Billionaire would leave them all.   Finally, I was left with a sense of relief - it could have been very depressing for everybody, but it wasn't.

Title: Five Star Billionaire
Author: Tash Aw
ISBN: 9780007494156
Published: 2013
Publisher: Fourth Estate, London

 - Emma, Birkenhead Library