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Guess who’s been buying DVDs again?

Yes, it was me. I admit it – I am a movie-aholic. But I’m not sorry because I want to make sure that we can offer you some great viewing. The library DVD rental collection costs only $3.50 for 7 nights, even if it’s a new release!  AND we have an extra special deal for you – DVDs rented before Christmas don’t have to be back until 5 January 2015!   Great, huh?   Perfect chance to catch up on some TV series, or if you live out-of-town or are going away for a while, stock up on a few movies to amuse you on those long summer nights.

The library has over 900 movies.  DVD rentals are for members only, but it’s free to join – adults just bring in some ID and proof of address, and kids under 18, bring in your adult, and we can set you up with a membership in less than 10 minutes!

Some of our recent movie purchases are:

  • Erebus: Operation Overdue
  • X-men: Days of future pastoculus
  • Dawn of the planet of the apes
  • Blended
  • The fault in our stars
  • Noah
  • What we do in the shadows
  • Gardening with soul
  • Miss Fishers murder mysteries Series 1 & 2
  • David Beckham: into the unknownsex tape
  • Shaun the sheep: Sheep thrills
  • The Pa boys
  • True Blood: 6th season
  • 47 Ronin
  • Snowpiercer
  • Sex tape
  • Oculus
  • Death comes to Pemberley

You can search out catalogue for DVDs by either using the search term DVD or click on Reading Lists, then RL:DVDs or RL:DVDs childrens.   By the way, you can reserve DVDs too if you want to make sure you get what you want on time, which costs just $1 extra.

Happy viewing!

- Natalie


What’s on at the library in the school holidays?

Great fun to be had at your local library these December 2014 school holidays!   Everything is free, and all activities run for one hour or less.

Zappo the Magician is back – a real treat for kids of all ages!  Tanya Batt is a fantastic fun storyteller, who does awesome “voices”. This is the first time  Festus McBoyle visits us – he is a musical pirate, complete with side-kick and wench.

Pin it on your fridge!  Download here  Chart – Tararua District Library – Children’s Events December School Holidays 2014

NOTE: Craft sessions: if you are thinking of taking your children to a craft session, please call or email several days beforehand (except Dannevirke library) – just so we can be sure to have enough equipment for everyone. Thanks.

Dannevirke Library 

Craft                      23 December  10am

Festus McBoyle     5 January      1 pm

Tanya Batt              8 January     1 pm

Zappo                    13 January      1 pm

Craft                      15 January     10am


Pahiatua Library

Craft                 5 January 2015    2pmfestus

Zappo                        7 January     1pm

Tanya Batt               9 January    10am

Craft                        12 January     2pm

Festus McBoyle    14 January     1pm


Eketahuna Library

Craft                           8 January      11am

Zappo                           7 January    11amzappo

Tanya Batt                  9 January     1pm

Craft                           13 January    11am

Festus McBoyle        14 January   10.30am

Woodville Library

Craft                            6 January    1.30pm

Zappo                          7 January    3pm

Tanya Batt                  8 January   3.30pm

Craft                            12 January  1.30pm

Festus McBoyle        14 January  3.30pm





Time travel on steroids!

“The first fifteen lives of Harry August” by Claire North, takes the usual time travel plot to the next level. Harry is a normal boy – born illegitimately 1 January 1919.  Raised by his biological fathers gardeners as their son, his life is fairly unremarkable.  Until he dies, and is born again into the same body. By the time he reaches six years old, in this second life, he has gone insane from his constant “deja vu” and leaps to his death. And wakes again in the same body, to begin his third life.

harry augustFortunately, this time he realises that (a) he cannot truly die and (b) he can remember everything that has ever happened to him.  He begins to learn, storing away knowledge to be used in future lives.  As his lives proceed, ending by various means, he makes contact with the Cronus Club – a group of people just like him.  They have made a pact to not interfere with the timeline of the world, to observe only.  If one of them changes something, although they can escape (by dying and beginning again), those with linear lives will have to live with it and it could drastically change the fate of the Earth.

However, in Harry’s 12th life, he realises that one of their own is actually seriously tampering with the timeline by  seeding advanced knowledge with academics and scientists so that 21st century technology is “invented” earlier.  After much effort, he tracks this individual down and is given the choice – join him in his grand experiment to create a quantum mirror, and solve the mysteries of the universe, or be destroyed. Despite his misgivings, he is intrigued enough to agree.  Eventually however, he realises the impact of what they are doing and tries to dissuade his partner from continuing.  That failed, he resolves to escape but is caught and tortured – his partner wants to know Harry’s point of origin, so he can prevent him ever being born.   Fortunately, this torture kills Harry before he can be made to reveal anything.

A man on a mission, Harry devotes his 13th and 14th lives to stopping his one-time partner, now his arch nemesis.  Everything culminates in his 15th life, when either Harry will prevail or the world will spectacularly come to an end.

This was a very intriguing read, and incorporated quite a few philosophical ideas and questions.  Not a light read, it was however fast-moving enough to keep my interest, although I must admit, some of the science befuddled me!

- Natalie

Visiting story teller for pre-schoolers 4 December!

The wonderful Tanya Batt, storyteller and entertainer, is presenting “Elemental” for under five year olds tomorrow.  It’s a story based around the four elements – earth, air, fire, water.

Tanya Batt

Tanya Batt

Where: Dannevirke Library (in the children’s area)

When: Thursday 4 December 2014

Time: 11.00 am

Cost: Free!

Flyer – Dannevirke Library – Tanya Batt Storyteller – December 2014

Christmas pressie crisis?

Don’t despair … the library is holding a 1-day sale of pre-loved children’s books on Saturday 6 December (to co-incide with Dannevirke Market Day).  Some of these are new (donations) or in quite good condition, that could be used as gifts or stocking stuffers, or just entertainment for visiting children.

From 15 December through all of January 2015, we are running a general sale of pre-loved books.


Poster - Dannevirke Library - Book Sale Christmas 2014

And don’t forget, all our branches have the fabulous Book Seats in stock ($45) which are great for holding books or tablets.  See the For Sale page for further details.

Three fictional suffragettes…

A Sister’s Courage by Catherine King is set in the early 1900s, and is a story of three women from very different backgrounds.

sisters courageMeg Parker is a mill worker. She was not able to further her education as it was more important for her brothers to get an education and good jobs. When her mother passed away she gave up  the chance of love to look after her father. When her Dad remarried  things went from bad to worse for Meg. Lady Alice Langton is able to have some independence after her grandmother leaves her an inheritance. Florence Brookes  is the daughter of a prosperous grocer, engaged to a self made ‘ideal’ man.

They join forces and travel the Yorkshire  dales spreading the suffragette message. From there they go on to London. Meg is so appalled by the others lack of domestic skills that she goes along as their maid servant.

This is a love story.  It is also  a story of the hardships that were faced by women seeking better conditions. A good read.

- Janice

See catalogue

Read more about suffragettes

How did Mozart really die?

A book that, for all its attractive cover and eye catching title, has only been borrowed once in 2012, once in 2013 and once in 2014 (me) and should surely have a wider readership, so I now draw it to your attention. “Mozart’s last aria” by Matt Rees says on the cover ‘musical genius, masonic initiate, murder victim? Which was more than enough to intrigue me.

mozart quoteMany of us remember the movie ‘Amadeus”  based on the play which makes Salieri, the court musician to the Austrian Emperor of the day, the bitterly jealous rival of the incomparable child prodigy, pianist and composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Using the same suspicion that Mozart was only 35 when he died and did not die of natural causes, the author tells a tale of mystery and murder woven around the central character of Maria Anna Mozart, Wolfgang’s sister.

It is worth noting that nearly all of the characters in this tale actually lived although the author has taken the liberty of rewriting their stories. Maria Anna was as accomplished a pianist as her brother but was held back from pursuing a musical career by a greedy and selfish father. She loses touch with her famous brother when they quarrel over an inheritance but when she hears that rumours are in circulation about his death and what he was involved in at the time, she travels from her provincial home to Vienna to find the truth. There she discovers that Mozart had become a member of a masonic lodge and was caught up in court intrigue, coming under the suspicion of the minister of police.

I will not reveal much else of the plot but if you like a history/mystery and if you are interested in the possible murder of one of the greatest composers of all time, you will enjoy this book. Matt Rees, as his name indicates, hails from Wales and he has written four previous detective stories. This one required considerable research into Mozart, his times and his music, so it may appeal to you from more than one point of view.

- Larry Gordon

See catalogue

Read more about Mozart’s cause of death


How would you solve a crime if you can’t remember what happened?

“Elizabeth is missing”,  the debut novel by Emma Healey, is in my opinion, perfectly written – there is absolutely nothing I would add,  change or delete.  And believe me, as a librarian, I don’t often say that.

Elizabeth-is-Missing-final-UK-cover-copyThe main character is Maud, an eighty-two year old woman with rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s disease.  Healey portrays Maud with amazing insight, and anyone who has experienced dealing with a loved one who has dementia will easily recognise the signs.  In that regard, I found it a rather confronting read as my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s too, and this story brought back some unwelcome memories.  But taking it one confronting chapter at a time, I did finish it – although it was a bit annoying as it’s one of those books you really don’t want to put down, but I found I had to!

The novel presents simultaneous mysteries. In the present day, what has happened to Maud’s good friend Elizabeth?  Her house is empty, her son is selling off her things.  Interspersed with flash backs of what happened to her older sister Sukey?  She disappeared without trace 70 years previously, and although Sukey’s husband Frank and good friend Douglas were suspects, the mystery was never solved and Maud never got over it.

In the beginning, Maud realises she has been getting forgetful so she writes notes to remind herself of things.  Copious notes in fact, sprinkled around the house and all through her pockets – unfortunately, when she finds them, she cannot fathom what they mean.  As Maud loses more and more of her cognitive abilities and starts to not recognize people and things, and forget words (like, sandwiches become ‘stuffed and buttered breads cut into squares’), the reader can sense her frustration at trying to both solve the mystery of Elizabeth without being able to explain anything to anyone properly, and her difficulty differentiating the past (Sukey) from the present.

Healey also does an excellent job also with the character of Helen, Maud’s daughter, who is exasperated and frustrated by her mother.  At the start of the story, she believes her mother is more capable than she is and that she is wilfully misbehaving, but her understanding progresses through the book – as does ours – so that by the end the sub-plot of the relationship between them has changed remarkably.

And the two mysteries are also quite fascinating, especially as Healey is very adept at red herrings.  A very satisfying and enlightening read, that would make an excellent movie as well.  This one might make it onto my very exclusive bookshelf!    5/5

Read another review from The Independent

- Natalie

 See catalogue

The Prince, the Princess and the perfect murder!

From Eketahuna Library, I borrowed a book with the enticing title ‘The Prince, the Princess and the perfect murder’ by Andrew Rose (2013). On the cover was a photo of the handsome and youthful Prince of Wales. This was the heir to the throne who briefly became King Edward VIII and then abdicated because he was not allowed to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson.

prince princessThis book is the hitherto untold story of a major scandal, a murder and a trial in which the main figure is a previous mistress of the young prince. Since, in those days at least, scandal of any kind was not to be allowed to tarnish the reputation of the Royal Family, this connection between the Prince and the Courtesan, a high class woman of easy virtue, was very successfully hushed up. The woman in question was French and was introduced to the 17 year old Prince of Wales just before World War One. She later married a millionaire Egyptian who, subsequently, she shot to death. Her trial for murder hit the headlines because she belonged to the highest circle of society in both Paris and London and was an associate of many well placed men over a number of years.

This piece of social history, is a fascinating account of the Edward, Prince of Wales, and his early years, the high society he moved in and the scandalous behaviour of this so-called Princess with whom he had a love affair. It paints a detailed portrait of this tawdry episode in the life of a hedonistic ‘royal’, whose later behaviour and character as the Duke of Windsor ensured that he had little or no part to play in court life for the rest of his life. Edward, aka the Duke, is shown to be a shallow young man whose only interest was in charming women until he finally found Mrs Simpson who was the kind of woman he most admired. This is a well-researched and competently written true story of high society high jinks and appalling behaviour of those who should have known better.    See catalogue

- Larry Gordon

Read another review by Royalty Magazine

Could you survive 10 years in a concentration camp?

Spark of life‘ is a 1952 novel by Erich Maria Remarque  (author of  the famous war novel ‘All quiet on the western front’)  and is a fictional documentary-style tale featuring prisoner number 509.

Originally an editor, 509 was thrown in prison due to his political views, spark lifeand when that prison became Mellern Concentration Camp during World War II, he was absorbed into the mass of Jewish and other prisoners. Now in the ‘small camp’, which is where prisoners unable to work anymore are sent to die from starvation or disease, he is intent on staying under the radar. He identifies solely as 509 – he doesn’t dare think of the future or remember the past when he had a name.  Surviving hour by hour is all that matters.

When the nearby town starts being bombed by the Americans, 509 realises that all is not lost. He sets about inspiring his fellow prisoners to have hope again, fanning the spark of life to survive until they are rescued.  Of course, in the meantime, the SS and Nazi Commandant are intent on erasing any evidence of their activities.

To me, this seemed a very realistic portrayal of what life may have been like for a concentration camp prisoner, and also in the attitude and behaviour of the Nazi characters, who considered the people in the camps as less than human, and often less than animals.  This authenticity is to be expected I suppose, considering the author was a German soldier who probably witnessed similar events.

It was not a pleasant read, with graphic descriptions of torture and cruelty. But despite all that, it had a strong impact, ultimately inspiring and it has lingered in my memory long after the final word.  4/5

- Natalie Raynel

‘The religion’ by Tim Willocks

willocksI’ve been to Malta – it’s a beautiful island with a long and proud history. I didn’t know that one of the biggest sieges happened there in the 16th century between the knights of St John and the armies of Suleiman Shah. This book is a no holds barred story about the siege and its consequences for the Maltese, the knights and the Muslim hordes.

Brilliantly written, it is both gripping and sometimes traumatic. Tim Willocks does not stint on the description of death and horror. You begin to smell the rotting corpses and understand the shell shock for those living and dying on this small disputed piece of land. The story behind the battles and gore is also well written and I really liked the lead character Mattias.

I might just wait to read the second of this trilogy, ‘The twelve children of Paris’ as I’m just a bit off blood and gore for now. Mr Willocks has a style of writing that is beautiful, funny and prosy. I laughed out loud in some places, his characters really engage you with their trials and tribulations and it brings this time in history to life.  This is not a gentle love story, it’s not for the faint hearted, but it a gripping informative read, well written and excellently researched. If you want something just a bit untamed this is the book for you, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Until next time.

- Corinna

The Hobbit : the end is nigh…

The final movie installment of ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien,  has premiered in London and simultaneously in Wellington.  Directed by New Zealander Sir Peter Jackson “The Battle of the Five Armies” hits cinemas on 11 December 2014.  Critics are calling it epic.  But if you cannot wait til then, or want to refresh your memory, you can either borrow the book or the previous two movies from the library now!  All our DVDs are $3.50 for 7 days rental, to members only.  Membership is free.

The original book is quite short as it was aimed at younger people, but of course, ties into the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.  I personally have enjoyed all the movies, for the most part, and particularly appreciated the excellent sets and acting, but the books allow you to fully immerse your imagination into the world of Middle Earth and get the full experience.

See catalogue


The Guardian review (contains spoilers)

“The extraordinary journey of the Fakir who was trapped in an Ikea wardrobe” by Romain Puertolas.

When I was younger I loved watching Harold Lloyd black and white films. They were gentle comedies where the hero got into a selection of scrapes through no fault of his own, a misstep, a wrong turn and life threw a curve ball. That’s how I felt when I read this French best-seller book and I read it very quickly, as it’s an easy, fun read.

The Fakir in question embarks on a series of adventures after landing in Paris to buy a bed of nails from Ikea. Now, I’ve been to Ikea, I’ve eaten their Swedish meatballs and wondered through the hypnotic layout as I grabbed things I’ll never need just because, but I never saw a bed of nails for sale. Maybe they don’t do so well in the UK?

The Fakir’s adventures are outlandish, improbable and sometimes silly but they cover a topic that is very real and let you watch this man as he evolves and has a series of electric shocks to his heart through others good deeds. It’s a happy ever after story with a smile for you at the end and the journey to the last page is enjoyable and light hearted. I did feel that I might have missed a few pages, there seems to be a big jump in the last chapter but by the time our hero has flown across half the Mediterranean in a hot air balloon and ended up in Libya, I had suspended all belief anyway so I will forgive the author if he too ran out of puff.

I found this book via another review and was very glad I did. I hope you enjoy it too. Until next time.  – Corinna

Another review

This novel was dreamt up by a guy with an equally puzzling name – Romain Puertolas. Is he French, Spanish, Portuguese or English? I don’t know! The book is a fairy tale, a fable and a delightfully simple tale into which you read all kinds of positive messages. It is the story of an Indian con-man who has persuaded his village that he needs a new bed of nails. It is available in Ikea, the huge Swedish furniture retail chain which has branches everywhere except New Zealand, and he flies to Paris to get one. Once inside the store things begin to go seriously wrong for our Fakir and in short order he finds himself in England, then Spain, then Italy and finally in Libya before he finds himself back in Paris after a series of crazy happenings, falling in love and nearly getting himself murdered. This is a charming, totally extraordinary tale, easy to read and easy to enjoy. Don’t be surprised if it is filmed in the future. If you feel like something funny, quirky and with some good things to say about life and how we react to fortune  and misfortune, I think you might well enjoy this highly ‘comic little jewel’ as a reviewer described it, as much as I did. – Larry Gordon




New Zealand declares war on the Ottoman Empire!

ottoman empireOn 2 November 1914, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, an ally of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires. The British Empire (including New Zealand) and France then declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 5 November 1914.

There were three British campaigns directed to the Ottoman Empire; Dardanelles, (with France), Mesopotamia and Sinai-Palestine-Syria. The first of these campaigns was a naval and land campaign and the other two were land campaigns. The Ottomans were eventually defeated due to key attacks by the British general Edmund Allenby.  Source: Wikipedia

Read more

What was the Ottoman Empire?

The Ottoman Empire was created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia. One of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries, it spanned more than 600 years and came to an end only in 1922, when it was replaced by the Turkish Republic and various successor states in southeastern Europe and the Middle East. At its height the empire included most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna, including modern Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Romania, Greece, and Ukraine; Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Egypt; North Africa as far west as Algeria; and most of the Arabian Peninsula.

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 2014

Is your child scared of the neighbours?

take you mrs coleFirst published in 1985, “I’ll take you to Mrs Cole!” is a picture book for children which has recently been re-issued in paperback. Written by Nigel Gray, it tells the story of a young boy who is left home alone a lot, while his Mother works.  Often, he gets into mischief or fails to do his chores, and his Mother threatens that she’ll take him to scary Mrs Cole’s if he doesn’t behave.

Mrs Cole lives in a noisy, run-down house down the street, with many children. The boy imagines that Mrs Cole makes her children do all the housework, gives them nothing but cabbage to eat, whips them, and keeps them in a dungeon with her pet alligator.  One day, he decides to run away but he has nowhere to go – until Mrs Cole invites him inside and he discovers that appearances can be deceiving.

A lovely story that will fascinate children aged 4 to 8 years, and teach a moral lesson at the same time.  Visit catalogue.

- Natalie


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