Festive Cooking 2019

It’s that time of the year again. Sample a few out of the many books available in our libraries to help you celebrate a stress-free festive season with a minimum of fuss.


Christmas : The Complete Collection
“If you’ve always wanted all the recipes for Christmas that you’ll ever need, than this is the book for you! It’s a massive collection of best-ever festive recipes to help you celebrate the Christmas season.” (Catalogue)

Christmas Basics : Simple Easy to Follow Recipes for the Festive Season
“A lot of home cooks come up with wondrous feasts year after year at Christmas gatherings. This cookbook will teach you all the tricks for producing just about every recipe you’ve ever dreamed of that’s suitable for the holiday season. Included are tips, hints, accompaniments, time lines to follow with step by step photos to guide you through the many fabulous recipes.” (Catalogue)

The Christmas Book
“Discover a simpler, greener Christmas with hand-crafted gifts and cards, natural decorations and traditional recipes. Escape the modern-day commercial Christmas and enjoy a simpler, greener and craftier way of celebrating. Decorate the Christmas tree with homemade gingerbread men, craft a simple wreath from fallen leaves, make gift labels and cards from vintage fabrics, and fill hampers with locally sourced organic food. Sheherazade Goldsmith and a team of crafters give you over 80-90 wonderful ideas and projects for a more creative and sustainable Christmas.” (Catalogue)

The 12 Days of Christmas
“This beautifully designed book…. brings you the food of the Christmas and New Year season. There’s fabulous food for the big three days: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, but there’s also food for the days in between. We all have leftovers on Boxing Day and here are recipes for using them in interesting and delicious ways. There’s picnic food, barbecues, beach, pool and boat food. There’s food to take to the cricket or for watching it on TV as well as travelling food for the big car trip up the coast. As a bonus there are a few pages of table and tree decorations.” (Catalogue)

Nigella Christmas : Food, Family, Friends, Festivities / Lawson, Nigella
“‘Nigella Christmas’ comprises reliable, practical, easy-to-follow recipes and reassuring advice about planning and cooking ahead, which will make this a great gift to yourself and for family and friends.” (Catalogue)

Primrose Bakery Christmas / Swift, Martha
“A lavish Christmas cookbook from the Primrose Bakery, full of scrumptious seasonal treats. Christmas time is all about tradition….The Primrose Bakery has been bringing an extra bit of twinkle to their Christmas baking for over a decade and in this book reveal their unique twists and exciting reinventions of traditional Christmas treats, as well as all-new recipes to breathe fresh life into your festive baking repertoire…. this book offers wonderfully festive recipes to make your Christmas baking a triumph.” (Catalogue)

Festive Table
“Christmas can be a stressful holiday, particularly for the host who feels the pressure to prepare and cook beautiful and delicious food. With these simple easy-to-follow recipes plus clever tricks and quality shortcuts, we show you how to create spectacular festive dishes with minimum fuss. There are also menu ideas, time plans and a countdown guide to help you get organised, making this book the perfect gift for those who love all the trimmings but not the time it takes to pull it off.” (Catalogue)

Delicious Gifts : Give, Love, Bake / Kirby, Rob
“Delicious Gifts celebrates the best, beautifully styled, handcrafted food gifts for all occasions, direct from Rob and Amber Kirby’s family kitchen. Eighty delightful recipes are accompanied by stunning photography from Jodi Hinds, along with inspiration, guidance and ideas for how best to wrap and package these thoughtful gifts. In chapters dedicated to specific themes – including cookies, deli treats, sweets, outdoors and holidays – whether you’re looking for a unique Christmas present, something romantic or a healthy treat for loved ones, Delicious Gifts has plenty of ideas to inspire you.” (Catalogue)

Happy Vegan Christmas / Jönsson, Karoline
“Plant-based recipes for festive Scandinavian feasts. Roasted nuts and vegetables, fragrant citrus and cloves, jewelled lingonberries and cardamom buns fresh from the oven. In Happy Vegan Christmas, Karoline Jonsson presents a merry smorgasbord of plant-based Christmas dishes guaranteed to enchant friends and family…. included are some crafty ideas to try out during the holiday…. as well as seasonal dishes from around the world, this is an indispensable treasure trove for the vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian foodie.” (Catalogue)

Maggie’s Christmas / Beer, Maggie
“Christmas is Maggie Beer’s favorite time of year, a time for everything she loves–for hugs from the grandchildren, for giving, and for creating special memories. But most of all, it is a time for family and friends to gather around a table groaning with delicious food. With her hallmark generosity and warmth, Maggie invites you to join her Christmas celebrations in South Australia’s beautiful Barossa Valley. From roasting the perfect turkey and transforming leftovers into fabulous meals, to turning ripe summer fruits into luscious desserts, and creating a glamorous formal dinner to welcome in the New Year in style, Maggie shares her most cherished recipes. With plenty of advice for stress-free entertaining, Maggie shows you how to celebrate this special time of year with panache and joy.” (Catalogue)

Christmas with Good housekeeping : Tried, Tested, Trusted.
“The ultimate Christmas cookery companion for every household from Britain’s most trusted kitchen. Christmas with Good Housekeeping provides every recipe you need for the most delicious festive season with family and friends. With over 140 recipes for jovial perfection, chapters offer mouth-watering ideas for canapes, starters, vegan & vegetarian options, baked goods, showstopper desserts, edible gifts, and not to forget Christmas lunch with all the trimmings! Accompanied with stunning photography, specially curated to answer key questions for readers surrounding Christmas cookery, Good Housekeeping reveals not only their tried and tested recipes, but also their tips for getting ahead, saving time, loving your leftovers, and making the most out of your festive gatherings.” (Catalogue)

Better Than a Bought One : Clever Recipes and Ideas for Home-Grown Celebrations / Seagar, Jo
“In this fabulous book, Jo shows ordinary Kiwis how they can put on great celebration events with minimum effort and maximum effect. That’s what Jo does best. From a baby shower to a 21st, an office shout to a winter dinner party, from a high tea to a wedding, Jo gives great recipes and tips so you can celebrate in style, without breaking the bank. There’s even a chapter on holding a winter bonfire party for Matariki, and no celebrations book would be complete without Christmas – but this one is a Kiwi Christmas at the beach!” (Catalogue)

Butter Celebrates! : Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions / Daykin, Rosie
“What’s a celebration without something delicious that’s been baked with love? Rosie Daykin, author of Butter Baked Goods and owner of the Vancouver bakery of the same name, believes that celebrating is….a chance to spend time with your family and friends, to laugh really hard, to let things get a little chaotic, and to eat lots of delicious baked goods. Rosie’s straightforward recipes are easy to follow and will produce irresistible results.” (Catalogue)

Holiday Cakes and Cupcakes [electronic resource] / Deacon, Carol
“The magic of the holidays comes alive all year long with these delightful and delicious decorated cakes! Professional cake decorator Carol Deacon’s incredible cake designs run the gamut of seasonal holidays to provide that special touch that only a personally baked and decorated cake brings to the table. Deacon shows you how to create 21 fabulous cakes, including Christmas cakes, Halloween cakes, Valentine’s Day cakes, Easter cakes, and cakes to fit any other occasion. Deacon also shares sugarcraft tips and tricks along with her winning cake baking recipes so that your holiday cakes will taste as wonderful as they look. So make the most of your…. holiday by creating a cake that will impress and delight your family and friends.” (Catalogue)

60th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty

On December 1st 1969 New Zealand signed the Antarctic Treaty with the primary aim that Antarctica is to be used exclusively for science and other peaceful purposes. The NZ Antarctic Society is marking the 50th anniversary with the launch of a new map of Antarctica at the National Library of New Zealand on the 21st of November and an exhibition of previous maps. If you are visiting the “Mapping Antarctica – the frozen continent revealed” three week mini-exhibition at the National Library here at He Matapihi Molesworth Library, our Wellington City Libraries branch inside the National Library, we are pleased to put on display these titles and others featuring Antarctica and the New Zealanders associated with this region from our He Matapihi collection.


A wise adventure. II, New Zealand and Antarctica after 1960 / Templeton, Malcolm
Since the adoption of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, Antarctica has been governed through a unique system of international collaboration.  This book is an important chronicle of New Zealand’s engagement in Antarctica and a detailed and fascinating window on the complex negotiations arounf governance in this remarkable part of the planet. (Back cover abridged)

Mapping Antarctica : a five hundred year record of discovery / Clancy, Robert
“This volume tells the story of Antarctica through original maps.  These maps, many very rare, have been re-produced in high resolution and represent all major events, from the discovery and exploration of Antarctica to the scientific exploration of glaciers. This volume tells the story of Antarctica through original maps. These maps, many very rare, have been re-produced in high resolution and represent all major events, from the discovery and exploration of Antarctica to the scientific exploration of glaciers.” (Catalogue)

Antarctic Tragedy

We can’t talk about Antarctica without mentioning the Erebus disaster.  New Zealanders have a long relationship and fascination with Antarctica.  Air New Zealand started running sightseeing flights to Antarctica in February 1977 and between 1977 and 1979 they had carried approximately 10,000 passengers to Antarctica. This month we especially remember as we approach the 40th anniversary of the tragic scenic flight that crashed into Mount Erebus becoming our worst air disaster. November 28th 1979 was a dark day in New Zealand’s history and part of the national psyche for most New Zealanders. At the time there were only one or two degrees of separation with so many either knowing a victim of the Erebus disaster or knowing people that knew them. This year there is a new publication Toward the mountain: a story of grief and hope forty years on from Erebus written by one of the affected families.

Towards the mountain: a story of grief and hope forty years on from Erebus / Myles, Sarah
“Marking the 40th anniversary of the Erebus disaster, this is the first book on that tragedy written by one of the affected families.” (Catalogue)

Daughters of Erebus / Holmes, Paul
“The technical side of what happened on Mt Erebus on that fateful November day back in 1979 has been brilliantly explained by Justice Mahon, the Royal Commissioner appointed to investigate the crash of the Air New Zealand DC 10. Daughters of Erebus is the story of five people who were left behind and how the whole tragedy affected their lives.  This is a New Zealand story told by one of the great New Zealand storytellers. It literally drips with pathos and is a must-read story.” (Catalogue)

Our fascination  with Antarctica

Our library collection reflects our fascination with Antarctica.  For further points of interest, we feature heroic exploits of New Zealand explorers, photographic studies of nature and the relics of early exploration, scientific expeditions, works of fiction and children’s non-fiction all, of course, featuring Antarctica.

Sir Edmund Hillary : an extraordinary life / Johnston, Alexa
“Around the world Sir Edmund Hillary is a legendary figure – climber, bold adventurer, practical philanthropist and one of the most widely respected persons of our time. He has survived extremes of human experience – from historic triumphs to crushing personal loss ? but he sees himself as an ordinary man, persistent rather than heroic. This lavishly illustrated book focuses on the highlights of his life, including: Conquering Everest; Journeying to the South Pole by tractor; Himalayan adventures; Philanthropist to the Sherpa people. This beautiful book is profusely illustrated, using fascinating material, such as letters, cards, diary pages, and ephemera, from his personal archive. It is a magnificent tribute to one of the greatest climbers and explorers of all time.” (Catalogue)

Frank Worsley: Shackleton’s fearless captain / Thomson, John
“This book is a biography of Frank Worsley, without doubt one of New Zealand’s greatest, but largely unsung adventuring heroes. Born in Akaroa he went to sea as a teenager in 1888 on the sailing ships plying their trade between New Zealand and England. But the greatest adventure of his life began when he became the captain of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, which was trapped in pack ice on the 1914-1916 Antarctic expedition and slowly crushed. The crew of 28 spent over a year camped on the Antarctic ice before Shackleton, Worsley and four others sailed a tiny lifeboat across the wild Southern Ocean to South Georgia to summon help for the rest of the men, who were all eventually rescued.” (Catalogue)

With Hillary at Scott Base: a Kiwi among the penguins / Gerard, V. B. This account of the early days at the New Zealand Antarctic Base, known as Scott Base, was first written over half a century ago from the author’s diary and memory. The book is about the establishment of the base. (Back Cover abridged)

Still life : inside the Antarctic huts of Scott and Shackleton / Ussher, Jane
“A magnificent, hauntingly beautiful photographic study of the Antarctic huts that served as expedition bases for explorations led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton the turn of the 20th century Antarctic explorers set off from their huts in search of adventure, science, and glory, while the huts were left as time capsules of Edwardian life. The executive director of the Trust provides a fascinating introduction to the history and atmosphere of each hut and detailed photographic captions. Diary excerpts from the explorers bring their time in the huts to life.” (Catalogue)

Post marks : the way we were : early New Zealand postcards, 1897-1922 / Haks, Leo
“The way we were between 1897-1922 is revealed in more than 500 postcards that highlight New Zealand’s pioneer beginnings and the development of a unique cultural identity.” (Catalogue)

White silence : Grahame Sydney’s Antarctica. / Sydney, Grahame
“This outstanding collection of photographs from one of New Zealand’s most pre-eminent artists, Grahame Sydney, pays homage to the Antarctic landscape. At the invitation of Antarctica New Zealand, Sydney travelled to Antarctica in November-December 2003, and again in October 2006. His photographs reveal an extraordinary terrain that is solemn, sparse and poised with a magnificent stillness. Exploring a continent that appears at first glance to be devoid of colour, warmth or comfort, each image celebrates the rare flashes of astonishing beauty that can be found in the bleakest, most inhospitable region of Earth.” (Catalogue)

Fifteen million years in Antarctica / Priestley, Rebecca
“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. In 2011 Priestley visited the wide white continent for the first time, on a trip that coincided with the centenary of Robert Falcon Scott’s fateful trek to the South Pole. For Priestley, 2011 was the fulfilment of a dream that took root in a childhood full of books, art and science and grew stronger during her time as a geology student in the 1980s. Priestley reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?” (Catalogue)

Call of the ice : fifty years of New Zealand in Antarctica / Harrowfield, David L.
“This book is a celebration not only of Antarctica, and more specifically the Ross Sea region, but also of the many men and women who have contributed to our understanding of this unique environment and its impact on our world.” (Catalogue)

Innocents in the Dry Valleys : an account of the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition, 1958-59 / Bull, Colin
“In 1958-59 a physicist, a biologist and two undergraduate geology students from Victoria University of Wellington spent a summer examining the Dry Valleys of Victoria Land, Antarctica. This expedition, known as VUWAE 2, began what was to become an annual and very fruitful Antarctic research programme for the university over the next fifty years. With wry humour, Bull recounts the adventures of these four hardy and resourceful scientists, who seemed to thrive on the adverse conditions, lack of funding and battles with bureaucracy.” (Catalogue)

Melt / Murray, Jeff
“This novel is an urgent, crushing observation of adaptation and exclusion amidst preparation to settle Antarctica as climate destruction starts to bite. New Zealand in 2048, gateway to the melting continent, is thrust into the centre of the climate crises. Vai Shuster, the Advocate of a tiny, broken island, must find a place for her community in a world that’s not sure it needs the poor.” (Catalogue)

Antarctic journeys / Werry, Philippa
“Antarctica is a fascinating place: it has no native inhabitants, and it’s very remote, which means everyone who goes there today or in the past has a special reason for wanting to go. It’s a place that children can only imagine, because they can’t go there. This book is about the journeys (historic and contemporary, human and animal, large and small) that centre around Antarctica, using that theme to build up an overall picture of Antarctic history, geography, science and wildlife.” (Catalogue)

Make your Christmas special creating crafts for your family!

Add  your special touch to this coming Christmas by making your own crafty decorations and flower arrangements. Merry Christmas!


Syndetics book coverCrocheted wreaths & garlands : 35 floral and festive designs to decorate your home all year round / Kate Eastwood.
“Crochet beautiful home decorations in a contemporary style with these 35 patterns for every season, special occasions, holidays, and all year round.
If you want to make one that will look good all year round, try the Bobble Bunting in strong pastels, or the Shaker Birdhouse Garland in soft, neutral shades to suit any room.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaste of Home handmade Christmas.
“Touch hearts and make memories this season with simply enchanting homemade gifts.
From whimsical elves made of felt to cleverly custom greeting cards, the inspired ideas in Taste of Home Handmade Christmas promise to make everyone’s holiday merry and bright.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChristmas at home : holiday decorating, crafts, recipes / edited by Valerie Rains.
“Have yourself a merry little Country Living Christmas with this gorgeous guide to decorating, cooking, and celebrating the best holiday ever! Country Living knows how to make Christmas memorable, and that’s why this spectacular book will become your new go-to resource every year. It’s filled with more than 200 beautiful decorating ideas, recipes, and crafts, plus tips galore.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQuilled Christmas : 30 festive paper projects / Alli Bartkowski.
“Celebrate the season with 30 colorful and charming paper-quilling projects for Christmas decorations, ornaments, gift tags, greeting cards, and more. Each project is designed for a specific skill level, and you’ll find a comprehensive introduction and step-by-step photos of the essential techniques needed to create basic shapes, elegant typography, and dazzling linear art.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMini felt Christmas : 30 decorations to sew for the festive season / Sachiyo Ishii.
“Making your own decorations in the run-up to Christmas has never been more popular! In this delightful book, well-known crafter Sachiyo Ishii shows you how to make fabulously cute and quirky felt ornaments to adorn your home during the festive season. All the techniques and stitches you need are explained carefully through clear, step-by-step photographs at the beginning of the book, and all the templates are provided at the back. This wonderful book is a feast of ideas and inspiration for a creative Christmas.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaper Christmas : 16 papercrafting projects for the festive season / Emily Dawe.
“Craft your own Christmas in paper – 16 festive projects for the perfect homemade holiday! Give your holiday season the homemade touch, from wrapping paper to tree decorations, using very few materials and innovative techniques, such as printing with shaving foam and creating stunning greeting cards using gold embossing ink.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSew with me : 60 fun & easy projects to make your own fabulous décor and accessories / Brandy Nelson.
“Want something your kids can create on their own? Sew With Me teaches kids how to be creative with fabric while honing in a lifelong skill. Geared towards kids, or kids who might need a little help from mom, you can use both hand sewing and machines with your kids to make fantastic sewing projects that they will enjoy creating and using. Projects include reading pillows, pincushions, sleep masks, cat toys, bookmarks, wall hangings, gift bags, hoop art, felt purses and coasters.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Stories Below Sea Level: Climate Authors in Aotearoa

men say that one day
that lagoon will devour you”

dear matafele peinam, by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Up until surprisingly recently, climate change was a neglected topic in the world of fiction. Environmentalist Bill McKibben addressed this in his 2006 essay What the Warming World Needs Now is Art, Sweet Art, pointing out the lack of impact climate change had had on fiction and art compared to previous societal challenges.

However over the last few years things have changed: books focussing on the climate emergency are being published faster than ever, including in New Zealand. Authors have taken up McKibben’s challenge to use fiction to examine the changing world around us, to spur us into action. This undertaking has extended to organisations such as Track Zero and Verb Wellington, both of which have promoted the transformational power of literature.

Yet despite climate change’s more prominent role in local fiction, another question stands out: exactly whose climate stories are being published–and whose aren’t? As Lani Wendt Young recently pointed out, in 2015 only one percent of fiction published in New Zealand was written by Pasifika writers, and only four percent by Māori. And yet Māori and Pasifika communities are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Over the next few weeks Wellington City Libraries will be releasing a series of interviews with publishers, editors and authors whose work has addressed the climate emergency in Aotearoa and the Pacific. Their work spans different genres, languages and formats, but all of them tackle climate change and its complexities. To get things started we’ve got a booklist of local climate fiction and non-fiction for you to browse–and if there’s an author or work you’d like to see included, please let us know!


Where we land / Jones, Tim
“A New Zealand Navy frigate torpedoes a boat full of refugees fleeing a drowning country and Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. First he has to reach the shore alive and then he has to avoid the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, on alert to stop climate change refugees entering the country. Donna is new to the Patrol. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators and survivors might be making their way ashore, it sounds like she might be put to the test.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Melt / Murray, Jeff
“This novel is an urgent, crushing observation of adaptation and exclusion amidst preparation to settle Antarctica as climate destruction starts to bite. New Zealand in 2048, gateway to the melting continent, is thrust into the centre of the climate crises. Vai Shuster, the Advocate of a tiny, broken island, must find a place for her community in a world that’s not sure it needs the poor.” (Catalogue)

So many islands : stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans
“Giving voice to challenges and triumphs, these writers paint a vibrant portrait of what it is like to live, love and lose the things most precious to them on the small islands they call home. Voicing global issues such as climate change and nuclear testing in the Pacific – a fight close to the heart of these precariously poised islands – to petty politics and the gaps between generations, readers will find universal connections with these worlds and words.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

High water
“Eleven of New Zealand’s best cartoonists take a speculative stab at the looming threat of climate change in this thoughtful, provoking and sometimes hilarious collection. With tales ranging from washed-up celebrity polar bears, to giant post-apocalyptic crabs, High Water takes the reader on a thrilling romp through one of the most important issues of our time. Contributors include Dylan Horrocks, Sarah Laing, Chris Slane and many others.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sea change : climate politics and New Zealand / Hayward, Bronwyn
“The scientific consensus is clear: our climate is changing and action is needed urgently. Yet at the same time, it can seem that the solutions needed are too large and the problem too insurmountable. Bronwyn Hayward is an international expert on sustainability, youth politics and democracy. In Sea Change: Climate Politics and New Zealand she lays out what New Zealand and New Zealanders could do to keep the average global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ruby and the blue sky / Dewar, Katherine
“Grammy night: Ruby wins ‘Best Song’ and makes an impulsive acceptance speech that excites nature lovers across the world. While Ruby and her band celebrate, an extreme evangelical sect, funded by covert paymasters, dispatches a disciple on a ruthless mission to England. As the band plays its sold-out tour, Ruby is pursued by eco-groupies insisting she use her new fame to fight climate change. Back home, Ruby must confront a challenge not even tea, beer or her mum’s veggie lasagne will make go away…” (Catalogue)

Star sailors / McNaughton, James
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple from the wrong side of the tracks gain entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Towards a warmer world : what climate change will mean for New Zealand’s future / Meduna, Veronika
“The year 2014 was the hottest on record since we’ve begun collecting global temperature measurements in 1880. As new thresholds are breached, acclaimed RNZ science writer Veronika Meduna explores our future in a warmer world. Beginning with lessons from our ancient geological past, this BWB Text draws on current observations and increasingly sophisticated climate models to describe possible end-of-century scenarios for New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mistory : a novel / Temple, Philip
“Following Annie’s strange death, her partner is forced to think about what he has allowed to happen to his life, his community and his country. His diary, kept during the year of The Change, reveals how the example Annie left him, and the mission of his young sister Sophie, drive him to escape the life of a bureaucratic cipher and work with the Movement in its fight to bring back a free and fair way of life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” – Stephen King – our latest fiction showcase

This month’s fiction showcase shows a broad and diverse range and depth of writing styles and topics. However the darker dystopian trends in our society today and in the recent past seem to be a recurring theme with both The Divers’ Game by Jesse Ball and Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s Human Matter which stare deeply into our collective dark heart. Carrying on the dark theme is Stephen King’s acclaimed return with The Institute. Once again King uses a group of children as his main protagonists but this time the horror has its roots in modern American society. We also have international bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s moving account of a woman crafting and creating her own life anew at the dawn of the Second World War, along with new works by Emma Donoghue and Ruth Ware. Enjoy!


The divers’ game : a novel / Ball, Jesse
“The old-fashioned struggle for fairness has finally been abandoned. It was a misguided endeavor. The world is divided into two groups, pats and quads. The pats may kill the quads as they like, and do. The quads have no recourse but to continue with their lives. The Divers’ Game is a thinly veiled description of our society, an extreme case that demonstrates a truth: we must change or our world will collapse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Night boat to Tangier : a novel / Barry, Kevin
“In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen — Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs — sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter (or is she?), Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A single thread / Chevalier, Tracy
“It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity…” (Catalogue)  Also available as an eBook.

Akin : a novel / Donoghue, Emma
“Noah Selvaggio is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he’s discovered from his mother’s wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he’s never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him.  The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak frites to screen time. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A single source / Hanington, Peter
“Veteran BBC reporter William Carver is in Cairo, bang in the middle of the Arab Spring. ‘The only story in the world’ according to his editor. But it isn’t. There’s another story, more significant and potentially more dangerous, and if no one else is willing to tell it, then Carver will – whatever the consequences. A Single Source tells two stories, which over a few tumultuous months come together to prove inextricably linked.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The institute : a novel / King, Stephen
“In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window.  In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Human matter : a fiction / Rey Rosa, Rodrigo
“More than a decade ago, novelist Rodrigo Rey Rosa made his first visit to the Historical Archive of the Guatemala National Police, where millions of previously hidden records were being cataloged, scanned, and eventually published online. Bringing to light detailed evidence of crimes against humanity, the Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe turn of the key / Ruth Ware.
“When Rowan stumbles across the advert, it seems like too good an opportunity to miss – a live-in nanny position, with a very generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences by a picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder. She knows she’s made mistakes. But she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A Halloween graphic novel for every type of horror fan

“I am a horror maniac who prefers to stay at home.”
― Junji Ito, writer of Uzumaki

If you’re a discerning horror fanatic, you know it can be difficult to find a story that scratches your particular genre itch; after all, those that scare easily don’t always scare equally. That’s why we’ve put together this list of recent horror graphic novels to help you feed your particular horror obsession (or maybe help you start a new one).

Are you into monsters? Then check out the new Swamp Thing collection Roots of Horror featuring the best of DC’s writers and artists, or The Immortal Hulk, featuring a new undead twist on Marvel’s Green Goliath.

Do your interests lean more toward folk horror? Try webcomic artist Emily Carroll’s collection of Brothers Grimm-style horror tales Through the Woods, or Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, which inspired the 2019 Hellboy film.

Like your horror incomprehensible and weird? Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s ultimate haunted-house-in-space comic Nameless, or Uzumaki from horror manga artist Junji Ito — where singular obsessions lead a small town to ruin — might have what you’re after.

Swamp Thing : roots of terror : the deluxe edition / King, Tom
“On Halloween, the barrier between world’s grows thin–and only the Swamp Thing is strong enough to face the monsters that come from the other side. In addition, this book also features the final Swamp Thing story from the monster’s co-creator, Len Wein. Originally intended as the start of a new series, presented here with art by Kelley Jones. Collects Swamp Thing: Winter Special #1 and stories from Swamp Thing: Halloween Giant, Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1, and Young Monsters in Love #1″ (Catalogue)

Uzumaki : spiral into horror / Itō, Junji
“Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!” (Catalogue)

The immortal Hulk. Vol. 1, Or is he both? / Ewing, Al
“You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk.” (Catalogue)

Hellboy : the wild hunt / Mignola, Michael
“The inspiration for the new film from director Neil Marshall and starring Strangers Things’s David Harbour. Hellboy is called to England to take part in an ancient ritual of hunting giants, but quickly faces a much more dangerous enemy: Nimue, the Queen of Blood, who has risen with plans to create a monstrous army.”  (Adapted from catalogue

Through the woods / Carroll, Emily
“A collection of five spine-tingling short stories”– Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there. A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of ‘Grimm Tales’, ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’ and the works of Neil Gaiman.” (Catalogue)

Nameless / Morrison, Grant
“With the asteroid Xibalba on a collision course with Earth, a group of billionaire futurists recruits the occult hustler Nameless for a mission to save the world.” (Catalogue)

Our latest selection of New Zealand fiction titles

Books can be the people we never get to meet, ancestors or far neighbours.”
― Elizabeth Knox, The Vintner’s Luck

Throughout the year in a series of occasional blogs we in Wellington City Libraries aim to cover as many home grown New Zealand books as possible. And in this blog we have an absolutely bumper crop of new Aotearoa fiction. One of the many highlights in this latest selection of books is Elizabeth Knox’s The Absolute book in which we find Elizabeth Knox’s in scintillating masterful form dealing with huge issues within the context of Fantasy. This book lingers long in the mind and we would be surprised if it doesn’t feature heavily in many people’s best books of 2019 lists.

Amongst the many other books of note are Jeff Murray’s climate change narrative Melt, one of 2019’s many novels dealing with environmental collapse. Expect to see more era defining books on this topic released over the next few months too. Enjoy!

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-concieved revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good. There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents’ house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gone to Pegasus / Redgrave, Tess
“Its Dunedin 1892, and the women’s suffrage movement is gaining momentum. Left to fend herself when her husband’s commited to the Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, 23-years old Eva meets Grace, an outspoken suffragette wiht an exotic and mysterious past. As the friendship between the two women grows through shared love of music, Eva begins questioning the meaning of her marriage and her role as a woman. But Grace has a bullying husband and secrets she’s been keeping from Eva, which could threaten the freedom both woman find themselves fighting for.” (Catalogue)

Moonlight sonata / Merriman, Eileen
“It’s the annual New Year family get-together. Molly is dreading having to spend time with her mother, but she is pleased her son will see his cousins and is looking forward to catching up with her brothers . . . Joe in particular. Under the summer sun, family tensions intensify, relationships become heightened and Molly and Joe will not be the only ones with secrets that must be kept hidden.
‘No one must ever know.’” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Melt / Murray, Jeff
“This novel is an urgent, crushing observation of adaptation and exclusion amidst preparation to settle Antarctica as climate destruction starts to bite. New Zealand in 2048, gateway to the melting continent, is thrust into the centre of the climate crises. Vai Shuster, the Advocate of a tiny, broken island, must find a place for her community in a world that’s not sure it needs the poor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Julian calendar / Henry, William
“A bright young photojournalist returns to London with the aim of releasing himself from a profound love affair that has stalled without explanation. Instead, he is derailed by memories of the secretive nurse who broke his heart, and rejuvenated by a man whose unexpected and intense friendship challenges the fundamental notion of love itself. The Julian Calendar is Simon’s debut novel under the pseudonym William Henry.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe Rigel affair / L M Hedrick.
“Based on a true story. Charlie and Mattie meet after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. She’s the girl of his dreams. But when he embarks for the Pacific war zones his letters are sporadic. Mattie is tormented by doubts. Did he truly love her, or was it only a dream?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverNailing down the saint / Craig Cliff.
“Duncan Blake is a Kiwi filmmaker whose move to LA has not gone to plan. After a series of setbacks, he’s working at a chain restaurant, his marriage is on shaky ground after a porn-related faux pas and his son won’t stop watching Aladdin .When Duncan gets the chance to scout locations for a fated director’s biopic of Saint Joseph of Copertino, it’s the lifeline he’s been searching for. But in Italy, in the footsteps of the seventeenth-century levitator, he must confront miracles, madness and the realities of modern movie making. A novel about the pursuit of dreams, the moral calculus this entails, and the possibility that the rational, materialist worldview isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Touching the universe / Romeo, Tom
“Ten years after his father’s disappearance, Gordo Jenkins is on the brink of turning his life around. He’s about to finish university and pursue his filmmaking dream, and he’s fallen in love with Eleanor after a chance encounter in a Manhattan clinic. But then he’s confronted with news of his father’s whereabouts and must decide if he wants to put his life on hold again to see him. A few days later, Gordo and Eleanor begin a cross-country drive to Mexico to unravel the mystery of his father’s disappearance – and confront the mystery of their own lives along the way”–cover.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

A Feast of Fantastic Non-Fiction! Baillie Gifford Prize Shortlist Announced

The Baillie Gifford Prize (formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Prize) is the UK’s premier non-fiction book award. It covers all non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts. Books that make its long list are always fascinating and the winners are consistently readable, compelling, and thought provoking.

Past winners include Serhii Plokhy’s Chernobyl (2018),  How to Survive a Plague by David France (2017), East West Street by Philippe Sands (2016), and Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes (2015).

The short list for 2019’s award was announced on October 22nd and includes rich pickings on an eclectic range of topics including murder, Maoism, biography, and family mysteries. It is also noteworthy that five of the six authors to make the short list are women, a conspicuous milestone for a prize whose long  lists and winners in the past have been predominantly male.

Here are the six fabulous finalists:

Furious hours: murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee/Cep, Casey N.
Willie Maxwell was a preacher accused of murdering his first wife in 1970. Over the next few years, other family members suspiciously died, each with life insurance policies taken out by Maxwell. With the help of a clever lawyer Maxwell escaped justice for years. Cep brings this gripping story to life along with a vivid account of Harper Lee’s quest to write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird, and her struggle with fame,and the mysteries of artistic creativity.

On chapel sands: my mother and other missing persons / Cumming, Laura
This is a book of mystery and memoir as prize-winning author Laura Cumming takes a close look at her family story. Two narratives run through it – her mother’s childhood tale (as a child she was kidnapped) and Cumming’s own pursuit of the truth. Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter. (Adapted from our catalogue)

The Lives of Lucian Freud : The Restless Years, 1922-1968 / Feaver, William
Lucian Freud was one of the most influential figurative painters of the 20th century. He had ferocious energy, worked day and night and his social circle was broad including royals, drag queens, fashion models, and gangsters like the Kray twins. Rebellious, charismatic, extremely guarded about his life, he was witty and a womanizer. This is an intimate, lively and rich book, full of gossip and stories about people, encounters, and work. (Adapted from our catalogue)

Maoism : a global history / Lovell, Julia
It may seem that China has long abandoned the utopian turmoil of Maoism in favour of authoritarian capitalism, but Mao and his ideas remain central to the People’ Republic and the legitimacy of its communist government. The need to understand the political legacy of Mao remains vital. In this new history, acclaimed historian Julia Lovell revaluates Maoism, analysing both China’s engagement with the movement and its legacy on a global canvas. This is the definitive history of global Maoism. (Adapted from our catalogue)

The five : the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper / Rubenhold, Hallie
Debates have long raged about Jack the Ripper’s identity, but what about the identity of his victims? Hallie Rubenhold reveals that they were not prostitutes, as we’ve always been told, but women going about their business – one ran a coffeehouse, another worked at a printing press, yet another lived on a country estate – who sadly crossed paths with a killer. As Rubenhold sets the record straight, she reveals a world  of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. (Adapted from our catalogue)

Guest House for Young Widows / Moaveni, Azadeh Azadeh Moaveni’s book is a sensitive account of 13 women who left their homes in different countries to join Isis. It explores the backgrounds of the women and the consequences of their choice to become Isis wives. Each woman ends up in devastating situations and Moaveni, a past Pulitzer Prize finalist, skillfully treads the fine line between exploring empathy for the women and the thorny subject of their culpability in wider terrorism. The women include former FBI agent Daniela Greene who married the IS member she was investigating and Shamima Begum the teenager who was villified by the UK press and was eventually stripped of her UK citizenship. This is a powerful book that uses the small stories of several women to explore the bigger picture of ISIS and it’s impact on the world. (WCL does not currently have a copy of this book)

Bromance : fiction gotcha back bro

via GIPHY

The support and connection that comes from your best mate is a special kind of relationship, one celebrated and explored in a variety of fiction genres. This selection features legendary rugby pairings, bonds formed in the fires of conflict and trust built over years of friendship. These titles have some great pairings, and group dynamics to explore.

Machete and the Ghost is fiction, but these tales are steeped in admiration and complete bafflement as to the exploits of this authentic duo on and off the rugby pitch. At every twist and turn in their careers their friendship saw them through. The unlikely pairing of Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard show that when the chemistry is right two people can just click.  This swamp noir twosome is facing some partnership issues in their latest adventure, The elephant of surpriseThe bromance book club offers support to Gavin Scott’s ailing relationship, the elegant solution of using fiction as way to solve real life conundrums is one we can all empathise with. Enjoy!

Machete and the Ghost / Griffin, James
“Machete and The Ghost is the book that charts the careers of the two greatest All Blacks who never existed. It chronicles their mythical on-field achievements; tells invented stories about the behind-the-scenes goings on of professional rugby; and also makes up their troubles and triumphs off the field, in their tabloid-worthy private lives. This is the book that takes all the tropes you’ve read in every other rugby biography and twists and turns them for shameless comedic benefit. Machete and The Ghost — totally made up, but by people who know and love the game of rugby enough to make all the bullshit sound entirely plausible.” (Catalogue)

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, 1) [paperback] / Adams, Lyssa Kay
“Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.” (Catalogue)

The elephant of surprise / Lansdale, Joe R.
“Hap and Leonard are an unlikely pair–Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard–a tough-as-nails Black, gay, Vietnam vet and Republican–but they’re the closest friend either of them has in the world.
On a chase that blows even the East Texas swampgrass back, Hap and Leonard must save the girl, and vanquish her foes, before the foes get them first. With a new case to solve, and a brand-new challenge to their relationship, will Hap and Leonard’s friendship survive? Will Hap and Leonard survive?” (Catalogue)

Hope never dies : a novel / Shaffer, Andrew
Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction–and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.” (Catalogue)

The grace of kings / Liu, Ken
“A wily, charismatic bandit, and the vengeance-sworn son of a deposed duke cross paths as they each lead their own rebellion against the Emperor’s brutal regime. Their unlikely friendship will drastically change the balance of power in Dara… but at what price? Emperor Mapidere was the first to unite the island kingdoms of Dara under a single banner. But now the emperor is on his deathbed, his people are exhausted by his vast, conscriptive engineering projects and his counsellors conspire only for their own gain. Even the gods themselves are restless.” (Catalogue)

Bodies of men / Featherstone, Nigel
“Egypt, 1941. Only hours after disembarking in Alexandria, William Marsh, an Australian corporal at twenty-one, is face down in the sand, caught in a stoush with the Italian enemy. He is saved by James Kelly, a childhood friend from Sydney and the last person he expected to see. But where William escapes unharmed, not all are so fortunate. When the two are reunited, James is recovering from an accident, hidden away in the home of an unusual family – a family with secrets. Together they will risk it all to find answers. Soon William and James are thrust headlong into territory more dangerous than either could have imagined.” (Catalogue)

Chances are… / Russo, Richard
One beautiful September day, three sixty-seven-year old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. They couldn’t have been more different then, or even today–Lincoln’s a commercial real estate broker, Teddy a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey a musician beyond his rockin’ age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend right here on the Vineyard in 1971. Now, forty-five years later, as this new long weekend unfolds, the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery.” (Catalogue)

Restless souls / Sheehan, Dan
“After three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, war correspondent Tom returns to Dublin a haunted shell of his former self. His childhood friends Karl and Baz know they’re laughably unqualified to help him, but are determined to see him through the darkness. Together, they embark on a journey for an unlikely cure, to an experimental Californian clinic called Restless Souls. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own. And in doing so, they must ask how their raucously funny teenage souls became weighed down – and why life got so damn complicated and sad.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverBreath / Tim Winton.
“When paramedic Bruce Pike is called out to deal with another teenage adventure gone wrong, he knows better than his colleague, better than the kid’s parents, what happened and how. Thirty years before, that dead boy could have been him.
A relentlessly gripping and deeply moving novel about the damage you do to yourself when you’re young and think you’re immortal.” (Syndetics summary)

Children’s comics that aren’t your usual

Have you traversed though all of Tintin? Been through the footnotes of Asterix? Are you just looking for something new to read? Then try one of these comics, as recommended by our librarians!

Want a superhero story with a fun twist? Try Sparks, the hero who’s actually two cats in a robot dog suit!

Do you want a comic with an interactive element? Then read Hocus Pocus, a pick-a-path adventure comic where YOU decide where the story goes!

Passionate about dinosaurs? Then check out Dinosaur Empire, an adventure through the three periods of the Age of Dinosaurs!

You can find all these books (and more!) in the Children’s Comic section of our library branches.

Sparks! / Boothby, Ian
“Sparks is a hero and man’s best friend, but nobody suspects he’s two cats! August is a brilliant inventor who is afraid of the outside. Charlie is a crack pilot who isn’t afraid of anything. Together these pals save lives every day as they pilot a powerful, mechanical dog suit!” (Adapted from catalogue)

Zeus : king of the gods / O’Connor, George
“O’Connor’s vibrant, kinetic art brings ancient tales to undeniable life, in a perfect fusion of super-hero aesthetics and ancient Greek mythology. Volume 1 of OLYMPIANS, ZEUS: King OF THE GODS, introduces readers to the ruler of the Olympian Pantheon, telling his story from his boyhood to his ascendance to supreme power.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Hocus & Pocus [1] : the legend of Grimm’s woods / Manuro
“Enter a world inspired by favorite fairy tales, complete with gingerbread houses, a girl dressed in red, and seven brothers lost in the woods. Readers can play as Hocus (a girl) or Pocus (a boy), choose a magic animal companion, and enter a colorful forest of brain-teasing riddles, magical objects, and unusual characters. Succeed or fail, it all depends on you” (Adapted from catalogue)

Dinosaur empire! : a graphic novel / Howard, Abby
“This book takes readers on a journey back in time to experience the Mesozoic Era firsthand through a riveting combination of art and factual information. This first in a three-book, middle-grade, graphic novel series centering around scientific investigations throughout time helps readers learn about the creatures of the Mesozoic Era.” (Catalogue)

Akissi : tales of mischief / Abouet, Marguerite
“Collects the adventures of Akissi, a young West African girl who is always getting into trouble.” (Catalogue)

Cucumber quest. 1, The doughnut kingdom / Gigi D. G.
“A delightfully pun-filled middle grade graphic novel, adapted from the popular web comic series, about bunny siblings on a heroic journey to save their world from an evil queen.” (Catalogue)