The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Neil Gaiman, Author

The fabulous, ubiquitous, library-loving Neil Gaiman has just announced that his beloved Sandman series of graphic novels has been green-lit as an eleven-part Netflix series.

Described by Warner Brothers as a massive deal, Sandman will be one of the most expensive TV series ever made. Fans will be mega-excited by the news and desperate to see the final product–alas, still a long way off. Several previous attempts to film Sandman have fallen by the wayside with one potential director describing the series as “unfilmable”.

Neil Gaiman is of course no stranger to film and TV adaptations of his work or indeed writing directly for either medium. Just a brief overview of his writing credits brings such notable films and programmes as Good Omens, American Gods, Coraline, Stardust and Mirrormask as well as several Doctor Who episodes and one episode of Babylon 5!

Sandman was originally–and famously–pitched as a Wild Cards story to George R. R. Martin, but was turned down due to Neil Gaiman’s relatively unknown status at the time. Undeterred, Gaiman went on to write the graphic novels that would become the legends that they are. Here for your delight and entertainment is just a small sample of the numerous, wonderful Neil Gaiman titles we have for you in our libraries. Enjoy!


Syndetics book coverThe Sandman. Vol. 1, Preludes & nocturnes / Neil Gaiman, writer; Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, artists.
Also available as an Ebook “In Preludes and Nocturnes, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverAmerican gods [1]: shadows / story and words by Neil Gaiman; script and layouts by P. Craig Russell; art by Scott Hampton.
“This supernatural American road trip fantasy tells the story of a war between the ancient and modern gods. Shadow Moon gets out of jail only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated and broke, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard–thrusting Shadow into a deadly world where a god war is imminent.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Also available: American Gods the television series. Click here for availability of Season One.

Syndetics book coverStardust / Neil Gaiman; original frontispiece and chapter-opening art by Charles Vess.
Also available as an eAudiobookAmong the wondrous, beautiful, and strange literary offspring conceived by Neil Gaiman is his magical 1997 fantasy novel, Stardust, remains a top favorite. An enchanting adult fairy tale about a young man who travels beyond the boundaries of his small village to find a fallen star and win the heart of the woman he loves–the basis for the hit motion picture.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Also available: Stardust the film. Click here for availability.

Syndetics book coverGood omens / Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Also available as an eAudiobook “There is a hint of Armageddon in the air. According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. So if they going to stop it from happening, they’ve got to find and kill the AntiChrist. There’s just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverCoraline / Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Chris Riddell.
Also available as an eBook “There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Also available: Coraline the film. Click here for availability.

Syndetics book coverFragile things: short fictions and wonders / Neil Gaiman.
“Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning author. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaiman’s astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverNorse mythology / Neil Gaiman.
Also available as an eAudiobook “Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

“To a new World of Gods and Monsters”. Our latest science fiction and fantasy showcase


To a new World of Gods and Monsters. Ha, ha. The creation of life is enthralling, distinctly enthralling, is it not?”
Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

In this month’s science fiction and fantasy showcase we have a fantastically varied selection of newly acquired titles, including New Zealander David Hair’s third book in his epic fantasy series The Sunsurge Quartet called Hearts of Ice; Alastair Reynolds’ Permafrost; Neil Asher’s latest called The Warship; Anne Bishop’s Wild Country and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Ruin.  Amongst these literary riches we have another in a long line of books inspired by Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus first published in 1818 by the nineteen year old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The latest literary luminary to be inspired by the work is Jeanette Winterson whose Frankissstein: A Love Story takes a  look specifically at gender fluidity, the meaning of love and desire, transformation and artificial intelligence in the light of this legend.

Syndetics book coverFrankissstein : a love story / Jeanette Winterson.
“In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love  – with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryonics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead… but waiting to return to life. But the scene is set in 1816, when nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHearts of ice / David Hair.
“Summer is gone, and the world is turning to ice.  The Rondian Empress Lyra has lost her husband, her army is defeated and the deadly Masked Cabal have seized the Holy City. Lyra and her fellow dwymancers must master their deadly magic, whatever the cost. Even those who believe themselves to be fighting for good must grasp the reins of power with cold-hearted determination, and use even the most terrible weapon, if they are to stop the world from falling apart… for ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPermafrost / Alastair Reynolds. (print) (ebook)
“Fix the past. Save the present. Stop the future. 2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChildren of ruin / Adrian Tchaikovsky. (print) (ebook)
“Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time. Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth. But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe warship / Neal Asher. (print) (ebook)
“Their nemesis lies in wait . . . Orlandine has destroyed the alien Jain super-soldier by deploying an actual black hole. And now that same weapon hoovers up clouds of lethal Jain technology, swarming within the deadly accretion disc’s event horizon. Yet behind her back, forces incite rebellion on her home world, planning her assassination. Earth Central, humanity’s ruling intelligence, knows Orlandine was tricked into releasing her weapon, and fears the Jain are behind it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild country / Anne Bishop. (print) (ebook)
“There are ghost towns in the world – places where humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the Others. One of those places is Bennett, a town surrounded by wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children – one of whom is a blood prophet – hope to find acceptance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Overdrive coverExhalation / Ted Chiang. (print) (ebook)
“This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In ‘The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,’ a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary ‘Exhalation,’ an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth – What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA brightness long ago / Guy Gavriel Kay.
“In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school, though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count – and soon learned why that man was known as The Beast. Danio’s fate changed the moment he recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one night – intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen a life of danger – and freedom – instead.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

What’s popular at the Library this month? Fiction top 10

Wellington readers have been catching up with popular authors and characters, from quirky geneticists to mysterious drifters. A new voice in thriller writing will leave you unsettled in the suburbs and a polished hand at romance and family connections deftly delivers insights and delights in chance opportunities.

The most borrowed fiction titles this month lead with the Venetian curiosities of Commissario Brunetti, by Donna Leon, where private lives and inheritance laws lead to twisted results amongst a tight group of friends.  The popular Rosie series by Graeme Simsion reaches it’s conclusion with The Rosie Result. The first two books didn’t spell out autism or being ‘on the spectrum’, but the third book jumps in to tackle the issue.  As a family facing daily hurdles together they look at identity and how a defining aspects of personality can influence your own life path and the way people view you. Heartwarming and funny this book is a great way to wrap up with these characters.  

First time novel writer Gill Thompson was inspired to write by the formal apology of two Prime Ministers to the child migrants from England to Australia.  Many shipped off under false pretenses, lied to about their parents and forced to create new lives. Thompson interviewed, wrote and rewrote many drafts over nine years determined her research and writing would connect readers to events from over sixty years ago. The oceans between us tells of a separated mother and son and the emotional impact on their lives.

1 Unto us a son is given, by Donna Leon
2 The Rosie result, Graeme C Simsion
3 I owe you one, by Sophie Kinsella
4 Transcription, by Kate Atkinson
5 Past tense, by Lee Child
6 Normal people, by Sally Rooney
7 Nine perfect strangers, by Liane Moriarty
8 The oceans between us, by Gill Thompson
9 The midnight line, by Lee Child
10 My lovely wife, by Samantha Downing

Unto us a son is given / Leon, Donna (print)
“As a favour, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. When Berta, a striking woman and one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?” (Catalogue)

The Rosie result / Simsion, Graeme C (print) (eBook)
“Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project. Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school. Meanwhile, Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards. For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new. It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity. And opening a cocktail bar.” (Catalogue)

I owe you one / Kinsella, Sophie (print) (eBook)
“Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour. That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb- big time. Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves. Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants? ” (Catalogue)

The oceans between us / Thompson, Gill (print)
“A woman is found wandering injured in London after an air raid. She remembers nothing of who she is. Only that she has lost something very precious. As the little boy waits in the orphanage, he hopes his mother will return. But then he finds himself on board a ship bound for Australia, the promise of a golden life ahead, and wonders: how will she find him in a land across the oceans? In Perth, a lonely wife takes in the orphaned child. But then she discovers the secret of his past. Should she keep quiet? Or tell the truth and risk losing the boy who has become her life?” (Catalogue)

The midnight line / Child, Lee (print) (eBook)
“Reacher sees a West Point class ring in a pawn shop window. It’s tiny. It’s a woman cadet’s graduation present to herself. Why would she give it up? Reacher was a West Pointer too, and he knows what she went through to get it.
All he wants is to find the woman.
He’ll have to go through bikers, cops, crooks, and low-life muscle.
If she’s ok, he’ll walk away. If she’s not … he’ll stop at nothing.
Best advice: stay out of his way.” (Catalogue)

My lovely wife / Downing, Samantha (print)
Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…
Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored. We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with. We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive. Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.” (Catalogue)

Readers’ Choice reviews : How did they rate it?

Have you read a library book that you can’t wait to tell people about? The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

This Reader’s Choice selection features a great swathe of genres.  From suspense filled thrillers to feel good literature filled with laugh out loud content. There is edgy commentary on modern policy in Dave Eggers’ The Parade. The struggle between generations i splayed out in Trick, where a lengthy baby sitting gig leaves a grandfather and grandson alone with each other in Naples. Sail Away by Celia Imrie shows that age is no barrier to adventure. And a change in tone comes from Robert Galbraith and Tami Hoag where investigation teams struggle with evidence and their personal lives.

The boy / Hoag, Tami
“In the sleepy Lousiana town of Bayou Breaux, the police arrive to find Genevieve Gauthier cradling her seven-year-old son in her arms as he bleeds to death. The scene is chaotic, but as Detective Nick Fourcade moves through the house, he sees no evidence of a robbery. Detective Annie Broussard sits with Genevieve, trying to make sense of her story. The next day, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette is reported missing. The town is up in arms, with parents fearing a maniac is preying on the children of Bayou Breaux. As Fourcade and Broussard dig into their case, they find something shocking about Genevieve Gauthier’s past. She is both victim and the accused; a grieving mother and a woman with a deadly secret.”(Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “This book was impeccable! Exploring themes of power, abuse, infidelity and bullying, I was hooked by the second chapter. Hoag leaves you guessing until the very end. Would absolutely recommend! Oh and Annie & Nick #POWERCOUPLE”.

Sail away / Imrie, Celia print, (eBook)
“Suzy Marshall is discovering that work can be sluggish for an actress over sixty . So when her agent offers her the plum role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest in Zurich, it seems like a godsend. Until, that is, the play is abruptly cancelled, and Suzy is forced to take a job on a cruise ship to get home.
Meanwhile Amanda Herbert finds herself homeless in rainy Clapham. Her flat purchase has fallen through. Then she spots an advertisement for an Atlantic cruise. As the two women set sail on a new adventure, neither can possibly predict the strange characters and dodgy dealings they will encounter nor the unexpected rewards they will reap.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “This is an enjoyable book. Celia Imrie has wisely centred it around the world of acting, which she obviously knows well.  The plot is a bit telegraphed at times but has enough twists and turns to keep me interested.”

Absolutely smashing it / Wallace, Kathryn
“Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face. But before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Hilarious laugh out loud stuff if you’re a recent female divorcee. Quick flowing storyline with real antics and life snapshot. Brilliant.”

Trick / Starnone, Domenico, translated by Jhumpa Lahari
“Imagine a duel between an elderly man and a mere boy. The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator whose reputation is slowly fading. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson. Daniele has been living in a cold northern city for years, in virtual solitude, focusing obsessively on his work, when his daughter asks if he would come to Naples for a few days and babysit Mario while she and her husband attend a conference. Shut inside his childhood home — an apartment in the centre of Naples that is filled with the ghosts of Mallarico’s past — grandfather and grandson match wits as Daniele heads toward a reckoning with his own ambitions and life choices.
Outside the apartment, pulses Naples, a wily, violent, and passionate city whose influence can never be shaken.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Enjoyed this book. I decided to read the introduction when I had finished too technical for me.  Early stages of the book were not that clear, but it came together toward the end. Loved the imagery and felt for both Grandpa and the four year old.”

The rip / Brandi, Mark
“A young woman, living on the street has to keep her wits about her. Or her friends. But when the drugs kick in that can be hard. Anton has been looking out for her. She was safe with him. But then Steve came along. He had something over Anton. Must have. But he had a flat they could crash in. And gear in his pocket. And she can’t stop thinking about it. A good hit makes everything all right. But the flat smells weird. There’s a lock on Steve’s bedroom door. And the guy is intense. The problem is, sometimes you just don’t know you are in too deep, until you are drowning.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “An amazing, grippingread that delves into the story of a young woman conquering the odds around drug addiction.  Darker themes but incredibly written, each sentence drew me further own the rabbit hole.”

Lethal white / Galbraith, Robert
‘I seen a kid killed . . . He strangled it, up by the horse.’ When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled.  But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I had seen the TV series C. B. Strike so was keen to read this. It lived up to expectations although I felt the tying up of the ends is a bit rushed and not quite in the same vein as the rest. All in all sad to get to the end and a great read. Definitely recommended.”

The parade : a novel / Eggers, Dave
” An unnamed country is leaving the darkness of a decade at war, and to commemorate the armistice the government commissions a new road connecting two halves of the state. Two men, foreign contractors from the same company, are sent to finish the highway. While one is flighty and adventurous, wanting to experience the nightlife and people, the other wants only to do the work and go home. But both men must eventually face the absurdities of their positions, and the dire consequences of their presence. With echoes of J. M. Coetzee and Graham Greene, this timeless novel questions whether we can ever understand another nation’s war, and what role we have in forging anyone’s peace.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and I found the place setting intriguing and the conflict between the characters amusing.  The ending was abrupt but it left me thinking.  All in all it was a good book, challenging but had a good pace – would recommend!”

Widows’ revenge / La Plante, Lynda
“Against all the odds, Dolly Rawlins and her gangland widows managed the impossible: a heist their husbands had failed to pull off – at the cost of their lives. But though they may be in the money, they’re far from easy street. Shocked by her husband’s betrayal, Dolly discovers Harry Rawlins isn’t dead. He knows where the four women are and he wants them to pay. And he doesn’t just mean getting his hands on the money. The women can’t keep running. They have to get Harry out of their lives for good. But can they outwit a criminal mastermind who won’t hesitate to kill? Especially when one of them has a plan of her own . . . to kill or be killed. The sequel to Lynda La Plante’s groundbreaking thriller, Widows – now a major feature film.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Excellent read! Full of action and credible characters”

 

The end of the world as we know it: the best post-apocalyptic fiction!

The trouble with you people is that you’ve been here for thirty million years and your perspectives are all wrong. You miss so much of the transitory beauty of life.”

― J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World

Civilisation as we know it has ended. Some sort of disaster–natural or man-made–has brought it to a shuddering stop. So now what happens? We have a fascination with destruction and catastrophe, and some of our finest writers and most famous novels explore worlds where the normal functioning of society has come to an end. This is our small selection of the best disaster novels from authors including Kurt Vonnegut, P.D. James, Cormac McCarthy and more. Enjoy!

The children of men / James, P. D.
“The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is, until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

For the DVD availability of The Children of Men click here.

The road / McCarthy, Cormac
“A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against lawless bands, the clothes they are wearing–and each other.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverPlanet of the Apes: the devil’s pawn / [writer, Daryl Gregory; artist, Carlos Magno]
“A brand new story in classic movie continuity! The ferociousness of the apes’ plans against humans is revealed. As humans face oppressive tactics not seen in centuries, they choose to fight with newfound viciousness, leading them to commit an act of revolution so severe it will have reverberations for years to come.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

For the DVD availability of Planet of the Apes click here.

Overdrive cover The Day of the Triffids / John Wyndham (ebook)
“Triffids are odd, interesting little plants. What seems to be a spectacular meteor shower turns into a bizarre, green inferno that blinds everyone and renders humankind helpless. What follows is even stranger: spores from the inferno cause the triffids to take on a life of their own. William Masen somehow managed to escape being blinded in the inferno, and now after leaving the hospital, he may be the only one who can save his species from chaos and eventual extinction.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

For the DVD availability of The Day of the Triffids click here.

Overdrive cover Station Eleven / Emily St John Mandel (ebook)
“DAY ONE: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. WEEK TWO: Civilization has crumbled. YEAR TWENTY: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Cat’s Cradle / Kurt Vonnegut (ebook)
“Written contemporaneously with the Cuban missile crisis and countenancing a version of a world in the grasp of magnified human stupidity, the novel is centered on Felix Hoenikker, a chemical scientist reminiscent of Robert Oppenheimer… except that Oppenheimer was destroyed by his conscience and Hoenikker, delighting in the disastrous chemicals he has invented, has no conscience at all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverDrowned worlds: tales from the Anthropocene and beyond / edited by Jonathan Strahan
“A new anthology, featuring stories set in futures wracked by the deluge, from some the best writers in SF, including Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, Paul McAuley, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Charlie Jane Anders, Lavie Tidhar and James Morrow. We stand at the beginning of one of the greatest ecological disasters in the time of Man. The world is warming and seas are rising. We may deny it, but we can’t hide when the water comes.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl with all the gifts / M. R. Carey
“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)
For the DVD availability of The Girl with All the Gifts click here.

Syndetics book coverI am legend / Richard Matheson
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth … but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Saving our health one meal at a time

This month’s selection of cook books feature nutritional advice on brain health, how to balance your micro-biome for gut health, and how to replace ‘dieting and deprivation with nutrition and nourishment’. Also featured are books on the secrets of saving money in the kitchen by eating real food (even on a budget), plus frugal eating by using all the scraps to make really great delicious recipes. And best of all learn about vegan gardening and growing techniques for self-suffiency and a smaller carbon foot print. And much more.


Root & Leaf : big, bold vegetarian food / Harris, Rich
“In this exciting book vegetables take centre stage as Rich Harris explores the many ways of using them, including pickling, smoking and fermenting, alongside the more traditional roasting and braising. Rich’s use of vegetables focuses on flavour, bringing out the natural tastes of vegetables and playing with complementary textures and qualities… Rich’s recipes show you how to celebrate vegetables in their delicious and varied glory.” (Catalogue)

Fear-Free Food : how to ditch dieting and fall back in love with food / Hobbs, Nicola Jane
“Imagine having a peaceful relationship with food. One which leaves you feeling healthy, happy and full of life. No anxiety or guilt. No calorie counting or cutting out food groups. In Fear-Free Food, nutritionist and Intuitive Eating Counsellor Nicola Jane Hobbs shows you how to break free from the toxic messages of diet culture, make peace with food and discover how to truly nourish yourself.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Cooking with Scraps : turn your peels, cores, rinds, and stems into delicious meals / Hard, Lindsay-Jean
“Stop throwing away your food scraps and start enjoying them on your table’ A collection of 80 surprising, creative, delicious recipes for anyone who wants to cook smart, sustainable, and impressive meals out of unused bits of produce, cheese rinds, stale bread, and other oft-discarded foods.” (Catalogue)

The Vegan Cook & Gardener : growing, storing and cooking delicious healthy food all year round / Warren, Piers
“This book shows what fruit and vegetables you can grow at home, how to store any excess to keep you going all year round, and how to prepare your produce with a selection of satisfying and delicious recipes. Discover the fun and huge sense of satisfaction that comes from cooking something you have produced yourself. Learn about vegan gardening, self-sufficiency, year round growing techniques and seasonal recipes, fruits and vegetables, herbs, salads and sprouts, challenging crops, plus lots of vegan resources.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Great Taste : cooking (and eating) from morning to midnight / Kosann, Danielle
“Founders of popular website ‘The New Potato’ mixes food with lifestyle in this trendy, healthy cookbook: funny anecdotes, celebrity run-ins, and a healthy serving of fashion. Sisters Danielle and Laura Kosann have always loved cooking and eating out. Now, their debut cookbook brings together antics and anecdotes with 85 original recipes that anyone can make, as long as they’re hungry and have a kitchen.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Chinese Soul Food : a friendly guide for homemade dumplings, stir-fries, soups, and more / Chou, Hsiao-Ching
Chinese Soul Food draws cooks into the kitchen with recipes that include sizzling potstickers, stir-fries that are unbelievably easy to make, saucy braises, and soups that bring comfort with a sip. These are dishes that feed the belly and speak the universal language of “mmm!” You will find helpful tips and techniques, such as caring for and using a wok and how to cook rice properly, as well as a basic Chinese pantry list that also includes acceptable substitutions.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Better Brain Food : eat to cheat dementia and cognitive decline / Hobbins, Ngaire
“International expert on nutrition for older people, dietician Ngaire Hobbins presents a compelling argument that the food you eat can make a big difference to your quality of life as you age. Combined with delicious recipes from Michelle Crawford that offer optimal nutrition for brain health, Better Brain Food is the lifestyle guide you need as you or those you love grow older.” (Catalogue)

Catherine Saxelby’s Complete Food and Nutrition Companion : the ultimate A-Z guide. / Saxelby, Catherine
“Despite the huge gains in nutritional knowledge, healthy eating has not become easier. In our time-poor society, fewer people regularly cook and eat at home, and many rely on take-away and fast foods. In effect, we are suffering from malnutrition in the midst of plenty, along with many modern lifestyle diseases: obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. With more than 500 entries covering whole foods, processed foods, additives, nutrients, supplements and more, this is the ultimate family reference for good health and nutrition.” (adapted from Catalogue)

A Kitchen Fairytale : healing with food, delicious recipes for everyone / Van der Byl-Knoefel, Iida
“Written by ‘expert patient’ Iida, who has used the principles of plant-based wholefoods with no added sweeteners, fats or oils to regain her own health. This cookbook explicitly follows the approach of the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis and also provides help with other autoimmune conditions. It shows how anyone eating according to those principles can do so simply, sustainably and enjoyably–and inclusively so that family and friends can eat the same way whether they have health issues or not.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The Man Booker International and Translated Fiction!

The Man Booker International Prize recognises material that has been crafted in concert by both an author and translator, and the importance of their relationship in shaping the language and understanding of the story. This year the Man Booker International Prize went to Omani writer Jokha Alharth and translator Marilyn Booth for Celestial Bodies, the first time an Arabic writer has been awarded the 14-year-old prize.

Also on the shortlist: Guzel Yakhina’s Zuleikha, a fictionalized account of the author’s grandmother and her expulsion to Siberia as part of Stalin’s forced de-kulakization program of the 1930s. Conflict and close proximity of your enemies is addressed in Homeland while in Death is Hard Work Khalid Kahlifa looks at the division within a family as a deathbed wish places siblings on a dangerous road.


Full Man Booker International Prize Shortlist

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
The Years by Annie Ernaux, translated by Alison L. Strayer

The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated by Anne McClean

The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes

The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann, translated by Jen Calleja


For access to the shortlisted titles (as well as a few bonus works!) simply click on the items below:

Drive your plow over the bones of the dead / Tokarczuk, Olga (print) (eBook)
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. Filled with wonderful characters like Oddball, Big Foot, Black Coat, Dizzy and Boros, this subversive, entertaining noir novel offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice and getting away with murder.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Overdrive cover The Years / Annie Ernaux (ebook)
The Years is both an intimate memoir “written” by entire generations, and a story of generations telling a very personal story. Like the generation before hers, the narrator eschews the “I” for the “we” (or “they”, or “one”) as if collective life were inextricably intertwined with a private life that in her parents’ generation ceased to exist.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

The shape of the ruins / Vásquez, Juan Gabriel
“When a man is arrested at a museum for attempting to steal the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician, few notice. But soon this thwarted theft takes on greater meaning as it becomes a thread in a widening web of popular fixations with conspiracy theories, assassinations, and historical secrets; and it haunts those who feel that only they know the real truth behind these killings.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The pine islands / Poschmann, Marion
“When Gilbert Silvester, a journeyman lecturer on beard fashions in film, awakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees–immediately, irrationally, inexplicably–for Japan. In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho. Suddenly, from Gilbert’s directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Homeland / Aramburu, Fernando
“Miren and Bittori have been best friends all their lives, growing up in the same small town in the north of Spain. With limited interest in politics, the terrorist threat posed by ETA seems to affect them little. When Bittori’s husband starts receiving threatening letters from the violent group, however–demanding money, accusing him of being a police informant–she turns to her friend for help. But Miren’s loyalties are torn: her son Joxe Mari has just been recruited . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The old slave and the mastiff / Chamoiseau, Patrick
“In the darkness, an old man grapples with the spirits of all those who have gone before him; the knowledge that the past is always with us, and the injustice that can cry out from beyond the grave. From a writer hailed by Milan Kundera as the “heir of Joyce and Kafka,” The Old Slave and the Mastiff portrays the demonic cruelties of the slave trade and its human costs–a wise, loving tribute to the Creole culture of Martinique.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Death is hard work / Khalīfah, Khālid (print) (eBook)
“Abdel Latif, an old man, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. Before he dies, he tells his youngest son Bolbol that his final wish is to be buried in the family plot in their ancestral village of Anabiya in the Aleppo region. Though Abdel Latif was not the ideal father, Bolbol decides to persuade his older brother Hussein and his sister Fatima to accompany him and their father’s body to Anabiya. But the country is a warzone . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Zuleikha / I︠A︡khina, Guzelʹ
“Soviet Russia, 1930. Zuleikha, the “pitiful hen,” lives with her brutal husband Murtaza and her mother-in-law. When Murtaza is executed by communist soldiers, she is sent into exile to a remote region on the Angara River in Siberia. Hundreds die of hunger and exhaustion on the journey and over the first difficult winter, yet exile is the making of Zuleikha. As she gets to know her fellow survivors, Zuleikha begins to build a new life far removed from the one she left behind.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Dublin Noir: New Mystery Fiction

What exactly makes a murderer? What leads to the decision to kill? These are the questions Irish author Olivia Kiernan considered when writing the second book in her Frankie Sheehan series, The Killer in Me. The Financial Times has called The Killer in Me fresh, tense and gruesome, while the Wall Street Journal described it as a “captivating new thriller.” Now you, too, can discover why it just might be one of the best police procedural stories this year.

Also new to Wellington City Libraries this month: the latest works from Christi Daugherty, S.C. Perkins and Scottish author (and founder of the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival) Alex Gray. Enjoy!

Only the dead can tell / Gray, Alex
“When Dorothy Guildford is found stabbed to death in her home, all signs point to her husband, Peter. The forensic psychologist is convinced there’s more to the case than meets the eye but Police Scotland are certain they have their man. While DC Kirsty Wilson searches for evidence that will put Peter away for good, she is shocked to discover a link to a vast human-trafficking operation . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The killer in me / Kiernan, Olivia
“Murder convict Sean Hennessy is released from prison to return to a seaside community in Dublin. He has always professed his innocence. But within months of his release, two bodies appear in the peaceful suburb of Clontarf. With a TV documentary pushing the public’s sympathies in Hennessy’s direction, the original evidence against him is called into question and Detective Frankie Sheehan finds herself doubting her original analysis of the case.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Murder once removed / Perkins, S. C.
“According to her friends, Lucy Lancaster, Austin, Texas genealogist, has never been drunk. Tipsy, sure, but drunk? No way. So when she arrives back at her office from a three-martini lunch a few sheets to the wind, it’s a notable occasion. Even more momentous is what her client, Austin billionaire Gus Halloran, has announced on live television with a blotto Lucy standing at his side: Texas senator Caleb Applewhite might be responsible for the murder of Seth Halloran.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

A dangerous collaboration / Raybourn, Deanna
“Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favour. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

A beautiful corpse / Daugherty, Christi
“With its antebellum houses and ancient oak trees draped in a veil of Spanish moss, Savannah’s graceful downtown is famous around the world. When a woman is killed in the heart of that affluent district, the shock is felt throughout the city. But for crime reporter Harper McClain, this story is personal. The corpse has a familiar face . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The Expanse: the best sci-fi around?!

Leviathan Wakes cover

Stars are better off without us.”
― James S.A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes

Written by James S. A. Corey (the pen name used by collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), the Expanse series has gained wide-ranging critical and popular success. The Expanse is set in the near future where humankind has colonized the solar system. One of the core themes is the vastness of the universe and the difficulties humans have in relating to its scale and alienness.

The eighth book in the series, Tiamat’s Wrath, was released last month, while the fourth series of the television adaptation is due to air later this year. With a total of four Hugo and three Saturn Award nominations between them, both the books and television series are definitely worth getting your teeth into. Enjoy!


Syndetics book coverLeviathan wakes / James S.A. Corey.
“Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
For The Expanse Season One DVD availability click here.

Syndetics book coverCaliban’s war / James S.A. Corey.
“For someone who didn’t intend to wreck the solar system’s balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it. While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. Then, on one of Jupiter’s moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers indiscriminately. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eAudiobook. For The Expanse Season Two DVD availability click here.

Syndetics book coverAbaddon’s Gate / James S. A. Corey.
“For generations, the solar system was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure: a gate that leads into a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding. The greatest danger is the one they brought with them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiamat’s wrath / James S.A. Corey.
“Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper. Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

What to read now Game of Thrones has ended!

Broken Kingdoms cover

Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Are you one of the hordes of people suffering from Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms? Are you missing the dragons? The action? The intrigue? Are you wondering where to go for fantastic new fantasy–or perhaps you even want a story that explores different concepts and ideas?

Then fear not, help is at hand! We’ve selected a sample of the best fantasy epics around–and all of them are available from your friendly neighbourhood library branch or as part of our eLibrary. Enjoy!

(For our more extensive Overdrive list of recommendations click here.)


Syndetics book coverThe broken kingdoms / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree’s guest is at the heart of it. . . ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFool’s assassin / Robin Hobb.
“FitzChivalry–royal bastard and former king’s assassin–has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart and leading the quiet life of a country squire. At least he is, until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers. Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one . . .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverThe sorcerer’s daughter: the defenders of Shannara / Terry Brooks.
“The mysterious, magic-wielding Druid order has existed for long ages, battling any evil that threatens the Four Lands–and struggling to be understood and accepted by outsiders. But their hopes of building goodwill are dashed when a demon’s murderous rampage at a peace summit leaves their political opponents dead–casting new suspicions upon the Druids and forcing them to flee from enemies both mortal and monstrous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Also available: The Shannara Chronicles television series. Click here for availability of Season One and here for availability of Season Two.

Syndetics book coverLeague of dragons / Naomi Novik.
“Napoleon’s invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he’ll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. While the emperor regroups, the allies have an opportunity to strike first and defeat him once and for all–if internal struggles and petty squabbles don’t tear them apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverHeir to Sevenwaters / Juliet Marillier.
“Lady Aisling of Sevenwaters has given birth to another child–a new heir. But the family’s joy turns to despair when the baby is taken from his room and something unnatural is left in his place. Clodagh must enter the showy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoyager: Outlander Book 3 / Diana Gabaldon.
“Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had travelled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her–and her body still cries out for him in her dreams. Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived . . .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Also available: the Outlander television series. Click here for availability.

Overdrive cover “Savage Sword of Conan, Volume 1, Roy Thomas (ebook)
In the mid 1970s following the colossal success of Conan the Barbarian, Roy Thomas helped expand the universe of Conan to showcase further stories and the talents of some of the comics industry’s best with the equally popular Savage Sword of Conan magazine. Now, for the first time in over thirty years, these primal tales, featuring Robert E. Howard’s most popular character, are available, collecting all Savage Sword Conan stories beginning with issue one.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Pawn of Prophecy / David Eddings (ebook)
Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object–the Orb–that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace. But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war. Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate. But then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverThe priory of the orange tree / Samantha Shannon.
“The House of Berethnet has ruled for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tane is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eBook.