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Nominees for the finest in fiction – Man Booker 2014

Man BookerThe Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers, as New Zealand author Eleanor Catton has found, the winner of the 2013 award for her book ‘The Luminaries’.

This years long list nominees, announced this week, are:

History of the rain” – Niall Williams

Orfeo” – Richard Powers

The Dog” – Joseph O’Neill

The Wake” – Paul Kingsnorth

We are all Completely Beside Ourselves” – Karen Joy Fowler

How to be Both” – Ali Smith

The Blazing World” – Siri Hustvedt

The Lives of Others” – Neel Mukherjee

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” – Joshua Ferris

J” – Howard Jacobson

The Bone Clocks” – David Mitchell

The Narrow Road to the Deep North” – Richard Flanagan

Us” – David Nicholls




More about the Man Booker Prize

NZ Post Book Awards 2014 – finalists

Unsurpisingly, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which won the last Man Booker Prize, has made the fiction finalist list.  Surely she must be the odds on favourite?  What do you think?

The finalists for the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014, by category, are:

  • The Bright Side of my Condition, by Charlotte Randall, Penguin Books
  • The Last Days of the National Costume, by Anne Kennedy, Allen & Unwin
  • The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, Victoria University Press
  • Max Gate, by Damien Wilkins, Victoria University Press
  • Gathering Evidence, by Caoilinn Hughes, Victoria University Press
  • Heartland, by Michele Leggott, Auckland University Press
  • Horse with Hat, by Marty Smith, Victoria University Press
  • Us, then, by Vincent O’Sullivan, Victoria University Press
Illustrated Non-fiction
  • Coast: A New Zealand journey, by Bruce Ansley & Jane Ussher, Random House NZ (Godwit)
  • Greer Twiss: Sculptor, by Greer Twiss, Dr Robin Woodward & Haru Sameshima, Ron Sang Publications
  • New Zealand and the First World War 1914-1919, by Damien Fenton, Penguin Books in association with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage
  • Promoting Prosperity: The art of early New Zealand advertising, by Peter Alsop and Gary Stewart, Craig Potton Publishing
General Non-fiction
  • A History of Silence, by Lloyd Jones, Penguin Books
  • Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer, by Jill Trevelyan, Te Papa Press
  • The Mighty Totara: The life and times of Norman Kirk, by David Grant, Random House NZ
  • Tragedy at Pike River Mine by Rebecca Macfie, Awa Press
Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice
  • Beyond the State: New Zealand state houses from modest to modern, by Bill McKay, Andrea Stevens & Simon Devitt, Penguin Books
  • Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station, by Harry Broad and Rob Suisted, Craig Potton Publishing
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand, by Paul Adamson, Random House NZ
  • The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, Victoria University Press
There is more on the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014 at

Winners announced on 27 August

The winner of the New Zealand Post Book of the Year will be announced at a glittering ceremony at Wellington’s Te Papa Museum on Wednesday, 27 August. Also announced will be the four category winners, People’s Choice winner and the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice award


Have you got a poem in you?

national poetry dayTararua District Library is celebrating National Poetry Day with an online Poetry Competition, from 1 to 21 August 2014.

Have your poem published online in our blog, and be in to win a book prize for 1st place.

Need some tips?  Learn about writing poetry here  or call in to your local library to borrow one of our many poetry books.



  1. The competition runs from 1st August to 21st August 2014
  2. Entries close at 3pm 21st August 2014
  3. No late entries will be accepted
  4. The winner will be announced on National Poetry Day 22 August 2014, on our blog site
  5. All entries must be typed and can be emailed to or handed in at any branch of Tararua District Library
  6. All poems to be an original creation of the person submitting it, and must be previously unpublished
  7. Entries to be accompanied by the name, address and contact details of the submitter
  8. All poems to be in English
  9. The decision of the judges is final
  10. Open to all adult New Zealand residents – aged 18 and over




Open poetry evening

Have you ever wanted to share your love of poetry with others?   Enjoy an evening of poetry on the open mic at Woodville Library, on the eve of National Poetry Day.

Bring along some poetry to recite (tips here) – either your own, or your favourite poets, or both. Or simply come to enjoy the recitations.

When:  Thursday 21 August 2014, 7pm – 8.30pm

Where: Woodville Library, 42 Vogel Street, Woodville.

Cost:  Entry by gold coin donation. Refreshments provided.

Coming?  Please register your interest in attending at any branch of Tararua District Library by 15 August, or email



Are you guilty of word crimes?

This song by Weird Al Yankovic will strike a nerve with some people – either those who are guilty of the crimes, or those who rail against them!

If you think you might need to brush up your grammar, we’ve plenty of helpful books at the library.  Enjoy!


Kia Ora!

Do you know what that means?  If not, Maori Language Week 21-27 July 2014, is your chance to learn!   The theme is Te Kupu o te Wiki’ (The word of the week) so why not make it your mission to learn a few new words. Kia ora means hello, so you’ve already begun, and here are some other words that most New Zealander’s will have heard before.

maori language weekWhat is the purpose of Maori Language Week?

Maori Language Week is a week for all New Zealanders to recognise Maori as an official language in New Zealand. While learning the language is not compulsory, Te Reo is a special part of our kiwi identity. Even New Zealanders who have never learnt Te Reo, understand and often use words like kia ora, haka, puku, and whanau.

Maori Language Week gives us a chance to celebrate something truly unique to our country. While you may not be a fluent Maori speaker, (or even want to be), the Maori language is still a part of who we are as a nation. Ask any country who has ever played the All Blacks!  [Source Kiwi Families]

Aotearoa (New Zealand) is the only place in the world where Māori is spoken widely, and this is why it deserves our protection and nourishment. For Māori to thrive as a language of everyday use, we must encourage its use in our homes and communities as much as possible.


Tararua District Library has plenty of books on Maori language, including novels and children’s books in Te Reo, as well as beginners’ text books and dictionaries.

Learn Maori online with this mobile app, or if you have only a personal computer, learn the basics through online video lessions  and you can even hear spoken Te Reo Maori on youtube.    You can sign up here at Kupu Maori NZ to be sent a word a day.

If you want to get more serious, the local REAP often holds classes, or you may like to sign up to Te Wananga o Aotearoa for a certificate course.


Rock-a-bye baby…Baby ROCK Term 3:

baby rock photo for eventfinderOur popular “movement to music” session for under 2′s is back!  Help your baby learn about themselves and their environment, with activities you can continue to do at home.

Prize Draw – every time your baby attends Baby Rock, their name is entered into a prize draw to win a book and toy. Drawn at final 2014 session. Caregivers go in the draw to win a monthly coffee voucher.

Where? Dannevirke Library, children’s section

When? Wednesdays 11am, during Term time.

Date Theme
Jul-23 Tummy time, rolling & crawling
Jul-30 Swinging, spinning & rocking
Aug-06 Climbing, hanging & swinging
Aug-13 Catching, throwing & kicking
Aug-20 Developing hands & fingers
Aug-27 Developing language
Sep-03 Massage & touch
Sep-10 Eyes need to move too
Sep-17 Songs, rhymes & fingerplays
Sep-24 Tummy time, rolling & crawling

Toddler storytime

storytime“Little Ears” story time for pre-schoolers begins again on Monday 21st July 2014.   It’s free and it’s fun, so bring your kiddies along to listen to stories and do some activities – and you can enjoy some company afterwards!

Where?  Dannevirke Library, children’s section

When? Mondays at 9.30am

Date Theme (stories written by)
21-Jul Kyle Mewburn
28-Jul Margaret Mahy
4-Aug Joy Cowley
11-Aug Gavin Bishop
18-Aug Sally Sutton
25-Aug Yvonne Morrison
1-Sep Father’s Day
8-Sep Pamela Allen
15-Sep Julia Donaldson
22-Sep Lynley Dodd

Natchez Burning

Likeable character Penn Cage is mayor of his hometown Natchez, Mississippi in the deep south of the USA. His father, Dr Tom Cage, who is still Penn’s idol, stands accused of murdering an African-American nurse who used to work for him. And the prosecutor, District Attorney Shadrach Johnson, has been waiting for a chance to get even with Penn since the last time Penn bested him in the riverboat gambling scandal that threatened to tear Natchez apart (‘The Devil’s Punchbowl’).

‘The international bestseller’ the cover of Natchez Burning trumpets above author Greg Iles’ name. Maybe they had to do that because the book wasn’t selling as well as they hoped? While I’ve long been a fan of Iles and have been waiting and waiting for his new book, it seems that ol’ Greg spent much of his time recuperating from his near-death accident in 2011 reading through James Lee Burke’s back catalogue. Man, has Iles become windy! And with much less rhyme nor reason than Burke.

greg ilesThe story premise was engaging, but I felt like writing a letter to his editor, asking why s/he had not slashed and burned at least a third of the words from this 791 page tome. Maybe s/he felt like I did - overly sympathetic? I was originally going to flame this book as sub-par, then Googled to see if it was just me who disliked it (it appears I am in the minority) and found Greg Iles had finished this book in 2011, prior to his accident, but decided to ‘delve more deeply into the characters of “Natchez Burning” and broaden the novel’s background of racial strife and murder in the Jim Crow South’ (, accessed 13 May 2014).

In the same article, I read there will be two other books in the series! I’m not reading them, but do feel free to make up your own mind and let us all know what you think in the comments below.

Greg Iles has enough of a back catalogue of other novels not related to Penn Cage to make it worthwhile seeking him out in our catalogue – before he became self-indulgent. 2/5 stars.

- Tamara Jones

At last! The end has been reached…

wheel of timeSo was it worth the wait, the many years that I have put into getting to the end of the Wheel of Time series?

I have had many complaints about this series regarding its length, the style and language and the plot and flow of the story itself so I found the 14th and final novel, “A memory of light” by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson,  a refreshing and clever way of tying up all the loose ends nicely.

I had complained about the number of characters and the complicated relationships. By now they have been sorted and very easy to follow. The actions make sense. The new characters add to the story and so do their stories start, develop and end here, no problems there. No “who the heck are you again” anymore!

I complained about the story, and again this has been improved. The story has been brought back to five main settings and all the major characters have actually reconnected. Any new locations again make sense and add to the story and not distract from it. None of the “where the heck am I again”?

“A memory of light” is a very good read and in my opinion, an excellent ending for the whole series and yes, worth the wait. Fans should be happy to have found “The End” at last.  I wonder if the movie version of “The Eye of the World”, being made in 2014, will do it justice?


- Darren

New DVDs


DVDs 2Guess what!  What?  We have just purchased 64 new DVDs for our collection!  At only $3.50 for a 7-night rental, that’s cheap entertainment.  Most of the titles purchased are new releases, or less than two years old.

For a full list of what we have, check out the RL:DVDs or RL:DVDs children’s list at our online catalogue under Reading Lists.   We do share DVDs between our four branches, but you can reserve titles for an extra $1 if it’s not at a local branch.

DVDs 1


DVDs 3


Best children’s books – NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Winners 2014

NZ Post Book Awards 2014Drum roll please …. and the winners are:

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year – “The boring book” by Vasanti Unka

Best Picture Book – “The boring book” by Vasanti Unka

Best Junior Non-fiction – “The beginner’s guide to hunting and fishing in New Zealand” by Paul Adamson

Best Junior Fiction – “Dunger” by Joy Cowley

Best Young Adult Fiction – “Mortal fire” by Elizabeth Knox

Best  First Book – “A necklace of souls” by R L Stedman

Children’s Choice – “The three bears…sort of” by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley

Best Maori Language – “Taka Ki Ro Wai” by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page.

Honour Award – “Bugs” by Whiti Hereaka

“The Boring Book exhibits the highest quality of design and its presentation is thoroughly original. The story takes delightful unexpected turns that charm afresh with each reading. Small children and older readers alike will be delighted by its subversive touches, and they’ll be entertained by its warmth and fun,” says Barbara Else, the Awards’ Convenor of Judges. “We think The Boring Book will help cultivate a love of words and books. It combines beautiful production and perfect design, which seamlessly integrates the words and text. It’s refreshing on so many levels.”


New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Picture Book category
Prizes: $7,500 for the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and $7,500 for Best Picture Book
The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin)
Best Non-Fiction: Prize $7,500The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Random House New Zealand)
Junior Fiction: Prize $7,500Dunger by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)
Best Young Adult Fiction: Prize $7,500Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (Gecko Press)
Best First Book: Prize $2,000A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman (Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager)
Children’s Choice: Prize $2,000The Three Bears…Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand)
Honour award: Prize $500Bugs by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)
Māori Language award: Prize $1,000 (announced on 8 April)
Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page (Tania&Martin)



Winter school holiday events: July 2014

What’s on in our libraries during the next school holidays?   We have an awesome programme planned!

As always, our free paper-based Craft Sessions for 5-12 year olds are on offer.  Just come along – but it would help if you contacted your local branch (except for Dannevirke) so they can make sure enough equipment is on hand.  Younger children require caregiver supervision please.   Pahiatua Library is not offering craft this holidays, as Maths is Fun is being run.

Tall Poppies Youth Theatre Company will be performing “Jack and the beanstalk”.  All welcome. Tall poppies

Megan Hicks is the Storytelling Empress


Craft sessions for primary-aged children
Dannevirke Library Wed 9 July 2014 10am – 11am
Dannevirke Library Wed 16 July 10am – 11am
Woodville Library Tue 8 July 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Woodville Library Tue 15 July 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Eketahuna Library Fri 18 July 11am – 12pm
Tall Poppies
Dannevirke Library Mon 14 July 10.30am – 11.30am
Pahiatua Library Mon 14 July 2pm – 3pm
Megan Hicks
Dannevirke Library Fri 11 July 10.30am – 11.30am
Woodville Library Fri 11 July 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Pahiatua Library Wed 16 July 10am – 11am
Eketahuna Library Wed 16 July 1.30pm – 2.30pm


And don’t forget that Winter Warmers registrations are open now – places are limited, so be in quick!

Winter Warmers 2014 – registration open

Tararua District Library is again running the FREE six-week Winter Warmers programme for all local primary-aged children, from 23 June to 1 August 2014

Designed to encourage reading confidence and independence, children receive a booklet in which they do a written review of a Tararua District Library book.  By written review, we mean the reader can tell us what the story was about in their own words, draw a scene from the story, design a different cover or other ideas that are given inside the booklet.

For each review, they receive a sticker in their booklet. When 5 stickers have been received, the child gets a free gift ; at 10 stickers, a bonus gift is given.  Those who have achieved 5 stickers also get a certificate and free book, at the end of the programme.

  • One book – one review – one sticker.  winter warmers 2014
  • 5 stickers = gift/certificate/book
  • 10 stickers = bonus gift

Registration is now open.  Parents, to register,  contact your local library and put the child/s name down, or print out the PDF from the link and email or fax it to us.   Winter Warmers Registration Form

Please check the below list as these students are already pre-registered – if your child goes to one of these schools or is in one of the classes listed, you do not need to register.  Please feel free to email for more information, or contact your local library.    Addendum:  Dannevirke Library is now on Waitlist, all places full  24/6/14

Already registered:

St Josephs School             Entire school

Weber  School                   Entire school

Huia Range                        Rms 1,  3,  4,  5,  7,  8,  9,  10,  12

South  School                    Rms 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7

Ruahine School                Rooms 4, 5

Norsewood  School          Rooms 4,5

Woodville School             Room 10

Pahiatua School               Room 8, 9, 10

Eketahuna School           Rooms 2, 5, 6



Charlaine Harris – not just a one-hit wonder

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when you join the library, your library card not only allows you to borrow from your local branch but also the rest of the Tararua District libraries. Recently I had the pleasure of helping out in Pahiatua Community Library for the children’s book quiz, so while there, I took the time to peruse their shelves and found many new and exciting titles I wasn’t aware we had.

Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris

One of my favourite authors is Charlaine Harris. Famous for her Sookie Stackhouse series and the abomination that is the TV version (sorry, I’m a purist), Ms Harris is one of those authors who is not a one series wonder. I loved her Sookie books but also the Aurora Teagarden, Lily Bard and Harper Connelly series. A secret rage is one of her early books and as such is slightly less descriptive than her later writing. Those who have read Sookie will understand, but the characters grab you as soon as you start to read, something I have found in all her books.

In “A Secret Rage” Ms Harris deals with a difficult and upsetting subject but she does it with panache and care. There was mystery and detective work and strong female characters, something she is well known for. The twist at the end was unpredictable, and the people who populated this book were engaging without any supernatural abilities.

It is rare for an author to be known for more than one character series and if you like Ms Harris’s writing I would recommend all her books, not something I do lightly or often. Since finishing off her Sookie series, I have enjoyed discovering the rest of her writing, even this older offering. Ms Harris’s world is full of delightful characters and wonderful places as are all our libraries in the district. I can’t wait to read her latest book, “Midnight Crossroad“.

Next time you find yourself in a different town, pop in to our  branch there see for yourself what more we have to offer.

- Corinna


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