A booklist on books about books – recent literature titles

With an influx of new content coming in, we thought this month’s recent literature picks had a recurring theme. They discuss what makes a great story, how to write one, and perhaps most importantly, how to appreciate one. From libraries to publishers, from authors to classic novels, these titles give an insight into how we can write for an audience as well as truly enjoy literacy in our lives.

We’re mostly intrigued by the titles For the Love of Books and Faber & Faber, which give a new insight into the often-overlooked histories of writing and publishing.

Overdrive cover Words Fail Me, Patricia T. O’Conner (ebook)
“Whether you need to improve your skills for work or school, or aspire to the Great American Novel, a grounding in grammar, spelling, and punctuation is essential—not just to make you look like a professional but to communicate effectively in emails, essays, or anything you need to write. With these simple, straightforward tips, you can learn how to sort your thoughts and make sentences that make sense.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Faber & Faber, Toby Faber (ebook)
“Published to celebrate Faber’s 90th anniversary, this is the story of one of the world’s greatest publishing houses – a delight for all readers who are curious about the business of writing. The result is both a vibrant history and a hymn to the role of literature in all our lives.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Plotted, Daniel Harmon (ebook)
“This incredibly wide-ranging collection of maps—all inspired by literary classics—offers readers a new way of looking at their favorite fictional worlds.  Sure to reignite a love for old favorites and spark fresh interest in more recent works as well, Plotted provides a unique new way of appreciating the lands of the human imagination.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Anatomy of Story, John Truby (ebook)
“John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby’s own unique approach for how to build an effective, multifaceted narrative.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Library Book, Susan Orlean (ebook)
“After moving to Los Angeles, Susan Orlean became fascinated by a mysterious local crime that has gone unsolved since it was carried out on the morning of 29 April 1986: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying more than 400,000 books, and perhaps even more perplexing, why? Orlean uses this… as a lens through which to tell the story of all libraries – their history, their meaning and their uncertain future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The making of Jane Austen / Looser, Devoney
“Just how did Jane Austen become the celebrity author and the inspiration for generations of loyal fans she is today?  The Making of Jane Austen turns to the people, performances, activism, and images that fostered Austen’s early fame, laying the groundwork for the beloved author we think we know. Drawing from unexplored material, Looser examines how echoes of that work reverberate in our explanations of Austen’s literary and cultural power.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Finding true connections : how to learn and write about a family member’s history / Thomas, Gareth St. John
“The Emotional Inheritance division of Exisle Publishing works… to capture the life stories of elderly family members. This approach is intended to help these generations capture their stories so that they can leave a lasting, meaningful legacy. Now, Finding True Connections clearly and simply sets out the steps necessary for you to undertake this process yourself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For the love of books : stories of literary lives, banned books, author feuds, extraordinary characters, and more / Tarrant, Graham
“A light-hearted book about books and the people who write them for all lovers of literature. A treasure trove of compelling facts, riveting anecdotes, and extraordinary characters, For the Love of Books is a book about books–and the inside stories about the people who write them. Learn how books evolved, what lies behind some of the greatest tales ever told, and who’s really who in the world of fiction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Wellington CBD library space named

The new central city library service being developed in the National Library has been given the name He Matapihi Molesworth Library.

The announcement brings Wellingtonians a step closer to enjoying the new cooperative space on the ground floor of the National Library, which is expected to open later this year. The space is being developed in partnership with Wellington City Council.

He Matapihi means ‘a window’, and the name was put forward by Mana Whenua.

National Librarian Bill Macnaught says the name is well-suited for the space. “A window has a view and a connection between spaces. The name highlights the important relationships between He Matapihi Molesworth’s Aotearoa collection, a new shared area, and the National Library’s He Tohu exhibition and collections. People need to continue to have access to the knowledge that both our libraries contain. School visits to He Tohu will be among those to benefit from the new shared space.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says it’s been a great opportunity to work in partnership with the National Library on the development. He says the new space will complement National Library’s collections and gives Wellingtonians access to the new library’s Aotearoa and Māori collection of over 5000 books. “He Matapihi Molesworth will be a welcome addition to Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre which opened earlier this year, and will also give library users another service at the other end of the central city area.”

The new library’s collection, which can be borrowed by members, will range over topics such as Māori and Māori local history, NZ fiction, biography, books in Te Reo, art and architecture, natural history, and general history and social comment. It also offers a children’s section, magazines, access to digital content, free WiFi, public PCs, printing and seating spaces.

Dedicated staff from Wellington City Libraries will provide the new service, answer questions and join up new members.

 

The nicest things come in small packages – new short stories

While there is still a month or so wait for the 2019 Pikihua Awards, the final results of the 2018/19 takahē short story competition are out! Take a look at the new lineup of talent. Our library collection has short stories from individual authors and anthologies of new and experienced writers.

William Trevor’s final work, multi-award-winning master of the form, published on what would have been his 90th birthday, Last Stories is a collection of ten stories, six previously unpublished. Trevor navigates the rough seas of human relations with a new angle, fresh language, deep sympathy, and uncanny insight.  Also hailing from Ireland, Being Various collects the works of Irish writers, revealing the talents of the previously unpublished and the more recognisable.  Two-thirds female, one-third Northern. Two-thirds born in Ireland, two-thirds currently resident, this collection captures the numerous realities of contemporary Ireland.

The origin of detective fiction, Chinese science fiction, Gulag reportage, Italian dreamworld and debut writing from the ash line of Australian bushfires; this selection of short stories is a great place to start exploring the variety on offer in this form. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverLast stories / William Trevor. (print) (eBook)
“In this final collection of ten perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil’s theft in exchange for his beautiful music. These gorgeous stories – the last that Trevor wrote before his death – affirm his place as one of the world’s greatest storytellers.” (Syndetics summary)

Kolyma stories. Volume one / Shalamov, Varlam
Kolyma Stories is a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature, composed of short fictional tales based on Russian writer Varlam Shalamov’s fifteen years in the Gulag.  These collected stories form the biography of a rare survivor, a historical record of the Gulag, and, because the stories have more than documentary value, a literary work of creative power and conviction. This new complete translation of Kolyma Stories will fill a significant gap in the English-language library of Russian literature.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rivals of Sherlock Holmes : the greatest detective stories: 1837-1914
“Davis makes a welcome addition to early English detective fiction anthologies. Unlike scholars who date the birth of the genre to Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Davis starts with an earlier short story, “The Secret Cell” by Poe’s nemesis, William Evans Burton. That tale remains enjoyable today, with its dramatic account of the search for a missing 17-year-old servant, who stood to inherit a fortune from her employer.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLucky girls : stories / Nell Freudenberger.
“In the title story, a young woman who has been involved in a five-year affair with a married Indian man feels bound to both her memories and her adopted country after his death. The protagonist of Outside the Eastern Gate returns to her childhood home in Delhi, to find a house still inhabited by the impulsive, desperate spirit of her mother. Highly anticipated in the literary community and beyond, Lucky Girls marks the debut of a very special talent that places her among today’s most gifted young writers.” (Syndetics summary)

A constant hum / Bishop, Alice (print) (eBook)
“A young and exciting new literary voice, emerging from one of Australia’s worst natural disasters. Before the bushfires–before the front of flames comes roaring over the hills–the ridges are thick with gums. After the fires, the birds have gone. And the lost people: on the TV news in borrowed clothes, or remembered in flyers on a cafe wall. A Constant Hum grapples with the aftermath of disaster with an eye for telling detail. Some of these stories cut to the bone; others are empathetic stories of survival, even hope.” (Catalogue)

The best of R.A. Lafferty / Lafferty, R. A.
“Acclaimed as one of the most original voices in modern literature, Raphael Aloysius Lafferty has been awarded and nominated for a multitude of accolades over the span of his career, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. This collection contains 22 unique tall tales, including Hugo Award and Nebula award winning entries. Stories introduced by other modern masters of SF who acknowledge R.A. Lafferty as a major influence and force in the field.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Being various : new Irish short stories (print) (eBook)
“Edited by prize-winning author and playwright Lucy Caldwell, Being Various brings together original stories from Ireland’s current golden age of writing with some exciting new voices, never before published. Following her own brilliant short story collection Multitudes, Lucy Caldwell guest edits the sixth volume of Faber’s long running series of new Irish short stories, continuing the great work started by the late David Marcus and subsequent guest editors Kevin Barry, Deirdre Madden and Joseph O’Connor.” (Catalogue)

Broken stars : contemporary Chinese science fiction in translation
“In Hugo award-winner Liu Cixin’s ‘Moonlight’, a man is contacted by three future versions of himself, each trying to save their world from destruction. Hao Jingfang’s ‘The New Year Train’ sees 1,500 passengers go missing on a train that vanishes into space. In addition, three essays explore the history and rise of Chinese SFF publishing, contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in Chinese SFF has impacted writers who had long laboured in obscurity.” (Catalogue)

We love Anderson Cooper : short stories / Maizes, R. L.
“In We Love Anderson Cooper, characters are treated as outsiders because of their sexual orientation, racial or religious identity, or simply because they look different. A young man courts the publicity that comes from outing himself at his bar mitzvah. When a painter is shunned because of his appearance, he learns to ink tattoos that come to life. A paranoid Jewish actuary suspects his cat of cheating on him with his Protestant girlfriend. In this debut collection, humor complements pathos.” (Catalogue)

Elsewhere, home / Aboulela, Leila
“Aboulela again plumbs the immigrant and particularly West-Middle East experience, as characters painfully recall the old and adapt to the new. Shuttling between the dusty, sun-baked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss, and alienation that come with leaving one’s homeland in pursuit of a different life.” (Catalogue)

New Classical CDs at Arapaki

We have recently added some new classical CDs to our small collection at Arapaki (Manners Street). Come in and flick through them the next time you’re in town! The new additions include some compilations by notable singers.

Lise Davidsen. Songs and arias by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Performed by Lise Davidsen.
“‘The young Norwegian soprano’s voice, silken at the top, rich with deep mezzo colours, pours forth flawlessly as if in one clear, stupendous breath. It’s one of the greatest voices I have heard'” (Observer review, printed on CD cover).

Si j’ai aimé. Performed by Sandrine Piau with Le Concert de la Loge.
“[Sandrine Piau’s] new project is a recital with orchestra celebrating French songs from the period when they moved from the private salon to the concert hall. Planned in partnership with the Palazzetto Bru Zane, this programme evokes all the vagaries of love experienced by a romantic heroine.” (amazon.com)

Lieder, Brahms, Schumann, Mahler. Performed by Renée Fleming.
“Four-time Grammy winner Renée Fleming presents her first full-length Lieder album in almost two decades, featuring a selection of favorite songs from Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler, including Brahm’s “Lullaby” and a breathtaking performance of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with Christian Thielemann and the Munich Philharmonic.” (amazon.com)

Crimes, calamities and capers: a caboodle of contemporary comics

The expressive world of ink on paper expands into vision with the latest comics to be found on our library shelves.  From espionage to architecture and filmmaking this month’s crop of new comics is loaded with talent both in storytelling and artistry.

Fior Manuele, the artist who created the Interview, connects to his training in architecture as he spins a mythic tale of a young man in the thrall of seeking perfection. Red Ultramarine, originally published in 2006, has been recently translated by Jamie Richardis. Michael Bendis and David Mack take the touring artist route into counterintelligence. Global travel and a storytelling cover leads to recruitment and an introduction to several comic artists as the con tour continues in Cover. The watercolour illustration bends in style, referencing the introduction of different artists.

The opposite to perfection sees Penny Nichols helping to create glorious schlock horror movie with a disreputable crew. And politics and family don’t mix in an ode to concrete, The Structure is Rotten, Comrade shows the difference between vision for building and the reality of social needs. Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi have created a vivid comic with a dynamic style with figures sketched over the architecture that is the centre of the story.

It was tricky to select just a few from this month’s collection of comics, below are some of the great assortment of talent and styles. Enjoy!

Red ultramarine / Fior, Manuele
“The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus is woven into this psychologically complex graphic novel, for the first time in English! Fausto, a young architect, is a prisoner of his own obsession: the search for perfection. Only the love of Silvia, his girlfriend, can save him. To help him, she goes to a strange doctor, who will guide her on a journey between reality and myth. This is an early work of the internationally acclaimed cartoonist Mauele Fior, rendered in a striking red and black two-color palette.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cover. Volume one / Bendis, Brian Michael
“Based on a true story, the intelligence community figures out that the traveling band of social misfits who make comic books are an exact match to the profiles of candidates recruited for intelligence and counterintelligence gathering.  A very well-known comics creator is recruited by the agency to live a double life as a spy…And convention season is upon us. With a nod to films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The In-Laws, this comic celebrates comics, comic creators, readers and of course, spies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The structure is rotten, comrade / Berberian, Viken
“More in love with the alluring properties of cement than he is with his girlfriend, Frunz’s overriding ambition is to become the next legendary architect. His father, known as Mr. Cement, is a builder in bed with the autocrats who run Yerevan, the capital of post-Soviet Armenia. As father and son team up to transform the city into a post-modern mecca of Trumpian high-rises, outraged citizens rise up in Revolution against them and Yerevan’s corrupt regime.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little girls / Aflleje, Nicholas
“Sam and Lielet are two new friends living in Ethiopia who are dealing with the kind of problems that all kids have: judgmental social cliques, condescending adults, alienation, and a legendary brain-eating monster of folklore. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, but all they have to do is live through it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hot comb / Flowers, Ebony
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories. Ebony Flowers re-creates classic magazine ads idealizing women’s need for hair relaxers and products. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories and ads, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.  From her black-and-white drawings to her color construction-paper collages, Hot Comb is a propitious display of talent from a new cartoonist who has already made her mark.” (Catalogue)

Penny Nichols / Reed, M. K
“Stuck working mind-numbing temp jobs, Penny Nichols yearns to break free from the rut she’s found herself in. When, by chance, she falls in with a group of misfits making a no-budget horror movie called “Blood Wedding,” everything goes sideways. Soon her days are overrun with gory props, a horny cameraman, and a disappearing director. This hilarious original graphic novel is a loving tribute to the chaos and camaraderie of DIY filmmaking, and the ways we find our future and our family in the unlikeliest of places.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dreaming. Volume one, Pathways and emanations / Spurrier, Simon
“Twenty-three years after he was anointed as its master, the lord of dreams has inexplicably abandoned his domain. Lord Daniel’s absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities that consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate. The most senior storytellers are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind, and beyond the gates, something horrific awaits with tooth and talon.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outer darkness [1] : each other’s throats / Layman, John
“Sci-fi and horror collide in this new series from the creator of Chew. Mankind has colonized the galaxy, but during our interstellar travels, we’ve discovered a terrifying secret out in the Outer Darkness of space. Join Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon as they encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, cosmic horror and more. Collects Outer darkness #1-6.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Grace : the Jeff Buckley story / DeBartolo, Tiffanie
“California, 1991. All his life, people have told Jeff Buckley how much he looks like his father, the famous ’60s folksinger he barely knew. But Jeff believes he has gifts of his own: a rare, octave-spanning voice and a songwriting genius that has only started to show itself. What follows are six turbulent years of music, heartbreak, hope, and daring. This graphic novel biography uses archival material provided by Jeff’s mother, Mary Guibert, to reveal the young songwriter in the process of becoming a legend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fantastico! Latest Fashion and Beauty reads

We have some fantastico new fashion and beauty books in! We particularly love Megan Hess’s beautifully illustrated book Iconic: the Masters of Italian Fashion, that has a chapter dedicated to each Italian designer.  The humble sneaker is celebrated in The Sports Shoe and there are two shiny new books that will help keep your hair looking just as good! We also have a new book dedicated entirely to vegan fashion and beauty, for those wanting to live a little more lightly on our planet.

Syndetics book coverIconic : the masters of Italian fashion / Megan Hess.
“For centuries, Italian fashion has been known for its craftsmanship and luxury, but also for its creativity and, most of all, its passion. Lace, leopard print and show-stopping red dresses – the masters of Italian fashion know how to make a statement. Complete with Megan’s spectacular illustrations of Italian fashion’s most dramatic outfits – including power suits, psychedelic kaftans and haute couture gowns – Iconic is a lavish celebration of one of the world’s leading fashion destinations.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverHair : an illustrated history / Susan J. Vincent.
“Bobs, beards, blondes and beyond, Hair takes us on a lavishly illustrated journey into the world of this remarkable substance and our complicated and fascinating relationship with it. Using art, film, personal diaries, newspapers, texts and images, Susan J. Vincent unearths the stories we have told about hair and why they are important. Hair shows the significance of the stuff we nurture, remove, style and tend. You will never take it for granted again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

A matter of style : intimate portraits of 10 women who changed fashion / Saltari, Paola
“From Coco Chanel and Grace Kelly to Twiggy and Lady Diana, here are ten women who changed twentieth-century fashion forever! A Matter of Style documents the unforgettable lives of female icons of style and elegance who captivated entire generations and remain inspiring models of beauty and fascination.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book cover100 ideas that changed fashion / Harriet Worsley.
“Charting the movements, developments, and ideas that transformed the way women dress, this book gives a unique perspective on the history of twentieth-century fashion. From the invention of the bias cut and the stiletto heel to the designers who changed the way we think about clothes, the book is entertaining, intelligent, and a visual feast.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverTrue roots : what quitting hair dye taught me about health and beauty / Ronnie Citron-Fink.
True Roots follows Ronnie’s journey from dark dyes to a silver crown of glory, from fear of aging to embracing natural beauty. Along the way, readers will learn how to protect themselves, whether by transitioning to their natural color or switching to safer products. Like Ronnie, women of all ages can discover their own hair story, one built on individuality, health, and truth.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverVegan style : your plant-based guide to fashion + beauty + home + travel / Sascha Camilli.
“A chic, informative guide to conscious living and a lifestyle manual for living a luxurious, cruelty-free life.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverDressed : the secret life of clothes / Shahidha Bari.
“Ranging freely through literature, art, film and philosophy, Dressed tracks the hidden power of clothes in our culture and our daily lives. Evocative, enlightening and dazzlingly original, Dressed is not just about clothes as objects of fashion or as a means of self-expression. This is a book about the deepest philosophical questions of who we are, how we see ourselves and how we dress to face the world.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe sports shoe : a history from field to fashion / Thomas Turner.
“The story of the sneaker’s rise from the first Victorian tennis shoes to the Nike Air Max and beyond. Moving from the athletic field to the shopping mall, Thomas Turner tells a fresh story of the evolution of the sports shoe against the changing landscape of society, sport, fashion, industry, and technology. This book is a must-have for any sneaker collector, historian of popular culture, or anyone interested in the place of athletic footwear in our lives today.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Our latest Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase of newly acquired books.

“Well, all information looks like noise until you break the code.”
– Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

With the 2019 Hugo award nominees recently announced and it now being just under a year until the Hugo awards ceremony here in Wellington at CoNZealand, it is great to see two newly acquired science fiction and fantasy books that have connections to the Hugos. The first is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik which is on the 2019 Hugo long list. The second is Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy. Mercedes Lackey is one of the guests of honour at CoNZealand next year.

There were lots of other new titles that caught our attention including the continuing rise of the awesome Afro Futurism genre as represented in this month’s list by Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection. There is also Neal Stephenson’s latest magnum opus Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, described by the New York Times no less as “a staggering work of imagination”. And as if that wasn’t enough two new books from acknowledged fantasy masters Stephen Donaldson and Tad Williams as well as a whole plethora of other science fiction and fantasy goodies to enjoy.

Overdrive cover Spinning Silver / Novik, Naomi (print) (eBook)
“Miryem was brought up in a snowbound village, on the edge of a charmed forest. She comes from a family of moneylenders, but her kind father shirks his work. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, his family faces poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what’s owed, and her neighbours soon whisper that she can turn silver into gold. Then an ill-advised boast attracts the cold creatures that haunt the wood. Nothing will be the same again, for words have power.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eye spy / Lackey, Mercedes
“In this second installment of the Family Spies series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, the children of Heralds Mags and Amily must follow in their parents’ footsteps to protect the realm. When Abi senses the imminent collapse of a bridge only moments before it happens, she saves countless lives, including that of her best friend, Princess Katiana. The experience, though harrowing, uncovers her unique Gift–an ability to sense the physical strains in objects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fall, or, Dodge in hell : a novel / Stephenson, Neal
Fall, or Dodge in Hell is pure, unadulterated fun: a grand drama of analog and digital, man and machine, angels and demons, gods and followers, the finite and the eternal. In this exhilarating epic, Neal Stephenson raises profound existential questions and touches on the revolutionary breakthroughs that are transforming our future. Combining the technological, philosophical, and spiritual in one grand myth, he delivers a mind-blowing speculative literary saga for the modern age.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The war within / Donaldson, Stephen R
“It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. But an ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Empire of grass / Williams, Tad
“The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Exhalation / Stories / Chiang, Ted (print) (eBook)
“This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Triumphant / Campbell, Jack (print) (eBook)
“The recently colonized world of Glenlyon has learned that they’re stronger when they stand with other star systems than they are on their own. But after helping their neighbor Kosatka against an invasion, Glenlyon has become a target. An attack is launched against Glenlyon’s orbital facility with forces too powerful for fleet officer Rob Geary to counter using their sole remaining destroyer, Saber. Mele Darcy’s Marines must repel repeated assaults while their hacker tries to get into the enemy systems to give Saber a fighting chance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Staff Pick DVDs: July Part Two

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists, part one is here!


Shoplifters
One of the most consistent filmmakers of today, Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda has never made a bad film but his latest work is an exceptional work even by his standard. He questions what family really means by gracefully portraying vulnerable people who live in a shabby house in the edge of society. The narrative is gentle and atmospheric but it’s, in fact, almost Ken Loach-like social realism drama. (Shinji)

Kusama : infinity : the life and art of Yayoi Kusama.
The history, evolution and development of Kusama’s core themes, concepts and the ideas behind her work are well covered. While her conservative upbringing and her life story are covered in this documentary, for me this is one of the film’s weaker elements. By end of this well made and highly informative movie we know a lot about Yayoi Kusama’s art and practice and her position in the modern art world but perhaps a little less about the artist herself. (Neil J)

Ngati
Director Barry Barclay theorised a “fourth cinema” that would be made by indigenous film-makers, from an indigenous perspective with the primary intended audience being indigenous peoples. He achieved his goals with the beautiful Ngāti, the story of a young Australian doctor exploring his Māori heritage. The first feature film to have a Māori writer and director is one of the masterpieces of New Zealand cinema. (Joseph)

Bohemian Rhapsody
This is the biographical story of the life of Freddie Mercury from his youth through to Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance (of which this movie contains the entire performance). As a matter of course, this has all the wonderful Queen music that we know and love. Giving a wonderful ‘behind the scenes’ look at how they came to write their songs, Raimi Malek is wonderful as Mercury. (Brigid)

Informer
Tense drama as Raza Shar, a young charismatic second generation Pakistani from East London, is coerced by a Counter-Terrorism officer’s DS Gabe Waters (Paddy Considine) and DC Holly Morten’s into going undercover as an informer. As the stakes get higher Raza’s life slowly spins out of control, while Considine’s new partner begins to probe his undercover past and drag up some secrets he’d prefer to stay buried. (Mark)

Annihilation.
The husband of an ex-soldier now biologist goes missing on a deep secret mission in the Shimmer (a mysterious part of the world where strange things happen). Lena’s husband suddenly returns sick and minus his memory, so she and her team must enter the Shimmer to find out what happened. A good story. and reminiscent of The Fog. (Brigid)

Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde isn’t just set in cold war Berlin. It’s set in the end of days of cold war Berlin. Which is different. Something is about to happen. I can’t remember if this movie actually features the song Atomic by Blondie. But it doesn’t matter because the whole situation oozes Blondie and Atomic and crumbling trust, following crumbs, spies, hair follicles and sun bleached Charlize Theron as the most powerful American spy. (Tim)

Instant family
A great comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, and Rose Byrne, a professional couple who suddenly realise they are missing something in their lives. Children. After a discussion and doing a course they are all set to become foster parents! When matched with a Spanish-speaking rebellious teenager, they find out she has siblings and Pete and Ellie suddenly go from 0 to 3 children overnight. (Brigid)

The little drummer girl.
Adaptation of the novel by John le Carré, set in the ’70s in which Charlie is recruited by charismatic agent Gadi, to play a part in operation to ensnare a serial bomber for Mossad spymaster Kurtz. A Palestinian terror cell has been responsible for the killing of a number of prominent Jews in western Europe, and the aim of the mission is to embed Charlie within the cell so she can draw out its elusive leader. (Mark)

You were never really here
Lynne Ramsay is a poet of the visual cinema with a distinctive vision – You Were Never Really Here is a real departure in some ways from her previous films. In places it feels like a modern day Taxi Driver and as such it is a powerful, brutal, visceral and violent watch not for the faint hearted. Yet Ramsay’s trademark visual style is still there, only this time it’s the harsh neon city or the sheen of light on blood. (Neil J)

American honey
Shot on warm, saturated film, the viewing experience is an absolute pleasure. The soundtrack rattles with dance pop, 21st century hip-hop and country. The narrative rises and falls, resembling life; full of risk, sorrow and joy. Sasha Lane proves her acting chops in the lead role and Shia LaBeouf delivers his best performance. Director Andrea Arnold has bottled the spirit of youth in these economically precarious times. (Joseph)

The old man & the gun
Based on the story of Forrest Tucker, who had a unique leisurely style of bank robbery and escaped from prison 16 times, director David Lowery turned it into a witty laid-back outlaw tale. The centre of the movie is, of course, Redford who plays Tucker, and it is obvious that he loves playing this character. The chemistry between Redford and legend Sissy Spacek, who plays his love interest, is simply wonderful, and lifts the whole thing to another level. A perfect swansong. (Shinji)

The Happytime Murders
Melissa McCarthy stars in this Brian Henson alternative production about a place where puppets and people live and work together. A detective (McCarthy) is teamed with her ex-partner, a puppet, to investigate a series of murders of puppets from the Happytime movie series. Don’t be fooled by the puppets as this movie is very definitely R rated – most definitely NOT Sesame Street. (Brigid)

Bad times at the El Royale
A group of mysterious strangers show up at a once posh but now slightly run down hotel in the late 1960’s, but it soon becomes apparent that not everything or everyone are who or what they seem. There is much to be enjoyed about ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ as it has a twisty, compelling plot, it is very stylishly filmed and sports a stellar cast. (Neil J)

Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen brothers are always a directing duo to watch, and this Oscar Isaac starring feature is one of their finest. Set in the early 60s folk music scene in Greenwich Village, the snow and solemn environments provide the backdrop to the road rambling of a failing folk musician. (Joseph)

Staff Pick DVDs: July Part One

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists!


Unforgotten. Series 3.
When human remains are found on the central reservation of a motorway near London, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker), DI Suni Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and their team of detectives are assigned the case. A doctor, a television presenter, a failing salesman, and an artist are a close-knit group of old school friends who hold the key to what happened. (Mark)

First man
First Man is a film centred round the build up to the Apollo moon landings and in particular Neil Armstrong. It is a film that both aims to show simultaneously how we touched the stars through these missions and also be a close examination of Armstrong’s personal life. These two cleverly interwoven threads show that his domestic life and his historic role as first man on the moon are in fact part of the same thing. (Neil J)

Wildlife
“I feel like I need to wake up, but I don’t know what from or to”, a housewife named Jeanette, played by Carey Mulligan who is the anchor of the film, tells her son. The actor Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) has turned director, and his debut feature ‘Wildlife’ is a quiet portrait of the painful process of an idyllic young family gradually falling apart. (Shinji)

Broken
This is based on an early Maori story from the 1800’s when a young girl was murdered by a marauding tribe. The girl always carried the gospel of Luke with her and the book was stolen by the murderer, who read it and was then filled with remorse. Our story starts in present day New Zealand with an ex-gang leader who has pulled out to raise his daughter after the death of his wife. (Brigid)

Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a marvellously sensitive portrait of teenage-hood, self-discovery, friendship and family. Saoirse Ronan performs excellently in the lead role of a disaffected high-schooler who dreams of going to college in New York. One of the greatest coming of age films to be made, whilst never falling into the traps and tropes of the genre. The dialogue is true; believable, relatable and piercing. (Joseph)

Counterpart. Season one.
Howard Silk is a low-level bureaucrat in a Berlin-based UN agency called the Office of Interchange, where he works exchanging coded call-and-response messages with another agent. However one day all this changes, as he is drafted into an urgent meeting… and finds himself face to face with his double. The ‘other’ Howard now needs this worlds Howard to help with a new mission. (Mark)

The breaker upperers
This is a funny New Zealand movie starring Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek. It is set in Auckland and features many cameos of famous New Zealand actors. The two ladies in question discover they are being two timed by a man, but instead of getting bitter they become friends and set up a company which helps people break up with each other. Great for a laugh. (Brigid)

Vice
If there was ever a movie award for the most perfectly named film then Vice must be a strong candidate to take that prize. It is the story of the unassuming Vice president Dick Cheney and his terrifying and amoral pursuit of power, money and influence ably assisted by his wife Lynne Cheney (the Lady Macbeth of the piece). It is described as a comedy and if you like the darkest type of satire that holds but for many people it will watch as a shocking indictment of American politics. (Neil J)

Summer 1993
Watching the Catalan writer-director Carla Simon’s debut feature ‘Summer 1993’ is like watching the most exquisite home video; very personal yet universal. Based on Simon’s childhood experience, it follows 6-year-old Frida who is moved from Barcelona to Catalan countryside to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. Avoiding dramatization, it’s a sensitively crafted, beautiful filmic memoir. (Shinji)

Searching
After David Kim’s (John Cho) 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened. 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet…online. A thriller told exclusively via screen shots seems like a total bore, but this hyper-modern thriller utilises character dialogue recorded through webcams, apps, security camera footage, as well as key moments portrayed through YouTube clips to generate as much suspense as a traditional narrative. (Mark)

Finding your feet
Great movie with a superb cast including Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley. When Lady Sandra Abbot discovers that her husband has been having a long term affair with her best friend she leaves and renews her friendship with her sister (Celia Imrie). These two make an unlikely pair and with time, love and lots of laughs Lady Sandra starts to discover herself and life and love again. It is a funny movie but does have some sad and poignant moments in it. (Brigid)

Ryuichi Sakamoto : CODA
How do great artists face their own mortality? These huge questions rather than a career overview is what you get in this poignant documentary about the iconic Japanese musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto. This film is almost a meditation on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s current creativity, a powerful and moving piece delivered in a gentle and sad way. (Neil J)

Lean on Pete
This film is about a 15-year-old boy, Charlie, who lives in poverty and runs away with a racehorse he takes care of to save it from the slaughterhouse. Blending a human-animal special bond story with a road movie and a coming of age tale, the movie shows a harsh slice of America; a dysfunctional family, poverty, placelessness etc., and a lot of events – mostly unfortunate, tormenting ones – unfold. (Shinji)

Sorry to bother you
This is an unusual story set in an alternative reality version of Oakland, where a poor but ambitious salesman starts working as a telemarketer. Cassius Green finds he has a real gift for sales and has a meteoric rise in the company. However, Cassius discovers his workplace is not what he thinks it is when he accidentally enters the wrong door. A very unusual story. (Brigid)

Frances Ha
Greta Gerwig stars as the loveable and exasperating Frances as she rambles through New York, facing technical homelessness and creative frustration. A tale of optimism in the face of adversity. The black and white cinematography is virtuosic and deeply satisfying. (Joseph)

The guilty
Alarm dispatcher and sidelined police officer, Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) answers an emergency call from a woman, that he soon ascertains has been kidnapped. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman, but soon realises that there is more to the situation that first appears. (Mark)

Striving for self-improvement and happiness!

Discover ways to find happiness and achieve your family goals with ideas and tips found in these newly arrived library books. Happy reading!

Listen to me! : taking the conflict out of child discipline / Martin, Anna
“Are you confused by all the different parenting advice on how to discipline your child? Have you been trying a variety of different methods for years that don’t really work or feel uncomfortable to use? Regardless of your situation, you might find it helpful to change the way you think about discipline altogether. Dr Anna Martin has turned traditional methods on their head to come up with effective strategies that put listening and the wellbeing of children before lecturing.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Raising girls in the twenty-first century / Biddulph, Steve
“Steve Biddulph’s Raising Boys was a global phenomenon. The first book in a generation to look at boys’ specific needs, parents loved its clarity and warm insights into their sons’ inner world. But today, things have changed. It’s girls that are in trouble.” (Catalogue)

Maybe you should talk to someone : a therapist, her therapist, and our lives revealed / Gottlieb, Lori
“With starting wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. This book is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds. It reveals what it means to be human!” (Catalogue)

Girl, stop apologizing : a shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals / Hollis, Rachel
Rachel Hollis knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people–whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee–instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.” (Dust jacket)