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

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

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

The Fiction Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afrofuturism – the future won’t write itself

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

(From Book Riot)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Moore! Alan Moore announces his retirement from the graphic novel world

None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME. ― Alan Moore, Watchmen

Legendary, iconic, genre-breaking and redefining graphic novelist Alan Moore has just announced he will do one last graphic novel before he retires – the final installment of his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series.

His works have attracted in turn rapturous praise and acclaim, as well as controversy and outrage. Works such as his Swamp Man series, V for Vendetta, Watchman and arguably his masterwork The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have no doubt revolutionised the graphic novel genre elevating it to the lofty position of high serious art.

His uncompromisingly brutal, honest and occasionally explicit approach to his work has gained him a huge legion of fans but has often put his works in conflict with more conservative reviewers and authorities. A self-confessed anarchist, his V for Vendetta masked protagonist has been widely adopted by activists in various protest movements.

He started his career writing Future Shocks for 2000AD before being head hunted by DC Comics where he chose to write for one of their lesser known characters Swamp Thing, turning it into a masterpiece about ecology and humanity way beyond the original confines of the character. What followed was a remarkable list of ground breaking works such as Batman: the Killing Joke, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Providence, Neonomicon, From Hell and Promethea to name but a few.

It is beyond doubt that his influence on the graphic novel world and on culture and society beyond those confines has been substantial.


The complete Alan Moore Future shocks / Moore, Alan
“The entire run of short stories created for 2000 AD by the most celebrated author in comics history, Alan Moore. Each one is like a small episode of the Twilight Zone. For the Future Shocks series of short stories with a twist ending, Alan Moore created some of his most exciting, memorable and explicitly entertaining work. Also featured in this collection are his short Time Twister tales – including the famous and poignant story The Reversible Man where one man’s life is told in reverse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Providence. Act 1 / Moore, Alan
“Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other, unparalleled in tone and content, and a true must have addition to his essential works in the field.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore (ebook)
“This is the unforgettable work that forever changed Batman’s world, adding a new element of darkness with its unflinching portrayal of The Joker’s twisted psyche. Writer Alan Moore, acclaimed author of WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA, offers his take on the disturbing relationship between The Dark Knight and his greatest foe. The Clown Prince of Crime has never been more ruthless than in this brutal tale.” (Overdrive description)

Watchmen / Moore, Alan
“Exceptional graphic artwork brings to life the story of the Watchmen as they race against time to find a killer, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book two / Moore, Alan
“Created out of the swamp by a freak accident, Swamp Thing is an elemental creature who uses the forces of nature and wisdom of the plant kingdom to fight the polluted world’s self-destruction. Alan Moore took the Swamp Thing to new heights in the 1980s with his unique narrative approach. His provocative and groundbreaking writing, combined with masterly artwork by some of the medium’s top artists, made SWAMP THING one of the great comics of the late twentieth century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Volume I, 1898 / Moore, Alan
“The Victorian Era draws to a close and the twentieth century approaches. It is a time of great change and an age of stagnation, a period of chaste order and ignoble chaos. It is an era in need of champions. In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover V for Vendetta, Alan Moore (ebook)
“A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet. In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything, comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts in this gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Chain Reaction: Complete Series 5, BBC (Audiobook)
Chain Reaction is the entertaining BBC Radio 4 tag talk show where this week’s guest is next week’s interviewer. Famous names from the world of show business choose who they would like to chat to, and must submit to being questioned in their turn the week after. In this fifth series, guests (and hosts) include Jenny Éclair, Jimmy Carr, Matt Lucas, Johnny Vegas, Stewart Lee, Alan Moore and Brian Eno.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Infinite Monkey Cage, Series 2, Brian Cox (Audiobook)
“The second series of the Sony Radio Academy Gold Award-winning BBC Radio 4 show in which physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince take a witty, irreverent and unashamedly rational look at the world according to science. Episode 3 sees special guests Jonathan Ross, graphic novelist Alan Moore and string theorist Brian Greene joining Brian Cox and Robin Ince for a special science-fiction-themed edition of the show.” (Overdrive description)

Wellington City Libraries’ Alternative Booker Longlist!

I do not share the pessimism of the age about the novel. They are one of our greatest spiritual, aesthetic and intellectual inventions.”

— Richard Flanagan, Man Booker acceptance speech

It’s arrived: the longlist for the literary world’s most prestigious prize! But did the judges get it right? Were the best books really selected? Well, in a slightly mischievous vein we’ve examined the best titles of recent months and selected the ones that, in our opinion, should have, could have, might have been on the 2019 Booker longlist.

To start off with we’ve got our very own This Mortal Boy from Fiona Kidman, as well as the fabulous Tina Makereti’s The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke. Then of course there’s Ali Smith’s Spring and Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me. Books from a clutch of less famous authors also thoroughly impressed us, including Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and The Chain by Adrian McKinty. So, for your consideration, here is Wellington City Libraries’ alternative Booker longlist!

Is there anything we missed out? Is there a novel you think should have made the cut? Then please, let us know.

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona  (print) (eBook)
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only 20 when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?”  (Adapted from catalogue)

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina (print) (eBook)
The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But first I must finish my story for you. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen? So begins the tale of James Poneke–orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you?re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The porpoise / Haddon, Mark
“A newborn baby is the sole survivor of a terrifying plane crash. She is raised in wealthy isolation by an overprotective father. She knows nothing of the rumours about a beautiful young woman, hidden from the world. When a suitor visits, he understands far more than he should. Forced to run for his life, he escapes aboard The Porpoise, an assassin on his tail… So begins a wild adventure of a novel, damp with salt spray, blood and tears.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Machines like me and people like you / McEwan, Ian
“Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions–what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Spring : a novel / Smith, Ali (print) (eBook)
“From the Man Booker-short-listed author of Autumn and Winter comes the highly anticipated third novel in the acclaimed Seasonal Quartet. On the heels of Autumn and Winter comes Spring, the continuation of Ali Smith’s celebrated Seasonal Quartet, a series of stand-alone novels, separate but interconnected (as the seasons are), wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The chain / McKinty, Adrian
“You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped. The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child–within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child. And most importantly, if you don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Big sky / Atkinson, Kate
“Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network–and back into the path of his old friend Reggie.” (Adapted from catalogue)

On earth we’re briefly gorgeous : a novel / Vuong, Ocean
“A young man named Little Dog writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read, investigating a family history begun in Vietnam. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The old drift : a novel / Serpell, Namwali (print) (eBook)
“Namwali Serpell’s ground-shaking debut novel is an epic story of three generations of three Zambian families–one black, one brown and one white. Unfolding over 200 years, but set mainly in the twentieth century, one family begins in Italy, another in England and the third in Zambia. The three families’ lives become entwined as each is plagued by a curse passed on down the generations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Booker Longlist is Here!

Booklists–who doesn’t love a booklist? Especially when it’s the just-released Booker longlist! This year’s selection includes The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her celebrated 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. With The Testaments not due for publication until September, it’s being kept thoroughly under wraps by the Booker judges, so the rest of us will have to wait to draw our own conclusions. Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything is also yet to be released, and will be her third entry in the Booker listings. September will also bring us the menace and banter of Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier.

Check out the full ‘Booker’s dozen’ below!

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
Max Porter (UK), Lanny (Faber & Faber)
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)

The Testaments / Atwood, Margaret
“In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalized readers for decades: what happens to Offred? When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years later, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

 My sister, the serial killer : a novel / Braithwaite, Oyinkan  (print) (eBook)
“Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Girl, woman, other / Evaristo, Bernardine
“Teeming with life and crackling with energy – a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.” (Catalogue)

The wall / Lanchester, John (print) (eBook)
“Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he’s lucky, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn’t it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The man who saw everything / Levy, Deborah
“It is 1988 and Saul Adler, a narcissistic young historian, has been invited to Communist East Berlin to do research. As a gift for his translator’s sister, a Beatles fanatic who will be his host, Saul’s girlfriend will shoot a photograph of him standing in the crosswalk on Abbey Road. As he waits for her to arrive, he is grazed by an oncoming car, which changes the trajectory of his life . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLost children archive / Valeria Luiselli (print) (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. They head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

An orchestra of minorities : a novel / Obioma, Chigozie
“Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death. Horrified, Chinonso hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice. Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But once there, he discovers that all is not what it seems.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLanny / Max Porter (print) (eBook)
“Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to Mad Pete, the grizzled artist. To ancient Peggy, gossiping at her gate. To families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.” (Syndetics summary)

Quichotte / Rushdie, Salman
“Quichotte, an ageing travelling salesman obsessed with TV, is on a quest for love. Unfortunately, his daily diet of reality TV, sitcoms, films, soaps, comedies and dramas has distorted his ability to separate fantasy from reality. He wishes an imaginary son, Sancho, into existence, while obsessively writing love letters to a celebrity he knows only through his screen. Together the two innocents set off across America in Quichotte’s trusty Chevy Cruze to find her and convince her of his love.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Frankissstein : a love story / Winterson, Jeanette
“Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein sees Jeanette Winterson take on identity, technology and sexuality to breathe new life into Mary Shelley’s classic story. Told in part through Shelley’s eyes as she dreams up her monstrous creation, Winterson launches us into a modern-day nightmare where consumerism and politics are set to bring humanity to breaking point. Spanning three centuries and multiple narratives, Frankisssteinis at once a moving love story and a feminist rallying cry for our times.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Films based on books at #NZIFF 2019

Our favourite cultural event of the winter is the New Zealand International Film Festival, which is back now. Despite losing some venues such as Reading Cinemas, the tickets are selling fast so if you want tickets, you better book soon. As always, there are intriguing movies based on books in their line-up. This year they include Kiwi filmmaker Justin Pemberton‘s Capital in the 21st Century which is adapted from the bestselling book by French economist Thomas Piketty, and one of the most loved books of all time, The Little Prince.

Animals, directed by Sophie Hyde, based on
Animals / Unsworth, Emma Jane
“Laura and Tyler are best friends who live together, angrily philosophising and leading each other astray in the pubs and flats of Manchester. But things are set to change. Laura is engaged to teetotal Jim, the wedding is just months away, and Tyler becomes hell-bent on sabotaging her friend’s plans for a different life. Animals is a hilarious, moving and refreshingly honest tale of how a friendship can become the ultimate love story.” (Catalogue)

Capital in the 21st Century, directed by Justin Pemberton, based on
Capital in the twenty-first century / Piketty, Thomas
“The main driver of inequality–returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth–is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.” (Catalogue)

 

Children of the Sea, directed by Watanabe Ayumu, based on
Children of the sea. 2 / Igarashi, Daisuke
“Umi and Sora are not alone in their strange connection to the sea. Forty years ago, Jim met another young boy with the same powers. As penance for letting the boy die, Jim has been searching the world for other children with those same ties to the ocean. Anglade, a wunderkind who was once Jim’s research partner, lures Sora away with the promise of answers. This leaves Umi severely depressed, and it is up to Ruka to help her new friend find his brother. But time is quickly running out… ” (Publisher’s description)

The Miracle of The Little Prince, directed by Marjoleine Boonstra, inspired by
The little prince / Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de (Book)
The little prince / Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de (eBook)
The little prince / Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de (Book on CD)
“The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. Both moral fable and spiritual autobiography, it is the story of a little boy who lives alone on a planet not much bigger than himself, who leaves it to travel round the universe.” (Catalogue)

The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Neil Gaiman, Author

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Readers’ Choice reviews : How did they rate it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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