Introducing VR at Wellington City Libraries!

As you might have seen, Wellington City Libraries will soon be hosting A Step Back in Time, a virtual reality (VR) expo featuring Jurassic Park, David Attenborough and more!

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But what exactly is VR? In terms of mechanics, VR is usually a computer, stereoscopic headset and set of sensors working together to create the sensation of standing in–and moving through–an entirely digital space (check out Wareable for a more technical explanation!). But VR is much more than just its physical components.

One of the things VR is great for is exploring new worlds. We’ve recently had a lot of fun discovering tropical islands and distant galaxies with VR experiences such as Nature Treks, while our previous VR expo featured coral reefs and the Mariana Trench via Wevr’s fantastic theBlu.

But it’s not just the creation of space that VR excels at–it’s also a platform for telling stories. Several film studios have expanded already successful movie franchises into the VR world, including Universal Studios’ Jurassic World: Blue and Jurassic World: Apatosaurus (both on show at our expo!). Traditional studios don’t have a monopoly on creating content, either: one of our favourite stories is the beautiful Allumette–a re-imagining of The Little Match Girl created by Penrose Studios.

Despite theses successes, however, the technology really comes into it’s own when used in even more creative ways. An early pioneer of this was Tilt Brush, a virtual artist’s studio that lets you paint, sculpt and design works of digital art. Other experiences, such as Pixar’s Coco VR, combine creativity with traditional gaming, meaning that one minute you’re exploring the land of the dead, the next you’re dancing onstage before a crowd of skeletons!

These are just a few of the ways people are currently using VR technology, but there are many, many more. The world of VR is an open, evolving, uncertain place–and that’s exactly why we like it! As its uses continue to grow, we’ll do our best to keep you updated, so keep an eye out for more blogs. And while you’re waiting, why not join us at A Step Back in Time to discover VR for yourself!

 

Becoming–with Michelle Obama!

November is a big month in the world of biography! The reason? It’s the launch of Michelle Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, Becoming. Becoming covers everything from childhood to work to politics–as well as more recent goings-on at the White House. And while Obama is currently on a stadium-sized book tour in the US, you can get a sneak preview of your own by checking out a sample chapter in the Guardian (and don’t forget to have a browse of our other great new biographies, too!).

Syndetics book coverBecoming: a memoir / Michelle Obama
“In her memoir, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her–from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverInheritance: a memoir of genealogy, paternity, and love / Dani Shapiro
“In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her. Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverIn pieces: a memoir / Sally Field
“In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her own story for the first time–about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverSmall fry / Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Small Fry is Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents’ fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is an enthralling book by an insightful new literary voice.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverMad, bad, dangerous to know: the fathers of Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce / Colm Tóibín
“From Colm Tóibín comes an intimate study of Irish history and literature told through the lives and work of three men–William Wilde, John Butler Yeats and John Stanislaus Joyce–and the relationships they had with their sons. Tóibín recounts the resistance to English cultural domination, the birth of modern Irish cultural identity and the extraordinary contributions of these complex and masterful authors.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverHeavy: an American memoir / Kiese Laymon
“In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies and deception does to a black body, a black family and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverBrutally honest / Melanie Brown
“As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on X Factor and America’s Got Talent, Melanie Brown, a.k.a Scary Spice, has been an international star since her twenties. Brutally Honest is an exposé of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and success.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Visions of the Past: New eBook Fiction

The Winter Witch book cover

From the construction of the Sydney Opera House to the Tiananmen Square protests to the forgotten language of childhood, this month’s new eBook fiction from Overdrive will help you see the past through fresh eyes. Included are the Booker-longlisted Everything Under by Daisy Johnson and National Book Award finalist The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. Nunez’s work has been described as “a beautiful book crammed with a world of insight into death, grief, art and love.” Enjoy!

Overdrive cover The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
“When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson
“Words are important to Gretel. As a child she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen though, and those memories have faded. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. But then a phone call interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Map and the Territory, by Michel Houellebecq
“Artist Jed Martin emerges from a ten-year hiatus with good news. It has nothing to do with his broken boiler, the approach of another lamentably awkward Christmas dinner with his father or the memory of his doomed love affair with the beautiful Olga. It is that, for his new exhibition, he has secured the involvement of none other than celebrated novelist Michel Houellebecq!” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Once We Were Brothers–A Novel, by Ronald H. Balson
“Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accused of being a former Nazi SS officer. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Two lives, two worlds, and sixty years converge in an explosive race to redemption.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Winter Witch, by Paula Brackston
“In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She is small and quick and pretty enough to attract a suitor, but there are things that set her apart from other girls. Though her mind is sharp she has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic—the household objects that seem to move at her command, the bad luck that visits those who do her ill. But Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Shell, by Kristina Olsson
“In 1965 as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War threatens to tear the country apart. Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist, is obsessed with creating a work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner
“Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials. Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Red Doc>, by Anne Carson
“In a stunningly original mix of poetry, drama, and narrative, Anne Carson brings the red-winged Geryon from Autobiography of Red into manhood. We join him as he travels with his friend and lover ‘Sad’ (short for Sad But Great), a war veteran, and Ida, an artist. Haunted by Proust, juxtaposing the hunger for flight with the longing for family and home, this deeply powerful picaresque verse invites readers on an extraordinary journey of the soul.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Beijing Coma, by Ma Jian
“Dai Wei lies in his bedroom, a prisoner in his body, after he was shot in the head at the Tiananmen Square protest ten years earlier. As his mother tends to him, and his friends bring news of their lives in an almost unrecognisable China, Dai Wei escapes into his memories. As the minute-by-minute chronicling of the lead-up to his shooting becomes ever more intense, the reader is caught in a gripping emotional journey.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Where Shall We Run To? New eAudiobook Non-Fiction

The Library of Ice eBook cover

Cartoonist Carl Barks has been called one of the great storytellers of the 20th century, yet despite the exotic worlds of his stories, he didn’t leave North America until he was 93 years old! Instead Barks drew inspiration from books, encyclopedias and his subscription to National Geographic. This month’s new eAudiobook non-fiction from Overdrive has a similar spirit, taking listeners from the winter darkness of Greenland, across the Silk Road to China and even down to the US-Mexico border. So grab your computer, phone or tablet and join us as we venture into worlds unknown!

Overdrive cover The Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú
“Francisco Cantú was a US Border Patrol agent from 2008 to 2012. He worked the desert along the Mexican border, at the remote crossroads of drug routes and smuggling corridors, tracking humans through blistering days and frigid nights across a vast terrain. He detains the exhausted and the parched. He hauls in the dead. He tries not to think where the stories go from there…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover My Life, My Fight, by Steven Adams
“The OKC Thunder’s big man shares the unlikely story behind his indomitable sense of determination and his journey from Rotorua, New Zealand to stardom in the NBA. Told with warmth, humour and humility, My Life, My Fight is a gripping account from an emerging superstar.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Lands of Lost Borders, by Kate Harris
Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover I Can’t Date Jesus, by Michael Arceneaux
“In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Where Shall We Run To?, by Alan Garner
“In Where Shall We Run To?, Alan Garner remembers his early childhood in the Cheshire village of Alderley Edge: life at the village school as ‘a sissy and a mardy-arse’; pushing his friend Harold into a clump of nettles to test the truth of dock leaves; his father joining the army to guard the family against Hitler. From one of our greatest living writers, it is a remarkable and evocative memoir of a vanished England.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Library of Ice, by Nancy Campbell
“Author Nancy Campbell leads the reader carefully across intertwined icy tracks of crystallised geographics, melting myths and frozen exploration histories as well as her own tender diagnostics of what reading ice can show us in these times. Perilous in its scope, exacting in its observation, wild in intellect, The Library of Ice captures the reader’s attention almost as if caught in ice itself.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover No One Tells You This, by Glynnis MacNicol
“If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then? This question plagued Glynnis MacNicol on the eve of her 40th birthday. Despite a successful career as a writer, and an exciting life in New York City, Glynnis was constantly reminded she had neither of the things the world expected of a woman her age: a partner or a baby. There was no good blueprint for how to be a woman alone in the world. She concluded it was time to create one.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Vietnam, An Epic Tragedy, by Max Hastings
“Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create a political and military narrative of the entire conflict.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Leftover in China, by Roseann Lake
“Roseann Lake’s Leftover in China employs colourful anecdotes, hundreds of interviews and rigorous historical and demographic research to show how the ‘leftovers’ are the ultimate linchpin to China’s future.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff
“The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous—and absolutely mesmerising. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. In this explosive audiobook, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office, showing us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

The Best and Bitey-ist Vampire Novels Ever!

Anno Dracula book cover

Over 120 years after the release of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the author’s great-grandnephew has written a prequel to the Victorian vampire classic! Dacre Stoker’s novel, Dracul, is based on the original typescript of Dracula as well as associated notes and journals, and “speculates on what Bram Stoker’s early life might have been like had the creatures he later created been real.”

But Dacre Stoker isn’t the first to build upon Dracula’s story: below you’ll find a list of nine unnerving titles that have been influenced by the Transylvanian Count, from Nordic noir to alternative history to a sci-fi classic (as well as one work that pre-dates Dracula by 26 years!).

The historian: a novel / Kostova, Elizabeth
“Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.” (Catalogue)

Let the right one in / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
“John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend, as well as a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.” (Catalogue)

Interview with the vampire / Rice, Anne
“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.” (Catalogue)

The passage / Cronin, Justin
“A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.” (Catalogue)

Anno Dracula / Newman, Kim
“It is 1888 and Dracula has married Queen Victoria and turned a large percentage of the English population into the undead. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction (Dr Jekyll, Oscar Wilde, Swinburne, John Jago), the novel tells the story of vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.” (Catalogue)

Dracula: the un-dead / Stoker, Dacre
“The official sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, written by his direct descendant and endorsed by the Stoker family, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew joins with Dracula documentarian Holt to create a sequel based on notes the author left behind. A quarter-century has passed, and Bram Stoker is directing a play about Dracula–who seems to be making a comeback…” (Catalogue)

Dracula’s guest [electronic resource] / Stoker, Bram
“Published in 1914, several years after Bram Stoker’s death by his widow, Dracula”s Guest is one of several stories that Stoker had wished to publish as a supplement to his most famous novel. Join him as he drags the reader out into the hills beyond Munich on one of the most terrifying nights of the year–Walpurgisnacht, or The Witches Night.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive?” (Catalogue)

Carmilla / Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
“Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Carmilla is the ultimate Gothic vampire tale. When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. It’s not until Laura’s father, increasingly concerned for his daughter’s well-being, sets out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.” (Catalogue)

Backstairs of History: The Best of Recent Biographies

I am, I am, I am Cover

Have you ever thought about writing your memoirs? Of course you have! And you don’t need to be a famous politician or a rock star or an eccentric billionaire to do it—some of the most radical (and successful) memoirs have been written by normal-ish human beings!

But perhaps you need a bit more encouragement? Never fear, below is a list of some of the best biographies of the last few years, and while, yes, there is a celebrity or two, there are ordinary people as well, and each of them have expanded the idea of what a memoir can accomplish—and whose voices need to be heard!

The beautiful struggle : a memoir / Coates, Ta-Nehisi
“With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth in 1980’s Baltimore, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.” (Catalogue)

I am, I am, I am : seventeen brushes with death / O’Farrell, Maggie
“A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. This is a memoir with a difference: seventeen encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal to us a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. It is a book to make you question yourself: what would you do if your life was in danger?” (Catalogue)

Hunger : a memoir of (my) body / Gay, Roxane
“Gay, who deals fearlessly with our hardest truths in both essays (the New York Times best-selling Bad Feminist) and fiction (An Untamed State, an LJ Best Book), here addresses issues of eating and self-image, then broadens her meditation on body as she examines violence against women, starting with a terrible incident in her youth.” (Catalogue)

Making rent in Bed-Stuy : a memoir of trying to make it in New York City / Harris, Brandon
“A young African American millennial filmmaker’s funny, sometimes painful, true-life coming-of-age story of trying to make it in New York City–a chronicle of poverty and wealth, creativity and commerce, struggle and insecurity, and the economic and cultural forces intertwined with ‘the serious, life-threatening process’ of gentrification.” (Catalogue)

Driving to Treblinka : a long search for a lost father / Wichtel, Diana
“When Diana Wichtel was 13 she moved to New Zealand with her mother, sister and brother. Her father was to follow. Diana never saw him again. Many years later she sets out to discover what happened to him.” (Catalogue)

You can’t touch my hair and other things I still have to explain / Robinson, Phoebe
“A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.” (Catalogue)

Wishful drinking / Fisher, Carrie
“In her first ever memoir, Carrie Fisher takes us on an intimate, hilarious and sobering journey through her life. Adapted from the sold-out one-woman show of the same name.” (Catalogue)

The good immigrant / Shukla, Nikesh (editor)
“Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.” (Catalogue)

This is going to hurt : secret diaries of a junior doctor / Kay, Adam
“As soon as Adam Kay set foot on a hospital ward for the first time, he realized there’s quite a lot they don’t teach you at medical school. His diaries from the NHS front line – scribbled in secret after long nights, endless days and missed weekends – are hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns.” (Catalogue)

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.)