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The real story of Noah?

The recent release of the movie “Noah” spurred me on to re-examine certain aspects of the Bible.  Now, I have to admit that I’m relying on school bible class memories here, but I don’t remember Noah having gigantic rock giants  to help him build the Ark!  Not to mention a seed from Eden that sprouted into a fully grown forest overnight, or that every animal who drank from the spring emanating from this forest, automatically came (in pairs) to the Ark and self-boarded for a nice long sleep.  All a bit far-fetched to be taken seriously, despite some excellent acting.

The rock giants were described as “Watchers”, and explained as beings of light that chose to come to Earth to help Adam and Eve, and as punishment, were encased in rock. However, the only reference to the Watchers I’ve found is:

“But now the giants who are born from the (union of) the spirits and the flesh shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, because their dwelling shall be upon the earth and inside the earth. Evil spirits have come out of their bodies. Because from the day that they were created from the holy ones they became the Watchers; their first origin is the spiritual foundation. They will become evil upon the earth and shall be called evil spirits. The dwelling of the spiritual beings of heaven is heaven; but the dwelling of the spirits of the earth, which are born upon the earth, is in the earth. The spirits of the giants oppress each other, they will corrupt, fall, be excited, and fall upon the earth, and cause sorrow. They eat no food, nor become thirsty, nor find obstacles. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of the people and against the women, because they have proceeded forth (from them). – 1 Enoch 15

The Watchers were portrayed as evil towards men, but were redeemed in the end.  I guess the movie did serve it’s purpose – it made me think about this myth and  I even read the well-written and passionately told book “The ark before Noah : decoding the story of the flood” by Yitzchak Irving Finkel (2014), which presented a very intriguing theory based on recent translations of newly translated clay tablets dating from about 1850 BC, it is a copy of the Babylonian Story of the Flood and also includes full instructions for building a large boat.  Through another series of enthralling discoveries he has been able to decode the story of the Flood in ways which offer unanticipated revelations.

But I suppose it’s things like this movie, new scholarly books, and events like Easter, that remind us all about “the reason for the season” huh.

Have a safe Easter.  All libraries will be closed on Easter Friday 18 April 2014 and Monday 21 April 2014.




Photoshop for artists

Example of content

Example of content

Photoshop for artists : a complete guide for fine artists, photographers, and printmakers” by Sylvie Covey  (2012) is a very easy to read book for photographers of all levels who see works of art created from photographs by others, and wonder how they might achieve the same.

The tutorials cover a wide range of topics from creating art works from photographs in various media including digital pencil, oils, pastels, and colour washes such as watercolour effects. In addition, it has a large helpful section on effects to photographs, such as replacing or composing scenery; adding sepia or other tones; replacing colour; or hand-colouring photos. Then there is an exciting section on photo-etching, lithography, and printmaking.

The illustrations in each step are brilliant, as you’d expect in a photography book, and quite inspiring. The techniques and outcomes are many and varied, including some even established photographers may not have thought of.

Unfortunately, time moves quickly in the computer world, and with this book already being two years old, some of the options may not still be available. In addition, Adobe Photoshop have changed the business model to monthly subscriptions instead of complete editions of the software, so this may also have an effect on what can be achieved. However, you would think any of the upgrades would be compatible, and even entry-level computer users will be able to intuit how to use upgraded versions.

- Tamara




What is it about Gone Girl?

For a long time, I resisted reading this novel, even though it has received rave reviews and is being made into a movie.  But boy, was I missing out!   When I finished, I literally said “Wow” – I was blown away.

In essence, it’s about a marriage that disintegrates and the whole book is a masterclass in manipulation.  It doesn’t matter if you’re married or not, because it’s a suspense thriller that will capture your imagination anyway. Each chapter alternates between being told by Nick (the husband) or Amy (the wife).

Narrated from two different perspectives, there are two alternate storylines in play.  Basically, Nick and Amy meet, fall in love, marry and life is great for a few years.  But then they both lose their jobs, all their money, and have to move from New York to small town America to look after his ill parents.  The last of Amy’s trust fund is used to set up a business for Nick and his sister to operate, ‘The Bar’, while Amy becomes the homemaker.

According to Amy, Nick becomes more aggressive and disinterested in her as time passes.  According to Nick, Amy’s personality has completely changed and she doesn’t seem like the same woman he fell in love with, nor does she seem to even like him, so starved for affection, he begins an affair with a young woman.

One day, Nick comes home to find the house in disarray and Amy gone.  The police find bloodstains, and initially take a look at a few stalkers Amy has accumulated throughout her life, but soon switch their focus to Nick.  All evidence points to him having done away with her …  but just as we, the readers, begin to hate Nick, there is a twist!


Amy is not dead – she found out about the affair and has been planning her “death” for a year, with the sole purpose of punishing Nick.  Is Amy a sociopath or just plain crazy?   Will Nick avoid being arrested, or does Amy come back?

I won’t spoil it further for you. Suffice to say the story continues to reinvent itself repeatedly.  It’s like being on a roller coaster emotionally, as first the reader is encouraged to hate Nick, then hate Amy, then root for Nick, root for Amy, and then again hate Amy, and feel sorry for Nick, and in the end, I almost didn’t know what to think!  This is one of those books which stays with you long after you’ve finished it, and I will read anything by Gillian Flynn in future.  9/10.

- Natalie

New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2014 : Finalists

The New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adult finalists for 2014 are listed below.


  • Tararua District Library’s hotly contested annual NZ Book Awards Quiz for primary school children, run simultaneously at all four branches, will be on Thursday 22 May 2014 at 6.30pm.
  • Schools submit team/s of 4 children. The district winner gets a generous prize and possession of the trophy for a year. The best team in each town also gets a prize.
  •  Registrations are open; information packs are on the way to schools now. Organize your team or teams, and reserve the books (reserving is free for children; each book can only be reserved once per person; one week issue period ).  All books EXCEPT young adult and Maori are included in the quiz.
  • Winners in the past have been Huia Range in 2010 (Dannevirke), Eketahuna Primary 2011, and South School 2012, 2013 (Dannevirke).
  • Book titles are linked - just click on the title to find it in our catalogue. Logging in will allow you to reserve it, and/or see if it’s in at the moment.


Picture Books

Machines and Me: Boats by Catherine Foreman; Scholastic New Zealand

The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka; Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin

The Three Bears … Sort Of by Yvonne Morison & Donovan Bixley; Scholastic New Zealand

Toucan Can by Juliette MacIver & Sarah Davis; Gecko Press

Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay & Margaret Tolland; Page Break Ltd


An Extraordinary Land by Peter Hayden & Rod Morris; HarperCollins Publishers (NZ)

Anzac Day: The New Zealand story by Philippa Werry; New Holland Publishers

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber & Brian Lovelock; Walker Books Australia

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting & Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson; Random House New Zealand

Wearable Wonders by Fifi Colston; Scholastic New Zealand

Junior Fiction

A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik; Scholastic New Zealand

Dunger by Joy Cowley; Gecko Press

Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe; Random House New Zealand, Longacre

Project Huia by Des Hunt; Scholastic New Zealand

The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg; Harper Collins Publishers (NZ)

Young Adult Fiction  (not included in our Quiz)

A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman; Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka; Huia Publishers

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox; Gecko Press

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale; Random House New Zealand

When We Wake by Karen Healey; Allen & Unwin

Winner – Māori Language award (not included in our Quiz)

Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa & Martin Page; Tania&Martin

April school holiday fun!

Kids, we’ve got a bunch of FREE fun stuff for you to do during the April 2014 holidays!  See this link  Flyer Tararua District Library School Holiday Activities April 2014 or below:

Don’t forget to bring your adult.


Dannevirke Librarycircus tent

Wed 23 April   10am

Tues 29 April   10am

Thur 1 May      10am

Eketahuna Library

Wed 23 April   11am

Please call 06 376 0219 or email to let us know you might attend, so we don’t run out of supplies!

Pahiatua Library

Wed 23 April   2pm

Mon 28 April   2pm

Wed 30 April   2pm

Please call 06 376 0121 or email to let us know you might attend, so we don’t run out of supplies!trapeze

Woodville Library

Wed 23 April   2pm

Wed 30 April   2pm

Please call 06 376 0218 or email to let us know you might attend, so we don’t run out of supplies!



Tweens and Teens parenting advice

If your 11-18 year old is driving you crazy, help is here!

tween pic

Life with tweens n’ teens will never be dull; a few simple strategies and techniques will help keep them on board. Great ideas to get the best from the tween/teenage years.

Date: Thursday 10 April 2014,   EVENT CANCELLED @ 8 APRIL 2014 (due to low ticket sales)

Time: 6.30pm – doors open, 7 – 8.30pm – John Cowan’s presentation

Venue: The Hub, Allardice Street (East), Dannevirke

Tickets $5 per person available from Tararua REAP, 15 Gordon St, Dannevirke Enquiries: Rebecca 06 374 6565 or

Proudly brought to you and hosted by Tararua REAP Dannevirke





There are also plenty of parenting and childcare books and DVDs available through the library – just ask one of our friendly librarians for help!


What happens if the sun won’t go down?

“The age of miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker is short but it packs a lot in.  Written from the viewpoint of Julia, a young teenager living an ordinary life in middle America, the story develops at a steady pace ending with her at age 23.

sunlightSuddenly, for no discernable reason, the Earth gains 90 minutes of daylight time overnight.  Scientists are baffled, and can offer no solution to the additional side effects … birds dying, gravity feeling ‘heavier’, some people getting ill with some kind of motion ‘gravity’ sickness, changes in tides, magnetic fields, strength of the Sun’s rays reaching Earth.   Each night, the Earth’s rotation continues to slow until soon each so-called (sunlight) day is 40 hours long.

Initially, humans attempted to adjust schedules daily but as the changes escalated, the Government decreed that everything will continue to run on clock time.  So if you’re going to school at what feels like 2am, that’s just the way it is.  Some people refuse and stick to real-time – that is, they stay up if it’s light and only sleep when it’s dark.  Most of these people find themselves shunned by society and set up their own isolated communities.  But as the daylight hours continue to extend, many are driven mad by lack of sleep, etc.

Although this book is sprinkled throughout with science, as this event unfolds, it’s mostly about relationships. Between Julia and her friends; young love; her parents relationship.

Most chilling to me was the description that this natural phenomenon was supposedly the same thing that leached away Mar’s atmosphere at some point in the far distant past.  And that “Mother Nature” brought humanity to the brink of extinction in the blink of an eye, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

This book was not exactly enjoyable but it was unforgettable – the kind of book that haunts you long after you’ve finished it. A worthy debut.

- Natalie

Is your family going through loss or change?

Tararua REAP is hosting a workshop “Supporting families/whanau through difficult change and loss“.

When:   Monday 16 June 2014, 9.30am – 11.00am

Where:  Tararua REAP, 15 Gordon Street, Dannevirke

Cost:     $10 per person  (pay at door)

Registration:  places limited to 30, so please RSVP by email to as soon as possible.

Click here for PDF with more information  Dannevirke and Napier Workshop and Bookstall invite 2014

The girl with all the gifts…

Imagine, if you can,  the movies (or books) ‘World War Z’ merged with ‘Day of the triffids’.  That is what this debut novel by M.R. Carey (a pen name) is kind of like – but also still original, which is quite a feat to achieve with the proliferation of zombie stories in the last few years.

It’s narrated mostly from the perspective of Melanie, a young girl being held under armed guard in a fortified military base in England.  All she’s ever known is her cell and ‘the classroom’, where various teachers instruct a group of children.  Every so often, a few of the children go to see Dr Caldwell and they never come back. Melanie has often put her genius intellect to the task of discovering more about her limited world, helped by her beloved teacher, Helen Justineau, whom she loves.

girl all giftsSet on Earth at some indeterminate time when a fungal-type virus has overtaken the human species, most humans are now “hungries” (zombies).  If you’re bitten by, or exposed to bodily fluids from a hungry,  you will quickly become one.  The hungries suffer an insatiable hunger, which prevents all thought, and have only two states; dormant, or if they catch your scent or movement, super fast. Too fast to outrun. However, there are also another kind of hungry – children who have been infected, but still retain a personality and cognitive abilities. They can choose whether or not to give in to the hunger.

Turns out, Melanie is one of these hungries and the base is a laboratory, established far from the one remaining city, where Dr Caldwell is trying to find the cause and/or cure.  She is experimenting on her collection of hungry children – observing their behaviour, whether they can learn, and then dissecting them.  The next child due for dissection is Melanie – but Miss Justineau saves Melanie at the last-minute, and then the base is suddenly attacked by ‘junkers’ (feral humans). Only Melanie, Miss Justineau, Dr Caldwell, and two soldiers survive. They are on the run from the junkers and trying to make it back to the main base in the city, without ending up as zombie food.

During this fraught and dangerous journey, Dr Caldwell gets her first opportunity to observe hungries in the field, and makes an astounding discovery. Hungries can breed.   And she also sees her first advanced cases, when the host has been completely consumed by the virus and a fungal tree grows out of their undead bodies, fruiting spore balls that just await a trigger to release into the global atmosphere – which will spell the end of humanity.

Meanwhile, Melanie is learning at an astounding rate, and is also exhibiting an unprecedented level of control over her hungry tendencies.  Her relationship with Miss Justineau and the soldiers changes to one of trust, and understanding, while she continues to fear Dr Caldwell. There is little chance the humans in the group will survive the journey, until they chance upon a portable laboratory ‘motor home’ which is fully self-contained, armed, and fuelled.  Dr Caldwell jumps at the chance to complete her studies – all she needs is a sample of brain tissue from a hungry child. Will it be Melanie?  Or will Melanie find a way to save the human race from her own species?

This is one of those books that you just can’t stop reading, and lingers in your thoughts long after.  Melanie is an amazing character, and the scenario that M.R. Carey paints is perhaps all too realistic.  If you like zombies, horror fiction or dystopias, then this is a must read.  9/10.

- Natalie

New Harry Potter trilogy to film in NZ!

Yesterday, the NZ Herald announced that “author JK Rowling has reportedly teamed up with Warner Bros. to write a film trilogy based on her wizard textbook Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. Set in the same wizarding world before the time of Harry Potter, the movies will follow the adventures of Newt Scamander, a magical creatures expert known as a “magizoologist”.”

Unconfirmed reports have said that at least one of the movies will be filmed in New Zealand. “It makes sense because we already have dragons here, from when we filmed Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit”, said the source. “Smaug has already been introduced to the Chinese Fireball that Viktor Krum faced in the Triwizard Tournament in 1994, and we hope that she will birth several eggs shortly, which will give them plenty of time to reach maturity before filming begins.  Production aids are travelling to Westeros and Essos as well, looking for more dragon eggs, and to meet with Daenerys Targaryen to see if she will allow her three dragons to be bred”.

Obviously, this is quite a coup for the New Zealand film industry.   “There are rumours George R. R. Martin has indicated that he would like to consult on the project, as he is quite knowledgeable about dragon rearing”, said the source, “and fingers crossed that esteemed director Peter Jackson can be tempted to jump on board as well”.

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin


Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Baby Smaug

Smaug as a baby



Another blockbuster from Michael Connelly

michael connellyHappily for his fans, the quality of Michael Connellys‘  writing has not flagged in ‘The Gods of Guilt’. This is a ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ novel as opposed to a ‘Harry Bosch’ novel, and it begins when Mickey Haller receives a text:

“Call me ASAP – 187.” The California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and besides that, Mickey learns the victim was his own former client, he can’t pass it up. This is because he had a soft spot for the prostitute, and thought he had rescued her and put her back on the straight and narrow. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger. Haunted by the ghosts of his past which saw a mistake he made result in two deaths, Mickey tries to atone through work and gain his redemption by proving his client innocent.” — provided by publisher

Another raving good read from Connelly, with enough suspense to keep the pages turning right through into the wee small hours. 4.5/5 stars!

- Tamara

A beautiful ruin

Inspired to read Jess Walters’ 2012 book ‘Beautiful Ruins’, having just finished ‘The Financial Lives of Poets’, I wasn’t disappointed. The same elegant writing style leads one on a romp spanning decades – but yet it’s nothing like the traditional historical family sagas.

The story revolves around one elderly Italian man’s search for a special woman. He shows up on a movie studio’s back lot-searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier in 1962. As a young Italian, he was keeper of a remote inn he had big plans for,  and welcomed an American starlet to his establishment. But it appears she appeared by accident…or was it design? But design of what? Human or the universe?

beautiful ruins





With surprising twists and turns, the plot is revealed; as are insights into human nature, which appears to be Walter’s forte. A good book which entertains and encourages one to reflect on one’s own life and choices.

- Tamara

Finding buried treasures…

Archaeology: unearthing the mysteries of the past / by Kate Santon (2007)

I remember as a kid (a long, long time ago) digging up the ruins of the old farm cottage near where we lived.  I didn’t find any Tutankhamen style treasure (although I did find an old Patea Mineral Water LTD bottle which I still have) or become the next Indiana Jones,  but I did develop a life long interest in archaeology.

treasureSo while wandering amongst the library shelves in need of input and annoying the staff  (always dangerous and fun, but not to be attempted except by trained professional like myself) this book was selected as “filler” while waiting for something new to come along.  And, surprise surprise, it wasn’t a waste of time!

The book covers most of those civilizations we seek to learn about - the Romans, the Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese, as well as the unique but as equally exciting like Africans, Aztecs and the Middle East. The book gives information in short, sharp and concise chapters which I believe helps me retain it. The book is informative enough to be helpful, but not pretentious enough to be daunting. Good illustrations bring places and artefacts to life.

It was one of those books I picked up and read during times where cleaning should have been done, lawns were meant to be mown, and stock moved (they could have done that by themselves) but it was worth it.

This book is there for us budding archaeologists, fans of history and the past, and for those who want to know about the buildings, objects and people who built them, lived in them and used them.

A truly inspiring book, as I seek the next hole for me to dig.

- Darren Russell

Cinderella for grown ups…

“Charm” by Sarah Pinborough purports to be “a wicked, delicious, sexy Cinderella fairytale”, but I had my doubts and also wondered if it really was aimed at the adult market, or teenage, so I decided to read it.

cinderellaWell, it’s most definitely for adults, verging on erotic at times.   Essentially the tale is the same as the classic fairytale, somewhat adapted. Her father and stepmother really do love each other; one of the ‘ugly stepsisters’ is already married to a nobleman, and the other, Rose, has caught the eye of the Prince at the ball. But  Cinderella is obsessed with the prince and does everything in her power to obtain his attentions, even to the detriment of her step-sister.

The fairy godmother is actually the Wicked Queen from a neighbouring kingdom, who helps Cinderella achieve her goal because she suspects Snow White’s coffin is hidden in the castle – on the condition that Cinderella aids the handsome Huntsman in bringing the sleeping Princess back to her.  But not for the reason we all think!

In the end, Cinderella realises that she is, in fact, the ugly stepsister … ugly on the inside, ruining several other lives with her selfishness.

There are a raft of cameo’s from other fairy tales, much like what occurs on the series “Once upon a time” on television. So if you like that show, and enjoy adaptations of fairy tales, or just good love stories, this book certainly achieves all that, and is a pleasant diversion for a few hours.  And if you really enjoy, you can also read about Snow White in “Poison”.

- Natalie

Fun children’s picture books

Some of the new children’s picture books that have arrived lately are pretty great!  Here are some of our favourites:

splat penguins are coolSplat is back in another adventure. His class is going to the zoo and Splat is very excited to see the penguins.  Seymour the mouse is sad he can’t come in case he scares the elephants, so he decides he will go to the zoo after all, causing all sorts of mayhem!

Splat books usually have some sort of moral lesson, encased in a fun storyline with awesome illustrations. A perennial favourite for generations of kids!

“Oi Frog” is a delightful rhyming tale, about a cat who insists frog has to sit on a log, and only on a log. Cat proceeds to tell frog all about what other animals sit on … “lions sit on irons”.  A fun story tooi frog finish off the day with at bedtime.

duck songFor those of you who saw the Duck Song viral clip on YouTube, this book will tickle your funny bone.  It’s about a duck who visits a lemonade stand every day, always asking for something other than lemonade – very much annoying the lemonade seller, until the day he can’t take Duck any more!   A very funny book, including a CD with a couple of versions of the song.

“Wimpy Shrimpy” by Matt Buckingham is about a shrimp who lives at the bottom of the sea.  But he’s too afraid to play or have any fun, in case something awful happens. Eventually, all his friends stop asking him to play and he realises his fear is making him lonely. What will he do?  A useful book for shy or fearful children. wimpy

egg huntAnd last, but not least, a book for Easter. “We’re going on an Egg Hunt” by Laine Mitchell, features a CD with a sing-along by Jay Laga’aia.  Pig, goat, cat and fox have all sorts of adventures looking for eggs – until they find Easter Bunny!

- Natalie


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