The Man Booker International and Translated Fiction!

The Man Booker International Prize recognises material that has been crafted in concert by both an author and translator, and the importance of their relationship in shaping the language and understanding of the story. This year the Man Booker International Prize went to Omani writer Jokha Alharth and translator Marilyn Booth for Celestial Bodies, the first time an Arabic writer has been awarded the 14-year-old prize.

Also on the shortlist: Guzel Yakhina’s Zuleikha, a fictionalized account of the author’s grandmother and her expulsion to Siberia as part of Stalin’s forced de-kulakization program of the 1930s. Conflict and close proximity of your enemies is addressed in Homeland while in Death is Hard Work Khalid Kahlifa looks at the division within a family as a deathbed wish places siblings on a dangerous road.


Full Man Booker International Prize Shortlist

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
The Years by Annie Ernaux, translated by Alison L. Strayer

The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated by Anne McClean

The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes

The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann, translated by Jen Calleja


For access to the shortlisted titles (as well as a few bonus works!) simply click on the items below:

Drive your plow over the bones of the dead / Tokarczuk, Olga (print) (eBook)
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. Filled with wonderful characters like Oddball, Big Foot, Black Coat, Dizzy and Boros, this subversive, entertaining noir novel offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice and getting away with murder.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Overdrive cover The Years / Annie Ernaux (ebook)
The Years is both an intimate memoir “written” by entire generations, and a story of generations telling a very personal story. Like the generation before hers, the narrator eschews the “I” for the “we” (or “they”, or “one”) as if collective life were inextricably intertwined with a private life that in her parents’ generation ceased to exist.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

The shape of the ruins / Vásquez, Juan Gabriel
“When a man is arrested at a museum for attempting to steal the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician, few notice. But soon this thwarted theft takes on greater meaning as it becomes a thread in a widening web of popular fixations with conspiracy theories, assassinations, and historical secrets; and it haunts those who feel that only they know the real truth behind these killings.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The pine islands / Poschmann, Marion
“When Gilbert Silvester, a journeyman lecturer on beard fashions in film, awakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees–immediately, irrationally, inexplicably–for Japan. In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho. Suddenly, from Gilbert’s directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Homeland / Aramburu, Fernando
“Miren and Bittori have been best friends all their lives, growing up in the same small town in the north of Spain. With limited interest in politics, the terrorist threat posed by ETA seems to affect them little. When Bittori’s husband starts receiving threatening letters from the violent group, however–demanding money, accusing him of being a police informant–she turns to her friend for help. But Miren’s loyalties are torn: her son Joxe Mari has just been recruited . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The old slave and the mastiff / Chamoiseau, Patrick
“In the darkness, an old man grapples with the spirits of all those who have gone before him; the knowledge that the past is always with us, and the injustice that can cry out from beyond the grave. From a writer hailed by Milan Kundera as the “heir of Joyce and Kafka,” The Old Slave and the Mastiff portrays the demonic cruelties of the slave trade and its human costs–a wise, loving tribute to the Creole culture of Martinique.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Death is hard work / Khalīfah, Khālid (print) (eBook)
“Abdel Latif, an old man, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. Before he dies, he tells his youngest son Bolbol that his final wish is to be buried in the family plot in their ancestral village of Anabiya in the Aleppo region. Though Abdel Latif was not the ideal father, Bolbol decides to persuade his older brother Hussein and his sister Fatima to accompany him and their father’s body to Anabiya. But the country is a warzone . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Zuleikha / I︠A︡khina, Guzelʹ
“Soviet Russia, 1930. Zuleikha, the “pitiful hen,” lives with her brutal husband Murtaza and her mother-in-law. When Murtaza is executed by communist soldiers, she is sent into exile to a remote region on the Angara River in Siberia. Hundreds die of hunger and exhaustion on the journey and over the first difficult winter, yet exile is the making of Zuleikha. As she gets to know her fellow survivors, Zuleikha begins to build a new life far removed from the one she left behind.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Take a look inside the Archives of Gender and Sexuality

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Wellington City Libraries is proud to present an evening talk on our queer resources.

Queer Stories: Discovering LGBTQI+ History at the Library

Newtown Library Friday 14 June 2019 5:30 to 7:45pm

One of the main focuses of the evening will be the Gale Archives of Gender & Sexuality. Parts I and II include a vast array of material produced by the queer community.  There are regular publications of newspapers and magazines, meeting minutes, oral histories, posters and pamphlets. Included are records from the Gay Activists Alliance, an organisation founded after 1969’s Stonewall riots, and ACT UP, a group founded in 1987 in response to the AIDS crisis. This gives researchers the ability to understand the times from first hand accounts.

As with all of our eLibrary resources, access is free with a library card! All you need to do is enter your card number and last name to access these fantastic resources.

And there are some real gems – for example, you can read for yourself documentation from the trials of Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing featured in the Wolfenden Report:

You’ll also find posters from the first Pride Parade – Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day in 1971:

New Zealand LGBTQI history is included too – you’ll find among other topics coverage of the Homosexual Law Reform, the “Moyle Affair”, and news clippings & posters relating to entertainers like the Topp Twins too.

Wellington City Libraries is also proud to be the first public library to feature the third part of the archive: Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth CenturyThese historical records are invaluable in showing the historical context of queer culture. Details include the medical and legal construction of sexualities and the reflection of the cultural and social attitudes of the past for gender. 

Contents of the archive include:

  • Private Case from the British Library,
  • Special Subject Units from Sex Research: Early Literature from Statistics to Erotica, a part of Dr. Alfred C Kinsey’s original library.
  • A collection of rare and unique books from the New York Academy of Medicine, a rich combination of materials from the humanities to the hard sciences.

Even if you can’t join us at our Queer Stories event this Friday, you can enjoy looking through these resources online – all you need is your library card.

Queer Stories – Library Event

Discovering LGBTQI+ History at the Library

 

Join us at Newtown Library on Friday 14 June from 5:30 to 7:45pm for an event highlighting queer resources available through Wellington City Libraries. There are snacks to get you through to dinner time and a movie from the queer vaults free to view from around 6pm.

Delving through the WCL collection, we will be focussing on queer culture and history. Our book collection, both print and ebook, features local and far flung icons, authors of fiction and factual material that tell stories of a diverse community that has faced challenges, lived in hiding and spoken it’s truth.

 

The electronic resource, Gale Archives of Gender and Sexuality has a wealth of material to offer those interested in the social, political, health and legal aspects affecting gender and sexuality around the world.

Wellington City Libraries is currently the only public library in the world to provide access to Gale’s third collection: The Archives of Sexuality & Gender: Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century which offers over 400 years of fascinating historical material, providing multiple perspectives on the study of sex, sexuality and gender. From early queer posters and playwriting to gender exploration, these historical documents detail a compelling and diverse world.  All this and more on Friday 14 June at Newtown Library.

Intelligence, human and otherwise!

Did you know Ian McEwan has written a novel on artificial intelligence, or AI? People have struggled with the concept of AI since the idea was first imagined at least 3000 years ago, and Machines Like Me and People Like You continues this tradition. McEwan examines the fuzzy logic and morals of the human form, and the best intentions that AI contains. But intelligence of its own kind will develop in its own way–human or machine.

Our collection offers some other great creations focussed on artificial intelligence and how humans rationalise and interact with them. These can be found in science fiction and general fiction in a range of formats. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverMachines like me and people like you / Ian McEwan
Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.” (Syndetics summary)

All systems red / Wells, Martha (print), (eBook)
The first of four award winning novellas. “On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.” (Catalogue)

Plum rains / Romano-Lax, Andromeda
“2029: In Tokyo, Angelica Navarro, a Filipina nurse who has been in Japan for the last five years, works as caretaker for Sayoko Itou, a moody, secretive woman about to turn 100 years old. One day, Sayoko receives a present: a cutting-edge robot “friend” that will teach itself to anticipate Sayoko’s every need. Angelica wonders if she is about to be forced out of her much-needed job by an inanimate object–one with a preternatural ability to uncover the most deeply buried secrets of the humans around it…” (Catalogue)

The municipalists : a novel / Fried, Seth
“Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover I Still Dream, James Smythe (ebook)
“Laura Bow invented Organon, a rudimentary artificial intelligence. Now she and her creation are at the forefront of the new wave of technology, and Laura must decide whether or not to reveal Organon’s full potential to the world. If it falls into the wrong hands, its power could be abused. Will Organon save humanity, or lead it to extinction?” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Guardian Angels and Other Monsters, Daniel H. Wilson (eAudiobook)
“In All Kinds of Proof, a down-and-out drunk makes the unlikeliest of friends when he is hired to train a mail-carrying robot; in Blood Memory, a mother confronts the dangerous reality that her daughter will never assimilate in this world after she was the first child born through a teleportation device; in Miss Gloria, a robot comes back to life in many different forms in a quest to save a young girl. Guardian Angels and Other Monsters examines how artificial intelligence both saves and destroys humanity.” (Overdrive description)

The soldier / Asher, Neal L. (print)
“A corner of space swarms with alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, who must keep it contained – as it could destroy entire civilizations. An alien intelligence shares her vigil. But she doesn’t share everything with Dragon . . . Orlandine is hatching a plan to obliterate this technology, removing its threat forever.” (Catalogue)

The Crying Machine / Chivers, Greg (print), (eBook) or (eAudiobook)
“The world has changed, but Jerusalem endures. Overlooked by new superpowers, the Holy City of the future is a haven of spies and smugglers, exiles and extremists. A refugee with strange technological abilities searches for a place to disappear. An ambitious young criminal plots the heist. A corrupt minister harnesses the power of the past in a ruthless play for complete control. And the wheels of another plan begin to turn…” (Catalogue)

Take a journey with our new comics

This month the comic fest is ample illustration that the variety of illustrators, styles and stories to be told are multiple!

This month’s new selection of graphic novels range from creepy horror to tender teenage explorations, epic stories to private landscapes laid bare. Authors and illustrators from Mark Torres to Neil Gaiman bring you tales that tingle with inner recognition or launch you into fantastic realms. Enjoy!

Explore  our collections with the benefit of free reserves, delivering your selection to any open branch that you choose!

Syndetics book coverCold spots / created by Cullen Bunn, story, & Mark Torres, art & design.
“A tale of spine-tingling horror, psychological fright, the undead, and the bitter cold of a supernatural winter come together in this account of unexpected twists and mounting dread. Dan Kerr turned his back on his wife and unborn daughter 10 years ago. Now, both mother and child have gone missing, and Dan must embark on a weird tale of cosmic terror in order to find them again! Ghosts stir when Dan’s estranged daughter is near, and as the dead grow restless, the cold deepens.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThrough a life / Tom Haugomat.
“This powerfully silent graphic novel follows the saga of a boy who grows up to be an astronaut, just like he always wanted, until a fatal space shuttle crash upends his life, and he begins to find solace in beauty here on earth. Told through a series of poignant vignettes, Through A Life is a sweeping story of dreams, expectations, nature, and loss. Rodney spends his life looking through.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverKid gloves : nine months of careful chaos / Lucy Knisley.
“If you work hard enough, if you want it enough, if you’re smart and talented and “good enough,” you can do anything. Except get pregnant. Her whole life, Lucy Knisley wanted to be a mother. But when it was finally the perfect time, conceiving turned out to be harder than anything she’d ever attempted. Fertility problems were followed by miscarriages, and her eventual successful pregnancy was plagued by health issues, up to a dramatic, near-death experience in labor and delivery. Kid Gloves follows Lucy’s personal transition into motherhood, and it also illustrates the history and science of reproductive health from all angles, full of curious facts and inspiring (and notorious) figures in medicine and midwifery.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNeil Gaiman & Charles Vess’ Stardust : being a romance within the Realms of Faerie.
“It is here in Wall that young Tristran Thorn loses his heart to the town beauty-a woman who is as cold and distant as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. To gain the hand of his beloved, Tristran rashly vows to fetch the fallen star and embarks upon a lover’s quest that will carry him over the ancient wall and into a world beyond his wildest imagings…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVietnamese memories. Book 2, Little Saigon / Clement Baloup ; translators, Ceri Pollard with help from Hannah Flixter, Alessandra Cazes, and Olivia Hanks ; Fabrice Sapolsky and Alex Donoghue, U.S. edition editors.
“The personal stories of five family members, over five different time periods, as they are respectively forced to leave their home country of Vietnam when outside forces or inner turmoil shatter their normal lives. Each story follows the journey of a family member as they must leave everything behind, adapt to a new country and culture, and live with the nostalgia of their homeland and their people.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBloom / written by Kevin Panetta ; artwork by Savanna Ganucheau.
“Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band, if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetter to survivors / by Gébé; translated and with an introduction by Edward Gauvin.
“In the blasted ruins of what was once a picture-perfect suburb, nothing stirs-except the postman. Clad in a hazmat suit and mounted on a bicycle, he is still delivering the mail, nuclear apocalypse or no nuclear apocalypse. One family has taken refuge in an underground fallout shelter, and to them he brings-or, rather, shouts through the air vent-a series of odd, anonymous letters. They describe the family’s prosperous past life, and then begin to get stranger” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFante Bukowski three : a perfect failure / Noah Van Sciver.
“After another year of living in the great American Midwest, self-styled erudite and superstar-to-be Fante Bukowski has a final showdown between his father and his dreams, is hired to ghostwrite a teen celebrity’s memoir, and attends his first local zine fest. Meanwhile, there are hidden forces working behind the scenes to push Fante Bukowski into the critical and financial success he’s always longed for, despite his continued lack of talent.” (Syndetics summary)

The latest fiction from the Zambezi river to Graceland

This autumn find a great new read from the libraries latest acquisitions.  Indulge in romance, challenging assumptions, voyage through family sagas or prepare for a gripping ride with an unexpectedly disconcerting thriller these tales from new and experienced adept authors have something for everyone.

Queenie / Carty-Williams, Candice
“Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?” All of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.” (Catalogue)

Schoolgirl missing / Fortin, Sue (eBook) (eAudiobook) (print)
“A gripping portrayal of a family caught on the wrong side of the law. When fourteen-year-old Poppy vanishes on a family boating trip, suspicion soon turns close to home – to the two people who should do everything to keep her safe, her parents, Kit and Neve.
Neve has a secret. Kit is lying. Everyone is watching. Who do you believe? (Catalogue)

 

Syndetics book coverThe parade : a novel / Dave Eggers.The Parade: A Novel
“An unnamed country is leaving the darkness of a decade at war, and to commemorate the armistice the government commissions a new road connecting two halves of the state. Two men, foreign contractors from the same company, are sent to finish the highway. While one is flighty and adventurous, wanting to experience the nightlife and people, the other wants only to do the work and go home. But both men must eventually face the absurdities of their positions, and the dire consequences of their presence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKaddish.com / Nathan Englander.
“Larry is the secular son in a family of Orthodox Brooklyn Jews. When his father dies, it’s his responsibility to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, every day for eleven months. To the horror and dismay of his sister, Larry refuses, imperiling the fate of his father’s soul. To appease her, Larry hatches an ingenious if cynical plan, hiring a stranger through a website called kaddish.com to recite the prayer and shepherd his father’s soul safely to rest.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemories of the future : a novel / Siri Hustvedt.
Memories of the Future tells the story of a young Midwestern woman’s first year in New York City in the late 1970s.  S.H., aka “Minnesota,” transcribes her neighbor’s bizarre and increasingly ominous monologues in a notebook. One frightening night Lucy bursts into her apartment on a rescue mission. Forty years later, S.H., now a veteran author, discovers her old notebook while moving her aging mother from one facility to another.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLost children archive / Valeria Luiselli.
“Suppose you and Pa were gone, and we were lost. What would happen then? A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. A mother, a father, a boy and a girl, they head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. A grandmother or aunt has packed a backpack for them, putting in a bible, one toy, some clean underwear. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top. In a breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive intertwines these two journeys to create a masterful novel.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe old drift : a novel / Namwali Serpell.The Old Drift: A Novel
“1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGraceland / Bethan Roberts.
“What happens when your only son becomes The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? From the moment she first holds him, after his twin brother is stillborn, Gladys Presley loves her son Elvis ferociously. And he will love her back, even as his heart is turned by the blues, clothes and girls. But while he makes it big in Hollywood, brings audiences across the land to their knees and achieves unimagined wealth and fame, there is another story – of drinking and diet pills, loneliness and loss. While the heat and music of the American South in the 40s and 50s play in the background, a heartbreaking portrait of a mother’s love and a son’s devotion takes centre stage. When Elvis reaches the height of his power, he buys his family the ultimate mansion on the hill, Graceland, where he hopes his mother will be happy. The reality, though, is very different, and Elvis finds that even kings must go on alone.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Place and time are no strangers to crime

The most recent mystery releases delve into the secretive worlds of family and friends, those we think we know best, to strangers under investigation.  From the Shetland Islands to Alaska these new mystery titles will keep you guessing until the very end. Follow along with professional trackers and amateur sleuths as the trail of clues can lead you to the most surprising people and places.

Power brokering is the pivot for historical writers Peter Beresford Ellis, writing as Peter Tremayne and Jacqueline Winspear as their respective female investigators put personal safety on the line to uncover the truth. But the times dictate the ways and means these investigators can use their knowledge and talents.

Something for all to enjoy from the court rooms of Manhattan to the secretive rain forests near Cairns.

Syndetics book coverBlood oath / Linda Fairstein.
“With more women feeling empowered to name their abusers, Alex is eager to return to the courtroom to do what she does best. But even she can’t anticipate the complexity of her first case when she meets Lucy, a young woman who testified years earlier at a landmark federal trial and now reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent official during that time. As the seemingly disparate cases of her client, adversary, and friend start to intertwine, Alex, finds herself in uncharted territory within Manhattan’s Rockefeller University. ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe good detective / John McMahon.
“Detective P.T. Marsh was a rising star on the police force until his wife and young son were killed in an accident. Since then he’s lost the ability to see the line between smart moves and disastrous decisions. Such as when he decides to ‘help out’ an exotic dancer by confronting her abusive boyfriend. When the next morning he gets called to the scene of his newest murder case, he is stunned to arrive at the house of a dead man, the very man he beat up the night before. He could swear the guy was alive when he left, but can he be sure? ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOpen carry / Marc Cameron.(print) (eBook)
U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter is a born tracker. Raised in the swamplands of Florida, he honed his skills in the military, fought in the Middle East, and worked three field positions for Marshal Services. When it comes to tracking someone down, or taking someone out, Cutter’s the best. But his newest assignment is taking him out of his comfort zone to southeast Alaska. Cold, dark, uninhabited forests that are often shrouded in fog. And it’s the kind of case that makes his blood run cold, the shocking murder of a Tlingit Indian girl. Three people have disappeared on Prince of Wales Island. Two are crew members of the reality TV show, Fishwives. Cutter’s job is to find the bodies, examine the crew’s footage for clues, and track down the men who killed them. Easier said than done. Especially when the whole town is hiding secrets, every trail is a dead end-and the hunter becomes the hunted. (Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverIn strangers’ houses / Elizabeth Mundy.
“Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, knows all too well about cleaning up other people’s messes. When her friend Timea disappears, she suspects one of her clients is to blame. However, the police don’t share her suspicions and it is left to Lena to turn sleuth and find her friend. Searching through their houses as she scrubs their floors, Lena desperately tries to find out what has happened. But Lena soon discovers it’s not just her clients who have secrets. And as she begins to unravel Timea’s past she starts to wonder if she really knew her friend at all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHandful of Ash (The Shetland Sailing Mysteries)
“Liveaboard skipper and amateur sleuth Cass Lynch is busy at marine college in Scalloway, until one night she finds an acquaintance dead in a doorway with her hand smeared with peat ash. Rumours spread of a strange ritual linked to the witches once burned in Shetland’s ancient capital, and of a horned figure abroad in the night. At first Cass believes these to be mere superstition, until there’s a second murder, and she begins to wonder if the devil really does walk in Scalloway …” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBloodmoon / Peter Tremayne.
“Ireland. AD 671. Sister Fidelma has a mission, and she is sworn by oath to reveal her purpose to no other. The secret investigation leads Fidelma and her companions to the abbey of Finnbarr to question the abbot. But before they have a chance to speak to him, the abbot is found murdered – and the young girl suspected of the crime has fled the scene. Unable to tell the truth of her quest to anyone, including her husband Eadulf, Fidelma’s time is running out – and now she has no choice but to face the challenge, and her enemies, alone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMissing pieces / Caroline de Costa.
“In 1992, toddler Yasmin Munoz went missing. No trace of her has ever been found. Yet in 2012 Andrew Todd, a wealthy businessman and former mayor of Cairns, dies, and leaves in his will directions for a search for the missing child, who if she is still alive must now be a young woman. Cairns detective Cass Diamond is soon asked to help… She discovers that in 1990, popular university student Chloe Campion had also gone missing, from a party in Brisbane celebrating her engagement to the son of Andrew Todd. Police inquiries at the time of the child’s disappearance found no link with the Campion case. But Cass is curious… On her own, Cass delves deeper, and is led to a farm on the Atherton Tableland outside Cairns, where her curiosity gets her kidnapped with two other women, and into a hostage drama with an unpredictable assailant…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe American agent : a Maisie Dobbs novel / Jacqueline Winspear.(print) (eBook)
“When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice–Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.” (Syndetics summary)

Devastation, devotion and the undead in Downing Street : recent readers choice

From dystopian novels to romance fiction there is an great range of reviewed reading material this month. Featuring complex relationship issues in Donna Leon’s Venetian recent crime novel Unto us a son is given. Strange twists of fate and coincidence affect seaborne Shetland adventurer Cass Lynch in Death on a Shetland Isle by Marsali Taylor.  Tensions mount in a Swiss hotel as nuclear devastation doesn’t halt the murderous habits of of one of a small number of guests, Hanna Jameson has written a disturbing end of times thriller, The last asks what kind of person you want to be at the end of the world?

These selected books are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that other people can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

The last / Jameson, Hanna
“Breaking- Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington. Breaking- London hit, thousands feared dead. Breaking- Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.
Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn’t ignored his wife Nadia’s last message. Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive. Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer… As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn’t want to be found?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Somewhat harrowing but gripping dystopia novel of the post-trump era. Very well written.

Unto us a son is given / Donna Leon.Syndetics book cover
“The latest of Donna Leon’s bestselling Venice crime novels. As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned. But when Berta, one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: Interesting exposition of the importance of honesty in a loving relationships. Brunetti is as philosophical as usual and the Venetian back drop is as enticing as usual.  There is less political intrigue than usual but still a very enjoyable read.

The truths and triumphs of Grace Atherton / Harris, Anstey
Also available as an eBook
“Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music. Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop. It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Well drawn characters. Story gets reader from page one and carries one along to the very end. Interesting re musical instrument restoration.

A lawless place / Donachie, David
“Edward Brazier is enlisted by Prime Minister William Pitt to assist his investigation into smuggling activity in Deal. However, with his love Betsy now locked into a loveless marriage with Tom Spafford, a useless drunk, and living as a prisoner, Brazier is distracted from his mission. Having foiled Spafford’s plan to steal Betsy away to her family-owned plantation in the West Indies, Brazier finds himself taken captive. Only his ingenuity will help engineer his escape and his cunning use of subterfuge will then allow him to infiltrate the smuggling gangs of Deal in a determined bid to unmask those in control. But with suspicion raised around him and his enemies banding together, can Brazier survive long enough to bring those responsible to justice?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: A good reflection of the era, but somewhat verbose! A list of characters would have been helpful.

Maybe this time / Mansell, Jill
“When Mimi first visits her dad’s new home in the Cotswolds, she falls in love with Goosebrook and the people who live there. (Well, maybe not snooty Henrietta, who lets Mimi walk miles in the rain rather than give her a lift.) There’s Paddy, with his flashing eyes and seductive charm. Friendly and funny Lois makes Mimi laugh. And seriously gorgeous Cal is welcoming and charismatic. Though Mimi loves her city life and her career, she’d be very happy to return to Goosebrook if it means seeing more of him. Life is about to take some unexpected and shocking twists and turns. And Mimi’s path and Cal’s are set to cross again and again – but will it ever be the right time for both of them? ” (Catalogue)

Readers’ review: You know you’re going to enjoy Jill Mansel’s book. This one is an enjoyable read and although everyone  lives happily ever after, there are some surprises and complications along the way!

In his father’s footsteps : a novel / Steel, Danielle
Also available as an eBook
“April, 1945. As the Americans storm the Buchenwald concentration camp, among the survivors are Jakob and Emmanuelle, barely more than teenagers. Each of them have lost everything and everyone in the unspeakable horrors of the war. But when they meet, they find hope and comfort in each other. Jakob and Emmanuelle marry, and resolve to make a new life in New York. The Steins build a happy, prosperous life for themselves and their new family, but their pasts cast a long shadow over the present. Years later, as the Sixties are in full swing, their son Max is an ambitious, savvy businessman, determined to throw off the sadness that has hung over his family since his birth. But as Max’s life unfolds, he must learn that there is meaning in his heritage that will help shape his future . . .” (Catalogue)

Readers’s review: A good read – some insightful looks into WW2 and holocaust.

The labyrinth index / Stross, Charles
“Britain is under New Management. The disbanding of the Laundry – the British espionage agency that deals with supernatural threats, has culminated in the unthinkable – an elder god in residence in 10 Downing Street. But in true ‘the enemy of my enemy’ fashion, Mhari Murphy finds herself working with His Excellency Nylarlathotep on foreign policy – there are worse things, it seems, than an elder god in power, and they lie in deepest, darkest America .A thousand-mile-wide storm system has blanketed the midwest, and the president is nowhere to be found – Mhari must lead a task force of disgraced Laundry personnel into the storm front to discover the truth. But working for an elder god is never easy, and as the stakes rise, Mhari will soon question exactly where her loyalties really lie.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Very good. Enjoying characters and story. Great continuation of the series.

Another reader commented: Good political satire aka horror story or paranormal spy thriller.  looking forward to the next in the series.

Death on a Shetland isle / Taylor, Marsali
“Readying her Norwegian sail-training ship, Sorlandet, for a fresh voyage through the Shetland Islands, Cass Lynch has the shock of her life when the new third officer is a ghost from her past – the man she thought she’d left to drown in the Atlantic eleven years before. Cass has an odd feeling about some of the new trainees: a slick city-boy, and a brother and sister. As her distrust of the newcomers deepens, two people go missing and a third is found dead. Struggling to confront the ghosts of her past, the deceased of her present, and the man of her future, Cass must out-manoeuvre the killer before she too becomes one of the victims.” (Catalogue)
Reader’s review: I enjoyed every page and wanted to catch the next plane/boat and experience the Shetland Islands for myself. Any chance of the library stocking two earlier books?
(These are now on order)

 

 

New Mysteries

Nefarious business tactics, buried secrets and deadly coincidences are woven through our latest selection of fiction mysteries. The imaginations of these talented authors deal with the machinations of the darker side of human nature.  The landscapes, cities and villages that host these tales feature as essential characters in these tales. Our  selection includes Donna Leon’s new Venetian novel, awash with her fascination for minor vices and drastic consequences. A new northern European detective hero is revealed in shape of Embla Nystrom, a welter weight prize-winner, hunter and female detective inspector whose talents and skills are about to be tested to the limit in Helene Tursten’s Hunting Game.

Accessing new titles has become easier with the removal of reserve fees. As before you can can choose any location to collect your chosen books.  Some of our new titles can be found through Overdrive as eBooks or eAudiobooks. This post highlights the library online access where possible.  All the titles in this new Mystery fiction selection are available in print form also.

Overdrive cover The Scholar, Dervla McTiernan (ebook) (eAudiobook) (print)
“When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend, Emma, stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning outside the laboratory at Galway University, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, it has funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research. As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her?” (Catalogue)

Murder at the British Museum / Eldridge, Jim
“1894. A well-respected academic is found dead in a gentlemen’s convenience cubicle at the British Museum, the stall locked from the inside. Professor Pickering had been due to give a talk promoting the museum’s new ‘Age of King Arthur’ exhibition when he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest. Daniel Wilson is called in to solve the mystery of the locked cubicle murder, and he brings his expertise and archaeologist Abigail Fenton with him. But  the museum becomes the site of another fatality and the pair face mounting pressure to deliver results. With persistent journalists, local vandals and a fanatical society, Wilson and Fenton face a race against time to salvage the reputation of the museum and catch a murderer desperate for revenge.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Hunting Game, Helene Tursten (ebook) (print)
 “Helene Tursten’s explosive new series features Detective Inspector Embla Nyström, a sharp, unforgiving woman working in a man’s world. From a young age, 28-year-old Embla Nystrom has been plagued by chronic nightmares and racing thoughts. She has learned to channel most of her anxious energy into her position as Detective Inspector in the mobile unit in Gothenburg, Sweden. When one of her peers is murdered during a routine hunting trip, Embla must track down the killer while confronting a dark incident from her past.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Hallowdene / Mann, George
“Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside, until she’s sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch’s grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates, but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig. She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverUnto us a son is given / Donna Leon.
“The latest of Donna Leon’s bestselling Venice crime novels. As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo’s friends,  find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why they’re so intent on meddling in the old man’s business. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned. But when Berta, one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFalse account / Veronica Heley.
“The mysterious deaths of two adored cats plunges Bea into the disturbing goings-on of the Tredgold family in the latest Abbot Agency mystery. Wealthy Marcia Tredgold and her daughter, Charlotte, want Bea Abbot to find them replacements for staff who have left under a cloud. Bea discovers that all those dismissed were close to Marcia Tredgold, and senses that something is not right. Were they framed, and if so by whom and why? In her quest to uncover the truth, Bea’s own safety is put at risk.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The godless / Doherty, Paul
“A number of prostitutes in 14th century London are brutally murdered, with blood-red wigs placed upon their heads; at the same time a war cog ship bound for Calais is destroyed: is there a connection, and are the rumours true that the mysterious Oriflamme is responsible? Brother Athelstan returns to uncover the truth, and of who – or what – he is.” (Catalogue)

 

Syndetics book coverNever tell / Lisa Gardner.
“One death might be an accident.
Two deaths looks like murder.
A man is shot dead in his own home, and his pregnant wife, Evie, is found with the gun in her hands. Detective D.D. Warren instantly recognises her. Sixteen years ago, Evie also shot her own father. That killing was ruled an accident. D.D. doesn’t believe in coincidences. But this case isn’t as open and shut as it first appears, and her job is to discover the truth. Evie might be a victim. Or she might be about to get away with murder again.” (Catalogue)

The Personal and Political (and Giant Alien Robots) with New Graphic Novels

April’s selection of new material begins with Memorabilia, an homage to graphic novels by Italian comic creator Sergio Ponchione. In Black Hammer: Age of Doom Part 1, a group of superheroes are marooned in a creepy rural enclaveAlso for the artists, the gritty reality of a life in animation is explored in the graphic memoir of Natalie Nourigat, and artistic nostril-gazing meanders into the selection with Flem from Belgian/Canadian comic creator Rebecca Rosen.

The Flutter Collection also has gender-jumping Lily faced with the foibles of life. Hobo Mom also sees a family strain around the idea of gender roles. We round off the selection with Sturm’s Off Season, where political tensions literally tear lives apart.

But wait… wasn’t there a giant alien robot? Well yes, it’s a bit hard to miss. And you don’t need to miss out on any of these titles, as reserves are currently free! Have fun!

Memorabilia / Ponchione, Sergio
“This is a fantastical graphic novel fan letter to some of the greatest American comic book creators. This book collects five individual stories illuminating the art and lives of the all-time great comic book artists Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Wallace Wood, Will Eisner, and Richard Corben. Ponchione blends biographical details about each artist with the characters and worlds they created, mixing fact with fiction as a testament to the remarkable imaginations of these masterful comics-makers.” (Catalogue)

The Flutter collection / Wood, Jennie
“Fifteen-year-old Lily shape-shifts into a boy to get the girl, and chaos ensues when she pretends to be someone she’s not. Lily learns that life as a boy is just as difficult, and that she can’t just run away from her problems. With her loved ones in danger, she returns to St. Charles to live as Jesse and protect them. But knowing what she’s capable of, can Lily be content as a popular high school varsity quarterback? Then, Lily gets stuck in a body while shape-shifting, but not just any body, it’s her mother’s! Forced to see the world through the eyes of her estranged mother, Lily must accept that she’ll never life a “normal life” in order to fulfill her true destiny.” (Catalogue)

Black Hammer [3]. Part I, Age of doom / Lemire, Jeff
“Picking up immediately where we left off–Lucy Weber has become the new Black Hammer and right as she’s about to reveal to our heroes how they got stuck on the farm and can escape she vanishes. Now our new Black Hammer finds herself trapped in a gritty world filled with punk rock detectives, emo gods, anthropomorphic humans, absurdist heroes, and many more weirdos, in mad world in which there is no escape Collects Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1-5. ” (Catalogue)

 Hobo mom / Forsman, Charles and Max de Radiguès. 
“Two cartoonists, Forsman and de Radiguès team up to tell the story of a prodigal mother’s return. A cross Atlantic collaboration, Hobo Mom was drawn simultaneously to tell the story of Tom, who lives a simple life with his pre-teen daughter, Sissy. Her mother, Natasha, who left to hop trains and has become a vagrant, shows up on the doorstep of the family she abandoned years ago. There, Natasha finds an upset husband (who is still deeply in love with her), and a little girl yearning for a mother. Can someone who covets independence settle down?” (Catalogue)

Gigantic / Remender, Rick
“Who is this invader demolishing San Francisco? Why is he being attacked by strange alien beings? And why is he so Gigantic? It was a beautiful spring day in downtown San Francisco before a gigantic armored alien appeared from out of nowhere and began smashing things all to hell. A twist on The Truman Show, Gigantic focuses on a brainwashed alien superhero deposited on Earth to be the spotlight of an intrusive, around-the-clock television program being filmed without his knowledge.” (Catalogue)

Off season / Sturm, James
“How could this happen? The question of 2016 becomes deeply personal in James Sturm’s riveting graphic novel Off Season, which charts one couple’s divisive separation during Bernie Sanders’s loss to Hillary Clinton, Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump, and the disorienting months that followed. We see a father navigating life as a single parent and coping with the disintegration of a life-defining relationship.” (Catalogue)

I moved to Los Angeles to work in animation / Nourigat, Natalie
When artist Tally Nourigat left her life in Portland to move to Los Angeles and pursue a job in animation, she realized that despite her research, nothing truly prepared her for the wild world that awaited in the studios of Southern California. From grinding on storyboard test after storyboard test to getting a job at a major studio to searching for an apartment in ‘the Valley’ this autobiographical how-to graphic novel explores the highest highs and lowest lows of pursuing a dream in animation. Brushed with a dose of humor and illustrated advice about salaries, studio culture, and everything in between, I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation is the unique insider experience you won’t find anywhere else.” (Catalogue)

Flem / Rosen, Rebecca
“Fictional biography of a disturbed performance artist Julia Marten’s a mess: she’s running out of inheritance money, failing out of art school, and haunted by the ghost of her depressed mother. And then there’s the compulsive nose-picking thing… When Julia meets a group of radical feminist performance artists in a Brussels squat, she is convinced by their political perspective and enchanted by their counter-cultural lifestyle. But has she found her tribe… or lost her mind?” (Catalogue)