Popular non-fiction

Our most popular books for non-fiction is full of diversity. It goes from an analysis on truth and facts on “A Matter of Fact: talking truth in a post-truth world”, passing through the fun and scientific “Breakfast with Einstein: the exotic physics of everyday objects” to the quite interesting “Chromatopia: an illustrated history of colour”.

A matter of fact : talking truth in a post-truth world / Berentson-Shaw, Jess
“…in the time of fake news and post-truth politics, it seems that conspiracy and rumour spread faster than ever and are even harder to debunk. Battling over facts can be exhausting and polarising. For those committed to distinguishing misinformation from good information how do we convincingly explain the difference? Jess Berentson-Shaw tackles these questions head-on. In A Matter of Fact she explores the science of communicating and presents innovative ways to talk effectively (and empathetically) about contentious information…” (adapted from Catalogue)

How to invent everything : a survival guide for the stranded time traveler / North, Ryan
“…This guide contains all the science, engineering, mathematics, art, music, philosophy, facts, and figures required for even the most clueless time traveler to build a civilization from the ground up. Your new world will be one in which humanity matured quickly and efficiently, instead of doing what we did… And, on the off chance you don’t one day find yourself stranded in time, this fascinating guide to the ideas and technologies that made us who we are today will at least allow you to make some really interesting cocktail-party small talk with a complete stranger.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Confessions of a rogue nuclear regulator / Jaczko, Gregory B.
“As former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), physicist Jaczko found the NRC dominated by the industry it was supposed to regulate and spoke out-particularly with the refusal to make the changes that would prevent another catastrophe like Fukushima… Never before has the chairman of the world’s foremost nuclear regulatory agency challenged the nuclear industry to expose how these companies put us at risk. Because if we (and they) don’t act now, there will be another Fukushima. Only this time, it could happen here.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Breakfast with Einstein : the exotic physics of everyday objects / Orzel, Chad
“Just beneath the surface of our ordinary lives, strange phenomena lurk. Exciting physics doesn’t only show up in the Big Bang, or a black hole, or in the guts of giant particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider it ‘s all around us… In Breakfast with Einstein, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, everything is possible and the day’s end will find us dazzled.” (Catalogue)

Bolder : making the most of our longer lives / Honoré, Carl
“…Carl Honoré captured the zeitgeist with his international sensation, In Praise of Slow. In Bolder, he introduces us to another rising movement: a revolution in our approach to ageing….Having travelled the globe to meet the pioneers who are redefining ageing, Carl Honoré explores the cultural, medical and technological trends that will help us make the most of our longer lives. ” (adapted from Catalogue)

Primate change : how the world we made is remaking us / Cregan-Reid, Vybarr
“…PRIMATE CHANGE is a wide-ranging, polemical look at how and why the human body has changed since humankind first got up on two feet. Spanning the entirety of human history – from primate to transhuman – Vybarr Cregan-Reid’s book investigates where we came from, who we are today and how modern technology will change us beyond recognition.” adapted from (Catalogue)

Turned on : science, sex and robots / Devlin, Kate
“The idea of the seductive sex robot is the stuff of myth, legend and science fiction. From the ancient Greeks to twenty-first century movies, robots in human form have captured our imagination, our hopes and our fears. But beyond the fantasies there are real and fundamental questions about our relationship with technology as it moves into the realm of robotics… ” (adapted from Catalogue)

Not all dead white men : classics and misogyny in the digital age / Zuckerberg, Donna
“Some of the most controversial and consequential debates about the legacy of the ancients are raging not in universities but online, where alt-right men’s groups deploy ancient sources to justify misogyny and a return of antifeminist masculinity. Donna Zuckerberg dives deep to take a look at this unexpected reanimation of the Classical tradition…” (adapted from Catalogue)

Democratization and social movements in South Korea : defiant institutionalization / Kim, Sun-Chul
“South Korea provides an intellectual challenge in the fields of social movements and democracy in that intense mobilization and the strong influence of social movements have accompanied steady democratization for more than two decades, despite major theories having predicted otherwise. This book examines how social movements in previously authoritarian contexts evolve after democratic transition, using South Korea as a case study…” (adapted from Catalogue)

Chromatopia : an illustrated history of colour / Coles, David
“This origin story of history’smost vivid color pigmentsis perfect for artists, history buffs, science lovers, and design fanatics. …Spanning from the ancient world to modern leaps in technology, and vibrantly illustrated throughout, this book will add a little chroma to anyone’s understanding of the history of colors.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The mother of all jobs : how to have children and a career and stay sane(ish) / Armstrong, Christine
“…When Christine Armstrong became a mother, it never occurred to her that she would want to give up her job. But the truth is, combining work and small kids is hard, and when Christine tried it, she found herself desolate with misery. Determined to find a way forward, she looked for answers by interviewing other working mums and found that she wasn’t alone. The Mother of All Jobs brings together the wisdom of the women who opened up about everything (and we mean everything) into a manifesto for happy professional families. Ignoring the glossy lives presented on social media, this book shows that, while it’s not always pretty, working parents can thrive if they have the knowledge others learnt the hard way.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Win bigly : persuasion in a world where facts don’t matter / Adams, Scott
“Soon after Donald Trump declared his presidential candidacy, when most experts dismissed him as a joke who’d be gone before Iowa Scott Adams called Trump a master communicator in the same league as Abraham Lincoln and Steve Jobs. As a student of the art and science of persuasion, Adams recognized Trump’s deep toolbox for persuasion. On his popular blog, Adams predicted that Trump could go all the way…” (adapted from Catalogue)

The strange flowers of romance: our alternative Valentine’s day reads

You want to play? Come find me angel boy.”

― Nalini Singh, Angels’ Blood.

In our very alternative Valentine’s Day fiction showcase we are looking at the rich, diverse and wonderful world of urban fantasy. From hot passionate vampire love affairs to smouldering liaisons with Werewolves or other beings of the night. These tales are out to quicken the blood and set your pulses racing. And to tempt you here are just a few of the authors in fantastic showcase. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverOn the edge/ Illona Andrews.On the Edge
“The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…Rose Drayton thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out the way she’d planned, and now she works an off-the-books job in the Broken just to survive. .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPersonal demon / Kelley Armstrong.Personal Demon
“Kelly Armstrong follows No Humans Involved with a sexy, action-packed Women of the Otherworld novel featuring a wickedly beautiful, supernaturally gifted heroine who may love danger a bit too much.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlirt / Laurell K. Hamilton.
“When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn’t the miracle he thinks he needs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad moon rising / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Fang Kattalakis isn’t just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. When Aimee, the woman Fang loves, is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDaylight / Elizabeth Knox.Daylight
“Brian “Bad” Phelan, New Zealander and bomb disposal expert. While on vacation on the French/Italian border in 2001, he helps to bring a body out of a rocky cove. The dead woman bears striking similarities to a young woman he met years ago, under mysterious circumstances, shortly before she disappeared in a flooded French cave. Bad is compelled to investigate. Jesuit Father Daniel Octave is making his own investigation, into the truth behind the story of the life of the Blessed Martine Raimondi, but it turns out that they are looking for the same thing and a secret vampire family is the common thread.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove bites / Lynsay Sands.Love Bites
“In the world of the sexy and seductive Argeneau family of vampires, true love is good from the first bite to the last. Love Bites is a classic from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the second volume in her much beloved Argeneau series–the story of an achingly hot three hundred year-old bachelor immortal and the beautiful coroner he chooses as his lifemate. Paranormal romance just doesn’t get any tastier than this! “(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlaying with fire / Gena Showalter.Playing with Fire
“Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements–earth, wind, fire and water–with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done. Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he’s not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s blade / Nalini Singh.
“Trying to discover the identity of a murder victim brings together the vampire Dmitri and a hunter for the Guild, Honor. And as the gruesome murders continue, a lethal sensuality explodes between them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrave / J.R. Ward.Crave
“The battle between good and evil has left the future of humanity in the hands of a reluctant saviour and his band of fallen angels. Seven deadly sins that must be righted. Seven souls that must be saved. Fallen Angel Jim Heron has completed his first task: helping Vin Di Pietro to redeem his soul. Now he must identify and battle a demon that can take any form. Worse still, his old boss Matthias wants him to assassinate Isaac, a member of The Firm who’s gone AWOL – and Jim’s pretty sure he’s supposed to save him. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

 

 

Talent filled graphic novels

The graphic novels collection has some great new and classic reprints appearing on the shelves. The complete collection of the cyberpunk manga classic Battle Angel Alita contrasts the gritty Japanese world of Tado Tsuge in Slum WolfYoung warriors also feature in Wood and Chater’s Sword daughter, where brutality brings a father and daughter to gritty resolve.  

More translated work features the talented French graphic novelist Edmond Baudoin’s childhood, in his visually eclectic memoir named for his brother, Piero. Also translated from French is Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval. This beautifully illustrated tale is a dark fantasy of female warriors magically residing in the teeth of a beautiful ghost who bewitches a young bored holiday maker, it gets weirder, with dream battles with skeletal wolves and an ancient octopus king. But beautiful! So beautiful!

A twist on Fables, the emotional journey in Wolf, and all the back story you could wish for in the first installation of Dirk Gently’s the Salmon of doubt round off this selection of our new adult comics.

Slum wolf / Tsuge, Tadao
“A gritty collection of graphic short stories by a Japanese manga master depicting life on the streets among punks, gangsters, and vagrants. Though virtually unknown in the United States, Tadao Tsuge is one of the original masters of alternative manga, and one of the world’s great artists of the down-and-out. Never before available in English, this new selection of his stories from the late sixties and the seventies depicts the lives of punks, vagrants, gangsters, and other lost souls with gritty lyricism. It is a raucous, exhilarating vision of street brawls and dive bars, shantytowns and brothels, and an unsettling portrait of postwar Japan” (Catalogue)

Sword Daughter. Volume 1, She brightly burns / Wood, Brian
“A father and daughter seek revenge against the ruthless Vikings that destroyed their lives, discovering that their fierce purpose can mend the bonds of family. One thousand years ago, a murderous clan known as the Forty Swords burned a village to the ground, leaving just two people alive: a shattered father and his teenage daughter. Setting off on a revenge quest that will span the width of Viking Age Europe, they find the key to repairing their damaged relationship lies in the swords they carry. Sword Daughter is a visually stunning, emotionally poignant story of parental guilt and acceptance of loss.” (Catalogue)

Piero / Baudoin, Edmond
“This English translation of Edmond Baudoin’s most intimate and inviting book, his graphic memoir of growing up with his beloved brother, Piero.  They confront Martians, battle octopuses, stage epic battles between medieval castles, and fly high over the earth. Inevitably, they begin to grow apart, and their shared artistic life is replaced by schoolwork, romance, dances, motorcycles, and the struggle to decide what sort of people they want to be.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Battle Angel Alita. Deluxe edition, volume 1 / Kishiro, Yukito
In a dump in the lawless settlement of Scrapyard, far beneath the mysterious space city of Zalem, disgraced cyber-doctor Daisuke Ido makes a strange find: the detached head of a cyborg woman who has lost all her memories. He names her Alita and equips her with a powerful new body, the Berserker. While Alita remembers no details of her former life, a moment of desperation reawakens in her nerves the legendary school of martial arts known as Panzer Kunst. (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Fables [13] : the great Fables crossover / Willingham, Bill
The Great Fables Crossover features appearances from Fables favorites such as Snow White, Bigby Wolf, Rose Red, Jack Frost, Beauty and The Beast. All nine issues of the long awaited crossover between Vertigo’s two popular series Fables and Jack of Fables are collected here.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watersnakes / Sandoval, Tony
Three-time Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval presents a wondrous world of secret places and dreamlike magic hidden in the everyday corners of our sleeping imagination. Mila is a solitary teenager ready to put another boring summer vacation behind her until she meets Agnes, an adventurous girl who turns out to be a ghost. And not just a regular ghost, but one carrying the essence of an ancient fallen king and a mouth full of teeth that used to be his guardian warriors.” (Catalogue)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency : the salmon of doubt. Volume 1 / David, Arvind Ethan
“Dirk Gently, created by Douglas Adams and currently the star of his own television series from BBC America returns to comics in The Salmon of Doubt, brought to you by executive producers of the show Arvind Ethan David and Max Landis with artist Ilias Kyriazis. Plagued by nightmares about a childhood he never had, Dirk returns to Cambridge University to seek the advice of his former tutor, the time-traveling Professor Reg Chronotis. There he discovers that an holistic detective can have more than one past, and his adventures have only just begun!” (Catalogue)

Wolf / Ball, Rachael
“Hugo, the youngest child of three, is walking with his father in the woods. There, he comes face-to-face with a wolf–and from that moment on, his life will never be the same again. Soon after, a tragic accident leaves Hugo desolate and disoriented. The family, now grieving and incomplete, moves to a new home. Among Hugo’s new neighbors is the Wolf Man, a dangerous recluse, according to the boy next door. Spellbound by the movie The Time Machine and desperate to return to the days before the accident, Hugo draws up plans to build a contraption that will turn back time. But only the Wolf Man has the parts Hugo needs to complete his machine, and that will mean entering his sinister neighbor’s house. Beautifully illustrated in pencil, Wolf is a captivating and poignant graphic novel about confronting childhood grief and overcoming the loss of a loved one.” (Catalogue)

Fiction showcase: general novels for 2019

Stories are like children. They grow in their own way.”

― Madeleine L’Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

With the new year firmly established and its feet firmly under the tables, new titles are already beginning to arrive in droves. January’s newly acquired titles include a new work from thriller maestro James Lee Burke called The New Iberia blues, a superb new book from Chigozie Obioma, which is already hotly tipped to be on the Booker prize selectors minds, and a light hearted nod towards Chinese New Year with Lillian Li’s Number one Chinese Restaurant. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverEvening in paradise : more stories / Lucia Berlin.
“Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from the remaining Berlin stories – a jewel box follow-up to A Manual for Cleaning Women for Lucia Berlin’s hungry fans. ‘Lucia Berlin’s collection of short stories, , deserves all of the posthumous praise its author has received Her work is being compared to Raymond Carver, for her similar oblique, colloquial style; her mordant humour; the recurrence of alcoholics; and her interest in the lives of working-class or marginalised people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Orchestra Of Minorities [paperback]
“Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and 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.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Iberia blues / James Lee Burke.The New Iberia Blues
“Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe boy / Tami Hoag.
” 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. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by parts of Gauthier’s story that make no sense. The next day, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette is reported missing.  ”   (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNumber one Chinese restaurant : a novel / Lillian Li.
“The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou know you want this : Cat person and other stories / Kristen Roupenian.
You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrick / Domenico Starnone ; translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri.
“The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator at the peak of his career. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson who has barely learned to talk but has a few tricks up his loose-fitting sleeves all the same. The older combatant has lived for years in almost complete solitude. The younger one has been dumped with a grandfather he barely knows for 72 hours.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo many islands : stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans / edited by Nicholas Laughlin with Nailah Folami Imoja.
“So Many Islands brings together stories from the distant shores of the island communities in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. Giving voice to their challenges and triumphs, these writers paint a vibrant portrait of what it is like to live, love and lose the things most precious to them on the small islands they call home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Rosamunde Pilcher, international bestselling author has died

Rosamunde Pilcher had already written thirteen books before she became an international bestselling sensation with the Shell Seekers. Eventually the popular book was to be translated into forty languages, sit on best seller lists for an astonishing forty-nine weeks, sell over ten million copies and turn Rosamunde into an unlikely cult figure in Germany. She was credited for taking romantic fiction to a higher level injecting more realism and grittiness into the genre, and setting the benchmark for romantic fiction novelists. She retired from writing in 2000 after completing her final work Winter Solstice stating that she “wanted to stop while she was writing well”. She will be sorely missed by her legions of fans.

Syndetics book coverThe shell seekers / Rosamunde Pilcher.
“Artist’s daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life: a Bohemian childhood in London and Cornwall, an unhappy wartime marriage, and the one man she truly loved. She has brought up three children – and learned to accept them as they are. Yet she is far too energetic and independent to settle sweetly into pensioned-off old-age. And when she discovers that her most treasured possession, her father’s painting, The Shell Seekers, is now worth a small fortune, it is Penelope who must make the decisions that will determine whether her family can continue to survive as a family, or be split apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWinter solstice / Rosamunde Pilcher.
“Elfrida Phipps loves her new life in the pretty Hampshire village. She has a tiny cottage, her faithful dog Horace and the friendship of the neighbouring Blundells – particularly Oscar – to ensure that her days include companionship as well as independence. But an unforeseen tragedy upsets Elfrida’s tranquillity: Oscar’s wife and daughter are killed in a terrible car crash. Oscar and Elfrida take refuge in a rambling house in Scotland which becomes a magnet for various waifs and strays who converge upon it, including an unhappy teenage girl.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist has just been announced and what a fabulous, rich and diverse list it is. Ranging from The Man Who Would Not See by Rajorshi Chakraborti to Caroline’s Bikini by Kirsty Gunn, from The New Ships by Kate Duignan to All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan, the judges are going to have a hard time selecting an overall winner. It’s great to see how healthy and flourishing the New Zealand fiction world is. May the best book win!

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for fiction (Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize) longlisted titles are:

Syndetics book coverThe man who would not see / Rajorshi Chakraborti.
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse. But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new ships / Kate Duignan.
“Peter Collie is adrift in the wake of his wife’s death. His attempts to understand the turn his life has taken lead him back to the past, to dismaying events on an Amsterdam houseboat in the seventies, returning to New Zealand and meeting Moira, an amateur painter who carried secrets of her own, and to a trip to Europe years later with his family. An unexpected revelation forces Peter to navigate anew his roles as a husband, father and son. Set in Wellington after the fall of the Twin Towers, and traversing London, Europe, the Indian subcontinent.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMazarine / Charlotte Grimshaw.
“When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past. What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine? Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where ways of relating are subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCaroline’s bikini : an arrangement of a novel with an introduction and some further materials / Kirsty Gunn.
“Art needs a sense of lack to bring about its own effects; where there is no feeling of need to make up a shortfall, there will be no work. Alright’ I said, ‘I’ll try…’ This is how Emily Stuart opens the intricately involved account of a classic love affair that becomes Caroline’s Bikini: a tale of hope, passion, and the power of the imagination. For they say, the story of love – or, rather, falling in love – is timeless, and that unrequited love is the most passionate of all. It’s certainly a narrative that is, in its own curious and enticing way, as old as Western literature itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cage / Lloyd Jones.
“Two mysterious strangers appear at a hotel in a small country town.
Where have they come from? Who are they? What catastrophe are they fleeing?
The townspeople want answers, but the strangers are unable to speak of their trauma. And before long, wary hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear, and the care of the men slides into appalling cruelty.
Lloyd Jones’s fable-like novel The Cage is a profound and unsettling novel about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we’re able to justify brutality.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ice Shelf / Anne Kennedy.
“On the eve of flying to Antarctica to take up an arts fellowship, thirty-something Janice, recently separated, has a long night of remembrance, regret and realisation as she goes about the city looking for a friend to take care of her fridge while she’s away. En route she discards section after section of her novel in the spirit of editing until there is nothing left to edit. The Ice Shelf, a novel written as Acknowledgements, is an allegory for the dangers of wasting love and other non-renewable resources.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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

Syndetics book coverThe imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Tina Makereti.
“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. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll this by chance / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“If we don’t have the past in mind, it is merely history. If we do, it is still part of the present. Esther’s grandparents first meet at a church dance in London in 1947. Stephen, a shy young Kiwi, has left to practice pharmacy on the other side of the world. Eva has grown up English, with no memory of the Jewish family who sent their little girl to safety. When the couple emigrate, the peace they seek in New Zealand cannot overcome the past they have left behind. Following the lives of Eva, her daughter Lisa and her granddaughter Esther, All This by Chance is a moving multi generational family saga about the legacy of the Holocaust and the burden of secrets never shared, by one of New Zealand’s finest writers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Due in the library shortly and already highly regarded is Majella Cullinane’s The Life of De’Ath set in Otago and the battlefields of France during World War I. It’s a searing read about deserters during the War I, and a young man struggles to find himself and break free of the social and family pressures to conform. 

 

 

Readers’ Choice: People love reading…

Have you ever loved a book so much that you want to stop and tell everyone how wonderful it is? Well now’s your chance!
The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. Book lovers like you!

These selected books are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that other people 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 month borrowers have loved a range of material from the latest unexpected plot twists in mystery writing to retellings of classic novels.  This eclectic selection reviews the breadth of the fiction collection with science fiction short stories and well researched historical fiction.

Syndetics book coverThe inheritance and other stories / Megan Lindholm, Robin Hobb.
The Inheritance & Other Stories is a marvelous new collection of short fiction from New York Times bestselling master storyteller Robin Hobb–including tales written under the pseudonym Megan Lindholm, by which the acclaimed fantasist first began her illustrious writing career. A unique compendium of wonders displaying the breathtaking skill, imagination, and remarkably varied styles of both alter egos.” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “I really enjoyed all the stories. I have read Robin Hobb books before and this was a great introduction to her other identity” 

Syndetics book coverTombland / C.J. Sansom.Tombland
“Spring, 1549. Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the prolonged war with Scotland is proving a failure. The economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring.”  (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “This book sets a new bar for historical fiction, with it’s meticulous research, and interweaving of a fictional character and story with the peasant rebellion led by Robert Kett in 1549. It’s the seventh novel in the author’s best selling Shardlake series but can be read as a one off novel… It was very refreshing to read a book on a little known period of English history, with such fantastic description of the period based on thorough research.” 

Syndetics book coverUnequal affections : a Pride & Prejudice retelling / Lara S. Ormiston ; foreword by Devleena Ghosh, PhD.
“When Elizabeth Bennet first knew Mr. Darcy, she despised him and was sure he felt the same. Angered by his pride and reserve, influenced by the lies of the charming Mr. Wickham, she never troubled herself to believe he was anything other than the worst of men until, one day, he unexpectedly proposed. Diverging from Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice at the proposal in the Hunsford parsonage, this story explores the kind of man Darcy is, even before his “proper humbling,” and how such a man, so full of pride, so much in love, might have behaved had Elizabeth chosen to accept his original proposal.” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “A beautiful retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A must read for any P+P fan. Utterly un-put-downable! Enjoyed so much.” 

Syndetics book coverThe backstreets of purgatory / Helen Taylor.
“Finn Garvie’s life is one spectacular mess. He spends most of his time fannying around a makeshift Glasgow studio, failing to paint his degree portfolio, while his girlfriend Lizzi treats him like one of her psychology patients. Things take a turn for the strange when he finally encounters the person who’s been bugging him, and it seems to be none other than Caravaggio himself.
Art, truth and madness come to blows in this darkly funny debut novel from a startling new talent.” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was very hard to get into to start with but well written making the story blurry between present and the psychotic world” 

Syndetics book coverHeadlong / Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.
“Bill Slider and his team investigate the death of a prominent literary agent in this intriguing contemporary mystery. An embittered ex-wife. A discarded mistress. A frustrated would-be author. A disgruntled former employee. Many had reason to hold a grudge against the late lamented literary agent. But who would feel strongly enough to kill him?” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “Latest in the Detective Slider series. A good read for character development and cops out of work stories. Mystery is OK and well told but not new” 

Syndetics book cover

Charlesgate confidential / by Scott Von Doviak.
“A group of criminals in 1946 pull off the heist of the century, stealing a dozen priceless works of art from a Boston museum. But while the thieves get caught, the art is never found. Forty years later, the last surviving thief gets out of jail and goes hunting for the loot, involving some innocent college students in his dangerous plan.” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “Reasonably satisfactory story about reverberations of an art robbery over the decades that follow. Readable and it held me.”

“Just the facts, ma’am” — Dragnet. Our crime showcase selection for our January’s newly acquired books

There are over five thousand men in this city who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamorless, thankless job that’s gotta be done. I know it, too. And I’m damned glad to be one of them.” Dragnet 1967

Whether your taste in crime novels is for procedural crime, classic whodunit, lone amateur detective or Hard-boiled crime, this months Crime fiction showcase has something for everyone . From Philippe Georget’s Crimes of winter to Jonathan Lethem’s The feral detective from new works from hugely popular established writers like James Patterson’s Liar Liar to perhaps lesser well known authors like Anja de Jager and her critically acclaimed A death in Rembrandt Square her latest novel featuring her Amsterdam detective Lotte Meerman. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverThe secrets of Gaslight Lane / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“London, 1883. All is quiet at 125 Gower Street. Private detective Sidney Grice is studying up on the anatomical structure of human hair whilst his ward, March Middleton, sneaks upstairs for her eighth secret cigarette of the day. The household is, perhaps, too quiet.So, when a beautiful young woman turns up at the door, imploring London’s foremost private detective to solve the mystery of her father’s murder, Grice can barely disguise his glee.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe feral detective / Jonathan Lethem.
“Phoebe Siegler, travels to the Mojave Desert in search of Arabella, a friend’s missing daughter and an 18-year-old dropout of Reed College. She hires hirsute Charles Heist, the “feral detective,” who lives with three dogs and an opossum. Quickly falling for his woodsy charms, Phoebe travels with Heist to the far reaches of the desert, where the mostly female Rabbit group is engaged in a long standoff with the male Bear group. To save Arabella, Heist will have to do battle with the charismatic Bear leader, called Solitary Love, as Phoebe learns to question her assumptions here on “the far side of the Neoliberal Dream.” ( Catalogue.)

Syndetics book coverBye bye baby / Fiona McIntosh.
“A spate of seemingly unconnected murders in southern England prompt a high-profile taskforce to be formed and led by DCI Jack Hawksworth, one of the Force?s new rising stars who combines modern methods with old-school instincts. The victims appear as disparate as their style of death; the only link that Hawk and his team can pull together is that the murdered are all men of an identical age. The taskforce has nothing but cold cases of decades past to comb through in the hope that they might find a clue to who is behind the savagery.A heart-stopping tale of brutal revenge with a chilling twist by a powerhouse Australian author.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiar liar / James Patterson and Candice Fox.
“Detective Harriet Blue is clear about two things. Regan Banks deserves to die. And she’ll be the one to pull the trigger. But Regan – the vicious serial killer responsible for destroying her brother?s life – has gone to ground. Suddenly, her phone rings. It’s him. Harriet needs to find this killing machine fast, even if the cost is her own life. So she follows him down the Australian south coast with only one thing on her mind. Revenge is coming, and her name is Harriet Blue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVerses for the Dead
“After an overhaul of leadership at the FBI’s New York field office, A. X. L. Pendergast is abruptly forced to accept an unthinkable condition of continued employment: the famously rogue agent must now work with a partner.
Pendergast and his new colleague, junior agent Coldmoon, are assigned to investigate a rash of killings in Miami Beach, where a bloodthirsty psychopath is cutting out the hearts of his victims and leaving them with cryptic handwritten letters at local gravestones. As he digs deeper, he realizes the brutal new crimes may be just the tip of the iceberg: a conspiracy of death that reaches back decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoints of danger / Edward Marston.
“1861, East Anglia. Alone in a first-class carriage, the Swarbricks are robbed at gunpoint, but when the universally-admired Swarbrick fights back, the train robber takes more than money and jewellery, killing the man working to unify East Anglia’s tangle of railway networks. Inspector Colbeck is brought in from London, as the only detective in Britain with enough expertise for the job. Is the Railway Detective following the right track or will he need to switch points to bring the murderer to justice?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrimes of winter : variations on adultery and venial sins / Philippe Georget ; translated from the French by Steven Rendall.
“This winter is going to be a rough one for Inspector Gilles Sebag, for he has discovered Claire has been cheating on him. Bouncing between depression, whisky, and insomnia, he buries himself in work. But his investigations lead him inexorably to bigger tragedies – a woman murdered in a hotel, a depressed man who throws himself from a roof, another who threatens to blow up the neighbourhood – all of them involving betrayals of some sort.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA death in Rembrandt Square / Anja de Jager.
As the podcast reveals hidden facts about the arrest of Ruud Klaver, the one thing Lotte is still convinced of is that it was Ruud who was guilty of the murder of a student near Rembrandt Square ten years earlier. However, when Ruud Klaver then dies in suspicious circumstances, only hours after the final podcast proving his innocence is broadcast, Lotte has to accept that maybe she was wrong. As Lotte digs deeper and involves colleagues from her past, it starts to look like the murder in Rembrandt Square was part of an even bigger deception .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucifer Falls / Colin Falconer.
“When a priest is found crucified in a derelict North London chapel, it makes a dramatic change for DI Charlie George and his squad at Essex Road. The brutal murder could not be further from their routine of domestic violence and stabbings on the estates. And that’s only the beginning … On Christmas Eve, a police officer goes missing and his colleagues can’t help but anticipate the worst. It turns out they’re right to when eventually the body is found and they discover he’s been stoned to death. As tensions rise, it’s up to Charlie and his team to venture into the city’s cold underbelly to try and find an answer to the madness … before anyone else dies a martyr’s death.” (Catalogue)

Lovecraftian Horror: our own special H.P. Lovecraft Graphic Novel Showcase


“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” –  H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft struggled to get his work published and died in poverty,  a virtually unknown author. Since his death in 1937 his influence and reputation as one of the greatest writers of horror and strange tales of unspeakable terror has only grown and grown.  In this  graphic novel showcase we are looking at the rich, strange, frightening and wonderful worlds that H.P. Lovecraft created and how they have  inspired authors and artists from the graphic novel community. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverProvidence. Act 1 / story, Alan Moore ; art, Jacen Burrows.
“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.”  ( Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNeonomicon / Alan Moore, story & script ; Jacen Burrows, art. The courtyard / Alan Moore, story ; Jacen Burrows, art.
“Brears and Lamper, two young and cocky FBI agents, investigate a fresh series of ritual murders somehow tied to the final undercover assignment of Aldo Sax -the once golden boy of the Bureau, now a convicted killer and inmate of a maximum security prison. From their interrogation of Sax (where he spoke exclusively in inhuman tongues) to a related drug raid on a seedy rock club rife with arcane symbols and otherworldly lyrics, they suspect that they are on the trail of something awful… ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeird detective / script by Fred Van Lente ; art by Guiu Villanova.
“The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. And the only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Green is one of them it takes a monster to catch a monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wake / Scott Snyder, writer ; Sean Murphy, artist ; Matt Hollingsworth, colorist.
“When Marine Biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she declines, but quickly realizes they won’t take no for an answer. Soon she is plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oilrig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery. But when things go horribly wrong, this scientific safe haven will turn into a house of horrors at the bottom of the ocean!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHellboy : strange places / Mike Mignola.
“This 416-page volume covers Hellboy’s adventures from 1998 to 2005, reprinting Conqueror Worm , Strange Places , Into the Silent Sea , and “The Right Hand of Doom, “Box Full of Evil,” and “Being Human” from The Right Hand of Doom and B.P.R.D. Being Human .Hellboy loses faith in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense when they strap a bomb to one of his fellow not-quite-human agents. He gets answers about his destiny, like it or not, in over 300 pages of comics mostly drawn by Mignola, featuring award-winning guests Gary Gianni and Richard Corben.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverB.P.R.D. : Hell on Earth [2] : gods and monsters / story by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi ; art, Tyler Crook, Guy Davis.
“Between tracking down the followers of a prescient teen pursued by crab-like, subterranean beasts, and dealing with a redneck priest who preaches by way of human mutilation to fanatical hillbillies, the B.P.R.D. certainly have their hands full. Can a fractured B.P.R.D. wage a winnable war or are they fighting a battle of attrition?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAbe Sapien [1] : the drowning / story by Mike Mignola ; art by Jason Shawn Alexander.
“A century ago, paranormal investigator Edward Gray fought and destroyed a powerful warlock off the coast of the island of Saint-Sbastien. In the early 1980s, the B.P.R.D.’s newest agent was sent to retrieve the warlock’s remains. But Abe Sapien is ill prepared for the dark forces that block his way. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaga of the Swamp Thing. Book one / written by Alan Moore ; art by Stephen Bissette…[et al.]
” Writer Alan Moore’s seminal horror series is now published in hardcover for the very first time . Created by a freak accident, Swamp Thing believed he was once scientist Alec Holland – but when he discoveres his true nature, it shatters his universe and sends him on a path of discovery and adventure. Featuring the art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, this groundbreaking work features mind-blowing, genre-defying stories starring the rich, complex character that Neil Gaiman called “The No. 1 New Classic Monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)


New forays into Science Fiction and Fantasy

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone book cover

Ready to explore new viewpoints, worlds and inventions of the imagination? Recent titles for Science fiction and Fantasy delve into long running series and uncover new writing territory.

Syndetics book coverBikes not rockets : intersectional feminist bicycle science fiction stories / edited by Elly Blue.
“As you ride down the intergalactic bike path, you come to a crossroads. Which path will you take? Your choice could determine your future, or the future of all humanity, forever. These twelve stories explore a variety of intersections set in distant, outlandish, or disturbingly realistic futures and dimensions–all involving bicycles and the breaking of gender stereotypes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories / N K Jemisin
“In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story The City Born Great, a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTexas hold’em / edited by George R.R. Martin ; assisted by Melinda M. Snodgrass ; written by David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Victor Milán, Diana Rowland, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector, William F. Wu.
“San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation’s top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lies of Locke Lamora : book one of the gentleman bastard sequence / Scott Lynch.
“They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA cathedral of myth and bone / stories by Kat Howard.
“In these sixteen exquisite stories, Kat Howard deftly weaves in and out the countries of myth and hagiography to write the lives of women untold and unexplored.”  (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSplintered Suns (Humanity’s Fire, 5) / Michael Cobley
“For Pyke and his crew it should have been just another heist. Travel to a backwater desert planet, break into a museum, steal a tracking device then use it to find a ship buried in the planet’s vast and trackless sandy wastes. Except that the museum vault is a bio-engineered chamber, and the tracking device is sought after by another gang of treasure hunters led by an old adversary of Pyke’s, the devious Raven Kaligara.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe labyrinth index / Charles Stross.
“Since she was promoted to the head of the Lords Select Committee on Sanguinary Affairs, every workday for Mhari Murphy has been a nightmare. It doesn’t help that her boss, the new Prime Minister of Britain, is a manipulative and deceptive pain in the butt. Mhari’s most recent assignment takes her across the pond into the depths of North America. The United States president has gone missing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)