In the bleak mid-winter – July biography picks

…you need lots of good books to curl up with in front of the fire. Try some of these!

Syndetics book coverCamera girl / Doreen Doreen Spooner with Alan Clark
“The inspiring life story of Fleet Street’s first female photographer. Doreen Spooner’s remarkable journey of glamour, heartbreak, and loss, through to adventure, success and a working mum’s determination to make it in a man’s world… Within a compelling mix of real-life dramas [she] managed a challenging career as Britain’s first ever female national newspaper photographer.” (www.amazon.uk).

Syndetics book coverBetween them : remembering my parents / Richard Ford.
“LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2017 “From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sportswriter comes a deeply personal account of his parents – an intimate portrait of American mid-twentieth century life, and a celebration of family love.” (Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverNot your average nurse : from 1970s London to outback Australia, the true story of an unlikely girl and an extraordinary career / Maggie Groff.
“To a young girl the life of a student nurse sounds exciting, but with long hours and short shrift it’s never easy. So when Maggie Groff defies her parents’ wishes and embarks as a student nurse at London’s King’s College Hospital, she must quickly get to grips with the demands of her chosen career.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverOnly : a singular memoir / Caroline Baum.
“Caroline Baum’s fascinating and moving memoir about being an only child in a very unusual family.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverLight and shadow : memoirs of a spy’s son / Mark Colvin.
“Mark Colvin is a broadcasting legend. He is the voice of ABC Radio’s leading current affairs program PM ; he was a founding broadcaster for the groundbreaking youth station Double J; he initiated The World Today program; and he’s one of the most popular and influential journalists in the twittersphere. Mark has reported on wars, royal weddings and everything in between. In the midst of all this he discovered that his father was an MI6 spy”. (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverA life in questions / Jeremy Paxman.“News, views and hilarious stories from the legend of Newsnight and long-standing quiz master of University Challenge.
‘Bursting with good things’ Daily Telegraph. Jeremy Paxman is Britain’s bravest, most incisive political interviewer. The no-nonsense star of BBC Newsnight, Paxman is a supreme inquisitor, a master at skewering mammoth egos with his relentless grilling.”(Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverFor the glory : the life of Eric Liddell / Duncan Hamilton.
“‘Eric Liddell deserves a definitive biography. This is it.’ Sunday Times , Books of the Year “Faster. Higher. Stronger. No one has embodied the ideals of the Olympic movement quite like Eric Liddell, star of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire . After refusing to compete on religious principle in the event in which he was favourite, the 100 metres, at the 1924 Games in Paris, Liddell won an astonishing gold medal in the 400 metres. But instead of pursuing a path of global fame and fortune, he chose to follow his calling as a missionary in the country of his birth, China.”(Syndetics summary).

THREE GOOD ONES REISSUED :

Syndetics book coverThe plague and I / Betty MacDonald.
“Getting tuberculosis in the middle of your life is like starting downtown to do a lot of urgent errands and being hit by a bus. When you regain consciousness you remember nothing about the urgent errands. You can’t even remember where you were going.” Thus begins Betty MacDonald’s memoir of her year in a sanatorium just outside Seattle battling the “White Plague.” MacDonald uses her offbeat humor to make the most of her time in the TB sanatorium–making all of us laugh in the process.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverImages and shadows : part of a life / Iris Origo.
“Bring her up somewhere where she does not belong… I’d like her to be a little ‘foreign’. Iris Origo was born in 1902 and spent her youth in the ancestral estate on Long Island and in her grandfather’s castle in Ireland. Her father died tragically when she was eight, and she continued her peripatetic life with her indefatigable mother and beloved governess.”(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverBeasts in my belfry / Gerald Durrell.“”A loving chronicle of jitter-bugging gnus, singing duets with a bear, stealing eggs to feed the Arctic foxes, practising tiger sniffs . . . Highly entertaining and informative” The Times “Over a year at Whipsnade Zoo we encounter a typically absurd cast – including Albert the lion, who’s a dab hand at ventriloquism, and Teddy the brown bear, with whom the young Durrell sings duets”.
(Syndetics summary).

AND ONE TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
Syndetics book coverThe Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York [paperback]
“Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world – the New World, to be ” (Syndetics summary)

Movie galore: the NZ International Film Festival is back #nziff

Our beloved winter event the New Zealand International Film Festival 2017 opens 28 July in Wellington offering a wide variety of movies from all over the world. To get into the mood, some of our movie buff staff listed their favourite titles from recent festivals and the results are below.

We have a lot of movies previously showcased at the festival. You can find the titles here – check them out to have your own festival at home.

Our Staff picks from the recent film festivals

Beth
Aquarius
A sensitive portrayal of a beautiful woman, now aging, who stubbornly wants to keep her apartment despite all odds.

Bridget
Free to Run / A War / Paterson / Midnight Special / Chasing Asylum

Jessica
The Rehearsal
A really great kiwi film based on the book by Eleanor Catton. I haven’t read the book but I from my understanding the film only covers part of the story, but you couldn’t tell it was missing anything.

When Marnie Was There
I really loved it. As with any Studio Ghibli film, it was visually stunning.

Mark
Goodnight Mommy
German horror/thriller, part of the new ‘wave’ of non-slasher horror films as represented by films like It Follows, Babadook & Under The Skin. 9 year old twins Lukas & Elias living in an idyllic isolated summer cottage waiting for their Mother to return from having plastic surgery. When she returns her face is covered in bandages, and slowly little things emerge about her seem that seem off. Gradually their suspicions increase… Is that really their mother under the bandages? The nasty twist may be easy for some to spot, but it’s still super creepy.

The Lobster
One you immediately love or loathe, a savage indictment of modern interpersonal relationships, taken to its natural dystopian extreme. In the near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. The newly single Colin Farrell navigates the surreal Hotel, and survives by escaping into The Woods to live with ‘The Loners’ who have their own sets of rules. Perhaps mislabelled as a ‘Comedy’ or a ‘Romance’. Very very deadpan, but plenty of great lines and moments if you can get into its mindset.

Green Room
Tight indie thriller sees a punk band fall afoul of a bunch of skinheads after accidentally witnessing a murder in an Oregon roadhouse. The claustrophobic setting is put to maximum effect as the skinheads (led by a nasty turn from Patrick Stewart) are determined to eliminate all witnesses. Sadly one of the last roles of the very talented Anton Yelchin.

Neil J
Midnight special
An indie feeling road movie/chase/Science fiction film with family relationship at its core rather than blockbuster special effects. Though it does have one or two nice visual effects to boot.

Swiss army man
Daniel Radcliffe distances himself even further from this Harry Potter days in this truly bizarre yet rather wonderful film about a magical corpse.

Captain Fantastic
A film that works on so many levels . It is touching, funny, serious, intense and a whole gambit more of emotions a really rounded film that asks us to question 21st century life and its true value. My pick of this selection of films.

Rams
This is an off kilter quirky gem of a film . Two Icelandic brothers who haven’t spoken in years conduct their affairs through their prize herds of sheep. Very black and wry humour throughout.

Turbo Kid
A film that revels in mega low budget science fiction of the 80’s ( in a really fun way) . All the tropes are there and one or two of the actors too!.

Inherent Vice
Set in a drug drenched 1970s an L.A. private eye investigates the disappearance of one of his former girlfriends a hypnotic, rambling, impressionistic film, immersive film perhaps not to everyone’s taste , But so vividly realised you can almost taste and touch 1970s Los Angeles .

High Rise
This is 1970s dystopian science fiction at its best, all exaggerated and exuberant bleakness concrete and chrome, hessian and wood, except for one thing this film was made in 2015. Its retro futuristic Science Fiction at its best and a total blast. The kind of film Ken Russell or Nicholas Roeg might have made back in the day.

Shinji
Paterson – Jim Jarmusch masterfully crafts a quiet but lovely warm-hearted movie about a working class poet Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey.
I, Daniel Blake – Anger within but with as little drama as possible, Ken Roach depicts the struggles of a widowed carpenter. One of his finest works.
Our Little Sister – A ‘sweet and lovely’ movie which offers beautiful tenderness and emotion though successive small moments of everyday life.
The Assassin – a sublime, breathtakingly beautiful film in which every scene is a work of art.
My Mother – about facing mortality but Italian auteur Nanni Moretti makes it a charming family drama which has a perfect balance of melodrama and comedy.
Embrace of the Serpent –The powerful tale of Western civilization vs. indigenous value takes us into the mysterious Amazon jangle with a stunning image.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – often described as ‘the Iranian feminist vampire western’. A little Indie gem.
Tehran taxi – Iranian master director Jafar Panahi ingeniously turns the taxi into a mirror of Iranian society. Serious yet playful.

William
From 2016: A War and Green Room – both are recommended for those with strong stomachs.
From 2015: Dope and The Mafia Kills Only in Summer – both are fine for anyone

Fiona
Girlhood / Helvetica / Cabin In The Woods / Only Lovers Left Alive / Drowning By Numbers

Marilyn
Life Animated / Boyhood / The music of strangers : Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble / Amour / The Daughter

Wellington author interview: Mandy Hager

Mandy Hager has influenced a generation of readers with her politically astute, emotionally rich YA novels, including The Crossing and The Nature of Ash. But it’s her recent historical novel, Heloise, that’s been causing a stir this year. Described as “brilliant” by the Listener, Heloise tells the story of 12th century lovers Heloise d’Argenteuil and Peter Abelard, and the politics and attitudes they must negotiate during the Gregorian Reforms.

You’ve mentioned that you spent 18 months researching before starting to write Heloise. Were there any particular discoveries that stood out for you, or altered your approach?

Two things really impacted on how I ultimately told the story. The first was a very good piece of advice from academic Dr Constant Mews, who recommended I read as many of the texts Heloise would have read as possible, as all her writing is steeped in references to them. This really enriched the story, especially when I discovered her love of Ovid’s Heroides and saw how I could use it as a mirror for her own story. It was also a really good reminder that, though the incidentals of the 12th century are different, human emotion is consistent across time.

The second thing was discovering the politics that lay behind the story, which made the actions make sense and put them into context. This proved crucial to cracking open the various character’s motivations.

From early on, Heloise fights against the notion that as a woman, she must “learn in silence with all subjection.” How did this struggle, and its on-going relevance, influence your telling of the story?

For a start, the whole act of writing her story countered this: giving her back her voice and own personal agency. Thematically, it taps into several strands I wanted to focus on: the systematic silencing of women across the ages; the effects of church and state power and control, especially as it affected women; and on a craft level, the challenge of telling a story that still has pace and action when the central character is cloistered away and mainly interacts through letters and hearsay.

How difficult was it to capture the voice, thoughts and feelings of a character from the 12th century? Especially someone with Heloise’s background?

As I mentioned above, by reading what Heloise read, it helped me find appropriate ways of expressing her feelings through the literature of her day. Plus, I had the advantage of her letters, which gave me an insight into how she put words on a page and thought. I wrote the whole first draft in a kind of heightened 17th century voice to try and get away from modern concepts, metaphors and language. It didn’t work from a readers point of view (too dense and saccharine) but it helped me make the shift in my head and meant that when I rewrote my head was much more seated in the language and thought constructions of the time. That said, it’s amazing how hard it is to pick up all the modern words and ideas – and I’m extremely grateful to the team of editors and readers for digging them out!

In terms of feelings, once the situation is defined by its context, then it’s just a matter of imagining myself into the character’s head and focussing on what would be the most truthful human reaction to each situation. I think we make a mistake thinking people back then thought in a less emotionally sophisticated way. Heloise’s letters make it clear nothing changes in the history of the heart!

How did writing historical fiction compare with writing stories set in the near future, such as The Nature of Ash?

One’s solely based on imagining a future, with the ability to reference current culture as a kind of shorthand for what’s going on. Historical fiction requires a lot more digging around for shorthand references that are pertinent to the day but still resonate with today’s readers. Another less delicate way of putting this is, in books like The Nature of Ash (which I’m currently writing a sequel to) I’m free to make shit up! That’s a whole lot easier!

Does your approach to writing fiction such as Heloise differ to your approach to writing young adult fiction?

I think when writing young adult fiction there’s an overriding need for pace that is more pressing than adult fiction, along with the need for a young adult protagonist, but overall I don’t think there is that much difference. It’s still a matter of digging into character and trying to bring them alive on the page.

Has Heloise had an on-going influence on your own life, writing or politics?

Most undoubtedly all three! It’s by far the hardest book I’ve ever written (in terms of both its scope and the amount of time it took) and I had to dig really deep to keep going and not give up. I think the gift of the residencies I had during the time meant I felt a great deal of personal pressure to perform and come up with the goods, and though that was exhausting and at times overwhelming, I’m proud of myself for persevering! But I think it’s also taught me a lot as a writer, mainly thanks to my amazing editor, Harriet Allan, who really pushed me (in the best possible way) and I’m hoping that the lessons I’ve learned transfer through to all my writing in the future. The politics have had a huge impact. It’s depressing to realise the very same issues Heloise struggled with are still evident today, and we seem no closer to really solving them. We rabbit on a lot about how we should use history to learn how to progress and improve human lives, but the truth is we’ll go on making the same mistakes over and over – and the same people will continue to be oppressed – if we don’t actually heed the lessons and make a concerted effort to implement change. Heloise’s courage in speaking her truths and supporting those around her is one I now try even harder to emulate as a result of this.

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Radiohead OK computer : OKNOTOK 1997 2017
Alt-J Relaxer
Teenage Fanclub Here
Jeff Tweedy Together at last
Jason Isbell The Nashville sound
Laurel Halo Dust
Arve Henriksen Towards language
Yasmine Hamdan Al jamílat
Prince Purple rain : [music from the motion picture] Deluxe



Beautifully crafted decorations – New Craft books for July

Create a fabulous look for your dining room table with beautiful decorated tablecloths and napkins, or make your own candles and flower arrangements! If you’re not sure where to begin, you can find easy to follow ideas and instructions in the fabulous books we have selected for you. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverHandwoven table linens / Tom Knisely.
“Placemats, runners, tablecloths, and napkins play a central role in creating the look of a dining room or kitchen table, and this book gives you the tools needed to realize your vision for these special items. Tom has found inspiration from things as varied as china patterns, a classic Spode Christmas tree, and traditional weaving patterns such as Shadow Weave, Wheel of Fortune, and Star of Bethlehem. The 27 patterns include simple weaves worked on 2- and 4-harness looms, as well as more complex weaves requiring more harnesses. The techniques you learn as you work on the projects in this book are things that you can adapt and use down the road in future weaving.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaper folded flowers / Elizabeth Moad.
“Paper folded flowers are a beautiful, effective way of embellishing gift bags and greeting cards, or creating a bouquet of blooms that will last a lifetime. Through clear step-by-step instructions, Elizabeth Moad introduces and applies simple folding techniques to create a variety of paper and card creations for any occasion. Whether you’re folding floral pinwheel napkin rings for everyday use, or a garland for a party; no project is exactly the same, but you will soon build up a repertoire of folding skills and a veritable bouquet of paper flowers!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaking candles : create 20 decorative candles to keep or to give / Sarah Ditchfield.
“Candles still feature prominently in homes today and the making of candles is a therapeutic and enjoyable process for individuals or for groups. In this book, the author presents some key candle-making techniques, and shows the reader how to achieve beautiful and intricate results with just a few key materials–including ice! There are twenty projects to try, of varying levels of difficulty, and even advice at the end of the book for how to wrap and gift your beautiful handmade candle.Making Candles is a simple, accessible yet definitive guide to creating your own pillars, tapers and floating candles.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ultimate party book for children : all you need to make your children’s party a hit! / Samuel Rice and Cissy Azar ; [photographer, Andy Lewis].
The Ultimate Party Book for Kids takes you step-by-step through the process of planning and surviving your child’s party, while delivering a fun, stress-free and memorable event that everyone will enjoy (even the mums and dads). Written by party planning professionals, The Ultimate Party Book for Kids helps you at every planning stage, from the theme and invitations, food and decoration ideas, to birthday cakes, games and activities.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHello Tokyo : 30+ handmade projects and fun ideas for a cute, Tokyo-inspired lifestyle / Ebony Bizys ; photography by BOCO.
“Full of fun and inventive projects, Hello Tokyo is a cute and quirky guide to living a DIY lifestyle inspired by Japanese crafts and trends. Filled with simple craft projects and fun tips inspired by her daily life in Tokyo, Japanese blogger, crafter, and designer Ebony Bizys captures the humor and originality of the eclectic Japanese experience in this charming handbook. This easy-to-follow book offers ideas galore to inspire beginner and advanced DIYers alike. Fun and cute in its entirety, Hello Tokyo is a sweet look into Japan’s DIY culture, brimming with clever craft ideas for bringing happiness to the everyday. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent DVD arrivals

New movies include popular Biographical adaptations ‘Lion’, ‘A United Kingdom’ & ‘Jackie; award winning drama with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’ & ‘Paterson’ & new critically acclaimed TV with the latest season of ‘Un village français’ & ‘The Americans’.

Lion.
“In LION, five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train travelling away from his home and family. Frightened and bewildered, he ends up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata. Somehow he survives living on the streets, escaping all sorts of terrors and close calls in the process, before ending up in an orphanage that is itself not exactly a safe haven. Eventually Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple, and finds love and security as he grows up in Hobart. Not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents feelings, he suppresses his past, his emotional need for reunification, and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning. With just a small store of memories and his unwavering determination, Saroo embarks on one of the greatest needle-in-a-haystack quests of modern times.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

A united kingdom.
“Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. When they decided to marry, just as apartheid was being introduced into South Africa, it caused an international uproar. However, their passionate romance triumphed over every obstacle and changed the course of African history.” (Syndetics summary)

Un village français. Vol. 6.
“And so, after years of war, the peace has arrived, and with it comes the court cases, the public hearings that will attribute blame. The divisions that damaged Villeneuve so very much are brought to the surface. Daniel Larcher and Sub-Prefect Servier are first in the dock. And out in the village, people jockey for positions in the new order. We will see characters who disappeared during the war return, we will see characters making deals to avoid execution. The war may be over, but the struggle for dignity continues.” (Syndetics summary)

Jackie.
“A searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The film places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of a “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.” (Syndetics summary)

Fences.
“In 1950s Pittsburgh, a Black garbage collector named Troy Maxson–bitter that baseball’s color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues–is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones.” (Syndetics summary)

Manchester by the sea.
“A man returns to his hometown and faces his past when he unexpectedly becomes the guardian of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.” (Syndetics summary)

Moonlight.
“A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.” (Syndetics summary)\

Paterson.
“Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey – they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer. He goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura’s world is ever changing.” (Syndetics summary)

The Americans. The complete third season.
“Technological advances have escalated Cold War tensions to an all-time high, and undercover KGB operatives Elizabeth and Philip Jennings face the growing threat of discovery. As their assignments grow more deadly, their family is in more danger, and their loyalties are tested like never before.” (Syndetics summary)

Collateral beauty.
“Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” (Syndetics summary)

Passengers.
“Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up.” (Syndetics summary)

The founder.
“Tells the true story of how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.” (Syndetics summary)

New Graphic novels

This selection of new graphic novels is unique in that is consists almost entirely of first volumes in new series. There will be many narratives that will keep readers anticipating the next installments. Highly recommended is the first volume of the cult hit by Ryan Ottley titled Grizzlyshark.

Syndetics book coverSurvivors’ Club / Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen, writers ; Ryan Kelly, artist ; Inaki Miranda, guest artist.
“In 1987 a wave of horrors struck six communities around the globe. Six traumatized kids survived those events, and grew up haunted by what happened to them. Almost 30 years later, the six survivors are drawn together in Los Angeles to confront a terrifying childhood nightmare that has returned, bringing up their own traumas and dragging their dark secrets into the light. Somehow, they’re all connected. But when personal horrors collide, they’ll be forced to confront one another’s demons.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHellbreak. Volume one, Don’t look back / written by Cullen Bunn ; illustrated by Brian Churilla.
“There are thousands of Hells, each unique, each terrible. Mega-cities ruled by vicious gangs, empires where the most perverse are well-respected. Wastelands roamed by prehistoric monstrosities. With the proper tools and know-how, you can infiltrate Hell, whether you’re dead or not, and break out. Project Kerberos has developed this forbidden technology, and a special-forces extraction team is dispatched to rescue lost souls from the infernal realm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaints : the Book of Blaise / writer, Sean Lewis ; created by Sean Lewis & Benjamin Mackey ; artist, Benjamin Mackey.
“When a group of misfits discover themselves to be there-incarnations of Catholic Saints they must put aside their differences to battle the fallen angel Michael and his army of Doomsday Zealots.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJustice League. Volume 1, Origin / Geoff Johns, writer ; Jim Lee, penciller ; Scott Williams, inker.
“In a world where inexperienced superheroes operate under a cloud of suspicion from the public, loner vigilante Batman has stumbled upon a dark evil that threatens to destroy the earth as we know it. Now, faced with a threat far beyond anything he can handle on his own, the Dark Knight must trust an alien, a scarlet speedster, an accidental teenage hero, a space cop, an Amazon Princess and an undersea monarch. Will this combination of Superman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Aquaman be able to put aside their differences and come together to save the world? Or will they destroy each other first?” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverGrizzlyshark / Ryan Ottley, story, art, & letters.
“The long awaited and blood-splattered Grizzleyshark trilogy. What began as cult hit one shot comic is now a full color slaughter-fest that contains, continues and concludes the bloody adventures of the world’s most feared animal: the Grizzleyshark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Tomorrows [1] / story, Curt Pires ; art, Jason Copland, Alexis Ziritt, Ian MacEwan, Andrew MacLean, Liam Cobb, Kevin Zeigler.
“The Future: art is illegal. Everything everyone ever posted online has been weaponized against them. The reign of The Corporation is quickly becoming as absolute as it is brutal unless The Tomorrows can stop it. Artists, terrorists, they fight with explosives, they fight with ideas, they fight to reclaim the future we sold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBig man plans / written by Eric Powell & Tim Wiesch ; art by Eric Powell.
“The complete brutal and heartbreaking revenge tale.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTokyo ghost. Volume one, The atomic garden / written by Rick Remender ; art by Sean Murphy.
“The Isles of Los Angles 2089, humanity is addicted to technology. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay are about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of LA and into the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHopeless Savages [4] : break / written by Jen Van Meter ; illustrated by Meredith McClaren.
“All the Hopeless-Savages are back in this fourth volume of the critically-acclaimed series! Zero’s in college (and hating it), though a tour with the Dusted Bunnies promises to rejuvenate her spirits, at least, that’s what she’s telling her therapist. But a rival band threatens to end the tour early, and without her family, Zero’s is in no position to fight back. Meanwhile, the rest of the Hopeless-Savages are dealing with their own problems, including babies, contracts, and drug addictions. But if there’s one family who can pull it all off, it’s this one.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShaft [1] : a complicated man / written and lettered by David F. Walker ; illustrated by Bilquis Evely.
“Created by author Ernest Tidyman and made famous in a series of novels and films, iconic hero Shaft makes his graphic novel debut in an all-new adventure. Who was John Shaft before he became the hard boiled investigator with a reputation as big as New York City itself? After recently arriving home from his tour of duty in Vietnam, his first case is tracking down a missing person for his girlfriend that quickly turns into a matter of life and death, making him a target of gangsters and the police.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New non-fiction books

This time we have some books about politics, some books on economics, the anthropocene, and a cold war spy story for your reading pleasure!

Syndetics book coverWell, you did ask : why the UK voted to leave the EU / Michael Ashcroft & Kevin Culwick.
“The UK’s vote to leave the European Union shocked the world – not to mention many people in Britain. What it revealed about our country is at least as significant for the future of politics as Brexit itself. Drawing on more than two years of intensive research by Lord Ashcroft Polls, Well, You Did Ask explains how voters came to make the most momentous political decision of our time – how they saw the choice before them, what they made of the campaign, its personalities, claims and counterclaims – and why they ultimately chose to take the UK out of the EU. To think clearly about what the referendum result means, we first need to understand how it came about. The answers are in this book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMove fast and break things : how Facebook, Google, and Amazon have cornered culture and what it means for all of us / Jonathan Taplin.
“Google. Amazon. Facebook. The modern world is defined by vast digital monopolies turning ever-larger profits. Those of us who consume the content that feeds them are farmed for the purposes of being sold ever more products and advertising. Those that create the content – the artists, writers and musicians – are finding they can no longer survive in this unforgiving economic landscape. But it didn’t have to be this way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScale : the universal laws of growth, innovation, sustainability, and the pace of life in organisms, cities, economies, and companies / Geoffrey West.
“Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks… Fascinated by issues of aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science, creating a new understanding of energy use and metabolism: West found that despite the riotous diversity in the sizes of mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other… West’s work has been game changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability…and applied…[it] to the business and social world.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverRevolting! : how the establishment are undermining democracy and what they’re afraid of / Mick Hume.
“We live in strange days in the history of democracy. Every serious politician in the Western world supports it. Yet when the EU referendum and American election both delivered the ‘wrong’ result, elites changed the merit of the people’s will, and some even tried to block it. …And yet the answer will never be to impose limitations. Popular democracy must offer better choices, rather than removing choice altogether. It’s time to defend democracy and fight for more of it, with no ifs, buts or backtracks.” (adapted from book jacket)

Defiant Earth : the fate of humans in the anthropocene / Clive Hamilton.
“Humans have become so powerful that we are disrupting the functioning of the earth, to the point where scientists now consider we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Clive Hamilton argues this forces us to rethink what kind of creature we humans are, and to acknowledge the power we still have to change the world for good.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover$uperhubs : how the financial elite and their networks rule our world / Sandra Navidi.
$UPERHUBS is a rare, behind-the-scenes look at how the world’s most powerful titans, the -superhubs- pull the levers of our global financial system. Combining insider’s knowledge with principles of network science, Sandra Navidi offers a startling new perspective on how superhubs build their powerful networks and how their decisions impact all our lives. $UPERHUBS reveals what happens at the exclusive, invitation-only platforms – The World Economic Forum in Davos, the meetings of the International Monetary Fund, think-tank gatherings and exclusive galas…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdults in the room : my battle with Europe’s deep establishment / Yanis Varoufakis
“Varoufakis sparked one of the most spectacular and controversial battles in recent political history when, as finance minister of Greece, he attempted to re-negotiate his country’s relationship with the EU. Despite the mass support of the Greek people and the simple logic of his arguments, he succeeded only in provoking the fury of Europe’s political, financial and media elite. But the true story of what happened is almost entirely unknown. In this fearless account, Varoufakis reveals all: an extraordinary tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion and betrayal that will shake the deep establishment to its foundations.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA little history of economics / Niall Kishtainy.
“What causes poverty? Are economic crises inevitable under capitalism? Is government intervention in an economy a helpful approach or a disastrous idea? The answers to such basic economic questions matter to everyone, yet the unfamiliar jargon and math of economics can seem daunting. This clear, accessible, and even humorous book is ideal for young readers new to economics and for all readers who seek a better understanding of the full sweep of economic history and ideas.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn the long run we are all dead : Keynesianism, political economy, and revolution / Geoff Mann.
“A groundbreaking debunking of moderate attempts to resolve financial crises. If, in liberal capitalism, political economy is the science of government, what is it for? Is it distributional, to realize the revolution without revolutionaries? Or is it to figure out how to forestall the revolution, to teach the masses to consent to remain poor? Keynesianism is the political economy that answers ‘yes’ on both counts: the solution to crisis-induced liberal anxiety since the French Revolution, an anxiety for which “political economy” seemed a cure. If the financial crisis of 2007-2008 briefly resurrected a Keynesian sensibility long declared dead, its reluctant radicalism finds itself renewed not because ‘Keynesian economics’ is palatable once more, but because the risks to “civilization” have posed themselves so aggressively it seems no one can afford not to listen”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverThe new urban crisis : how our cities are increasing inequality, deepening segregation, and failing the middle class– and what we can do about it / Richard Florida.
“In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline… Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement …demonstrates how the same forces that power the growth of the world’s superstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality. …A bracingly original work of research and analysis, The New Urban Crisis offers a compelling diagnosis of our economic ills and a bold prescription for more inclusive cities capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe man with the poison gun : a Cold War spy story / Serhii Plokhy.
“In 1961, a KGB agent defected to West Germany. The 30-year-old man in police custody had papers in the name of an East German, Josef Lehmann, but claimed his real name was Bogdan Stashinsky, a citizen of the Soviet Union. On the orders of his KGB bosses, he had traveled on numerous occasions to Munich, where he singlehandedly tracked down and killed two enemies of the communist regime. He used a new, specially designed secret weapon–a spray pistol delivering liquid poison that, if fired into the victim’s face, killed without leaving any trace. In 1962, after spilling his secrets to the CIA, Stashinsky was put on trial in what would be the most publicized assassination case in Cold War history.” (Adapted from publisher’s description)

New ‘Other Genres’, this month featuring Historical Fiction

Recently received historical novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. Included are three translated historical novels, and the latest novel by Colm Toibin, a re-working of Greek mythology. Highly recommended is The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve, set in Maine in 1947.

Syndetics book coverThe revolution of the moon / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Sicily, 1677. From his deathbed, Charles III’s viceroy, the marquis of Castle Rodrigo, names his wife as his successor. Eleanora de Moura is a highly intelligent and capable woman who immediately applies her political acumen to heal the scarred soul of Palermo, a city afflicted by poverty, misery and the frequent uprisings that are their consequences. But the machinations of powerful men soon result in Donna Eleanora, whom the Church sees as a dangerous revolutionary, being recalled to Spain. Her rule lasted 27 days, the exact time it takes for the moon to complete a cycle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe principle / Jérôme Ferrari ; translated from the French by Howard Curtis.
“Beguiled by the figure of German physicist Werner Heisenberg, who, with his notorious uncertainty principle disrupted the assumptions behind quantum mechanics, earning him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1932, a young, disenchanted philosopher attempts to right his own intellectual and emotional course, and take the measure of the evil at work in the contemporary world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe confessions of young Nero / Margaret George.
“In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman, or child. As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become an Emperor who became legendary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe evening road / Laird Hunt.
“Ottie Lee Henshaw, is a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana. Quick of mind, she navigates a stifling marriage, a lecherous boss, and on one day in the summer of 1930 an odyssey across the countryside to witness a dark and fearful celebration. Calla Destry is a determined young woman desperate to escape the violence of her town and to find the lover who has promised her a new life. On this day, the countryside of Jim Crow-era Indiana is no place for either. It is a world populated by frenzied demagogues and crazed revelers, by marauding vigilantes and grim fish suppers, by possessed blood hounds and, finally, by the Ku Klux Klan itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe patriots : a novel / Sana Krasikov.
“When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe frozen hours : a novel of the Korean War / Jeff Shaara.
“June 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China. But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stars are fire / Anita Shreve.
“In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie’s two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands’ fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms, joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain. And then the unthinkable happens and Grace’s bravery is tested as never before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHouse of names / Colm Toibin.
“Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, the murderess Clytemnestra tells of the deception of Agamemnon, how he sacrificed her eldest daughter, her beloved Iphigenia, to the Trojan campaign; how Clytemnestra used what power she had, seducing the prisoner Aegisthus, turning the government against its lord; plotting the many long years until her beacon fires announce the king’s return. Electra, daughter of a murdered father, loyal subject of the rightful king, studies Clytemnestra and her lover with cold anger and slow-burning cunning. She watches as they walk the gardens and corridors of the palace. She waits for the traitors to become complacent, to believe they are finally safe; she waits for her exiled brother, Orestes, for the boy to become a warrior, for fate to follow him home. She watches and she waits, until her spies announce her brother’s return.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetribution Road / Antonin Varenne ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“Burma, 1852. Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled, his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survive”. But for all that, only a small number escape with their lives. Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survive” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnne Boleyn : a king’s obsession / Alison Weir.
“The second captivating novel in the series. An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. Fresh from the cultivated hothouse of Renaissance France, Anne draws attention at the English court. A nobleman, a poet and a king vie for her love. She has a spirit worthy of a crown and a crown is what she seeks. It is a more powerful aphrodisiac than love. So she embarks on her perilous course, which will plunge a kingdom into turmoil.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Law for Lunch this August!

Law for Lunch is back this year with a range of free talks, presented every Wednesday during August, from 12 – 1pm at Wellington City Libraries. This series of talks, covering popular law topics, is presented by guest speakers in partnership with Community Law Centre.
Come along and hear accurate current information and practical advice during these seminars.  There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

The programme this year includes the following topics:

Wednesday, 2 August – Central Library
Equal Pay – presented by Steph Dyhrberg (Employment Lawyer) and John Ryall (E Tu union)

Wednesday, 9 August – Central Library
Earthquakes & Insurance – presented by Chris Boys (Incurance Lawyer)

Wednesday, 16 August – Central Library
Credit and Debt – presented by Commerce Commission and Budget advisors

Wednesday, 23 August – Newtown Library
WINZ Entitlements – presented by Tony McGurk (Welfare Lawyer) and Kay Brereton (Benefit Advocate)

Wednesday, 30 August – Johnsonville Library
Enduring Powers of Attorney – presented by Sheila Reid (Age Concern) and Elder Law

More information about each talk is available on the library event calendar.

All welcome!