Recent Film and Television book picks

This month’s picks feature a variety of books on the history of entertainment, including costume, comedy and Coronation Street. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverHow to watch a movie / David Thomson.
“From one of the most admired critics of our time, brilliant insights into the act of watching movies and an enlightening discussion about how to derive more from any film experience. David Thomson offers his most inventive exploration of the medium yet: guiding us through each element of the viewing experience, considering the significance of everything from what we see and hear on screen – actors, shots, cuts, dialogue, music – to the specifics of how, where, and with whom we do the viewing. With customary candour and wit, Thomson delivers keen analyses of a range of films, revealing how to more deeply appreciate both the artistry and (yes) manipulation of film, and how watching movies approaches something like watching life itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhy stand-up matters : how comedians manipulate and influence / Sophie Quirk.
“Popular as a good night out and packing the TV schedules, stand-up permeates British society and culture. Ubiquitous though it is, we are generally reluctant to consider comedy’s social consequences. This book looks at the social and political impact of stand-up comedy in both its positive and negative forms. Drawing on exclusive interviews with comedians such as Stewart Lee, Josie Long, Joe Wilkinson and Mark Thomas, and examples of comic material on everything from revolution, terrorism and homosexuality, to knitting and the inefficiency of the home shower, it explores comedy’s role in determining our attitudes and opinions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrry Kelly : Miss Weston’s protege : the story of a great Hollywood costume designer / Robert Parkinson.
Orry Kelly, Miss Weston’s Protègè tells the incredible story of one of Hollywood’s greatest designers. Using never before seen materials, photographs and letters, Robert Parkinson has compiled years of research into one of the most detailed accounts of Orry Kelly’s history. Over the course of his career Orry Kelly worked for all of the major studios, including Warner Brothers, Paramount and Fox, dressing many of the well-known female stars in some 312 films. As biographies of movie stars began to appear in the 1980s his fashion styling and costume design came to be highly regarded and worthy of study across several universities and colleges.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe comedians : drunks, thieves, scoundrels, and the history of American comedy / Kliph Nesteroff.
“Based on over two hundred original interviews and extensive archival research, Nesteroff’s groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the way comedians have reflected, shaped, and changed American culture over the past one hundred years. From comedy’s part in the Civil Rights movement and the social upheaval of the late 1960s, to the first comedy clubs of the 1970s and the cocaine-fueled comedy boom of the 1980s, The Comedians culminates with a new era of media-driven celebrity in the twenty-first century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA to Z great film directors / Andy Tuohy, with text by Matt Glasby.
“A striking, design-led reference book. A-Z Great Film Directors features Andy Tuohy’s portraits of 52 directors significant for their contribution to cinema including kings of world cinema Wong Kar-Wai and Akira Kurosawa, arthouse pioneers Fritz Lang and David Lynch as well as the often under-appreciated female directors Kathryn Bigelow and Jane Campion. So whether you’re already a film afficionado, or looking for a helpful cheat to pass convincingly as an arthouse fan, you’ll love this guide to international directors, past and present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeirdre : a life on Coronation Street / Glenda Young.
“From her first appearance in 1972, Deirdre Barlow (nee Hunt) went on to become one of the street’s most iconic stars and been at the centre of some of its most explosive storylines; including her affair with Mike Baldwin, her imprisonment for fraud which prompted the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to raise her case in the Commons and her relationship with daughter Tracy, a woman who has literally gotten away with murder. Deirdre: A Life on the Street is a tribute to one of the most recognised and loved characters on television.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAndy and Don : the making of a friendship and a classic American TV show / Daniel de Visé.
“Andy Griffith and Don Knotts met on Broadway in the 1950s. When Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if the sheriff could use a deputy. The comedic synergy between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife ignited The Andy Griffith Show, elevating a folksy sitcom into a timeless study of human friendship, as potent off the screen as on. Written by Don Knotts’s brother-in-law and featuring extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men, Andy and Don is the definitive literary work on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show and a provocative and an entertaining read about two of America’s most enduring stars.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd on that bombshell / Richard Porter.
“I was Top Gear’s script editor for 13 years and all 22 series. I basically used to check spelling and think of stupid gags about The Stig. I also got to hang around with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. It didn’t feel like something you should get paid for. From the disastrous pilot show of 2002 to the sudden and unexpected ending in 2015, working on Top Gear was quite a rollercoaster ride. I realised that I had quite a few stories to tell from behind the scenes on the show. I remembered whose daft idea it was to get a dog. I recalled the wilfully stupid way in which we decorated our horrible office. I had a sudden flashback to the time a Bolivian drug lord threatened to kill us. I decided I should write down some of these stories. So I have. I hope you like them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrictly Bruce : stories of my life / Bruce Forsyth.
“Bruce Forsyth, the consummate performer and much-loved face of British entertainment, invites you to share with him in a collection of his favourite photographs, which tell the story of a remarkable life lived to the full. Charting his life story from talented young lad growing up in north London to achieving national treasure status, Strictly Bruce is full of dazzling photographs and warm anecdotes spanning eight decades of Bruce’s life, man and boy. It’s a chance to take a trip down memory lane, celebrate the golden age of British showbiz and step behind the scenes of Bruce’s personal life, meeting the people he loves and learning what makes him tick.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJames Dean / Dennis Stock ; introduction by Joe Hyams.
“Magnum photographer Dennis Stock met James Dean in 1954, and they became fast friends. Stock captured Dean’s essence in a stunning series of images of the actor in the midst of family and friends, as well as alone, sleeping, lost in thought, in the frozen fields of Indiana, and on a rainy day in Manhattan. It was an extraordinary collaboration between two people in full command of their respective talents. James Dean reintroduces these iconic photographs, taken at the dawn and high noon of a brief and brilliant career, with Dennis Stock’s original accompanying text and a later introduction by Joe Hyams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Latest Film and Television book arrivals

Terry Gilliam. What’s inside his head? Find out by reading his book. Explore the TV revolution by reading Taschen’s favorite TV shows. Journey inside North Korea with The director is the commander. Plus, many other great new arrivals!

Syndetics book coverGilliamesque : my me, me, me memoir / Terry Gilliam and Ben Thompson.
“From his no-frills childhood in the icy wastes of Minnesota, to some of the hottest water Hollywood had to offer, via the cutting edge of ’60s and ’70s counter-culture in New York, LA and London, Terry Gilliam’s life has been as vivid and unorthodox as one of his films. Telling his story for the first time, the director of Brazil, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – not to mention co-founder of Monty Python’s Flying Circus – recalls his life so far. Packed with never-before-seen artwork, photographs and commentary, Gilliamesque blends the visual and the verbal with scabrous wit and fascinating insights.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaschen’s favorite TV shows : the top shows of the last 25 years / Jürgen Müller (ed.).
“In the last decade, shows like Breaking Bad, Borgen and Mad Men have toppled cinema from its leading position in the popular culture universe and ushered in a whole new level of small screen excellence and appreciation. Networks such as HBO, AMC, and ABC have launched a new era of cinematic narrative, while cable TV networks, DVDs, and the Internet have brought about new, flexible ways of watching and engaging. Global fan communities devour episode after episode, independently of programs and broadcasting schedules, and probe the multiple levels of meaning in their favorite series in blogs, fan groups and online forums. Alongside a wealth of stills, this overview of the TV revolution presents the most important and successful series of recent years, from David Lynch’s groundbreaking masterpiece Twin Peaks to current highlights like Game of Thrones, Girls and House of Cards. Learn something new about your favorite shows, and about those you’re still to discover.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWomen I’ve undressed / Orry-Kelly.
“Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to Some Like It Hot. He won three Oscars for costume design. He dressed all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. He was an Australian. Yet few know who Orry-Kelly really was – until now. Discovered in a pillowcase, Orry-Kelly’s long-lost memoirs reveal a wildly talented and cheeky rascal who lived a big life, on and off the set. Sharing digs in New York with another aspiring actor, Cary Grant, and partying hard in between auditions, he ekes out a living painting murals for speakeasies before graduating to designing stage sets and costumes. When The Kid from Kiama finally arrives in Hollywood, it’s clear his adventures have only just begun. Fearless, funny and outspoken, Orry-Kelly lived life to the full.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe science of TV’s The big bang theory : explanations even Penny would understand / Dave H. Zobel.
“The highest-rated scripted show on TV, The Big Bang Theory (CBS) often features Sheldon, Howard, Leonard and Raj wisecracking about scientific principles as if the rest of us should know exactly what they’re talking about. The Science of TV’S The Big Bang Theory lets all of us in on the punchline by breaking down the show’s scientific conversations. Covering every angle, author Dave Zobel maintains a humorous and informative approach and gives readers enough knowledge to make them welcome on Sheldon’s couch.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe director is the commander / Anna Broinowski.
“Looking for respite from her crumbling marriage and determined to stop a coal seam gas mine near her Sydney home, filmmaker Anna Broinowski finds wisdom and inspiration in the strangest of places: North Korea. Guided by the late Dear Leader Kim Jong Il’s manifesto The Cinema and Directing, Broinowski, in a world first, travels to Pyongyang to collaborate with North Korea’s top directors, composers and movie stars to make a powerful anti-fracking propaganda film. The Director is the Commander centres around the bizarre twenty-one day shoot Broinowski did in North Korea to make her documentary, Aim High in Creation! Funny, multi-layered and utterly compelling, The Director is the Commander is a gripping account of an extraordinary journey inside a nation we can usually only see from the outside looking in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMany more lives of the Batman / edited by Roberta Pearson, William Uricchio, Will Brooker.
“The Many Lives of the Batman (1991) was a pioneer within cultural and comic book scholarship. This fresh new sequel retains the best of the original chapters but also includes images, new chapters and new contributions from the Batman writers and editors. Spanning 75 years and multiple incarnations, this is the definitive history of Batman.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpecial effects make-up artist / Jonathan Craig and Bridget Light.
“Movies are full of amazingly odd creatures, from aliens to zombies, but what goes into creating them? Many of these bizarre creatures are brought to life with make-up and prosthetics. Find out what’s involved in being a special effects make-up artist, the tools and skills you need, and the difficulties of bringing imaginary creatures to life.” (Syndetics summary)

Star Wars, Harry Potter, Judd Apatow and more! – Film and Television books for August

Here is a great selection covering the history of Hollywood, famous movies and famous people.

Syndetics book coverHollywood traitors : blacklisted screenwriters : agents of Stalin, allies of Hitler / Allan H. Ryskind.
“Too often, the “Hollywood Ten” brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee are memorialized as victims of an unjust witch-hunt and heroes who stood up for free speech. The truth is shocking: Not only did these supposed liberal paragons adore Josef Stalin and take their orders directly from the Communist Party, but they also sympathized with Adolf Hitler. Ryskind, who grew up in the heart of the Hollywood scene and personally knew many of the key players in this real-life Hollywood drama, has penned a definitive, myth-busting account of the Hollywood Ten and Hollywood Blacklist that will forever change the way you think about the ideological battle waged in the movie capital of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSick in the head : conversations about life and comedy / Judd Apatow.
“Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. He took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club so he could watch endless stand-up for free. He hosted a show for his local high school radio station on Long Island – a show that consisted of Q & As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd – and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do. Sick in the Head gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career, but his entire adult life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUltimate Star Wars / written by Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham.
“Become an expert on the Star Wars galaxy! Ultimate Star Wars® is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This is a beautifully illustrated guide that is structured chronologically and packed full of information about key characters and storylines from the Star Wars movie saga, The Clone Wars , and Rebels(tm) . Ultimate Star Wars will get new and old fans caught up and knowledgeable on all things Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA wish your heart makes : from the Grimm brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella / Charles Solomon ; introduction by Kenneth Branagh.
“With its kind heroine who receives her just reward with the help of her Fairy Godmother, ‘Cinderella’ is one the most beloved fairy tales throughout the world. A Wish Your Heart Makes will trace the history and many incarnations of the fairy tale, emphasising its strong ties to Walt Disney and his studio. The book will conclude with the making of the 2015 live-action film Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh, including interviews with Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Derek Jacobi and Lilly James.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYear of the fat knight : the Falstaff diaries / Antony Sher ; with illustrations by the author.
Year of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher’s account–splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches–of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher’s 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, that also stands as a celebration of the craft of character acting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarry Potter : magical places from the films : Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and beyond / by Jody Revenson.
Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond offers an unprecedented look at the creative process that transformed the magical locations of the wizarding world from the page to the big screen. Readers will discover the many challenges the studio faced to build the fantastical sites depicted in Rowling’s books, from Hogwarts castle and its many classrooms and dormitories, to Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic. Organized by film appearance, the book takes readers on a behind-the-scenes visual journey through all eight of the Harry Potter films. Gorgeously designed, visually stunning, this is truly is an unmatched look at the imaginative sets that were designed, built, furnished, and digitally enhanced specifically for the films.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBroadcast hysteria : Orson Welles’s War of the worlds and the art of fake news / A. Brad Schwartz.
“On October 30, 1938, regular radio programming was interrupted by an announcer delivering news of a meteor strike in New Jersey. With increasing intensity, the announcer read bulletins describing terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. Some listeners sat transfixed before their radios, while others ran to alert neighbors or call the police. But the broadcast was not breaking news–it was Orson Welles’s adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds. In Broadcast Hysteria , A. Brad Schwartz examines the history behind the infamous radio play. Did it really spawn a wave of mass hysteria? Schwartz is the first to examine the hundreds of letters sent directly to Welles after the broadcast. Relatively few listeners believed an actual attack was under way. But even so, Schwartz shows that Welles’s broadcast prompted a different kind of “mass panic” as Americans debated the bewitching power of the radio and the country’s vulnerability in a time of crisis.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverConquering chaos / by Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra.
“Since Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra shared their story of teen pregnancy and adoption on the MTV’s ’16 and Pregnant’ and ‘Teen Mom’, they’ve been known for their inspiring commitment to growing up right. Between their experience placing their first daughter for adoption, and their struggle to cope with problems in their families, Catelynn and Tyler were challenged in every imaginable way. But against all odds, the childhood sweethearts rose above the dysfunction to become responsible adults whose story has inspired many others. How did two troublemaking kids from the trailer park make it through the storm of family dysfunction, teen pregnancy, and adoption without letting go of each other? In their debut book, Catelynn and Tyler tell the story in their own words…and they leave nothing out.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise / Chris Taylor.
“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Syndetics summary)

Sound of Music, a kidnapped film director, QI and more! Recent books on Film and Television

Did you know the Sound of Music was released in 1965? Well, we have two books to commemorate that it has been showing for over 50 years!

Speaking of classic films, we have the book Audrey and Bill that tells of the love story between Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, who filmed the movie Sabrina together.

On to more modern topics, we have A Kim Jong-Il production : the extraordinary true story of a kidnapped filmmaker, his star actress, and a young dictator’s rise to power . What an informative title! And yet we can’t help wanting to read on.

Keep reading to find out what else we have, including books on actor Chloë Sevigny, Patton Oswalt’s film addiction, film director Werner Herzog and QI quotations.

Syndetics book coverAudrey and Bill : a romantic biography of Audrey Hepburn and William Holden / Edward Z. Epstein.
“Here for the first time is the complete, captivating story of an on-set romance that turned into a lifelong love story between silver screen legends Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. Both won Oscars in 1954 and together they filmed Sabrina, a now-iconic film that continues to inspire the worlds of film and fashion. Audrey & Bill tells the stories of both stars, from before they met to their electrifying first encounter when they began making Sabrina. Through in-depth research and interviews with former friends, co-stars, and studio workers, Edward Z. Epstein sheds new light on the stars and the fascinating times in which they lived.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Kim Jong-Il production : the extraordinary true story of a kidnapped filmmaker, his star actress, and a young dictator’s rise to power / Paul Fischer.
“Before becoming the world’s most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)–South Korea’s most famous actress–and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country’s most famous filmmaker. Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader’s dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and “re-educated.” After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader’s film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il’s trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety. A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer’s A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea’s history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sound of music story : how a beguiling young novice, a handsome Austrian captain, and ten singing Von Trapp children inspired the most beloved film of all time / Tom Santopietro.
“On March 2, 1965, “The Sound of Music” was released in the United States and the love affair between moviegoers and the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was on. Santopietro looks back at the real life story of Maria von Trapp, goes on to chronicle the sensational success of the Broadway musical, and recounts the story of the near cancellation of the film when the “Cleopatra” bankrupted 20th Century Fox. Tom Santopietro’s The Story of The Sound of Music is book for everyone who cherishes this American classic.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Sound of music companion / Laurence Maslon ; foreword by Julie Andrews.
“The definitive book on the world’s most beloved musical, The Sound of Music Companion charts the incredible and enduring story of Maria von Trapp and her story over the last hundred years – from Maria’s birth in Vienna in 1905 to the 50th anniversary of the film’s release in 2015. The book details every step in the evolution of this masterwork from real-life to page to stage to film to international phenomenon. It profiles every creative artist who has helped to shape the musical version of the von Trapp Family story …and includes landmark international stage productions, the movie in pop culture and the 2012 TV movie. Included are more than 170 pictures plus complete lyrics to a dozen songs, a map of Salzburg and the film’s locations and unseen storyboards from the film.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSilver screen fiend : learning about life from an addiction to film / Patton Oswalt.
“Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakeable addiction. It wasn’t drugs, alcohol, or sex. It was film. After moving to L.A., Oswalt became a huge film buff, absorbing classics and new releases at least three nights a week at the New Beverly Cinema. Silver screen celluloid became Patton’s life schoolbook, informing his notions of acting, writing, comedy, and relationships. Set in the nascent days of the alternative comedy scene, Oswalt’s memoir chronicles his journey from fledgling stand-up comedian to self-assured sitcom actor, with the colorful New Beverly collective supporting him all along the way. Already a beloved fixture on the comedy stage, on television, and in film-not to mention his 1.87 million Twitter followers-Oswalt announces, with his second book, that he’s also here to stay on the page.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWerner Herzog : a guide for the perplexed / conversations with Paul Cronin.
“Most of what we’ve heard about Werner Herzog is untrue. Yet Herzog’s body of work is one of the most important in postwar European cinema. His international breakthrough came in 1973 with Aguirre, the Wrath of God, in which Klaus Kinski played a crazed Conquistador. For The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser , Herzog cast in the lead a man who had spent most of his life institutionalized, and two years later he hypnotized his entire cast to make Heart of Glass. More recently, Herzog has made extraordinary “documentary” films, such as Little Dieter Needs to Fly . His place in cinema history is assured, and Paul Cronin’s volume of dialogues provides a forum for Herzog’s fascinating views on the things, ideas, and people that have preoccupied him for so many years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdvanced banter : the QI book of quotations / [compiled by] John Lloyd and John Mitchinson.
“Have you ever wondered why most books of quotations are stuffed full of rather pedestrian quotes by people you’ve never heard of? It’s a shame because a really good quotation book, one which gathered the truest and funniest insights of the best minds, and organised them into 250 subjects, from artichokes to woodpeckers, a book which offered you a useful take on almost every situation life throws at you (from the death of your child’s hamster to the unified theory of everything), a practical handbook of interestingness, well, that would be worth having. And, guess what? Those thoughtful gentlemen at QI have come up with one. Five years of learning how to avoid the dull stuff have left the QI team in a uniquely good position to deliver this elusive holy grail: the big, useful, funny and really very good book of quotations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe authentic actor : the art and business of being yourself / Michael Laskin ; edited by Jana Branch.
“Every year, thousands of actors struggle to navigate today’s film and TV business while also wanting to grow as performers, as artists. These actors tend to be risk-takers, mold-breakers, and are interested in defining who they are. They are looking for advice and guidance about art and about commerce. The Authentic Actor is for them. The actor’s path today begins with two questions: Who are you? What do you know? Beginning with personal authenticity, The Authentic Actor reveals a holistic approach that fuses discovery of the “actor’s fingerprint” with skills for managing performance, career, and life — as artist, businessperson, and citizen.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChloe Sevigny / editor, Martynka Wawrzyniak.
“A celebration of the eclectic and daring personal style of the actress and contemporary fashion icon Chloë Sevigny–famous for looking cool without looking like she’s trying. Chloë Sevigny has been a muse in the downtown creative scene for over three decades. Her quirky and avant-garde fashion sense was quickly noticed by indie magazines and the world’s top photographers. This volume is a deeply personal illustrated chronicle of the evolution of Sevigny’s unique style throughout her career: from a teenage skater girl to award-winning film actress and fashion designer. This volume will appeal to the legions of global Chloë fans and fashion industry followers, as well as a mainstream audience who will find this book an inspirational style bible.” (Syndetics summary)

New books on Film and Television for March

Fans of Batman will enjoy Batmobile : the complete history. We have three new books on popular tv shows: Wait for it, an unofficial guide to How I Met Your Mother, Sons of Anarchy: the official collectors edition and Downton Abbey: the complete scripts: season three. For some of the cutest stars in Hollywood, take a look at Animal Stars, plus many more books on Film and Television!

Syndetics book coverAyoade on Ayoade : a cinematic odyssey / Richard Ayoade.
“In this book Richard Ayoade – actor, writer, director, and amateur dentist – reflects on his cinematic legacy as only he can: in conversation with himself. Over ten brilliantly insightful and often erotic interviews, Ayoade examines himself fully and without mercy, leading a breathless investigation into this once-in-a-generation visionary. Only Ayoade can appreciate Ayoade’s unique methodology. Only Ayoade can recognise Ayoade’s talent. Only Ayoade can withstand Ayoade’s peculiar scent. Only Ayoade can truly get inside Ayoade. They have called their book Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey. Take the journey, and your life will never be the same again. Ayoade on Ayoade captures the director in his own words: pompous, vain, angry and very, very funny.” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageBatmobile : the complete history : engineering, aesthetics & function through the decades / written by Mark Cotta Vaz ; Batman created by Bob Kane ; foreword: Q & A with Paul Levitz & Nathan Crowley.
“Here for the first time is the complete history of the sleek, sophisticated, incomparable Batmobile. From its humble beginnings in the pages of Detective Comics, to its reimaginings every decade in the pages of DC Comics, to its unforgettable appearances on the big screen, this book explores each incarnation of the Batmobile in incredible detail and scope.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnimal stars : behind the scenes with your favorite animal actors / Robin Ganzert, PhD, Allen & Linda Anderson ; foreword by Marty Becker, DVM.
“When cameras roll and directors call, “Action,” some of the most dependable, funniest, and most enthusiastic actors stand poised on four legs, with ears alert. From Joey in War Horse to the wolves in Game of Thrones, what we see on screen is the result of meticulous preparation and professional teamwork. These eye-popping, heartwarming stories reveal the trainers, actors, directors, and animals in behind-the-scenes glory.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Academy Awards : the complete unofficial history / Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza.
“Written by film experts who are sought out every year for their insider knowledge of movies and Hollywood, this book is both a comprehensive reference and a detailed history of the Academy Awards, complete with each year’s facts, highlights, and controversies–all told with authority and attitude. Packed with more than 500 photographs from the Oscar ceremonies and red carpet as well as the movies themselves, it outdoes any other book on the market in both information and illustrations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWait for it : the legendary story of How I met your mother : an unofficial guide / Jesse McLean.
“As the record-breaking run of the CBS hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother draws to an end, new fans of the epic romantic comedy are still appearing in droves, thanks to the joy of binge-watching on demand. What better way for old fans and new to reminisce about all the friendships and fun than by looking at the series as a whole in Jesse McLean’s Wait For It . With an entertaining examination of each of the nine seasons of the show, McLean not only looks at the characters and stories, but the making-of stories, the running gags, the lead actors, and the lasting impact of How I Met Your Mother on pop culture thanks to a cult fandom that’s grown to a national obsession.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSons of Anarchy : the official collectors edition / by Tara Bennett.
“Go inside the clubhouse and behind the scenes of the #1 smash hit FX television show Sons of Anarchy with this official book, the only one officially sanctioned by the show’s creator and FX, which offers the definitive insider’s guide to all seven seasons, including the series’ memorable final episode. Sons of Anarchy: The Official Collector’s Edition is an awesome tribute to the Teller-Morrow family. Inside you’ll find an introduction by and interviews with Kurt Sutter, series creator on how the show came to be, revealing interviews with the cast, the actors’ most memorable scenes and moments, in their own words and much more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDownton Abbey : the complete scripts : season three / Julian Fellowes.
“The full scripts of series three, including previously unseen dialogue and drama. They give readers the opportunity to read the work in more detail and study the characters, pace and themes in depth. With an introduction and commentary from Julian Fellowes, this is an insight into how he researched and crafted the world of Downton Abbey.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sci-fi movie guide : the universe of film from Alien to Zardoz / Chris Barsanti.
“Once upon a time, science fiction was only in the future. It was the stuff of drive-ins and cheap double-bills. Then, with the ever-increasing rush of new, society-altering technologies, science fiction pushed its way to the present, and it busted out of the genre ghetto of science fiction and barged its way into the mainstream. Whether nostalgic for the future or fast-forwarding to the present, The Sci-Fi Movie Guide: The Universe of Film from Alien to Zardoz covers the broad and widening range of science-fiction movies. From the trashy to the epic, from the classics to today’s blockbusters, this cinefile’s guidebook reviews nearly 1,000 of the biggest, baddest, and brightest from every age and genre of cinematic and TV science fiction.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDressing for the dark : from the silver screen to the red carpet / by Kate Young.
“In her first-ever book, celebrity stylist Kate Young draws inspiration from iconic fashion moments in film to choose the most influential eveningwear styles of all time, and offers her expert insight as to why these looks are so definitive and are worth revisiting today for that special night out. Spanning classic moments such as Elizabeth Taylor’s timeless white silk chiffon dress in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Julia Roberts in that iconic red gown in Pretty Woman, this book, complete with a directory of go-tos, is an accessory no woman will want to dress for the dark without.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty Hollywood directors / edited by Yvonne Tasker and Suzanne Leonard.
“Fifty Hollywood Directors introduces the most important, iconic and influential filmmakers who worked in Hollywood between the end of the silent period and the birth of the blockbuster. By exploring the historical, cultural and technological contexts in which each director was working, this book traces the formative period in commercial cinema when directors went from pioneers to industry heavyweights. Each entry discusses a director’s practices and body of work and features a brief biography and suggestions for further reading.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHollywood love stories : true love stories from the golden days of the silver screen / Gill Paul.
“From the earliest days of Hollywood, the pressures of fame led to a febrile atmosphere among its stars. The magic of the movies made audiences pulses quicken, but what was really happening in the lives of the actors up on the silver screen? Hollywood Love Stories looks at 14 real-life love affairs across the golden age of the movies, from the 1920s to the 1970s. From the swashbuckling romance between Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, and the poignant lifelong affair between Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn, to the scandalous liaison between Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, each account offers insights and surprises, accompanied by wonderful images and ephemera that bring every love affair vividly alive.” (Syndetics summary)

New Zealand International Arts Festival – Germaine Greer

The New Zealand International Arts Festival is currently on here in Wellington with many famous writers speaking at the events.

Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch, and Shakespeare’s Wife, and more, is speaking at three of these events.

The events are Town Hall Talks: Germaine Greer on the 12th of March, Germaine Greer: Shakespeare’s Wife with Linda Hardy on the 13th of March, and Where Were You in ’72? with Marilyn Waring and Sandra Coney on 14th of March.

Wellington City Libraries has many interesting books by Germaine Greer you may wish to read or reserve.

The obstacle race : the fortunes of women painters and their work / by Germaine Greer.
“If men and women are equally capable of genius, why have there been no female artists of the stature of Leonardo, Titian or Poussin? In seeking to answer this question, Germaine Greer introduces us to major but underestimated figures in the history of Western painting–Angelica Kauffmann, Natalia Goncharova, Suzanne Valadon, Berthe Morisot, Kathe Kollwitz–and produces a brilliantly incisive and richly illustrated study. She explains the obstacles as both external and surmountable and internal and insurmountable in the race for achievement.” – (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShakespeare’s wife / Germaine Greer.Shakespeare’s Wife
“In 1979, noted feminist Greer wrote The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work, which helped save several women artists from obscurity. Now she turns her attention to another shadowy figure, Ann Hathaway. Greer wants to rescue Hathaway from the frantic fantasising of the bardolators, who would have us believe that Shakespeare left Stratford for London in order to escape an unhappy marriage. Maybe, and since the cupboard is so bare of facts, Greer can do no more than speculate herself. But her speculation is based on careful sifting through every shard of contextual evidence archives, records, registers, and literary works not just as it relates to the Shakespeares and the Hathaways but also as it relates to their place and time. What we get is a portrait of life in Stratford circa 1600 on almost every level and in every aspect the practice of medicine, the brewing of ale, birth, marriage, and burial. Although Ann herself remains in the shadows, Greer provides an intriguing analysis that helps us understand more about the person Ann might have been. Reader interest probably will be based more on the author’s name than on the subject.” – (Booklist Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beautiful boy / Germaine Greer.
“The beauty of male imagery as an object of female desire has been repressed, argues feminist writer Greer in this work of art history. She includes some 200 images from Western art in her exploration of the shifting meanings and presentations of masculinity.” – (Book News summary).

Syndetics book coverThe female eunuch / Germaine Greer.
“A worldwide bestseller, translated into over twelve languages, THE FEMALE EUNUCH is a landmark in the history of the women’s movement. Drawing liberally from history, literature and popular culture, past and present, Germaine Greer’s searing examination of women’s oppression is at once an important social commentary and a passionately argued masterpiece of polemic. Probably the most famous, most widely read book on feminism ever.” – (Summary from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverWhitefella jump up : the shortest way to nationhood / Germaine Greer.
“Essay exploring the interdependence of black and white Australia to suggest that embracing Aboriginality is the only way Australia can fully imagine itself as a nation. Argues that Australia needs to enter the Aboriginal web of dreams. Includes correspondence by Tim Duncan, Evan Thornley, John Quiggen, Graham Jones, Gideon Haigh and Tim Flannery. Author is Professor of English and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick. Her previous titles include ‘The Female Eunuch’ and ‘The Whole Woman’.” – (Syndetics summary)

The Change : women, ageing and the menopause.
“Challenges the medical, religious and social myths surrounding menopause. The author argues that acceptance and understanding of this critical life stage will lead to serenity and female empowerment. By the Australian-born author of TThe Female Eunuch’, it includes an index and a bibliography.” – (Syndetics summary)

Daddy, we hardly knew you / by Germaine Greer.
“Driven to know if the father who returned from World War II a cold and vacant man had loved her once, feminist Greer ( The Female Eunuch, LJ 4/15/71) follows a trail of false leads and outright lies to know the truth about the man who called himself Reg Greer. To the dismay of her sharp-tongued, eccentric mother, but to the pleasure of herself and her siblings, she finds someone who, concealing his origins in poverty and illegitimacy, rises to middle-class security on the strength of his own wit and resourcefulness. Some of the writing is marred by Greer’s fascination with the minutiae of herself, but the search and its results are intriguing.” – (Library Journal Summary)

The whole woman / Germaine Greer.
“Germaine Greer proclaims that the time has come to get angry again! Modern feminism has become the victim of unenlightened complacency, and what started out in the Sixties as a movement for liberation has become one that has sought and settled for equality. With fiery rhetoric, authoritative insight, outrageous humour and broad-ranging debate, Greer shows that, although women have indeed come a very long way in the last thirty years, the notion of our having it all has disguised the persistent discrimination and exploitation that continues to exist for women in the basic areas of health, sex, politics, economics and marketing. Erudite, eccentric, provocative and invigorating, Germaine Greer once again sets the agenda for the future of feminism. Here is all the polemical power that sold over a million copies of The Female Eunuch and kept its author at the heart of controversy ever since. The Whole Woman was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller for five weeks when it was first published in 1999, and was hailed by the critics as a ‘polemical bomb’ (Guardian) and as required reading for thinking adults everywhere.” – (Global Books Summary)

Slip-shod sibyls : recognition, rejection and the woman poet / Germaine Greer.
“The term “slip-shod sibyls”, adapted from a gibe of Alexander Pope, encapsulates the common contempt for the half-educated women who dared to expose themselves in the pre-1900 literary market-place. In this collection, Germaine Greer argues that the problem is not that such women were ignored but that, when most women were unable to express themselves in written form at all, and only a tiny minority dared to write in metre, the female poet was given undue attention, flattered and exploited only to be rejected and humiliated in her own lifetime and forgotten by posterity. She argues that what has come down to us is largely unworthy of inclusion in the canon. In many cases, the texts are inauthentic and cannot be relied upon to represent women’s work or women’s sensibility. As much of the poetry is intensely derivative, it cannot be evaluated by readers unfamiliar with the poets’ models. This study examines the life and work of an extraordinary group of women – from the myth of Sappho to the dishonesty of Katherine Philips, the enduring mysteries of Aphra Behn and the tragic tale of Letitia Landon, forced to masquerade as “The Child of Song”.” – (Amazon.com summary).

Other books that Wellington City Libraries have by Germaine Greer:

Sex and destiny : the politics of human fertility / Germaine Greer.

The madwoman’s underclothes : essays and occasional writings, 1968-85 / Germaine Greer.

Some great new Sci-Fi and Fantasy books for you to check out!

Whether you prefer laser guns and spaceships, or swords and magic, this lot should have you covered…

Syndetics book coverPower play / Ben Bova.
“When astronomy professor Jake Ross is recruited as an adviser to aspiring senator Frank Tomlinson, he is asked to become an expert on MHD, or “magnetohydrodynamics,” a new procedure intended to increase radically the generation of cheap and clean electricity. Its creator, Dr. Arlen Sinclair, is unwilling to expose this still–experimental technology to the political arena, especially since he has connections with the incumbent whose seat Tomlinson wants. Drawn further into the cutthroat world of political elections, Ross soon faces the prospect that he may not make it to Election Day alive. Bova’s latest novel, set in the near future, features a strong, plot-driven story; snappy dialog; and characters, uncluttered by backstory drama, whose personalities still leap off the page. VERDICT The winner of multiple Hugos puts the science in sf; his large following will appreciate another rapid-fire sf thriller.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary).

Syndetics book coverZoo city / Lauren Beukes
“Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum of the criminal underclass. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it mixes refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin. Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award, 2011.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOut of Oz / Gregory Maguire ; illustrations by Douglas Smith.
“In the midst of Oz’s civil war, Rain, granddaughter of the infamous Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West, is coming of age with a ramshackle band of friends. Adding to the chaos, Dorothy is back, destructive and irritatingly chipper as always, and events spiral into an ever-expanding web of betrayals, friendships, secrets, and unexpected returns. Maguire excels at creating multidimensional characters that rise above their many flaws. Readers will delight in the lyrical writing and many thinly veiled references to other Ozian works (Wicked, the Broadway musical; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) found throughout this gritty conclusion to Maguire’s popular “Wicked Years” series (Wicked; Son of a Witch; A Lion Among Men). The provided map, summaries of previous books, and family trees and time lines prove helpful in recalling characters and situations introduced earlier in the series. VERDICT This engrossing, complex novel continues to flip the world of Oz on its head while answering new and old questions about Oz and its denizens. Highly recommended for fans of the series.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverShadows in flight / Orson Scott Card.
“Julian “Bean” Delphiki, a friend of the legendary Ender Wiggin (Ender’s Game) from the Battle School during the war against the alien Formics, has left Earth along with his three children to spend the remainder of their artificially short lives among the stars. Bean and his children all have Anton Syndrome, a condition defined by hyper-intelligence and gigantism that results in a life span of under 25 years. Hoping to use their knowledge to discover a cure for their condition, the space travelers encounter an alien ship that may contain a surprising answer to their problem. Picking up where Shadow of the Giant leaves off, Card deals with the repercussions of bioengineering for the human species. VERDICT Card’s graceful story-telling gives this narrative the feel of a parable or a futuristic myth; it is bound to please the author’s fan base and readers who enjoyed the first book.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverFate’s edge / Ilona Andrews.
“Andrews’s delightful third Edge novel returns to the no-man’s-land separating the twin planes of the Broken (our mundane world) and the Weird (an alternate, splintered America filled with feuding nations and magic). Against her better judgment, reformed grifter Audrey Callahan undertakes one last job, helping her family steal a valuable magical item. The theft’s aftermath threatens to spark conflict between several Weird countries. Kaldar Mar, jack-of-all-trades and agent for Adrianglia’s enigmatic Mirror organization, is the first to find Audrey, promptly enlisting her services in order to recover the artifact. With the vicious rival society known as the Hand closing in, the two must use every skill at their disposal: running cons, stealing, donning disguises, and fighting for their lives. The clash of personalities and quick wits fuels serious chemistry, resulting in an appealing blend of madcap caper, spy thriller, and romantic comedy.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverSupervolcano : eruption / Harry Turtledove.
“The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park has lain dormant for over 600,000 years, the many geysers-including Old Faithful-and hot springs the only evidence of its continued activity. When Los Angeles police lieutenant Colin Ferguson, vacationing after a recent divorce, meets geologist Kelly Birnbaum during an unexpected quake in the park, their mutual attraction takes second place to their growing suspicion that the Yellowstone volcano is preparing for an eruption that could spell disaster not only for the United States but also for the planet’s fragile environment. VERDICT The premiere voice of alternate history, Turtledove (Guns of the South) depicts an all-too-real potential future in this page-turner that combines powerful storytelling with convincing characters. A good choice for fans of disaster fiction.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverHalo : primordium / Greg Bear.
“Continues the story of the ancient Forerunners engineering race, who are worshiped as gods by the Covenant while their mysterious connection to humanity slowly unfolds.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bride wore black leather / Simon R. Green.
“Green’s superlative 12th Nightside novel (after 2011’s A Hard Day’s Knight), set in a world “hidden deep in the dark and dangerous heart of London,” ratchets up the stakes for series protagonist John Taylor in an intricate and action-filled plot that seamlessly blends crime and the supernatural. Taylor has been designated the new “Walker,” the public face of the rulers of the Nightside, so he begins wrapping up his personal investigation business. Then an anonymous e-mail sends Taylor to the Ball of Forever; the guest list is limited to immortals, but a killer manages to strike one down. As Taylor hunts the culprit, he learns that a powerful entity seeks to destroy the entire Nightside. The pace never flags and the sardonic Chandleresque narration (“She didn’t lose her innocence; she threw it away with both hands, first chance she got”) is perfectly suited to the Nightside’s fantastical mean streets.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverSisterhood of Dune / Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
“In the aftermath of the Butlerian Jihad and the destruction of all thinking machines, human planetary governments reorganize themselves into the First Imperium under the leadership of Faykan Butler, now known as Corrino (after the decisive Battle of Corrin). Eight decades later, a number of schools have arisen to push the human mind to its highest levels. This includes the training of Mentats as human computers, the development of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood as practitioners of mental and social manipulation, and the bizarre transformation of men and women into mutated Navigators who use their minds to allow instantaneous interplanetary travel. Amid these changes, youthful members of disgraced House Harkonnen seek vengeance against the Atreides hero responsible for Harkonnen’s downfall, while the Butlerian movement under the leadership of zealot Manford Torondo seeks to root out every vestige of machine dependency. -VERDICT With their usual fidelity to the vision of the late Frank Herbert, coauthors Herbert (Frank’s son) and Anderson (The Winds of Dune) continue to illuminate heretofore hidden areas of the Dune time line. Fully realized characters and intricate plotting will put this title high on fans’ to-read list.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverStonewielder : a novel of the Malazan Empire / Ian C. Esslemont.
Picking up the story a few years after the events of Return of the Crimson Guard, Stonewielder centres on the character of Greymane, one of the Malazan army’s most revered commanders whose prowess in the field earned him the name ‘Stonewielder’.

New Sci-fi and Fantasy books for January

Mages, post-apocalyptia, space slaves, armies of aliens and bows and arrows. Escape into the fantastic with these new additions to our catalogue!

Syndetics book coverPerfect people / Peter James.
“When a young couple join a fertility programme run by a clinic in America they little suspect that the happy day that follows is the last day of mankind’s evolutionary supremacy. Mankind is facing its greatest challenge: obsolescence.” – (adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverCitadel / John Ringo.
“The second novel in the new military science fiction series by a “New York Times”-bestselling author. Once the Earth has been freed, how can the former conquerors be kept from returning to reclaim the planet–or even destroy it?” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hot gate / John Ringo.
“The fight to free the Earth from alien domination began in “Live Free or Die,” and continued in “Citadel.” Now Tyler Vernon and his troops aboard the gigantic battle station “Troy” face a desperate battle with the forces of galactic tyranny.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe High King of Montival : a novel of the change / S.M. Stirling.
“In this post-apocalyptic series chronicling a modern world without technology, Rudi Mackenzie returns to Montival in the Pacific Northwest, where he will face the legions of the Prophet. To achieve victory, he must assemble a coalition of those who had been his enemies a few months before and forge them into an army that will rescue his homeland.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLegacy of kings / Celia Friedman.
“The young peasant woman Kamala has proven strong and determined enough to claim the most powerful Magister sorcery for herself-but now the Magisters hunt her for killing one of their own. Her only hope of survival lies in the northern Protectorates, where spells are warped by a curse called the Wrath that even the Magisters fear.” – (adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverScholar / L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
“The scholar Quaeryt, friend of young King Bhayar, ruler of Telaryn, accepts a royal mission to journey to the land of Tilbor, conquered by Bhayar’s father ten years earlier, to assess the possibility of reducing the occupation forces. Concealing the fact that he is also an imager, a mage who can create mental images and endow them with material being, Quaeryt weathers pirates and a shipwreck on his journey to Tilbor. Once there, he faces more subtle political dangers as his suspicions grow concerning a conspiracy that could throw Telaryn into chaos. Set in the time before the events of the first book of the “Imager Portfolio” (Imager; Imager’s Challenge; Imager’s Intrigue), Modesitt’s latest addition to his fantasy saga focuses on the complex character of its hero, an unlikely combination of serious scholar and, when need be, ruthless opponent. The author excels in creating worlds that are believable down to the last detail and characters whose vitality expresses itself in actions that have resounding consequences. VERDICT Fans of the author’s “Recluce” novels and the works of Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, and Raymond E. Feist should enjoy the elaborate world-building and believable characterizations.” – (adapted from Library Journal review)

Syndetics book coverThe sacred band / David Anthony Durham.
“In a conclusion to the trilogy that includes The Other Lands, Queen Corinn masters spells found in the ancient Book of Elenet, while her younger brother embarks on a perilous mission to the Other Lands and her sister travels north to confront an invasion by the fearsome Auldek.” – (adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverAshes of a black frost / Chris Evans.
“Musket and cannon, bow and arrow, and magic and diplomacy vie for supremacy once again in this all-new epic adventure from acclaimed author Evans. Packed with wit, high adventure, and political intrigue, “Ashes of a Black Frost” will hook readers on this bold and exciting series.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVengeance / Ian Irvine.
“In Cython’s underground slave camps, only the timid and obedient survive but Tali is neither of these. In Cython, having magic means the death penalty, and Tali’s gift is swelling out of her control.Though no slave has ever escaped, Tali must, for she has sworn to bring her mother’s killers to justice.” – (adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe kingdom of gods / N.K. Jemisin.
“Finally freed from their enslavement by the ruling Arameri, the gods and godlings of the world still find themselves influenced by the shifting loyalties, loves, and hates of mortals. When Sieh, the god of childhood, gives his friendship to two Arameri children, Shahar and her brother Dekarta, his godhood slips from him and changes the course of the world forever. Jemisin’s brilliant conclusion to her award-winning trilogy (after The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms; The Broken Kingdom) explores the human desire for the divine as well as the gods’ need for the mortals who worship them. VERDICT Masterly storytelling and compelling characters make this a standout selection for fantasy lovers.” – (adapted from Library Journal review)

New Sci-Fi books for December!

Check out the latest from your favourite sci-fi author, or discover a new one!

Syndetics book coverThe Guardian / Sherrilyn Kenyon
Dream-Hunter Lydia has been charged with the most sacred and dangerous of missions: to descend into the Nether realm and find the missing god of dreams before he betrays the secrets that could kill her and her kind. What she never expects is to be taken prisoner by the Realm’s most vicious guardian. – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOracle’s fire / Mary Victoria.
The Tree is all the world. And that world is dying … After Samiha is thrown from the docks in Argos city, Tymon is condemned to a life of slavery in a Tree-mine. During his ordeals, he glimpses a vision of his love and becomes obsessed by the thought that she is still alive. When disaster strikes the mine, he is left wandering the tunnels at the heart of the Tree, clinging to the hope that he might find her once again. Meanwhile, the Saint’s crusade is tearing the Four Canopies apart, and Lace and his Masters pursue their own deadly plans. Even as Tymon travels deep into the Tree, the Envoy’s acolytes are sent out on a mission to Lacuna, the legendary World Below. – (adapted from Publisher’s website)

Syndetics book coverThe Tuloriad / John Ringo and Tom Kratman.
Of the once innumerable battle clans of the Posleen only a handful survive. And that on the sufferance of a group of despised Indowy and Himmit. Plucked from the maelstrom on Earth they are cast out into the eternal blackness of the stars with only a slightly insane Indowy and a computer virus to guide them. What follows is a trail of tears and remembrance as the Posleen retrace the footsteps of their ancestors in a search for their homeworld. A search to determine if the Posleen posess the one thing no Human would give them credit for: A soul. Returned to their beginnings, the question remains: Is there a new path for the Tular Posleen? – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll men of genius / Lev AC Rosen.
Scientifically brilliant yet socially awkward 17-year-old Violet Adams aspires to attend Illyria College in London, the preeminent school for scientists in Victorian England seeking to build a better automaton or improve creatures’ genetic potential by splicing their parts across species. Since the school does not admit women, Violet plots with her twin brother, Ashton, to attend under his name. “Ashton” is accepted and quickly comes to the attention of the headmaster, Ernest, the son of the late Duke Illyria, and his ward, Cecily. Violet’s friend Jack is aware of her ruse and her growing feelings for Ernest, while Jack’s own feelings toward Cecily are thwarted by her obsession with Ashton. While Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night inspired the use of Illyria as a setting and the conflicting gender identities, and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest inspired the dual identity roles and several character names, Rosen blends his own voice into a steampunk comedy of manners featuring not-so-petty jealousies, killer automatons running amok, genetic tinkering, blackmail, and a final exam involving the Queen. VERDICT This debut literary steampunk novel fits well on the shelf with Gail Carriger’s “Parasol Protectorate” series (Heartless), with broad crossover appeal to fans of sf, historical romance, and young adult fiction.-Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. – (adapted from Library Journal summary).

Syndetics book coverWell-tempered clavicle / Piers Anthony.
As they wander through Xanth searching for something worthwhile in which to take part, walking skeletons Picka Bones and his sister Joy’nt encounter a trio of former pets from Mundania-the nonmagical world outside Xanth-that are also looking for a way to pass the time. The siblings’ adventures with Tweeter the bird, Midrange the cat, and Woofer the dog include encounters with the Princesses Dawn and Eve, a confrontation with Attila the Pun, and the search for Pundora’s Box. Written during a difficult time in his life, the 35th installment of Anthony’s beloved fantasy series exudes his characteristic gusto for life and celebration of the silliness and verbal acrobatics found in the simple pun. VERDICT This whimsical fantasy should please Xanthophiles and fans of the author. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. – (adapted from Library Journal summary).

Syndetics book coverThe cold commands / Richard Morgan. Ringil Eskiath, scarred wielder of the kiriath-forged broadsword Ravensfriend, is a man on the run from his past and the family who have disowned him, from the slave trade magnates of Trelayne who want him dead, and apparently from the dark gods themselves, who are taking an interest but making no more sense than they ever have. Outlawed and exiled from his ancestral home in the north, Ringil has only one place left to turn Yhelteth, city heart of the southern Empire, where perhaps he can seek asylum with the kiriath half-breed Archeth Indamaninarmal, former war comrade and now high-up advisor to the Emperor Jhiral Khimran II. But Archeth Indamaninarmal has problems of her own to contend with, as does her house guest, bodyguard and one time steppe nomad Egar the Dragonbane. And far from gaining the respite he is seeks, Ringil will instead find himself implicated in fresh schemes and doubtful allegiances no safer than those he has left behind. Old enemies are stirring, the old order is rotted through and crumbling, and though no-one yet knows it, the city of Yhelteth is about to explode.. (Global Books in Print summary).

Syndetics book coverSpellbound / Blake Charlton.
“Debut novelist Charlton creates a complex world in which magical abilities depend on the ability to handle words. Apprentice wizard Nicodemus Weal was once thought to be the prophesied Halcyon, but his inability to control spells sends him to the bottom of the pecking order. When murders and strange activities coincide with the Convocation at Starhaven, visiting wizards and druids begin to wonder whether Nicodemus might in fact be the anti-Halcyon. While the magic system is intriguing and carefully described, the setting is never fully realized, and Nicodemus’s interactions with other teachers and students seem to take place in a world bereft of supporting characters. Charlton’s baroque prose perfectly mirrors the central role of language and the byzantine politics surrounding the Convocation and the potential prophecy, and the innovative spell craft will please fantasy readers weary of more traditional magics. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. (Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverThe mechanical messiah and other marvels of the modern age / Robert Rankin. Colonel Katterfelto has returned to London, having departed America under something of a cloud—of smoke, issuing from his Spiritual Laboratory, which the townsfolk of Wormcast, Arizona, marched upon with their flaming torches. This catastrophic conflagration caused considerable concern to the pious colonel, who had been engaged in the creation of “Heaven’s last and best gift to Mankind,” The Mechanical Messiah—he was, after all, being guided in this Great Work by holy angels, communicating to him through his monkey butler, Darwin. It is 1897, the British Empire encompasses Mars, and an uneasy peace exists between the peoples of Venus, Jupiter, and Earth. In London the marvels of the modern age to be experienced include The Electric Alhambra Music Hall, where crowds thrill to The Earl Grey Whistle Test—a musical extravaganza featuring such top turns as Hayward’s Acrobatic Kiwis, The Travelling Formbys, and the newly-arrived Colonel Katterfelto’s Clockwork Minstrels. But all is far from well in old Whitechapel, where a monster is once more abroad in the night-time streets, committing hideous acts of murder. Can this be the return of Jack the Ripper, or has something altogether unearthly and Hellishly evil materialized? Famed consulting detective Cameron Bell is already on the case, but it may take nothing less than the New Messiah Himself to save London, The Empire, and all of the solar system from the impending apocalypse! (Amazon summary).

Syndetics book cover11/22/63 / Stephen King.
High school English teacher Jake Epping has his work cut out for him in King’s entertaining SF romantic thriller. Al Templeton, the proprietor of Al’s Diner in Lisbon Falls, Maine, has discovered a temporal “rabbit hole” in the diner’s storage room that leads to a point in the past-11:58 a.m. September 9, 1958, to be precise. Each time you go through the rabbit hole, according to Al, only two minutes have elapsed when you return to 2011, no matter how long your stay; furthermore, history resets itself each time you return to that morning 53 years ago. Al persuades Jake to take a brief, exploratory trip through the rabbit hole into 1958 Lisbon Falls…” (Publisher Weekly)

This month in science fiction

Space, fairytales, genetic engineering, post apocalypse, magic… these recent picks have it all! Something to tickle every sci-fi fancy.

Syndetics book coverBeauty and the werewolf / Mercedes Lackey.
“The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella vows to escape the usual pitfalls. She dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with “Granny,” the local wisewoman. On the way home she’s attacked by a wolf– who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh– when he isn’t howling at the moon.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhen we have wings / Claire Corbett.
“In a world divided into fliers and non-fliers, how far would you go to be able to fly? How much would you sacrifice – perhaps your own child? A beautifully written and compellingly original novel of sacrifice, betrayal and love. Flight – you’ll dream about it. ‘She had never seen the sky in all her life before. How high could she fly? What was the limit? She was already so high the earth was no longer real. Only her in the sky. Every spiral pure joy. This was Flight. It was for this she’d risked and endured so much. It had to be worth it.’ The dream of being able to fly is now physical reality but only the rich and powerful can afford the surgery, drugs, and gene manipulation to become fliers. Peri, a poor girl from the regions, will sacrifice anything to get her wings and join this elite but the price is higher than she could have imagined. So why then does she throw it all away? Feel the exhilaration and terror of flight – over vertiginous skyscrapers, into wild storms and across hypnotic wilderness – in this beautiful and daringly imaginative novel that explores the limits of self-transformation.” – (adapted from Global Books summary)

Syndetics book coverEquations of life / Simon Morden.
Equations of life is book 1 of the trilogy and the library has all three books!
“Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor. He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone – the last city in England. He’s lived this long because he’s a man of rules and logic. For example, getting involved = a bad idea. But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he’s saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London. And clearly saving the girl = getting involved. Now, the equation of Petrovitch’s life is looking increasingly complex. Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch. But Petrovitch has a plan – he always has a plan – he’s just not sure it’s a good one.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrince of Thorns / Mark Lawrence.
“When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king… It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forced to watch Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him-and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce, can the will of one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe measure of the magic / Terry Brooks.
This is the second book in the Legends of Shannara series. “Panterra Qu, a newly anointed Knight of the Word who has been entrusted with the last black staff and its powers, must protect thousands of lives that are put in danger when centuries of protective magic disappears.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

spacescapeSpacEscape / Larry Nelson.
“He would become a warrior for the twenty-first century. He would journey where no Maori had ever gone before. Set in both 1999 and 2075, SpacEscape is about deep-space but more importantly it is about escapism. Video games guru and petty thief, Tama, and the future Scott, a nodule-growing rebel and intended victim of the giant dragon/arachnid, The Korn, join forces across time to overcome the weak hand in life that each has been dealt. Meanwhile, Tony Robertson from the discredited 2060’s starship project, Schmitt One, risks falling prey to hardened farmers of human livestock to meet his date and love of his life, Karin Carlton. Tama has his strong-minded and compassionate Emma. Scott has the virtual Mandy. All three have one slim chance for love and freedom but only if Scott and Tama can discover in time the true nature of the enigmatic creature that assaults Scott’s tortured mind and becomes the symbol for his escapism – The Korn.” – (Summary and Image from Fishpond).

Syndetics book coverThe tempering of men / Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear.
“Bear and Monette follow 2007’s Companion to Wolves with another tale of the frozen northern lands of Iskryne inhabited by Wolfcarls and their telepathically bonded trellwolves. When wolves mate, so do their humans-leaving thoroughly heterosexual Isolfr, the bond-mate of Queen-wolf Viradechtis, in an uncomfortable position with Skjaldwulf and Vethulf, men bonded to Viradechtis’s consorts. The Wolfcarls have at long last vanquished the trolls who plagued Iskryne, but without a common enemy, their tenuous alliance with the mysterious Svartalfar has become even more fragile, while the nearby Rhean Empire turns its ambitions northwards. Vethulf and Skjaldwulf must forge a new path for their people and a new understanding in their relationship if either of them is to survive. This well-wrought tale serves as an exciting adventure as well as a thought-provoking and often disturbing deconstruction of companion animal fantasies.” – (Summary from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe children of the sky / Vernor Vinge.
“Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them–and among the humans–who seek power…and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed. On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of A Fire Upon the Deep. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge’s already stellar career. ” – (Summary from publisher, courtesy of Syndetics).

Syndetics book coverSoul stealers / Andy Remic.
“The land of Falanor has fallen. The renegade hero Kell is being hunted by the machine-vampires, the Vachine. On his way to recruit reinforcements to launch the counterattack, the mighty hero finds himself the prey of two beautiful but deadly vampire assassins, in this second book in the Clockwork Vampires. Original.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)