Ngaio Marsh Award winners 2019

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh awards! Dame Fiona Kidman has won this year’s award for Best Crime Novel with This Mortal Boy. Best First Novel was awarded to J. P. Pomare for Call Me Evie. The Non Fiction award went to Kelly Dennett for her followup on the disappearance of an Auckland teenager, The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards originated in 2010 for excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. In 2016 the award for best First Novel was added and in 2017 another category was also added for the Best Non Fiction.


This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand.But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders? This is his story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverCall me Evie / J.P. Pomare.
“Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here. Jim says he’s keeping her safe. Evie’s not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The short life and mysterious death of Jane Furlong / Dennett, Kelly
“The abduction and murder of teenager Jane Furlong is one of New Zealand’s most enduring mysteries. Jane was 17 when she disappeared from Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 1993.  Her body was found in 2012, 20 years later. Court reporter Kelly Dennett became interested after noticing Jane Furlong’s mother, Judith Furlong, sitting alone in a courtroom during a murder trial.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A superb cornucopia of Scandi Noir, cosy crime and other mystery gems in this month’ s mystery fiction showcase

Everything you do leaves traces, doesn’t it. The life you’ve lived is written all over you, for those who can read.”
― Jo Nesbø, Flaggermusmannen

The ever popular crime genre of Scandi Noir is well represented in this month’s recently acquired mystery fiction showcase with newly acquired books by Scandi Noir luminaries Anne Holt and Jo Nesbo. There are also some new delicious Cosy crime novels by Rebecca Tope and Susan Wittig Albert. And to round up this month’s acquisitions we also have the remarkable critically lauded masterpiece of modern writing Drive your plow over the bones of the dead by Man Booker Prize winning Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. Enjoy


Knife / Nesbø, Jo
” KNIFE sees Harry Hole waking up with a ferocious hangover, his hands and clothes covered in blood. Not only is Harry about to come face to face with an old, deadly foe, but with his darkest personal challenge yet. The twelfth instalment in Jo Nesbo?s internationally bestselling crime fiction series.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive coverA grave for two / Holt, Anne
“Selma Falck’s personal life and career as a lawyer have hit rock bottom. That is until Hege Chin Morell – Norway’s best female skier – approaches her desperate to overturn a doping charge. With two months to the Winter Olympics, Selma faces the seemingly almost impossible task of clearing Morell’s name. However, when a male skier is found dead after a training accident, it becomes clear to Selma that there is something more serious at risk.  As Selma’s race against time begins, she realizes that more lives are at stake.” (Adapted from Catalogue)Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverSecrets in the Cotswolds / Rebecca Tope.
“Thea Slocombe is struggling to entertain her stepchildren through the long summer holiday while her husband Drew works, so she keenly accepts a new job house-sitting in Barnsley. However, her commission proves to be far from relaxing when she stumbles across a woman hiding among some bushes. The woman’s story is thin and incoherent, but Thea agrees to offer her sanctuary for the night.When her guest is found dead the next morning Thea turns to the police for help. As she digs deeper into the deceased’s background, she discovers a tangled web of lies, secrets and at least three very likely suspects …” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A plain vanilla murder / Albert, Susan Wittig
“​China and Ruby Wilcox are presenting their annual “Not Just Plain Vanilla Workshop,” always a huge hit with customers at Thyme & Seasons Herb Shop. But someone involved with the workshop is driven by a deadly motive, and China soon finds herself teaming up with the very pregnant Pecan Springs police chief Sheila Dawson to solve a vanilla-flavored murder. There’s no shortage of other suspects: a betrayed lover, a disgruntled graduate student, jealous colleagues, and a gang of orchid smugglers. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drive your plow over the bones of the dead / Tokarczuk, Olga
” 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. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. ” (Catalogue)  Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverThe shameless / Ace Atkins.The Shameless
” Twenty years ago, teenager Brandon Taylor walked into the Big Woods north of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, and never returned. For former Army Ranger-turned-sheriff Quinn Colson, the Taylor case has particular meaning. As a ten-year-old, Colson had been lost in those same woods, and came back from them alive and a local legend. Years later, bones of a child are found in the woods, confirming for many the end to the Taylor story.  Quinn’s search for answers will upset the corruption that’s plagued his home since before he came back from Afghanistan. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Love and death among the cheetahs / Bowen, Rhys
“Georgie is excited when Darcy announces out of the blue that they are flying to Kenya for their extended honeymoon. It is only after they arrive that she suspects he has actually been sent there on an assignment. Shocked at the completely decadent lifestyle that involves wild parties and rampant infidelity. One of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, is found dead along a lonely stretch of road.  It seems the Happy Valley community wants to close the case, but as Georgie and Darcy investigate, almost everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Palm Beach, Finland / Tuomainen, Antti
“Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village–the “hottest beach in Finland.” The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cars and transport

Our first item is actually a database of Haynes workshop manuals, which is available for FREE from our website.

E-RESOURCES

Haynes manuals all access.
“From the publishers of the popular books comes the online version which makes available over 600 online manuals, covering car and motorcycle maintenance and repairs. This resource includes quick links to most popular DIY procedures, videos of common DIY jobs, a detailed troubleshooting section and much more.” (Catalogue)

eBooks

The vagabonds : the story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s ten-year road trip / Guinn, Jeff
“In 1914 Henry Ford and naturalist John Burroughs visited Thomas Edison in Florida and toured the Everglades. The following year Ford, Edison, and tire maker Harvey Firestone joined together on a summer camping trip and decided to call themselves the Vagabonds. They would continue their summer road trips until 1925, when they announced that their fame made it too difficult for them to carry on. Although the Vagabonds traveled with an entourage of chefs, butlers, and others, this elite fraternity also had a serious purpose: to examine the conditions of America’s roadways and improve the practicality of automobile travel. Cars were unreliable and the roads were even worse. But newspaper coverage of these trips was extensive, and as cars and roads improved, the summer trip by automobile soon became a desired element of American life.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Insane mode : how Elon Musk’s Tesla sparked an electric revolution to end the age of oil / McKenzie, Hamish
“From a journalist and former writer for Tesla comes the astounding story of the most revolutionary car company since Ford, revealing how, under Elon Musk’s ‘insane mode’ leadership, it is bringing an end to the era of gasoline powered transportation. Hamish McKenzie explores how an unlikely West Coast start up, with an audacious dream to create a new, successful US car company – the first since Chrysler in 1925 – went up against not only the might of the government-backed Detroit companies, but also the massive power of Big Oil and its benefactors, the infamous Koch brothers. Insane Mode is a story of ingenuity and revolution – of how a new world of transportation could change people’s lives globally.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Apollo / Scott, Zack
“An extraordinary visual history of NASA’s iconic Apollo space program”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

The official New Zealand road code : your guide to becoming a safe and responsible driver.
“The official New Zealand road code is a user-friendly guide to New Zealands traffic law and safe driving practices. You will be tested on this information in your theory and practical driving tests. This guide is intended for drivers of cars and other light vehicles. Heavy vehicle drivers should read The Official New Zealand Road Code for Heavy Vehicle Drivers.” (Catalogue)

The official New Zealand road code for heavy vehicle drivers : including licence and study guide, and truck loading code.
“The official New Zealand road code for heavy vehicle drivers is a user-friendly guide to New Zealands traffic law and safe driving practices. You will be tested on this information in your theory and practical driving tests.” (Catalogue)

The Booker Shortlist: Our Predictions!

The Booker shortlist has been announced! Six books vying to be crowned the best novel of the year written in English. As the Booker Prize Foundation note, to win is to have your life transformed, with a substantial increase in readership, sales and publicity.

Of course, this transformation doesn’t apply to all on this year’s shortlist: both Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie are previous winners, with Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children winning the Booker of Bookers in 2008. But to win–or even make it onto the shortlist–still requires a phenomenal feat of writing.

And that brings us to the question of the moment: who will win?! We checked in with staff here at Wellington City Libraries and rounded up some predictions. Take a look below and see what you think. Do you agree? What’s your prediction for Booker 2019?

Dusty’s Prediction:

My choice for this year’s Booker goes to the multilayered novel Girl, Woman, Other. Bernadine Evaristo’s interconnected stories speak with the voices of twelve unique beings across generations throughout Britain. This book has been hailed as “Exceptional. Ambitious, flowing and all-encompassing, an offbeat narrative that’ll leave your mind in an invigorated whirl . . . unites poetry, social history, women’s voices and beyond.” So for something other than the bitter interminable grind of bleak pseudoreality, here is an iconic and unique voice, filled with warmth, subtlety and humanity.

Neil’s Prediction:

I usually like to support the dark horse books and would love to see An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma win, but this year I cannot see past the obvious favourite The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. It hasn’t even been released yet but has already been hailed as a landmark work: “a savage and beautiful novel” is what the judges said. You can read a sneak preview and judge for yourself by clicking here. The momentum around this work is so big I think the judges will want to award the prize to the book that could well be regarded in the future as the seminal book of its time.

Paul’s Prediction:

My pick is Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann. How could you not choose a 1,000+ page book which is made up of almost one long sentence?! (Especially when part of the story is narrated by a mountain lion.) In truth though, Ducks, Newburyport is a fantatic work: as Parul Sehgal said in her review, it “has its face pressed up against the pane of the present; its form mimics the way our minds move now: toggling between tabs . . . between news of ecological collapse and school shootings while somehow remembering to pay taxes and fold the laundry.”

The Full Booker Shortlist:

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Like Studio Ghibli? Try these comics!

The beloved Japanese animation institution Studio Ghibli, creator of such films as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service, has captured people’s imaginations for over twenty years. Their films explore themes of identity, family, social duty, culture and nature, through gorgeously rendered fantasy worlds, emotional coming-of-age stories, and meetings of the fantastic with the mundane. There’s a Studio Ghibli film for everyone, and if you’re a fan of their work, we think you’d like these comic recommendations from our Graphic Novel collection.


The Sandman : the dream hunters / Gaiman, Neil
“Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology and folklore with his own distinct narrative vision. Adapted by P. Craig Russell from the multi-award winning novella, The King of All Night’s Dreaming is drawn into a tale about a monk, a fox woman, and an evil man set in ancient Japan.” (Catalogue)

The Spire / Spurrier, Simon
“The Spire is a mountain of metal and stone, a vast city that rises out of the middle of the radioactive desert. Filled with twisting tunnels, grinding elevators, and ancient machinery, it is home to over a million human and non-human residents. Shå, the last of the species known as the Medusi, is responsible for keeping the hodgepodge of forgotten technology and new biology safe as Commander of the City Watch. But when a string of grisly murders are committed just as a new Baroness of the Spire is about to be sworn in, Shå will have to find the killer and bring that individual to justice.” (Catalogue)

My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Tagame, Gengoroh
“Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji.  What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.” (Catalogue)

Wayward. Volume one, String theory / Zubkavich, Jim
“Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late? An all-new Image supernatural spectacle that combines the camaraderie and emotion of Buffy with the action and mystery of Hellboy.” (Catalogue)

Daytripper / Moon, Fábio
DAYTRIPPER follows the life of one man, Bras de Olivias Dominguez. Every chapter features an important period in Bras’ life in exotic Brazil, and each story ends the same way: with his death. The following story starts up at a different point in his life, oblivious to his death in the previous issue – and then also ends with him dying again. In every chapter, Bras dies at different moments in his life, as the story follows him through his entire existence – one filled with possibilities of happiness and sorrow, good and bad, love and loneliness” (Catalogue)

Villains we love to hate

I’m not a monster – I’m just ahead of the curve.

-The Joker

That uncomfortable sensation when you find yourself enjoying everything your fictional villain does. Well maybe not everything.  Fiction abounds with a wealth of antiheroes, all the way back to Beowulf where you might find yourself sympathising with a monster. A recent treatment of that story in The mere wife does provoke thoughts of who we think of as monstrous. Obsession is not always an undoing, Moriarty’s mind games elevate both Sherlock Holmes and the readers’ experience. The glamour of the high life, with it’s ego stroking attributes is the aim for many, but what if no obstacle, moral or otherwise would deter you, enter Tom Ripley, designed by Patricia Highsmith. Or Dexter, a sociopath with a mission, tempering his murderous endgame with rules. 

Those who transgress for personal gain abound in the selection of titles below, chilling to think that these are librarian’s favourites! Classic characters are reprised in graphic novel form and delving into our electronic vault will locate the original inspiration. Recent additions to our catalogue will entertain while making you cringe and maybe provide a wry smile of recognition.  Enjoy!

Overdrive cover Parker: The Outfit, Donald E. Westlake (ebook)… Villain: Parker
Cooke is back and following up the New York Times best-selling Hunter with a heart-pounding sequel: The Outfit. After evening the score with those who betrayed him, and recovering the money he was cheated out of from the syndicate, Parker is riding high, living in swank hotels and enjoying the finer things in life again. Until, that is, he’s fingered by a squealer who rats him out to the Outfit for the price they put on his head… and they find out too late that if you push Parker, it better be all the way into the grave! (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Dirty Money, Richard Stark (Audiobook) Villain: Parker (so professional he gets 2 titles)
Master criminal Parker takes another turn for the worse as he tries to recover loot from a heist gone terribly wrong. Parker and two cohorts stole the assets of a bank in transit, but the police heat was so great they could only escape if they left the money behind. Now Parker and his associates plot to reclaim the loot, which they hid in the choir loft of an unused country church. As they implement the plan, people on both sides of the law use the forces at their command to stop Parker and grab the goods for themselves.Parker will do whatever it takes to redeem his prize, no matter who gets hurt in the process. (Overdrive description)

Gone girl / Flynn, Gillian (print), (DVD) Villain: … not giving it away
“On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors… the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior.  Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Codename Villanelle / Jennings, Luke  Villain… toss a coin
She is the perfect assassin. A Russian orphan, saved from the death penalty for the brutal revenge she took on her gangster father’s killers. Ruthlessly trained. Given a new life. New names, new faces – whichever fits. Her paymasters call themselves The Twelve. But she knows nothing of them. Konstantin is the man who saved her, and the one she answers to. She is Villanelle. Without conscience. Without guilt. Without weakness. Eve Polastri is the woman who hunts her. MI5, until one error of judgment costs her everything. Then stopping a ruthless assassin becomes more than her job. It becomes personal. ” (Catalogue)

Use of weapons / Banks, Iain Villain: Elethiomel
“The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances’ foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman’s life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past…” (Catalogue)

Charcoal Joe : an Easy Rawlins mystery / Mosley, Walter Villain: Mouse
“Picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins has started a new detective agency. Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order.” (Catalogue)

Ripley’s game / Highsmith, Patricia Villain: Ripley
“With its sinister humor and genius plotting, Ripley’s Game is an enduring portrait of a compulsive, sociopathic American antihero. Tom Ripley detested murder, unless it was absolutely necessary. If possible, he preferred someone else to do the dirty work. In this case, a victim of a fatal disease, who will murder for a reward in order to provide for his young widow and child.” (Catalogue)

 

The doll factory / Macneal, Elizabeth Villain: Silas
“London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (Audiobook) Villain: Mrs Danvers
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives—presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century. “(Overdrive description)

Beyond Wakanda: comics and graphic novels on Afrofuturism

Afrofuturism, the cultural movement that imagines science-fiction tropes through the lens of African and African-American perspectives, came bursting into the mainstream with the release of Black Panther. Now you can experience the world of Wakanda (and beyond) in these graphic novels, brought to four-colour life by some of the best artists the medium has to offer!

Featuring such celebrated authors as Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Evan Narcisse, and Nnedi Okorafor, these stories feature African and African-American heroes as they face political uprisings, street crime, oppressive corporations, super-science, planetary empires, and time travel.

Black Panther [6] : the intergalactic empire of Wakanda. Part one, Many thousands gone / Coates, Ta-Nehisi
“A bold new direction for the Black Panther! For years, T’Challa has kept foreign invaders out of his homeland, protecting his people from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed…across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name. Jump on now and learn the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Ta-Nehisi Coates welcomes aboard fan-favorite artist Daniel Acuna for a Black Panther story unlike any other.” (Catalogue)

Black Panther : world of Wakanda / Gay, Roxane
“The world building of Wakanda continues in a love story where tenderness is matched only by brutality. You know them now as the Midnight Angels, but in this story they are just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. Their first assignment will be to protect Queen Shuri… but what happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other? Meanwhile, former king T’Challa lies with bedfellows so dark, disgrace is inevitable. Plus, explore the true origins of the People’s mysterious leader, Zenzi. Black Panther thinks he knows who Zenzi is and how she got her powers – but he only knows part of the story!” (Catalogue)

Shuri [1] : the search for Black Panther, 1 / Okorafor, Nnedi
“The world fell in love with her in the movie. Now, the Black Panther’s techno-genius sister launches her own adventures – written by best-selling Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Eisner-nominated artist Leonardo Romero The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne. But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one – and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own.” (Catalogue)

Rise of the Black Panther / Narcisse, Evan
“Wakanda has always kept itself isolated from Western society, but that’s about to change. Young T’Challa knows he’s destined to become king, but when his father is murdered by outsiders, he finds himself taking up a mantle he may not be ready for. Experience the troubled reign of King T’Chaka! Discover the mother T’Challa never knew! And see how the world first learns of the wondrous nation of Wakanda – including Namor, King of Atlantis ; the Winter Soldier ; and the ruler of Latveria, Doctor Doom! Plus: as Erik Killmonger makes a devastating move, a missing chapter of T’Challa and Storm’s lifelong romance comes to light – and the Black Panther must decide his unique role in a world full of super heroes!” (Catalogue)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur [1] : BFF / Montclare, Brandon
(Overdrive)
“Lunella Lafayette is an inhuman preteen genius who wants to change the world! That job would be a lot easier if she wasn’t living in mortal fear of her latent inhuman gene. There’s no telling what she’ll turn into — but Luna’s got a plan. All she needs is an Omni-Wave Projector. Easy, right? That is, until a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call…today! Together they’re the most Marvelous Team-Up of all — the Inhuman Moon Girl and time-tossed Devil Dinosaur!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Deathlok : the souls of cyber-folk / McDuffie, Dwayne
“As if being duped by his evil ex-employers into becoming the cyborg soldier Deathlok isn’t enough, now Michael Collins is square in the sights of a mad villain collecting and disassembling cyborgs and androids. Can you guess the secret of Mechadoom? Hopefully Deathlok, with a little help from the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, can. Then, what happens when the man in the body of a killing machine meets the killing machine in the body of a man? Find out when Deathlok and the Punisher team up! And the nightmare is far from over for Collins – when he finds himself in battle with Ghost Rider, it’s time to fight hellfire with firepower” (Catalogue)

Black Lightning : cold dead hands / Isabella, Tony
“Iconic 70s comic character and now star of his own hit TV series on the CW, Black Lightning, comes thundering back into his hometown to right past wrongs and start a whole new crime-fighting era.  Black Lightning is back and things are not the same. In his home town of Cleveland, high school teacher Jefferson Pierce is a role model for his students. As Black Lightning, he’s fighting to keep them safe, even as his city’s streets are invaded by local gangs with deadly super-weapons. And wait until you see who their supplier is! Jefferson Pierce is reborn for a new era, as the titular character of the new CW series takes center stage in this new graphic novel.” (Catalogue)

Kindred : a graphic novel adaptation / Duffy, Damian
“Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that is suddenly transformed into the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder – and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white – and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word.” (Catalogue)

Keeping August company, this month’s Reader’s Choice

When you turn the last page of a book and close the cover your reading experience isn’t over. Books infect your thinking and affect the way you see the world. Would you like to share a book that’s affected you recently?

This selection includes all manner of tales spun by talented writers. Readers have resonated with tales featuring other cultures, exploring relationships and the intricacies of political powerplay.

The Fiction 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.


Syndetics book coverA mistake / Shuker, R. Carl
“Elizabeth Taylor is a surgeon at a city hospital, a gifted, driven and rare woman excelling in a male-dominated culture. One day, while operating on a young woman in a critical condition, something goes gravely wrong.  A Mistake is a compelling story of human fallibility, and the dangerous hunger for black and white answers in a world of exponential complication and nuance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A ripping yarn – a tight juicy read. Strong protagonist, clear stories sitting side by side, medicine and space – big topics, high stakes, tiny human errors with tragic outcomes. Very well executed story. Outstanding writing, LOVED the setting and tension of theatre.” 

Syndetics book coverEllie and the harpmaker / Prior, Hazel
“Dan Hollis lives alone, in a remote barn hidden in the woods on Exmoor, where for the past twenty-three years he has been making harps. Then, one day, housewife Ellie Jacobs stumbles across the barn by chance. She’s utterly stunned by the discovery of the enchanting workshop, and Dan gives her the gift of a beautiful cherry wood harp. But Ellie’s controlling husband Clive refuses to let her keep it – and so she begins to take lessons in secret – and so begins a story of innocent deception, unintended complications and life-changing consequences for them all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A quirky tale told in a beautifully poetic writing style. A different take on autism with it being seen as a gift for seeing beauty in nature and the simple things of life” 

The wife : a novel / Wolitzer, Meg (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“Meg Wolitzer brings her characteristic wit and intelligence to a provocative story about the evolution of a marriage, and the place for an ambitious woman in a man’s world. The moment Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, they are thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean on a flight to Helsinki. Joan’s husband Joseph is one of America’s preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Good, well crafted story.  Good images clear narrator. Nice twist in the story. Humour sneaks in. Picture of the times portrayed. Bit of a ‘safe’ read.” 

99 nights in Logar / Kochai, Jamil Jan (print) (eBook)
“It is 2005 in Logar, Afghanistan, and twelve-year-old Marwand has returned from America with his family for the summer. He loses the tip of his finger to the village dog, Budabash, who then escapes. Marwand’s quest to find Budabash, over 99 nights, begins. Deeply humorous and surprisingly tender, 99 Nights in Logar is a vibrant exploration of the power of stories – the ones we tell each other, and the ones we find ourselves in.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “In 2005 twelve year old Afghan-American Marwand returns to his parents town to spend the summer with the extended family. His adventures range from hilarious to tragic, while the narrative is enlarged by stories within stories, plus a touch of magic realism. While the names and relationships can be confusing Kochai gives us a lively and engaging picture of life in Afghanistan.”

Syndetics book coverThe huntress / Kate Quinn. (print) (eBook)
“Nina Markova joins the infamous Night Witches, an all-female bomber regiment. When she is downed behind enemy lines, Nina must use all her wits to survive a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress. British war correspondent Ian Graham becomes a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Ian joins forces with Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. In post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancee. But delving into her new stepmother’s past, Jordan slowly realises that a Nazi killer may be hiding in plain sight.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “What a great book!! Drama suspense, information (but not preachy), romance, life, war. This book lived up to it’s radio review and more. Enjoy” 

The Brighton mermaid /Dorothy Koomson. (print) (eBook)
“Brighton Beach, 1993. Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears. Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer. But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Couldn’t put this book down. Kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. Many twists and turns involving the characters. Brilliant, gripping, thriller. A great read.

Queen of the north / O’Brien, Anne
“1399: England’s crown is under threat. For Elizabeth Mortimer, there is only one rightful King – her eight-year-old nephew, Edmund. Only he can guarantee her fortunes, and protect her family’s rule over the precious Northern lands bordering Scotland. But many, including Elizabeth’s husband, do not want another child-King. Elizabeth must hide her true ambitions in Court, and go against her husband’s wishes to help build a rebel army.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Well researched and well written historical story set in Britain on the eve of the War of the Roses. 1399 A moving love story of powerful and ambitious would be rulers. Intricate family alliances are pursued with often tragic but soul-searching consequences. Great reading if anyone is interested in history.”

King of Kings / Smith, Wilbur A (print) (eBook)
“Searching for purpose, Amber travels to Abyssinia with her twin sister, Saffron, and her adventurer husband, Ryder Courtney. Seeking their fortune, they undertake the dangerous journey to Addis Ababa, but they soon find they may have risked losing everything to a powerful new ruler – Menelik II, the King of Kings. Back in Cairo, a devastated Penrod seeks oblivion in the city’s opium dens. He is rescued by an old friend, who is a member of the Italian army, and offered the chance to join the military effort.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “First class. The best of him”

Afrofuturism – the future won’t write itself

There are many definitions of Afrofuturism; the one I gravitate towards refers to media that explores futures for black individuals and the black community. This is where it intersects with science fiction and fantasy—writers and artists often use technology and the fantastical as elements in these explorations.

(From Book Riot)

Afrofuturism has expression in other mediums – a small nod here to musical artists ranging from Sun Ra to Janelle Monae and Missy Elliott, not just for their musical talents, but for their visual representation of Afrofuturism, using music videos or personal style to tell of celebrated identity reaching beyond the present. This year the Hugo awards has Monae’s Dirty Computer in the lineup for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. The movie Black Panther pulled in accolades and attention beyond the usual Marvel film viewers. Nnedi Okorafor of Binti fame is the voice behind the Blank Panther Shuri series.

Our selection below showcases a few key library titles in a variety of formats (print, eBooks etc.).  Enjoy!


The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.
The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The City Born Great, N. K. Jemisin (eBook)
“In this standalone short story by N. K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season, the winner of this year’s Hugo Award for Best Novel, New York City is about to go through a few changes. Like all great metropolises before it, when a city gets big enough, old enough, it must be born; but there are ancient enemies who cannot tolerate new life. Thus New York will live or die by the efforts of a reluctant midwife…and how well he can learn to sing the city’s mighty song.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (eAudiobook)
“A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country. An emerging AI uprising. And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat of every human she encounters. It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.” (Overdrive description)

BTTM FDRS / Daniels, Ezra Claytan
“Once a thriving working-class Chicago neighbourhood, the ‘Bottomyards’ is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighbourhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. At turns funny, scary, and thought provoking, BTTM FDRS unflinchingly confronts the monsters – both metaphorical and real – that are displacing cultures in urban neighbourhoods today.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe rage of dragons / Evan Winter.
“The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for almost two hundred years. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.” (Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon (ebook), (eAudiobook)
“Welcome to the Tarlands aboard the space vessel HSS Matilda. The Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda‘s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps.” (Overdrive description)

Do you dream of Terra-Two? / Oh, Temi (print) (eBook)
“A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.” (Catalogue)

Home / Okorafor, Nnedi
“It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace. After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?” (Catalogue)

Parable of the sower / Butler, Octavia E
“The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman with the hereditary train of “hyperempathy” which causes her to feel others’ pain as her own–sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown.” (Catalogue)

Staff Pick DVDs: July Part Two

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists, part one is here!


Shoplifters
One of the most consistent filmmakers of today, Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda has never made a bad film but his latest work is an exceptional work even by his standard. He questions what family really means by gracefully portraying vulnerable people who live in a shabby house in the edge of society. The narrative is gentle and atmospheric but it’s, in fact, almost Ken Loach-like social realism drama. (Shinji)

Kusama : infinity : the life and art of Yayoi Kusama.
The history, evolution and development of Kusama’s core themes, concepts and the ideas behind her work are well covered. While her conservative upbringing and her life story are covered in this documentary, for me this is one of the film’s weaker elements. By end of this well made and highly informative movie we know a lot about Yayoi Kusama’s art and practice and her position in the modern art world but perhaps a little less about the artist herself. (Neil J)

Ngati
Director Barry Barclay theorised a “fourth cinema” that would be made by indigenous film-makers, from an indigenous perspective with the primary intended audience being indigenous peoples. He achieved his goals with the beautiful Ngāti, the story of a young Australian doctor exploring his Māori heritage. The first feature film to have a Māori writer and director is one of the masterpieces of New Zealand cinema. (Joseph)

Bohemian Rhapsody
This is the biographical story of the life of Freddie Mercury from his youth through to Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance (of which this movie contains the entire performance). As a matter of course, this has all the wonderful Queen music that we know and love. Giving a wonderful ‘behind the scenes’ look at how they came to write their songs, Raimi Malek is wonderful as Mercury. (Brigid)

Informer
Tense drama as Raza Shar, a young charismatic second generation Pakistani from East London, is coerced by a Counter-Terrorism officer’s DS Gabe Waters (Paddy Considine) and DC Holly Morten’s into going undercover as an informer. As the stakes get higher Raza’s life slowly spins out of control, while Considine’s new partner begins to probe his undercover past and drag up some secrets he’d prefer to stay buried. (Mark)

Annihilation.
The husband of an ex-soldier now biologist goes missing on a deep secret mission in the Shimmer (a mysterious part of the world where strange things happen). Lena’s husband suddenly returns sick and minus his memory, so she and her team must enter the Shimmer to find out what happened. A good story. and reminiscent of The Fog. (Brigid)

Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde isn’t just set in cold war Berlin. It’s set in the end of days of cold war Berlin. Which is different. Something is about to happen. I can’t remember if this movie actually features the song Atomic by Blondie. But it doesn’t matter because the whole situation oozes Blondie and Atomic and crumbling trust, following crumbs, spies, hair follicles and sun bleached Charlize Theron as the most powerful American spy. (Tim)

Instant family
A great comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, and Rose Byrne, a professional couple who suddenly realise they are missing something in their lives. Children. After a discussion and doing a course they are all set to become foster parents! When matched with a Spanish-speaking rebellious teenager, they find out she has siblings and Pete and Ellie suddenly go from 0 to 3 children overnight. (Brigid)

The little drummer girl.
Adaptation of the novel by John le Carré, set in the ’70s in which Charlie is recruited by charismatic agent Gadi, to play a part in operation to ensnare a serial bomber for Mossad spymaster Kurtz. A Palestinian terror cell has been responsible for the killing of a number of prominent Jews in western Europe, and the aim of the mission is to embed Charlie within the cell so she can draw out its elusive leader. (Mark)

You were never really here
Lynne Ramsay is a poet of the visual cinema with a distinctive vision – You Were Never Really Here is a real departure in some ways from her previous films. In places it feels like a modern day Taxi Driver and as such it is a powerful, brutal, visceral and violent watch not for the faint hearted. Yet Ramsay’s trademark visual style is still there, only this time it’s the harsh neon city or the sheen of light on blood. (Neil J)

American honey
Shot on warm, saturated film, the viewing experience is an absolute pleasure. The soundtrack rattles with dance pop, 21st century hip-hop and country. The narrative rises and falls, resembling life; full of risk, sorrow and joy. Sasha Lane proves her acting chops in the lead role and Shia LaBeouf delivers his best performance. Director Andrea Arnold has bottled the spirit of youth in these economically precarious times. (Joseph)

The old man & the gun
Based on the story of Forrest Tucker, who had a unique leisurely style of bank robbery and escaped from prison 16 times, director David Lowery turned it into a witty laid-back outlaw tale. The centre of the movie is, of course, Redford who plays Tucker, and it is obvious that he loves playing this character. The chemistry between Redford and legend Sissy Spacek, who plays his love interest, is simply wonderful, and lifts the whole thing to another level. A perfect swansong. (Shinji)

The Happytime Murders
Melissa McCarthy stars in this Brian Henson alternative production about a place where puppets and people live and work together. A detective (McCarthy) is teamed with her ex-partner, a puppet, to investigate a series of murders of puppets from the Happytime movie series. Don’t be fooled by the puppets as this movie is very definitely R rated – most definitely NOT Sesame Street. (Brigid)

Bad times at the El Royale
A group of mysterious strangers show up at a once posh but now slightly run down hotel in the late 1960’s, but it soon becomes apparent that not everything or everyone are who or what they seem. There is much to be enjoyed about ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ as it has a twisty, compelling plot, it is very stylishly filmed and sports a stellar cast. (Neil J)

Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen brothers are always a directing duo to watch, and this Oscar Isaac starring feature is one of their finest. Set in the early 60s folk music scene in Greenwich Village, the snow and solemn environments provide the backdrop to the road rambling of a failing folk musician. (Joseph)