Friday, July 18, 2008

Big Read

1 The three chasers are Chance,
Balaena and …………. (8)
7 Whalers either carved bone or
8 Ed's nickname (5)
11 What names were tattooed on
Friar? (4,3,5)
13 What is Speckle? (1,5)
14 How long was 'the blue"? (2,6)
15 Lilian's least favoured bird (4)
16 Leader of the chooks (5,5,5)

Okay now this is very cool -- a crossword about The Blue. I wanted to post the whole thing but couldn't make blogspot take the pdf file so you have only a tantalising glimpse of half the clues! You can find it here. The crosswords on four different NZ books were created as one of the fun things to do as part of Palmerston North City Library's brilliant Community Reads programme.

I was invited to open the programme on Wednesday night at the funky PN library which has welcoming corners for all and sundry from places for the youth to 'chill' to a reading room to a recording studio and even (I was assured) a shower for tired and dirty visitors!
Oh yes, there are books, too. Including an astonishing 28 copies of The Blue now it's been adopted by the city as one of its Community Reads.

Billed as The Ultimate Book Group, the programme encourages Palmerston Northians to read four NZ titles (The Blue, Duncan Sarkies' Two Little Boys, Shonagh Koea's The Kindness of Strangers and Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus) and then join in a raft of activities and events around the books such as crosswords, a bus trip to the Rita Angus exhibition, watching the movie Scarfies, and attending author talks and book discussions.

The organiser is Genny Vella and she's as colourful and stimulating as the programme she's put together. I was also pleased to meet charismatic City Librarian Anthony Lewis who has a vision for his library that doesn't stop at showers and community reads.

The opening event was a blast with a keen crowd of readers and writers, a local MC (Mervyn Dykes) with a passion for stories, books for sale courtesy of Bruce McKenzie's bookshop which is part of the library complex, and a welcoming cuppa and fruit cake.

Wait. Books for sale! At a library event! Astounding stuff. And what's more both Genny and Anthony bought one for themselves. I think Palmerston North is very lucky indeed to have them. Join in the fun here.

A warning: the crosswords are not easy. I have to say I had a little trouble answering a couple of The Blue's down clues.

As part of my library 'tour' - as my friend Kim calls it - I popped in to do a reading at Waikanae Library the next day. Waikanae is a much smaller library without the bells and whistles but (thanks to Mandy the librarian) the crowd, the warmth and welcome were much the same -- helped by the presence of some loyal friends (including one I hadn't seen for almost 30 years!)and my favourite Waikane residents: my parents, my brother and my nieces.

It was the perfect place to read the one passage from The Blue which mentions Kapiti. Unfortunately land-bound whale-less Palmerston North doesn't feature at all in the book, but in one of those odd twists of fate, The Blue currently features in Palmerston North. I'll be back.

Oh, and I've just realised it's Montana Poetry Day today! There are events everywhere including one at my Rona Gallery bookshop (poetry for kids at 11 am). A quick flick to Beattie's bookblog and I see: Janet Charman has won the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards poetry category and $5000 for her collection Cold Snack, (AUP). Congratulations to her.

1 comment:

Vanda Symon said...

Aren't libraries fantastic?! Dunedin library has wonderful programmes too, for children young and old. They are inhabited by such enthusiastic staff and certainly place themselves at the centre of the community.

Having a crossword of The Blue is way too cool.