WCL staff recommend these DVDs

The latest instalment of Staff pick DVDs has a bit of everything from political drama, sci-fi adventure & monster movies, to Oscar winning coming of age, and foreign crime stories.

Guardians of the galaxy. Vol. 2.
A technicolour explosion in a glitter factory. The cinematic equivalent of a long soak in a huge luxurious bubble bath, sound tracked by an ace, superb. guilty pleasure music mainly “from the 1970s” with wise cracking, funny well rounded characters you love or loathe. In a sharp, well-paced, slick, action packed science fiction story. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ is everything you want it to be and totally lives up to its predecessor. So get out the popcorn, turn off the lights settle down on the sofa you are in for a real treat. (Neil J)

The missing. Season two.
Excellent stand-alone follow up to the first season. In 2014, a young British woman stumbles through the streets of her German hometown and collapses. Her name is Alice Webster, and she has been missing for 11 years. Alice’s return sends shock waves through the small community. Told in dual timelines, flitting between 2014 and the present day, we follow Alice’s family as they are thrown back into a turmoil on her return. French detective, Julien Baptiste (from Series 1) becomes embroiled in the mystery when it is revealed that she holds vital clues about another missing girl, a case in which he was the lead detective 12 years previously. Retired & suffering a health crisis he struggles to gain access to Alice and unlock the mystery of her reappearance. As good, if not better, than the first season. Full of great acting and creepy plot twists. (Mark)

High-rise.
This is 1970s dystopian science fiction at its best, all exaggerated and exuberant bleakness concrete and chrome, hessian and wood, except for one thing this film was made in 2015. Its retro futuristic Science Fiction at its best and a total blast. The kind of film Ken Russell or Nicholas Roeg might have made back in the day. (Neil J)

Paterson.
A small quiet movie with a big warm heart – Jim Jarmusch depicts a week in the life of a bus driver and a poet named Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey. Not much happens plot-wise, just following his everyday orbit and routine with his wife and their English bulldog. However, Jarmusch is a ‘master of variation’. Along with Paterson’s poems, he offers subtle but intriguing twists throughout creating slightly odd people and offbeat humours. It’s about love and creativity, and through the minimal but wonderfully spontaneous performances by Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani (and the dog Marvin!), reminds us that love is not only giving but, more importantly, accepting others. It’s a beauty of less-is-more. (Shinji)

Sherlock. Series four.
This season is shocking, brutal, heart pounding, will have you glued to the screen and as always, has some clever twists that you never coming. Sherlock and Watson are back in the new season, where their friendship and partnership is put to the test. This season also sees the return of old characters, the departure of a much beloved character and the appearance of new characters, one character that constantly makes multiple appearances in all three episodes. A character that is so deeply connected to Sherlock in a way you don’t see coming and is hell bent on destroying him to the point of psychological and emotional torture where another side of Sherlock is unleashed. More of an emotional, caring, loving and vulnerable side. Overall a fantastic season that had me glued to the screen, not to mention had me on edge from start to finish. Bring on Season Five! (Katie)

Homeland. The complete sixth season.
Homeland is back for another season taking place several months after Season 5. Carrie (Claire Danes) is back in the United States, living in Brooklyn and working at a foundation whose efforts are to provide aid to Muslims living in the United States. Peter Quinn is alive but has suffered a major stroke and is incapacitated and his personality has changed significantly. The season features the results of a presidential election of a female candidate, and takes place between Election Day and inauguration day, as CIA operatives Saul Berenson and Dar Adal begin to suspect that the new President Elect has an anti-intelligence bias and that Carrie may be helping shape her policy. A more personal season as the attacks on Carrie become more insidious, the show also follows an eerie parallel to the current US political climate. Definitely worth reconnecting with if you have found the last few seasons patchy. (Mark)

Colossal.
Colossal is a very different type of monster movie from the usual Hollywood or Japanese blockbuster. Anne Hathaway plays a woman who has to leave her urban life and return home due in part to issues she has with alcohol abuse. There she falls into an abusive relationship with someone from her past. At this point a giant creature emerges in Seoul and she slowly comes to the realisation that this is connected in some way to her and events in her past. It’s a quirky odd American indie film and more about the female lead than the monsters. Think of a version of Cloverfield directed by Jim Jarmusch rather than Godzilla directed Ishiro Honda. (Neil J)

Schitt$ Creek. Series 1, 2 & 3.
Written, produced and starring two veterans of Christopher Guest movies like ‘A Mighty Wind’ and Best in Show, Schitts Creek is very funny and well worth watching. No one says what they mean, no one hears any responses they don’t like and the main characters take forever to hear the sarcasm directed their way. The series features a great cast, led by Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, Schitts Creek and has a very well-written script. (Belinda)

Moonlight.
Chiron is too sensitive in a macho black community. His mother is a drug addict and his best and only friend Kevin is the one he loves. It’s just too hard for him to be true to himself. In this exquisite coming of age tale which is uniquely divided into three chapters, the newcomer Berry Jenkins portrays Chiron’s lonely heart brilliantly. Showing the shadows of modern auteurs such as Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao- Hsien and Wong Kar-Wai, Jenkins displays his enormous talent and fine aesthetic, particularly in immaculately crafted poetic images, and makes it a beautifully intimate, humanising drama. This may be the most unusual Oscar winner – non-white, small art-house movie dealing with a sexual minority – but will be long remembered for its quality. (Shinji)

American Gods. Season 1.
‘American Gods’ is one of the latest mega budget T.V. series to follow in the wake of the success of Game of Thrones it’s been showered by critical acclaim and attracted a huge loyal fan base and when you watch it it’s easy to see why. Eye popping visuals that swoop from macro stunning landscapes to microscopic detail in seconds, a wildly inventive plot based on the Neil Gaiman’s bestselling novel. It’s surreal, provocative, and in some circles controversial and has even been called blasphemous. It’s brilliantly acted. I esp. like Ian McShane as a God. I personally can’t wait to see what they do in series two. (Neil J)

A dog’s purpose.
A heart-warming movie about the eight life journey of Bailey/Ellie/Tino/Waffles/Buddy and Bailey… again as he tries to find himself and his purpose in life. This movie will make you laugh, make you cry, feel warm and fuzzy, and will make you develop an appreciation, as well as respect for the aptly named man’s, as well as woman’s best friend, which Bailey/Ellie/Tino/Waffles/Buddy and Bailey proves time and time again throughout the movie, finding his purpose in life and teaching a few lifelong lessons along the way. Be prepared to have tissues on hand. I haven’t seen a better movie dogs since Red Dog. A librarian’s choice all the way! (Katie)

The disappearance.
Francois-Xavier Demaison is Bertrand Molina the new Police Commandant in Lyon’s national police station. As soon as he arrives for his new job a young teenage girl disappears at a music festival. With the grieving family pressing for answers, it’s not long before Molina uncovers a number of shocking secrets in a case that pushes everyone to breaking point. A combination of police procedural and drama, with the central focus is on a grieving family it naturally evokes comparison to the first season of Danish series The Killing, and is apparently inspired by the award-winning Spanish series Desaparecida. While not quite at the same level as The Killing it is well constructed, believably acted and worth a look if you are a fan of shows like Witnesses & Broadchurch. (Mark)

The red turtle.
A shipwrecked sailor has to survive on a desert island and comes across a red turtle that changes his life. This studio Ghibli co production is as you we have come to expect an exquisitely animated and very beautiful film in places it’s like watching a dream. The story is deceptively simple with the narrative instead driven by the visuals. In tone it’s like an adult version of the studio Ghibli classic Ponyo. If you are enjoying the new golden age of animated film we are in then this is a must. (Neil J)

Manchester by the sea.
Manchester’s gloomy winter sky sets the mood. Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret)’s new film is a deeply emotional, haunting drama. Following the taciturn, solitary man Lee (superb Casey Affleck), it’s a study of grief, and the story unfolds with elaborate flashbacks as if reading a compelling novel. Lonergan seems to learn a lesson from the previous work Margaret, which was potent but terribly messy, and weaves a beautifully balanced, coherent drama in which every detail has a meaning. Cassy Affleck received numerous awards and deservedly so but under masterful direction, all characters, including wonderful Michelle Williams, shine here. Marvellous. (Shinji)

John Wick. Chapter 2.
More bonkers action with the taciturn John Wick (Keanu Reeves in great form), who is forced out of retirement again to honour a blood ‘marker’ from a former associate wanting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. As sequels go this is pretty good. It sets up the background for ‘one more comeback’ nicely and fleshes out the underground world & rules of the mysterious guild. But John Wick is all about the high octane action and once this hits the ground it never lets up. Is it completely daft? Yes. Is it also totally enjoyable? Definitely. (Mark)

T2 trainspotting.
Begbie and the boys are now having to deal with middle age and the ghosts of their past. This sequel is nowhere near as bleak and unrelenting as the original. It’s much funnier (in a very dark way) and fairly rattles along . As sequels go pretty much everything you could wish it to be. If you prefer the original try the other recent Welsh film adaptation Filth (the title in a way says it all). (Neil J)

Toni Erdmann.
Slightly bizarre, certainly unique and definitely wonderful- the German filmmaker Maren Ade’s father-daughter relationship drama Toni Erdmann offers a delightful cinematic experience like no other. It takes a while for the narrative to get going but evolves superbly with a plenty of surprises after the prankster father visits his all-business daughter in Romania. Although it appear an improvised, free-flowing affair, Ade, in fact, meticulously prepared for this project; researching many comedians particularly Andy Kaufman, writing the script for two years (even biographies for every characters), a year casting and countless rehearsals, and succeeded to bring out a deep melancholic emotion from the comedy. Enthralling. (Shinji)

Shin Godzilla.
Godzilla movies are for me one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. I know they are cheesy and corny but there is just something about watching a person in a rubber suit trashing a model city that deeply appeals. In ‘Shin Godzilla’ the effects are now CGI but in many other ways this is a back to basics Godzilla movie the terror, the fear, awe and wonder at this unstoppable raw force of nature are all there and to top it all the final destruction scene is ace. A proper top notch GUILTY PLEASURE. (Neil J)

Love and celebrations: New Weddings books

Weddings are deeply personal celebrations of who two people are separately, who they are and will become together, and the community who love them and celebrate with them. Sometimes though, it’s hard to know where to start — how do you plan such a special day? What parts of the day have meaning for you? Here are some book picks you can use as inspiration to plan your own special celebration — for you, your partner, your family and the people you love.

Syndetics book cover2brides 2Be : a same-sex guide for the modern bride / Laura Leigh Abby ; foreword by Trish Bendix.
“Author Laura Leigh Abby shares her own experiences navigating the world of lesbian wedding planning with a sense of humor and a dose of sass. She has advice on everything from the logistics of walking down the aisle to wording the invites, and she’s not afraid to throw all the rules out the window. With input from wedding industry professionals, 2Brides 2Be will enlighten brides on booking vendors, wrangling family and pulling off the wedding of her dreams.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeddings in color : 500 creative ideas for designing a modern wedding / Vané Broussard and Minhee Cho ; photographs by Jainé M. Kershner ; styling by Michelle Edgemont.
“In this candy-colored guide, Vané Broussard (founder of the uber-popular blog Brooklyn Bride) and Minhee Cho (of the covetable paper company Paper+Cup) team up to present hundreds of entirely modern style ideas for every aspect of a wedding, in eight eye-catching and vibrant color palettes. From pretty floral crowns to die-cut invitations, altars made from balloons, and so much more, these ideas are anything but traditional. Simple DIYs will spark creativity while interviews with industry experts provide important insider info. Lusciously designed and bursting with vivid photography, Weddings in Color has everything brides need to design a stunningly colorful affair.” (Syndetics summary)

Our thoughts: This next one is a bit older, and a bit different, but wonderful. It’s a graphic novel from bestselling graphic novelist Lucy Knisley about her wedding process — and all the mixed feelings and expectations (her own and other people’s) that go along with it. It’s lovely and we include it here because organising a wedding can sometimes feel like a transformative process in itself as you figure out who you both are and what you want in a celebration, and what matters to you (family, friends, a delicious and beautiful cake, dancing!). Lucy Knisley shares her own process and the thoughts and feelings that helped build her wedding and what it meant to her:

Syndetics book coverSomething new : tales from a makeshift bride / by Lucy Knisley.
“A funny and whip-smart new book about the institution of marriage in America told through the lens of her recent engagement and wedding… The graphic novel tackles the all-too-common wedding issues that go along with being a modern woman: feminism, expectations, getting knocked over the head with gender stereotypes, family drama, and overall wedding chaos and confusion.” (Goodreads summary)

(Also available as an eBook on Overdrive)

Syndetics book coverCelebrate everything! : fun ideas to bring your parties to life / written and illustrated by Darcy Miller.
“The ultimate guide to making special occasions unforgettable. Darcy invites readers to dozens of parties she’s thrown, and shares hundreds of chic and cheerful ideas for ways to make a celebration personal. It’s a blueprint for making the best occasions in life even better, filled with fun ideas to inspire: everything from baby showers to birthday parties plus themes that turn any day into a celebration D.I.Y. craft projects and recipes insider sources and pro tips Darcy’s own inspirations” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverModern brides & modern grooms : a guide to planning straight, gay, and other nontraditional twenty-first-century weddings / Mark O’Connell ; foreword by Liza Monroy.
“Every fiancé(e) faces the question, how do I become something new without losing myself? Using his own story, author Mark O’Connell reflects on conflicts that arrive during wedding transitions, as well as various other transitions throughout your lives. As a psychotherapist, O’Connell offers ideas to bridge relational gaps with your partner, family, and friends. As a professional actor, he also offers insight into the ways your wedding is a theatrical production and how this can help you to conceptualize the event, consolidate your efforts, and increase creative collaboration as a couple. This will serve you not only on your big day, but also for the rest of your time together. Whether we’re straight, gay, or other, weddings inspire us to carve out more fun, freedom, recognition, life space, love space, and connubial space than we’ve ever had before.” (Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover The Homemade Wedding Cake, Natasha Collins (eBook)
“Making your own wedding cake is easy when you’ve been shown the right materials and techniques, and this is the only book to teach you. It is full of step-by-step guidance and advice, with plenty of tips to help a novice create something stunning and inspirational. This visually enticing step-by-step cake baking and decorating manual makes DIY wedding cakes easily accessible for everyone. In text and images that are both instructional and entertaining, Natasha Collins takes the reader through the whole process of choosing their design, baking their cake, embellishing it, transporting it, presenting it and serving it, so that they can be certain of success at every stage. Every project includes a timetable indicating how long each part of the process will take, and gives a schedule for when the cake should best be decorated and set up in relation to when it is going to be eaten.” (Overdrive description)

(Also available as an eBook on Overdrive)

Road, rail & sky: New Transport books

Some fascinating new books on planes, trains, cars, rockets and bikes!

Image from fishpond.co.nzUnto the skies : a biography of Amy Johnson / K.A. Lalani.
“This is an extensive, fully-researched biography of Amy Johnson, Britain’s most famous aviatrix. Unto the Skies takes readers from the early days of her childhood and adolescence in Hull, through to her estrangement from her family in London, to the point where her love of flying led to the fame she later, albeit reluctantly, gained after her epic 1930 Australia flight. The story of Amy’s death is still surrounded by mystery, after she crashed into the Thames estuary and was drowned; her body was never recovered. Her story still serves as an inspiration to many, being Britain’s first qualified woman ground engineer – despite being told she would never be a flier – and completing her world-famous solo flight at the age of 26, before other setting other records.” (Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverOn the Trans-Alpine trail : a travel guide to the Great Alpine Highway and the Midland Railway / Geoffrey Churchman.
“Designed for those who travel on the TranzAlpine train through the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth, and those who do the route by car or bus, this book contains general details and historic facts about each of the localities and features of interest to be seen on both railway and highway, listed in geographical order from Christchurch. Extra chapters on practicalities and stopovers round out the information, which is accompanied by 34 photos (31 in colour) and a map.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Otago Central Railway : a tribute / Tony Hurst.
“A pictorial history of the spectacular Otago Central Railway that once stretched 236 km inland from Dunedin as far as Cromwell; now truncated to the 64 km as far as Middlemarch, the route of the highly popular Taieri Gorge Limited tourist excursion train. With the increasing popularity of both the Taieri Gorge Limited and the Otago Central Rail Trail walkway/cycleway which follows the old roadbed 150 km from Middlemarch to Clyde, this book has been republished so that visitors will be able to appreciate the way the railway once looked includingesphotos taken over 100 years.” (fishpond.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverApollo 8 : the thrilling story of the first mission to the Moon / Jeffrey Kluger.
“In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another. Meanwhile, the Russians were winning the space race, the Cold War was getting hotter by the month, and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed sure to be broken. But when Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlternative drivestyles : New Zealand custom-built cars / Patrick Harlow.
“A wide of standard production cars is available, but their pre-packaged looks and specifications don’t meet the needs and tastes of many car enthusiasts. This book takes a comprehensive look at cars that have been given Custom Shop treatment, and in some cases entirely scratch built in New Zealand by enterprising and dedicated car enthusiasts. It presents details with colour photos throughout a wide range of cars from exotic and lavish to the simple and racey. It includes data and descriptions for each and road test results for several.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGondola / Donna Leon.
“Of all the trademarks of Venice none is more ubiquitous than the gondola. In Gondola, Donna Leon tells its fascinating story. First used in medieval Venice as a deftly manoeuverable getaway boat, the gondola evolved over the centuries into a floating pleasure palace, bedecked in silk, that facilitated the romantic escapades of the Venetian elite. Each boat’s 280 pieces are carefully fashioned in a maestro’s workshop. …the gondola is a work of art well worth the labour. And once its arched prow pushes off from the dock, the single Venetian at its oar just might break out in a barcarole, a popular Italian boat song. The best of these songs, as timeless as the allure of the gondola itself, are compiled into an accompanying CD.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChasing space : an astronaut’s story of grit, grace, and second chances / Leland Melvin.
“Leland Melvin is the only person in human history to catch a pass in the National Football League and in space. Though his path to the heavens was riddled with setbacks and injury, Leland persevered to reach the stars. While training with NASA, Melvin suffered a severe injury that left him deaf. Leland was relegated to earthbound assignments, but chose to remain and support his astronaut family. His loyalty paid off. Recovering partial hearing, he earned his eligibility for space travel.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete bike owner’s manual / authors, Claire Beaumont, Ben Spurrier.
“This is the complete reference guide to bike servicing and repair, and an essential hardback bible for every cyclist’s bookshelf. Incredible CGI illustrations show you every aspect of bike repair and maintenance more clearly than ever before, whether you’re a mountain biker, cycling commuter, or road racer. Learn how to replace or repair a chain, correct sagging suspension, fit brake cables, service a handlebar, and much more, with incredible up-close detail helping you to get your wheels turning again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStars & cars : mythical pairings / Jacques Braunstein.
Stars & Cars is a celebration of the most unforgettable automotive moments in film, TV, and popular culture. Lavishly illustrated, it brings together the iconic cars that made an impact on our collective psyche, and the stars – the actors, musicians, writers, and painters – who drove, raced, collected, re-painted, crashed, or simply loved them to an obsessional degree. From James Dean and his ill-fated Porsche Spyder to the greatest Aston Martin moments in the Bond movies, from the heroic Minis in The Italian Job, to the eye-popping paint jobs on the psychedelic limos commissioned by The Beatles – all of the greatest collaborations between stars and cars are featured in the pages of this book.” (Syndetics summary)

Tiny Houses & Small Spaces, Part Two

It might be my messy, cluttered home, or it might be living with the paraphernalia and gear a two-year-old requires, but the tiny house movement looms in my imagination, and the imagination of many people. Even if we can’t (or won’t) go there ourselves, sometimes just the idea that these cosy homes exist out in the wild with their spartan owners, is a comfort. So, here are some tiny house and wonderfully organised small space books you can browse if you’re like me, and sometimes get that yearning. (Part One is here)

Syndetics book cover150 best tiny home ideas / Manel Gutiérrez Couto.
“In recent years, tiny homes have not only become hugely popular because of their creative use of space but also necessary to deal with increasingly crowded living conditions. In this lush volume, you’ll discover the most current and effective trends in tiny home design that work to enhance the comfort and practicality of the home without sacrificing the design. Featuring 150 homes designed by world-renowned architects and designers, 150 Best Tiny Home Ideas is the must-have resource for those interested in the construction and design of small-space living.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiny house designing, building, & living / by Gabriella and Andrew Morrison.
“Do you have what it takes to live tiny? Take the first step to achieving the dream of designing, building, and living in a tiny house (typically between 100-400 square feet). Idiot’s Guides: Tiny House Designing, Building, and Living is the one-stop guide into this innovative concept of minimalist living. Dozens of helpful images and a full-color insert displaying different types of tiny houses help you visualize your dream. The book explores what it mentally takes to become a tiny house dweller and covers the best approach to designing and building a house that ideally fits your needs. The book includes an in-depth discussion on foundation types, financing and insurance, and legal standards, as well as building techniques, must-have utilities, and going off the grid, and home placement. Functional suggestions for décor, storage, and more are also featured. Bonus: three tiny house floor plans to illustrate what these homes entail.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding small : sustainable designs for tiny houses & backyard buildings / David & Jeanie Stiles ; illustrations by David Stiles.
“Building Small is your key to joining the tiny house revolution with designs for homes as well as a range of backyard buildings including workspaces and sheds. There’s tons of practical how-to construction advice including best practices, common pitfalls and tips for the do-it-yourself carpenter. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiny houses built with recycled materials : inspiration for constructing tiny homes using salvaged and reclaimed supplies / Ryan Mitchell.
“The tiny house movement is a big trend with a very small footprint. Extremely small house, with less than 1,000 square feet of space, are environmentally friendly, less expensive than typical homes, and often movable. Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is full of ideas for using reclaimed materials and upcycled goods to construct a tiny house that is good for the earth and truly unique. Ryan Mitchell, author of The Tiny Life blog, shows you how to repurpose everyday items to create your new home, including shipping containers, salvaged barn wood, and reclaimed shingles. Featuring profiles on tiny house owners with photographs and floor plans of the homes, ideas on where to find materials, and what to look for and avoid when selecting reclaimed materials, Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is a unique book perfect for your biggest DIY project yet!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover25 houses under 2500 square feet / edited by James Grayson Trulove.
“25 Houses Under 2,500 Square Feet discusses carefully defined spaces and how space can be used most effectively. The 25 recently-constructed homes featured are 2,500 feet and under with some as small as 640 square feet. An exciting collection — a charming one square foot in size — presents dream houses any person can relate to, as well as innovative and exciting designs sure to inspire and amaze.” (Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover Tiny House Basics, Joshua Engberg (eBook)#1 Amazon Bestseller! Tiny House Basics ─ The joy of tiny house living Tiny house livfing is sustainable living: Tiny House Basics is an adventure in off grid living! In their debut book, tiny house living experts Shelley and Joshua Engberg show you how you can join the revolution to downsize to small space living without giving up everything you hold dear. This is not about downsizing drastically, or giving up a lot of your necessities. They show you how your life still can be comfortable and entertaining in a tiny house living environment. This is about redefining what a house is and mastering organization, location and happiness. You can still keep your closet full and pantry stocked. Tiny house living tips and tricks: As avid campers and off roaders, Shelley and Joshua present the best tips and tricks to help you enter the world of small space living.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCabin porn / collected by Beaver Brook ; edited by Zach Klein ; feature stories by Steven Leckart ; feature photography by Noah Kalina.
“Rural escapes for those yearning for a simpler existence, by the creators of the wildly popular tumblr Cabin Porn.
Created by a group of friends who preserve 55 acres of hidden forest in Upstate New York-Cabin Porn began as a scrapbook to collect inspiration for their building projects. As the collection grew, the site attracted a following, which is now a huge and obsessive audience. The site features photos of the most remarkable handmade homes in the backcountry of America and all over the world. It has had over 10 million unique visitors, with 350,000 followers on Tumblr. Now Zach Klein, the creator of the site (and a co-founder of Vimeo) goes further into the most alluring images from the site and new getaways, including more interior photography and how-to advice for setting up a quiet place somewhere. With their idyllic settings, unique architecture and cozy interiors, the Cabin Porn photographs, are an invitation to slow down, take a deep breath, and feel the beauty and serenity that nature and simple construction can create.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRock the shack / [edited by Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten, and Sofia Borges ; text and preface by Sofia Borges].
“From weekend homes to get-away cabins in the mountains, by the sea, or in the woods, this architecture embodies our longing for lounging in nature. For the first time in the history of humankind, more people live in cities than in the country. Yet, at the same time, more and more city dwellers are yearning for rural farms, mountain cabins, or seaside homes. These kinds of refuges offer modern men and women a promise of what urban centers usually cannot provide: quiet, relaxation, being out of reach, getting back to basics, feeling human again. Rock the Shack is a survey of such contemporary refuges from around the world–from basic to luxury. The book features a compelling range of sparingly to intricately furnished cabins, cottages, second homes, tree houses, transformations, shelters, and cocoons. The look of the included structures from the outside is just as important as the view from inside. What these diverse projects have in common is an exceptional spirit that melds the uniqueness of a geographic location with the individual character of the building’s owner and architect.” (Syndetics summary)

September is Bee Aware Month

Spring is here at long last and that means it’s time to Bee Aware!
Did you know that without bee pollination we’d have no apples, blueberries, coffee, chocolate or even jeans? These are all foods and products pollinated by busy little bees and now they need our help. Not only do bees produce a wonderful, natural food source, they also play a significant role in supporting our food chain.
We want to do our part to help raise awareness for our buzzing little friends and how important they are so we’ve thrown together some tips and resources to help you get started.

These new bee books are a must see:

Syndetics book coverBackyard bees : a guide for the beginner beekeeper / Doug Purdie.
“Just about anyone can keep bees. All you need is a bit of space in your backyard (or on your rooftop) and a little love for the creatures that pollinate the vegie patches of your neighbourhood. Once introduced to the charms of beekeeping and the taste of warm honeycomb direct from the hive, you’ll be hooked. Backyard Bees is the ultimate guide to installing and maintaining a hive through the seasons. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSave the bees with natural backyard hives/ Rob and Chelsea McFarland, founders of HoneyLove.org.
Save the Bees will walk readers through the inexpensive and easy to use equipment, caring for the bees as they grow their colony, harvesting honey and prepping their bees for the cooler months. With the Save the Bees approach, readers will learn to attract wild bees and with minimal upkeep, the hives will pollinate local crops and flowers and provide a bounty of delicious, all-natural, backyard honey.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rooftop beekeeper : a scrappy guide to keeping urban honeybees / Megan Paska with Rachel Wharton 
“This useful manual, at once a good read and a pretty object, features a relatable first-person narrative, checklists, numbered how-tos, beautiful illustrations and 75 color photographs. Covering all aspects of urban beekeeping, this book also provides readers with plenty of sweet recipes for delicious treats, tonics, and beauty products to make with home-harvested honey.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetters to a beekeeper / Steve Benbow, Alys Fowler.
“Part beautifully designed coffee-table book, part manifesto, this collection of engaging letters, emails, texts, recipes, notes and glorious photos creates a record of the trials, tribulations, reward and joys of working with, rather than against, nature. For lazy gardeners to novice beekeepers (and everyone in between), this is the best rule-breaking, wildlife-friendly, guerilla, urban gardening insect-identifying, honey-tasting, wax-dripping, epistolary how-to book you could ever hope to own.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe urban wildlife gardener : how to attract birds, bees, butterflies, and more / Emma Hardy.
“Packed with planting ideas and simple gardening techniques to attract birds, bees, butterflies, beneficial bugs, and more to your outside space, if you would like to attract wildlife to your garden, you need to learn which plants to grow, how to provide nesting areas, when to prune shrubs or mow the grass and more.  No matter what size your outside space–from a single windowbox to a full-sized backyard, The Urban Wildlife Gardener contains hundreds of easy-to-follow tips and techniques, simple projects, and essential plant know-how.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Also, don’t miss the September issue of New Zealand Gardener from one of our branches or borrow an online copy through PressReader.
Wondering what happened to our Central Library rooftop bees? Don’t worry they have been hibernating all winter but will be out there looking for pollen soon so get planting.

If you want more info or want to see what’s on during Bee Aware Month, check out these websites:

Apiculture New Zealand
Bee Aware Month Facebook Page
Wellington City Council Bee Aware Month Info
Wellington Beekeepers Association
News – Dominion Post, 7 Sept 2016

So let’s all help spread the bee love and don’t forget to tag your social media posts with #beeawarenz17

Tiny Houses & Small Spaces, Part One

It might be my messy, cluttered home, or it might be living with the paraphernalia and gear a two-year-old requires, but the tiny house movement looms in my imagination, and the imagination of many people. Even if we can’t (or won’t) go there ourselves, sometimes just the idea that these cosy homes exist out in the wild with their spartan owners, is a comfort. So, here are some tiny house and wonderfully organised small space books you can browse if you’re like me, and sometimes get that yearning.

Syndetics book coverTiny house living : ideas for building & living well in less than 400 square feet / Ryan Mitchell.
“Tiny House, Large Lifestyle! Tiny homes are popping up across America, captivating people with their novel approach not only to housing, but to life. Once considered little more than a charming oddity, the tiny house movement continues to gain momentum among those who thirst for a simpler, “greener,” more meaningful life in the face of society’s “more is better” mindset. This book explores the philosophies behind the tiny house lifestyle, helps you determine whether it’s a good fit for you, and guides you through the transition to a smaller space. For inspiration, you’ll meet tiny house pioneers and hear how they built their dwellings (and their lives) in unconventional, creative and purposeful ways. They’ll invite you in, show you around their cozy abodes, and share lessons they learned along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiny houses / Mimi Zeiger.
“With “McMansions” increasingly giving way to “tiny” houses, the desire to downsize and be more ecologically and economically prudent is a concept many are beginning to embrace. Focusing on dwelling spaces all under 1,000 square feet, TINY HOUSES (Rizzoli, April 2009) by Mimi Zeiger aims to challenge readers to take a look at their own homes and consider how much space they actively use. Ranging from tree houses to floating houses, TINY HOUSES features an international collection of over thirty modular and prefab homes, each one embodying “microgreen living”, defined as the creation of tiny homes where people challenge themselves to live “greener” lives. By using a thoughtful application of green living principles, renewable resources for construction, and clever ingenuity, these homes exemplify sustainable living at its best.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTurning tiny : the small-living paradigm that’s reshaping the way we think, live and dream / compiled and presented by Darin Zaruba.
“Have you ever wondered what makes the tiny house movement an actual movement? Have you longed to hear the stories behind some of your favorite non-traditional homes? Do you wonder if the movement is more of a shift in thought rather than a blip on the architectural screen? Turning tiny is your direct-access pass into the minds and lives of tiny housers in various arenas including desgin, building, community planning, and the emerging business around it all. It is a collection of what and why 60+ contributing authors have turned tiny and continue to look in that direction.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life-changing magic of tidying / Marie Kondo, translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano.
“Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan’s expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method. The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what to keep and what to discard.[…] Marie Kondo’s method is based on a ‘once-cleaned, never-messy-again’ approach. If you think that such a thing is impossible then you should definitely read this compelling book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiny homes on the move : wheels and water / Lloyd Kahn.
“Tiny Homes on the Move chronicles 21st-century nomads — people who inhabit homes that are compact and mobile, either on wheels or in the water. In photos and stories, this fascinating book explores modern travelers who live in vans, pickup trucks, buses, trailers, sailboats, and houseboats that combine the comforts of home with the convenience of being able to pick up and go at any time. With over 1,000 color photos accompanying the stories and descriptions of these moveable sanctuaries, this is a valuable and inspirational book for anyone thinking outside the box about shelter.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big tiny : a built-it-myself memoir / Dee Williams.The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
“Dee Williams’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored–but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury– time– that would come with downsizing. Deciding to build an eighty-four-square-foot house–on her own, from the ground up–was just the beginning of building a new life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle house on a small planet : simple homes, cozy retreats, and energy efficient possibilities / by Shay Salomon ; photographys by Nigel Valdez ; [foreword by Frances Moore Lappé].
“Living small frees up the mind, the wallet, and the soul. As economic uncertainties loom large, and the evidence mounts that humans are responsible for much of global warming, the “new” trend is beginning to seem old: new subdivisions filled with McMansions, the friend of a friend’s childless brother who just added on a third bedroom. Many of us have suffered the consequences of an inflated mortgage, an unmanageable construction project, or a house simply too large to keep clean. […] Pockets of people all over America are realizing the benefits of scaling down. They are designing a new dream, one that reunites extended families, makes space for friends, and emphasizes home life over home maintenance. Little House on a Small Planetis a guidebook to this movement, and an invitation to join.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrefabulous small houses / Sheri Koones ; foreword by Robert Redford.Prefabulous Small Houses
“Prefab home construction has come into its own. Prefabricated homes used to be considered inferior to houses built on site, but not anymore. In Prefabulous Small Houses, best-selling author Sheri Koones presents 32 stunning prefabricated homes from around North America. 250 beautiful photographs and floorplans show the amazing breadth of styles available to today’s homeowners. […] All of the houses in Prefabulous Small Houses range from 325 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. and showcase construction methods perfect for any climate. Building better, building greener. All of the houses featured here are highly energy efficient and are built with sustainability in mind.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeautifully small : clever ideas for compact spaces / Sara Emslie ; photography by Rachel Whiting.
“In Chapter 1: Inspiration, Sara draws inspiration from truly tiny spaces such as boats and caravans as well as her own home–a diminutive workman’s cottage in a London suburb. In Chapter 2: Elements of Design, she discusses how even the most straightforward planning decisions can be complicated by the constraints of small spaces and suggests clever design solutions. The third chapter, Elements of Style, explores ideas for making compact interiors work through the use of creative styling and decoration. In Chapter 4, a series of case studies takes a closer look at imaginative treatments for pocket-size interiors, showcasing a variety of tiny spaces including a terraced ‘two-up, two-down’ worker’s cottage, a tiny studio apartment with a clever mezzanine that incorporates a bathroom, and a pint-sized coastal hideaway.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall spaces for modern living : making the most of your indoor space.
“An increase in small, urban-style living and the evolution of new storage devices and space saving solutions makes this a valuable guide to creating and maintaining a stylish, contemporary home within a small or compact space. illusion of space. Explore fresh ideas for space saving, from cupboard hideaways and new loft spaces to display storage and clutter management. Whether you have a tiny suburban space, a city studio or a compact house, you should find all the advice and inspiration you need.” (Syndetics summary)

Recent contemporary Māori art books

Here are some picks of recent contemporary Māori art books — we hope you enjoy them. Included are a book of essays in memory of respected academic and curator Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, as well as books to accompany Lisa Reihana’s work representing New Zealand at the Venice Biennale. Plus, an introduction to the art of whaikōrero (oratory), and a beautiful tribute to the life achievements of Dame Rangimarie Hetet (1892 – 1995) and her daughter Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa (1920 – 2009), who were both tohunga of mahi raranga whatu (traditional Maori weaving experts).

Syndetics book coverColonial Gothic to Māori renaissance : essays in memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki / edited by Conal McCarthy & Mark Stocker.
“Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014) was a much loved and respected academic and curator of broad and varied interests, who made an immense contribution to New Zealand art history over almost half a century. His scholarship was matched by a terrific generosity of spirit and personal charisma. Colonial Gothic to Māori Renaissance is a remarkable tribute to his memory from friends, colleagues and former students alike. Its contents are as varied and interesting as the man himself: Victorian church architecture and liturgy, mysticism, the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906, the Toi Te Papa exhibition of 2006, traditional and contemporary Māori art, and the artists Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Gottfried Lindauer, Colin McCahon, Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont and Emily Karaka are all included here. Beautifully illustrated and scholarly yet readable, this book is a powerful testament to the inspiration of a remarkable person.” (Description from Victoria University Press)

(See also our post Remembering Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, for information about the memorial project by NZ artist Shannon Novak, who installed a small artwork in 10 locations around Wellington that Jonathan frequented and supported — including the Central Library.)

Syndetics book coverMāori art : history, architecture, landscape and theory / Rangihiroa Panoho ; with photographs by Mark Adams & Haruhiko Sameshima.
“Up until now books on Maori art have described the work as either traditional (carving, weaving, painting) or contemporary, work produced post-1950s. This book presents a unique focus on Maori art by exploring the connection between the traditional and contemporary, and the place of Maori art within an international context. Maori Art provides a framework for looking at Maori art in a new way and fills a gap in Maori art history – while there are myriad surveys of Maori art there is currently very little critical writing on Maori art and artists. The book is extensively illustrated with over 400 art works, landscapes and meeting houses, many never published before, including 100 specially commissioned photographs from renowned New Zealand photographers Mark Adams and Haruhiko Sameshima.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLisa Reihana: emissaries / Lisa Reihana.
“Lisa Reihana: Emissaries is a beautifully designed and exquisitely illustrated examination of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most ambitious artworks, in Pursuit of Venus [infected], for its presentation at the 57th Venice Biennale. Comprising seven essays by leading scholars and curators, a lively conversational exchange, and insights into the career of Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi, Ngātihine, Ngāi Tu), the book provides a captivating account of the sources that influenced the artist’s expansive creative endeavour and how the Venice exhibition might be understood within the context of transnational indigenous art making.” (Auckland Art Gallery description)

Syndetics book coverIn pursuit of Venus / Lisa Reihana.
“Discover the histories and processes that led to the realisation of Lisa Reihana’s celebrated work in this exquisitely designed and illustrated book. Includes ten essays and a comprehensive interview with Reihana alongside two beautiful plate sections which highlight key scenes and characters from within this seminal work.” (Auckland Art Gallery description)

(You can also watch videos and can learn all about Lisa’s practice, motivation, and inspiration over at Te Papa’s pages dedicated to celebrating Lisa Reihana’s work at the Venice Biennale)

Overdrive cover Whaikorero, Poia Rewi (eBook)
“Anyone who has been welcomed on to a marae in New Zealand will understand that whaikorero – oratory – is at the heart of Maori culture. Whaikorero: The World of Maori Oratory is the first introduction to this fundamental Maori art to be widely published. It is based on broad research as well as oral histories from 30 of the leading exponents of whaikorero, many of whom have subsequently died. Author Poia Rewi’s informants are affiliated to many iwi including Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngati Porou, Ngati Awa, Waikato-Maniapoto, Te Whakatohea, Nga Puhi and Ngati Whare. In Whaikorero, Poia Rewi assesses the origin and history of whaikorero; its structure, language and style of delivery; who may speak; and where speech happens. Featuring a range of sample whaikorero drawn from both oral and literary sources, the book provides examples of language for learners of Maori wishing to improve their whaikorero skills as well as being a major resource for all readers interested in Maori culture.”(Overdrive description)

E ngā uri whakatupu : weaving legacies : Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa / authors, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Kahutoi Mere Te Kanawa, Rangituatahi Te Kanawa, Barbara Pareatai Moke.
“E Nga Uri Whakatupu is a beautiful tribute to the life achievements of Dame Rangimarie Hetet (1892 – 1995) and her daughter Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa (1920 – 2009), who were both tohunga of mahi raranga whatu (traditional Maori weaving experts). These women, of Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Kinohaku descent, are acknowledged as New Zealand’s finest traditional Maori weavers. Their generosity of spirit and passion for the revival of Maori women’s arts gave new life to traditional Maori weaving and still inspire generations of the present. The Hetet and Te Kanawa collections comprise more than 75 individual pieces and represent the unbroken weaving traditions of one whanau that spans five generations, or over 150 years. It is the largest private collection of Maori traditional weaving from one family in the world.” (Publisher description)

Featured books: The history of science

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
— Albert Einstein

Syndetics book coverThe age of wonder : how the Romantic generation discovered the beauty and terror of science / Richard Holmes.The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
“Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes’s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement. The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook’s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own voyages of artistic and scientific discovery – astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical – that together made up the ‘age of wonder’. In this breathtaking group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the period’s celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight to the miner’s lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration.” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverNewton and the counterfeiter : the unknown detective career of the world’s greatest scientist / Thomas Levenson.
“In 1695, Isaac Newton—already renowned as the greatest mind of his age—made a surprising career change. He left quiet Cambridge, where he had lived for thirty years and made his earth-shattering discoveries, and moved to London to take up the post of Warden of His Majesty’s Mint.Newton was preceded to the city by a genius of another kind, the budding criminal William Chaloner. Thanks to his preternatural skills as a counterfeiter, Chaloner was rapidly rising in London’s highly competitive underworld, at a time when organized law enforcement was all but unknown and money in the modern sense was just coming into being. Then he crossed paths with the formidable new warden. In the courts and streets of London—and amid the tremors of a world being transformed by the ideas Newton himself had set in motion—the two played out an epic game of cat and mouse.” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverThe immortal life of Henrietta Lacks / Rebecca Skloot.The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells — taken without her knowledge in 1951 — became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverThe ghost map : the story of London’s most terrifying epidemic–and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world / Steven Johnson.
“From Steven Johnson, the dynamic thinker routinely compared to James Gleick, Dava Sobel, and Malcolm Gladwell, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner about a real-life historical hero, Dr. John Snow. It’s the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure — garbage removal, clean water, sewers — necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverThe philosophical breakfast club : four remarkable friends who transformed science and changed the world / Laura J. Snyder.
“The Philosophical Breakfast Club recounts the life and work of four men who met as students at Cambridge University: Charles Babbage, John Herschel, William Whewell, and Richard Jones. Recognizing that they shared a love of science (as well as good food and drink) they began to meet on Sunday mornings to talk about the state of science in Britain and the world at large. Inspired by the great 17th century scientific reformer and political figure Francis Bacon ‘another former student of Cambridge’ the Philosophical Breakfast Club plotted to bring about a new scientific revolution. And to a remarkable extent, they succeeded, even in ways they never intended.” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverThe fossil hunter : dinosaurs, evolution, and the woman whose discoveries changed the world / Shelley Emling.The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World
“Mary Anning was only twelve years old when, in 1811, she discovered the first dinosaur skeleton — of an ichthyosaur — while fossil hunting on the cliffs of Lyme Regis, England. Until Mary’s incredible discovery, it was widely believed that animals did not become extinct. The child of a poor family, Mary became a fossil hunter, inspiring the tongue-twister, ‘She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore’. She attracted the attention of fossil collectors and eventually the scientific world. Once news of the fossils reached the halls of academia, it became impossible to ignore the truth. Mary’s peculiar finds helped lay the groundwork for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, laid out in his On the Origin of Species. Darwin drew on Mary’s fossilized creatures as irrefutable evidence that life in the past was nothing like life in the present. A story worthy of Dickens, The Fossil Hunter chronicles the life of this young girl, with dirt under her fingernails and not a shilling to buy dinner, who became a world-renowned paleontologist.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIngenious pursuits : building the scientific revolution / Lisa Jardine.
“In this fascinating look at the European scientific advances of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, historian Lisa Jardine demonstrates that the pursuit of knowledge occurs not in isolation, but rather in the lively interplay and frequently cutthroat competition between creative minds. The great thinkers of that extraordinary age, including Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Christopher Wren, are shown in the context in which they lived and worked. We learn of the correspondences they kept with their equally passionate colleagues and come to understand the unique collaborative climate that fostered virtuoso discoveries in the areas of medicine, astronomy, mathematics, biology, chemistry, botany, geography, and engineering. Ingenious Pursuits brilliantly chronicles the true intellectual revolution that continues to shape our very understanding of ourselves, and of the world around us.” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverGalileo’s daughter : a historical memoir of science, faith and love / Dava Sobel.
“Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo, and by the remarkable surviving letters of Galileo’s daughter, a cloistered nun, Dava Sobel has written a biography unlike any other of the man Albert Einstein called “the father of modern physics – indeed of modern science altogether.” Galileo’s Daughter also presents a stunning portrait of a person hitherto lost to history, described by her father as ‘a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me’. The son of a musician, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) tried at first to enter a monastery before engaging the skills that made him the foremost scientist of his day. Though he never left Italy, his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. Most sensationally, his telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to reinforce the astounding argument that the Earth moves around the Sun. For this belief, he was brought before the Holy Office of the Inquisition, accused of heresy, and forced to spend his last years under house arrest. Of Galileo’s three illegitimate children, the eldest best mirrored his own brilliance, industry, and sensibility, and by virtue of these qualities became his confidante.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRosalind Franklin : the dark lady of DNA / Brenda Maddox.
“In 1962, Maurice Wilkins, Francis Crick, and James Watson received the Nobel Prize, but it was Rosalind Franklin’s data and photographs of DNA that led to their discovery. Brenda Maddox tells a powerful story of a remarkably single-minded, forthright, and tempestuous young woman who, at the age of fifteen, decided she was going to be a scientist, but who was airbrushed out of the greatest scientific discovery of the twentieth century.” (Goodreads review)

Overdrive cover Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly (eBook)
“Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and complete domination of the heavens.” (Goodreads review)

Syndetics book coverLost history : the enduring legacy of Muslim scientists, thinkers, and artists / Michael Hamilton Morgan ; [foreword by King Abdullah II of Jordan].
“In an era when the relationship between Islam and the West seems mainly defined by mistrust and misunderstanding, we often forget that for centuries Muslim civilization was the envy of the world. […] Michael Hamilton Morgan reveals how early Muslim advancements in science and culture lay the cornerstones of the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and modern Western society. As he chronicles the Golden Ages of Islam, beginning in 570 a.d. with the birth of Muhammad, and resonating today, he introduces scholars like Ibn Al-Haytham, Ibn Sina, Al-Tusi, Al-Khwarizmi, and Omar Khayyam, towering figures who revolutionized the mathematics, astronomy, and medicine of their time and paved the way for Newton, Copernicus, and many others. And he reminds us that inspired leaders from Muhammad to Suleiman the Magnificent and beyond championed religious tolerance, encouraged intellectual inquiry, and sponsored artistic, architectural, and literary works that still dazzle us with their brilliance. Lost History finally affords pioneering leaders with the proper credit and respect they so richly deserve.” (Syndetics summary)

Films based on books at #NZIFF 2017

We love movies based on books, and we love the New Zealand International Film Festival! Maybe you’ve read the book and want to see the adaptation, or maybe you just think “I’ve heard of that!” Whatever the reason, check out the great films based on these literary works during this year’s festival.

Berlin Syndrome directed by Cate Shortland. Based on the novel Berlin Syndrome.
Syndetics book coverBerlin syndrome / Melanie Joosten.
“One afternoon, near the tourist trap of Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi. There is an instant attraction, and when Andi invites her to stay, Clare thinks she may finally have found somewhere to call home. But as the days pass and the walls of Andi’s apartment close in, Clare begins to wonder if it’s really love that Andi is searching for a or something else altogether. Berlin Syndrome is a closely observed and gripping psychological thriller that shifts between Andi’s and Clare’s perspectives, revealing the power of obsession, the fluidity of truth, and the kaleidoscopic nature of human relationships.” (Syndetics summary)

Blade of the Immortal directed by Miike Takashi. Based on the manga series Blade of the Immortal.
Syndetics book coverBlade of the immortal [1] : blood of a thousand / art and story, Hiroaki Samura.
“To end his eternal suffering, he must slay one thousand enemies! Manji, a ronin warrior of feudal Japan, has been cursed with immortality. To rid himself of this curse and end his life of misery, he must slay one thousand evil men! His quest begins when a young girl seeks his help in taking revenge on her parents’ killers… and his quest won’t end until the blood of a thousand has spilled!” (Syndetics summary)

Call Me By Your Name directed by Luca Guadagnino. Based on the novel Call Me By Your Name.
Syndetics book coverCall me by your name / André Aciman.
Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Ethel & Ernest directed by Roger Mainwood. Based on the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs.
Syndetics book coverEthel & Ernest / Raymond Briggs.
“Ethel & Ernest is the story of Raymond Briggs’s parents lives from their first chance encounter to their deaths. Their story provides a social history of the lives of two ordinary people living in England during the 20th century. Through Ethel and Ernest the reader learns how the average person coped with the many changes in the 20th century including, the dark days of the Second World War, the birth of the Welfare State and the advent of television. Told in Brigg’s unique strip-cartoon format.” (Syndetics summary)

Heal the Living directed by Katell Quillévéré. Based on the novel The Heart.
Syndetics book coverThe heart : a novel / Maylis de Kerangal ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing. Returning home, exhausted, the driver lets the car drift off the road into a tree. Two of the boys are wearing seat belts; one is sent through the windshield. He is declared brain-dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. His heart is still beating. The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved–grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses–as they navigate decisions of life and death.” (Syndetics summary)

In Times of Fading Light directed by Matti Geschonneck. Based on the novel by Eugen Ruge.
Syndetics book coverIn times of fading light : the story of a family / Eugen Ruge ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
In Times of Fading Light begins in September 2001 as Alexander Umnitzer, who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, leaves behind his ailing father to fly to Mexico, where his grandparents lived as exiles in the 1940s. The novel then takes us both forward and back in time, creating a panoramic view of the family’s history: from Alexander’s grandparents’ return to the GDR to build the socialist state, to his father’s decade spent in a gulag for criticizing the Soviet regime, to his son’s desire to leave the political struggles of the twentieth century in the past. With wisdom, humor, and great empathy, Eugen Ruge draws on his own family history as he masterfully brings to life the tragic intertwining of politics, love, and family under the East German regime.” (Syndetics summary)

Jasper Jones directed by Rachel Perkins. Based on the novel by Craig Silvey.
Syndetics book coverJasper Jones : a novel / Craig Silvey.
“Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Lost City of Z directed by James Gray. Based on the book by David Grann.
Syndetics book coverThe lost city of Z : a legendary British explorer’s deadly quest to uncover the secrets of the Amazon / David Grann.
“Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into ‘blank spots’ on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and a sense of purpose. In 1925, the last great blank spot in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization, which he christened the City of Z, but is also known as El Dorado. When he and his son embarked upon their journey into the Amazon they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and those who followed in a bracing attempt to solve a mystery centuries in the making.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A Monster Calls directed by J. A. Bayona. Based on the novel by Patrick Ness.
Syndetics book coverA monster calls : a novel / by Patrick Ness ; from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd ; illustrations by Jim Kay.
“The monster showed up just after midnight. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. Winner of the National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year Award 2011.” (Syndetics summary)

My Friend Dahmer directed by Marc Meyers. Based on the graphic novel by Derf.
Syndetics book coverMy friend Dahmer : a graphic novel / [text and illustrations] by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman].
“In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer–the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper–seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, “Jeff” was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche–a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Swallows and Amazons directed by Philippa Lowthorpe. Based on the novel by Arthur Ransome.
Syndetics book coverSwallows and Amazons / Arthur Ransome ; illustrated by the author with help from Miss Nancy Blackett.
“The Walker children — also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship’s Boy Roger — set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a summer of unforgettable discoveries and incredible adventures.” (Syndetics summary)

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Beach House B-sides and rarities
Anathema The optimist
Imagine Dragons Evolve
Juana Molina Halo
Jethro Tull Songs from the wood : the country set
Frank Zappa Greasy love songs
Tom Waits Transmission impossible : legendary radio broadcasts from the 1970s
Beach Boys 1967 : sunshine tomorrow