The secret lives of designers: new books

Ever wanted to design your own home? Be a fashion director, or a product engineer? Welcome to our latest design booklist, where designers of all industries reveal their successes and share some of their most impressive projects. Along the way, learn some of the hidden stories and elements to the gadgets, structures, and even fonts that we use in our daily lives.

Australian designers at home / Rose-Innes, Jenny
Australian Designers at Home invites readers into the homes of 20 of the country’s leading names in interior design. With unfettered access to their most private retreats, we see where the best of the industry express their true, unfiltered selves. Find out what home means from the people who create them for a living.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creative pep talk : inspiration from 50 artists / Miller, Andy J
“Every artist needs a little pep talk now and then. An inspiring tool and beautiful art book in one, Creative Pep Talk offers illustrated words of wisdom from 50 of today’s leading creative professionals. With full-color, typographic prints and explanatory statements from a host of creative luminaries–including Aaron James Draplin, Oliver Jeffers, Lisa Congdon, Mike Perry, and many others–this volume encourages artists to stay excited, experiment boldly, and conquer fear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Defined by Design, Kathryn H. Anthony (ebook)
“This wide-ranging overview of design in everyday life demonstrates how design shapes our lives in ways most of us would never imagine. The author uncovers the gender, age, and body biases inherent in the designs of common products and living spaces that we all routinely use. This fascinating book—full of aha moments—will teach readers to recognize the hidden biases in certain products and places and to work for more intelligent and healthy design in all areas of life.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The future of design : global product innovation for a complex world / Justice, Lorraine
“Design expert Lorraine Justice fully explores the factors that will determine your success and provides a unique framework for navigating the industry into the future. The Future of Design is practical, concise and includes guidelines for building and supporting creative teams, advice and strategies for evaluating product concepts, and interviews with product designers, inventors, and innovators from around the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Point of view : four decades of defining style / Goodman, Tonne
“Throughout her illustrious career, Tonne Goodman has made the famous stylish and the stylish famous. The Vogue fashion director has not only shaped the way women dress and see themselves, but she has also created a nexus in which the worlds of celebrity and style continually collide. Now, in Point of View, Goodman’s life and career are explored for the first time.” (Catalogue)

Built : the hidden stories behind our structures / Agrawal, Roma
“In Built, structural engineer Roma Agrawal takes a unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to skyscrapers of steel that reach hundreds of metres into the sky. With colourful stories of her life-long fascination with buildings – and her own hand-drawn illustrations – Roma reveals the extraordinary secret lives of structures.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

ABC of typography / Rault, David
The ABC of Typography traces 3,500 years of type from Sumerian pictographs through Roman calligraphy to Gutenberg, the Bauhaus, and beyond. Brimming with insight and anecdote, this witty and well-informed graphic guide explores the historical, technological, and cultural shifts that have defined the look of the words we read.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Architects at home
“This stunning book takes you on a thrilling tour through the fascinating, eclectic and stylish abodes of some of the world’s best-known architects. Not only do these pages offer a rare glimpse into each architect’s personal, private environment, but each uniquely designed project provides insight into how each architect marries trends with their own personal philosophy, and how they inject interior design flair into their own contemporary domain.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Atlas of mid-century modern houses / Bradbury, Dominic
“A fascinating collection of more than 400 of the world’s most glamorous homes from more than 290 architects, the Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses showcases work by such icons as Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, Alvar Aalto, and Oscar Niemeyer alongside extraordinary but virtually unknown houses in Australia, Africa, and Asia.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Goals, resolutions, and learning at Arapaki in 2020

2019 has been a year of big changes for us here at Wellington City Libraries. Our first library in the CBD network following Central’s closure opened up in Manners Street in June and it’s been all a-go. The team here at Arapaki Manners Library thought the best way to reflect on our crazy year would be to get excited and set some goals for 2020.

We’ve asked our team to share some of their New Year’s resolutions and highlight their go-to resources in our collection that will help them make their 2020 dreams come true! Maybe you have some resolutions in mind already or maybe you can take some inspiration from the team.


Will:
“My resolution for the new year is to learn more about our history prior to the 1950’s – as a history student, it’s pretty imperative! Specifically, I want to engage more with the history of our colonisation and with how that history is being represented today. With that in mind, my 2020 resolutions book is Tina Ngata’s crucial work critiquing Tuia 250, Kia Mau: Resisting Colonial Fictions. In it, she analyses the government’s decision to ‘commemorate’ the ‘encounter’ that was the arrival of Captain Cook on these shores, exposing perpetuated falsehoods around our history and encouraging all of us to commit to the ongoing work of coming to terms with colonisation – both in our history, and in our present.”

Kia mau : resisting colonial fictions / Ngata, Tina
“This book is a compilation of essays written by Tina Ngata about New Zealand’s TUIA250 Commemorations of James Cook’s voyages to New Zealand and the Pacific. She discusses Cook’s voyage as a military deployment, the influence of the Doctrine of Discovery, the specific spots of Cook’s crimes in NZ, the participation of Māori in the commemorations and the inappropriateness of a settler government centring the story of invasion and colonisation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Joseph:
“2020 is destined to be my year of textures. Despite issuing this book previously, and it sitting unopened in my staff-room locker, this year I am knuckling down and escalating my dreams of becoming embroiled in embroidery. Flowers, bees, paisley & patterns!”

Boho embroidery : modern projects from traditional stitches / Vogelsinger, Nichole
“Hello, embroidery. Meet textile art. Let’s talk about the time when embroidery and textile art met… they formed a unique pairing of modern, chic design using traditional methods. Author Nichole Vogelsinger introduced these two mediums to each other, creating an entirely new way to play with needle, thread and fabric.” (Catalogue)

Tessa:
“In 2020 my resolution is to eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. I know that reducing my intake of dairy and meat is a positive way to help reduce carbon emissions, and while i’m not ready to completely commit to becoming fully vegetarian or vegan, I do want to start thinking of meat as a sometimes food rather than the main event at every dinner. One quick search through the cookbooks at Arapaki and I’ve found piles of delicious, colourful vegetarian and vegan recipes to try throughout the year, as excellent sign that this might be a resolution that I can actually stick to!”

The flexible vegetarian / Pratt, Jo
Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, you’ll find this book filled with delicious and practical flexitarian recipes for every lifestyle.” (Catalogue)

Jo:
“My 2020 resolution is simple – pat more dogs. This is a beautiful book which has trapped many a librarian at Arapaki – whenever it gets returned it always manages to linger in our workroom longer than strictly necessary. ‘From a Labrador that likes opera to a kleptomaniac miniature groodle, and a loveable one eyed Jack Russel to a farting bulldog…’ What’s not to love?”

The year of the dogs / Musi, Vincent J
“As a National Geographic photographer, Vince Musi travelled the world to photograph lions, tigers and bears. All that changed when he decided to open a hometown studio to photograph dogs. His stunning portraits are matched with witty ‘dogographies’ and a comic blend of Vince’s own personal stories. Now, for the first time, The Year of the Dogs brings together this eccentric cast of characters in one volume, doggone guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who loves animals.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Petra:
“2020 will be the year I travel the world, experiencing different cultures, customs, and perspectives through books. I want to make my way through the library’s wide and varied collection of translated fiction, starting in Japan. I am particularly intrigued by Hiro Arikawa’s novel, The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

Who knows where my armchair travels will take me next?
Wherever it is, I hope there are more cats.”

The travelling cat chronicles / Arikawa, Hiro
“With simple yet descriptive prose, this novel gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru’s longtime friends. Or so Nana is led to believe . . . With his crooked tail–a sign of good fortune–and adventurous spirit, Nana is the perfect companion for the man who took him in as a stray. And as they travel in a silver van across Japan, with its ever-changing scenery and seasons, they will learn the true meaning of courage and gratitude, of loyalty and love.” (Catalogue)

Moshi Moshi / Yoshimoto, Banana
“In Moshi-Moshi, Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gus:
“For Christmas, my mum’s partner bought the whole family a ukelele each. I’m a music fan, but I’ve never had any real aspiration to learn how to play music. Now that I’ve had an instrument thrust upon me, I’ve decided to make my New Year’s resolution to learn to play the ukelele and to have at least three songs down perfectly by the end of the year. So far i’m only up to the first two notes of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but hey, it’s a start!”

Learn to play the ukulele : a simple and fun guide for complete beginners / Plant, Bill
“This book will teach you basic playing techniques for the ukulele. No prior musical experience is assumed. You will learn how to hold the instrument, position the hands, strumming techniques, basic chords and beyond. Music theory is included, but the emphasis is on getting up to speed and on with the fun of playing quickly.” (Catalogue)

Amelia:
I te tau 2020, kei te pīrangi au ki whakapai i tāku reo Māori. In 2018 and 2019 I took a few Māori classes but, of course, with learning a language lots of practise is key and sometimes life can get in the way. My goal for 2020 is to continue my reo journey and improve my ability to read, write, and speak our indigenous language.

Māori made easy : for everyday learners of the Māori language. Workbook/Kete 1 / Morrison, Scotty
“Fun, user-friendly and relevant to modern readers, Scotty Morrison’s Maori Made Easy workbook series is the ultimate resource for anyone wanting to learn the basics of the Maori language. By committing just 30 minutes a day for 30 weeks, learners will adopt the language easily and as best suits their busy lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te anuhe tino hiakai / Carle, Eric
“With the same beautiful illustrations and dye cut pages as the original book, the te reo Maori translation retains the humour and quirky character of the little caterpillar and simplicity of the story.” (Catalogue)

Global Adventures: New Travel Books

This month’s line-up of travel writing showcases an extensive look at destinations around the globe. A new year calls for a new Best in Travel from Lonely Planet, as well as a couple of other awe-inspiring travel guides.

We also go back to the classic travelogue, this time with a fast-paced twist featuring almost every country and destination there is. Whirlwind journeys like these aren’t for the faint of heart, proven by some of the most notable travellers of our time such as Nuseir Yassin and Mark Beaumont with their record breaking itineraries. Their new releases, together with other tales of adventure, are bound to leave you feeling at least a little bit wanderlust.

Best in travel 2020 / Bindloss, Joseph
“Drawing on the knowledge and passion of Lonely Planet’s staff, we present a year’s worth of inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into the unforgettable. We reveal how well-planned, sustainable travel can be a force for good: for the environment, for local people and for yourself – and include ways to help lower your carbon footprint and protect the areas you visit on your travels.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Around the World in 60 Seconds, Nuseir Yassin (ebook)
In 2016, Nuseir Yassin quit his job to travel for 1,000 consecutive days.  While he journeyed from country to country, Nas uploaded a 60-second video per day to highlight the amazing, terrifying, inspiring and downright surprising… Thirteen million followers later, Nas Daily has become the most immersive travel experience ever captured, and finally shows us what we’ve all been looking for: each other. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Passages / Trubridge, Linda
“When Linda and David sold the house they had built to last a lifetime and abandoned a thriving career for a nomadic life, they discovered more about the world and themselves than they ever imagined. Voyaging halfway around the world with their two young sons, this is a story about the challenges of maintaining a relationship and nurturing children in extreme circumstances.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Epic journeys : 245 life-changing adventures
“This large-format, comprehensive book offers the itineraries of a lifetime for explorers and adrenaline junkies alike. You’ll also find everything you need to know for the ultimate epic journey: what to see, when to go, and what to do. This collection, complemented by top ten lists and adventurer essays covering everything from the best hiking trails to the top wildlife parks, will lead you to new heights of exploration.” (Catalogue)

Around the world in 80 days : my world record breaking adventure / Beaumont, Mark
“On Monday 18th September 2017, Mark Beaumont pedalled through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes earlier he set off from the same point, beginning his attempt to circumnavigate the world in record time. Covering more than 18,000 miles and cycling through some of the harshest conditions one man and his bicycle can endure, Mark made history.” (Catalogue)

How to be a family : the year I dragged my kids around the world to find a new way to be together / Kois, Dan
“What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids’ lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family? In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the Kois … land in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. Will this trip change the Kois family’s lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The world’s great rail journeys : 50 of the most spectacular, luxurious, unusual and exhilarating routes across the globe / Solomon, Brian
“A portrait in words and photographs of over 50 of the world’s most exciting, unusual and exotic railway journeys, including North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The World’s Great Rail Journeys is perfect for all railway enthusiasts, whether actual or armchair travellers.” (Catalogue)

Ten years a nomad : a traveler’s journey home / Kepnes, Matt
“After quitting his 9-5 job more than ten years ago, Matt realized that living life meant more for him than simply meeting traditional milestones like buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. With almost nothing tangible to show for it after traveling over 500,000 miles and staying in 90 different countries, Matt has compiled his favorite stories and experiences in this travel manifesto to show a different side of life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elsewhere : one woman, one rucksack, one lifetime of travel / Boland, Rosita
“From her first life-changing solo trip to Australia, Rosita Boland was enthralled by travel. In the last thirty years she has visited some of the most remote parts of the globe carrying little more than a battered rucksack and a diary. In a series of jaw-dropping, illuminating and sometimes heart-breaking essays, Elsewhere is a book that celebrates the life well-travelled in all its messy and wondrous glory.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perceptions of Art: New Books

Check out some of the recent additions to our art sections – this time with a focus on how we look at and appreciate different works of art. These books span from classical paintings, all the way through to modern design and the creativity of artificial intelligence.

Look again : how to experience the Old Masters / Ward, Ossian
“An approachable guide to Old Masterpaintings from a newperspective that offers a simple aid to looking at and demystifying the often obscure strategies of the greatest painters of all time. Look Again does not deny the specific complexities and barriers associated with looking at art from other eras, instead it offers methods that not only provide the viewer with the tools to interpret the art, but also assumes that we intuitively hold some of this knowledge within ourselves already.” (adapted from Catalogue)

From A to Eames : a visual guide to mid-century modern design / Whybrow, Lauren
“This sophisticated A to Z picture book for adults is an illustrated journey through midcentury modern design, perfect for any reader with a keen eye for style. With eighty tales of design, laid out in a fun and easy-to-read A to Z format, design lovers will be reading this book to each other before bed. If you didn’t know that E stands for Eames, Egg Chair, and Elrod House (or don’t know what any of those words actually mean) then this book belongs on your coffee table. And if you can’t afford an Eames coffee table, then rejoice in knowing that From A to Eames makes an inexpensive and equally satisfying alternative.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Old in Art School, Nell Painter (Audiobook)
Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school-in her sixties-to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Great women artists
“Five centuries of fascinating female creativity presented in more than 400 compelling artworks and one comprehensive volume. In museums, galleries, and the art market, previously overlooked female artists, past and present, are now gaining recognition and value. This essential volume reveals a parallel yet equally engaging history of art for an age that champions a greater diversity of voices.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Colin McCahon : there is only one direction. Vol. I 1919-1959 / Simpson, Peter
“The first of an extraordinary two-volume work chronicling forty-five years of painting by New Zealand’s most important artist, Colin McCahon. This material enables us to begin to understand McCahon’s work as the artist himself conceived it. This will be the definitive work on New Zealand’s leading artist for many years to come.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The creativity code : how AI is learning to write, paint and think / Du Sautoy, Marcus
“As humans, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be alive. But can machines be creative? Marcus finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative, and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Almost lost arts : traditional crafts and the artisans keeping them alive / Freidenrich, Emily
“The perfect antidote to the digital age. This book celebrates twenty artisans around the world who are breathing new life into traditional crafts. Gorgeous photographs reveal these craftspeople’s studios, from Oaxaca to Kyoto and from Milan to Tennessee. Two essays explore the challenges and rewards of engaging deeply with the past. With an elegant three-piece case and foil stamping, this rich volume will be an inspiration to makers, collectors, and history lovers.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The story of painting : how art was made.
“A fascinating new history of art, this gloriously illustrated book reveals how materials, techniques, and ideas have evolved over the centuries, inspiring artists and giving them the means to create their most celebrated works. Covering a comprehensive array of topics. The Story of Painting follows each step in the evolution of painting over the last 25,000 years, from the first cave paintings to the abstract works of the last 150 years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rick Steves Europe’s top 100 masterpieces : art for the traveler / Steves, Rick
“This essay collection features Rick’s unique take on Europe’s best-known works of art, from the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa to Picasso’s Guernica, providing historical context as well as a personal examination of the pieces. The book also covers Europe’s most striking architecture… sure to inspire both history buffs and novice travelers alike.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New in Literature

New literature has arrived! Spanning local and international writers, this month we’ve got an abundance of fresh poetry, essays, and short story anthologies. Find out who’s writing what in New Zealand in Fresh Ink, or perhaps delve deep into the intricacies and ambiguities of Shakespeare’s works with This is Shakespeare. 

I’m telling the truth, but I’m lying : essays / Ikpi, Bassey
“Having emigrated from Nigeria to America at age four, Ikpi assimilated uneasily but became a spoken word artist with HBO’s Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. Strong on the outside but crumbling on the inside, she was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar II. Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are–and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Labels and Other Stories, Louis de Bernières (ebook)
Full of wit, warmth and charm, Louis de Bernières’ Labels and Other Stories features tales from throughout his career as a masterful storyteller and transports us around the globe, from the London Underground to Turkish ruins to the banks of the Amazon. In this worldly and entertaining collection of stories, we are equally enchanted by familiar and fantastical occurrences, by de Bernières’ wry sense of humour and powerful imagination. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Coventry : essays / Cusk, Rachel
“Lauded for the precision of her prose and the quality of her insight, Cusk is a writer of uncommon brilliance. Coventry encompasses memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about literature, with pieces on family life, gender, and politics. Named for an essay in Granta, this collection is pure Cusk and essential reading for our age: fearless, unrepentantly erudite, and dazzling to behold.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fresh ink : a collection of voices from Aotearoa New Zealand, 2019.
“An anthology of short stories, extracts from novels, poetry and artwork, from established and respected New Zealand writers as well as some lively ‘fresh ink’ from previously unpublished literary voices.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Counting backwards : poems, 1975-2017 / Dunmore, Helen
“Winner of the Costa Book of the Year for her final collection, Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore was as spellbinding storyteller in her poetry and in her prose.  Counting Backwards is a retrospective covering ten collections written over four decades, bringing together all the poems she included in her earlier selection, Out of the Blue (2001), with all those from her three later collections, Glad of These Times (2007), The Malarkey (2012) and Inside the Wave (2017), along with a number of earlier or previously uncollected poems.” (Catalogue)

This is Shakespeare / Smith, Emma
“This electrifying new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays and their changing topicality. It introduces an intellectually, theatrically and ethically exciting writer who engages with intersectionality…  The Shakespeare in this book poses awkward questions rather than offering bland answers, always implicating us in working out what it might mean. This is Shakespeare. And he needs your attention.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover joinedupwriting, Roger McGough (ebook)
For fifty years, Roger McGough has delighted readers with poetry that is at once playful and poignant, intimate and universal. In his latest collection, he explores the whole gamut of the human experience, from forgotten friendships and family life, to the trauma of war and contemporary politics, wittily showing us who we are in all our shades of light and dark. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Mouth Full of Blood, Toni Morrison (Audiobook)
Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. A Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Tales and Travelogues in Unexpected Places

This month we’ve got a lot of new travel writing hitting our shelves, featuring both some tourist favourites and remote destinations. We whirl from the Arctic to the Antarctic with some of the best travel writers of our time, stopping along the way in places such as Spain and Pakistan. Whether you are interested in culture, science, or just the human experience of travelling to new places, this booklist has you covered.

Overdrive cover My Midsummer Morning, Alastair Humphreys (ebook)
Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits – busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day, and finding himself truly vulnerable to the rhythms of the road and of his own life. But along the way, he found humility, redemption and triumph. It was a very good adventure. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Sun Is a Compass, Caroline Van Hemert (Audiobook)
In March of 2012 [Caroline Van Hemert] and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe.  A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, the book explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of creatures whose daily survival is nothing short of miraculous. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Bowing to Elephants, Mag Dimond (ebook)
In Bowing to Elephants, a woman gazes into the feathery eyes of a 14,000-pound African elephant and looks for answers to old questions in Vietnam and the tragically ravaged landscape of Cambodia. Dimond journeys to far-flung places―into the perfumed chaos of India, the nostalgic, damp streets of Paris, the gray, the reverent and silent mountains of Bhutan, and the gold temples of Burma. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Fifteen million years in Antarctica / Priestley, Rebecca
“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica offers a deeply personal tour of a place in which a person can feel like an outsider in more ways than one. With generosity and candour, Priestley reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Couchsurfing in Russia, Stephen Orth (ebook)
In this humorous and thought-provoking book, Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious land to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Orth follows the bestselling Couchsurfing in Iran with another complex, funny, and personal travelogue – a colourful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The crow eaters : a journey through south Australia / Stubbs, Ben
“Outsiders think of South Australia as being different, without really knowing much about it. Combining his own travel across the state with an investigation of its history, Ben Stubbs seeks to find out what South Australia is really like. In the spirit of the best travel writing and literary non-fiction, he lingers in places of quiet beauty and meets some memorable people… Stubbs brings this diverse state to life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From the lion’s mouth : a journey along the Indus / Campbell, Iain
“An insightful portrait of Pakistan with themes of religion, culture and hospitality in an account of travelling… Engrossing and eye-opening, Iain Campbell’s account of his travels through this mesmerising land will appeal to travellers, mountaineers, trekkers, wilderness enthusiasts, anyone interested in the culture and history of the subcontinent, and fans of quality travel writing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

North Korea journal / Palin, Michael
“In May 2018, Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal… Written with Palin’s trademark warmth and wit, and illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout, the journal offers a rare insight into the North Korea behind the headlines.” (Catalogue)

What happens when travel and history intersect: Latest travel titles

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

Part travelogue and part social commentary, this month’s recent picks go beyond whirlwind sightseeing tours and deep into often less-explored regions. Uncovering national histories and culture as they go, authors such as Ben Aitken and David Eimer delve further than most in their travels. The Frayed Atlantic Edge provides new perspectives on old coastlines by kayak, while Out of Istanbul takes readers on a historical journey of the Silk Road by foot.

If you’re after the thrill of travel writing that brings you to new places and people, this booklist is for you.

Overdrive cover The Frayed Atlantic Edge, David Gange (ebook)
“Over the course of a year, leading historian and nature writer David Gange kayaked the weather-ravaged coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland from north to south: every cove, sound, inlet, island. Drawing on the archives of islands and coastal towns, as well as their vast poetic literatures in many languages, he shows that the neglected histories of these stunning regions are of real importance in understanding both the past and future of the whole archipelago.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Savage Dreamland, David Eimer (ebook)
“For almost fifty years Burma was ruled by a paranoid military dictatorship and isolated from the outside world. David Eimer travels throughout this enigmatic nation, from the tropical south to the Burmese Himalayas in the far north, via the Buddhist-centric heartland and the jungles and mountains where rebel armies fight. In his vivid and revelatory account of life, history, culture and politics, Eimer chronicles the awakening of a country as it returns to the global fold.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman (ebook)
“In The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman explores Japan and revels in all its wonderful particularity. Following her search for the lost bells of the city – the bells by which its inhabitants kept time before the Jesuits introduced them to clocks – to her personal friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, here is Tokyo in its bewildering variety.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

China tripping : encountering the everyday in the People’s Republic
“This unique book is the first to bring together a group of influential China experts to reflect on their cultural and social encounters while travelling and living in the People’s Republic. Filling an important gap, it allows scholars, journalists, and businesspeople to reflect on their personal memories of China. Covering nearly a half-century from 1971 to the present, these stories open a vivid window on a rapidly evolving China and on the zigzag learning curve of the China trippers themselves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Around the World in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh (ebook)
“Packing up her rucksack—and her fiancé, Jem—Monisha embarks on an unforgettable adventure that will take her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. Monisha offers a wonderfully vivid account of life, history and culture in a book that will make you laugh out loud—and reflect on what it means to be a global citizen—as you whirl around the world in its pages.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Out of Istanbul : a journey of discovery along the Silk Road / Ollivier, Bernard
“Heading east out of Istanbul, Ollivier takes readers step by step across Anatolia and Kurdistan, bound for Tehran. We accompany Ollivier as he explores bazaars, mosques, and caravansaries–true vestiges of the Silk Road itself–and through these encounters and experiences, gains insight into the complex political and social issues facing modern-day Turkey.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Behind Putin’s curtain : friendships and misadventures inside Russia / Orth, Stephan
 “Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious territory to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Weaving everything together with thoughtfulness and warmth, Orth follows the acclaimed Couchsurfing in Iran with yet another complex, funny, and personal travelogue–a colorful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A chip Shop in Poznań : my unlikely year in Poland / Aitken, Ben
“Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament. Travel writer Ben Aitken moved to Poland in 2016… This candid, funny and off-beat book is the account of his year in Poland, as an unlikely immigrant. This is a bittersweet portrait of an unsung country, challenging stereotypes that Poland is a grey, ex-soviet land, and revealing a diverse country, rightfully proud of its colourful identity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A booklist on books about books – recent literature titles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why we travel: latest additions in travel writing

This month’s latest travel titles ask: Why do we travel? What are we searching for? From pilgrimages to culinary explorations, from adrenaline seeking to peaceful wanderings, these books tell the stories of people who have sought something from their travels, and were quite often surprised at the results.

Overdrive cover Through the Embers of Chaos, Dervla Murphy (ebook)
As Dervla Murphy crisscrossed the Balkans in a series of bicycle journeys, she recorded the griefs and confusions of the ordinary people, many of whom had showed extraordinary courage and resilience during that terrible ‘decade of decay’ and whose voices were so little heard during the conflict.   (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Stranger Country, Monica Tan (ebook)
What happens when a 32-year-old first-generation Australian woman decides to chuck in a dream job, pack a sleeping bag and tent, and hit the long, dusty road for six months? In mid-2016, Monica left Sydney, unsure of her place in Australia. Stranger Country is the riveting account of the six months Monica drove and camped her way through some of Australia’s most beautiful and remote landscapes. ( Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Alice to Prague, Tanya Heaslip (ebook)
In 1994, Tanya Heaslip left her safe life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic. Dismissing concerns from family and friends that her safety and career were at risk, she arrived with no teaching experience whatsoever, to work at a high school in a town she’d never heard of, where the winters are frigid and plunge to sub-zero temperatures. (Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Fiva, Gordon Stainforth (ebook)
In 1969, teenage twin brothers Gordon and John Stainforth set out… to climb the highest rock face in Europe — Norway’s Troll Wall. Poor judges of their own abilities, experience, and gear, they began the climb convinced they would return to their tent in time for afternoon tea. Within hours of starting the route, things went terribly wrong. Fiva is the story that Gordon Stainforth lived to tell, 40 years later. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Walking to Jerusalem : blisters, hope and other facts on the ground : sacred and profane reflections on the Just Walk to Jerusalem 10 June – 2 November 2017 / Butcher, Justin
2017 marked three anniversaries for the Palestinian people: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 50 years since the Six-day War; and ten years since the Blockade of Gaza. As an act of penance, solidarity and hope, actor and musician Justin Butcher – along with ten other companions for the full route – walked from London to Jerusalem. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Cafe de Move-on Blues, Christopher Hope (ebook)
In White Boy Running, Christopher Hope explored how it felt and looked to grow up in a country gripped by an ‘absurd, racist insanity’. On a road trip thirty years later, Christopher goes in search of today’s South Africa; post-apartheid… of a future when race and colour would not count. Framed as a travelogue, this is a darkly comic, powerful and moving portrait of South Africa – an elegy to a living nation. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover One More Croissant for the Road, Felicity Cloake (ebook)
The nation’s ‘taster in chief’ cycles across France in search of the definitive versions of classic French dishes. A land of glorious landscapes – a country large enough to give any journey an epic quality, but with a bakery on every corner. Each of the 21 ‘stages’ concludes with Felicity putting this new found knowledge to good use in a fresh and definitive recipe for each dish. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Outpost, Dan Richards (ebook)
There are still wild places out there on our crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores the appeal of far-flung outposts. Their untamed nature is part of their beauty and such places have long drawn the adventurous, the spiritual and the artistic. Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Literary memoirs – new stories through essays and poetry

Our latest picks bring together a huge range of authors; some who are new to the game as well as some award-winning writers. Their stories bind together to show what it means to face adversity with resilience. These books, all of which are accessible digitally, bring humour and honesty, as well as an appreciation of what it means to share our stories.

Overdrive cover Common People, Kit de Waal (ebook)
Common People is a collection of essays, poems and memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth and texture of working-class life, the joy and sorrow, the solidarity and the differences.. Here, Kit de Waal brings together thirty-three established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde (ebook)
Winner of the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award, this path-breaking collection of essays is a clarion call to build communities that nurture our spirit. “This was my first time reading Audre Lorde (finally!) and now I can’t wait to devour everything she ever wrote. This was the kind of book that you end up highlighting so many great quotes, words you want to memorize, apply, breathe. Empowering read.” — Litsy
(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee (ebook)
In Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee plots a decade of her life in New York City… Weaving together her joys and sorrows, expectations and uncertainties, aspirations and realities, the result is an exhilarating collection of essays about love and friendship, failure and suffering, and above all hope. Join Meg on her heart-wrenching journey, as she cuts the difficult path to finding herself and finding home. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Certain Loneliness, Sandra Gail Lambert (ebook)
After contracting polio as a child, Sandra Gail Lambert progressed from braces and crutches to a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair—but loneliness has remained a constant, from the wild claustrophobia of a child in body casts to just yesterday, trapped at home, gasping from pain. A Certain Loneliness is a meditative and engaging memoir-in-essays that explores the intersection of disability, queerness, and female desire with frankness and humor.  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Show Them a Good Time, Nicole Flattery (ebook)
An urgent and unforgettable collection of stories, Show Them a Good Time explores types – men and women, their assigned roles and meanings – in modern society. The characters in these magnificently accomplished stories are haunted as much by the future as they are by their pasts. Exuberant, irreverent and loaded with dark humour, Show Them a Good Time marks the arrival of a strikingly original new Irish voice in fiction. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Science of Storytelling, Will Storr (ebook)
Stories mould who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. In this scalpel-sharp, thought-provoking book, Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us… Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, Michele Filgate (ebook)
Fifteen brilliant writers explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse. While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover White, Bret Easton Ellis (ebook)
Bret Easton Ellis has wrestled with the double-edged sword of fame and notoriety for more than thirty years now, since Less Than Zero catapulted him into the limelight in 1985, earning him devoted fans and, perhaps, even fiercer enemies. He encounters various positions and voices controversial opinions, more often than not fighting the status quo. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault, Cathy Guisewite (ebook)
From the creator of the iconic “Cathy” comic strip comes her first collection of funny, wise, poignant, and incredibly honest essays about being a woman in what she lovingly calls “the panini generation.” Now Guisewite returns with her signature wit and warmth with this debut essay collection about another time of big transition, when everything starts changing and disappearing without permission: aging parents, aging children, aging self stuck in the middle. (Overdrive description)