No need to ask, just listen – Classical music picks

Are you afraid to ask experts questions about Classical Music, despite wanting to know things about it? Save yourself the stress by reading a very handy book that compiles questions asked by Classical FM listeners. Also included this month are a few of the CDs recently added to our ever expanding collection of Classical recordings.


Syndetics book coverEverything you ever wanted to know about classical music but were too afraid to ask / Darren Henley and Sam Jackson.
“Just what exactly is classical music …and why should it be a part of everyone’s life? Who are the big names behind the classical hits …and which are the best recordings of their music? What are you supposed to wear to a classical concert …and when on earth are you supposed to applaud? ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music …But Were Too Afraid to Ask’ answers these questions and much more. In the pages of this book, Darren Henley and Sam Jackson set out to make the classical world not only accessible, but also disarmingly simple and utterly engrossing, as they share their passion for the greatest music ever written. Celebrating 20 years of the world’s most successful classical music radio station, this book lifts the lid on the burning questions that Classic FM’s listeners have most often asked over the past two decades. Three sections steer you through the terminology and etiquette of classical music, open the fascinating history of the genre and its key figures over the last 1,000 years, and provide a detailed reference guide. Since its transmitters were first switched on in 1992, the team behind Classic FM has believed that classical music can and should be a part of everyone’s life, no matter who they are or where they live. So, whether you are a long-time listener or completely new to the genre this book equips you to begin your own personal journey of discovery into the world’s greatest music.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverMozart at the Gateway to His Fortune : Serving the Emperor, 1788-1791
“At the end of 1787, Mozart reported to his sister, Nannerl, that Emperor Joseph II of Austria had appointed him as Imperial-Royal Chamber Composer. As distinguished music historian Wolff points out in this elegant study of the last four years of Mozart’s life, this new appointment provided the great musician with a regular salary and very few obligations. In spite of the great economic and political instability in the empire, Mozart proved to be astonishingly productive. Narrating Mozart’s life and recreating the cultural atmosphere of these years, Wolff focuses on Mozart’s tremendous accomplishments during this time and not on those of his autumnal years, as so many biographers have done. Mozart’s major musical pieces from 1788 to 1791 include the Vienna production of Don Giovanni, with some newly composed material (1788), and the writing and premier of three new operas: CosI fan tutte (1790), La clemenza di Tito (1791), and Die Zauberflote (1791). Wolff demonstrates that Mozart’s tremendous influence on the history of music grows out of this period primarily because of Mozart’s ability to harness an extraordinary diversity of motives, rhythmic textures, and harmonic ideas into a focused, organic whole. Far from a time of resignation and hopelessness, Wolff argues, these years were a new beginning for Mozart, and the music of The Magic Flute and the Requiem represent a point of departure for genuinely new horizons.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)


Poèmes [sound recording] / Ravel, Messiaen, Dutilleux.
“As the sensual centrepiece of an album of 20th century French vocal masterpieces, Renée Fleming makes her first-ever recording of Ravel’s ravishing Shéhérazade. Complementing Shéhérazade is Olivier Messiaen’s collection of love songs to his young wife, the Poemes pour Mi – a tour de force of voluptuous vocalism. A trio of major works is completed by one written for Renée Fleming by the doyen of French composers, Henri Dutilleux – his dramatic Le Temps l’horloge. The album is completed by two earlier songs by Dutilleux, specially-orchestrated for this album and recorded in the presence of the composer.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cantatas [sound recording] / Bach.
“Andreas Scholl follows up his much-praised Purcell collection, ‘O Solitude’, with a project perfectly matched to his artistry and musical heritage. Andreas Scholl first sang the music of J. S. Bach as a boy chorister. Now the leading countertenor of our time returns to his musical roots with his own selection of arias from Bach’s cantatas – including one of the best-loved of all Bach’s vocal works, “Ich habe genug.” – (adapted from summary)

Mary Stuart [sound recording] / Donizetti ; [libretto, Giuseppe Bardari ; English translation, Tom Hammond].
“Donizetti and his librettists took some liberties with English history. The great confrontation between Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I, which is the focus of the opera’s second act, never took place. And it’s a pity, too. It’s great theater and would’ve been great history. This recording, taken from four live performances in London in 1982 in which Janet Baker sang the title role, carries a huge wallop. Baker is a superb Mary: proud but injured, enraged and indignant, pious and noble. Rosalind Plowright, with a voice as acidic and wild as Baker’s is not, is a cruel Elizabeth. She’s implacable and jealous. Their showdown is magnificent. The English of David Rendall and Alan Opie is more understandable than that of the ladies, and the men both turn in fine performances. Charles Mackerras is a superb leader. The orchestra and chorus are at their best for him. The fact that these were live performances adds to the passion for all concerned.” – (adapted from summary)

School holiday activities at your library

We’re going nutty about the Olympics and have something very cool and unusual for you to try out at your library during the July school holidays.

We are very lucky to have paralympians visiting to tell us all about their experiences and to show you how to use some of their special sporting equipment. Try out a rugby wheelchair, learn how to play Boccia and Goal Ball and more!

We also have sporting story sessions and Olympics quizzes – see how much you know about the Olympics!

Here’s the where and when:

Paralymics – Come to the library to meet a Paralympian and try out their special sporting equipment.

4 July 11.15am at Karori Library

5 July 11am at Newtown Library

6 July 11am at Johnsonville Library

6 July 2pm at Miramar Library

10 July 11am at Tawa Library

11 July 11am at Central Library

12 July 2pm at Kilbirnie Library

13 July 11.15am at Cummings Park Library

Olympics holiday quiz – earn your place on the finishers’ podium!

3 July 11am at Island Bay Library

4 July 2pm at Brooklyn Library

Olympics stories and activities

11 July 11am at Khandallah Library

12 July 2pm at Wadestown Library

All sessions are free and suitable for 5-12 year olds. Don’t miss out -see you there!

Stepping towards personal development

Gaining an understanding of ourselves on both a personal and human level is the theme of this month’s personal development picks. Discover theories on the evolution of morals, learn how to love yourself, apply ancient philosophy to your life, and more!

Syndetics book coverYou can create an exceptional life / Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson
“Renowned spiritual teacher Louise L. Hay joins forces with Cheryl Richardson to reveal their process for living an exceptional life. Travel with Louise and Cheryl throughout North America and Europe as they engage in a series of intimate conversations about their lives and how they’ve dealt with a variety of topics including loving themselves and their bodies; conscious ageing and a dignified, peaceful approach to death. This book is filled with the combined experience of two women who have lived their lives using trusted spiritual principles that really work. Reading and applying their wisdom will radically change your life, too!” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA better way of dying : how to make the best choices at the end of life / Jeanne Fitzpatrick & Eileen M. Fitpatrick
“Designed by two sisters – one a doctor, one a lawyer – the five-step Compassion Protocol outlined in this work offers a simple and effective framework for leaving caretakers unambiguous and legally binding instructions about one’s wishes for his or her last days.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRace, monogamy, and other lies they told you : busting myths about human nature / Agustín Fuentes
“There are three major myths of human nature: humans are divided into biological races; humans are naturally aggressive; men and women are truly different in behavior, desires, and wiring. In an engaging and wide-ranging narrative Agustín Fuentes counters these pervasive and pernicious myths about human behavior. Tackling misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.” Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes. A final chapter plus an appendix provide a set of take-home points on how readers can myth-bust on their own. Accessible, compelling, and original, this book is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverMoral origins : the evolution of virtue, altruism, and shame / Christopher Boehm
“How did evolution produce a species that blushes? To explain the uniquely human moral sense, Boehm teases a provocative neo-Darwinian theory out of cutting-edge archaeological, anthropological, and psychological research. In this theory, the human conscience emerges as prehistoric tribes learn to share the meat of mammoths and other large game. The constraints of sharing, Boehm believes, made early humans newly resistant to the demands of despotic alpha males but responsive to internalized rules for virtuous behavior. In placing group behavior at the very center of his account of moral rules and the reproductive success they foster, Boehm defies the egocentric, or selfish gene, bias that pervades much of evolutionary theorizing. But this defiance opens surprising insights into the hidden biological logic of altruistic acts that benefit nonkin and of harsh tribal punishments that hold free riders in check. Some readers may find Boehm’s conception of morality, bereft of religious conviction or philosophic reflection, unsatisfyingly thin. But those looking for a daring new application of empirical science will find it here.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverHow will you measure your life? / Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon
“Based on a 2010 speech to the Harvard Business School graduating class, innovation expert and HBS professor Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma) tackles the question of how to live a happy, meaningful, purpose-filled life. Even before his stroke and cancer diagnosis, Christensen routinely questioned his students not just about their career ambitions but about what they hoped for their lives. He extends that conversation in this highly engaging and intensely revealing work, distilling lessons learned from studying businesses over the course of a multidecade academic career and spinning them into deeply personal wisdom. He draws on examples from companies like Intel, Disney, and Iridium to illustrate how we can align our actions, time, and resources with our priorities, manage relationships, and even improve parenting. He interweaves personal stories into these lessons, including his early, never realized desire to be the editor of the Wall Street Journal, being fired from a CEO job, his passion for teaching, and his own parenting experiences. Spiritual without being preachy, this work is especially relevant for young people embarking on their career, but also useful for anyone who wants to live a more meaningful life in accordance with their values.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverWhen you think you’re not enough : the four life-changing steps to loving yourself / Daphne Rose Kingma
“There are thousands of reasons for not loving ourselves. Every person has one, or one hundred, it seems. We’re too fat or too thin. We cry too easily or not at all. We’re not good enough, pretty enough, tall enough, powerful enough, brave enough or interesting enough. We convince ourselves that we don’t deserve the lives we desire. In When You Think You’re Not Enough, bestselling author and psychotherapist, Daphne Rose Kingma, helps readers root out the behaviors and beliefs that have prevented them from loving themselves. She offers a four-step plan for reclaiming yourself: speaking out our heart’s desire, acting out to meet our heart’s desire, clearing out old patterns, and setting out on a new path. Through stories and examples, Kigma offers a profound, yet simple process for practicing how to feel good enough, smart enough, and deserving of happiness. When You Think You’re Not Enough is a positive guide to a fuller, happier life; one filled with compassion for yourself and others. Kingma’s book The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart, published by New World Library, is the Winner of the 2010 Books for A Better Life Award, Best Spiritual Book.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverSelf-esteem : a practical guide / David Bonham-Carter
“Among many things, this practical guide shows you how raising your self-esteem can stop you worrying whether you are doing the right thing or whether you are good enough, help you engage in relationships constructively without putting yourself down, and allow you to assert yourself without worrying about others’ opinions.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverPhilosophy for life : and other dangerous situations / Jules Evans
“In his engaging book, Jules Evans explains how ancient philosophy saved his life, and how we can all use it to become happier, wiser and more resilient. Jules imagines a dream school, which includes 12 of the greatest and most colourful thinkers the world has ever known. Each of these ancient philosophers teaches a technique we can use to transform our selves and live better lives. These practical techniques are illustrated by the extraordinary stories of real people who are using them today – from marines to magicians, from astronauts to anarchists. Jules also explores how ancient philosophy is inspiring modern communities – Socratic cafes, Stoic armies, Platonic sects, Sceptic summer camps – and even whole nations in their quest for the good life.” – (adapted from summary)

Fiction audiobooks on the go

We’re adding new eAudiobooks to our eLibrary all the time, this month we’ve added an especially murderous, mysterious and chilling selection. Download and listen on the go, if you dare…

Blood Line (unabridged) / Lynda La Plante, read by Kim Hicks
“In the seventh book of the internationally bestselling series by crime queen Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect), newly promoted DCI Anna Travis takes charge of an investigation for the first time. But is it purely a missing person’s case—or a full blown murder inquiry? An ominous pool of blood and no victim lead Anna on a desperate hunt for a man who has disappeared without a trace. As Anna becomes obsessed with seemingly irrelevant details, her superintendent fears that she is losing control. With no body there is no case, and Anna is under increasing pressure to make an arrest.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Maltese Falcon (unabridged) / Dashiell Hammett, read by William Dufris
“A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett’s coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Dead Scared (unabridged) / S. J. Bolton, read by Lisa Coleman
“When a Cambridge student dramatically attempts to take her own life, DI Mark Joesbury realizes that the university has developed an unhealthy record of young people committing suicide in extraordinary ways. Against huge personal misgivings, Joesbury sends young policewoman DC Lacey Flint to Cambridge, with a brief to work undercover, posing as a depression-prone, vulnerable student. Psychiatrist Evi Oliver is the only person in Cambridge who knows who Lacey really is – or so they both hope. But as the two women dig deeper into the darker side of university life, they discover a terrifying trend And when Lacey starts experiencing the same disturbing nightmares reported by the dead girls, she knows that she is next.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Danger (unabridged) / Dick Francis, read by Tony Britton
“A beautiful Italian girl driving home in an open top sports car, a little boy playing on a south Coast beach and the Senior Steward of the Jockey Club on his way to a press reception in Baltimore. One after the other they suffer the same nightmare ordeal – kidnapping. But there is one thing connecting these particular cases. For the Italian girl is a jockey and the little boy an only son of a racehorse owner. A picture of the person behind this international chain of crime starts to emerge – a lover of Verdi, a man with a cool and calculating brain and an aficionado of the racing world. Andrew Douglas, brought in to advise and help the victims and their families, proceeds with all his customary diplomacy and courage. Only to find himself playing a dangerous part: the role usually reserved for his clients…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Peculiar Treasures (unabridged) / Robin Jones Gunn
“Katie Weldon catches more than just the bouquet at the wedding of her best friend, Christy Miller. She also snags a job offer that launches her into an adventure she never imagined. Katie eagerly accepts the job as resident assistant at Rancho Corona University only to find herself in a community of conflict. She thought this was where God wanted her, but how can God use her —love her —when everything is falling apart? Especially with her boyfriend, Rick. Katie turns to the women in her life for solace. In the safety of their love and encouragement she finally allows herself to spill her heart about her relationship with Rick. But even their advice can’t postpone the decision Katie must face, a decision that will define who she is and the woman she’s becoming. The first book in the Katie Weldon Series, Peculiar Treasures follows Katie as she struggles to believe that God can love her, faults and all.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield / Katherine Mansfield, read by Emma Hignett
“A collection of Katherine Mansfield finest short stories including Miss Brill, The Garden Party, The Singing Lesson and Bank Holiday.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Daughter of Time / Josephine Tey, read by Derek Jacobi
“Truth is the Daughter of Time’ is an old proverb. And The Daughter of Time is Josephine Tey’s search for the truth about the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Was the hunchback, Richard III, the monster that Shakespeare and the history books have made him out to be? With real brilliance she conducts her search in the form of a crime novel, and her investigator is none other than her famous detective, Inspector Alan Grant, who starts to examine the centuries-old scandal.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

OverDrive is a digital media platform where library customers can download eBook and audio titles onto Mac or PC and transfer them to portable devices e.g. eReaders (Kobo, Sony Reader). Choose from a growing collection of contemporary fiction, non-fiction, classics, young adult and children’s titles. You can download for free, 24/7, from the comfort of your own home and never have to pay overdues!

Try the quick start guide or take a guided tour to get started now.

Download some fiction!

Jack Kerouac’s long lost first novel, Lee Child oversees a short story compendium, Phyne Fisher goes to the cricket, and a wedding dress teaches valuable life lessons. We’re always adding great new fiction eBooks to our downloadable collection on Overdrive and this month is no exception.

Image courtesy of OverdriveThe Sea is My Brother / Jack Kerouac
“In the spring of 1943, during a stint in the Merchant Marine, twenty-one-year old Jack Kerouac set out to write his first novel. Working diligently day and night to complete it by hand, he titled it The Sea Is My Brother. Now, nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon. Written seven years before The Town and The City officially launched his writing career, The Sea Is My Brother marks a pivotal point in which Kerouac began laying the foundations for his pioneering method and signature style. A clear precursor to such landmark works as On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Visions of Cody, it is an important formative work that bears all the hallmarks of classic Kerouac: the search for spiritual meaning in a materialistic world, spontaneous travel as the true road to freedom, late nights in bars and apartments engaged in intense conversation, the desperate urge to escape from society, and the strange, terrible beauty of loneliness.” – (adapted from summary)

Death Before Wicket / Kerry Greenwood
“Phryne Fisher has plans for her Sydney sojourn – a few days at the Test cricket, a little sightseeing and the Artist’s Ball with an up-and-coming young modernist. But these plans begin to go awry when Phryne’s maid discovers her thoroughly respectable sister has left her family for the murky nightlife of the Cross. And Phryne is definitely not the woman to say ‘no’ when two delightful young men come to her on bended knees, begging for her help in finding their friend innocent of theft. Phryne’s plans for a simple day or two of pleasure are postponed for good. It all sounds simple enough as Phryne sets investigations into motion, but when greed and fear are the motivating factors, people become ruthless and Phryne finds herself enmeshed in blackmail, secrets, lies and the dangerous influences of deep magic.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Duchess of Love / Sally MacKenzie
“The day was as hot as the pond was inviting. It’s not as if anyone in Little Huffington was going to happen upon a secluded vale on the Duke of Greycliffe’s lands. And Venus Collingswood didn’t want to get her shift all wet. It was the perfect setting in which to plan her lovely bookworm of a sister’s betrothal to the mysterious new duke arriving seven days hence. If only she had a suitable accomplice… Andrew Valentine, Duke of Greycliffe, never thought arriving at his own household a week early would cause so much trouble. The housekeeper thinks he’s his own cousin. Actually, the chance to not be the duke for a while is a pleasant opportunity indeed. It might even help him interrogate the delectable little nymph he’s discovered swimming in his pond—if he can manage to get a word in edgewise…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Wedding Dress / Rachel Hauck
“Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her. Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Dinner at Rose’s / Danielle Hawkins
“A beautifully written, funny, intelligent and heartwarming novel about a young woman who leaves the city for her home town where she falls in love with a wonderful man – and does much more besides. In the wake of an unfortunate best-friend-and-boyfriend-caught-having-sex-in-a-chair incident, Jo Donnelly flees her civilised city life to take up a temporary job at the physiotherapy clinic in her small home town. Jo is ineptly assisted at work by a receptionist who divides her time between nail care and surfing the internet. Meanwhile, her new flatmate is a joyless couch potato who hogs the TV and is vigilant in her quest to prevent excessive electricity consumption. Life would seem a bit grim if not for Jo’s eccentric honorary Aunty Rose, who lives up the valley with her pet piglet, four dogs and two sheep. Rose was a wise and infinitely patient friend to both Jo and her bona fide nephew, Matthew, while they were growing up. And when Rose is hit by illness Jo moves in to look after her, while Matt helps out as much as his farming duties allow. But illness aside, it’s not long before the mischievous Rose is playing cupid… This is an utterly charming, funny, insightful novel of friendship and love.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

First Thrills / Lee Child
“Con men and killers, aliens and zombies, priests and soldiers – just some of the characters that kill and thrill in this compelling collection of gun-toting, double-crossing, back-stabbing, pulse-pounding stories. Jeffery Deaver investigates the suspicious death of a crime-writer in ‘The Plot’; Karin Slaughter’s grieving widow takes revenge on her dying ex-husband in ‘Cold, Cold Heart’; Stephen Coonts discovers a flying saucer in the depths of the ocean in ‘Savage Planet’ and John Lescroat’s secret field agent finds himself caught up in a complex game of cat-and-mouse in ‘The Gate Conundrum’. Handpicked by world number one Lee Child, celebrity authors and stars of the future are brought together, writing brand-new stories, especially commissioned for this must-have collection. Whether you’re reading today’s bestseller or tomorrow’s phenomenon, grisly horror or paranoia thriller, historical suspense or supernatural crime, one thing’s for certain. You’ll be thrilled to the core.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Plain Truth / Jodi Picoult
“Moving seamlessly from psychological drama to courtroom suspense, Plain Truth is a triumph of contemporary storytelling. Jodi Picoult presents a fascinating portrait of Amish life rarely witnessed by those outside the faith – and discovers a place where circumstances are not always what they seem, where love meets falsehood, and where relationships grow strong enough to transcend death. When Ellie Hathaway decides to defend an unmarried Amish woman against the charge of the murder of her own child, the urban-savvy defence attorney finds herself caught in a clash of cultures with a people whose channels of justice are markedly different from her own. Plain Truth is the extraordinary story of two unforgettable women – and what happens when their disparate worlds collide.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

OverDrive is a digital media platform where library customers can download eBook and audio titles onto Mac or PC and transfer them to portable devices e.g. eReaders (Kobo, Sony Reader). Choose from a growing collection of contemporary fiction, non-fiction, classics, young adult and children’s titles. You can download for free, 24/7, from the comfort of your own home and never have to pay overdues!

Try the quick start guide or take a guided tour to get started now.

New non-fiction eBooks

Cookbooks on an eReader make so much sense – screens can be wiped – but when pages get stuck together with wayward dinner, disaster. With that in mind, step fearlessly into the kitchen and try your hand at some of the delicious looking Moroccan dishes in these new non-fiction eBooks. We’ve also added items on the history of cigarettes, organisation tips, running tips and some ideas for turning dull speeches into memorably hilarious ones.

Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman / Richard P. Feynman
“Feynman’s letters – offers an unprecedented look at the writer, thinker, Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose scientific mind and lust for life made him a legend in his own time. Richard P. Feynman was raised in Far Rockaway, New York, and received his Ph.D. from Princeton. He held professorships at both Cornell and the California Institute of Technology. In 1965 he received the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. He died in 1988.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Android Phones For Dummies / Dan Gookin
“Eager to learn the ins and outs of your exciting, new Android phone? Then this is the book you need! Written in the typical fun and friendly For Dummies style, this full-color guide covers the basics of all the features of Android phones without weighing you down with heavy technical terms or jargon. Veteran world-renowned author Dan Gookin walks you through everything from getting started with setup and configuration to making the most of your phone’s potential with texting, e-mailing, accessing the Internet and social networking sites, using the camera, synching with a PC, downloading apps, and more.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Beginning Runner’s Handbook: The Proven 13-Week RunWalk Program / Ian MacNeill
“This easy-to-use, practical guide helps runners safely build strength and endurance, get motivated and set realistic goals, choose the proper footwear and clothing, eat right, and avoid injury. Completely updated, this fourth edition contains a wealth of new material. A revised RunWalk program gives runners a choice between running 10K or covering the distance by running and walking. A whole new chapter on preparing for charity runs reflects the popularity of getting fit while giving back to the community. There are expanded and enhanced sections with cross-training options such as trail running and bootcamp sessions; information on running through pregnancy; facts about barefoot running, minimalist shoes and shorter strides lengths, plus links to online sources of information and running communities. Combining advice from the experts, training tips and testimonials from runners of all ages, The Beginning Runner’s Handbook is a step-by-step road map for achieving running success.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

2500 Jokes to Start ‘Em Laughing / Robert Orben
“There is no better, faster, or more effective way to reach out and grab an audience’s attention than the adroit use of humor. An apt, well-timed joke can soothe the hostile, focus the uninterested, and the spur on the enthusiastic. In this latest collection from Robert Orben, master of the one-liner and fountain of humor for the great TV and stand-up comics, are gathered over 2500 short, relevant, and sharp laugh-getters that can easily be added to speeches, lectures, presentations, or casual conversation. Arranged into several hundred categories for ease in selection, the subject matter is topical – ranging from acupuncture and air pollution to women’s liberation and X-rated movies. Most of the jokes are one-liners that move with a snap and a sizzle that anecdotes and lengthy stories lack. Here you will find openings and closings for speeches, plus random and specific comment invaluable to anyone who has ever been called upon to “say a few words.” A marvelous tool for speakers, writers, and performers, Mr. Orben’s newest book will also provide hours of laugh-filled reading for everyone.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America / Allan Brandt
“The widely acclaimed, award-winning history of the cigarette. Allan M. Brandt is the Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Authentic Recipes from Morocco / Fatema Hal, Jean Hamon, Bruno Barbey
“A heady mix of spices, aromatic tagines and warm, buttery couscous, it’s no wonder Moroccan cuisine has become so popular! Full of favorites like caraway soup, slow-cooked lamb stews, spicy salads, flatbreads, sublime desserts and mint tea, Authentic Recipes from Morocco contains over 50 recipes that reveal the treasures of regional Moroccan cooking.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The 8 Minute Organizer: Easy Solutions to Simplify Your Life in Your Spare Time / Regina Leeds
“From the author of New York Times bestseller One Year to an Organized Life, the book for anyone too busy to get organized.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

OverDrive is a digital media platform where library customers can download eBook and audio titles onto Mac or PC and transfer them to portable devices e.g. eReaders (Kobo, Sony Reader). Choose from a growing collection of contemporary fiction, non-fiction, classics, young adult and children’s titles. You can download for free, 24/7, from the comfort of your own home and never have to pay overdues!

Try the quick start guide or take a guided tour to get started now.

Ideas and Society Newsletter for June

Science and literature appear together in this newsletter every month, but this month sees an attempt at breaking down the science of literature in Plotto. It has drawn some cynicism, see this thread for example, but it is a very interesting idea. Elsewhere in our new additions are plenty more interesting ideas, including a fast-paced retelling of the Lincoln assassination, “humanure” and tips for writing for the web – perhaps I should’ve dipped in before starting on this paragraph!

Library News


It’s often the bad guys and girls who make the most impression on us as we read – the wicked are always more interesting. Creating realistic villians and manipulative, scheming women will give your story a real punch and give you hours of harmless fun. It is, however, quite an art, and Jessica Page Morrell’s book will give you invaluable help.

Syndetics book coverBullies, bastards & bitches : how to write the bad guys of fiction / Jessica Page Morrell.
“Get to Know Your Character’s Sinister Side. A truly memorable antagonist is not a one-dimensional super villain bent on world domination for no particular reason. Realistic, credible bad guys create essential story complications, personalize conflict, add immediacy to a story line, and force the protagonist to evolve. From mischief-makers to villains to arch nemeses,Bullies, Bastards & Bitchesshows you how to create nuanced bad guys who are indispensable to the stories in which they appear. Bullies, Bastards & Bitchesis your all-encompassing bad-guy compendium to tapping into any character’s dark side.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverPlotto : the master book of all plots / by William Wallace Cook.
“Plot suggestions for writers of fiction. A classic how-to manual, William Wallace CooksPlottois one writers personal method, painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others. The theory itself may be simple “Purpose opposed by Obstacle yields Conflict” but Cook takes his “Plottoist” through hundreds of situations and scenarios, guiding the readers hand as a dizzying array of purposes and obstacles come to a head. Cooks method is broken down into three stages: First, the master plot. This four-page chart distills the most basic plot points into a three-line sentence. Next, the conflict situation. Each master plot leads the reader to a list of circumstances, distributed among 20 different conflict groups (these range from Loves Beginning to Personal Limitations to Transgression). There are over 2,000 unique conflict situations in the book, and each is cross-referenced with designs for how the situation might have started, or where it might go. Finally, there are character combinations Cook offers an extensive index of protagonists, each cross-referenced with various supporting players themselves tied to various conflict situations, for what appears to be an inexhaustible reservoir of suggestions and inspiration.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverWriting for the web : creating compelling web content using words, pictures, and sound / Lynda Felder.
“With Writing for the Web, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create effective Web content using words, pictures, and sound. Follow along as instructor and write Lynda Felder combines easy-to-follow guidelines with photographs, lists, and tables to illustrate the key concepts behind writing nonlinear, interactive stories; creating succinct and clear © and working compelling images, motion graphics, and sound into your content.Many books offer instruction on how to use software programs to build Web sites, podcasts, and illustrations. But only Writing for the Web explains when and why an author might choose an illustration over a photograph, motion graphics over text, or a slice of Beethoven’s Fifth over the sound of a bubbling brook. Focusing on storytelling techniques that work best for digital media, this book describes the essential skills and tools in a Web author’s toolbox, including a thorough understanding of grammar and style, a critical eye for photography, and an ear for just the right sound bite for a podcast.This clearly written guide provides a fun and practical approach to Web writing for busy students. ” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Popular Non-Fiction

Have you ever thought deeply – really deeply – on the subject of human excrement, or “humanure”? Joseph Jenkins has, and he aims to teach us how to flush our toilets goodbye this month in The Humanure Handbook. Politician free examinations of the finacial crisis, “Redneck Socialism” and Piha Surf Life Saving Club are other topics covered in another varied pile of new popular non-fiction books.

Syndetics book coverThe humanure handbook : a guide to composting human manure / by Joseph Jenkins.
“There are almost seven billion defecating people on planet Earth, but few who have any clue about how to constructively handle the burgeoning mountain of human crap. The Humanure Handbook, third edition, will amuse you, educate you, and possibly offend you, but it will certainly pertain to you–unless, of course, your bowels never move.” – (adpated from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPiha : guardians of the iron sands : the first 75 years of the Piha Surf Life Saving Club / [writer and editor] Sandra Coney.
“Piha Surf Life Saving Club enjoys possibly the highest profile in the country – not only due to the top rating television programme but also as the busiest patrol in the country – performing almost twice as many rescues as the next club. Affectionaltely written by long time Piha afficionado Sandra Coney, Piha: Guardians of the Iron Sands is the journey of the founding and development of the Piha club, its people and purpose…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWaltzing at the doomsday ball : the best of Joe Bageant / edited by Ken Smith.
“The only collection of Joe Bageant’s essays available in book form, this compilation features 25 essays by the self proclaimed redneck socialist. Exploring the plight of America’s white, “redneck” underclass – a topic considered taboo for the mainstream media – with insight, humor, compassion, and rage, this record is the result of the editorial freedom Bageant gained via the internet. Touching upon politics, current affairs, and sociology, the essays were selected for inclusion based on reader feedback, web-traffic counts, and suggestions from Bageant’s online colleagues.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Religion & Beliefs

The latest additions to the religions and beliefs collection encompass the Amish, Buddha Standard Time, and a Christian view of place.

Syndetics book coverBuddha standard time : awakening to the infinite possibilities of now, by Surya Das.
“We’re all given the same twenty-four hours a day.We can spend our time feeling hurried and harried, overwhelmed by chores and demands, distracted and burned out . . . or we can awaken to Buddha Standard Time, the realm of timelessness whereevery choice, every action, and every breath can be one of renewal and infinite possibilities. … Drawing on Tibetan Buddhism and other great wisdom traditions, as well as on neuroscience and holistic traditions, renowned teacher and national bestselling author Lama Surya Das shares real world examples, practical exercises, and essential techniques. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Amish way : patient faith in a perilous world, by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David L. Weaver-Zercher.
“This second book by the authors of the award-winning Amish Grace sheds further light on the Amish, this time on their faith, spirituality, and spiritual practices. They interpret the distinctive practices of the Amish way of life and spirituality in their cultural context and explore their applicability for the wider world. Using a holistic perspective, the book tells the story of Amish religious experience in the words of the Amish themselves. Due to their long-standing friendships and relationships with Amish people, this author team may be the only set of interpreters able to provide an outsider-insider perspective….(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere mortals dwell : a Christian view of place for today, by Craig G. Bartholomew.
“Where Mortals Dwell provides a biblical, theological, and philosophical grounding for the significance of place in our rootless culture. Bartholomew illuminates the importance of place throughout the biblical canon, in the Christian tradition, and in the contours of contemporary thought. This timely book encourages readers to recover a sense of place and articulates a hopeful Christian vision of placemaking in today’s world. ” (Syndetics summary)

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We have some great new history books this month from a Kiwi in Afganistan to when U-boats Attack, and plenty more besides. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverZen under fire : a New Zealand woman’s story of love and war in Afghanistan / Marianne Elliott.
“I am about to be left in charge of the office. I’m not sure I am ready for the responsibility, so I double-check with my boss. He reassures me. ‘You’ll be fine, Marianne. As long as no one kills Amanullah Khan, you’ll be fine.’ By midday, Amanullah Khan is dead.” In 2006 Marianne Elliott, a human rights lawyer from New Zealand, is stationed with the UN in Herat. Several months into her new role an important tribal leader is assassinated while she is in charge of the local UN office. She must try to defuse the situation before it leads to widespread bloodshed. ZEN UNDER FIRE is a vivid and deeply personal account of a young woman’s time living and working as a peacekeeper in one of the world’s most notorious battlegrounds. As well as sharing the incredible details of her UN work in and around Herat and the remote province of Ghor, Marianne tells of the shattering effects of this high-stress, high-danger environment on her and her relationships – and how, amid the turmoil, she begins to find her way back to herself.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Syndetics book coverKilling Lincoln : the shocking assassination that changed America forever / Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever
“O’Reilly, the popular and controversial cable news commentator, teams here with Dugard (Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone) to cover Lincoln’s assassination in a simple and morally unambiguous style. They offer no new insights into the death of Lincoln, just a sensationalist retelling of a familiar story. In pages filled with conjecture about the mental states of the protagonists, the authors succinctly describe the closing battles of the Civil War, the assassination, and its aftermath. They frequently speculate on conspiracy theories that involved secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton in the assassination plot, but they never make accusations except to say his behavior was “suspicious.” It will be interesting to see whether fans of O’Reilly’s television show will flock to his first foray into history the way they have to his books on contemporary issues. VERDICT Written from an unapologetically northern perspective, this book is not for academics but may appeal to readers who enjoy fast-paced, conjectural popular history. It includes an appendix reprinting the Harper’s Weekly account of the assassination written soon after.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverU-boats attack! : the Battle of the Atlantic witnessed by the Wolf Packs / Jak P. Mallman Showell.
“Jak P. Mallmann Showell is the son of a U-boat diesel mechanic, who died in action. Jak is a full-time naval historian, author and photographer. He speaks fluent German. He is considered one of the leading authorities on the Battle of the Atlantic and has produced more than forty books on naval activity during the Second World War, including Hitler’s U-boat Bunkers, Hitler’s U-boat Warriors and Companion to the German Navy (The History Press). He lives in Kent.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

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With this months recent picks, you can learn to build your own time machine, make your own clone, and throughly confuse yourself with physics!!

Syndetics book coverBuild your own time machine : the real science of time travel / Brian Clegg.
“In How to Build a Time Machine, Brian Clegg provides an understanding of what time is and how it can be manipulated. He explores the remarkable possibilities of real time travel that emerge from quantum entanglement, superluminal speeds, neutron star cylinders and wormholes in space. With the fascinating paradoxes of time travel echoing in our minds will we realize that travel into the future might never be possible? Or will we realize there is no limit on what can be achieved, and take on this ultimate challenge? Only time will tell.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverPhysics on the fringe : smoke rings, circlons, and alternative theories of everything / Margaret Wertheim.
“Australian science writer Wertheim has an unusual hobby that she freely admits most physicists would wince at. On her office shelves, Wertheim has amassed dozens of manuscripts from fringe engineers and mathematicians touting alternative theories of matter that sharply diverge from those endorsed by mainstream science. In this informative, often witty overview of outsider physicists, Wertheim offers an extended rumination on the role such amateur theorists play in science’s public acceptance. Readers are shown visions of a universe immersed in ether (an abandoned nineteenth-century concept), one that contracts rather than expands, and one that eliminates field theory but embraces a twisted version of quantum mechanics. The crown jewel in her menagerie of eccentric visionaries, however, is James Carter, a do-it-yourself mechanic whose theory of everything has been percolating for five decades. Insisting that physics should be comprehensible to the layman, Carter’s theory features a donut-shaped particle as matter’s fundamental building block. Yet far from belittling Carter, Wertheim uses his inspiring example as a potent reminder that today’s cranks may be deemed tomorrow’s geniuses.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverUnnatural : the heretical idea of making people / Philip Ball.
“Can we make a human being? That question has been asked for many centuries, and has produced recipes ranging from the homunculus of the medieval alchemists and the clay golem of Jewish legend to Frankenstein’s monster and the mass-produced test-tube babies in “Brave New World”. All of these efforts to create artificial people are more or less fanciful, but they have taken deep root in Western culture. They all express fears about the allegedly treacherous, Faustian nature of technology, and they all question whether any artificially created person can be truly human. Legends of people-making are tainted by suspicions of impiety and hubris, and they are regarded as the ultimate ‘unnatural’ act – a moral judgement that has its origins in religious thought. In this fascinating and highly topical study, Philip Ball delves beneath the surface of the cultural history of ‘anthropoeia’ – the creation of artificial people – to explore what it tells us about our views on life, humanity, creativity and technology, and the soul. From the legendary inventor Daedalus to Goethe’s tragic Faust, from the automata-making magicians of E.T.A Hoffmann to Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein – the old tales and myths are alive and well, subtly manipulating the current debates about assisted conception, embryo research and human cloning, which have at last made the fantasy of ‘making people’ into some kind of reality.” (

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Community and Languages Newsletter for June

Winter is an ideal time for cooking and crafting, and inspiration for both activities is in abundance here at Wellington City Libraries, we’ve selected some of our favourite new items in this newsletter. Also this month; our foreign Language section continues to grow with new French and Chinese books being the amongst the arrivals.

Library News

New Zealand

As the international portion of the rugby season approaches, it’s a good time to brush up some of the history of the sport – Eden Park and Sir Fred Allen make good subjects.

Syndetics book coverFrom crank handles to hydraulics : a history of cranes in New Zealand / by John Carter.
“Cranes of various shapes and sizes have helped shape our nation dating back from around 1840 and today rank as the most familiar item of equipment involved on construction and other sites throughout the country. This book is the first ever produced in New Zealand detailing how cranes and other lifting devices have evolved over the decades. It is an easy read for people of all ages and includes how cranes assisted in the colonisation of New Zealand via the ports and railways and mentions of some of the country’s historical events which necessitated the use of cranes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFred the needle : the untold story of Sir Fred Allen / by Alan Sayers and Les Watkins.
“Hugely anticipated biography of a New Zealand icon. Few New Zealand rugby personalities can truly be labelled legends. Sir Fred Allen, though, is one of those rare exceptions. Along with the great Colin Meads, Allen is an icon of the game, universally loved and a true New Zealand hero. For years, the man who famously captained and then coached the All Blacks unbeaten through 37 matches in a golden era from 1966-68, has resisted the urgings of writers and publishers to tell his story. That is until now.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEden Park : a history / written by John McCrystal and Lindsay Knight ; [foreword by Wilson Whineray].
“An illustrated history of the iconic park. Over the last century, Eden Park has been through many changes and in 2011, as it hosts another World Cup, the park carries within it the spirit of many past champion players, epic contests and enthusiastic crowds.” (Library Catalogue)

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Some new DVDs to hit the shelves here at Wellington City Libraries this month include the new Martin Scorsese family movie ‘Hugo’; Steven Spielberg’s and Peter Jackson’s full-length film version of the Tintin comics; and an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel ‘Norwegian Wood’.

Cover imageHugo.
In resourceful orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield, an Oliver Twist-like charmer), Martin Scorsese finds the perfect vessel for his silver-screen passion: this is a movie about movies (fittingly, the 3-D effects are spectacular). After his clockmaker father (Jude Law) perishes in a museum fire, Hugo goes to live with his Uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), a drunkard who maintains the clocks at a Paris train station. When Claude disappears, Hugo carries on his work and fends for himself by stealing food from area merchants. In his free time, he attempts to repair an automaton his father rescued from the museum, while trying to evade the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), a World War I veteran with no sympathy for lawbreakers. When Georges (Ben Kingsley), a toymaker, catches Hugo stealing parts for his mechanical man, he recruits him as an assistant to repay his debt. If Georges is guarded, his open-hearted ward, Isabelle (Chloë Moretz), introduces Hugo to a kindly bookseller (Christopher Lee), who directs them to a motion-picture museum… helping unlock the secret of the automaton…” – (adapted from description)

Cover imageNorwegian wood.
“Published in 1987 and since translated into 33 languages, Norwegian Wood is a story of loss and heartbreak in a time of global instability. Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel is brought to the screen by Tran Anh Hung (Golden Lion winner for Cyclo and Academy Award nominee for The Scent of Green Papaya) and features Japanese rising star Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note, Detroit Metal City) and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) alongside newcomer Kiko Mizuhara. Tokyo, the late 1960s… Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe’s personal life is similarly in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bond has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not – outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident – marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his past and his future.” – (adapted from description)

Cover imageThe adventures of Tintin.
“The Adventures of Tintin follows the exciting exploits of a young reporter, his dog, a sea captain with a drinking problem, and a couple of bumbling Interpol detectives as they travel from Europe to the Sahara and Morocco in pursuit of a pickpocket, model-ship collectors, and long-lost treasure. Steven Spielberg’s and Peter Jackson’s long-awaited full-length film, based on the original “Tintin” comics by Hergé, combines the stories “The Secret of the Unicorn,” “Red Rackham’s Treasure,” and “The Crab with the Golden Claws” into a generally fast-paced adventure that feels just a tad too long. The individual stories and the characters Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock, and Thompson and Thomson are all quite faithfully represented…Snowy is delightfully funny to watch, though he is a bit fluffier than in the original comics, and the real animation standouts are the secondary characters like Thompson and Thomson and Captain Haddock, who somehow seem absolutely perfect. Devoted fans will revel in the abundance of small details that reference the comics and suggest a true love for “Tintin” on the filmmakers’ parts, but even viewers who don’t know a thing about the comics will thoroughly enjoy this exciting adventure.” – (adapted from description)

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Community Languages

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More than 50 French fiction books have been added to our collection recently and we have expanded our range of Chinese books in cooking, history, social aspects and culture, as well as biographies, including a wonderful and inspirational biography of King George VI, based on the award winning film The King’s Speech. Great new books to enjoy!


Syndetics book coverJe l’aimais / Anna Gavalda.
“This book is the story of a jilted wife and her stepfather. Both have very interesting and human stories. Gavalda intertwines the two stories so that you feel the passions and sorrows of each character. The story is so good it will capture your imagination.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)

Syndetics book coverLa vie devant soi / Romain Gary (Emile Ajar).
“This is a beautiful story of a little boy, nicknamed Momo, and Madame Rosa, a former prostitute who became, by necessity, his adoptive mother. They live on the sixth floor of a building, without a lift and Madame Rosa has difficulties climbing up those stairs and prefers to remain at home in her “Jewish hole”.
Momo, with the help of his friends around the Belleville area, will do everything to keep Madame Rosa alive, even though, he feels increasingly helpless witnessing her slow and pitiful downfall. This story told by a child in his own words, is a cocktail of humanity and solidarity between different ethnic groups.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)


30 fen zhong gao ding feng sheng wan can / Gao Jie zhu bian.
“A book with more practical recipes and ideas for preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also, the book offers the opportunity to find products that suit your needs and cooking interests.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)

Guo wang de yan jiang = The king’s speech / (Ying) Make Luoge (Mark Logue), Bide Kangladi (Peter Conradi) zhu ; Sha Lunti, Wu Guojin yi.
“This book is about ‘The King’s Speech’ a film that tells the true story of how Britain’s King George VI overcame a debilitating stutter to inspire his nation during World War II and his relationship with his speech therapist.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)

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You might notice that there is a distinct emphasis on New Zealand cook books in this selection. All the recipes in these books look tempting enough that you’d want to try them again and again.

Syndetics book coverGrace & Flavour : Old New Zealand Recipes for Modern Cooks / Barbara Keen ; recipe photographs by Simon Young.
“A beautiful retro look cookbook, Grace and Flavour is a collection of classic recipes from an assortment of New Zealand cookbooks published between 1883 and 1940. Each recipe is presented in its original form, followed by a modern version which is easily accessible to today s cooks….The recipes are complemented with images of the dishes and styled with nostalgic table and kitchenware.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNadia’s Kitchen : Fresh, Tasty Recipes from Masterchef NZ Winner / Nadia Lim.
“Organised by seasons, this is a must-have collection of recipes that will become favourite staples in every household. Covering breakfasts, lunches, nibbles, starters, main meals and desserts there’s inspiration for everyone; and Nadia’s half Kiwi/half Malaysian heritage means that her food style is modern Kiwi with Asian and Mediterranean influences.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJax Cooks : Great Food for Family and Friends / Jax Hamilton ; photographs, David Baird.
“This cookbook, Jax’s first, is a real treat and a much-awaited debut. Jax Cooks is a fabulous collection of 90 recipes woven around Jax’s life and experiences; her story told in food. These recipes will appeal to those who already love her style and to those who want to try real, tasty, easy-to-prepare food. Jax’d up, of course!” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Take a look at this glorious range of fresh ideas and decorating schemes featured in this selection of craft books. Choose from modern and traditional quilt projects to timeless knitting patterns and draw inspiration from a do-it-yourself guide how to enrich the character of your home with individual panache. Have fun!

Syndetics book coverStar struck quilts : dazzling diamonds & traditional blocks : 13 skill-building projects / Barbara H. Cline.
“This book includes complete instructions for 9 wall hangings, which can then be transformed into 27 bed-sized quilts. Barbara shares many valuable life lessons and shows you how to achieve the fine workmanship found in the quilts made in her Mennonite community.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverBarn quilts and the American Quilt Trail movement / Suzi Parron with Donna Sue Groves.
“When German immigrants arrived in America, they brought with them a passion for brightly colored geometric patterns that they stitched into quilts that kept them toasty on frigid winter nights. They also decorated their otherwise plain barns with hex signs serving as talismans or as purely exuberant decoration. A decade ago, an enterprising Ohioan combined these traditions and mounted outsize quilt patterns in bright colors on old barns. Others quickly followed suit, and now many Midwestern and Eastern states have quilt trails that tourists pursue in outdoor museums of folk art. Parron and Groves have documented these trails with full-color photographs that show how imaginative many artists have become, incorporating butterflies, horses, flags, and other natural and man-made designs within the more abstract geometries of traditional barn quilts. The text profiles many of the artists whose work dazzlingly enlivens America’s farm country.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverFeminine knits : 22 timeless designs / Lene Holme Samsøe ; [translation, Carol Huebscher Rhoades].
“Fall in love with knitting all over again with this intriguing pattern collection that blends captivating designs with flattering, feminine silhouettes. Knitters will be eager to start and delighted to finish each project that includes skirts, jackets, tank tops, pullovers, and accessories. An excellent showcase of texture, lace, and unusual pattern construction, each project is inspired by current and vintage fashion and the mathematical aspect of design. Featuring projects for every season, skill level, time commitment, and occasion, each collection is full of elegant finishing and the kind of impeccable detail that makes transforms each piece into a classic. This manual, packed to the brim with timeless yet fashionable patterns, also features beautiful photographs that highlight the detail and feminine silhouettes of each finished piece.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

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People and Places Newsletter for June

One prominent person in the news a lot lately is the Queen, she’s also been popping up in our catalogue a lot lately too. So it only makes sense to let the honour of leading off this month’s People and Places newsletter fall to her. The rest of the highlights in our Biography, Travel, History and New Zealand sections follow …

Library News


This is the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – she has been on the throne for sixty years, which makes her the longest serving British monarch since Victoria. Whether you are a monarchist or not, this is a momentous historical occassion, and one which has been marked by the publication of a plethora of celebratory books. We have chosen one of the crop primarily because it is pictorial work, but there are many others including Andrew Marr’s excellent “Diamond Queen’, which we also stock.

Syndetics book coverElizabeth : a diamond jubilee portrait / Jennie Bond.
“In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II will mark the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne, a diamond jubilee that this book, written by former BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond, commemorates. On February 6, 1952, Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, became Queen on the death of her father, King George VI to the reign that was to see major changes both in the country and Commonwealth and in the role of the monarchy began far away from Britain in a game reserve in Kenya. “Elizabeth: The Diamond Jubilee” looks at this remarkable period in the history of Britain’s monarchy in lavish and fascinating detail, featuring over 240 photographs. Constantly under scrutiny ever since she took the throne, this book presents a balanced and absorbing account of the Queen’s life and of her role as the head of state in a country and a world that have changed almost beyond recognition in the sixty years since she inherited the throne.” – (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverCharles Dickens at home / Hilary Macaskill ; special photography by Graham Salter ; [foreword by Florian Schweizer].
“This book tracks the places Dickens lived, from his Portsmouth birthplace and childhood home in Chatham to his last home back in Kent, at Gad’s Hill Place in Rochester. The book also covers his travels in England and abroad, where the locations provided the settings in his novels, such as Nicholas Nickleby’s Yorkshire and in the East Anglia of David Copperfield, Charles Dickens’s most autobiographical novel. Above all, it is London, where he lived in different homes for the majority of his life, which is so identified with Dickens and with his fiction. One thing that characterised his attitude to all his homes in adult life was his deep involvement in domestic arrangements, despite the frantic pace of his intensive work schedule. It was this close attention to detail, as well as his acute observation of his surroundings, that distinguished his novels, both in their portrayal of home life and in their sense of place. An invaluable resource to anyone who has an interest in the settings of Dickens’ work, Hilary Macaskill weaves a narrative which places this great writer in his domestic context, gloriously illustrated with archive material and original photography.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverThomas Becket : warrior, priest, rebel, victim : a 900-year-old story retold / John Guy.
“A revisionist new biography reintroducing readers to one of the most subversive figures in English history-the man who sought to reform a nation, dared to defy his king, and laid down his life to defend his sacred honor. Becket’s life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guy’s hands. The son of middle-class Norman parents, Becket rose against all odds to become the second most powerful man in England. As King Henry II’s chancellor, Becket charmed potentates and popes, tamed overmighty barons, and even personally led knights into battle. After his royal patron elevated him to archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, however, Becket clashed with the King. Forced to choose between fealty to the crown and the values of his faith, he repeatedly challenged Henry’s authority to bring the church to heel. Drawing on the full panoply of medieval sources, Guy sheds new light on the relationship between the two men, separates truth from centuries of mythmaking, and casts doubt on the long-held assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends. He also provides the fullest accounting yet for Becket’s seemingly radical transformation from worldly bureaucrat to devout man of God. Here is a Becket seldom glimpsed in any previous biography, a man of many facets and faces.” – (adapted from summary)

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Travel stories & guides

Our picks of the new travel books this month are an eccentric bunch, filled with hairy hikers and unusual approaches to travel. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverThe hairy hikers : a coast-to-coast trek along the French Pyrenees / David Le Vay.
“Fuelled by a degree of mid-life crisis and the need to escape, albeit temporarily, the dull routine of modern life, David and Rob set out to walk from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, taking in French villages, beautiful scenery and one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in Europe. Just about perfect — if you can put aside the inevitable conflict, drama and unexpected tedium that results from two men spending over seven solid weeks in each other’s company!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLe road trip : a traveler’s journal of love and France / Vivian Swift.
Le Road Trip combines the appeal of the iconic American quest with France’s irresistible allure, offering readers a totally new perspective of life on the road. Le Road Trip tells the story of one idyllic French honeymoon trip, but it is also a witty handbook of tips and advice on how to thrive as a traveler, a captivating visual record with hundreds of watercolor illustrations, and a chronicle depicting the incomparable charms of being footloose in France. Armchair travelers, die-hard vagabonds, art journalists, and red wine drinkers will all find something to savor in this story.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCruising attitude : tales of crashpads, crew drama, and crazy passengers at 35,000 feet / Heather Poole.
“Flying the not-so-friendly skies… In her more than fifteen years as an airline flight attendant, Heather Poole has seen it all. She’s witnessed all manner of bad behavior at 35,000 feet and knows what it takes for a traveler to become the most hated passenger onboard… Heather’s true stories in Cruising Attitude are surprising, hilarious, sometimes outrageously incredible the very juiciest of “galley gossip” delightfully intermingled with the eye-opening, unforgettable chronicle of her fascinating life in the sky.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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We have some great new history books this month; Kiwis in Afghanistan, the Tower of London, Lincoln’s assassination and more.

Syndetics book coverZen under fire : a New Zealand woman’s story of love and war in Afghanistan / Marianne Elliott.
“I am about to be left in charge of the office. I’m not sure I am ready for the responsibility, so I double-check with my boss. He reassures me. ‘You’ll be fine, Marianne. As long as no one kills Amanullah Khan, you’ll be fine.’ By midday, Amanullah Khan is dead.” In 2006 Marianne Elliott, a human rights lawyer from New Zealand, is stationed with the UN in Herat. Several months into her new role an important tribal leader is assassinated while she is in charge of the local UN office. She must try to defuse the situation before it leads to widespread bloodshed. ZEN UNDER FIRE is a vivid and deeply personal account of a young woman’s time living and working as a peacekeeper in one of the world’s most notorious battlegrounds. As well as sharing the incredible details of her UN work in and around Herat and the remote province of Ghor, Marianne tells of the shattering effects of this high-stress, high-danger environment on her and her relationships – and how, amid the turmoil, she begins to find her way back to herself.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Syndetics book coverTower : an epic history of the Tower of London / Nigel Jones.
“Castle, royal palace, prison, torture chamber, execution site, zoo, mint, home to the crown jewels, armory, record office, observatory, and the most visited tourist attraction in the UK: The Tower of London has been all these things and more. No building in Britain has been more intimately involved in the island’s story than this mighty, brooding stronghold in the very heart of the capital, a place which has stood at the epicenter of dramatic, bloody and frequently cruel events for almost athousand years.
Now historian Nigel Jones sets this dramatic story firmly in the context of national – and international – events. In a gripping account drawn from primary sources and lavishly illustrated with sixteen pages of stunning photographs, he captures the Tower in its many changing moods and its many diverse functions. Here, for he first time, is a thematic portrayal of the Tower of london not just as an ancient structure, but as a living symbol of the nation of Great Britain.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Syndetics book coverKilling Lincoln : the shocking assassination that changed America forever / Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever
“O’Reilly, the popular and controversial cable news commentator, teams here with Dugard (Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone) to cover Lincoln’s assassination in a simple and morally unambiguous style. They offer no new insights into the death of Lincoln, just a sensationalist retelling of a familiar story. In pages filled with conjecture about the mental states of the protagonists, the authors succinctly describe the closing battles of the Civil War, the assassination, and its aftermath. They frequently speculate on conspiracy theories that involved secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton in the assassination plot, but they never make accusations except to say his behavior was “suspicious.” It will be interesting to see whether fans of O’Reilly’s television show will flock to his first foray into history the way they have to his books on contemporary issues. VERDICT Written from an unapologetically northern perspective, this book is not for academics but may appeal to readers who enjoy fast-paced, conjectural popular history. It includes an appendix reprinting the Harper’s Weekly account of the assassination written soon after.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

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New Zealand

This month’s recent picks showcase the variety of people who call New Zealand home, from Tāngata Whēnua to Irish immigrants to those of Jewish descent.

Syndetics book coverStones bones steam / Philip Andrews.
“Looks at Māori myths and landforms; power of ignimbrite eruptions; early geological exploration; past discoveries of moa, mosasaur and other fossils; the man who made artificial geysers; Rotorua’s great bores versus geysers controversy; and geology in verse” – (adapted from Back cover)

Syndetics book coverBog Irish Micks : the O’Brien family from Scariff : a family history / by Kath Woodley.
“Chronicles the families started by the five children of John O’Brien and Margaret Malone, all of whom left Scariff, Ireland for New Zealand between 1874 and 1883.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJewish lives in New Zealand : a history / Leonard Bell and Diana Morrow, editors.
“The census tells us that 8000 New Zealanders actively identify as Jewish and it is estimated that the broader population is probably around 25,000. There has never been an authoritative history of this country’s Jewish population and yet people of Jewish descent (both secular and religious) have played vital roles in all aspects of our society throughout its history. Auckland alone has had five Jewish mayors. Jews have been prominent in New Zealand’s business, cultural, intellectual, political, medical, intellectual life and more since the 1840s, and successive waves of immigration have added to the tapestry of New Zealand Jewry. This significant book covers key sectors of activity with specialist writers assigned to each. Richly illustrated, it slots another important piece into the jigsaw of our history.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Zealand Music Month: Sam’s picks

To mark New Zealand Music Month our librarians have been thinking about their favourite local music memories, albums and artists. Here are Sam’s favourite releases of the current decade:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Rising unexpectedly (and for a time, mysteriously) from the ashes of the Mint Chicks, Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra provided not only my favourite New Zealand (via Portland I know, but still) release of last year, but favourite musical release period. Every song is packed full of the kind of earworm-y hooks that linger long after the album’s play time and count as Nielson’s best work yet. The video for standout track Bicycle is at the bottom of this post for a preview.

Please turn me into the snat – Connan Mockasin
Connan Hosford’s wide-eyed, psychedelic gem signalled a coming of age as a songwriter, even as the music looked back towards childhood for its’ themes and feel. The sprawling ambition of the record has earned Connan a support slot for Radiohead on their upcoming Australasian tour, and I’m told he’s huge in Paris, well-deserved accolades for one of this quality.

Autumn – The Golden Awesome
Wellington based shoegazers The Golden Awesome played a couple of album release shows over the weekend to celebrate the release of this, their debut, were you there? You should’ve been, because the four of them are making some of the best noise currently coming out of New Zealand. Beautifully hypnotic shoegaze that works equally well up loud at a party, or down low on some headphones as you drift off to sleep. Luck Man – Delaney Davidson
I first heard the songs off of this album on an incredibly wet and windy night at a show that I nearly skipped for fear of being blown off my feet on the way. Boy oh boy was I glad I went! A masterful blend of folk/country/blues/whatever, all tied together with a perfectly world-weary voice. Standouts include You’re a loser, which was recently nominated for a New Zealand Country Music Award and I’m so depressed, an excellent Abner Jay cover.