The Best of Intentions: New Fiction

As a reader, I love when something hooks me in. And I like an inciting event that joins characters that won’t go away. — Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age

February sees a great selection of new fiction: our favourites include Royals by Emma Forrest, Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout and Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age. Such a Fun Age has been called a “thrilling millennial spin on the 19th-century novel of manners” and is well worth checking out.

And if it’s spies you prefer, never fear–Robert J. Harris is here to resurrect Richard Hannay in The Thirty One Kings. So head to your nearest branch (or visit the eLibrary) and grab your copy!

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Olive, again / Strout, Elizabeth
New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is a compelling life force. The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The secret of Cold Hill / James, Peter
“Cold Hill House has been razed to the ground by fire, replaced with a development of ultra-modern homes. Gone with the flames are the violent memories of the house’s history. For Jason and Emily Danes, this is their forever home, and for Maurice and Claudette Penze-Weedell, it’s the perfect place to live out retirement. But it’s only a matter of days before both couples start to feel they are not alone in their new homes . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Show them a good time / Flattery, Nicole
“A young, broke Irish woman narrates her relationship with a successful comedian in New York. Angela makes her way through a series of meaningless dates in a basement restaurant. Two university students collaborate on a play – but the unemployment offices lurks around the corner. Show Them a Good Time is a collection that subverts types – men and women, their assigned roles and meanings – in modern society. Exuberant and irreverent, accomplished and unexpected, it marks the arrival of a thrilling new voice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Royals / Forrest, Emma
“July, 1981. London. Shy, working-class Steven finds solace in beauty. Eighteen years old, he dreams of being a fashion designer. He’s also gay, maybe – he hasn’t decided yet. When he ends up in hospital after being brutally attacked by his father, he meets Jasmine, an heiress. Intoxicating, anarchic, fabulous Jasmine. Fuelled by their shared love of fashion, a friendship blossoms and soon, Steven finds himself swept into her hedonistic world, wholly beguiled. However, underneath the glitter and the frivolity, darkness lies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dora : a headcase / Yuknavitch, Lidia
“Ida has a secret: she is in love with her best friend. But any time she gets close to intimacy, Ida faints or loses her voice. She needs a shrink. Or so her philandering father thinks. Immediately wise to the head games of her new shrink, Siggy, Ida – and alter-ego Dora – hatch a plan to secretly film him. But when the film goes viral, Ida finds herself targeted by unethical hackers. Dora: A Headcase is a contemporary coming-of-age story based on Freud’s famous case study, retold and revamped through Dora’s point-of-view.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Catholic school / Albinati, Edoardo
“In 1975, three young well-off men, former students at Rome’s prestigious all-boys Catholic high school San Leone Magno, brutally torture, rape, and murder two young women. The event shocks and captivates all of Italy, exposing the violence and dark underbelly of the upper middle class at a moment when the traditional structures of family and religion are under threat. Albinati’s novel reflects on the legacy of abuse, the Italian bourgeoisie, and the relationship between sex, violence, and masculinity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All this could be yours / Attenberg, Jami
“If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex–a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister–feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is. She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra. As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life.” (Adapted from Catalogue.)

The thirty-one kings / Harris, Robert J.
“June 1940. As German troops pour across France, the veteran soldier and adventurer Richard Hannay is called back into service. In Paris an individual code named ‘Roland’ has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of Nazi agents. Only he knows the secret of the Thirty-One Kings, one upon which the future of Europe depends.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Asking Big Questions : new beliefs books

Humanity has pondered the meaning of life since the beginning of time. This selection of recent arrivals ruminates on the big questions, beliefs and doubts as well as offering a variety of answers, including new books from best-selling authors Richard Dawkins and John Bevere. Remember that reserves are free, so it you want to borrow a copy of one of these titles, there is no charge to bring it to your preferred branch.

What, why, how : answers to your questions about Buddhism, meditation, and living mindfully, by Henepola Gunaratana.
How can I fit meditation into my busy life? How should I understand karma and rebirth? Is enlightenment even possible for me? Imagine that you could sit down with one of Buddhism’s most accomplished and plainspoken teachers–and imagine that he patiently agreed to answer any question you had about meditation, living mindfully, and key Buddhist concepts What, Why, How condenses into one volume a half-century of Bhante G.’s wise answers to common questions about the Buddha’s core teachings on meditation and spiritual practice. (drawn from the Catalogue)

Unbelievers : an emotional history of doubt, by Alec Ryrie.
“Unbelievers shows how, long before philosophers started to make the case for atheism, powerful cultural currents were challenging traditional faith. These tugged in different ways not only on celebrated thinkers such as Machiavelli, Montaigne, Hobbes, and Pascal, but on men and women at every level of society whose voices we hear through their diaries, letters, and court records. …As the Reformation eroded time-honoured certainties, Protestant radicals defended their faith by redefining it in terms of ethics. In the process they set in motion secularizing forces that soon became transformational. Unbelievers tells a powerful emotional history of doubt with potent lessons for our own angry and anxious age.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)

When kids ask hard questions : faith-filled responses for tough topics
When your children ask the hard questions, are you prepared to respond? Progressive Christian parents and pastors offer advice on responding to today’s tough topics, including bodies, gender, racism, divorce, death, grief, faith, loss, suicide, violence etc. The range and complexity of issues which kids are grapple with today can be overwhelming. A diverse group of young parents, pastors, and experts provide pathways to help you support the kids in your care with reflective and respectful conversations.

Tao : the watercourse way, by Alan Watts.
The Chinese philosophy of Tao is the way of man’s cooperation with the natural course of the natural world. This book includes an introduction to the Chinese culture that forms the basis of Tao before focusing on its interpretations by key thinkers such as Lao-Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching. It then promotes the idea of following a life lived according to the natural world – allowing time to quiet our minds and observe the world rather than imposing ourselves on it.

God, where are you?! : finding strength & purpose in your wilderness, John Bevere.
“Do you feel lost in a difficult season, wondering, “God, where are you? ” … Contrary to what many may think, getting through this season isn’t just a matter of waiting on God. You have a part to play in navigating through it. A big one. And if you don’t want to waste time wandering in circles, it’s important to learn what that is.” This will help you navigate your dry or difficult seasons and step into all that God has for you. (drawn from the Catalogue)

Outgrowing God : a beginner’s guide, by Richard Dawkins.
Do we need God in order to explain the universe? Do we need God in order to be good? These are some of the most controversial and profound questions we ponder. Popular author Dawkins draws on philosophy and comparative religion as well as science to interrogate the hypocrisies of religion and explain to readers how life emerged without a Creator. The first part of the book, Goodbye God, reviews the shortcomings of the Bible as a guide to ethics, while the second part, Evolution and beyond, is more on Dawkins’ field is an evolutionary biologist and ethologist.

Atheist overreach : what atheism can’t deliver, by Christian Smith,
Smith takes a look at the evidence for atheism and reviews some claims about morality, science, and human nature. Can a morality promoting benevolence towards all and universal human rights not be grounded in some religious system; does modern science disprove the existence of God; and is there anything innately spiritual about human beings. “He does not argue that atheism is necessarily wrong, but rather that its advocates are advancing crucial claims that are neither rationally defensible nor realistic. Their committed worldview feeds unhelpful arguments and contributes to the increasing polarization of today’s political landscape. …This book provides readers with the information they need to participate more knowledgably in debates about atheism and what it means for our society.” (drawn from the Catalogue)

Small Island, Big Mystery: New Crime Fiction

How do you find a murderer on an island of just 80 people when everyone’s a potential suspect? That’s the challenge for Deputy Chief of Police Ben Kitto in Burnt Island, the latest work from the award-winning writer Kate Rhodes.

Also new to the shelves: the supernatural detective novel Night Train to Murder by Simon R. Green. With its alien secret agent and Psychic Weapons Division, Night Train to Murder is perfect for those who like their mystery-sci-fi crossovers. Enjoy!

Burnt Island / Rhodes, Kate
“As the sun sets on a cold November evening, the tiny community of St Agnes prepares for their annual Fifth-of-November festivities. Moments before the fireworks are scheduled to commence, an islander discovers a charred body, and quickly it becomes clear that a killer is at large. Ben Kitto is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Scilly Isles, and with a killer on the loose, he has no choice but to forbid all residents from leaving the island. With a population of just eighty people, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The girl in Kellers Way / Goldin, Megan
“When a body is found buried near Kellers Way, Detective Melanie Carter must identify the victim if she is to have any chance of finding the killer. That’s no easy task with fragmentary evidence from a crime committed years earlier and a conspiracy of silence. The one person who may be able to help is Julie West. In a troubled marriage, Julie often jogs along Kellers Way to clear her mind and escape the confines of her suffocating suburban life. Until one day, something happens there that shakes Julie to the core.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perish / Black, Lisa
“The scene of the crime is lavish but gruesome. In a luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies gutted in a pool of blood on the marble floor. The victim is Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. The killer could be any one of her associates. Maggie knows that to crack the case, she and Jack will have to infiltrate the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance. But the offices of Sterling Financial seethe with potential suspects, every employee hellbent on making a killing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sorry for the dead / Upson, Nicola
“In the summer of 1915, the sudden death of a young girl brings grief and notoriety to Charleston Farmhouse on the Sussex Downs. Years later, Josephine Tey returns to the same house–now much changed–and remembers the two women with whom she once lodged as a young teacher during the Great War. As past and present collide, with murders decades apart, Josephine is forced to face the possibility that the scandal which threatened to destroy those women’s lives hid a much darker secret.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Night train to murder / Green, Simon R.
“When Ishmael Jones is asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that he arrives safely. But when a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination. How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed–and with no obvious means of escape?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man that got away / Truss, Lynne
“1957: In the beach town of Brighton, music is playing and guests are sunning themselves, when a young man is found dead, dripping blood, in a deck chair. Constable Twitten has a hunch that the fiendish murder may be connected to a notorious nightspot, but his colleagues are-as ever-busy with other more important issues. As the case twists and turns, Constable Twitten must find the murderer and convince his colleagues that there’s an evil mastermind behind Brighton’s climbing crime rate.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A death at the Hotel Mondrian / Jager, Anja de
“When Lotte Meerman is faced with the choice of interviewing the latest victim in a string of assaults or talking to a man who claims he really isn’t dead, she picks the interview. After all, the man cannot possibly be who he claims he is: Andre Nieuwkamp was murdered as a teenager over thirty years ago. Yet concerned about this encounter, Lotte goes to the Hotel Mondrian the next day to talk to the man, but what she finds instead is his corpse . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drama Online: Things you didn’t know you could do with your Wellington City Library Card

“Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card”

Arthur Timothy Read

The concept of a “library card” dates back to the 1800s. Picture a monocled individual secretively flashing an identification card while entering an dimly lit study. A symbol of wealth and exclusivity.

These days (thankfully) the reverence around library cards has diminished slightly (I replaced one last week because it had damaged on a Scratchie), and is definitely a symbol no longer , it’s a key. Your Wellington City Library card can be used to access hundreds of different services; from movies and music to newspapers and new skills.

Today we’ll be looking at Bloomsbury Publishing’s Drama Online. Drama Online (available under Bloomsbury Drama Online on our MyGateway page) is pretty much what it says on the tin, an online catalogue of over three thousand theatre productions. There are scripts, recordings of readings, videos of productions from the most prestigious companies, theatres and actors in the world.  It’s a bountiful theatre feast, but with so many great offerings it can be overwhelming.

So… the lights are dimming, the curtain’s opening and it’s time to look at…

Three Amazing Things to check out on Drama Online

1. Hamlet starring Maxine Peake

As you can imagine the works of Shakespeare make up a large quantity of the content on Drama Online and whittling down the bards works to just one to highlight was almost impossible. Ian Holm as King Lear, Samantha Spiro as Lady MacBeth, Sir Patrick Stewart playing both Ghost and Claudius, there was no shortage of exceptionally pedrigreed*  productions. However I’ve chosen to point you in the direction of Maxine Peake’s performance as Hamlet in the Royal Exchange Theatre’s 2014 production. The staging (and filming of it) make excellent use of lighting, turning a minimalist set constantly into striking imagery of darkness and light. Within this framework, Peake turns in a powerful performance as a character struggling between ‘To be or not to be’.

*if Shakespeare can make up words so can I

2. Monologue Database

Whether you’re a performer with a big audition coming up, artist looking for a piece of poetic prose for a wall mural (or tattoo), or just a fan looking for something to read; Drama Online has a search function that makes finding the perfect quote or monologue easy. Monologues can be sorted and searched by setting, gender of character, length, setting and even theme.

3. Context and Criticism

For your inner (or outer) academic, Drama Online has a huge collection of books and papers analyzing the theatrical content the site has to offer. With critical analysis on the works of Tom Stoppard, Tony Kushner, and through a number of lenses like gender and sexuality, Drama Online offers resources to take your theatre experience and mindset to the next level.

So there you have it, a world of dramatic dreams right at your finger tips with Drama Online. Just log in through the MyGateway page on the Wellington City Library website. You’ll need only your library card number and your PIN (*Psssst* your PIN is the last four digits of the phone number we have on file for you, if you have any issues just get in touch with us and we’ll sort you out)

 

 

The New Yorker and More with RBDigital!

When editor Harold Ross was first establishing The New Yorker in the 1920s, he ran into a significant problem: Ernest Hemingway charged too much for his short stories. Ross’ response? Find the next generation of (more affordable) writers to publish instead, including John O’Hara, John Cheever, J. D. Salinger and Shirley Jackson.

So continued the tradition of young writers getting their break in literary magazines before going on to publish longer works. Many magazines continue to play this role today, as well as being a place for established writers to experiment with new ideas (and, occasionally, for people not traditionally known as writers to find a receptive audience).

Several of the most successful of these magazines are now available via rbDigital completely free of charge, and once you download them they’re yours forever. So sign up or log in to start reading!

The New Yorker


“Founded in 1925, The New Yorker publishes the best writers of its time and has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine, for its groundbreaking reporting, authoritative analysis, and creative inspiration. The New Yorker is at once a classic and at the leading edge.” (Adapted from rbDigital)

The Paris Review


The Paris Review publishes the best fiction, poetry, art, and essays from new and established voices, and the Writers at Work interviews offer some of the most revealing self-portraits in literature.” (rbDigital)

The New York Review of Books


“For over 47 years, The New York Review of Books has been the place where the world’s leading authors, scientists, educators, artists, and political leaders turn when they wish to engage in a spirited debate on literature, politics, art, and ideas with a small but influential audience that welcomes the challenge. Each issue addresses some of the most passionate political and cultural controversies of the day, and reviews the most engrossing new books and the ideas that illuminate them.” (rbDigital)

Harper’s Magazine


Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation through such celebrated features as Readings, Annotation, and Findings, as well as the iconic Harper’s Index.” (rbDigital)

Stories of romance – fun, festive, new novels at your library!

Fall in love again with the latest romantic and charming books found at your local library!

The river capture / Costello, Mary
“Thirty-four year old Luke O’Brien has left the city to live a quiet, bookish life on the River Sullane in County Waterford. Alone in his big house, he longs for a return to his family’s heyday and turns to books–especially Ulysses–for solace and sublimation. One morning a young woman arrives at his door and enters his life, with profound consequences. It is about humanity’s capacity for good and evil and what happens when Nature is thwarted. More than anything, it is a book about the life of the mind and the redemptive powers of art.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The orphan’s song / Kate, Lauren
“A sweeping love story about family and music–and the secrets each hold–that follows the intertwined fates of two Venetian orphans. When fate brings Violetta and Mino together on the roof of the Hospital of the Incurables, they form a connection that will change their lives forever. Both are orphans at the Incurables, dreaming of escape. But when the resident Maestro notices Violetta’s voice, she is selected for the Incurables’ world famous coro, and must sign an oath never to sing beyond its church doors. The Orphan’s Song takes us on a breathtaking journey of passion, heartbreak, and betrayal before it crescendos to an unforgettable ending, a celebration of the enduring nature and transformative power of love.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Space invaders : a novel / Fernández, Nona
“Space Invaders is the story of a group of childhood friends who, in adulthood, are preoccupied by uneasy memories and visions of their classmate Estrella Gonz lez Jepsen. In their dreams, they catch glimpses of Estrella’s braids, hear echoes of her voice, and read old letters that eventually, mysteriously, stopped arriving. They recall regimented school assemblies, nationalistic class performances, and a trip to the beach. Soon it becomes clear that Estrella’s father was a ranking government officer implicated in the violent crimes of the Pinochet regime, and the question of what became of her after she left school haunts her erstwhile friends.” (adapted from Catalogue)

A delicate deception / Sebastian, Cat
“When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if–she grudgingly admits–passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses. Will they let a lifetime of hurt come between them or can these two lost souls find love and peace in each other?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Love letters from Montmartre / Barreau, Nicolas
“Julien Azoulay is famous around the world for his beautiful romance novels. But last year, he stopped believing in love. When his beloved wife Hélène died, leaving him alone to raise his young son, Julien lost his faith in the happier side of life – and with it his ability to write. But Hélène was clever. Before she died, she made Julien promise to write her one letter for each year of her life and now, in this moment, in the most famous cemetery in Paris, Julien stands with his painful first letter in his hand. Here, even though Julien wouldn’t believe it, something wonderful is going to happen.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Good riddance / Lipman, Elinor
“One woman’s trash becomes another woman’s treasure, with deliriously entertaining results. Daphne Maritch doesn’t quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother, who held this relic dear. Too dear. In a fit of decluttering, Daphne discards it when she moves to a small New York City apartment. But when it’s found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook’s mysteries  take on a whole new urgency.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Local Literature: New Books

We’re reading a lot of local fiction and non-fiction lately, because it’s so good! Stories from New Zealanders make us feel reminiscent and connected, as well as providing the satisfaction that comes from supporting local writers. Some of these voices are new, some of them have been around for a while but still have new perspectives to share.

This month, notable titles include the swirling poetry of Between You and these Bones; and The Braided River, an anthology of migrant essays compiled by Diane Comer, who draws on how essays continue to be an expression of oneself and migration in a shifting world. We finish off with a current Librarian’s Choice, All Who Live on Islands, which perhaps proves Comer’s hypothesis true.

The paper nautilus : a trilogy / Jackson, Michael
The Paper Nautilus is about loss – the forms it takes, how we go on living in the face of it, and the mysterious ways that new life and new beginnings are born of brokenness. The paper nautilus provides a vivid image of this interplay of death and rebirth since, for new life to begin, the angelically beautiful but fragile shell that sustained a former life must be shattered. This book crosses and blends genres most engagingly.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haare Williams : words of a kaumātua / Williams, Haare
“A kaumātua – an elder of the Māori people – reflects in poetry and prose on his journey from te ao Maori on the East Coast to contemporary Auckland, New Zealand. And in his poetry and prose, in te reo Maori and English, Haare has a unique ability to capture both the wisdom of te ao Maori and the transformation of that world. This book, edited and introduced by acclaimed author Witi Ihimaera, brings together the poetry and prose of Haare Williams to produce a work that is a biography of the man and his times, a celebration of a kaumatua and an exemplar of his wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The braided river : migration and the personal essay / Comer, Diane
“This book explores contemporary migration to New Zealand through an examination of 200 personal essays written by 37 migrants from 20 different countries, spanning all ages and life stages. Throughout, Diane Comer, both migrant and essayist herself, demonstrates the versatility of the personal essay as a means to analyze and understand migration, an issue with increasing relevance worldwide.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Black and the White / Cochrane, Geoff
“The Black and the White is a new work – witty, fearless, formidably concise – from one of the most distinctive voices in New Zealand Poetry.” (Source: Victoria University Press)

All the juicy pastures : Greville Texidor and New Zealand / Schwass, Margot
“Greville Texidor – one-time Bloomsbury insider, globetrotting chorus-line dancer, former heroin addict, anarchist militia-woman and recent inmate of Holloway Prison – became a writer only after arriving in New Zealand as a refugee in 1940. All the Juicy Pastures tells the story of Greville Texidor’s extraordinary life in full for the first time, and puts her small but essential body of work in vivid context. Illustrated with many never-before-seen photographs, it restores an essential New Zealand writer to new generations of readers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Between you and these bones / Soul, F. D.
“Acclaimed Instagram poet F.D. Soul (@featherdownsoul) debuts a new poetry collection, telling her own invigorating, unapologetic narrative of love, loss, and adversity. Soul’s words pulse, they are alive on the page, attesting to the significance of Between You and These Bones in the modern world. From celebrated New Zealand poetess F.D. Soul comes her highly anticipated second collection of poetry, prose, illustrations, and wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All who live on islands / Lu, Rose
All Who Live on Islands introduces a bold new voice in New Zealand literature. In these intimate and entertaining essays, Rose Lu takes us through personal history to explore friendship, the weight of stories told and not told about diverse cultures, and the reverberations of our parents’ and grandparents’ choices. Frank and compassionate, Rose Lu’s stories illuminate the cultural and linguistic questions that migrants face, as well as what it is to be a young person living in 21st-century Aotearoa New Zealand.” (Adapteed from Catalogue)

New popular non-fiction

Our recent pick for popular new books this month is as diverse as having books on detective work, the ISIS attack on Charlie Hebdo, an analysis on the use of bad words in the English language, the detrimental side of beauty and, of course, the hot topic of climate change and how to try and slow it down.

The adventures of Maud West, lady detective : secrets and lies in the golden age of crime / Stapleton, Susannah
“Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than thirty years, having starting sleuthing on behalf of society’s finest in 1905. Her exploits grabbed headlines throughout the world but, beneath the public persona, she was forced to hide vital aspects of her own identity in order to thrive in a class-obsessed and male-dominated world. And – as Susannah Stapleton reveals – she was a most unreliable witness to her own life. Interweaving tales from Maud West’s own ‘casebook’ with social history and extensive original research, Stapleton investigates the stories Maud West told about herself in a quest to uncover the truth.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Disturbance / Lançon, Philippe
“Paris, January 7, 2015. Two terrorists who claim allegiance to ISIS attack the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The event causes untold pain to the victims and their families, prompts a global solidarity movement, and ignites a fierce debate over press freedoms and the role of satire today. Philippe Lançon, a journalist, author, and a weekly contributor to Charlie Hebdo is gravely wounded in the attack. This intense life experience upends his relationship to the world, to writing, to reading, to love and to friendship. Disturbance is a book about survival, resilience, and reconstruction, about transformation, about one man’s shifting relationship to time, to writing and journalism, to truth, and to his own body.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Bad words and what they tell us / Gooden, Philip
“Philip Gooden shows how and why taboo words and contentious expressions, including those four-letter ones, were first used in English. He discusses the ways such words have changed over the years and explores how a single syllable or two may possess an almost magical power to offend, distress or infuriate. Bad Words investigates the most controversial and provocative words in the English language in a way that is both anecdotal and analytical.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Beauty / Lee, Bri
“In recent decades women have made momentous progress fighting the patriarchy, yet they are held to ever-stricter, more punishing physical standards. Self-worth still plummets and eating disorders are more deadly for how easily they are dismissed. In Beauty Bri Lee explores our obsession with thinness and asks how an intrinsically unattainable standard of physical ‘perfection’ has become so crucial to so many. What happens if you try to reach that impossible goal? Bri did try, and Beauty is what she learned from that battle: a gripping and intelligent rejection of an ideal that diminishes us all.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Cows on ice & owls in the bog : the weird and wonderful world of Scandinavian sayings / Montnémery, Katarina
“Scandinavians are cooler, sexier, and more stylish than the rest of us. They have a higher standard of living, greater economic opportunity and equality, the world’s best restaurants, and moody TV dramas involving murders and sweaters. But did you know, amidst the obsession with hygge, IKEA, and lagom, that Scandinavian sayings are absolutely BIZARRE? Take the Swedish ‘Skita i det bl a sk pet’, which roughly translates as ‘You’ve done a poop in the blue locker’.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Good economics for hard times : better answers to our biggest problems / Banerjee, Abhijit V.
“Figuring out how to deal with today’s critical economic problems is perhaps the great challenge of our time. Immigration and inequality, globalization and technological disruption, slowing growth and accelerating climate change–these are sources of great anxiety across the world. The resources to address these challenges are there–what we lack are ideas that will help us jump the wall of disagreement and distrust that divides us. If we succeed, history will remember our era with gratitude; if we fail, the potential losses are incalculable.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Ghostland : in search of a haunted country / Parnell, Edward
“In his late thirties, Edward Parnell found himself trapped in the recurring nightmare of a family tragedy. For comfort, he turned to his bookshelves, back to the ghost stories that obsessed him as a boy, and to the writers through the ages who have attempted to confront what comes after death. Ghostland is Parnell’s moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – and what is haunting him. It is a unique and elegiac meditation on grief, memory and longing, and of the redemptive power of stories and nature.” (adapted from Catalogue)

After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, And Restoration [hardback] / Buck, Holly Jean
“As the human species hurtles ever faster towards its own extinction geoengineering as a temporary fix to buy time for carbon removal, is a seductive idea. Can these technologies and practices be used as technologies of repair, to bring carbon levels back down to pre-industrial levels? Rejecting the idea that geoengineering is some kind of easy work-around, Holly Buck outlines the kind of social transformation that would be necessary to enact a programme of geoengineering in the first place.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Is there still sex in the city? / Bushnell, Candace
“The New York Times-bestselling author of Sex and the City takes a wry look at sex, dating, and friendship after age 50, with a smart, lively satirical story of marriage and children, divorce and bereavement, and the very real pressures on women to maintain their youth and have it all.” (Catalogue)

Losing Earth : a recent history / Rich, Nathaniel
“The most urgent story of our times, brilliantly reframed, beautifully told: how we had the chance to stop climate change, and failed. By 1979, we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change–what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we had the very real opportunity to stop it. Obviously, we failed. It is not just an agonizing revelation of historical missed opportunities, but a clear-eyed and eloquent assessment of how we got to now, and what we can and must do before it’s truly too late.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Inspiring Craft projects for the New Year. Happy Crafting!

Find a variety of craft books, with wonderful ideas and reconsideration of craft, accompanied with step-by-step handy tips, how to make these fabulous creations. Have fun!

The art of pressed flowers and leaves / Ashmore, Jennie
“A ground-breaking book on the art of pressed flowers and leaf works from leading flower artist, Jennie Ashmore. She covers everything from the choice of flowers to the various methods of pressing them, to designing with the finished pressed flowers and leaves. Templates will help you get started, and a plant directory at the back of the book shows you what various plants look like when pressed.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Seasonal Scandi crafts : over 45 projects and quick ideas for beautiful decorations & gifts / Myers, Christiane Bellstedt
Create 45 simple projects with a Scandinavian flavour, including home decorations, garlands and beautiful gifts. Try out some simple embroidery on the lavender pillows, which would make great gifts. So why not get the family involved and make each season really special by making decorations together? You can then relive those happy memories each year as you decorate your home.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Knitting Stashbusters : 25 Great Ways to Use Up Your Yarn Leftovers of One Ball or Less / Goble, Fiona
“For knitters who want to know how to make use of their stash and avoid waste, this collection of 25 patterns has the answer. You can make a cute garland of hearts to brighten up a room, or knit a penguin toy for a new baby. Perhaps you’d like to make all sorts of cozies, or knit storage pots and a pencil case. Or you could choose to make a cute cottage doorstop using colors that match your own house.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Quick crafts for parents who think they hate craft / Scott-Child, Emma
“Skeleton Mask, Pompon Monsters, Paper Bag Stars, Woven Paper Chessboard, and more. Quick Crafts for Parents Who Think They Hate Craft is packed with 40 projects free from crazy origami to lose your cool over and glue to clean out of everyone’s hair. Get creative with your children even if you’re short on time (or patience). Split into four sections: play with it, wear it, spruce it up and useful things, all of the crafts have been created to ensure that play can continue once the crafting is over. Crafting doesn’t have to leave you cranky and the floor sticky” (adapted from Catalogue)

Knit shawls & wraps in 1 week : 30 quick patterns to keep you cozy in style / Greene, Marie
“It’s all about the layers in Marie Greene’s new collection of 30 stylish, versatile shawls, wraps and cowls. Easy to memorize and portable, these patterns range from voluminous wraps to cute cowls, making it easy to enjoy the satisfaction of a finished project or last-minute gift, even when your knitting time is limited. Whether you’re looking for a light spring layer, a summer statement piece or a thick toasty shawl, you’ll find a wide array of colors, shapes and yarn weights to complement your style, no matter the weather.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Beginner’s guide to colourwork knitting : 16 projects and techniques to learn to knit with colour / Austin, Ella
“If you long to knit stunning fair isle jumpers and brightly colored blankets for your home this is the perfect book. Learn all the techniques for how to start knitting with color and create really desirable projects as you learn. Choose from brightly colored stripy socks and work your way up to a patterned beanie hat and even a stunning sweater with a colorwork yoke. Even if you can only knit and purl–with this book you’ll be making gorgeous colorwork accessories before you know it” (Catalogue)

Embroidery now / Riggs, Jennifer Cardenas
“A beautiful guide to 30 modern hand embroidery projects for your home and wardrobe. Embroidery Now is a stylish hand-embroidery guide for the modern maker. You’ll learn about the materials included in the practice, nine different stitch techniques with illustrated step-by-step instructions, and 30 individual projects designed for you to use in your home and wardrobe. Packed with tips and tricks and a lot of inspiration, Embroidery Now shows that anything can be embroidered and gives you the confidence to continue to embellish your world through embroidery.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Craftfulness : mend yourself by making things / Davidson, Rosemary
“Integrating mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology, and creativity research, Craftfulness offers a thought-provoking and surprising reconsideration of craft, and how making things with your hands can connect us to our deepest selves and improve our well-being and overall happiness. Whether you knit, crochet, sculpt, weave, quilt, tat, draw, or bind books–working toward small, attainable goals gives us a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and control that is proven to positively impact our mental health and happiness, creating a safe space for failure, and ultimately, how to make peace with imperfection.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The secret lives of designers: new books

Ever wanted to design your own home? Be a fashion director, or a product engineer? Welcome to our latest design booklist, where designers of all industries reveal their successes and share some of their most impressive projects. Along the way, learn some of the hidden stories and elements to the gadgets, structures, and even fonts that we use in our daily lives.

Australian designers at home / Rose-Innes, Jenny
Australian Designers at Home invites readers into the homes of 20 of the country’s leading names in interior design. With unfettered access to their most private retreats, we see where the best of the industry express their true, unfiltered selves. Find out what home means from the people who create them for a living.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creative pep talk : inspiration from 50 artists / Miller, Andy J
“Every artist needs a little pep talk now and then. An inspiring tool and beautiful art book in one, Creative Pep Talk offers illustrated words of wisdom from 50 of today’s leading creative professionals. With full-color, typographic prints and explanatory statements from a host of creative luminaries–including Aaron James Draplin, Oliver Jeffers, Lisa Congdon, Mike Perry, and many others–this volume encourages artists to stay excited, experiment boldly, and conquer fear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Defined by Design, Kathryn H. Anthony (ebook)
“This wide-ranging overview of design in everyday life demonstrates how design shapes our lives in ways most of us would never imagine. The author uncovers the gender, age, and body biases inherent in the designs of common products and living spaces that we all routinely use. This fascinating book—full of aha moments—will teach readers to recognize the hidden biases in certain products and places and to work for more intelligent and healthy design in all areas of life.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The future of design : global product innovation for a complex world / Justice, Lorraine
“Design expert Lorraine Justice fully explores the factors that will determine your success and provides a unique framework for navigating the industry into the future. The Future of Design is practical, concise and includes guidelines for building and supporting creative teams, advice and strategies for evaluating product concepts, and interviews with product designers, inventors, and innovators from around the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Point of view : four decades of defining style / Goodman, Tonne
“Throughout her illustrious career, Tonne Goodman has made the famous stylish and the stylish famous. The Vogue fashion director has not only shaped the way women dress and see themselves, but she has also created a nexus in which the worlds of celebrity and style continually collide. Now, in Point of View, Goodman’s life and career are explored for the first time.” (Catalogue)

Built : the hidden stories behind our structures / Agrawal, Roma
“In Built, structural engineer Roma Agrawal takes a unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to skyscrapers of steel that reach hundreds of metres into the sky. With colourful stories of her life-long fascination with buildings – and her own hand-drawn illustrations – Roma reveals the extraordinary secret lives of structures.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

ABC of typography / Rault, David
The ABC of Typography traces 3,500 years of type from Sumerian pictographs through Roman calligraphy to Gutenberg, the Bauhaus, and beyond. Brimming with insight and anecdote, this witty and well-informed graphic guide explores the historical, technological, and cultural shifts that have defined the look of the words we read.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Architects at home
“This stunning book takes you on a thrilling tour through the fascinating, eclectic and stylish abodes of some of the world’s best-known architects. Not only do these pages offer a rare glimpse into each architect’s personal, private environment, but each uniquely designed project provides insight into how each architect marries trends with their own personal philosophy, and how they inject interior design flair into their own contemporary domain.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Atlas of mid-century modern houses / Bradbury, Dominic
“A fascinating collection of more than 400 of the world’s most glamorous homes from more than 290 architects, the Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses showcases work by such icons as Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, Alvar Aalto, and Oscar Niemeyer alongside extraordinary but virtually unknown houses in Australia, Africa, and Asia.” (Adapted from Catalogue)