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Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Syndetics book coverSong of the shank
This story is based on the true story of ‘Blind Tom’, a 19th century piano prodigy who was blind, autistic and a slave.  He moved to a ‘black refugee city’ and became a performer.  What struck me about this book is the timeliness of it, following on from 12 Years a Slave and current events in America. The book is described as uncompromising with Publisher’s Weekly saying ” both the conception and the underlying history behind this story will leave readers with a profound understanding of the inhumanity of slavery and 19th century racial attitudes”.  Author Jeffrey Renard Allen spent years researching and writing it.

Syndetics book coverHour of lead
This is another novel focusing on a part of American history, this time the mythology of the West.  It’s a family saga and a coming of age novel set  in early twentieth century Washington State.  About a young man Matt, who takes over the family ranch when his father dies.  When his wife rejects him Matt takes off across the state on a journey, falling in with the violent Jarms family.  Kirkus Reviews describes him as “He’s the quintessential Western hero—taciturn and strong as iron with an unbreachable moral center”.  Matt eventually returns home and his past starts to catch up with him, the story reaching a surprising and bleak conclusion.

Syndetics book coverChinese cooking for diamond thieves
On a much lighter note – I read a description of this book as a mash-up between a cozy mystery and ‘emerging adult’ fiction.  I can’t even imagine what that means.  It’s about college dropout Tucker who meets Corinne and sets about trying to impress her. They run off together and end up working in a Chinese restaurant.  However, it soon becomes apparent that gangsters are after Corinne - looking for the diamonds she stole from them.  Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “caper story with foodie culture” and Booklist says it’s bound to please “any fiction reader interested in diamond heists, Chinese-speaking martial-arts masters, Chinese food, and wooing done well, with lame jokes and ex-girlfriends included”.

Recent Science Book Picks – August 2014

Here are a few of the new science books that have crept their way across my desk over the last month. Topics span mathematics, animal behaviours, the fish in the Wellington harbour, and more!

Syndetics book coverThis is improbable too : synchronized cows, speedy brain extractors, and more WTF research / Marc Abrahams.
Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, offers an addictive, wryly funny expose of the oddest, most imaginative, and just plain improbable research from around the globe. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cartoon introduction to statistics / by Grady Klein and Alan Dabney, Ph. D.
“If one is looking for a nonthreatening introduction to the basic concepts of statistics, then this cartoon guide will serve admirably. Klein (cartoonist) and Dabney (Texas A&M) lead readers carefully through the ideas of graphical appearances, averages and spread, the central limit theorem, and inference with short descriptive captions, while the accompanying cartoons provide lighthearted background illustrations supporting the principles at hand. It is certainly fun seeing data gathering tied to truckloads of random rhinos, confidence intervals related to expressions of hatred between aliens on two neighboring planets, and hypothesis testing tied to the speed comparisons of spotted and striped flying pigs. However, accuracy is never sacrificed. In general, the book first illustrates each statistical concept by a humor-injected example, but ultimately brings the traditional vocabulary into play so that integrity is maintained.” (Adapted from CHOICE)

Syndetics book coverAtlas of the southern night sky [cartographic material] / Steve Massey, Steve Quirk.
If you ever needed a book to help you explore the wonderful night skies from down under, be it Australia, South America, South Africa or New Zealand, this is it! With hundreds of full colour star charts and maps of the Moon and planets of our Solar System, this book will ensure you get the most out of a pair of binoculars or a small telescope from suburban and dark country sky locations. Includes many new and updated images and objects to find in the night sky, several new images by southern amateur astronomers, updated star charts, updated planetary information, extended equipment and image processing information and an all-new Deep-Sky month planner. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrigins of mathematical words : a comprehensive dictionary of Latin, Greek, and Arabic roots / Anthony Lo Bello.
“This fascinating work by Lo Bello (mathematics, Allegheny College) is an etymological dictionary of popular mathematical terms of Latin, Greek, and Arabic origin. The language of mathematics is an important instructional component in elementary and secondary schools, and in colleges and universities. Scholars have claimed that students may have difficulty reading, understanding, and discussing mathematical ideas if they are not familiar with the words used in mathematics. When students do not know the meaning of mathematical terms such as “perpendicular,” “derivative,” and “asymptote,” they have difficulties grasping the deeper structures of mathematical concepts. Teaching the origins of mathematical words helps bridge the gap between everyday language and mathematical language.” (Adapted from CHOICE)

Syndetics book coverArt and architecture of insects / David M. Phillips.
“Former virologist Phillips collects dynamic, creepy, and starkly beautiful electron micrographs of insects to bring out the gorgeous, detailed structures imperceptible to the naked eye. Phillips’s love of both entomology and photography comes through clearly in what he describes as a retirement project after ending his career as a biomedical researcher at New York City’s Population Council, and though the text rambles from topic to topic without obvious breaks, the material is still clear, informative, and surprisingly entertaining. Though most of the black and white photos are of entire insect bodies, chapters are divided by body part-eyes, antennae, wings, etc.-and focus largely on functional anatomy, detailing how body structures make each insect well-suited for its ecological role and biological needs.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe secret language of animals : a guide to remarkable behavior / Janine M. Benyus ; illustrations by Juan Carlos Barberis ; foreword by Alexandra Horowitz.
“Humans have always pondered what makes us different from animals. After all, many species exhibit behaviors that resemble our own (or is it the other way around?). This informative volume covers 20 of the world’s most well-known animals, including African elephants, flamingos, giant pandas, Nile crocodiles, and polar bears. Divided by geographical regions (African Jungles, Plains, and Waterways ; Asian Forests ; Warm Oceans ; North America ; and The Poles), the chapters cover some of the basic habits and behaviors of a particular animal, such as elimination, self-grooming, and sleeping. Social behaviors, from friendly to threatening, are discussed, as are sexual and parental interactions. Numerous sidebars showcase vital stats on each animal, quirky facts, and trivia. Each chapter ends with a list of behaviors for readers to look for at the zoo or in the wild.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverWellington down under / Stephen Journée ; edited by Lorraine Olphert.
Stephen Journee, a skilled diver and photographer, gives a rare insight into the world below and brings to life all the fish varieties and other forms of marine life that have made the Wellington harbour and the surrounding coastal bays their home over the centuries. From the unbelievable colour of the sea sponges, sea squirts, jewel anemones, blue and red moki, triplefins, seahorses and jellyfish, to schools of jack mackerels and spotties, to dolphins and the occasional visit by pods of orcas – all feature between these covers. Stephen also takes the reader on a tour of famous shipwrecks of the 19th and 20th centuries, a look back in time and what remains from past tragedies; wharves and slipways from yester-year. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe melting world : a journey across America’s vanishing glaciers / Christopher White.
“Whenever global warming and rising sea levels are mentioned in the same breath, the presumed source of the extra water is usually the polar ice caps. Yet according to nature writer and frequent National Geographic contributor White, melting mountaintop snow and ice will have just as much of an impact on environmental decline as shrinking coastlines. In the late summer of 2008, White joined a team of government-funded ecologists, led by veteran earth scientist Dan Fagre, to chart the rapid disappearance of alpine ice in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Here White eloquently describes the scores of breathtaking views he enjoyed during his five seasons with Fagre, even as the team grappled with many disturbing findings. White’s account is both an urgent wake-up call to nations across the globe that share responsibility for climate change and a heartbreaking elegy to a vital component of Earth’s ecology that may soon be gone forever.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Keeping the faith: Religion recent arrivals

Musings on the meaning or purpose of faith can be found in this month’s new books – encompassing philosophy, faith through a scientific lens, or an active faith on the streets of Sydney or US.

Syndetics book coverThe soul of the world, by Roger Scruton.
Philosopher Roger Scruton defends the experience of the sacred against today’s fashionable forms of atheism. He argues that personal relationships, intuitions, beauty, and aesthetics in art or music hint at dimensions that cannot be understood solely through scientific eyes. This is not so much an argument for the existence of God, but a thoughtful musing that a quest for ‘the sacred’ is essential to humanity.

Syndetics book coverLimitless sky : life lessons from the Himalayas, by David Charles Manners.
The author was trekking in Nepal when he stumbled upon the mountain home of a jhankri, or Nepalese shaman. The jhankri accepted him as his pupil, and so began the next stage of David’s extraordinary journey. In this book, he shares the wisdom and insights he learnt from those transformational days in the Himalayas.

Syndetics book coverKeeping the faith without a religion, by Roger Housden.
Faith is not something received from a religion, nor must we abandon it in order to become rational. Housden asks the reader to keep faith not in God but in life. This does not exclude but also does not assume a God.

Syndetics book coverAngels and saints : a biblical guide to friendship with God’s holy ones, by Scott Hahn.
Are angels and saints different to ordinary people? Some art would have us believe that they are, very different. But what does the Bible say? Jesus has united heaven and earth closely and we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses.” Their prayers rise to God, in the Book of Revelation, like the sweet aroma of incense. This book shares the stories of several saints and angels who are no strangers to real life, but are grounded and motivated by the spiritual life that every person is called by God to live.

Syndetics book coverBlood moons rising : Bible prophecy, Israel, and the four blood moons, by Mark Hitchcock.
In 2014 and 2015, there will be four blood moons falling during Jewish feasts – which has only happened before in 1493-94, 1949-50 and 1967-68 (significant dates in Jewish history). This discusses the prophetic significance of the moon darkening and appearing as blood. The library has also received Blood moons : decoding the imminent heavenly signs, by Mark Biltz which discusses the same phenomenon.

Syndetics book coverThe book of chakras & subtle bodies, by Stephen Sturgess.
Learn about chakras, nadis, and kundalini with the in-depth section on Yoga philosophy, then follow Stephen’s variety of practices and techniques for removing any obstacles that may be standing in the way of uniting with your true nature. The book includes Hatha Yoga techniques using asanas, mudras, bandhas, pranayama, and kriya purification, as well as Raja and kriya Yoga techniques – mantras, concentration and meditation. (drawn from the publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverCulture and the death of God, by Terry Eagleton.
Since the Enlightenment, religion has been undermined and replaced by various philosophies e.g. modernism, cultural forces and postmodernism. On the one hand, many people no longer feel a need to be redeemed, but interestingly this is accompanied by a renewal of religious fundamentalism across the world. Because, Eagleton points out, “religion provides … a degree of spiritual depth to otherwise shallow lives.”

Syndetics book coverA nun on the bus : how all of us can create hope, change, and community, by Sister Simone Campbell, with David Gibson.
“Campbell – activist, attorney, and nun – mixes autobiography with a strong call for justice in this brisk-paced, crisp, inspiring account. … Under her leadership, NETWORK advocated health care reform, work that garnered censure from the Vatican, which claimed that NETWORK was devoting too much time and energy to social justice. “Well, yes, social justice is what Catholic sisters do,” Campbell tartly writes. In order to advance the organization’s mission in the wake of this Vatican censure, Campbell and other nuns took a nine-state bus tour, highlighting the struggles of low- and middle-income people…” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverLove over hate : finding life by the wayside, by Graham Long.
Long writes of his life journey – from social worker to postman, to pastor and CEO of The Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s King Cross. Love Over Hate explores the day-to-day life in Kings Cross. This community often judged for its problems, and the struggles faced by the homeless, those who’ve suffered abuse or battled alcoholism or drugs are not glossed over. But there are also encouraging examples of perseverance and fortitude, joy, and kindness.

Syndetics book coverWhy science does not disprove God, by Amir D. Aczel.
Mathematician Aczel argues that Dawkins and his New Atheist allies have misrepresented scientific methods and findings of science e.g. proving God’s non-existence based on probability theory fails under robust scrutiny. He accuses them of over-simplifying complexities in metaphysical thinking. Aczel concludes with a realisation of the extent of fascinating mysteries, such as the stunning vistas of infinity. “Such mysteries may not signify the presence of the divine, but they will surely stir deep wonderings.” (Booklist)

New Books on Movies

The new books on movies & TV programmes this month offer alluring reading, including comprehensive biographies of two iconic heroines of all time: Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe, and The $11 billion year which tells behind-the-scenes stories of ever changing film industry. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverGreta Garbo : the mystery of style / edited by Stefania Ricci.
The never-before-published wardrobe of a timeless star, for lovers of fashion, photography and film history. Greta Garbo’s influence over fashion has transcended time. Her dresses, suits, impeccably-tailored coats with a slightly masculine look and the indispensable accessories (shoes, bags, glasses, foulards) has created a style emulated, imitated, even occasionally reviled, but never fully examined. For the first time a catalogue of great glamour and a travelling exhibition detail this extraordinary wardrobe whose minimalism fits so well with current fashion trends. Edited by Stefania Ricci, the Director of Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, as the Divine Greta Garbo was a Ferragamo client from the 1920s until her death, and the founder of the Italian maison designed hundreds of original, classical, futuristic, hand-made shoes and sandals exclusively for her, most of them shown here for the first time. A stunning selection of black and white Garbo portraits by celebrated photographers completes the volume. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMarilyn Monroe : her films, her life / Michelle Vogel ; foreword by George Chakiris.
“This book is essentially a filmography interlaced with a complex biographical account of Marilyn Monroe’s life and loves throughout her career. A lengthy introduction explains her traumatic early life and mysterious, unexpected, much talked about death. This is the definitive filmic-reference guide for the legendary Hollywood icon.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverMickey Rourke / Keri Walsh.
“Mickey Rourke has been many things to many people over the course of his 35 year career: a bright young star fresh from the Actors Studio, a Hollywood heart-throb, a professional boxer, a muse to young independent filmmakers, and a Comic-Con icon. In this lively study, Keri Walsh analyses his performances in key films – from Diner (1982), Rumble Fish (1983) and 9 ½ Weeks (1986) to Sin City (2005), The Wrestler (2008) and Iron Man II (2010) – and traces the development and multiple transformations of Rourke’s star image. Taking an in-depth look at his colourful career in its cultural and cinematic contexts, Walsh explores how this controversial, talented and undersung Hollywood star has intrigued audiences from the 1980s to the present day. (Adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverYou must remember this : life and style in Hollywood’s Golden Age / Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman.
“A handsome young journeyman actor in the 1950s, Wagner observed what were to be the last years of the golden era of Hollywood. The studio system and the old-time moguls were beginning to fade but were still powerful. Stars still displayed their glamorous lifestyle in fashionable clubs and restaurants; gossip columnists like Louella Parsons, Jimmy Fidler, and Hedda Hopper feverishly sought their exclusives. Although Wagner sporadically inserts some of his own experiences in this account, it is not a memoir; rather it is more a social history of that era, divided according to broad topics such as the fabulous Hollywood homes, the nightlife, the memorable personalities, the columnists, and how the stars spent their leisure time. Introducing this is a general history of Hollywood before and during the height of that legendary era. Most of what Wagner and Eyman describe has been written about very often and sometimes in more interesting ways. But Wagner has had a decades-long career and has certainly been in the “thick” of the lifestyle he describes.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe $11 billion year : from Sundance to the Oscars, an inside look at the changing Hollywood system / Anne Thompson.
“Showbiz journalist Thompson offers a thrilling behind-the-scenes look at a year in the business of film, 2012, which many deem a banner year for movies. Thompson reports from the big film festivals Sundance, South by Southwest, Telluride, and others to show how films premiere and gain word-of-mouth buzz from the critics and industry insiders in attendance. On the other end of the spectrum, she witnesses how the studios create blockbuster genre franchises, such as Twilight and The Avengers, by marketing directly to cinemagoers at San Diego Comic Con, which has grown into a massive industry convention that puts fans in the room with their favorite stars. It all leads up to a big finale at the Oscars, when critical acclaim and marketing dollars vie to anoint the best film and performances of the year. Mixing behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the most notable films of 2012 with keen observations about the changing nature of the business, Thompson has crafted a page-turning look at the moviemaking industry that is bound to appeal to film buffs.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFilm freak / Christopher Fowler.
It’s the late 1970s and 20-something Christopher Fowler is a film freak, obsessively watching lousy films in run-down fleapit cinemas. He longs to be a famous screenwriter and put his dreams on the big screen. And so he heads for Wardour Street, Britain’s equivalent of Hollywood. But he’s made a spectacular mistake, arriving just as the nation’s filmmakers are falling to their knees, brought low by the arrival of video and the destruction of the old movie palaces. The only films being made are smutty low budget farces and TV spinoffs and instead of being asked to write another ‘Bullitt’, he’s churning out short films advertising boilers and nylon sheets. Somehow, against the odds, he finds success – although in a very different guise to the one he expected. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinging on stage : an actors’ guide / Jane Streeton and Philip Raymond.
“Singing on stage can be a daunting prospect for actors, particularly for those who have not sung before. Yet singing should be an essential part of every actor’s toolkit. Singing on Stage: An Actor’s Guide gives an insight for the first time into the vocal techniques and practical approaches that have been developed over generations as an integral part of the training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Jane Streeton and Philip Raymond are highly experienced performers and teachers; their book encourages each actor to explore their own authentic voice as opposed to offering a ‘one-size-fits-all’ or ‘quick-fix’ approach. Featuring inspirational listening suggestions and the observations of successful performers and practitioners, Singing on Stage: An Actor’s Guide is the must-have companion for complete beginners as well as for experienced actors who wish to develop their understanding of singing on stage. (Adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverFive came back : a story of Hollywood and the Second World War / Mark Harris.
Five Came Back tells the untold story of how Hollywood changed World War II, and how World War II changed Hollywood…Before the Second World War the Hollywood box office was booming. But government investigations into allegations of corruption and racketeering were rife. A feeling hung in the air that the business was too foreign, too Jewish, too ‘un-American’ in its values and causes. Then the war changed everything. With Pearl Harbor came the opportunity for Hollywood to prove its critics wrong by turning its talents to the war effort…No industry professionals played a bigger role in the war than America’s most legendary directors: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Between them they were on the scene for almost every major moment of America’s war, and in every branch of service – army, navy, and air force; Atlantic and Pacific; from Midway to North Africa; from Normandy to the fall of Paris and the liberation of the Nazi death camps…With characteristic insight and expert knowledge of these five incredible lives, Harris looks at the ways in which the war changed the history of film forever. (Syndetics summary)

New books on Travel for August

Travel from your armchair with new popular Travel books for August. In this month’s recent picks you’ll go to Jerusalem, Washington D.C., London, Nairobi and St Petersburg, all from the comfort of your own home. If you really want to get out and do something, check out Microadventures which teaches you to explore the place you already live in.

Syndetics book coverMicroadventures : local discoveries for great escapes / Alastair Humphreys.
“Adventure is a loose word, a spirit of trying something new, trying something difficult. Going somewhere different, leaving your comfort zone. Above all, adventure is about enthusiasm, ambition, open-mindedness and curiosity. Adventure is all around us, at all times. Even during hard financial times such as these. Times when getting out into the wild is more enjoyable, invigorating and important than ever. It is in this inspirational spirit that Alastair Humphreys introduces us to the exciting world of microadventures — adventures that are close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe light of Jerusalem / Jean-Michel Berts ; introduction from A beggar in Jerusalem by Elie Wiesel.
“Moving, dreamlike excerpts from Nobel Prize#150; winning writer and humanitarian Elie Wiesel’s acclaimed 1968 novel “A Beggar in Jerusalem” introduce this latest volume in Assouline’s The Light of collection. Showcasing Jean-Michel Berts’s textural black-and-white photographs taken on the cusp of daybreak, The Light of Jerusalem captures the poignancy and the poetry of this ancient crossroads. Modern Jerusalem is a multicultural metropolis, a complex layering of the historic and the timeless; this marvelous volume expresses the power and mystery of Jerusalem’s monuments, gardens, and panoramas. Introduction excerpted from “A Beggar in Jerusalem” by Elie Wiesel.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFragrant heart : a tale of love, life and food in Asia / Miranda Emmerson.
“We buy food we can point to. We stalk the streets until rush hour and wait for the little hatches to open in the sides of restaurants. From the steamy openings, cooks in overalls sell jiaozi (dumplings) and bowls of thick, sticky, white congee – an unholy cross between soup and porridge. Baozi, steamed white buns, are light as air. I buy them filled with waterspinach and nettle – delicious dipped in sharp, black Chinese vinegar. In 2008, Miranda and her partner set off for one last big adventure before settling down. They chose to travel through South-East Asia. All did not go to plan: Asianflu, falling off boats and the general chaos of a life abroad challenged them at everystep, and yet, in the midst of it all, they fell in love with the culture and culinary delights of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSouthern Cross to Pole Star : Tschiffely’s ride : 10,000 miles in the saddle from Argentina to Washington D.C. / Aimé Tschiffely.
“Aimé Tschiffely had an unlikely dream: to ride 10,000 miles from Buenos Aires to New York City. On 23 April 1925 this quiet, unassuming schoolteacher, with little equestrian experience, set out on his epic journey. His only companions were two native Argentine horses called Mancha and Gato. Together the trio traversed the Pampas, scaled the Andes and swam across the crocodile-infested rivers of Colombia. Along the way they were assailed by vampire bats, mistaken for gods and stalked by hostile revolutionaries. After two harrowing years, the man who had originally been labelled ‘a lunatic’ by the press was accorded a ticker-tape parade when he rode triumphantly through the streets of New York. Southern Cross to Pole Star is a classic of the travelwriting genre, ready to reawaken the spirit of adventure in all those who dare to dream big.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSwimming London : the 50 best pools, lidos, lakes and rivers from around the Capital / Jenny Landreth.
“London is a city built on water and ideal for swimmers. Whether you are looking for an early morning dip on Hampstead Heath, want to join the Christmas Day Club at Hyde Park’s Serpentine or are searching for a Lido in Tooting, wherever you are in the Capital, you are rarely more than a paddle away from somewhere to swim. Swimming London is a guide, celebration and history of the 50 best swimming spots in London. From the regal baths at the RAC club to the super-chic rooftop pools at the Berkeley Hotel and Shoreditch House; from the open-water havens at Ham Lake and even the River Thames, to the grand old lidos at London Fields and Parliament Hill there is something for the casual swimmer, the long-distance athlete and the family day out.” (book jacket)`

Syndetics book coverFrommer’s easyguide to the Virgin Islands / by Alexis Lipsitz Flippin.
“Quick to read, light to carry with expert advice in all price ranges, Frommer’s EasyGuide to the Virgin Islands is the complete up-to-date reference for travelers who want to maximize their stay in the smartest, most efficient way. With Frommer’s trademark candid and accessible expertise, this invaluable guide offers reviews in a wide array of choices available including lodging, sightseeing, shopping, dining and entertainment. It includes insider tips based on time constraints and interests, complete with practical advice and suggested itineraries. With user-friendly features it offers tips on excellent values, special moments, honeymoons or traveling with kids along with overrated experiences. Also featuring the best seafood, people-watching and the best places to connect with nature, snorkeling and diving. Frommer’s EasyGuide to the Virgin Islands is the must-have guide for any traveler.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfrica, my passion / Corinne Hofmann ; translated from the German by Peter Millar.
“In an exquisite personal pilgrimage, Corinne Hofmann, author of the global bestseller The White Masai, delves into the slums of Nairobi to uncover the heart-warming and heart-breaking stories of unforgettable people and places. Joined by her half-Kenyan daughter, Napirai, and traveling Kenya together for the first time, they discover Napirai’s roots and finally meet her father and half-siblings. Hofmann then treks 500 miles across the Namibian desert to discover the lives of the nomadic Himba people.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom Crystal Palace to Red Square : a hapless biker’s road to Russia / [Kevin Turner].
“This hilarious travel guide follows critically acclaimed author Kevin Turner (Bonjour! Is This Italy? A Hapless Biker’s Guide to Europe) on another ill-thought out adventure, as he aims his heavily laden Kawasaki northwards towards the towering waterfalls of Norway. Waterfalls done, Turner heads east on a long and treacherous 1700km journey towards St. Petersburg, passing through Sweden and Finland on route. With his sights firmly set on the Nürburgring at the end of his journey, Turner then heads westwards, crossing most of Poland and much of Germany on the long ride home. The author’s observations and anecdotes transform this motorcycle guidebook into a laugh-a-minute page turner, which inspires and entertains in equal measure.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLife cycles : a London bike courier decided to cycle around the globe, 169 days later, he came back with a world record / Julian Sayarer.
“Julian Sayarer is an author, journalist, and is often called an adventurer, although normally by other people. He has cycled six times across Europe, and in 2009 broke the 18,000-mile world record for a circumnavigation by bicycle. He has spent three years working as a cycle courier on the streets of London, hitchhiked from New York to San Francisco, and worked on books and documentary projects along the way. A politics graduate, Julian’s writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, New Statesman, Aeon Magazine, and many others, including a host of cycling publications. He writes slow travel, his writing from the roadside a 12mph view of the world in passing.” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverWalking the literary landscape : 20 classic walks for book-lovers in Northern England / Ian Hamilton, Diane Roberts.
“Literature and a love of the English countryside are natural companions. Walking the Literary Landscape brings the two together in a collection of 20 circular routes in the north of England, all between 3 and 9 miles (5 and 15 kilometres) in length. …Walk in the footsteps of writers like Arthur Ransome, who drew inspiration from the Lake District for his classic children’s adventure Swallows and Amazons, or the Brontë sisters whose love of the moors around Haworth echoes through the centuries. See Chatsworth, the Peak District house that thrilled Jane Austen, and tread carefully in Whitby, the Yorkshire seaside town where Bram Stoker set his most famous creation Dracula.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Brighten your day with refreshing ideas – new Craft books for August

Are you looking for a quick and easy project? Here are some suggestions and ideas, including how to make slippers that fit like a dream. A perfect antidote to tortured toes, after you’ve danced the night away. Have fun!

Syndetics book coverKnitted & crocheted slippers / Alison Howard.
“Slippers make a superb gift, and home-made ones are the best. Making your own slippers is ideal, as you can make them to fit the wearer perfectly and add your own personal touch. This book has projects for girls and boys of all ages and adults too, from delicate ballet slippers and dainty Mary Janes to moccasin-soled slipper socks, chunky felted boots and sparkly party pumps. The book caters to all levels, from straightforward booties for beginners to slippers with details such as I-cords, pompoms, picot trims and lacy sock inserts. All the knitting and crochet stitches and techniques are presented in a clear and easy-to-follow style”. (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverMy rag doll / Corinne Crasbercu ; photography by Frédéric Lucano ; stylists: Sonia Lucano and Vania Leroy-Thuillier ; text by Dominique Montembault.
“Sew super cute rag dolls and their gorgeous clothes to make the perfect present for little girls. Crasbercu had designed patterns for 11 adorable dolls and a wide range of outfits and accessories to sew, including hats, shoes and bags. The basic doll pattern can be used to sew all the dolls and then altered according to hair and eye colour and hair style”.  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle quilts : 15 step-by-step projects for adorably small quilts / Sarah Fielke & Amy Lobsiger.
“Packed with techniques, patterns, and inspiration for small-scale quilts. Doll-sized quilts can be completed relatively quickly and inexpensively. They can be made into pillow covers, runners, or wall decorations, or used as a lesson or as a trial for a larger project; and they can be swapped, gifted, or posted. In Little Quilts’ 15 step-by-step projects, sometimes the quilt is just one block, sometimes several blocks, but all have been designed with the same attention to detail as a full-sized quilt. Seven quilts have been designed by Sarah Fielke and seven by Amy Lobsiger, and the final quilt is a collaboration–with Amy making the central circle, then sending it to Sarah to turn it into a finished quilt. Techniques include hand and machine-quilting, traditional piecing, paper piecing, appliqué, and embroidery. The size of the quilts (nothing larger than 24×24 inches) will tempt you to try a new sewing technique or a new design concept, and you can follow the instructions or use them as inspiration for your own quilt design.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPictorial art quilt guidebook : secrets to capturing your photos in fabric / Leni Levenson Wiener.
“You’ll be surprised how easy it is to transform a photo into gallery-worthy fabric art with Leni Wiener’s simple methods. Leni walks you step by step through choosing the right fabrics; creating patterns with free software; depicting common elements, such as grass, trees, water, and faces; layering and sewing your collages; and finishing your work for display. Complete patterns and instructions for two quilts help get you started. Use the included Art Quilter’s Value Scale to choose the perfect light and dark fabrics for your quilts. Loaded with helpful photos, this guide is a virtual art class in a book”. (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe quilter’s appliqué workshop : timeless techniques for modern designs / Kevin Kosbab.
“A fresh take on quilting and applique. Kevin Kosbab shows quilters that not only is applique fun and easy to do, it can open up a world of design possibilities. “The Quilter’s Applique Workshop” teaches you everything you need to know to create applique both as embellishment and as the focus of projects. The book is divided into three sections that each explores a basic applique approach: raw-edge, prepared-edge, and needle-turn applique. Each section includes detailed instructions, tips, and illustrations. Twelve home-decor projects, including bed quilts, wall quilts, table runners/toppers, and pillows, illustrate the techniques and allow you to explore more specialized methods such as broderie perse, felt applique, and bias-tape applique. “The Quilter’s Applique Workshop” gives you the tools to mix and match applique techniques and create any design you can imagine.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGranny squares : all shapes & sizes ; Over 50 projects and techniques to give the classic crochet pattern a whole new look / Barbara Wilder and Beatrice Simon.
“These are not your granny’s granny squares! They’re young, hip, and sometimes not even square. More than 70 contemporary versions come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, along with fabulous finishing ideas. They’re attractive enough to use as an embellishment on a piece of clothing, as well as in traditional stitched-together projects. Many of the designs appear in different yarn weights and colors, allowing crocheters to personalize any of the items and get exactly the look they’re after. The wide selection features everything from ponchos and scarves to sweaters and skirts. – check book for accuracy” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genre’ novels for August, this month featuring New Zealand writers

Another great selection from the most recently received novels by some outstanding New Zealand writers. Included are two collections of short stories, and several debut novels. Highly recommend is the latest work from Tina Shaw, titled The Children’s Pool.

Syndetics book coverPassing through / Coral Atkinson.
“Set in the port of Lyttelton, a community still recovering from World War I, the lives of four people with tragic pasts are intertwined by love, loss and a concern with raising the dead. There is Ro, the ex-army officer, who lies for a living, Nan, a young woman with genuine psychic gifts, Louisa an attractive war widow, and Harry the shell-shocked former soldier, who becomes Ro’s ultimate nemesis. In a world of shifting secrets, truth, lies and parlour tricks, lessons are learnt and lives changed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe red queen : short stories / Gemma Bowker-Wright.
“In her first collection of stories, Gemma Bowker-Wright leads us into the phases of transition and transformation in people’s lives: a dream job, a rare afternoon between son and father, a man losing his wife to Alzheimer’s, a first snow. Like the Red Queen of Through the Looking-Glass, many of these characters are running hard to stay in place, but moving ever forward.” (Adapted from Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverA history of crime : the southern double cross / Dinah Holman.
“The most dangerous people are those with the most to lose. It is 1887. The young colony of New Zealand is in the grip of a deep depression. Insolvent speculators conspire with corrupt politicians while Maori land slips from the hands of its owners. Into this landscape of barely suppressed conflict steps a young Anglo-French-Maori soprano, visiting New Zealand for the first time. Frederique Bonnell, known to her family as Riki, meets another performer, the Italian tenor Francesco Bartellin. Unofficially, Bartellin has been persuaded to spy on lawyer Thomas Russell and his powerful associates, whose tentacles penetrate the political establishment. Riki is pitched into this treacherous underworld when she witnesses the attempted murder of Kaituhi, a young Maori man apprehended in Russell’s shipboard cabin. Kaituhi and Riki are thrown overboard yet manage to save each other’s lives. Their plans to expose Russell are complicated by a growing attraction between Riki and Bartellin.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFringe benefits / Sandra Knight.
“ The Ladies of the Seekers Hair Fashions, a small suburban salon near Wellington, New Zealand, area tight-knit group. Sue Knovac, the owner, gets along very well with Rona, her senior stylist, and Lucy, her apprentice. The clients range from amusing to downright rude, but the person who has earned the top spot on their most-hated list is not a client but Frank Morton, their horrible landlord. He’s a nasty piece of work, and his treatment of his long- suffering wife, May can only be described as abominable. Sue, Rona, and Lucy fell sorry for May and decide to boost her self-esteem with a makeover. Things start to look up for May until she disappears.” (Adapted from Book Cover)

Stamp in the creek / David McGill.
“And in the sleepy village of Kotuku the young postmaster has his office safe stolen and his son kidnapped by outsiders after a valuable stamp. The village gets in behind against those who employ car conversion, stand-over tactics, blackmail and whatever it takes to get the stamp. The politicians and post office hierarchy are more concerned about a public service scandal in election year. The concluding comic novel in the Cavanagh family trilogy set in the fictional version of the author’s hometown of Matata.” (Adapted from Beattie’s Book Blog)

Syndetics book coverThe Syrian connection / Ross Meurant.
“Alain Foveaux, a former New Zealand military officer, is contracted to use his knowledge of the Middle East to procure phosphate from Syria for export to New Zealand, in defiance of American sanctions. His odyssey through a country on the brink of civil war reunites him with Valentina Golosapova, a former lover and KGB agent, now operations controller for Russian covert action in Syria. With Russian help, the New Zealander sets up a labyrinth of bank accounts to evade the American blocks on payments to Syria, provoking aggressive initiatives by the local CIA operative. When Syrians, Russians and Americans meet, there are brutal encounters in the field with Alain caught in the crossfire.” (Adapated from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn between the after / Lilla Nicholas-Holt.
“Bo, one of twenty-four striking sisters cloned from older sister Megan, is able to revisit history in person, finding answers to well-known mysteries and discovering what the Sphinx of Giza holds in a hidden chamber deep within. The Light of Ra is a living thing, an encoded light language that views your present, past and future lives, holding energy documentation of every human being since time first began. Through the Light of Ra, Bo discovers the astounding phenomenon of reality beyond human reality. In this nonphysical dimension, she perceives her whole self, and travels between her past and future lives. She learns that she can choose her next life-path, choose her parents and the circumstances in which she will live, discovering her final as being the most incredible and wondrous incarnation on Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTenderness : stories / Sarah Quigley.
“A collection of stories from a prize-winning writer, some short, some long, set in locations that span the globe, all exploring the theme encapsulated by the title: tenderness. With a mixture of humour and compassion, each story carries the punch of a compacted novel, highlighting those illuminating moments of human connection.” (Adapted from Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverThe children’s pond / Tina Shaw.
“Jessica Pollard has moved to Turangi to be near her son Reuben who is in prison there. While working at a trout-fishing lodge on the Tongariro River, Jessica slips into a relationship with a handsome, charming Maori lawyer. When the body of the lawyer’s troubled niece Chantelle is found in the Children’s Pond, Jessica’s own past as a teenager in prison comes back to haunt her. What really happened to her all those years ago? And what is the connection with Chantelle’s death?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSanctum / Harmon Sueno.
“Leaving New Zealand for a post at Vagabond adventure travel magazine in Vancouver in Canada, Teal, a travel writer meets the beautiful Brody at a party. A love affair ensues which is cut short when Teal is swept away on assignment. A few years later, Teal heads off to find the Apurimac ‘The Great Speaker’, the start of the Amazon River, and, in a remote village, once again finds Brody who is teaching English to the local Quechua population. She imparts to him knowledge of a strange and marvelous location in the Andes and takes Teal there to discover his cosmic origins. The experience leaves Teal’s and Brody’s lives altered forever, sending them each on a separate journey that will take them hurtling towards destinies that neither can comprehend until they meet again, deep in the planet’s inner worlds.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cooking recent picks for August

In this month’s selection we have loads of decadent dessert ideas and cakes galore. We include delicious and indulgent specialty cakes, wedding cakes, two gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free recipe books, and finally a book on making dairy products at home, from butter to sour cream to feta cheese. Check them out below!

Syndetics book coverDecadent Gluten-Free Treats : with tempting vegan & dairy-free options / Tamara Jane ; photography by Devin Hart.
“Created especially to cater for people on a restricted diet, there are recipes that are free from gluten, others that are free from eggs or dairy and some that are suitable for vegans … Each recipe is annotated gluten, dairy, egg or nut free for quick and easy reference and all the special ingredients are listed and explained at the front of the book” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverSweet/ Valerie Gordon ; photographs by Pedem + Munk.
“Gordon, founder of the acclaimed Valerie’s Confections, shares her passion for creating high-quality pastries and candies. Full-color photographs highlight the simple beauty of Gordon’s creations, which can be mastered by the home cook with a little effort.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverKonditor & Cook : deservedly legendary baking / Gerhard Jenne.
“Let Konditor & Cook sprinkle some magic over your baking… Konditor & Cook are famous for their stylish cake creations: the iconic Magic Cakes, Boston Brownie, Curly Whirly Cake… Now you can re-create their legendary celebration cakes, tarts, brownies, slices, mini-bakes, cupcakes, muffins and buns at home with Gerhard Jenne’s simple recipes.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverWedding Cakes / by Rosalind Miller.
“This book is a luxurious source of inspiration as well as a clear how-to of high end wedding cake making and decorating. With easy-to-follow instructions and beautiful step-by-step photography it takes the cake maker through the construction of each individual sugar flower and decoration, so that the reader can either replicate the cakes, or pick and choose techniques from each, to achieve their own unique creation.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverLick the Bowl Good : classic home-style desserts with a twist / Monica Holland.
“No meal is complete without dessert. Popular food blogger Monica Holland brings you an enticing collection of comforting homemade classics with a modern twist. Find inspiration in her fun, whimsical recipes that reinvent old favorites and create exciting new flavor combinations. Enjoy dozens of irresistible recipes from Grandma’s chocolate layer cake and cream cheese swirl snickerdoodle blondies to blueberry vanilla yogurt popsicles and Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies. Brightened with full-color photography throughout, the carefully tested recipes are not only gorgeous to the eye, they’re achievable for both the experienced baker and those just venturing out into the wonderful world of baking. Whether you need a bake sale treat or are having a midnight cravings for milk and warm-from-the-oven cookies, Lick the Bowl Good is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNaturally Sweet & Gluten-Free : Allergy-Friendly Vegan Desserts : 100 recipes without gluten, dairy, eggs, or refined sugar / Ricki Heller ; photography by Celine Saki.
“You’ll make delicious – and healthy – changes to the way you bake with Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. Ricki Heller provides all the tools you need to make wonderful desserts and to receive the benefit of her wealth of experience.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverIndulgent Cakes : luscious cakes to delight your every whim / editorial & food director Pamela Clark.
“There’s nothing quite like a home-baked cake and this is the ultimate collection of recipes – both classic and contemporary – that are deeply indulgent, incredibly moreish and unparalleled in their deliciousness….there’s a fantastic treat for every occasion in this epic collection.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSweet & Vicious : Baking with Attitude / Libbie Summers ; photography by Chia Chong.
Sweet & Vicious has recipes so enticing, you’ll be pre-heating the oven before you’ve finished chapter one. The photos are so sexylicious – yes, it’s a word because I’m a writer and I said so – you’ll want to lick the pages. Libbie Summers literally puts the icing on the cookbook cake. More please.” (Mary Kay Andrews – Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverCakes in Bloom : The Art of Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers / Peggy Porschen ; photography by Georgia Glynn Smith.
“The ultimate reference and inspiration for sugarcrafters, this book reflects Peggy’s mastery of a breath-taking array of flowers, creatively used on a variety of cakes. Peggy demonstrates a broad range of techniques, embracing all the basics as well the particular skills needed to make each individual flower. As with all her creations, Peggy’s cakes are as good to eat as they are to look at, so there are signature recipes for delicious cakes and fail-safe fillings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWintersweet : Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home / Tammy Donroe Inman.
“Donroe Inman, a food blogger with a culinary degree, has worked for Cook’s Illustrated magazine and TV show America’s Test Kitchen. Her debut cookbook encourages readers to spend their winters in a warm kitchen preparing comforting seasonal desserts such as pear crostada, brown butter pecan ice cream, and gingersnap-crusted pumpkin cheesecake.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe Creamery Kitchen : discover the age-old tradition of making fresh butters, yogurts, creams, and soft cheeses at home / Jenny Linford ; photography by Clare Winfield.
“Easy step-by-step recipes for fresh dairy products, including butter, yogurt, labneh, sour cream, cream cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, feta, and more. This is the perfect book for anyone with a passion for good honest food.” (Book Jacket)

NZ Post Book Awards winners!

Last night the winners of the 2014 NZ Post Book Awards were revealed at the official awards ceremony here in Wellington. The judging panel was comprised of acclaimed New Zealand artist, Dick Frizzell; award-winning Radio New Zealand presenter, Kim Hill; poet and novelist, Elizabeth Smither; and literary critic, Peter Simpson, and the panel was convened by broadcaster Miriama Kamo.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnd now for the winners! The biggest prize of the awards, the title of New Zealand Post Book of the Year (and $15,000!) went to Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer by Jill Trevelyan. Congratulations!

The category prize-winners were awarded to:
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Fiction)
Us, Then by Vincent O’Sullivan (Poetry)
Coast: A New Zealand journey by Bruce Ansley & Jane Ussher (Illustrated non-fiction)
and another prize for Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer by Jill Trevelyan (General non-fiction)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe winner of the ever-popular People’s Choice award also went to The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and finally, the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice award went to Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high country station by Harry Broad & Rob Suisted.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees in this year’s awards! You can reserve any of these books from our collection by following the links above. You can also read the press release about the winners and the judges’ report over on the Booksellers website.

Come and meet all the winning authors at our event being held today at Wellington Central Library. Kim Hill will be hosting a discussion between the winning authors about their writing, the challenges they face, upcoming projects, where their inspiration comes from and the books they have on their own “to-read” lists. Join us for the discussion on the ground floor of Central library today at 12.15pm.

Check out our event over on Facebook, and we’ll see you there!

New Zealand’s history, not just the rich and famous

The past stories and history of New Zealand are not only the domain of the rich and famous. This month in the New Zealand collection we feature some stories of early pioneers whose names are not famous or well known but who played their part in the history of New Zealand.

Syndetics book coverOur stories : the way we used to be : the New Zealand that time forgot… / edited by Ian Wishart.
Every day, thousands of news stories are published in New Zealand, chronicling the big events and the small. Most of these stories are long forgotten by the time historians get around to compiling the ‘official record’ of our country. Discover the heroes and villains of our past through long forgotten news stories, and find out how life really was in pioneer New Zealand. (Adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverWorking lives c. 1900 : a photographic essay / Erik Olssen.
For the men and women of the skilled trades in the early 20th century, the skills and knowledge of their respective crafts were a source of identity and pride. Together with the so-called unskilled, who built the infrastructure for the new society, these workers laid the cultural and social foundations of a new and fairer society. This book uses photographs to show two processes fundamental to creating a new society: the transformation of swamp into farmland then city-scape, and the transplantation of the knowledge and skill required in the Old World that were essential to building a new world. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRough on women : abortion in 19th-century New Zealand / by Margaret Sparrow.
“Stories of abortion in 19th-century New Zealand, from newspaper accounts, court records and coroner’s reports”–Publisher information. The women in this book are all long dead and little is known of their inner lives. Most of what we know about them comes from coroners’ reports and newspaper accounts, and in many cases we know more about their abortionists than the women themselves. Women obtained abortions by whatever means they could, despite the dangers of poisoning, haemorrhage, and infection. And abortionists did their work despite the threat of long prison sentences or even the death penalty. (Adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverStolen lives : a New Zealand foster child’s story from the ’40s and ’50s / Netta England.
Netta and her older brother Ray hardly knew their mother. She was a strange woman who made occasional visits, and they did not even know they had a Father. Instead from a very early age they lived with foster parents and at school were treated as different. Growing up, Netta became increasingly aware that her foster mother disliked her. Though never starved, Netta suffered neglect, as well as mental, physical and sexual abuse. After her brother’s death in 1976, Netta, by then married with a grown up family, began her long journey to learn about and understand what had happened in the past. She wanted to find out if somewhere out there was a family, her own family that she could belong to. How would she find them, and would they want to know her? She needed to find her roots. Stolen Lives is the record of Netta’s journey from a neglected and abused state ward, to a woman who discovers her heritage and creates a positive life regardless of her upbringing. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPete the Bushman : hunting tales and back-country lessons from a wild West Coaster / Peter Salter with Nigel Zega.
The adventures of Pete the Bushman, a wild West-coaster from Pukekura, New Zealand’s answer to Crocodile Dundee and a man who owns his own town. This book about a true New Zealand bushman, of a life lived against the grain, of adventure in New Zealand’s thickest wilderness and a lifestyle any Kiwi bloke would envy. Pete the Bushman has lived a life inseparable from the bush – these are his stories of running down deer on foot, heli-hunting in his own chopper, finding the perfect woman and eking out a living from the bush. He and his wife Justine run the Bushman’s Centre, 35 mins south of Hokitika, established in 1991 as a place to show visitors how local people use the South Island forest. Also known as ‘Possum Pete’, the Bushman is one of the eccentric and colourful characters featured on TVNZ’s ‘This Town’. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVertical living : the Architectural Centre and the remaking of Wellington / Julia Gatley and Paul Walker.
“… we of this Architectural Centre in Wellington are a group of architects and draughtsmen and wood engravers and other people whose greatest claim to affiliation is an overriding enthusiasm for good design” – Design Review, 1948. In 1946, just as the Group was being established in Auckland, Wellington established the Architectural Centre. Members of both were young and idealistic, and they shared common beliefs – in the transformative potential of modern architecture, in need for urban development to be carefully controlled, in the desirability of planning for a better future. This book recovers the powerful history, politics and architecture of the Architectural Centre to return us to a vision of a modernist city, partially realised in Wellington New Zealand. Gatley and Walker begin writing the city back into the history of architecture in this country. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJourney to a hanging / Peter Wells.
“In 1865, Rev Carl Sylvius Volkner was hanged, his head cut off, his eyes eaten and his blood drunk from his church chalice. One name – Kereopa Te Rau (Kaiwhatu: The Eye-eater) – became synonymous with the murder. In 1871 he was captured, tried and sentenced to death. But then something remarkable happened. Sister Aubert and William Colenso – two of the greatest minds in colonial New Zealand – came to his defence. Regardless, Kereopa Te Rau was hanged in Napier Prison. But even a century and a half later, the events have not been laid to rest. Questions continue to emerge: Was it just? Was it right? Was Kereopa Te Rau even behind the murder? And who was Volkner – was he a spy or an innocent?” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverHow we remember : New Zealanders and the First World War / edited by Charles Ferrall and Harry Ricketts.
“Essays by a raft of historians, writers and other prominent figures reflect on our different forms of remembering and re-membering, what we have cherished and valued, forgotten and ignored, constructed and reframed” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverVictory : New Zealand airmen and the fall of Germany / Max Lambert.
“Here are the vivid, inspiring and previously unpublished stories of the New Zealand fliers – most in their early 20s, some still teenagers – who lived and died in the service of their country while flying with the Royal Air Force from bases in Britain and from airfields in northwest Europe after the invasion of 1944, published to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D Day and the beginning of the end of World War II” (Publisher information)


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