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Welcome to the libraries’ News Blog! Here you’ll find reviews of new books, information about what’s happening at our libraries, and any breaking author news. We’ll also keep you up to date with exciting book award shortlists and prize announcements as they come to us, so check back often!

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Need recording equipment for a gig, or want to record music at home?

Libraries are no longer just places to get books. Need a PA system for a party, a speaking engagement, or a wedding? Playing a live or studio gig? Need to do some recording in the field, or hook up some gear to your laptop and make a new album at home? The new Library Music Equipment collection has what you need. We love Wellington music at Wellington City Libraries and we are here to help you make it.

We have five new Music Kits for people to borrow as part of our new Equipment Lending Service:


AudioBox KIT:
• 1x Rode NT1-A Microphone
• 1x SM6 Shock mount & pop filter
• 1x Dust Cover
• 1x Rode 6m XLR cable
• 1x Presonus Audiobox iTwo
• 1x USB cable
$30 for 4 days/Overdue charge: $10 per day
Read more…

New DVDs to watch out for

New DVDs include Marvel Studios hit ‘Doctor Strange’; a new documentary directed by a Kiwi & another about one of our most famous pop songs; the Golden Globe nominated true story ‘Hacksaw Ridge’; the latest Tom Cruise adaptation from Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ series; the new Tom Ford thriller ‘Nocturnal Animals’; and heartfelt Spanish drama ‘Truman’.

A flickering truth.
A Flickering Truth documents the remarkable true story of exiled filmmaker Ibrahim Arify as he returns to his native Afghanistan. Tasked with restoring 8000 hours of lost Afghan films, his job is all the more formidable considering the medium has been outlawed by the Taliban government for many years. Unearthing dusty reels of film, some dug out of collapsing barns, others hidden in ceilings and many discovered by pure chance, Ibrahim must also deal with people too scared to act after so many years of oppression. Directed by respected New Zealand documentary filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly (Maori Boy Genius), A Flickering Truth explores a war-torn world in search of the truth, elusive as it has been for Afghanistan, highlighting the significance and power of film preservation.” (Syndetics summary)

Poi E : the story of our song.
“In 1984, ‘Poi e’ reached Number 1 on the NZ Pop Charts and broke every musical record. It remained in the charts for 34 weeks. It outsold ‘Thriller’, ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ and every other hit of 1984. It has been in the Top 10 in New Zealand, every decade for the past 30 years. It was also the first Number 1 song written and released entirely in Te Reo Māori. To put it simply, this small song changed New Zealand, forever. ‘Poi e’ has become New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem. With humour, energy and emotion, the movie Poi e is the story of how that iconic song gave pride to generations of New Zealanders.” (Syndetics summary)

Doctor Strange.
“From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing-and hope-in an unlikely place: a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange-armed with newly acquired magical powers-is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.” (Syndetics summary)

Jack Reacher. Never go back.
“Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher in this sequel based on Lee Child’s bestse­lling novel Never Go Back, which finds the itinerant problem-solver accused of murder, and learning that he may have a child he has never met.
JACK REACHER returns to the headquarters of his old unit, only to find out he’s now accused of a 16-year-old homicide. Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.” (Description, mightyape.co.nz)

Hacksaw Ridge.
“Directed by Mel Gibson and with 9 AACTA award wins and 3 Golden Globe nominations, this Australian production is an extraordinary true story. Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun.
Doss was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic he single-handedly rescued the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was injured by a grenade and hit by snipers.” (Description, mightyape.co.nz)

Sunset song.
“SUNSET SONG is an epic, award-winning film set in Scotland from acclaimed filmmaker, Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea, Of Time and the City), starring Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan (My Name is Joe) and Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine On Leith).
Based on Lewis Grassic Gibbons novel, widely considered the classic Scottish novel of the 20th century, SUNSET SONG is the story of Chris Guthrie, a young women, living on a working farm who must battle tradition, change and societys expectations to forge her own voice. As World War One looms, and with moments of heartbreak and pain, celebration and joy, Chris stands strong, drawing from the ancient land in looking to the future.” (Description, Mightyape.co.nz)

The accountant.
“Christian Wolff is a math savant who works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division starting to close in, he takes on a legitimate client, a robotics company where an accounting clerk has discovered a discrepency involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, the body count starts to rise.” (Syndetics summary)

Truman.
“TRUMAN is a funny, heartfelt portrait of friendship, and life’s unexpected ups and downs. When theatre actor Julián receives an unexpected visit from his childhood friend Tomás, the encounter is bittersweet. This reunion is their first meeting in many years, triggered by Julian’s failing health. Tomas is baffled by his friend’s decision to forgo treatment and instead focus on putting his affairs in order: distributing possessions, reconciling past disputes, and, most importantly, finding a home for his beloved Boxer, Truman. It’s this task that is causing Julián the greatest concern. A witty, moving and hugely entertaining reflection on human connection, and a reminder that the best friendships are, indeed, forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

La belle saison.
“1971. Delphine, a twenty-something farm girl of humble means, takes a huge step by packing up and moving to Paris, searching for independence and a life beyond the duties of her rural upbringing. It’s not long before she is drawn to dynamic thirty-something Carole who is actively involved in the emerging feminist movement. Carole lives with her boyfriend, but the two women quickly fall head over heels, and become inseparable. Their bliss is interrupted, however, when a family emergency forces Delphine back to the farm and to her mother, and Carole decides to follow her. There, the couple has to face a far different reality…” (Syndetics summary)

Nocturnal animals.
“Susan (Amy Adams) is living through an unfulfilling marriage when she receives a package containing a novel manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The Novel is dedicated to her but its content is violent and devastating. Susan cannot help but reminisce over her past love story with the author. Increasingly she interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and reawakens a love that she feared was lost.” (Syndetics summary)

Billy Lynn’s long halftime walk.
“The film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions.” (Syndetics summary)

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Creatures are featured in this month’s blog! Especially Chickens and Bees… And a beautiful book of tiny shelters ends our selection.

Image from Amazon.comBackyard chickens : how to keep happy hens / Dave Ingham.
“A henkeeping companion to the bestselling Backyard Bees, covering everything you need to know about keeping chickens even in urban areas.” (Syndetics summary)
” Keeping a few hens was once only for rural dwellers with big yards – or inner-city hippies. Now it’s mainstream and an attractive proposition wherever you live. Fluffy little recycling units that eat weeds, bugs and scraps and turn them into organic eggs – what’s not to love? Chickens are great backyard pets for young and old – they’re a natural extension for everyone with a vegie patch, and for those who like eggs but are concerned about the welfare of commercial hens.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverGood soil : manure, compost and nourishment for your garden / Tina Råman, Ewa-Marie Rundquist, Justine Lagache.
“Maximise your garden, whatever you grow in it, with some Swedish expertise. Plants need nutrients to grow, flower and bear fruit, nutrients that can be found in offal, the sea, fire, rocks, rubbish and, of course, dung heaps. Tina Raman digs into every aspect of nurturing your soil, from chemistry and biology to history and philosophy, giving you practical advice, generous tips and above all masses of inspiration” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverMy zero-waste kitchen : easy ways to eat waste free / writer and editor, Ruth O’Rourke-Jones.
“Looking to live sustainably without overhauling your life? My Zero-Waste Kitchen shows you how to put the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – into practice in the kitchen. Discover the secrets of sustainability, including shopping wisely, which foods you can freeze, and how to turn your scraps into delicious dishes and snacks such as falafel, pesto, and even melt-in-the-mouth cake. Handy tips and tricks will help you live sustainably without making huge changes, and guide you to a sustainable kitchen, with advice on kitchen equipment, food storage, growing herbs, and meal-planning tips.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening with chickens : plans and plants for you and your hens / Lisa Steele.
“Welcome to a world where chickens and gardens coexist! Join Lisa Steele, chicken-keeper extraordinaire and founder of Fresh Eggs Daily, on a unique journey through the garden. Start by planning your garden and learning strategies and tips for keeping your plants safe while they grow. Plant with purpose, choosing from a dozen plans for theme gardens such as Orange Egg Yolks or Nesting Box Herbs. Or choose a design that’s filled with edibles – sharing the bounty with your family and your feathered friends. Then comes the fun part: enjoy the harvest, even let the chickens graze!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWelcome to the farm : how-to wisdom from the Elliott homestead / Shaye Elliott.
“Whether you want to dabble in the homesteading movement or immerse yourself completely in the do-it-yourself, back-to-basics lifestyle, Welcome to the Farm is a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to growing the very best food right in your own backyard. Shaye Elliott takes readers on a journey that teaches them how to harvest baskets full of organic produce, milk a dairy cow (and make butter), plant a homestead orchard, can jams and jellies, and even raise chickens and bees.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bee keeper’s field guide : a pocket guide to the health and care of bees / David Cramp.
“This guide is designed for beekeepers to carry with them and use in the apiary and out in the field. It is a diagnostic tool and an aide memoire for the hobbyist and for the professional beekeeper, who may know what to do but will at times need the information close to hand.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverDIY solar projects : small projects to whole-home systems : tap into the sun / Eric Smith and Philip Schmidt with Troy Wanek.
“Put the sun to work in your home with the new, expanded edition of the popular 2011 title DIY Solar Projects. Like the original, this edition offers small-scale, achievable solar projects that homeowners can build and install themselves. From cooking in solar ovens to mounting solar panels on your roof, this book teaches how to take advantage of solar energy.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe urban farmer / Justin Calverley & CERES (Center for Environmental Research and Strategies).
“Producing our own fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs and honey is perfectly possible in a suburban space, and this practical guide will help urban dwellers develop a more sustainable existence. With a deep knowledge of permaculture and organic gardening, horticultural expert Justin Calverley shows you how to establish a diverse urban farm, whether in your own backyard, a courtyard or even a balcony…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShallow-pit garden composting : the easy, no-smell, no-turning way to create organic compost for your garden / Caleb Warnock.
“With shallow pit composting, the compost doesn’t need to be turned, never smells and is ready in half the time of barrels or kits. Shallow-pit composting works with Mother Nature, letting her do the work.”—cover page 4.

Syndetics book coverMicro shelters : 59 creative cabins, tiny houses, tree houses, and other small structures / Derek “Deek” Diedricksen.
“If you dream of living in a tiny house, or creating a getaway in the backwoods or your backyard, you’ll love this gorgeous collection of creative and inspiring designs for cabins, forts, studios, and other microshelters.” (Syndetics summary)

New online resources available now!

The library has purchased two new online tools for you to use through our website – Bloomsbury Drama Online and BWB Text Collection.  Both can be found on our Mygateway page (the home of our online resources) and can be accessed either at home or in the library.

Firstly, Drama Online is a one stop shop for anyone with an interest in drama.   This award winning database features over 1,200 classic and contemporary play texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare. Background to the plays are provided through critical scholarly works, theory and practical “how to” guides. There is also streaming video of live performances from Shakespeare’s Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A. Theatre Works. You can search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters.

Feedback from the talented thespians on staff is that it should have real appeal to students, drama teachers and those involved in community theatre.  Dive straight in and have a play (haha) or check out this overview below.

The second online tool is from Bridget Williams, the BWB Text Collection.  Bridget Williams Books is a well-known local publisher of New Zealand print books and recently they have also developed an ebook platform. We previously purchased the BWB Treaty of Waitangi Collection and have now added the Texts Collection to our offerings.

The BWB Texts Collection brings together a diverse group of short ebooks on the big issues facing New Zealand by some of the country’s best writers and commentators. Topics covered include: the housing crisis, climate change, child poverty, inequality, the 1981 Springbox tour and public health.

One of the big positives for us all is that they are so easy to use – titles are meant to be read in the web browser, and this can be any web browser on any device.  There’s no downloading involved, just click on the title and read!   And the number of users are unlimited.

Ocean to ocean – New Science Books for May

Here area few little gems about the Oceans (and one not so much about the Oceans) that caught our fancy this month!

Syndetics book coverWild coast : a celebration of the places where land meets sea / Marianne Taylor.
“This book is a celebration of the wildlife and landscapes of Britain’s coastline. Sheer limestone crags resound with the voices of thousands of bickering seabirds; endless acres of estuarine mud are packed with squirming invertebrates that sustain thousands of wading birds. In between are the dazzling chalk outcrops of the south coast with glorious floral communities on the clifftop meadows, shingle beaches where terns and plovers hide their eggs among the stones, and dune systems bound together with marram grass and supporting a unique and fragile ecosystem. Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs and authoritative text, this book is a celebration of the wilder aspects of the UK’s coasts.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoices in the ocean : a journey into the wild and haunting world of dolphins / Susan Casey.
“While swimming off the coast of Maui, Susan Casey was surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was a profoundly transporting experience, and it inspired her to embark on a two-year global adventure to explore the nature of these remarkable beings and their complex relationship to humanity. Casey ends her narrative on the island of Crete, where millennia-old frescoes and artwork document the great Minoan civilization, a culture which lived in harmony with dolphins, and whose example shows the way to a more enlightened coexistence with the natural world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPristine seas : journeys to the ocean’s last wild places / Enric Sala ; foreword by Leonardo DiCaprio.
“National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala takes readers on an unforgettable journey to 10 places where the ocean is virtually untouched by man, offering a fascinating glimpse into our past and an inspiring vision for the future. Showcasing 10 of his designated pristine locations, this book will unveil the greatest discoveries from Sala and his team’s expeditions and research. It is a beautiful reminder of what we have to gain by protecting our seas.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeep life : the hunt for the hidden biology of Earth, Mars, and beyond / Tullis C. Onstott.
“Deep Life takes readers to uncharted regions deep beneath Earth’s crust in search of life in extreme environments and reveals how astonishing new discoveries by geomicrobiologists are helping the quest to find life in the solar system. Geoscientist Tullis Onstott provides an insider’s look at the pioneering fieldwork that is shining vital new light on Earth’s hidden biology–a thriving subterranean biosphere that scientists once thought to be impossible. This unforgettable book takes you to the absolute limits of life–the biotic fringe–where today’s scientists hope to discover the very origins of life itself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeadly oceans / Nick Robertson-Brown and Caroline Robertson-Brown.
“The world’s oceans are filled with an array of venomous and toxic marine critters, not to mention a whole host of apex carnivores. Join ace divers and wildlife photographers Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown as they tour the world in search of the deadliest sea creatures.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn illustrated coastal year : the seashore uncovered season by season / Celia Lewis
“An amusing and informative anthology of coastal wildlife through the year.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOf orcas and men : what killer whales can teach us / David Neiwert.
“A revelatory history of orcas evaluates them as one of the planet’s most intelligent animals, challenging beliefs about their “killer” natures while citing the threats to their populations.” (Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’ this month featuring New Zealand fiction

This month’s ‘Other Genres’ selection features New Zealand writers. Here is a wonderful collection of talented skilful writing, from debut novelists, such as Bonnie Etherington and Sarah Schmidt, to ever popular veteran writers such as Jenny Pattrick, Elspeth Sandys and Damien Wilkins. All will provide many hours of enjoyable reading.

Syndetics book coverThe Chinese proverb / Tina Clough.
“Army veteran Hunter Grant thought he had left war behind in Afghanistan, a conflict that left him with physical and psychological scars. But finding an unconscious girl in the Northland bush and gradually untangling her story involves him in a war of a different kind in his own country. Hunter sets out to find and punish the man Dao calls Master, but he soon finds there is more to this story than enslavement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe earth cries out / Bonnie Etherington.
“After the accidental death of Ruth’s five-year-old sister, their father decides that atonement and healing are in order, and that taking on aid work in a mountain village in Irian Jaya is the way to find it. It is the late 1990s, a time of civil unrest and suppression in the Indonesian province now known as West Papua. The family drops into what seems the middle of nowhere, where they experience a vibrant landscape, an ever-changing and disorientating world, and for Ruth new voices. While her parents find it a struggle to save themselves, let alone anyone else, Ruth seeks redemption in bearing witness to and passing on the stories of those who have been silenced, even as she is haunted by questions about what it means to witness and who gets to survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverBrushstrokes of memory / Karen McMillan.
“On her thirty-second birthday, Rebecca is in high spirits. Life could not be better. She adores her husband of seven years, Daniel, a successful musician. She is carving out a reputation as a talented painter after several successful exhibitions. She expects to juggle travel, motherhood and a stellar career in the future. But in 2003 she wakes in a hospital after a head injury and finds out that nine years, nine months and nineteen days of her life are erased from her memory. Now nearly forty two she can’t remember anything after her thirty second birthday, a decade fraught with changes she never would have anticipated” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe plot to kill Peter Fraser / David McGill.
“Peter Fraser was our greatest prime minister on the international stage. He proved it as World War Two was ending and he played a major part in shaping the United Nations. In the process he made enemies. He is back in New Zealand, where a plot is under way to kill him. If it is successful, New Zealand’s influence on the international stage ends and the country descends into chaos, a divided country ripe for international manipulation. Former detective Dan Delaney returns from sitting out the war in Italian and German prison camps. All he wants is a peaceful life with his refugee bride, but his old boss Inspector Biggart needs his help. The hunt for would-be Nazi assassins takes them into Wellington’s black market underworld, a defensive Italian fishing village and an upmarket yachting haven.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar sailors / James McNaughton.
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple, from the wrong side of the tracks, gain entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet. The couple’s housewarming party becomes an all-night carnival, and revolution gathers beyond the gate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeap of faith/ Jenny Pattrick.
“Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverObsession / Elspeth Sandys.
“Two men and woman: the woman obsessed with her husband; the husband obsessed with his island home and the country whose stories he had made it his mission to tell; the man obsessed with the couple whose dynamic both fascinates and repels him. Against a background of two decades of social upheaval, this bitter-sweet tale of tangled relationships moves towards its dramatic unpredictable conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSee what I have done / Sarah Schmidt.
“When her father and stepmother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden, 32years old and still living at home, immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHunters & collectors / M. Suddain.
“John Tamberlain is The Tomahawk, the universe’s most feared food critic, though he himself prefers the term ‘forensic gastronomer’. He’s on a quest, in search of the much-storied Hotel Grand Skies, a secretive and exclusive haven where the rich and famous retreat to bask in perfect seclusion. A place where the waiters know their fish knife from their butter knife, their carotid from their subclavian artery, and are trained to enforce the house rules with brutal efficiency. A mesmeric trip, blurring the lines between detective story, horror and science fiction.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSouthern gold : survival and desire in a raw new land / Jude Thomas.
“Set in Dunedin and Central Otago during the gold rush period, spanning 1858 to 1876. An illegitimate baby is found on the road and brought up in the notorious community of Maclaggan Street. She grows into a singular girl, and into a young woman to be reckoned with.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLifting / Damien Wilkins.
“Amy is a store detective at Cutty’s, the oldest and grandest department store in the country. She’s good at her job. She can read people and catch them. But Cutty’s is closing down. Amy has a young baby, an ailing mother and a large mortgage. She also has a past as an activist. Lifting opens in a police interview room, with Amy narrating the weeks leading up to the chaotic close of Cutty’s, a time when the store moves from permanent feature to ruin and when people under stress do strange things.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Some new Classical CDs

In this week’s new classical CD additions we highlight a musical evocation of “homeland”, some large-scale Elgar, and two great pianists bumping elbows at the keyboard (a fortepiano, in fact).

Heimat. Performed by Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu.
“This is a song cycle for the twenty-first century, crafted out of works by the greatest composers of the nineteenth and twentieth. It is at one level an anthology of German Lieder and English songs, at another an intensely personal narrative. Like many song cycles, it tells the story of a young man, whom we follow from home and childhood in Germany, on his journey to new lands and – far more important – to new emotions” (Neil MacGregor, liner notes).

Symphony No. 1, Introduction and Allegro, Elgar. Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Edward Gardner, with the Doric String Quartet.
“This new Elgar recording brings together some of Chandos’ finest exclusive British artists for the first time. The Doric String Quartet – highly praised for its series of Haydn and Schubert quartets – joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner in the ‘Introduction and Allegro’, one of Elgar’s masterpieces. Gardner here captures the subtle contrast between the solo quartet and the string ensemble, while also reconciling a wide variety of musical ideas and tempo fluctuations, not least the ever-popular ‘Welsh’ solo viola melody. The full Orchestra then appears in a passionate account of the majestic Symphony No. 1, a much-loved work ever since its premiere in 1906” (amazon.com).

Fantasie in F Minor and Other Piano Duets, Schubert. Performed by Andreas Staier and Alexander Melnikov.
“‘In Upper Austria, I find my compositions everywhere, especially in the monasteries of Sankt Florian and Kremsmünster, where with the help of a decent pianist I performed my four-hand variations and marches with great success.’ So wrote Franz Schubert in 1825, evoking the popular nineteenth-century genre that publishers were always pestering him to write. But the Viennese composer went much further than the traditional German dances and sets of variations, as is shown by the overwhelming Fantasie in F minor, one of the tragic masterpieces of his last year” (cover).

New eBook Fiction in May

There’s a distinctly piratical theme to this month’s new eBook fiction from Overdrive. And while the temptation to write the rest of this blog in a piratical accent is strong, I’ll refrain from any “Arrrghs” or “Shiver Me Timbers”. Did you know the pirate accent is actually based on that of the West Country in England (specifically the Dorset accent of actor Robert Newton)? The West Country has also been home to a great range of authors, from Agatha Christie to Jacqueline Wilson. Whatever your tastes, sign up to Overdrive to share in the literary plunder!

Overdrive cover Pirate Latitudes, by Michael Crichton
“Jamaica 1665. A lone British outpost in Spanish-controlled Caribbean waters. Its capital, Port Royal, is a cutthroat town of taverns and bawdy houses – and the last place anyone would expect an attack to be launched on a Spanish stronghold. Yet that is the plan of renowned privateer Captain Charles Hunter and Charles II’s ruling governor, Sir James Almont. If they succeed they will make history … and a fortune in gold.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Romance Reader’s Guide to Life, by Sharon Pywell
“Growing up in the shadow of the Second World War, the lives of sisters Lilly and Neave could not be more different. While Lilly is breaking hearts, Neave escapes reality in an illicit copy of The Pirate Lover. When the men return from war, the sisters are expected to settle down; instead they set out to create a makeup empire. But just as business is taking off, Lilly disappears. Desperate to find her, Neave discovers a whole new meaning to the truth being stranger than fiction.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver
“Six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam during a tour of the Grand Canyon. Her insistence on what she has seen, and her mother’s belief in her, lead to a man’s dramatic rescue. The mother and adopted daughter duo soon become nationwide heroes – even landing themselves a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. But Turtle’s moment of celebrity draws her into a conflict of historic proportions…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Golden Legend, by Nadeem Aslam
“When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road, Nargis’s husband dies before she can confess to him her greatest secret. Under threat from a military intelligence officer, who demands that she pardon her husband’s American killer, Nargis fears that the truth about her past will be exposed. Against this background of violence, two outsiders – the Christian, Helen and the mysterious Imran – try to find an island of calm in which their love can grow.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Carnival Sky, by Owen Marshall
“Sheff is disillusioned with journalism and, with plans to travel overseas, chucks in his job. But first he goes south to Alexandra, where his father is dying. He becomes caught up with his family in the agonising inertia of waiting for approaching death. Slowly he comes to terms with suppressed issues of loss, love, resentment and commitment, and acknowledges he must reach out for new relationships.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Corrag, by Susan Fletcher
“The Massacre of Glencoe happened in February 1692 when thirty-eight members of the Macdonald clan were killed by soldiers. Fifty miles to the south Corrag is condemned for her involvement, accused of witchcraft and awaits death. Charles Leslie, an Irish propagandist, hears of the massacre and comes to question her. As Corrag tells her story, a friendship develops between them that alters both their lives.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes
“Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Lee is gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous – almost too perfect to be true. But there’s a darker side to Lee. As his behaviour becomes increasingly controlling, Catherine is more and more isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, she plans her escape. And she succeeds. Four years later, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe. But is she?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Not So Much, Said the Cat, by Michael Swanwick
“The master of literary science fiction returns with this dazzling new collection. Michael Swanwick takes us on a whirlwind journey across the globe and across time and space, where magic and science exist in possibilities that are not of this world. These tales are intimate in their telling, galactic in their scope, and delightfully sesquipedalian in their verbiage. Join the caravan through Swanwick’s worlds and into the playground of his mind.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan
“The Red Lobster chain restaurant perched in a run-down American mall hasn’t been making its numbers and headquarters has pulled the plug. But manager Manny DeLeon still needs to navigate a tricky last shift and a final onslaught of hungry lunatics. All the while, he’s wondering how to handle the waitress he’s still in love with, his pregnant girlfriend and the location of the Christmas present that will make it all better.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Great and Secret Show, by Clive Barker
“In the little town of Palomo Grove, two armies are amassing; forces shaped from the hearts and souls of America. In this New York Times bestseller, Barker unveils one of the most ambitious imaginative landscapes in modern fiction, creating a new vocabulary for the battle between good and evil. From the first stirring of consciousness to a vision of the end of the world, The Great and Secret Show is a breath-taking journey.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New community language books

Here are some new community language books that have been added in German, Spanish and French.

Ein ganzes Leben : Roman / Robert Seethaler.
“Als Andreas Egger in das Tal kommt, in dem er sein Leben verbringen wird, ist er etwa vier Jahre alt – niemand weiß genau, wie alt er ist. Er bedient seinen Onkel als Bauernhofhand, und schließt sich später Arbeiter an, die eine Eisenbahn bauen und Strom mit Licht und Lärm in das Tal bringen. Der Tag kommt, wenn Egger Marie trifft, die Liebe seines Lebens, die er schließlich verlieren wird. Nur viele Jahre später, am Ende von Eggers Reise, wird sie wieder an seiner Seite sein. Und er blickt überrascht zurück über die Jahre, die hinter ihm liegen.” (Übersetzt aus dem Deckel) (Adapted from Amazon)

“When Andreas Egger arrives in the valley in which he will spend his life, he is about four years old–no one knows exactly how old he is. He serves his uncle as a farm hand, and later joins workers building a railway and bringing electricity, along with light and noise, to the valley. The day comes when Egger meets Marie, the love of his life, whom he will eventually lose. Only many years later, at the end of Egger’s journey, will she be by his side again. And he looks back with surprise on the years that lie behind him.” (Translated from the cover) (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLa espía / Paulo Coelho ; traducido del portugués por Pilar Obón
“En su nueva novela, Paulo Coelho da vida a una de las mujeres más enigmáticas de la historia: Mata Hari, acusada de espionaje durante la Primera Guerra Mundial. Aunque había pocas pruebas para incriminarla, no podía evitar la persecución y el enjuiciamiento por parte de la inteligencia militar francesa.”
(Abridged from Syndetics)

“In his new novel, Paulo Coelho gives life to one of the most enigmatic women in history: Mata Hari, who was accused of espionage during the First World War. Although there was little evidence to incriminate her, she could not escape persecution and prosecution by French military intelligence.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLos perros descalzos / Antonio Ruiz-Camacho ; traducción del autor.
“En una noche como cualquier otra, José Victoriano Arteaga, el patriarca de una próspera familia de la ciudad de México, desaparece sin dejar rastro mientras maneja a su casa luego de un día de trabajo. Los Arteaga encuentran pocas respuetes con pistas perturbadoras del paradero del abuelo, comienzan su éxodo a distintas ciudades del mundo para tratar de rehacer sus vidas.” –Page 4 of cover. (Syndetics summary)

“A debut collection of linked stories that follow the members of a wealthy Mexican family forced into exile–to Madrid, New York, Austin, Palo Alto–when the patriarch of their family is kidnapped.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverToda la vida / Héctor Aguilar Camín.
“Serrano, Felo, Pato y Liliana están envueltos en una enmarañada red de silencio, traiciones y obsesiones contradictorias que se desentrañan con la muerte de un conocido mutuo. Una vida sin sentido es un viaje nostálgico a través del terreno perdido de la vida bohemia en la Ciudad de México, una investigación literaria sobre cómo se escriben las novelas y un recordatorio de la Podrida relación entre la policía y la política en el México del antiguo régimen.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

“Serrano, Felo, Pato, and Liliana are involved in a tangled web of silence, betrayals, and conflicting obsessions that is unraveled by the death of a mutual acquaintance. A moral-less fable about the abysses of fatal love, ambition, and delusions, For a Lifetime is also a nostalgic tour through the lost terrain of bohemian life in Mexico City, a literary inquiry about how novels are written, and a reminder of the rotten relationship between the police and politics in the Mexico of the old regime.”(Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverParis-Austerlitz / Rafael Chirbes.
“El narrador de esta historia, un pintor madrileño, recuerda los pasos que han llevado al último viaje de su relación con Michel Michel, el hombre que llevó a este pintor a su casa, a su cama ya su vida cuando Este joven se quedó sin hogar en París, Michel ahora está muriendo.”(Resumen Syndetics).

The narrator of this story, a painter from Madrid, recalls the steps that have led to the last journey of his relationship with Michel. Michel, the man who took in this painter to his home, to his bed, and in his life when this youngster became homeless in Paris. Michel is now dying.” (Syndetics summary)

Trois jours et une vie : roman / Pierre Lemaitre.
“À la fin de décembre 1999, une surprenante série d’événements tragiques s’abattit sur Beauval, au premier rang desquels, bien sûr, la disparition du petit Rémi Desmedt. Dans cette région couverte de forêts, soumise à des rythmes lents, la disparition soudaine de cet enfant provoqua la stupeur et fut même considérée, par bien des habitants, comme le signe annonciateur des catastrophes à venir. Pour Antoine, qui fut au centre de ce drame, tout commença par la mort du chien …” (Syndetics summary)

“At the end of December 1999, a surprising series of tragic events broke out over Beauval, foremost among them, of course, the disappearance of little Rémi Desmedt. The sudden disappearance of this child provoked amazement and was even regarded by many as a sign of the catastrophe to come. And Antony, who was at the center of this drama, everything began with the death of the dog … ” -Page 4 of cover. (Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for May

The selection from our recently received new mystery novels will provide avid readers of this genre hours of entertainment. Included is the new novel from the very popular mystery writer Donna Leon, titled Earthly Remains, and a debut novel from Icelandic writer Ragnar Jonasson, titled Snowblind.

Syndetics book coverThe return of the raven mocker : an Alafair Tucker mystery / Donis Casey.
“Boynton Oklahoma’s Alafair Tucker finds time while caring for relatives sick with the Spanish flu to investigate the deaths of two neighbors. With death so commonplace, most have assumed that influenza was the cause, but Alafair suspects foul play. Without the aid of the only witness, a young girl stunned into silence, it is up to Alafair and the new town doctor to discover the truth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA high mortality of doves / Kate Ellis.
“1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four terrible years of war, and now, just when the village is coming to terms with the loss of so many of its sons, the brutal murder of a young girl shatters its hard-won tranquillity. Myrtle Bligh is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove, a bird of peace. During the war Myrtle worked as a volunteer nurse with caring for badly wounded soldiers at the nearby big house, Tarnhey Court. When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London. Once in Wenfield, Albert begins to investigate the three recent murders and the Cartwright family of Tarnhey Court and their staff fall under suspicion as their hidden lives and secrets are uncovered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSalvation Lake : a Leo Waterman mystery / G. M. Ford.
“At the end of an especially raucous day at his neighborhood bar, private eye Leo Waterman is surprised to see his old flame, Rebecca Duval, walk in the door. But King County’s medical examiner is here on business, not pleasure. Two dead bodies, covered by an old coat that once belonged to Leo’s father, have turned up in the trunk of a car. The only thing that seems to connect the men is a controversial local church and its charismatic pastor. With help from Rebecca and surveillance expert Carl Cradduck, Leo begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, painstakingly retracing the victims’ final days, charting their unusual search for redemption, from a downtown homeless encampment to suburban McMansions to the shores of Salvation Lake.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTastes like fear / Sarah Hilary.
“A young girl who causes a fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home, to the one man who understands her, gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house. He’s the head of her new family. He’s Harm. DI Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarthly remains / Donna Leon.
“During an interrogation, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he quickly comes to regret, and in the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break. Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti’s wife Paola ships him off to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until David Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlue light Yokohama / Nicolás Obregón.
“Setagaya ward, Tokyo Inspector Kosuke Iwata, newly transferred to Tokyo’s homicide department, is assigned a new partner and a secondhand case. Blunt, hard as nails and shunned by her colleagues, Assistant Inspector Noriko Sakai is a partner Iwata decides it would be unwise to cross. A case that’s complicated, a family of four murdered in their own home by a killer who then ate ice cream, surfed the web and painted a hideous black sun on the bedroom ceiling before he left in broad daylight. A case that so haunted the original investigator that he threw himself off the city’s famous Rainbow Bridge. Fearing corruption among his fellow officers and trying to put his own shattered life back together, Iwata knows time is running out before he’s taken off the case or there are more killings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSnowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: is a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik, with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ripper’s shadow : a Victorian mystery / Laura Joh Rowland.
“Miss Sarah Bain, a photographer in Whitechapel, is an independent woman with dark secrets. In the privacy of her studio, she supplements her meager income by taking illicit “boudoir photographs” of the town’s local ladies of the night. But when two of her models are found gruesomely murdered within weeks of one another, Sarah begins to suspect it’s more than mere coincidence. Teamed with a motley crew of friends, Sarah delves into the crime of the century. But just as she starts unlocking the Ripper’s secrets, she catches the attention of the local police, who believe she knows more than she’s revealing, as well as from the Ripper himself, now bent on silencing her and her friends for good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEssex poison / Ian Sansom.
“October 1937. Swanton Morley, the people’s professor, sets off to Essex to continue his history of England. Morley’s daughter Miriam continues to cause chaos and his assistant Stephen Sefton continues to slide deeper into depression and despair. Morley is an honorary guest at the Colchester Oyster Festival, but when the mayor dies suddenly at the civic reception suspicion falls on his fellow councilors. Is it a case of food poisoning? Or could it be murder? Join Morley, Miriam and Sefton on another journey into the dark heart of England.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwo days gone : a Ryan DeMarco mystery / Randall Silvis.
“The perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect life, all gone now. What could cause a man, when all the stars of fortune are shining upon him, to suddenly snap and destroy everything he has built? This is the question that haunts Sergeant Ryan DeMarco after the wife and children of beloved college professor and bestselling author Thomas Huston are found slaughtered in their home. Huston himself has disappeared and so is immediately cast as the prime suspect. DeMarco knows, or thinks he knows, that Huston couldn’t have been capable of murdering his family. But if Huston is innocent, why is he on the run? Does the half-finished manuscript he left behind contain clues to the mystery of his family’s killer”? (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

2016 New Zealand Fiction prize winners announced

Syndetics book coverThis year’s Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize of $50,000, has been awarded to Catherine Chidgey for her novel The Wish Child. This is her fourth novel since her first, In a Fishbone Church, was published in 1998, and is thirteen years after her last novel, The Transformation.
The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction was awarded to Gina Cole for her short story collection Black Ice Matter.

 


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