Reading the NZ Book Awards Longlist: Poetry

The 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards’ longlist is here! Among the forty titles are ten works of poetry, all vying for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry (won last year by Helen Heath with Are Friends Electric?).

This year’s list has a range of fantastic titles from both well-known names and emerging writers. The shortlist will be announced on March 4, so you’ve still got time to read them all, and we’ve included links to reviews so you can see how they’ve been received by critics. Who do you think should make the shortlist?

Under Glass / Kan, Gregory
“A colossal jungle. Two suns. The sea on fire. Under Glass is an ambitious new collection by one of the most exciting young poets writing today. Gregory Kan’s second book is a dialogue between a series of prose poems, following a protagonist through a mysterious and threatening landscape, and a series of verse poems, driven by the speaker’s compulsive hunger to make sense of things. This is a collection full of maps and trapdoors, labyrinths and fragmented traces.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Read a review of Gregory Kan’s Under Glass here.

Moth Hour / Kennedy, Anne
“In 1973, Anne Kennedy’s brother Philip was partying on a hillside when he accidentally fell to his death. Among books and records, Philip left a poem typed in Courier on thick, cream, letter-sized paper. Come catch me little child And put me in a jar . . . In Moth Hour, Anne Kennedy returns to the death of her brother and the world he inhabited. She grapples with the rebellious world of her brother and his friends in the 1970s; with grief and loss; with the arch of time.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Read a review of Anne Kennedy’s Moth Hour here.

ransack / ranapiri, essa may
“In ransack, essa may ranapiri addresses the difficulty of assembling and understanding a fractured, unwieldy self through an inherited language – a language whose assumptions and expectations make it inadequate for such a task. These poems seek richer, less hierarchical sets of words to describe ways of being. This immersive collection is about discovering, articulating, and defending – to oneself and to others – what it means to exist outside of the western gender binary, as takatapui.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Read a review of essa may ranapiri’s ransack here.

How to Live / Rickerby, Helen
“A new poetry collection that takes readers among ‘the unsilent women’, from Hipparchia to J. K. Rowling. ‘Women who speak have always been monstrous. That twisty sphinx, those tempting sirens; better plug your ears with wax, boys.’ Where are the female philosophers? Why are women silenced? Who can tell us how to live? In her fourth collection of poetry, Helen Rickerby takes readers on a journey into women’s writing, a quest for philosophical answers, and an investigation of poetic form.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Read a review of Helen Rickerby’s How to Live here.

Because a Woman’s Heart is Like a Needle at the Bottom of the Ocean / Wilson, Sugar Magnolia
“This is a first collection from a significant new voice in New Zealand poetry. Through fun and gore, love and monsters, Sugar Magnolia Wilson’s riveting first collection takes readers inside a world where past and present, fiction and fact, author and subject collide. Playful and yet not so sunny, these poems invite you in with extravagant and surprising imagery, only to reveal the uneasy, Frankenstein world within.” (Catalogue)

Read a review of Sugar Magnolia Wilson’s Because a Woman’s Heart is Like a Needle at the Bottom of the Ocean here.

How I Get Ready / Young, Ashleigh
“In her new poetry collection How I Get Ready, Ashleigh Young fails to learn to drive, vanishes from the fossil record, and finally finishes writing a book.” (Catalogue)

Read a review of Ashleigh Young’s How I Get Ready here.

Craven / Arthur, Jane
“Craven is an exceptional debut: Jane Arthur delights, unnerves and challenges in poems that circle both the everyday and the ineffable – piano practice, past lives, being forced onto dancefloors. This is a smart and disarming collection that traces the ever-changing forms of light and dark in our lives, and how our eyes adjust, despite ourselves, as we go along.” (Catalogue)

Listen to a review of Jane Arthur’s Craven here.

Back Before You Know / Edmond, Murray

Read a review of Murray Edmond’s Back Before You Know here.

Listening In / Edmeades, Lynley
“In this original second collection, Lynley Edmeades turns her attention to ideas of sound, listening and speech. Listening In is full of the verbal play and linguistic experimentation that characterised her first collection, but it also shows the poet pushing the form into new territories. Her poems show, often sardonically, how language can be undermined: linguistic registers are rife with uncertainties, ambiguities and accidental comedy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Read a review of Lynley Edmeades’ Listening In here.

Lay Studies / Toussaint, Steven
“In Lay Studies, Steven Toussaint conducts an impressive range of lyric inventions, pitching his poems to that precarious interval between love and rage. With great skill and compassion, he depicts scenes of domestic life in his adopted home of New Zealand, a transient year of religious and artistic soul-searching in the United Kingdom, and a growing sense of dislocation from his native United States in the Trump era.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Read a review of Steven Toussaint’s Lay Studies here.

Reading the NZ Book Awards Longlist: Fiction

The longlist for the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards has been announced, with 40 books nominated across four categories: fiction, poetry, illustrated non-fiction and general non-fiction. Now it’s up to the judges to decide who makes the shortlist, which means a lot of reading and re-reading and note-taking and interesting and (possibly) heated discussions.

Sound like your kind of thing? Then why not join the judges by reading your way through the longlisted fiction below (for poetry titles click here, and general non-fiction titles, click here). The shortlist is announced on March 4, so you’ve still got time! Perhaps take some leave, sneak off to a dark corner of the office, maybe barricade the front door of your house–and get reading!

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)

Necessary secrets / McGee, Greg
“Spanning the four seasons of a year, Necessary Secrets tells the story of Dennis (Den) Sparks and his three adult children. Starting with Den contemplating his mortality on the day of his 70th birthday, the year ahead is told from four different points of view. A searing picture of NZ society today, the family deals with love, loss, financial struggles, drugs, domestic violence, and all the issues that Kiwis deal with daily. McGee turns a spotlight on the social issues of New Zealanders while making for an entertaining read.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow.” (Adapted from 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)

Pearly Gates : a novel / Marshall, Owen
“Pat `Pearly’ Gates has achieved a lot in his life and evinces considerable satisfaction in his achievements. He has a reputation as a former Otago rugby player and believes he would have been an All Black but for sporting injuries. He runs a successful real-estate agency in a provincial South Island town, of which he is the second-term mayor. Popular, happily married, well established, he cuts an impressive figure, especially in his own eyes. But will his pride and complacency come before a fall?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Attraction / Porter, Ruby
“Winner of the inaugural Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel, Ruby Porter is an exciting new voice in New Zealand literature. The present reckons with the past in Attraction. Porter’s unnamed narrator is on a road trip across New Zealand with her friends Ashi and Ilana, haunted by the specter of her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, her complicated family background and New Zealand’s colonial history. Jealousies intensify as the young women work out who they are and who they might become.” (Catalogue)

A 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. ‘A Mistake is a masterpiece which feels more like a body than a book – the life pumps and glugs and flexes inside its pages.’ — Pip Adam” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Halibut on the moon / Vann, David
“Middle-aged and deeply depressed, Jim arrives in California from Alaska and surrenders himself to the care of his brother Gary. Swinging from manic highs to extreme lows, Jim wanders ghost-like through the remains of his old life attempting to find meaning. As sessions with his therapist become increasingly combative and his connections to others seem ever more tenuous, Jim is propelled forward by his thoughts, which have the potential to lead him, despairingly, to his end.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lonely Asian woman / Lam, Sharon
“In the shallows of the internet Paula is pushed to a moment of profound realisation: she, too, is but a lonely Asian woman looking for fun. Lonely Asian Woman is a wildly sentimental book about a life populated by doubles and transient friends, whirrs of off-kilter bathroom fans and divinatory whiffs of chlorine.” (Catalogue)

Loving Sylvie / Smither, Elizabeth
“A sensual, witty novel that weaves together the stories of three women, beautifully written by one of our most clever wordsmiths. Elizabeth Smither takes us into the richly imagined worlds of three women, written with such beautifully deft skill as to make them vivid and alive.” (Catalogue)

Fiction Highlights for 2020!

The future is there… looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become.
― William Gibson, Pattern Recognition

With 2020 well under way and publishers and authors already clambering to hype up their next big book, what better time to look at just a few of the fiction titles we’re excited about reading in 2020.

January

First up in January, the sci-fi prophet William Gibson gives us Agency, a tale of an alternative future in which Hillary Clinton is in the White House and Brexit never occurred. His previous works include the seminal Neuromancer, the 1984 book that popularised the idea of cyberspace:


Agency / Gibson, William
“Verity Jane takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. “Eunice,” the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her employers don’t know how powerful Eunice is, Verity decides that it’s best they don’t. Meanwhile, a century ahead in London, in a different time line entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Neuromancer / Gibson, William
“The pioneering cyberpunk novel that predicted our obsession with the Internet. Henry Dorsett Case was the sharpest data-thief in the Matrix, until an ex-employer crippled his nervous system. Now a new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run against an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence. With a mirror-eyed girl street-samurai riding shotgun, he’s ready for a silicon-quick, bleakly prophetic adventure.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also in January there is a new novella from the master of spy thrillers Mick Herron titled The Catch. Previous works also include:

Spook street / Herron, Mick
“Twenty years retired, David Cartwright can still spot when the stoats are on his trail. Jackson Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day. He knows better than most that this is no vulnerable old man. ‘The old bastard’ has raised his grandson with a head full of guts and glory. But far from joining the myths and legends of Spook Street, River Cartwright is consigned to Lamb’s team of pen-pushing no-hopers. So it’s Lamb they call to identify the body when Cartwright’s panic button raises the alarm at Service HQ.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

March

March sees the release of Hilary Mantel’s conclusion to her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, and the book we think will be the biggest title of 2020: The Mirror and the Light. Will she win the Booker for a record breaking third time? We’ll need to wait and see. Previous books include the award-winning:

Bring up the bodies / Mantel, Hilary
“Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also in March we have Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, in which O’Farrell imagines the story behind Shakespeare’s most famous play. Previous books include:

The vanishing act of Esme Lennox / O’Farrell, Maggie
“In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’s attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital—where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years. Iris’s grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme’s papers prove she is Kitty’s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme’s face.” (Catalogue)

And rounding off March is Hugo Award-winning N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became, a story about an ancient evil threatening New York. We’re huge fans of her previous books and are really excited about her latest offering. One of  Jemisin’s previous Hugo winning works is:

The stone sky / Jemisin, N. K
“The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.  Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.  For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

April

April sees the release of perennial favourite Anne Tyler’s latest work, called Redhead by the Side of the Road. Previous favourites by Anne Tyler include:

A spool of blue thread : a novel / Tyler, Anne
“‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father.” (Catalogue)

May

In May 2020 Roddy Doyle has a new novel released called Simply Love, in which some old friends consider youthful love and life during a Dublin pub crawl. Previous works include:

The guts / Doyle, Roddy
“You bet Jimmy Rabbitte has guts. In the 1980s, he aspired to bringing soul music to Dublin by forming a band called the Commitments, a rough-and-ready bunch whose escapades figured in Doyle’s eponymous debut novel. Decades later, undone by a cancer diagnosis, Jimmy journeys to the past to reunite with Commitments guitarist Liam “Outspan” Foster and eye-catching backup vocalist Imelda Quirk, as well as a long-lost brother. And he learns to love being a father again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

There is also Scottish crime writer Denise Mina’s latest dark and powerful crime novel The Less Dead which centres around real life murders of sex workers in Glasgow in the 1980s. Previous books include:

The red road / Mina, Denise
“Police detective Alex Morrow has met plenty of unsavory characters in her line of work, but arms dealer Mark Lynch ranks among the most brutal and damaged. Morrow is serving as a witness in Lynch’s trial, where the case hinges on his fingerprints found on the guns he sells. But when the investigation leads to a privileged Scottish lawyer who’s expecting to be assassinated after a money laundering scheme goes bad, Morrow has her hands full.” (Catalogue)

September

It has been 16 years since the release of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, however in September Susanna Clarke releases Piranesi. Expect another beautifully written otherworldly fantasy.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell / Clarke, Susanna
“Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

September also sees the very welcome return of  John Irving. His latest novel is billed as a ghost story about a mother and son called Darkness as a Bride. Previous John Irving books include:

Avenue of mysteries / Irving, John
“An older man named Juan Diego takes a trip to the Philippines, but he’s really thinking about his early years in Mexico, the dreams that pushed his life forward, and the memories that define his life now. Were the events he recalls inevitable? Says the author, “An aura of fate had marked him. The chain of events, the links in our lives–what leads us where we’re going, the courses we follow to our ends, what we don’t see coming, and what we do–all this can be mysterious, or simply unseen, or even obvious.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

There are also new novels out by Anne Enright, Graham Swift, Rose Tremain, Richard Ford, David Peace, Sebastian Barry, Elena Ferrante, Matthew Kneale and David Mitchell in 2020 to name but a few, but our final pick of new titles for this selection is Nick Hornby’s latest bittersweet novel about opposites attracting called Just Like You due out in September. Previous Nick Hornby novels include:

Funny girl / Hornby, Nick
“It’s the swinging 60s and the nation is mesmerized by unlikely comedy star Sophie Straw, the former Blackpool beauty queen. But when the script begins to get a bit too close to home, and life starts imitating art, they all face a choice. The writers, Tony and Bill, comedy obsessives, each harbour a secret. The male star Clive feels he’s destined for better things. And Sophie Straw, who’s changed her name and abandoned her old life, must decide whether to keep going, or change the channel.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New items for Cars and Transport

Our first book is an autobiography by a top young New Zealand rally driver. Our pick for this month also include Really? a collection of Jeremy Clarkson’s motoring journalism; The World’s Great Rail JourneysAutopia is the essential guide to the future of our greatest invention, the car; and Supercars which is a celebration of the Supercar in all its glory. Enjoy!

Driven / Paddon, Hayden
“Hayden Paddon was just a boy growing up in Geraldine – in love with driving and dreaming big. Starting with nothing, and determined to beat the odds, he set out on a phenomenal 20-year pathway to the World Rally Championship, where he footed it with the best rally drivers on the planet. But it didn’t come easy. In Driven, Paddon details the many highs and lows along his road to the top. Driven is a mile-a-minute autobiography that celebrates self-belief, hard work and turning dreams into reality.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Really? / Clarkson, Jeremy
“From his first job as a travelling sales rep selling Paddington Bears to his latest incarnation as gentleman farmer, Jeremy Clarkson’s love of cars has seen him through some deeply trying times. And in a world so persistently infuriating there’s sometimes nothing for it but to throw up your hands and ride full-throttle over the speed-bumps. Fuelled by hi-octane enthusiasm and irrepressible curiosity, he’s put his foot down again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The world’s great rail journeys : 50 of the most spectacular, luxurious, unusual and exhilarating routes across the globe / Solomon, Brian
“A portrait in words and photographs of over 50 of the world’s most exciting, unusual and exotic railway journeys, including North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The World’s Great Rail Journeys is perfect for all railway enthusiasts, whether actual or armchair travellers.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Autopia : the future of cars / Bentley, Jon
“Cars are one of the most significant human creations. They changed our cities. They changed our lives. They changed everything. But in the next thirty years, this technology will itself change enormously. If Google get their way, are we all going to be ferried around in tiny electric bubble-cars? Or will we watch robots race a bionic Lewis Hamilton? And what about the future of classic cars? Fully designed with illustrations and photographs, this will be the perfect Christmas gift for car and technology enthusiasts everywhere.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Supercars
“Supercars are the purest and most extreme expression of automotive performance there is – and no one knows their supercars more than the Top Gear Magazine team. From the stylish curves and cutting-edge technology to the absurd power and baffling price-tags, this book is a celebration of the Supercar in all its glory. With all new selections including electric supercars, the stunning full-colour photography and hair-raising visuals will take you under the hood of the fastest, and most ridiculous cars on the planet. This is Top Gear Ultimate Supercars. Buckle up. Are you ready?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Goals, resolutions, and learning at Arapaki in 2020

2019 has been a year of big changes for us here at Wellington City Libraries. Our first library in the CBD network following Central’s closure opened up in Manners Street in June and it’s been all a-go. The team here at Arapaki Manners Library thought the best way to reflect on our crazy year would be to get excited and set some goals for 2020.

We’ve asked our team to share some of their New Year’s resolutions and highlight their go-to resources in our collection that will help them make their 2020 dreams come true! Maybe you have some resolutions in mind already or maybe you can take some inspiration from the team.


Will:
“My resolution for the new year is to learn more about our history prior to the 1950’s – as a history student, it’s pretty imperative! Specifically, I want to engage more with the history of our colonisation and with how that history is being represented today. With that in mind, my 2020 resolutions book is Tina Ngata’s crucial work critiquing Tuia 250, Kia Mau: Resisting Colonial Fictions. In it, she analyses the government’s decision to ‘commemorate’ the ‘encounter’ that was the arrival of Captain Cook on these shores, exposing perpetuated falsehoods around our history and encouraging all of us to commit to the ongoing work of coming to terms with colonisation – both in our history, and in our present.”

Kia mau : resisting colonial fictions / Ngata, Tina
“This book is a compilation of essays written by Tina Ngata about New Zealand’s TUIA250 Commemorations of James Cook’s voyages to New Zealand and the Pacific. She discusses Cook’s voyage as a military deployment, the influence of the Doctrine of Discovery, the specific spots of Cook’s crimes in NZ, the participation of Māori in the commemorations and the inappropriateness of a settler government centring the story of invasion and colonisation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Joseph:
“2020 is destined to be my year of textures. Despite issuing this book previously, and it sitting unopened in my staff-room locker, this year I am knuckling down and escalating my dreams of becoming embroiled in embroidery. Flowers, bees, paisley & patterns!”

Boho embroidery : modern projects from traditional stitches / Vogelsinger, Nichole
“Hello, embroidery. Meet textile art. Let’s talk about the time when embroidery and textile art met… they formed a unique pairing of modern, chic design using traditional methods. Author Nichole Vogelsinger introduced these two mediums to each other, creating an entirely new way to play with needle, thread and fabric.” (Catalogue)

Tessa:
“In 2020 my resolution is to eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. I know that reducing my intake of dairy and meat is a positive way to help reduce carbon emissions, and while i’m not ready to completely commit to becoming fully vegetarian or vegan, I do want to start thinking of meat as a sometimes food rather than the main event at every dinner. One quick search through the cookbooks at Arapaki and I’ve found piles of delicious, colourful vegetarian and vegan recipes to try throughout the year, as excellent sign that this might be a resolution that I can actually stick to!”

The flexible vegetarian / Pratt, Jo
Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, you’ll find this book filled with delicious and practical flexitarian recipes for every lifestyle.” (Catalogue)

Jo:
“My 2020 resolution is simple – pat more dogs. This is a beautiful book which has trapped many a librarian at Arapaki – whenever it gets returned it always manages to linger in our workroom longer than strictly necessary. ‘From a Labrador that likes opera to a kleptomaniac miniature groodle, and a loveable one eyed Jack Russel to a farting bulldog…’ What’s not to love?”

The year of the dogs / Musi, Vincent J
“As a National Geographic photographer, Vince Musi travelled the world to photograph lions, tigers and bears. All that changed when he decided to open a hometown studio to photograph dogs. His stunning portraits are matched with witty ‘dogographies’ and a comic blend of Vince’s own personal stories. Now, for the first time, The Year of the Dogs brings together this eccentric cast of characters in one volume, doggone guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who loves animals.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Petra:
“2020 will be the year I travel the world, experiencing different cultures, customs, and perspectives through books. I want to make my way through the library’s wide and varied collection of translated fiction, starting in Japan. I am particularly intrigued by Hiro Arikawa’s novel, The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

Who knows where my armchair travels will take me next?
Wherever it is, I hope there are more cats.”

The travelling cat chronicles / Arikawa, Hiro
“With simple yet descriptive prose, this novel gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru’s longtime friends. Or so Nana is led to believe . . . With his crooked tail–a sign of good fortune–and adventurous spirit, Nana is the perfect companion for the man who took him in as a stray. And as they travel in a silver van across Japan, with its ever-changing scenery and seasons, they will learn the true meaning of courage and gratitude, of loyalty and love.” (Catalogue)

Moshi Moshi / Yoshimoto, Banana
“In Moshi-Moshi, Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gus:
“For Christmas, my mum’s partner bought the whole family a ukelele each. I’m a music fan, but I’ve never had any real aspiration to learn how to play music. Now that I’ve had an instrument thrust upon me, I’ve decided to make my New Year’s resolution to learn to play the ukelele and to have at least three songs down perfectly by the end of the year. So far i’m only up to the first two notes of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but hey, it’s a start!”

Learn to play the ukulele : a simple and fun guide for complete beginners / Plant, Bill
“This book will teach you basic playing techniques for the ukulele. No prior musical experience is assumed. You will learn how to hold the instrument, position the hands, strumming techniques, basic chords and beyond. Music theory is included, but the emphasis is on getting up to speed and on with the fun of playing quickly.” (Catalogue)

Amelia:
I te tau 2020, kei te pīrangi au ki whakapai i tāku reo Māori. In 2018 and 2019 I took a few Māori classes but, of course, with learning a language lots of practise is key and sometimes life can get in the way. My goal for 2020 is to continue my reo journey and improve my ability to read, write, and speak our indigenous language.

Māori made easy : for everyday learners of the Māori language. Workbook/Kete 1 / Morrison, Scotty
“Fun, user-friendly and relevant to modern readers, Scotty Morrison’s Maori Made Easy workbook series is the ultimate resource for anyone wanting to learn the basics of the Maori language. By committing just 30 minutes a day for 30 weeks, learners will adopt the language easily and as best suits their busy lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te anuhe tino hiakai / Carle, Eric
“With the same beautiful illustrations and dye cut pages as the original book, the te reo Maori translation retains the humour and quirky character of the little caterpillar and simplicity of the story.” (Catalogue)

Home Fires: Books that Defined a Decade

I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.  — Ta-Nehisi Coates

How do you define a decade–especially one like the 2010s? The past ten years have contained so many political and economic shifts, so many changes in technology and language and beliefs that it seems impossible to sum it all up without leaving out someone–or something–of critical importance. It’s the same when trying to make a list of the decade’s best books: there are so many fantastic titles, so much variety, that twenty works can never do it justice.

Instead, the selection of books below is just one path through the fiction and non-fiction of the past ten years. It has stories of the Great Migration; stories about girls made of sticks; stories of religion (both real and more squiddy); stories of science and history and what’s still to come. So choose a year, choose a book and venture back in time into the strangely familiar world of 2010-2019.

(For more options, check out our alternative Best Books of the Decade, Librarians’ Choice Fiction or Librarians’ Choice Non-Fiction booklists for 2019!)

2010

Kraken / Miéville, China
“Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears? A dark urban fantasy thriller from one of the all-time masters of the genre. Mieville has won the British Fantasy Award (twice), the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times), and the Locus Award (four times).” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The warmth of other suns : the epic story of America’s great migration / Wilkerson, Isabel
“From 1915 to 1970, the exodus of almost six million black citizens changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2011

A visit from the Goon Squad / Egan, Jennifer
“Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

In the garden of beasts : love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s Berlin / Larson, Erik
“Berlin, 1933. William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany. The ambassador has little choice but to associate with key figures in the Nazi party, and his increasingly concerned cables make little impact on an indifferent US State Department. Meanwhile his daughter is drawn to the young men of the Third Reich, and has a succession of affairs with senior party players…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2012

The testament of Mary / Tóibín, Colm
“Toibin’s Mary is nothing like you’d expect, especially if your religious views run to the traditional. She doesn’t think Jesus was the Son of God, that his death had any significance, and that the motley men surrounding him (her “keepers” now) are holy disciples. She also blames herself for abandoning her son on the Cross to save her own life. In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief.” (Adapetd from the Catalogue)

Names for the sea : strangers in Iceland / Moss, Sarah
“Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2013

The luminaries / Catton, Eleanor
“It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand’s booming gold rush. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: a wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous cache of gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Going clear : Scientology, Hollywood, and the prison of belief / Wright, Lawrence
“Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. At the book’s centre, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: L. Ron Hubbard and his successor, David Miscavige.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2014

Cuckoo song / Hardinge, Frances
“When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. A breathtakingly dark and twisted tale from award-winning author Frances Hardinge.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The sixth extinction : an unnatural history / Kolbert, Elizabeth
“Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. But this time around, the cataclysm is us… The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2015

A manual for cleaning women : selected stories / Berlin, Lucia
A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Between the world and me / Coates, Ta-Nehisi
“Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men–bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this history? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2016

The vegetarian : a novel / Han, Kang
“Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people, but their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian. In South Korea, where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision is an act of subversion. Her rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre forms, leading her bland husband to acts of sexual sadism. His cruelties drive her towards attempted suicide and hospitalisation, spiralling her further into fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming–impossibly, ecstatically–a tree.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

How to survive a plague : the story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS / France, David
“This is the story of the men and women who, watching their friends and lovers fall, ignored by the nation at large, and confronted with hatred, chose to fight for their right to live. With unparalleled access, David France illuminates the lives of extraordinary characters, including the closeted Wall Street trader-turned-activist; the high school dropout; the South African physician and the public relations executive.” (Adapetd from the Catalogue)

2017

Home fire / Shamsie, Kamila
“Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can ‘t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London or their brother, Parvaiz, who ‘s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles ‘ Antigone, Home Fire is a compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Driving to Treblinka : a long search for a lost father / Wichtel, Diana
“Diana Wichtel was born in Vancouver. Her mother was a New Zealander, her father a Polish Jew who had jumped off a train to the Treblinka death camp. When Diana was 13 she moved to New Zealand with her mother, sister and brother. Her father was to follow. Diana never saw him again. Many years later she sets out to discover what happened to him. This unforgettable narrative is  a reflection on the meaning of family, the trauma of loss, and the insistence of memory.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2018

Convenience store woman / Murata, Sayaka
“Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction–many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual–and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Fire and fury : inside the Trump White House / Wolff, Michael
“With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the world has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

2019

Black leopard, red wolf / James, Marlon
“Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter – and he always works alone. But when he is engaged to find a child who disappeared three years ago, he must break his own rules, joining a group of eight very different mercenaries working together to find the boy. Drawing from vivid African history and mythology, Marlon James weaves a saga of breathtaking adventure and powerful intrigue – a mesmerising, unique meditation on the nature of truth and power.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

This land is our land : an immigrant’s manifesto / Mehta, Suketu
“There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Easy to make Craft Projects for our Young Readers!

Find easy to make craft projects to inspire both you and your children and have fun crafting together. Enjoy!


Low-mess crafts for kids : 72 projects to create your own magical worlds / Chapman, Debbie
“Messy crafts have met their match with these 72 creations that keep out the clutter and mess but pack in the fun and creativity. With tricks like twisting pipe cleaners into fun shapes to avoid glue and using brightly colored cups and patterned paper to avoid paint, keeping it simple doesn’t mean play time has to be less fun. Low-Mess Crafts for Kids brings parents and caretakers solutions to the craft time conundrum.” (adapted from Catalogue)

100 things to recycle and make / Hayes, Fiona
100 Things to Recycle and Make brings together the most popular projects from the Crafty Makes series, using everyday objects to create an amazing range of crafty makes. Children will be entertained for hours with this invaluable collection of crafty makes, and even the whole family can be involved in recycling everyday objects and turning them into exciting projects.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Needle felting : 20 cute projects to felt from wool / Herian, Emma
“Unlike many crafts, needle felting is very forgiving to beginners, so there’s no excuse not to give it a shot. No matter how much experience you have in crafts or how creative you think you are, needle felting offers endless possibilities. Relax into it, have a go and see where it takes you.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Finger knitting for kids : super cute & easy things to make / Teranishi, Eriko
“Now kids can create their very own knitted accessories! This book provides easy-to-follow instructions for 15 fun knitting projects for kids. With a wide range of projects, interests and skill levels throughout the book, crafty kids 5-12 will be making original knitted creations in no time! Lessons on making and adding embellishments like pompoms, tassels and loops introduce kids to the wonderful world of yarn crafting. ” (adapted from Catalogue)

When Doves Craft : Ten Projects Inspired by the Artist / Insight Editions (COR)
“Combining the artistry of Prince with the fun of crafting, this delightful book celebrates the artist’s biggest hits in ten step-by-step projects. When Doves Craft is ideal for beginner crafters as well as those looking for something completely unique. Including inspirational quotes and facts about Prince, it is a perfect tribute to the most creative artist of them all.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Around the world craft & design book / Eaton, Kait
“Discover, draw and design cultural artifacts from around the world with this fun and creative activity book. Lonely Planet Kids’ Around the World Craft & Design Book contains a mix of exciting projects that can be made from common household items. Colorful illustrations, photos and fun facts introduce young artists to different cultures and encourage them to create and showcase their unique designs. We want to inspire the next generation of global citizens and help kids and their parents to approach life in a way that makes every day an adventure. Come explore” (adapted from Catalogue)

Cloth / Llimós Plomer, Anna
“Guaranteed to spark children’s imagination, this book shows how easy it is to make a wide range of whimsical cloth objects using commonly available fabrics such as wool, felt, burlap, and cleaning cloths. In five easy steps, kids will have fun crafting everything from a three-dimensional dog, to a marionette, pompom keychain, and textile collage. These experiments in color, texture, and shape will provide hours of hands-on entertainment.” (Catalogue)

New Zines!

The last Zinefest in November was the biggest one to be held in Wellington so far. In addition to opening night festivities, the marketplace ran over two days at Te Auaha, with different stallholders on both days.

Zinefests in Wellington are normally held twice a year, and Wellington City Libraries always attends if possible. Most of our lending zine collection is bought at the marketplace. So where can you find zines now that the Central Library is closed? Our new zines are being added to Newtown Library’s collection. A collection has been based there for a while now, and Newtown is now the main source of lending zines for Wellington Library borrowers. So pop-in to Newtown to browse and borrow!

Here are some selected highlights from the November Wellington Zinefest, which will be available on Newtown Library’s shelves:

“Overcommunicate” is self-described as a “magazine for LGBTQIA+ women, non-binary folk, and friends.” Written by a variety of contributors, it is a collection of art, writing, and poetry. We have Issues 1 and 2 available to borrow.

The Crispin series. This is a set of four little zines about Crispin, a yellow, smiley-faced blob who goes on a series of adventures including: “Crispin goes fishing”, “Crispin has a series of close shaves”, “Crispin in Monday’s child”, and the “Beginners guide to drawing Crispin.” Each one is hand-coloured by the artist.

Three new zines by Willow Scarlett. Artist, writer, and learner of Latin, Scarlett has created three beautifully produced zines that combine art and writing. Their first, “Gutter Flowers volume 1” is an A5 sized, stitch-bound, black-matte covered zine with raised gold lettering. Inside are full-colour illustrations with more raised, textured lettering. The other two are A6 in size: “blood stained stairs”, and “death and beautiful illusions.” Both are short horror stories printed on thick red paper, and stitched together with gold thread.

Our final new zine was not bought at the zinefest, but was sent to us as a donation from Newtown School. It is called “Kids Write: A journal publishing awesome authors and artists.” We have Issue 1, which was produced in Term 3 of 2019. It features illustrations and writing from children aged 5 – 11.

The best of BBC audiobooks on Libby and OverDrive

In case you didn’t know, the BBC continues to add provocative, clever, funny shows on their various radio stations, only to then combine these complete seasons of unique, mostly-excellent content as audio books.

Over the last few years, we’ve added many of these daring, unique series on our OverDrive website, ready to be devoured in long and short sittings, or passively enjoyed whilst pruning the roses, and washing the car.

Below are recent BBC audio book favourites assembled to represent the many facets of the BBC comedy-template – original ghostly comic-dramas, expertly acted mockumentaries, intricately plotted true-life one-woman shows, panel shows devoted to the strange, curious and hilarious and small town comedy-monologues that reveal a regions very heart and soul.

Read further for brief reviews of these BBC-faves – good listening!

Overdrive cover The Hauntening, Tom Neenan (Audiobook)
Comic writer, Tom Neenan has authored a truly original combination of modern comic sitcom and Black Mirror-lite supernatural scenario. Demonic fridges threaten, dating apps haunt suddenly, and podcasts are inhabited by murderous spirits. Neenan adopts an awkward, self-obsessed persona lending an underlying vulnerability to spooky proceedings whilst the accomplished production is full of effective sound effects, ambience and sharp jokes. Expect the odd genuine scare, but more often a deep satisfying belly laugh.

Overdrive cover Sarah Kendall–Australian Tales, Sarah Kendall (Audiobook)
Each one of Kendall’s Australian Tales is a complete and compelling story in its own right, but all the tales together represent a significant achievement of comic-tragic story telling. Each tale leaps backwards and forwards and time, challenging your attention and grabbing it at the same time, whilst remembering difficult teenage years, ongoing family tensions and those awkward yet unforgettable moments that create change and form identity. Kendall’s natural, funny narration is suited to the candid subject matter, providing carefully judged pathos and comic timing to proceedings. Winner of the 2018 Writers’ Guild Award for Best radio Comedy and the Silver Aria Award for Best Storytelling.

‘A mini masterpiece of tragicomic storytelling’ **** – The Times.

Overdrive cover Alex Horne Presents the Horne Section, The Complete Series 1-3, Alex Horne (Audiobook)
Famously partly responsible for TV series Taskmaster and classy intermissions on 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Alex Horne and the Horne Section also produced silly, brilliantly played musical radio comedy shows through 2012 – 2014. The complete series is frantically performed in front of a receptive studio audience, also starring special comedy guests like Nick Helm, Sara Pascoe and Matt Lucas. Song titles include ‘Ode To Tash’s Fashion Sense,’ ‘Those were the days (of the week)’ and ‘Battleships! theme song.’ Expect hours of punishing puns, hit-and-miss novelty songs and surprisingly competent musicality.

Overdrive cover Susan Calman–Keep Calman Carry On, Susan Calman (Audiobook)
‘My name is Susan Calman and I am a very tense person.’ So begins episode one of Keep Calman carry on. Susan Calman then begins to find some way to cope with her tension through trying something new, designed to distract, help unwind and relax. Whether through viewing art with Phill Jupitus, gardening with Val McDermid, visiting a music festival with Robin Ince or hill walking with Muriel Gray, Calman gamely and enthusiastically embraces new experiences with an open spirit and genuineness, unrelated to conventional ideas of success and failure. In this case, if you try, you succeed. Listening to this excellent series may make you want to be a better person.

Overdrive cover The Museum of Curiosity–Series 9-12, John Lloyd (Audiobook)
Now well into its tenth year, The Museum of Curiosity has become a reliable and ingenious mainstay of the UK comedy radio scene. Through 14 series, famed comedy producer John Lloyd has hosted comedians, historians, scientists, politicians and more from across the world in a compelling chat show devoted to the quirky, unusual and surprising. Each season is hosted by Lloyd with a different comedian including Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Sean Lock, Sarah Millican and each episode introduces three new guests willing to add a virtual exhibition to the ever-growing curious museum of oddities. Each season is renewed by its new comedian co-host and the list of carefully chosen guests provide an old-school intelligence and fresh chemistry to proceedings – a series built to last.

Overdrive cover Mark Steel’s In Town–Series 7 & 8, Mark Steel (Audiobook)
Everyone lives in a small town, in one way or another and Mark Steel’s warm evocation of village, seaside and country life has become a portrait of enduring everyday strangeness. From rampant goats and peacocks over-running small holdings, to inland ‘seaside’ towns with identity crises, Steel identifies cultural quirks whilst warmly roasting the expectant helpless towns he visits. The best episodes involve the towns-folk themselves questioning Steels humourous, often honest observations (and biases) on the Loch Ness monster, Hepton Bridge or Matlock Bath. The many episodes of Mark Steel’s in Town combined almost equate to a complete life-time of observations, worth experiencing.

More BBC Audiobooks well worth listening to!

Overdrive cover It’s a Fair Cop–Series 1-3, Alfie Moore (Audiobook)
Ever wondered what sort of a police officer you might make? Alfie Moore spent eighteen years on the Humberside police force before turning to stand-up comedy. In each episode of this live stand up show, he takes his audience through a scenario based on a real life case, and tasks them with deciding how they would have acted in the circumstances.

“Brilliantly funny, genuinely hilarious” – David Mitchell

(adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Incredible Women, Series 1-6, Rebecca Front (Audiobook)
Rebecca Front and Jeremy Front star in this series of spoof documentaries looking at the lives of some extraordinary and unforgettable characters. We meet some truly remarkable women, such as controversial children’s writer and wolf enthusiast Eleanor Fane-Gore; ‘Media Integrity Czar’ Valerie Panther; MI5 whistle-blower Helen McKee; fashion guru Tish Watts; child star Mandy Fenwick; Irina Stonkus, soon to be the first woman on Mars; and National Treasure Dame Cicely Leyland.

‘This is not just good, it’s excellent and shows that quality writing can transform radio comedy into something that’s laugh-out-loud funny.’ Radio Times

(adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Tim Key’s Late Night Poetry Programme–The Complete Series 1-4, Tim Key (Audiobook)
Ever wondered just how much of life you can understand through poetry? Tim Key is never far from stage and screen – from Peep Show to Alpha Papa to Taskmaster. But now he’s back doing what he does best – attempting to recite poetry whilst tormenting his friend and musician, the equally brilliant, and long suffering, Tom Basden. From ruminating on the meaning of family via his narrative poem The Godfather, attempting to get to the bottom of death via his poem The Boy Who Faked His Own Death, and also organising an impromptu stag party, Tim Key uses poetry to help him understand every situation.

‘In any other sphere apart from comedy, we’d probably class this way of looking at the world as certifiable. Here it feels like genius.’ The Telegraph

(adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Infinite Monkey Cage, Series 6-9, Brian Cox (Audiobook)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince present a witty, irreverent look at the world according to science. The Infinite Monkey Cage has become one of BBC Radio 4’s most popular science based programmes. In each episode physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince delve into a particular field of science, with the help of guests from the worlds of science, academia and entertainment.

(adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover It’s Not What You Know, Series 1-3, BBC Radio Comedy (Audiobook)
What would Jonathan Agnew do if he wasn’t a cricket commentator? Who would play Romesh Ranganathan in a film of his life? What’s the naughtiest thing Sara Pascoe did as a child? It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters… and indeed, how well you know them. The show is a bit like ‘Mr and Mrs’, except that it’s not played by husbands and wives. Instead, panellists can pick anyone they like: dad, cousin, best friend, mother-in-law. All these burning questions, and more, will be answered in this BBC comedy panel show hosted by Miles Jupp, and Joe Lycett where panellists are tested on how well they know their nearest and dearest.

(adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover My Teenage Diary, Various (Audiobook)
Forty-five episodes from Series 1-8 of the Sony Award-winning BBC Radio comedy show, hosted by Rufus Hound

(adapted from Overdrive description)

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)