Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Happy Days! Bookclub Week 3

Toa issued The Infects, which I've previously reviewed over here.

Bobbygrace issued Razorhurst and The Realm of Possibility.

Rose issued Ruined and Unnatural Creatures by (the best author in the history of the world ever true story) Neil Gaiman.

Teuila issued The Impossible Knife of Memory which has some cute homemade booktrailers online and as well as one from the publisher here. She also chose Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

Isaac is cracking along with The Secret Life of Bees

Kim is currently in between books but is thinking of maybe getting a book sometime.

Mele is reading What I Was from last week as well as issuing Small Steps (review from The Guardian here), the sequel or follow up novel to Holes by Louis Sachar.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Cover flip & Maureen Johnson

Hey everyone! Remember last week when we had a bit of a chat about what makes a book look like a 'girl' book and a 'boy' book? Check out this article about coverflips- redesigning covers to comment on the way the books are presented.

Here's an interview that I heard on National Radio with Maureen Johnson who called for the coverflips on twitter. I have read a couple of her horror novels set in London, and would recommend them.

Have a look at your current novel- could it do with a flip?

Ms M

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Staff Picks- Mr Harris

Mr Harris is reading The Little Book of Talent. It's about sport but it goes much wider than that. It's about skills and how we learn. In everything we do there are two types of skills. First things first: Are you born with talent or do you develop it? If you develop it, where does this happen? Daniel Coyle splits these skills into hard and soft.

Hard skills are skills that to be proficient at you need to be consistent. There's no dynamic change. Examples would be a golf swing; playing the correct chord; writing the letter R. These require repetition to obtain proficiency.

Soft skills require change and adaptation. They are dynamic. Coyle calls these the '3 R's': read, recognise, react. These need to be learned through trial and error. Examples would be a novelist shaping the twist of a story; a singer twisting the tune to elicit emotion; a CEO reading the room.

Coyle argues that you need to build the hard skills first and then refine with the soft skills on top.

Here's a slideshare with the key points from the book.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Book list challenge

We discussed some booklists that might be good to read through. Salome suggested everything that was in Perks of Being a Wallflower.

In the novel, Charlie's teacher, Bill, assigns him various books to read. Charlie describes them all as his favorites.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The book also references a book of poems by E. E. Cummings, The Mayor of Castro Street by Randy Shilts, a book by Anne Rice, and an autobiography of a woman who was a character in Reds, most likely Emma Goldman. The poem "A Person /A Paper /A Promise" by Dr. Earl Reum is also mentioned.

Ms Wethey and Ms Metcalfe are (slight) Gilmor Girls fans. Here is the list from that TV series. A challenge!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Happy Coconut Vanilla Cupcake Day!

Precious has just issued Pattern Recognition by William Gibson.

Rachel is reading Misty Falls by Joss Stirling. Here's a competition from the author's page to win a copy of the novel!

Lana finished Unbroken by Paula Morris, the second in this series. Today she chose I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

Kim read Enmity- still not sure how she feels about it. Now she’s falling back into love with John Green.

Isaak just read Burning Secrets and is just issued Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figel and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Mele is getting Spark by Rachel Craw and is currently reading What I Was by Meg Rosoff.

Ms Metcalfe is reading Neuromancer by William Gibson.

Ms Wethey is unsure what to read- you should all email her at to give her suggestions!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wish You Were Italian *cough*

My latest book-crush has been on 'Wish You Were Italian' by Kristin Rae. And yes, it does sound terribly cliché, but as they say, you can't judge a book my it's cover. When I first saw this book in the library I only got it to pass the time, but by the first chapter I was totally intrigued. 

A 17(ish) year old girl, Pippa, is sent to Italy over the summer holidays to go to an art history class by her mother, but all she really wants to do is spend time with her best friend. When she gets to Italy, she finds out her friend has created a project for her to do each day, like to write down 10 goals she wants to achieve. Just for fun, Pippa includes a goal of falling in love with an Italian guy.
With no parents and a large stack of cash, courtesy of her father, Pippa realises there is no actual need for her to go to her art class, so she decides to explore the beautiful country of Italy. She makes a friend, Darren, on her first day in Rome and somehow she runs into him everywhere she goes, but her attention is compromised by a gorgeous Italian, just what she was looking for in her goal. 
She ends up learning a lot about herself, love, and life throughout her 3 months in Italy.

I think this book is absolutely wonderful; it made me laugh, cry (no joke,) and fall in love with all the characters *cough* Darren *cough*.
I would recommend this book to everyone who wants a not-quite-cliché love story, or just to get beautiful imagery of Italian scenery.

Kim Darbyshire

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Today's reading list of awesome people

Kim is reading Enmity  by E.J Andrews. She's not yet sure if she likes it or not.

Lana is reading Unbroken by Paula Morris. She really enjoyed the first book in the series and is happy there is a sequel.

Racheal is reading The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. She just started, so we'll see what she thinks next week.

Mele is reading Head Over Heart by Collette Victor. It's a love story and she likes it.

Ms Metcalfe is reading Catcher In The Rye  by J.D. Salinger because she finally feels like an alienated teenager.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

John Green-a-palooza

The fault in our stars: I read The Fault in our Stars, by John Green. When the movie came out I wanted to go see it, but when I found out there was a book I knew I wanted to read before watching the actual movie. As soon as I read the first page I was hooked, this was the only book I wanted to read, no other book matter until I finished Fault in our stars. The book itself is Funny, romantic, with a bit of tragedy at the end. The book is about a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster, who suffers from terminal thyroid cancer, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group where she meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters. “ I fell in love with him, like you fall asleep, slowly,  then all at once.” The  ending was unexpected and I think thats what made the book more amazing because it was kind of unpredictable. It was an awesome book, it will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Definitely a need to read.  


Let it snow: I’ve just recently finished reading Let it Snow: Three holiday romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. This novel is a compilation that has three separate stories that all connect to one another. Each story has its own characters and a different kind of love story. I liked all three stories from beginning to the end it was a great book, I love the fact that the authors managed to connect their stories, it wasn’t three completely different stories, the characters all knew each other some how. The stories start with a teenage girl Jubilee, who after her parents got arrested because of involvement in a riot, was on her way to her grandparents for christmas. When her train gets stuck in a snowstorm, she meets Stuart who invites her to his house for christmas. Than we read about a boy Tobin, The Duke ( a tomboyish girl whose real name is Angie) who were on a mission to get down to the waffle house where cheerleaders awaited them. Along the way Angie lets out hints of her feelings for her best friend Tobin, and when they reach the Waffle House Tobin realizes that he has feelings for the duke. The last story follows a girl name Addie, who is spending Christmas heartbroken because she had just recently broke up with her boyfriend.

Seleni Misa

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Holiday reading

Exciting times ahead, time for recreational reading.

Seleni Misa has the new copy of Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green

Mele Makalio is still reading The Fault In Our Stars also by John Green

Racheal Kaitu’u waiting with anticipation Misty Falls by Joss Sterling

Kim Darbyshire and Teuila Ioane are reading books in The Elite series by Keira Cass

Vaioga Matavao is reading The Dark Witch by Nora Roberts and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

Lana Poila is reading Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie and Ruined by Paula Morris

Rose is also heading down the Agatha Christie road with Ordeal by Innocence

Ms Metcalfe is reading The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen and Ghosts of Parihaka by David Hair

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


I have just read the book Divergent. The first novel in the series by Veronica Roth, and I would have to say one of my all-time favourite books. I am in love with dystopian future-themed books at the moment, so this is perfect for me. It is revolving around a 16 year old girl, Beatrice Prior, in a world where people are divided into 5 groups, which honour different human characteristics. Beatrice is torn between Abnegation, the selfless faction she was born into, and Dauntless, the brave faction she is drawn to. She makes new friends in her adventures, many enemies, and falls in love with Four, her mysterious mentor. Her family makes huge sacrifices so she can stop the mass-slaughter of hundreds of innocent people. I am completely in love with this book and recommend it to any teenage girl (or boy) who likes action, love and mystery. I absolutely can't wait to get the other two books out!

:) Kim Darbyshire

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Delightful day

Rachel  and Mele are reading The Fault in Our Stars. There was discussion about whether the book or the movie was better- opinion was divided.  Mele also borrowed The Girl Who Chased The Moon

Seleni is reading Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (I approve of this, Sarah Dessen is amazing- Ms M) as well as Paper Towns by John Green (I have given up on reading this- Ms M)

Kim is reading Empress of the World by Sara Ryan- coming of age love story.

Cherub is reading Leaving Paradise.

Ms Murray came past and borrowed Fire by Krsitin Cashore.

We love books!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Small but perfectly formed...

Small turnout today, but what a selection we are reading! Look out next week for a chat about Pamela Addison Allen. Sela has borrowed Lost Lake, Lata has borrowed Garden Spells, and someone else is reading The Girl Who Chased The Moon. 

Lata is reading Spark by Rachel Craw. This is a science-fiction thriller with a DNA altered protagonist.

Wilhimina is reading Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. This is a coming of age novel, her family is screwed up. 

Ms Metcalfe is reading The Bone Tiki by David Hair. This is a novel set in modern NZ, but with a fantasy twist.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Essays to read

I love essays, a particular style of writing which is easily digestible. It is usually short(ish); usually a mix of fact and opinion; sometimes funny. They usually make me feel smarter as well as entertained and informed.
David Sedaris

I love reading The New Yorker magazine, and get it from the Onehunga library.

My favourite essayist is David Sedaris, who manages spin tall tales out of tiny anecdotes. Here's an online collection of some of his work. I have seen him live a couple of times, and listen to his podcasts on NPR (American National Public Radio).

This is the list that prompted me to write this post. A list of Essays To Make You Be A Better Person. Go on! Be a batter person.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Staffroom tour on a Tuesday

I asked around the staffroom for recommendations- here's a quick survey of what people have read recently.

Miss Manor from Glen Innes primary recommend The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer. Easy read for senior students, part of a historical series.

Roslyn Rao has recommended a book of poetry Called Letters to the Men I've Loved . The author is a very empowered woman and it empowers the reader as a woman. But at the same time you feel her emotions through her words.

Anisa Barrowclough just finished The Secret History by Donna Tart. She found it very boring to start with and nearly gave up on it but then it started to get exciting.  It's a story about a group of friends at a university in the U.S. who get tied up in a murder plot.  It's recommended for senior students.  

Russell Dunn reading about contextualised learning for students as part of a project he is working on. He's also been reading about Vygotsky's theory of zones of proximal development in relation to this.

Gerard Tindling recently read nothing and claims that reading sucks. He has, however, read 500 film essays in the last week and cried as he told me this.

Scott Mansell recently read Daniel Silva's book The Heist which is a spy thriller. Fantastic, entertaining author. He has also recently read Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics.

Friday, 29 August 2014

From my very clever reading friend Lily Emerson-

10 books that have stayed with me or made a huge impact (in no particular order):

1. THE ROBBER BRIDE, Margaret Atwood.
I love all of her books but Xenia is the ultimate example of the skin-crawling horror women can inspire in one another.
2. FRANNY AND ZOOEY, J.D. Salinger.
Polish your shoes for the fat lady, damn it.
Smith might have been more famous for 101 Dalmatians but this book's literary-minded romantic heroine Cassandra is so compelling.
4. WISE CHILDREN, Angela Carter.
Not everything you read inspires you to change your signature perfume.
5. MATILDA, Roald Dahl.
Smart girls of the world unite and take over.
6. THE BLUEST EYE, Toni Morrison.
My first and favourite of her novels, language you can get totally lost in. Oprah's favourite author - and mine.
7. TRACKS, Louise Erdich.
Kind of witchy and brilliant.
8. THE SUN ALSO RISES, Ernest Hemingway.
This book is a master class in creating atmosphere and characters without being verbose.
9. LOLITA, Vladimir Nabokov.
This book is a master class in the luxury of verbosity. You can always count on a murderer for fancy prose style.
10. THE BELL JAR, Sylvia Plath.
The mad girl's love song.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

What a delightful group at bookclub today! We are reading:

Ms Metcalfe- The Warrior's Apprentice
Cherub Tamasi- Rules of Attraction
Seleni Misa- The Fault in Our Stars
Rachel Kaitu'u- Seeking Crystal
Kim Darbyshire- Mortal Engines
Mele Makalio- Where She Went
Boaza Beach- Small Steps

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Art of Walking Upright Here

I've read 'The Art of Walking Upright' written by Glenn Colquhoun. I love how he uses specific vocab and language for different scenarios e.g black dark dresses describing the night sky, and seagulls crunchie voices describing the mouthpiece of the characters. In page 32, an eye catching quote caught my eye. "Not I, some child, born in a marvellous year, will learn the trick of standing upright here." This quote and  the title of this book made me wonder what 'The Art of Walking Upright' meant. In page 33 Idiscovered the answer to my question, "The art of walking upright here is the art of using both feet. One is for holding on. One is for letting go. "

Tu'i Moa

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Where we once belonged.

I've just recently read this book called Where we once belonged by Sia Figiel. It was given to me to read and when I read the first page I immediately thought this is great. The book is about  a Samoan girl Alofa who is coming of age in her small town. It talks about her family, the community and aspects of the book explored the gender politics of islander life. Towards the middle/ending I founds it a bit hard to read because the story would go on to talk about mythyical gods, for example there was a whole page about how the earth gave birth. I also found it hard to read when the author repeated one sentence multiple times and I could never quite guess why. Besides from that it was good book and it was good to read a story set in my home country. 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Today was a beautiful day in the library. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and we were reading.

Salome- Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Seleni- Hibiscus Coast by Paula Morris, Let It Snow by John Green et al, Sula by Toni Morrison
Delorne- Floors by Patrick Carman
Precious- Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
Malia- Murder on the ridge
Tu'i Moa- The Art of Walking Upright Here by Glen Colquhoun
Sosaia Fatani- The Infects

At the moment I'm reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Infernal Devices series. I have been reading it for just over a week and have had my nose stuck in it the entire time, it is such a cool book! It is kind of historical; Victorian London where magic exists. I'm almost finished the book and I read it at any possible moment because it is at the climax at the moment. Like any good book, it almost make me cry when one of the characters died, and I'm so glad there are more of these books in the series. 

Kim Darbyshire