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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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Kerry’s Fiction Picks

I’ve chosen some interesting mystery and thriller titles this week. Good suggestions if you want alternatives to the usual Scandi-types!

Syndetics book coverMan lies dreaming
Lavie Tidhar is an award winning fantasy writer and this is his latest offering, described by the Guardian (a description happily accepted by Tidahr) as a “twisted masterpiece”. It turns the grim subject of the Holocaust upside down and reimagines it through the prism of concentration camp captive Shomer, a former pulp fiction author who fantasises instead that he is a low rent PI called Wolf living London to escape the realities of Auschwitz. Wolf experiences an alternate history where Hitler has failed and he encounters other historical figures on his adventures, the Mitford sisters, Ian Fleming and Leni Reifenstahl. The Guardian goes on to say the novel “treats the topic of genocide with a kind of energetic unseriousness”, in a good way. It sits alongside Timur Vermes’s satirical story about Hitler Look who’s back, both presenting a change in tone in the treatment of such serious topics.

Syndetics book coverGirl on the train
This debut novel by Paula Hawkins will provide you with your next new Gone Girl and has been praised by S J Watson who wrote Before I go to Sleep – so certainly a top notch thriller! It’s about a young woman who commutes everyday on the same train to work. On her journey the passes the same house and the couple who live there, which she always stops to look at and imagine their lives. One morning she sees something terrible and burdened by she saw goes to the police. What unfolds has been described as Hitchcockian and “compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive… and an electrifying debut.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMind of winter
This is a thriller slash horror about a mother and daughter – loving mum and wife Holly and her adopted daughter Tatty. Holly and husband Eric had travelled to Russia to adopt Tatiana from an orphanage, ignoring the superstitions of the nurses there, but still unable to shake the feeling that something evil had followed them back from Russia. One Christmas morning Holly wakes up with an ominous feeling and as the day progresses things start to go wrong, Tatty starts to change and become someone else. Amazon says “a dark and chilling thriller that combines domestic drama with elements of psychological suspense and horror—an addictive tale of denial and guilt that is part Joyce Carol Oates and part Chris Bohjalian.” Author Laura Kasischke’s work has been critically acclaimed and she’s won several awards, certainly sounds like a good scary story!

Spring Art Books – Recent Picks

Our spring selection of recently acquired art books offers fresh possibilities and insights about contemporary art for everyone; from the consummate art buff to those taking an interest for the first time.  Packed full of visually appealing images the notable element of this selection is that  many are of a compact size and are very transportable despite the plethora of complex ideas they contain.

Syndetics book coverWays of looking : how to experience contemporary art / Ossian Ward.
“This book provides a straightforward, six-step programme for understanding contemporary art based on the concept of the tabula rasa a clean slate and a fresh mind. Because artists increasingly work across traditional media and genres, the author has also developed an alternative classification system Art as Entertainment, Art as Confrontation, Art as Joke designed to help make sense of otherwise obscure-seeming works. Ways of Looking transforms a potentially intimidating encounter with cutting edge contemporary art into a dramatic, sensually rewarding and thought provoking experience.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPortraits: 50 paintings you should know
“Featuring exquisite full-page reproductions accompanied by engaging texts, each of the 50 iconic portraits in this book exemplifies a moment in history, or a turning point in the artist’s career.  An introductory essay on the history and importance of the portrait in art history and brief biographies of each artist round out this survey which is an attractive and affordable package.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMyself: portraits of 40 great artists
“This book is a fascinating combination of biographical anecdote and art history. Self-portraits have been created by man from ancient times through to the Middle Ages and beyond, for many different reasons and in many different forms. Juliet Heslewood, art historian and author, has brought together a compelling collection of forty artists’ self-portraits, and the stories behind each one from Durer, Da Vinci and Rembrandt, to Van Gogh, Matisse and Kahlo.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShow time : the 50 most influential exhibitions of contemporary art / Jens Hoffmann.
“Show Time is the first book to explore the radical shifts that have taken place in the practice of curating contemporary art over the last twenty years. Tracing a history of the field through its most innovative shows, renowned curator Jens Hoffmann has selected the fifty exhibitions that have most significantly shaped the practice of both artists and exhibition curators.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverArt Inc. : the essential guide for building your career as an artist / Lisa Condon ; edited by Meg Mateo Ilasco ; foreword by Jonathan Fields ; illustrations, Karolin Schnoor.
“In this practical guide, professional artist Lisa Congdon reveals the many ways you can earn a living by making art. Including industry advice from such successful art-world pros as Nikki McClure, Mark Hearld, Paula Scher, and more, Art, Inc. will equip you with the tools,and the confidence, to turn your passion into a profitable business.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverBig art, small art / Tristan Manco.
“Scale is being taken to new extremes in art: big and bold on the one hand, intricate and intimate on the other. This book profiles forty-five contemporary artists whose approach to scale  is integral to their art practice.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe global art compass / Alistair Hicks.
“Crosscurrents in the art world are flowing in every direction around the planet. Hicks provides a series of essays about developments in the contemporary art scene  organized geographically by continent. This includes extracts from interviews with artists from such diverse locales as Peru, Albania, and India.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder Spring: Voices + Art + Los Angeles
“This is the story of  the transformation of the seedy no mans land of  Los Angeles’s North Spring Street bridge from into a vibrant community hub. Between 2006 and 2013, artist Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio team transformed the underpass into a creative space that now serves as a public square, ceremonial ground, art gallery, community garden, and musical instrument. Melding stories from artists, scholars, laborers, graffiti artists, urban planners, activists, gang members this book gives an account of the underpass’s many metamorphoses.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverDegenerate art : the fate of the avant-garde in Nazi Germany / edited by! Stephanie Barron ; with contributions by Peter Guenther … et al.!.
“This reconstruction of the infamous Nazi exhibition of officially proscribed or degenerate art in 1937 is revealing for the issues of aesthetic taste and artistic censorship it raises and explores. The curators of the current exhibition have reassembled much of the surviving artwork that the German government found so objectionable and in certain instances have reinstalled the pieces in settings identical to their original display. This combination of art and politics is potent and revealing with startling contemporary relevance.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

New Other Genre fiction for October

Short story collections by a single author feature in this month’s selection of new ‘Other Genre’ fiction. All the authors show astounding skill writing in this difficult genre. The story collections range from suspense to crime, love to horror, from the Mexican American border to Sri Lanka. Sometimes they will shock or amuse, surprise or sadden, but they will all leave the reader wanting more.

Syndetics book coverBorderline / by Lawrence Block.
“This book includes three of Lawrence Block’s rarest short stories, from the pages of pulp magazines of half a century ago. This is MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block at his rawest and most visceral, bloody, bawdy, brutal stories of passion and punishment and of lines that were never meant to be crossed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShots fired : stories from Joe Pickett Country / C.J. Box.
“From C. J. Box, the New York Times-bestselling author of the Joe Pickett novels, comes a thrilling book of suspense stories about the Wyoming he knows so well and the dark deeds and impulses that can be found there. Over the course of eighteen books, C. J. Box has been consistently hailed for his brilliant storytelling and extraordinary skills at creating character, suspense, and a deep sense of place. All of those strengths are in the ten riveting stories; three of them never before published that make up Shots Fired.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNoontide toll : stories / Romesh Gunesekera.
“The driver’s job is to stay in control behind the wheel and that is all. The past is what you leave as you go. There is nothing more to it. Vasantha retired early, bought himself a van with his savings, and now works as a driver for hire. As he drives through Sri Lanka, carrying aid workers, businessmen, and families and meeting lonely soldiers and eager hoteliers, he engages them with self-deprecating wit and folksy wisdom-and reveals for us their uncertain lives .A wonderful collection of stories that are perceptive, somber, and draw a potent portrait of postwar Sri Lanka and the ghosts of civil war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProblems with People : Stories / David Guterson.
“Ten sharply observed, funny, and wise new stories that are stunning explorations of the mysteries of love and our complex desire for connection. From youth to old age, the voices that inhabit Problems with People offer tender, unexpected, and always tightly focused accounts of our quest to understand each other, individually, and as part of a political and historical moment. They celebrate the ordinary yet brightening surprises that lurk within the dramas of our daily lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe assassination of Margaret Thatcher and other stories / Hilary Mantel.
“A brilliant and rather transgressive collection of short stories from the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe love object : selected stories / Edna O’Brien.
“Collected here together for the first time in one volume are the stories of an expert practitioner of the shorter form. Spanning five decades of writing, here you will find stories about families, feuds, love and land; enchantment, disenchantment, and throughout, the manifold bonds of love. Here are stories about the tension between country and city life, the instinct towards escape and nostalgia for home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEngland and other stories / Graham Swift.
“These twenty-five new stories mark Graham Swift’s return to the short form after seven acclaimed novels and confirm him as a master storyteller. They unite into a richly peopled vision of a country that is both a crucible of history and a maze of contemporary confusions. From the Civil War to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces, homes, Graham Swift charts an intimate human geography, and always with a constant eye for comedy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast stories and other stories / William T. Vollmann.
“In this magnificent new work of fiction, his first in nine years, celebrated author William T. Vollmann offers a collection of ghost stories linked by themes of love, death, and the erotic. Are ghosts memories, fantasies, or monsters? Is there life in death? In the shadowy borderland between categories, and these eerie tales, however far-flung their settings, all focus on the attempts of the living to avoid, control, or even seduce death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMothers Grimm / Danielle Wood.
“In a fairytale, the only good mother is six feet under. All the others are bad news. A fairytale mother will exchange her first-born child for a handful of leafy greens. And if times get tough, she’ll walk her babes into the woods and leave them there. But mothers of today do no such things. Do they? In this collection of heart breaking honest stories, the mothers of the Brothers Grimm are brought, with wit, subversion and lyrical prose, into the here and now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Law for Lunch – Enduring Powers of Attorney: When you can’t manage your own affairs

Law for Lunch logo

Law for Lunch this week is taken to the Newlands Community Centre.
The topic will be presented by Darien Mahony, a Community Lawyer at Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley.

Darien, who holds the Seniors’ portfolio, will be focusing on

• What is a general Power of Attorney and how may be arranged
• What can you do if you become unable to look after yourself and your own affairs
• When and how you should set up an Enduring Power of Attorney
• Who can deal with your property and your bank accounts and more …

Come along to ask your questions and find out more about Enduring Powers of Attorney
You are welcome to bring your lunch and there’s no need to book a seat in advance.

This presentation will take place this Wednesday, from 12 noon to 1pm, at Newlands Community Centre, 9 Batchelor St, Newlands. You are all welcome!

For more information, please check our online Event Calendar.

More new October classical CDs

This week some heavyweight orchestral pieces, with a side of a tribute to some of Berlin’s great tenors.

ClassicalrecentOct14b1Mahler 7, Gustavo Dudamel, conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.
I do like some of the language in this description: “Gustavo Dudamel resumes his survey of Mahler’s symphonies with this recording of the rare mysterious Seventh. ‘It is a cosmic symphony – a symphony of everything,’ says Dudamel; ‘from chaos to glory, sarcasm to tenderness, from a funeral march to a tango, it is a work of perfect construction and huge emotions.’ Reviewing a concert performance in 2012, the Los Angeles Times remarked: ‘The Bolivars brought brawn and ferocity, but also a jazzy spirit, to the opening. ‘Night music’ for Dudamel and his Venezuelans was the call of the night, seductive and seductively scary.’” (cover)

ClassicalrecentOct14b2You Mean the World to Me, Jonas Kaufmann.
“An album dedicated to the glorious tunes made famous by the tenor stars of Berlin’s legendary heyday. Jonas Kaufmann’s hand-picked selection ranges from the unbeatable Richard Tauber hits of the ‘Golden 20s’ to the songs of the new ‘talkie’ era (Tonfilm-Ära), when film tenors – such as Joseph Schmidt – were the superstars of their time” (cover).

ClassicalrecentOct14b3Piano Concertos 3 & 4, Beethoven. Performed by Maria João Pires with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding.
“Beethoven’s turbulent Third Piano Concerto and the serene Fourth, the last of his concertos Beethoven played in public before his deafness became total, are the two works chosen by Maria João Pires for her first recording for ONYX Classics. Her penetrating and passionate interpretations are the fruit of many years of performing these works, resulting in an intimate and deeply personal relationship with Beethoven’s genius.” (cover)

ClassicalrecentOct14b4Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Shostakovich. Performed by Christian Tetzlaff with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Storgårds.
German violinist Tetzlaff gives an impressive performance of Shostakovich’s concertos for violin.

And wending their way to the library: Renaissance: Music for Inner Peace by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers, Lisa de al Salle plays Schumann, and a new album of solo performances by American cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

I’ve been having a little break, busily working away and ordering you lots of lovely new fiction. Here’s just a small selection of some of the new titles arriving at the library soon (well, the next three months or so).  The books I’ve chosen for this post are about relationships, friendships and families.  You can find them on the catalogue and reserve them if you don’t want to miss out!

Syndetics book coverMrs Grant and Madame Jule
Jennifer Chiaverini is a pretty popular, block-busting author who doesn’t really need my recommendations, but I think her new titles sound really interesting.  This book is about the wife of Civil War hero Ulysses S Grant, his wife Julia Grant and her slave Madame Jule.  Obviously there is a conflict here in that Ulysses was an abolitionist who fought on the side of the Union against slavery.  However, his Southern wife continued to keep her slave during the war and their married life.  The story covers the complexities of both the war and society at the time, and the relationships between Julia and Ulysses, and Julia and Jule (who won her freedom with the Emancipation Declaration). Chiaverini also covered slavery and the Civil War in her previous novel Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker, putting a new, interesting, female perspective on the period.

Syndetics book coverBook of lost and found
This story spans decades and is a true relationship saga.  It starts in 1928 when Tom and Alice meet and begin their love story.  it then moves onto their marriage and relationship as it plays out against the beginning of WWII in Paris.  It also follows a young woman, Kate, who in the 1980s begins a quest to find her true parentage.  I’ll leave it there, only to say the story has been described as “lyrical, compulsive and haunting”, “the heartbreaking tale of loves lost and decades of regret, a story of life broken by wars, and how the dark secrets in your past can resonate through your future” (Bookseller website).  Author Lucy Foley used to be a book editor and this debut was hotly bid by many publishers – so it must be good!

Syndetics book coverPlayground
This is by Julia Kelly, an Irish writer and young mother, whose experiences as a new mum inspired this novel.  Set in Dublin, it’s about Eve, who’s life has fallen apart – partner walked out, no job, moved to a little, grotty home.  Despite the grim circumstances Eve has her baby daughter and together they settle into their new surroundings, becoming regular visitors to a dilapidated playground nearby.  Eve is soon joined by other mums in the area, a small garden is planted and things start to look up.  But when there is an accident and Eve is blamed she must face the consequences, and herself.  The story becomes about growing up, a coming-of-age of sorts, and how to be a parent when you may not have ‘grown up’ yourself.

November self-help books

This month’s books seem to agree on one thing – it is all in our mind! But there are many ways of interpreting and understanding what we are thinking, how we are feeling and why (sometimes looking at our genetic make-up for clues on our modern psyche), how we decide what to focus on, whether positive psychology is what we need or if it is OK to dwell on negative thoughts.

Syndetics book coverThink like a freak : how to think smarter about almost everything 
“The Freakonomics books have come to stand for something: challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions; and learning to unravel the world’s secret codes. Now Levitt and Dubner have gathered up what they have learned and turned it into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking differently – thinking, that is, like a Freak. Whether you are interested in the best way to improve your odds in penalty kicks, or in major global reforms, here is a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. ” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverNothing changes until you do : a guide to self-compassion and getting out of your own way
“After three years of living his dream as a professional baseball pitcher, Mike Robbins had an arm injury that benched him for good, and when this happened, he had to figure out who he was without the identity of “baseball player”. He quickly realized that the self-criticism and self-doubt he was feeling are epidemic in our culture. In these 40 inspiring stories, Mike shows you how to get out of your own way and make peace with yourself. With humour, authenticity and ease, you’ll learn to have more compassion, more acceptance and more love for yourself – thus giving you access to more for the people (and everything else) in your life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSnakes, sunrises, and Shakespeare : how evolution shapes our loves and fears
“Our breath catches and we jump in fear at the sight of a snake. We pause and marvel at the sublime beauty of a sunrise. These reactions are no accident; in fact, many of our human responses to nature are steeped in our deep evolutionary past — we fear snakes because of the danger of venom or constriction, and we welcome the assurances of the sunrise as the predatory dangers of the dark night disappear. Many of our aesthetic preferences are the lingering result of natural selection. By applying biological perspectives ranging from Darwin to current neuroscience, Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare transforms how we view our experience of the natural world and how we relate to each other.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe complete A to Z dictionary of dreams : be your own dream expert
“Why do you dream about missing a train or teeth falling out? How did you wake up thinking of a tiger at your door? When you dream you unconciously reveal who you are, what you need and what you truly believe. In this book, bestselling dream psychologist Ian Wallace explains the true meaning of over 12,000 dream symbols – newly defined for the 21st century – and teaches you how to become your own dream expert. A dream is just a dream until you put it into action. Understand yours and change the reality of your waking life.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness at work for dummies
“Learn to: master your mind by making time for mindfulness in your daily routine; use mindfulness to improve your resilience and wellbeing; improve team performance through mindfulness practice.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverWhen happiness is not enough : balancing pleasure and achievement in your life
“Everybody wants to be happy. But do we really know what happiness is and how it contributes to fulfilling life? In considering these questions, psychologist Chris Skellett proposes that “In order to live a truly fulfilling life, we need to strike a balance between Pleasure and Achievement”. This simple truth, known as the the Pleasure/Achievement Principle, lies at the heart of this entertaining, yet thought-provoking book.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverConstructive wallowing : how to beat bad feelings by letting yourself have them
“If you’ve ever ignored difficult feelings, Gilbertson has written a counterintuitive self-help book that offers constructive advice for boosting self-compassion. She begins with an easy premise: letting yourself experience both positive and negative emotions allows your body to have a healthy balance, which helps you to make informed, rounded decisions. Although it’s a simple premise, it’s certainly not easy to change ingrained habits. Luckily, Gilbertson has foreseen this and included many summaries, examples, and exercises throughout to help the reader cope with anticipated struggles. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBe brilliant every day : use the power of positive psychology to make an impact on life
“The authors of the bestselling The Art of Being Brilliant are here to show us how to get motivated, get positive and get happy, and, most importantly, how to be all three consistently. Every single day. Using a solid understanding of positive psychology, but with clear visual illustrations, simple explanations and a bit of funny stuff, Be Brilliant Everyday shows us how to foster some serious positivity and mental agility and transform our lives. The book is crammed with practical tips to help us ditch those down days and flourish every single day.” (Syndetics)

New Books on Popular Music

This month’s selection offers intriguing reads including a unique study of “American cool” and the new edition of Music 4.0 which is a kind of guide book on making and selling music in the internet era. Some fantastic biographies on Joni Mitchell and Miley Cyrus are also available now. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverAmerican cool / Joel Dinerstein, Frank H. Goodyear III.
“What does it mean when we say someone is cool? This luminous collection of portraits and film stills sheds new light on the term, its origins, and its evolution – with some surprising and provocative results. The term “cool” has become such a part of America’s modern lexicon that it seems to have lost its meaning. This stellar collection of photographs from the National Portrait Gallery and from prominent artists, museums, and archives nationwide would argue otherwise. Exploring cultural icons, this volume encourages readers to find new meaning and depth in the idea of American cool.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMusic 4.0 : a survival guide for making music in the Internet age / Bobby Owsinski.
“Featuring the latest music business and social media concepts as well as brand-new interviews with a variety of the industry’s top movers and shakers, Music 4.0 is a completely updated version of the previous best-selling editions. How has streaming music impacted the artist and the industry? Why do traditional record labels, television, and radio have increasingly less influence in an artist’s success? How should music be marketed and distributed in this new world? All these questions (and more!) are answered in this updated version of Music 4.0, along with some new high- and low-tech tips for inexpensive marketing and promotion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSongwriters on songwriting / Paul Zollo.
“This expanded fourth edition of Songwriters on Songwriting includes ten new interviews–with Alanis Morissette, Lenny Kravitz, Lou Reed, and others. In these pages, sixty-two of the greatest songwriters of our time go straight to the source of the magic of songwriting by offering their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on their art. Representing almost every genre of popular music, from blues to pop to rock, here are the figures that have shaped American music as we know it.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCowboys and indies : the epic history of the record industry / Gareth Murphy.
Cowboys and Indies is nothing less than the first definitive history of the recording industry on both sides of the Atlantic. From the invention of the earliest known sound-recording device in 1850s Paris to the CD crash and digital boom today, author and industry insider Gareth Murphy takes readers on an immensely entertaining and encyclopedic ride through the many cataclysmic musical, cultural, and technological changes that shaped a century and a half of the industry. Remarkable in scope and impressive in depth, Cowboys and Indies chronicles the pioneers who set the stylus on the most important labels and musical discoveries in history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJoni Mitchell : in her own words / conversations with Malka Marom.
“When singer, musician, and broadcast journalist Malka Marom had the opportunity to interview Joni Mitchell in 1973, she was eager to reconnect with the performer she’d first met late one night in 1966. More conversations followed over the next four decades of friendship, and it was only after Joni and Malka completed their last recorded interview, in 2012, that Malka discovered the heart of their discussions: the creative process. In Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words, Joni and Malka follow this thread through seven decades of life and art, discussing the influence of Joni’s childhood, love and loss, acclaim and criticism, glamorous triumphs and tragic mistakes… This riveting narrative is shared in the hope of illuminating a timeless body of work and inspiring others.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiley Cyrus : good girl, bad girl / Chloé Govan.
“Charting the controversial journey of a shy, chaste child star from America’s Deep South: from early fame on the Disney TV series Hannah Montana to her sexually liberated pop image that later made headlines worldwide. Exclusive interviews with figures from Miley’s past, from close childhood friends to those who attended church with her in a quiet and close-knit village-like community and got to know her well. These interviews will help to separate fact from fiction, publicity stunt from personality growth, will explore the psychology behind her dramatic transformations and will ultimately get to the bottom of exactly what makes the multi-faceted Miley Cyrus tick.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverA voice undefeated / Collin Raye ; with a foreword by Governor Mike Huckabee.
“When Collin Raye’s powerful, golden voice dazzled the country music scene in 1991 with his #1 hit single Love, Me, country music listeners fell in love with one of the great voices of our time. Raye’s autobiography gives readers a down-to-earth account of the author’s personal and professional life. From his childhood in Arkansas and Texas through his days with the Wray Brothers Band in Oregon and Reno, this book is both a journey to the top of the music world and an intimate diary of a soul that has suffered great professional and personal losses. Includes DVD of never-before-seen personal interview and two songs written by Collin that are intimate to his story.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAin’t it time we said goodbye : the Rolling Stones on the road to exile / Robert Greenfield.
“Although they did not know it then, when the Rolling Stones embarked on their farewell tour of Great Britain in March 1971 after having announced they were about to go into tax exile in the south of France, it was the end of an era. For the Stones, nothing would ever be the same again. For ten days on that tour, the Rolling Stones traveled by train and bus to play two shows a night in many of the same small town halls and theaters where they had begun their career. Based on Greenfield’s first-hand account as well as new interviews with many of the key players, Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye is a vibrant and thrilling look at the way it once was and would never be again in the world according to the Rolling Stones.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDusty : an intimate portrait of a musical legend / Karen Bartlett.
“Dusty Springfield was one of the biggest musical stars of the 20th century. From the launch of her solo career in 1963, and until her departure for Los Angeles a decade later, she was Britain’s biggest female star, with a glamour and voice that propelled her into a different league. She was, in almost every way, ahead of her time. This title tells the life story of this musical legend.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy beautiful dark twisted fantasy / Kirk Walker Graves.
“In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Kanye West created the most compelling body of pop music by an American artist during the period. Having risen from obscurity as a precocious producer through the ranks of Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella records, by the time he released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF) in late 2010, West had evolved into a master collagist, an alchemist capable of transfiguring semi-obscure soul samples and indelible beats into a brash and vulnerable new art form. Sampling and ventriloquizing the pop music past to tell the story of its future – very much a tale of our culture’s wish for unfettered digital ubiquity – MBDTF is the album of its era, an aesthetic self-acquittal and spiritual autobiography of our era’s most dynamic artist.” (Syndetics summary)

New Contemporary Fiction for October

An amazing selection this month that features some new exciting writers, several well-known popular writers plus a ‘Granta Best Young Novelist’ Xiaolu Guo and her novel titled I am China.

Syndetics book coverThe Marco effect : a Department Q novel / Jussi Adler-Olsen ; translated by Martin Aitken ; translation consultant, Steve Schein.
“All fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson wants is to become a Danish citizen and go to school like a normal teenager. But his uncle Zola rules his former gypsy clan with an iron fist. Revered as a god and feared as a devil, Zola forces the children of the clan to beg and steal for his personal gain. When Marco discovers a dead body proving the true extent of Zola’s criminal activities he goes on the run. But his family members aren’t the only ones who’ll go to any lengths to keep Marco silent forever. When Department Q learn that a mysterious teen named Marco may have as much insight into the case as he has fear of the police, Carl is determined to solve the mystery and save the boy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucky us : a novel / Amy Bloom.
“Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolf in white van / John Darnielle.
“Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. As the creator of Trace Italian, a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail, Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America. Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPerfidia / James Ellroy.
“It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans, but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins. The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls–comrades, rivals, lovers, history’s pawns.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe spring of Kasper Meier / Ben Fergusson.
“The war is over, but Berlin is a desolate sea of rubble. There is a shortage of everything: food, clothing, tobacco. The local population is scrabbling to get by. Kasper Meier is one of these Germans, and his solution is to trade on the black market to feed himself and his elderly father. He can find anything that people need, for the right price, even other people. When a young woman, Eva, arrives at Kasper’s door seeking the whereabouts of a British pilot, he feels a reluctant sympathy for her but won’t interfere in military affairs. But Eva is prepared for this. Kasper has secrets, she knows them, and she’ll use them to get what she wants.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMr Mac and me / Esther Freud.
“It is 1914, and Thomas Maggs, the son of the local publican, lives with his parents and sister in a village on the Suffolk coast. He is the youngest child, and the only son surviving. Life is quiet, shaped by the seasons, fishing and farming… Then one day a mysterious Scotsman arrives. Mac is what the locals call him when they whisper about him in the inn. But Mac isn’t a detective, he’s the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and together with his red-haired artist wife, they soon become a source of fascination and wonder to Thomas. Yet just as Thomas and Mac’s friendship begins to blossom, war with Germany is declared.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI am China / Xiaolu Guo.
“In a flat above a noisy north London market, translator Iona Kirkpatrick starts work on a Chinese letter: Dearest Mu, The sun is piercing, old bastard sky. I am feeling empty and bare. Nothing is in my soul, apart from the image of you. In a detention centre in Dover exiled Chinese musician Jian is awaiting an unknown fate. In Beijing his girlfriend Mu sends desperate letters to London to track him down. As Iona unravels the story of these Chinese lovers, Jian and Mu seem to be travelling further and further away from each other while Iona feels more and more alive. Intoxicated by their romance, Iona sets out to bring them back together, but time seems to be running out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe skeleton road / Val McDermid.
“When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a gothic Victorian building in Edinburgh, which is scheduled for renovation, Cold Case Squad detective Karen Pirie is given the task of identifying the decades-old bones. Her investigation leads her back to past conflicts, false identities and buried secrets.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn search of Solace / Emily Mackie.
“Jacob Little is in trouble, existential trouble. Ten years ago, in pursuit of a philosophical theory, he ditched his girlfriend Solace and took to the road, adopting a series of personae and obsessions: he’s been Keith, the archaeologist, Otto, the purple-bearded pagan, Isaac, the gardener, and many more. Now, with no sense of who he is at all, he’s decided to find the one person who knows the real Jacob, Solace. Jacob’s quest leads him to Solace’s Scottish hometown and into the lives of four people with their own issues. Each sees Jacob in a different light. For each, he is a catalyst. But where does that leave Jacob? And will he ever find Solace?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShark / Will Self.
“4 May 1970. A week earlier President Nixon has ordered American ground forces into Cambodia to pursue the Vietcong. By the end of the day four students will be lying in the grounds of Kent State University, shot dead by the National Guard. On the other side of the Atlantic, it’s a brilliant sunny morning after an April of heavy rain, and maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner has been tricked into joining a decidedly ill-advised LSD trip with several of its disturbed residents. Five years later, sitting in a nearby cinema watching Steven Spielberg’s Jaws with his young son, Busner realizes the true nature of the events that transpired on that dread-soaked day, when a survivor of the worst disaster in the US Navy’s history, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the shark-infested south Pacific, came face-to-face with the British Royal Air Force observer on the Enola Gay’s mission to Hiroshima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

World War I online resources for children Part 3

Over the next year many schools will have a World War One focus, requiring children to research some aspect of the war, or the war time era. The list of potential topics is long and the sheer amount of information available out there can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to find reliable information that is age-appropriate for your children. Here we have created a guide to reputable online resources that are suitable for children. This is the final of three parts published in this series. They will soon be available as resources on one page, which we will provide a link to once it has gone live.

Primary Sources


Moule, D, fl 1919. Moule, D, fl 1919 :Record of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War. 4th Aug. 1914 [to] 28th June 1919 / D Moule del. Published by the Government Life Insurance Department. [ca 1919].. Ref: Eph-D-WAR-WI-1919-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22790825

– Christchurch City Libraries has a online digital archive of primary resources: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/DigitalCollection/WarsandConflicts/WorldWarI/

– DigitalNZ is an online resource for images and other media: http://www.digitalnz.org/ Use their search box to find World War One (or Great War) media.

– Papers past is a digital archive of New Zealand Newspapers: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast Search for World War One, Great War, or individual battles and campaigns. You can limit the results by date, region and title of publication.

General World War One sites


Ian McGibbon. ‘First World War’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 9-Nov-12 URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/first-world-war

– BBC: http://www.bbc.com/ww1
– BBC Schools page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/0/ww1/
– Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/first-world-war
– New Zealand History: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/first-world-war
– WW100: http://ww100.govt.nz/
– Imperial War Museum: http://www.iwm.org.uk/
– FirstWorldWar.com: http://www.firstworldwar.com/
– Archives New Zealand: http://archives.govt.nz/world-war-one
– The British Library: http://www.bl.uk/world-war-one
– National Library New Zealand: http://natlib.govt.nz/ww100

Children are also welcome to chat live with an online librarian, who will help them with their research and finding online resources. AnyQuestions is a government-funded homework help service for New Zealand School Students. It’s open 1pm – 6pm Monday to Friday: http://www.anyquestions.co.nz


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