Murder, maths and pashing with new eAudiobook fiction

Memento Park book cover

The titles in this month’s blog introduce new perspectives to the Overdrive collection: there’s a colour-dominated world in The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, a universe of numbers in The Kiss Quotient and, in Lilith Saintcrow’s Afterwar, American politics are seen through the aftermath of a second civil war. So get started here, or visit Overdrive to check out what else is on offer!

Overdrive cover The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang
“Stella Lane comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with as well as way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn’t help that she has Asperger’s. She decides that she needs practice—which is why she hires escort Michael Phan…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, by Sarah J. Harris
“There are three things you need to know about Jasper. 1. He sees the world completely differently. 2. He can’t recognise faces – not even his own. 3. He is the only witness to the murder of his neighbour, Bee Larkham. But it’s hard to catch a murderer when you can’t recognise their face…” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Summer I Met Jack, by Michelle Gable
“In this scintillating audiobook, listeners are asked to imagine the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had. The Summer I Met Jack is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
The Name of the Rose is a thrilling story enriched with period detail and laced with tongue-in-cheek allusions to fictional characters, the most striking of which is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville. Brother William tries to discover why people are dying inexplicably and nastily in the monastery. There is something not altogether right within the library…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Afterwar, by Lilith Saintcrow
“America has been devastated by a second civil war. The people have spent years divided, fighting their fellow patriots. Now, as the regime crumbles and the bloody conflict draws to a close, the work of rebuilding begins. One lonely crew, bonded under fire in the darkest days of battle, must complete one last mission: to secure a war criminal whose secrets could destroy the fragile peace that has just begun to form.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Dangers of Family Secrets, by Debby Holt
“Freya is a genealogist, but has never paid as much attention to her own family. When her marriage starts to collapse and her grown-up daughters seem more distant than ever, Freya’s reckless abandon startles everyone, and long-hidden secrets begin to emerge…” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bearskin, by James A. McLaughlin
“Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Devil’s Highway, by Gregory Norminton
“An ancient British boy, discovering a terrorist plot, must choose between his brother and his tribe. In the twenty-first century, two men – one damaged by war, another by divorce – clash over their differing claims on the land, and a young girl is caught between them. In the distant future, a gang of feral children struggles to reach safety in a burning world. Three journeys. Three thousand years.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Memento Park, by Mark Sarvas
“After receiving an unexpected call from the Australian consulate, Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting that he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during the Second World War. To recover the painting, he must repair his relationship with his harshly judgmental father, uncover his family history and restore his connection to his own Judaism.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

A taste of life: New eBook fiction

I Married A Communist book cover

With the recent death of Philip Roth, the world lost a writer of unique skill and intensity. His writing process has been compared to the work of a doctor in an emergency room (as well as a prisoner in a torture chamber), however he kept writing until his 77th birthday, with his final novel published in 2010. To celebrate Roth’s achievements, Overdrive has released some of his greatest works as eBooks, including the Pulitzer-winning American Pastoral. There are also novels from authors including Dagger-nominated Luke McCallin and our own Tessa Duder! Log in to find out more!

Overdrive cover American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
“‘Swede’ Levov is living the American dream. He glides through life sustained by his devoted family, his demanding yet highly rewarding (and lucrative) business, his sporting prowess, his good looks. He is the embodiment of thriving, post-war America, land of liberty and hope. Until the sunny day in 1968, when the Swede’s bountiful American luck deserts him.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover I Married a Communist, by Philip Roth
“The second novel of Roth’s American trilogy charts the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, an American roughneck who begins life as a ditchdigger in 1930s New Jersey, becoming a big-time radio hotshot. In his heyday Ira marries Hollywood’s beloved leading lady, Eve Frame. Their glamorous honeymoon is short-lived, however, and it is the publication of Eve’s scandalous bestselling expose that identifies Ira as ‘an American taking his orders from Moscow’.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
“Jonas feels like his life is over. His wife has left him, his mother is slipping deeper into dementia and his daughter is no longer who he thought. So he comes up with a fool-proof plan: to buy a one-way ticket to a chaotic, war-ravaged country and put an end to it all. But on arriving at Hotel Silence, he finds his plans – and his anonymity – begin to dissolve under the foreign sun.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
“Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay
“The lives of the Barretts are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit TV show.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Boy Who Belonged to the Sea, by Denis Thériault
“Set on the rugged north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, The Boy Who Belonged to the Sea tells the touching story of an extraordinary friendship between two young boys who have both suffered the loss of a parent. Although they have little else in common, the boys come together in their grief and take refuge in a world of their own creation.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Is She Still Alive?, by Tessa Duder
“In 2003 Tessa Duder spent six months in Europe as the recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship. Internationally renowned for her superb children’s and YA novels, Tessa used her time in Menton to write something very different: a superb collection of thirteen stories for women who have moved beyond youth and into maturity.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Burning Fields, by Alli Sinclair
“Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia–until he meets Rosie. Her easy–going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families, until the situation becomes explosive.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Silmarillion, by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Ashes of Berlin, by Luke McCallin
“1947 and Gregor Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters can only escalate…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Swimming suffragettes: New biographies

Staying

“A revolution in swimming was underway. By custom and often by law, women in America and England weren’t allowed in the water without covering their limbs in a heavy “bathing costume” that weighed them down. But some women wanted to jump into the water unencumbered, and even to race…”Sarah Laskow

Swimming features prominently in this month’s new biographies, including Jenny Landreth’s Swell, which details the connection between women’s suffrage and swimming, as well as Yusra Mardini’s Butterfly: from Refugee to Olympian, describing Mardini’s escape from Syria and later membership of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. And if you’ve forgotten your togs or towel, don’t worry–we’ve got plenty of biographies set on dry land as well!

Syndetics book coverSwell : a waterbiography / Jenny Landreth.
“These days, swimming may seem like the most egalitarian of pastimes, open to anyone with a swimsuit–but this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until the 1930s that women were finally, and reluctantly, granted equal access to the water. This is the story of the women who made that possible, a thank-you to the fearless “swimming suffragettes” who fought for equal access, and won.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverButterfly : from refugee to Olympian–my story of rescue, hope, and triumph / Yusra Mardini with Josie Le Blond.
“When young Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini realized her boat’s engine shut down as she was travelling from Syria to Greece with other refugees, there was no hesitation: she dove into the water. Grabbing a rope with one hand, she began kicking up the black water, inching the boat towards the distant shore. This act of bravery saved the lives of a boatload of refugees–and started her towards the Rio Olympics.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverExcuse me while I slip into someone more comfortable : a memoir / Eric Poole.
“In 1977, Eric Poole is a talented high school trumpet player with one working ear, the height-to-weight ratio of a hat rack, a series of annoyingly handsome bullies and a mother irrationally devoted to Lemon Pledge. But who he wants to be is a star…ANY star. Picking up at the end of his first acclaimed memoir, Where’s My Wand?, Poole’s journey from self-delusion to acceptance is simultaneously hysterical, heartfelt and inspiring.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverThe girl : Marilyn Monroe, the seven year itch, and the birth of an unlikely feminist / Michelle Morgan.
“With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverStaying : a memoir / Jessie Cole.
“As children, Jessie Cole and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever half-sisters. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her family fell apart. This heartbreaking memoir asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life–and finding peace in a place of pain.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverOdyssey of the unknown Anzac / David Hastings.
“Ten years after the end of World War I, the Sydney Sun reported that an unknown Anzac still lay in a Sydney psychiatric hospital. Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand responded to this story and began an international campaign to find the man’s family. David Hastings follows this one previously unknown Anzac, George McQuay, from rural New Zealand through Gallipoli and finally home. By doing so, he takes us deep inside the Great War and the human mind.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverMI5 and me : a coronet among the spooks / Charlotte Bingham.
“When Lottie is summoned to her father’s office at the age of 18, she is astonished to learn that this unexciting parent is a spy. Even more perturbing is his view that she should stop drifting around and get a proper job, something patriotic and worthwhile. This unique memoir is a window into 1950s Britain: a country where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverSkybound : a journey in flight / Rebecca Loncraine.
“In her mid-30s Rebecca Loncraine was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two years later, and after months of gruelling treatment, she flew in a glider for the first time. In that engineless plane, soaring 3000 feet over the landscape of her childhood with only the rising thermals to take her higher and the birds to lead the way, she fell in love.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Melbourne’s master storyteller: New eAudiobook non-fiction

This House of Grief

In the mid-1970s, while living in a sweltering share-house in Melbourne, Helen Garner would escape to the State Library of Victoria and write what would eventually become Monkey Grip, one of Australia’s defining novels. Over thirty years later the celebrated author has released another classic: the non-fiction This House of Grief. This House of Grief has been described as containing “trademark Helen Garner touches: harrowing scenes recorded without restraint or censorship; touching observations of characters’ weaknesses; wry moments of humour.” So log in to Overdrive to discover—or re-discover—this master storyteller yourself!

Overdrive cover This House of Grief, by Helen Garner
“On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, players in the extraordinary drama of the quest for justice.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Tomorrow Will Be Different, by Sarah McBride
“Informative, heart-breaking and profoundly empowering, Tomorrow Will Be Different is Sarah McBride’s story of love and loss and a powerful entry point into the LGBTQ community’s battle for equal rights and what it means to be openly transgender. From issues like bathroom access to health care to gender in America, McBride weaves the important political and cultural milestones into a personal journey that will open hearts and change minds.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Invisible Ink, by Brian McDonald
“Acclaimed by successful screenwriters and authors, Invisible Ink is a helpful, accessible guide to the essential elements of the best storytelling. Brian McDonald, an award-winning screenwriter who has taught his craft at several major studios, supplies writers with tools to make their work more effective and provides readers and audiences with a deeper understanding of the storyteller’s art.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong
“Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It’s an entire world, a colony full of life. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth. In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The ISIS Apocalypse, by William McCants
“The Islamic State is one of the most successful jihadist groups in modern history. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions and daring anyone to stop them. Based almost entirely on primary sources—including secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters—William McCants’ The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervour, strategic calculation and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State’s past and foreshadow its dark future.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Feminist Fight Club, by Jessica Bennett
“Are you aged zero to infinity? Finished with the sexist status quo? Welcome to the Feminist Fight Club. You have lifetime membership. Feminist Fight Club provides an arsenal of weapons for surviving in an unequal world. You will learn how to fight micro-aggressions, correct unconscious bias, deal with male colleagues who can’t stop ‘manterrupting’ or ‘bro-propriating’ your ideas – and how to lean in without falling the f*ck over.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, by Jason Schreier
“Developing video games—hero’s journey or fool’s errand? The creative and technical logistics that go into building today’s hottest games can be more harrowing and complex than the games themselves, often seeming like an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier takes listeners on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Flat Broke with Two Goats, by Jennifer McGaha
“Told with bold wit, unflinching honesty and a firm foot in the traditions of Appalachia, Flat Broke with Two Goats blends stories of homesteading with the journey of two people rediscovering the true meaning of home.” (Overdrive description.)

Emu or eBook? New Australian fiction

Some great and memorable things have come out of Australia: Thylacoleo carnifex, the giant marsupial lion; not one but three national Frisbee teams; the world’s oldest fossil (at 3.4 billion years old!). And this month Overdrive is adding to the list with fantastic new Australian fiction, including work from emerging authors such as Jay Carmichael and Robbie Arnott. So once you’re done wondering about the platypus (how does a mammal lay an egg?!) sign up to Overdrive and have a read!

Overdrive cover Peripheral Vision, by Paddy O’Reilly
“A teenager on the tram meets an old man claiming to be Jesus Christ. Six young women band together on a night prowl. A Filipino immigrant clashes with his eldest sister, who has brought him to Australia for a better life. And in a future where dogs have risen up against their owners, a mother is alarmed by her adolescent daughter’s behavior. Through such diverse characters, Paddy O’Reilly takes us into the fringes of human nature.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Ironbark, by Jay Carmichael
“Markus Bello’s life has stalled. Living in a small country town, mourning the death of his best friend, Grayson, Markus is isolated and adrift. As time passes, and life continues around him, Markus must try to face his grief, and come to terms with what is left. Through his protagonist, Markus, author Jay Carmichael depicts the conflict and confusion of life as a gay man in rural Australia.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Flames, by Robbie Arnott
“A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte—who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire. The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief and love and the bonds of family, tracing a journey across the southern island that takes us full circle.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Chemistry, by Weike Wang
“Our unnamed narrator is three years into her post-grad studies in chemistry and nearly as long into her relationship with her devoted boyfriend, who has just proposed. But while his path forward seems straight, hers is ‘like a gas particle moving around in space’. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka
“Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides, clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet. Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heartbreaking story in this spellbinding and poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Street Sweeper, by Elliot Perlman
“Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams, an African American probationary janitor, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly patient. A few kilometres uptown, Australian historian Adam Zignelik, an untenured Columbia professor, finds both his career and his long-term romantic relationship falling apart. As these two men try to survive in early twenty-first-century New York, history comes to life in ways neither of them could have foreseen.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Homesick For Another World, by Ottessa Moshfegh
“There’s something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh’s stories, something almost dangerous while also being delightful – and often even weirdly hilarious. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet; all yearning for connection and betterment, in very different ways, but each of them seems destined to be tripped up by their own baser impulses.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Book of Colours, by Robyn Cadwallader
“London, 1321: in a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Turning for Home, by Barney Norris
“Every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday – it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Life, loss and love (and grave robbing?) with new Biographies

Letters From the Suitcase

Most memoirs deal in facts, in whos and whats and whens. However this month’s new biographies contain something a bit different: When We Were Ghouls, by Amy E. Wallen. When We Were Ghouls follows Wallen and her family as they travel around the globe, facing “seismic shifts in cultures”. Years later Wallen must pick through uncertain memories to try and find the truth – were her parents really grave robbers?

Syndetics book coverHarry: Life, Loss, and Love / Katie Nicholl.
“On the eve of his wedding comes the most intimate and informative portrait yet of Prince Harry, from royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of the bestselling William and Harry and Kate. From his earliest public appearances as a mischievous redheaded toddler, Prince Harry has captured the hearts of royal enthusiasts around the world. In Harry, Britain’s leading expert on the young royals offers an in-depth look at the wayward prince turned national treasure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverLetters from the suitcase: a wartime love story / [edited by] Rosheen and Cal Finnigan.
“Mary and David Francis were only 21 and 19 when they met in 1938. They fell in love instantly, and against the wishes of David’s parents, they lived together and married. These poignant letters reveal their intelligence and thoughtfulness, their passion, the everyday details of their lives working as a secretary at Bletchley Park and as a young officer in action on the other side of the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverYoung queen: the story of a girl who conquered the world / Parris Goebel with Tracy O’Connor.
“In this honest memoir, Parris Goebel shares the extraordinary story of how she went from high-school dropout to award-winning dancer, choreographer and video director. She has worked with some of the biggest stars in music, including Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Justin Bieber. A true #girlboss.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverEverything I know about love / Dolly Alderton.
“When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist Dolly Alderton has seen it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod Stewart-themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped and realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverChurchill: the greatest Briton / Christopher Catherwood.
“A richly visual examination of the most revered Briton in history, from his birth at Blenheim Palace, to his inspirational wartime leadership, to his final years as a grand old man of world politics. This illustrated portrait, complete with 160 painstakingly researched photographs, artworks, speeches and letters sourced from the family archives at Cambridge, provides insight into every facet of this remarkable man.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverWhen we were ghouls: a memoir of ghost stories / Amy E. Wallen.
When We Were Ghouls follows Wallen’s recollections of her family who, like ghosts, came and went and slipped through her fingers, rendering her memories unclear. Were they a family of grave robbers, as her memory of the pillaging of a pre-Incan grave site indicates? Are they, as the author’s mother posits, ‘hideous people’? Or is Wallen’s memory out of focus?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverErnest Hemingway: a biography / Mary V. Dearborn.
“His writing was taken up with notions of human dignity and worth, ‘the necessity of man’s freedom, of personal honor,’ notions by which a man should live and die in a world that had lost the possibility of hope. Dearborn’s is the first full biography of Hemingway to be written by a woman, the first to fully explore the causes of his suicide and to substantially deepen our understanding of the man.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverGirls at the Piano / Virginia Lloyd.
“A brilliant memoir about how learning the piano shaped the lives of two women worlds and generations apart that will resonate for music lovers everywhere and for anyone who has tried to master the piano.” (Syndetics summary.)

Stitching up the universe: New eAudiobook fiction

The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

But is that true? And if so, what’s been stitched together in this month’s new eAudiobook fiction from Overdrive? As well as Bradbury’s 1953 classic, there’s a patchwork of other great titles, from Zadie Smith’s White Teeth to Ian McEwan’s The Innocent. Political tensions emerge in Alex Berenson’s The Deceivers and to top it off, there’s the novel that spawned the latest Netflix hit: Altered Carbon!

Overdrive cover Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
“Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of 20th-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future, narrated here by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins. Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities: the printed book.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
“Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons, but the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bachelor Girl, by Kim van Alkemade
“From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Code of Conduct, by Brad Thor
“Hidden deep within one of the world’s most powerful organizations is a secret committee with a devastating agenda. Its members are afforded incredible protections—considered elites, untouchables. But when four seconds of video is captured halfway around the world and anonymously transmitted to D.C., covert wheels are set in motion, and counter-terrorism operative Scot Harvath is tapped to undertake the deadliest assignment of his career.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover This Could Hurt, by Jillian Medoff
“Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Innocent, by Ian McEwan
“The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life – and to lose his unwanted innocence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova
“An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world. But that was eight months ago. Richard now has ALS. As his muscles, voice and breath fade, he and his ex-wife Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late. Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Deceivers, by Alex Berenson
“It was supposed to be a terrorist sting. The guns were supposed to be disabled. Then why was there so much blood? The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or ‘sleeve’) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.” (Overdrive description.)

Prepare for Prunesquallor! eBook Fiction in April

Rejoice! The 77th Earl of Groan and Lord of Gormenghast Castle is returning to the small screen thanks to none other than Neil Gaiman! In preparation, Overdrive has released the first book in Mervyn Peake’s fantasy masterpiece, Titus Groan. Peake’s Gormenghast series has been called “one of the most brilliantly sustained flights of Gothic imagination”, so if you haven’t yet entered the Hall of Bright Carvings, now’s your chance!

Overdrive cover Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake
“Titus, heir to Lord Sepulchrave, has just been born: he stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that stand for Gormenghast Castle. Inside, all events are predetermined by a complex ritual, lost in history, understood only by Sourdust, Lord of the Library. There are tears and strange laughter; fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings; dreams and violence and disenchantment contained within a labyrinth of stone.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Sophia of Silicon Valley, by Anna Yen
“During the heady years of the tech boom, incorrigibly frank Sophia Young lucks into a job that puts her directly in the path of Scott Kraft, the eccentric CEO of Treehouse. Overnight, Sophia becomes an unlikely nerd whisperer. But when engineer/inventor Andre Stark hires her to run his company’s investor relations, Sophia discovers that the high-status career she’s created for herself may not be worth living in the toxic environment of a boys-club gone bad.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Boy Overboard, by Peter Wells
“Hungry Creek runs out over mudflats and curves around to a tidal beach. Hungry Creek is where everything is put that nobody wants: a dump, a zoo, a loony bin. It is also a magical place. Jamie is eleven, on the threshold of discovery. But he can’t find the map that will explain where he fits in or who he is. His parents are away and he is staying with family friends. The sea is rising towards high tide, and he is a boy overboard.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Scent of Eucalyptus, by Barbara Hanrahan
“Barbara Hanrahan was both a writer and a visual artist, and this magical first novel is an autobiographical evocation of her childhood. A delicious blend of fantasy and realism, it is a powerful, lyrical story of a child’s rites of passage through a world where the family home, its garden, and the three women who preside over it, area vital and compelling participants in the shaping of a child’s rituals of discovery and awareness.” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Moloka’i, by Alan Brennert
“Rachel Kalama, growing up in the 1890s, is part of a loving Hawaiian family. But at the age of seven her dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy. But Rachel’s life, though shadowed by disease, isolation, and tragedy, is also one of joy, courage, and dignity. This is a story about life, not death; hope, not despair. It is not about the failings of flesh, but the strength of the human spirit.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Scandal, by Fredrik Backman
“Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Why Kill the Innocent, by C. S. Harris
“London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose’s ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Summer of Impossible Things, by Rowan Coleman
“How far would you go to save the person you love? Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life – even if it means sacrificing her own.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Modern Bodies: The Best of Dance Biographies

No art form better captures the passion and politics of humanity than dance. From the Soviet-American ballet rivalry of the Cold War to the rise of Lindy Hop in 1920s Harlem to the emergence of waacking from the LGBTQI clubs of 1970s LA, dance explores—and occasionally crosses—boundaries of nation, culture, gender and sexuality. New Zealand is no exception, and as part this year’s Dance Week we’ve got Dancing Through the Pages, a series of talks and performances by Wellington-based dancers and artists. And if you can’t wait until then, we’ve also got some great dance biographies, from Vaslav Nijinsky to Michael Jackson and beyond!


Syndetics book coverNijinsky / Lucy Moore.
“The first major biography for forty years tells the tragic story of ballet’s great revolutionary, Nijinsky. ‘He achieves the miraculous,’ the sculptor Auguste Rodin wrote of Vaslav Nijinsky. He embodies all the beauty of classical frescoes and statues. Like so many since, Rodin recognised that in Nijinsky classical ballet had one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century, in any genre.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverModern bodies : dance and American modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey / Julia L. Foulkes.
“In 1930, dancer and choreographer Martha Graham proclaimed the arrival of “dance as an art of and from America.” Through their art, modern dancers challenged conventional roles and images of gender, sexuality, race, class and regionalism. Modern Bodies exposes the social dynamics that moved modern dance to the edges of society, a place both provocative and perilous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverJosephine Baker / written by José-Louis Bocquet ; art by Catel Muller ; historical consultant, Jean-Claude Bouillon-Baker.
“Josephine Baker was 19 years old when she found herself in Paris for the first time. Overnight, the young American dancer became the idol of the Roaring Twenties, captivating Picasso, Cocteau, Le Corbusier and Simenon. After World War II, Baker devoted herself to the struggle against racial segregation, battling the humiliations she had for so long suffered. She would sing of love and liberty until the day she died.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverHe’s got rhythm : the life and career of Gene Kelly / Cynthia Brideson & Sara Brideson.
“He sang and danced in the rain, proclaimed New York to be a wonderful town and convinced a group of Parisian children that they had rhythm. One of the most influential and respected entertainers of Hollywood’s golden age, Gene Kelly revolutionized film musicals with his innovative and timeless choreography.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverDarcey Bussell / Darcey Bussell.
“Darcey Bussell is widely considered to be one of the greatest English ballerinas of all time. Her stellar career spanned two decades of magnificent dance where she worked with Dame Margot Fonteyn, observed an aging Nureyev, crossed swords with rival prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem, argued the finer points of technique with Sir Kenneth MacMillan and danced for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverMoonwalk / Michael Jackson.
Moonwalk is the only book about his life that Michael Jackson ever wrote. It chronicles his humble beginnings in the Midwest, his early days with the Jackson 5 and his unprecedented solo success.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverAmerica dancing : from the cakewalk to the moonwalk / Megan Pugh.
“An exuberant history of American dance, told through the lives of virtuoso performers who have defined the art. The history of American dance reflects the nation’s tangled culture. Dancers from wildly different backgrounds learned, imitated and stole from one another. Audiences everywhere embraced the result as deeply American.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverRemembering Nureyev : the trail of a comet / Rudi van Dantzig ; translation by Katie de Haan.
“Famously volatile, fickle in his passions for people, but with astonishing charisma onstage and off, Rudolf Nureyev is regarded as one of the greatest male ballet dancers of the twentieth century. This is a book balletomanes cannot miss, with an eagle-eyed sharpness that never dissolves into hagiography or gossip.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Blasphemous libel and other stories: New Biographies

If you missed cartoonist Tom Scott’s appearance at the New Zealand Festival, never fear – his memoir Drawn Out is available now! Drawn Out has been shortlisted for a New Zealand Book Award, and includes Scott’s famous battle with Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. Check it out, along with a range of other great titles!

Syndetics book coverDrawn out : a seriously funny memoir / Tom Scott.
“Tom Scott has been drawing political cartoons for Wellington’s Dominion Post since 1988, and was famously banned from the Press Gallery by P.M. Muldoon. His memoir covers his childhood – a tragi-comedy of a poor Irish Catholic family, his uni days when he was editor of the student newspaper and sued for blasphemous libel, his parliamentary career, his work with Ed Hillary and more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe trauma cleaner : one woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay & disaster / Sarah Krasnostein.
“Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife… But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn praise of difficult women : life lessons from 29 heroines who dared to break the rules / Karen Karbo ; illustrations by Kimberly Glyder.
“From Frida Kahlo and Elizabeth Taylor to Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, and Lena Dunham, this witty narrative explores what we can learn from the imperfect and extraordinary legacies of 29 iconic women who forged their own unique paths in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA life of my own / Claire Tomalin.
“This enthralling memoir follows Claire Tomalin through triumph and tragedy in equal measure, from a difficult wartime childhood to her marriage to a brilliant young journalist. Tomalin writes of the intense joys of a fascinating progression as she became one of the most successful literary editors in London before discovering her true vocation as a biographer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGeorge / Sean Smith.
“Georgios Panayiotou was just eighteen when he decided to adopt the stage name of George Michael. Sometimes his two worlds would collide with shattering consequences. Bestselling biographer Sean Smith has gone back to the neighbourhoods of North London to trace the astonishing journey of a sensitive but determined boy who grew up to be one of the biggest British pop stars of all time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn odyssey : a father, a son, and an epic / Daniel Mendelsohn.
“When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn’s narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception, recognition and the meaning of home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExtraordinary life of A.A. Milne / Nadia Cohen.
“Very few authors can ever dream of coming close to the legacy left by A.A. Milne, but Milne himself was never able to enjoy his fame and fortune. He died deeply resenting Winnie the Pooh’s success. The Extraordinary Life of A.A. Milne delves deep into the life of Milne and sheds light on new places, and tells stories untold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHitler, my neighbor : memories of a Jewish childhood, 1929-1939 / Edgar Feuchtwanger with Bertil Scali ; translated by Adriana Hunter.
“Edgar Feuchtwanger was a carefree five-year-old when Adolf Hitler moved into the building opposite. In 1933 the joy of this untroubled life was shattered. Edgar’s parents, stripped of their rights as citizens, tried to protect him from increasingly degrading realities. In 1939 Edgar was sent alone to England. It wasn’t until the age of 88 he felt ready to tell the story of his buried childhood and his infamous neighbour.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGordon Walters : new vision / commissioning editor, Zara Stanhope ; curators, Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite ; managing editor, Clare McIntosh.
“A substantial publication, Gordon Walters : New Vision, is being co-published by Auckland Art Gallery and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to mark the occasion of this exhibition.” (Syndetics summary)