Broken Codes and Lost Youth – History Picks November

This month’s history picks feature way over our usual quota for World War material, with Paul Byrnes’s The Lost Boys, DJ Taylor’s Lost Girls and Ronald Rosbottom’s Sudden Courage looking through various lenses at the youth of the era and how they were impacted by the wars – going overseas from New Zealand to fight, losing their friends and family in England and how society changed along the way, or when the war showed up on their doorstep in occupied France.

Elsewhere, we’ve got Bletchley Park and D-Day looking at the famous codebreakers and their influence as an intelligence agency. It’s not just the good guys who were hard at work cracking ciphers – Christian Jennings’s The Third Reich is Listening covers German efforts in the field during World War II. To ensure this post isn’t just about that particular era of history, we’ve also got Marilyn Garson’s experiences in Gaza in 2014 and Marie Arana’s wider history of Latin America.

Still lives : a memoir of Gaza / Garson, Marilyn
“Marilyn Garson was an experienced aid professional who created jobs at the edge of war. In 2011, she was invited to move to the Gaza Strip. Marilyn became the Economic Director of a large NGO programme, leading an ambitious young Palestinian team. In 2014, Marilyn witnessed first-hand the impact of Israel’s urban assault and massive civilian displacement. The UN was prepared to shelter 35,000 displaced Gazans, but 293,000 arrived. Locked in beneath the bombs, they had nowhere safer to go, and nothing but the United Nations flag and international law to protect them.” (Catalogue)

Silver, sword and stone / Arana, Marie
Silver, Sword and Stone is a vibrant, sweeping history of Latin America, told through three compelling lenses. The first, precious metal, of which silver is an enormous part, is an obsession that burned brightly in pre-Columbian times, consumed Spain in its relentless conquest of America, drove a system of exploitation, and has morphed into Latin America’s hope for the future. The second, the ‘sword’, is the culture of violence: from the Aztec and Inca empires through the bloody nineteenth-century wars of independence to state terrorism, the Shining Path, and today’s drug wars. The third, embodied in temples, elaborate cathedrals, or simple piles of rock, is the region’s fervent adherence to religious institutions, built in stone. Vivid and impeccably researched, Silver, Sword and Stone is the definitive narrative history of a region with a tumultuous but little-understood present as well as past.” (Catalogue)

Sudden courage : youth in France confront the Germans, 1940-1945 / Rosbottom, Ronald C.
“On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Most citizens adapted and many even allied themselves with the new fascist leadership. Yet others refused to capitulate; in answer to the ruthless violence, shortages, and curfews imposed by the Nazis, a resistance arose. Among this shadow army were Jews, immigrants, communists, workers, writers, police officers, shop owners, including many young people in their teens and twenties. Ronald Rosbottom tells the riveting story of how those brave and untested youth went from learning about literature to learning the art of sabotage, from figuring out how to solve an equation to how to stealthily avoid patrols, from passing notes to stealing secrets – and even learning how to kill. ” (Catalogue)

The cult of Trump / Hassan, Steven
“In The Cult of Trump, mind-control and licensed mental health expert Steven Hassan draws parallels between our current president and people like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Ron Hubbard and Sun Myung Moon, arguing that this presidency is in many ways like a destructive cult. He specifically details the ways in which people are influenced through an array of social psychology methods and how they become fiercely loyal and obedient. Hassan was a former “Moonie” himself, and he draws on his forty years of personal and professional experience studying hypnosis and destructive cults, working as a deprogrammer, and a strategic communications interventionist. He emphasizes why it’s crucial that we recognize ways to identify and protect ourselves and our loved ones.” (Catalogue)

Bletchley Park and D-Day : the untold story of how the battle for Normandy was won / Kenyon, David
“Since the secret of Bletchley Park was revealed in the 1970s, the work of its codebreakers has become one of the most famous stories of the Second World War. But cracking the Nazis’ codes was only the start of the process. Thousands of secret intelligence workers were then involved in making crucial information available to the Allied leaders and commanders who desperately needed it. Using previously classified documents, David Kenyon casts the work of Bletchley Park in a new light, as not just a codebreaking establishment, but as a fully developed intelligence agency. This account reveals the true character of Bletchley’s vital contribution to success in Normandy, and ultimately, Allied victory.” (Catalogue)

The Third Reich is listening : inside German codebreaking 1939-45 / Jennings, Christian
“The success of the Allied codebreakers at Bletchley Park was one of the iconic intelligence achievements of World War II, immortalised in films such as The Imitation Game and Enigma. But cracking Enigma was only half of the story. Across the Channel, German intelligence agencies were hard at work breaking British and Allied codes. The Third Reich is Listening is a gripping blend of modern history and science, and describes the successes and failures of Germany’s codebreaking and signals intelligence operations from 1935 to 1945. The first mainstream book that takes an in-depth look at German cryptanalysis in the Second World War, it tells how the Third Reich broke the ciphers of Allied and neutral countries, including Great Britain, France, Russia and Switzerland.” (Catalogue)

Operation Swallow : American soldiers’ remarkable escape from Berga Concentration Camp / Felton, Mark
“In this little-known story from World War II, a group of American POW camp leaders risk everything to save hundreds of fellow servicemen from a diabolical Nazi concentration camp. Their story begins in the dark forests of the Ardennes during Christmas 1944 and ends at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in the spring of 1945. Operation Swallow provides a historical, first person perspective of how American GIs stood up against their evil SS captors who were forcing them to work as slave laborers. Written from personal testimonies and official documents, Operation Swallow is a tale replete with high adventure, compelling characters, human drama, tragedy, and eventual salvation.” (Catalogue)

The lost boys : the untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War / Byrnes, Paul
“In the First World War of 1914-1918, thousands of boys across Australia and New Zealand lied about their age, forged a parent’s signature and left to fight on the other side of the world. Though some were as young as thirteen, they soon found they could die as well as any man. This extraordinary book captures the incredible and previously untold stories of forty Anzac boys who fought in the First World War, from Gallipoli to the Armistice. Featuring haunting images of the boys taken at training camps and behind the lines, these tales are both heartbreaking and rousing, full of daring, ingenuity, recklessness, random horror and capricious luck. A unique perspective on the First World War, The Lost Boys is military history made deeply personal, a powerful homage to youthful bravery and a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of war.” (Catalogue)

Lost girls : love, war and literature, 1939-51 / Taylor, D. J.
“Who were the Lost Girls? At least a dozen or so young women at large in Blitz-era London have a claim to this title. But Lost Girls concentrates on just four: Lys Lubbock, Sonia Brownell, Barbara Skelton and Janetta Parlade. Chic, glamorous and bohemian, as likely to be found living in a rat-haunted maisonette as dining at the Ritz, they cut a swathe through English literary and artistic life in the 1940s. They all had very different – and sometimes explosive personalities – but taken together they form a distinctive part of the war-time demographic: bright, beautiful, independent-minded women with tough upbringings behind them determined to make the most of their lives in a highly uncertain environment. However tiny their number, they are a genuine missing link between the first wave of newly-liberated young women of the post-Great War era and the Dionysiac free-for-all of the 1960s. Hectic, passionate and at times unexpectedly poignant, this is their story.” (Catalogue)

New Science fiction and fantasy: Epic conclusions and curious creations

New tales in science fiction and fantasy and delving into the vaults.  Wheel of time fans have a pre Wheel of time Robert Jordan, a.k.a. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. title to revel in. Becky Chamber’s new novella explores the potential for space exploration, boundaries expand as humans are adapted to their new environments before they arrive, but what is the fate of the homeworld they leave behind?

The confines of linear time and lifespan are challenged in Joe Abercrombie’s A little hatred and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the ninth. The Lightbringer series concludes with Brent Weeks’ The burning white. Nine years from start to finish this epic saga of magic, lies and betrayals has seen it’s characters transform as the world they know evolves around them. So who is the Lightbringer?

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.  Ariadne and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Warrior of the Altaii / Jordan, Robert (print), (eBook)
“Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end. The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets, and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. This is Robert Jordan’s never-before-published first novel, which he wrote before his well-known Wheel of Time series.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A little hatred / Abercrombie, Joe
“The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the Long Eye glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another. Old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield. Savine dan Glokta plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary and the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Gideon the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn (print), (eBook)
“Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse.  But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House, has been summoned into action. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The burning white / Weeks, Brent
“In the stunning conclusion to the epic, Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, kingdoms clash as Kip must finally escape his family’s shadow in order to protect the land and people he loves. As the White King springs his great trap, and the Chromeria itself is threatened by treason and siege, Kip Guile and his companions will scramble to return for one impossible final stand. In the darkest hour, will the Lightbringer come? (Adapted from catalogue)

The cruel stars / Birmingham, John
“Centuries after their defeat, the Sturm have returned with an overwhelming attack on the fringes of human space.  Everybody thought the Sturm were dead, engulfed by the Dark. They were wrong. On the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial onslaught. Five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Season of storms / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Translated from original Polish by David French
“Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, one of the few capable of hunting the monsters that prey on humanity. A mutant who is tasked with killing unnatural beings. He uses magical signs, potions, and the pride of every Witcher – two swords, steel and silver. But a contract has gone wrong, and Geralt finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world the  season of storms is coming…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Knight / Zahn, Timothy (print, (eBook)
“Nicole Hammond was just trying to survive on the streets of Philidelphia, then she and her partner Bungie were abducted by a race of mysterious moth-like aliens and taken to a strange ship. Now she is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with the aliens and their ship. Competing factions control different parts of the ship with the humans and other sentient aliens caught in the middle. But Nicole has a plan to take control of the ship. She just has to outsmart war profiteers and slavers to do it.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New Sport & Fitness books

This month’s blog titles featured take a nostalgic look (almost philosophical approach) at what it means to be a sports person, how to eat for performance enhancement, endurance, and a gentler way to approach fitness through Yoga.

Relax into Yoga for Seniors : a six-week program for strength, balance, flexibility, and pain relief / Carson, Kimberly
Relax into Yoga for Seniors presents twelve principles of yoga practice for seniors, including those with limited mobility. This evidence-based workbook will guide you safely—step-by-step, and with posture illustrations—on a six-week program for improved balance, flexibility, and overall well-being.”(adapted from Catalogue)

Eat Like an Athlete : boost your energy and performance through nutrition / Austin, Simone
“In Eat Like an Athlete, sports dietitian Simone Austin shares practical tips and suggestions on how to boost your energy and performance through nutrition, derived from her years of experience advising elite athletes. Simone’s hands-on manual allows people of all ages, from weekend warriors to professional players, to give their bodies optimal nourishment for training, competition and recovery.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Endure : mind, body, and the curiously elastic limits of human performance / Hutchinson, Alex
“In Endure Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D., reveals why our individual limits may be determined as much by our head and heart, as by our muscles. An elite distance runner himself, Hutchinson takes us to the forefront of the new sports psychology – brain electrode jolts, computer-based training, subliminal messaging – and presents startling new discoveries enhancing the performance of athletes today, showing us how anyone can utilize these tactics to bolster their own performance – and get the most out of their bodies.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Sport and the New Zealanders : a history / Ryan, Greg
“Sport has played a central part in the social and cultural history of New Zealand throughout its history. This book tells the story of sport in New Zealand for the first time, from the Maori world to today’s professional athletes. Through rugby and netball, bodybuilding and surf lifesaving, the book introduces readers to the history of the codes, the organisations and the players. Viewing New Zealand sport as activity and as imagination, Sport and the New Zealanders is a major history of a central strand of New Zealand life.” adapted from (Catalogue)

Epic : a 30-year search for the soul of sport / Barnes, Simon
“The greatest sporting moments of the last 30-plus years, as seen through the eyes of Simon Barnes, one of the very best sports writers. This is an autobiography from which the author, award-winning writer Simon Barnes, has been surgically removed. He has reported on six World Cups, seven Olympic Games, cricket on five continents and more than 20 Wimbledons, watching Diego Maradona, Usain Bolt, Sachin Tendulkar and Roger Federer at their peak. This is sport unplugged. Speaking for itself. Allowing the reader to understand sport with more clarity and depth than ever before.”(adapted from Catalogue)

Unleashing Greatness : in sport and life through the pathway of courage / Galbraith, David
“Everyone is capable of greatness sadly, not everybody finds it. Many peoples’ lives are ripped apart by self-doubt and destroyed by fear of failing. This results in never fully unleashing their true selves and always settling for second best in the job they apply for, the course of study they pursue, the person they ask out to coffee or to marry them! What makes it worse is that deep down they know they are capable of so much more and it tears them apart inside! If you are sick and tired of settling for second best or want to achieve the greatness you know is just there in front of you, then this book is for you!”–Back cover.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The Wind at My Back : a cycling life / Maunder, Paul
“A beautifully written exploration of the links between cycling, creativity, and the landscape. In The Wind on Your Back, Maunder takes a journey from the most dense centres of population to the wild places; starting from cycling in a major city, then moving through suburbia, the edgelands at the periphery of the city, then into the managed and pastoral farmland, and beyond to the sublime mountains. Played out against the backdrop of the British countryside, and drawing of elements of psychogeography and human geography, Maunder seeks to understand the way the outside world interacts with the creative mind, and the way our surroundings help to shape who we are.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Rugby : the afterlife : former All Blacks tell their stories / Gray, Wynne
“Way back when there was a clear distinction between work and rugby, great names of the game spent their time working in an office or at a trade or out on the farm, all the while fitting in training and then playing at the weekends. How did a lifetime in rugby protect or prepare them for experiences after the game and how and why did they make the choices they did? Rugby — The Afterlife explores in great detail how a number of All Blacks coped with that transition and came out the other side.” (Catalogue)

Leap In : a woman, some waves and the will to swim / Heminsley, Alexandra
“At once inspiring, hilarious, and honest, Leap In chronicles Alexandra Heminsley’s endeavor to tackle a whole new element, and the ensuing challenges and joys of open water swimming. Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you’re in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Federer : Portrait of a tennis legend / Spragg, Iain
“This biography, filled with photographs from his sensational career, follows Roger Federer from his first steps in tennis in the junior tournaments right through to the main professional circuit. It is an illustrated biography of a man who has graced the world of tennis for more than two decades, playing with grace, panache, and magnificent sportsmanship. He who has transcended tennis to become one of the greatest sportsmen of the 21st century.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The Long and Winding Aotearoa / Lockyer, G. A.
“Driving a car you’re always on the way to somewhere. On a bike, you’re already there in the landscape, in the moment. And sometimes there’s literally nowhere else you’d rather be. In George Lockyer’s new book, The Long and Winding Aotearoa, we find him riding his Triumph Bonneville around the country, from Kaitaia to Invercargill, and seeing his often humorous take on life from under a crash helmet. On the way round our magnificent country he stops to interview some fascinating characters, all with a story to tell. We meet not just motorcyclists, but a wide variety of kiwis, from craftsmen, artists and firefighters, to rugby coaches, quakers and architects.” (adapted from Catalogue)

New CDs @ Arapaki

Check out some of these new arrival CDs, including new albums by our very own Drax Project and Algel Olsen which received rave reviews. The highly anticipated The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ 50th anniversary editions (2CDs and 3CDs+Blu-ray) have also arrived. Come down to Arapaki Manners Library and get them.

New Albums

Drax Project [album]. / Drax Project
“Drax Project unveiled a new single “Catching Feelings” featuring fellow New Zealanders SIX60 off of their self-titled debut album. The jazz-inspired pop group has vamped up the track with infectious harmonies, relatable lyricism, and wistful, hypnotic vocals. With the new body of work underway, Drax Project is gearing up to take the world by storm.” (adapted from mightyape.co.nz) Check out also our Wellington Music Blog and Facebook to find out more about the Wellington music and musicians.

All mirrors. / Olsen, Angel
“The descent into darkness is a trope we find time again across history, literature and film. But there’s also an abyss above. There’s a winding white staircase that goes ever upward into the great unknown — each step, each turn, requiring a greater boldness and confidence than the one before. This is the journey on which we find Angel Olsen. But all along, Olsen was more concerned with a different kind of path, and on her vulnerable, Big Mood new album, ‘All Mirrors’, we can see her taking an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Ode to joy. / Wilco
” The album follows on from 2016’s, rather sombre ‘Schmilco’. ‘Ode to Joy’ is everything the title suggests, according to frontman Jeff Tweedy in a press release, the record’s, ‘full of really big, big folk songs, these monolithic, brutal structures that these delicate feelings are hung on’.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Lost girls. / Bat For Lashes
“Lost Girls is another brilliant full-length in Khan’s incredible, acclaimed discography, mixing sounds she’s always loved – heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats, cascading choruses – with some of her finest songwriting to date. It’s an album full of romance, an homage to Los Angeles, to being a kid in the 80’s, to films that touched and changed her life.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

No home record. / Gordon, Kim
“A co-founder of the legendary Sonic Youth, Gordon has performed all over the world, collaborating with many of music’s most exciting figures. Despite the exhaustive nature of her résumé, the most reliable aspect of Gordon’s music may be its resistance to formula. Songs discover themselves as they unspool, each one performing a test of the medium’s possibilities and limits. Her command is astonishing, but Gordon’s artistic curiosity remains the guiding force behind her music. ‘No Home Record’ is an expert operation in the uncanny. You don’t simply listen to Gordon’s music; you experience it.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Highwomen. / Highwomen
“The Highwomen is a new collaborative movement formed by Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. The collective’s highly anticipated self-titled debut album, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb. Continually demonstrating the importance of inclusion and collaboration, The Highwomen are joined by several guest musicians, vocalists and songwriters across the album. The project features Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and many more.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Juice B crypts. / Battles (Musical group)
“On their first album without bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka, Battles reinvent themselves once again with a tight set of songs that nevertheless push their musical boundaries. Their ability to simultaneously streamline and elaborate on their music isn’t exactly new; after all, Tyondai Braxton’s exit after ‘Mirrored’ prompted them to create ‘Gloss Drop”s exhilarating mix of experiments and hooks. On ‘Juice B Crypts’, there’s a similar feeling of rebirth.” (Catalogue)

Three chords & the truth. / Morrison, Van
“His sixth album in just four years, ‘Three Chords & The Truth’ is further proof that Van Morrison is one of the greatest recording artists of all time and a creative force to be reckoned with. The album was produced and written by Van Morrison (except for ‘If We Wait for Mountains’ which was co-written with Don Black).” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Why me? Why not. / Gallagher, Liam
“‘Why Me? Why Not’ is subsequently a clear upgrade on ‘As You Were’, but not a radical departure, which will come as a relief to Liam’s loyal fans. Highlights include the soulful One Of Us, which includes Liam’s son Gene Gallagher’s debut on bongos (“he nailed it!”), the aching balladry of Once (“got a bit of Pink Floyd’s The Wall about it”), the raw guitar bounce of Be Still, and the title track, Why Me? Why not, which Liam describes as “having a Beatles on Come Together vibe.”. Liam Gallagher: both eyes firmly fixed on the horizon, as ever. Because he knows, the best is still come.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Reissues/ Box-sets
Abbey Road : 3CD anniversary edition. / Beatles
Abbey Road : 2CD anniversary edition. / Beatles
“In many ways, Abbey Road stands apart from the rest of the Beatles’ catalog, an album that gains considerable strength from its lush, enveloping production — a recording so luxuriant, it glosses over aesthetic differences between the group’s main three songwriters and ties together a series of disconnected unfinished songs into a complete suite. Where Sgt. Pepper pioneered such mind-bending aural techniques, Abbey Road truly seized the possibilities of the studio and, in doing so, pointed the way forward to the album rock era of the 1970s.” (Catalogue)

Country music : a film by Ken Burns : the soundtrack.
“”If you write the truth and you’re writing about your life, it’s going to be country.” Loretta Lynn COUNTRY MUSIC, the eight-part, 16-hour film by Ken Burns, chronicles the creation of a truly American genre of music through the songs and stories of its greatest trailblazers. ‘Country Music A Film By Ken Burns (The Soundtrack)’ includes more than 100 timeless classics as heard in the film, including songs by The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and many more. This deluxe 5CD set includes 68 pages of liner notes and rarely seen archival photos, documents and memorabilia.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New DVDs for November

New DVDs for November include the latest entry in the action packed ‘John Wick’ series; moody Crime with the return of ‘True Detective’; a brilliant re-imagining of the classic novel ‘The haunting of Hill House’; uplifting music drama with ‘Wild Rose’; and a biopic on the formative years of the renowned creator of Middle Earth.

John Wick. 3, Parabellum
“Super assassin John Wick has a fourteen million dollar price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild. Now excommunicado, and with an army of the world’s most ruthless hit men and women on his trail, John must find a way to survive in this third chapter of the adrenaline-fuelled action series.” (Catalogue)

MIB. International
“The team has always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe, but in this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the organization.” (Catalogue)

Spider-Man. Far from home
“Still in mourning for his mentor, Peter Parker decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation as a way to reset. However, when Nick Fury hunts him down for help defeating Elemental creatures from the future, he has to keep the appearance of being a regular student while fighting alongside a new superhero from the future: Mysterio.” (Catalogue)

Tolkien
“Explores the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage, and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school. Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including the author’s tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart. All of these experiences would later inspire him to write his famous Middle-earth novels.” (Catalogue)

True detective. The complete third season
“In the heart of the Ozarks, the mystery surrounding a chilling crime deepens over three decades. Wayne Hays, a retired detective, who’s been tormented for 35 years by a case involving the 1980 disappearance of two children in West Finger, Arkansas. As the ageing Hays ruminates on the investigation with the producer of a true-crime documentary, details are revealed about the case and Hay’s haunted past.” (Catalogue)

Aladdin
“A street rat frees a genie from a lamp, granting all of his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince to marry a beautiful princess. But soon, an evil sorcerer becomes fixated on securing the lamp for his own sinister purposes.” (Catalogue)

Kings. The complete series.
“A modern day, alternate-reality drama about a hero who rises to become the King of his nation, based on the biblical story of King David. King Silas Benjamin rules the kingdom of Gilboa with steely determination unmatched by any rival. During a tense battle with the neighbouring nation of Gath, David Shepherd, an idealistic young soldier from the countryside, heroically crosses over dangerous enemy lines and rescues a coveted prisoner of war, the son of the king.” Catalogue)

Wild Rose
“Rose-Lynn Harlan is bursting with raw talent, charisma, and cheek. Fresh out of jail and with two young kids, all she wants is to get out of Glasgow and make it as a country singer in Nashville. Her mum Marion has had a bellyful of Rose-Lynn’s Nashville nonsense. Forced to take responsibility, Rose-Lynn gets a cleaning job, only to find an unlikely champion in the middle-class lady of the house.” (Catalogue)

The haunting of Hill House.
“Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.” (Catalogue)

Vera. Series eight.
“Vera and her team are drawn into four more compelling mysteries, including the body of a police officer discovered in an abattoir incinerator, a mysterious car crash, a suburban back-garden murder and the suspicious death of a teenage boy. Set around Newcastle and the stunning Northumberland countryside, Vera features complex and intriguing cases, atmospherically-shot landscapes and captivating performances, led by BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn as the unorthodox but brilliant DCI Vera Stanhope.” (Catalogue)

Conscious Fashion and Plant-based Beauty: our latest fashion and beauty books

Our latest fashion and beauty books make it easier to do good and to reduce your impact on the environment, with titles such as Fashionopolis and Plant-based Beauty. We also have Megan Hess’s latest book full of beautiful fashion illustrations and two new men’s fashion titles. Also new on our shelves is Supreme Models, the first-ever book celebrating black models. Find a comfy chair and enjoy!

Syndetics book coverPlant-based beauty : the essential guide to detoxing your beauty routine / Jess Arnaudin.
“The essential guide to detoxing your beauty routine. Plant-Based Beauty is a practical companion to your daily routine, helping you to truly understand the ingredients you are putting on your skin and replacing them with self-care rituals to look forward to. Jess Arnaudin helps to de-code the language, myths and science surrounding natural ingredients and shares recipes and her favourite beauty foods as part of her philosophy of ‘Inside Out Beauty’.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe conscious closet : the revolutionary guide to looking good while doing good / Elizabeth L. Cline.The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good
“With her landmark investigation Overdressed, Elizabeth Cline was the first to reveal fast fashion’s hidden toll on garment workers, the environment, and even our own satisfaction with our clothes. The Conscious Closet shows exactly what we can do about it. Based on her personal experiences getting off the fast-fashion treadmill and figuring out a common-sense, affordable approach to style, Elizabeth shares how to pare down your closet; swap, resell, or recycle what you don’t love; care for and repair what you do; and how to affordably buy, thrift, or rent the ethical wardrobe of your dreams.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashionopolis : the price of fast fashion & the future of clothes / Dana Thomas.
“An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry – and the grassroots, high tech, international movement fighting to reform it. In Fashionopolis , Thomas sees renewal in a host of developments, including printing 3-D clothes, clean denim processing, smart manufacturing, hyperlocalism, fabric recycling – even lab-grown materials. From small-town makers and Silicon Valley whizzes to household names such as Stella McCartney, Levi’s and Selfridges, Thomas highlights the companies big and small that are leading the crusade.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSupreme Models : Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion
“The first-ever book celebrating black models, filled with revealing essays, interviews, and stunning photographs. Written by celebrity stylist and journalist Marcellas Reynolds, Supreme Models features more than 70 women from the last 60 years. The book is filled with gorgeous photographs of the women, and details their most memorable covers, campaigns, runway shows, and editorials. Black models have been influencing fashion and pop culture for decades, reshaping the standards and boundaries of beauty. Supreme Models is a celebration of their monumental impact.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElegance : the beauty of French fashion / Megan Hess.
“Join internationally renowned fashion illustrator Megan Hess as she explores the timeless beauty and glamour of ten of France’s best-loved designers in a stylish celebration of one of the world’s favourite fashion destinations. In these pages, Megan Hess unspools the threads of ten legendary designers – Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Givenchy, Chloé, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Celine – to discover the origins of haute couture, prêt-à-porter and everything chic. Accompanied by Megan’s exquisite illustrations of current and archival collections, Elegance: The Beauty of French Fashion tells the story of how France’s iconic fashion houses have influenced the very fabric of design.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGarçon style : New York, London, Milano, Paris / Jonathan Daniel Pryce ; foreword by Sir Paul Smith.
“Delve into New York, London, Milan and Paris with close to 300 street-style images by the award-winning photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce. From impeccable tailoring to vintage finds, these evocative images capture the myriad ways men in the fashion capitals express themselves sartorially. Featuring a foreword by Paul Smith and interviews with a selection of each city’s most stylish men, Garçon Style is a stunning showcase of menswear today.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sartorial travel guide / Simon Crompton.
“An indispensable, informative, and portable insider’s companion to the most fashion-forward cities for well-dressed and worldly men. This essential travel guide distills a decade of style expert Simon Crompton’s experiences traveling the world to meet and advise the finest menswear producers and artisans–providing everything the modern man needs to know to travel in style and explaining what to buy and where to buy it. The Sartorial Travel Guide includes maps to assist trip planning and practical advice on how and what to pack, readers will be prepared for any occasion. Whether on vacation or looking to fill a few spare hours on a business trip, this is the ideal guide for any sartorial adventure.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

New in Literature

New literature has arrived! Spanning local and international writers, this month we’ve got an abundance of fresh poetry, essays, and short story anthologies. Find out who’s writing what in New Zealand in Fresh Ink, or perhaps delve deep into the intricacies and ambiguities of Shakespeare’s works with This is Shakespeare. 

I’m telling the truth, but I’m lying : essays / Ikpi, Bassey
“Having emigrated from Nigeria to America at age four, Ikpi assimilated uneasily but became a spoken word artist with HBO’s Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. Strong on the outside but crumbling on the inside, she was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar II. Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are–and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Labels and Other Stories, Louis de Bernières (ebook)
Full of wit, warmth and charm, Louis de Bernières’ Labels and Other Stories features tales from throughout his career as a masterful storyteller and transports us around the globe, from the London Underground to Turkish ruins to the banks of the Amazon. In this worldly and entertaining collection of stories, we are equally enchanted by familiar and fantastical occurrences, by de Bernières’ wry sense of humour and powerful imagination. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Coventry : essays / Cusk, Rachel
“Lauded for the precision of her prose and the quality of her insight, Cusk is a writer of uncommon brilliance. Coventry encompasses memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about literature, with pieces on family life, gender, and politics. Named for an essay in Granta, this collection is pure Cusk and essential reading for our age: fearless, unrepentantly erudite, and dazzling to behold.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fresh ink : a collection of voices from Aotearoa New Zealand, 2019.
“An anthology of short stories, extracts from novels, poetry and artwork, from established and respected New Zealand writers as well as some lively ‘fresh ink’ from previously unpublished literary voices.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Counting backwards : poems, 1975-2017 / Dunmore, Helen
“Winner of the Costa Book of the Year for her final collection, Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore was as spellbinding storyteller in her poetry and in her prose.  Counting Backwards is a retrospective covering ten collections written over four decades, bringing together all the poems she included in her earlier selection, Out of the Blue (2001), with all those from her three later collections, Glad of These Times (2007), The Malarkey (2012) and Inside the Wave (2017), along with a number of earlier or previously uncollected poems.” (Catalogue)

This is Shakespeare / Smith, Emma
“This electrifying new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays and their changing topicality. It introduces an intellectually, theatrically and ethically exciting writer who engages with intersectionality…  The Shakespeare in this book poses awkward questions rather than offering bland answers, always implicating us in working out what it might mean. This is Shakespeare. And he needs your attention.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover joinedupwriting, Roger McGough (ebook)
For fifty years, Roger McGough has delighted readers with poetry that is at once playful and poignant, intimate and universal. In his latest collection, he explores the whole gamut of the human experience, from forgotten friendships and family life, to the trauma of war and contemporary politics, wittily showing us who we are in all our shades of light and dark. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Mouth Full of Blood, Toni Morrison (Audiobook)
Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. A Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Infinite wonder – New photography books

Our beautiful planet features heavily in our picks of the recent books this month, both terestrially in amazing photos of New Zealand geological events, and, spectacularly, from space — see the world the way a Nasa astronaut sees it in astronaut Scott Kelly’s photos from his year on the International Space Station. Plus, still photos from David Attenborough’s Our Planet series, and tips for Instagram and iPhone photographers. Have a browse.

Flying high : the photography of Lloyd Homer / Nathan, Simon
“‘Disaster man’ Lloyd Homer photographed events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides around New Zealand for over 35 years. This book features a selection of spectacular colour aerial photohraphs, including high-altitude panoramas, from the GNS Science image library as well as many unique aerial photographs of New Zealand’s national parks and wilderness areas.” (Catalogue)

Infinite wonder : an astronaut’s photographs from a year in space / Kelly, Scott
“The first photo book by the Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a record-breaking year in space. This is an awe-inspiring collection of the photos Scott took himself while on board the International Space Station, many of which have never been seen before. Through the photos Kelly took during his time in space, we can learn to see the world in a new way. This book will show you what it’s really like to be a Nasa astronaut.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Our Planet, Alastair Fothergill (ebook)
“With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, breathtakingly beautiful still photography, and compelling text expanding on the remarkable TV stories, this companion book presents a whole new view of the place we call home. Featuring some of the world’s rarest creatures and previously unseen parts of the Earth — from deep oceans to remote forests to ice caps — Our Planet takes nature-lovers deep into the science of our natural world. This book captures in one concise narrative a fundamental message: what we do in the next twenty years will determine the future of not just the natural world but humanity itself.” (Overdrive description)

How to photograph absolutely everything / Ang, Tom
“This practical guide will teach you how to take the best possible photo in any situation imaginable with clear step-by-step guidance from expert photographer, Tom Ang. From still-life to sports photography, cityscapes and landscapes, and tackling children’s parties to capturing the magic of seasonal celebrations, How to Photograph Absolutely Everything is the essential guide to improving your digital photography skills and getting the most out of your camera.” (Catalogue)

Hashtag authentic : finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond / Tasker, Sara
“Sara Tasker, Instagram-guru and social media influencer, shares her secrets for turning an interest in Instagram into a thriving business. Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform, with 400 million monthly active users worldwide, half of them under 25. While some of these people use the app as a personal tool, many also use it to build their creative business endeavours, from food and drink to fashion and lifestyle. Sara Tasker has tapped into this as an Instagram coach, an iPhoneographer and social media influencer. Her chronicle of authentic everyday life and her mindful Me and Orla blog has developed into a business in which she allows access to free insta-tips, alongside some hugely popular paid for e-courses for independent creatives.” (Catalogue)

The enthusiast’s guide to iPhone photography : 63 photographic principles you need to know / Duggan, Seán
The Enthusiast’s Guide to iPhone Photography: 63 Photographic Principles You Need to Know teaches you what you need to know in order to shoot great images with your iPhone. Sean Duggan covers the iPhone’s basic and advanced camera controls, the apps you need most for shooting and processing your images, and the principles you need to know in order to capture and share great, creative, beautiful images with your mobile device. ” (Catalogue)

New general fiction: forging fanciful new trails

Our selection this month includes the thirteenth novel by celebrated New Zealand Aotearoa author Elizabeth Knox. The absolute book is described by the author as an ‘arcane thriller’, a quest and a personal journey about revenge. This far ranging creation is rich in detail, born from the author’s knowledge of myth and folklore, the intricacies of the tale balancing between two worlds is a pleasure to be immersed in.

In The giver of stars, Jojo Moyes looks at the life of rural horseback librarians in Kentucky in the Depression era. A crew of five women from very different backgrounds will find their lives changed and influenced by choice and chance as they deliver books to people who had never had any, expanding horizons and arming them with facts that will change their lives. Gun island weaves together a contemporary and traditional tale as characters roam, migrating like seasonal animals whose patterns no longer conform to previous paths.

Other titles range from gripping thrillers to historical tales, reprising favourite love stories and gritty gangster tales. A great variety from talented writers, something for all readers to enjoy.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell’s Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.” (Catalogue)

The Dutch house / Patchett, Ann (print), (eBook)
“Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother’s: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known. ” (Catalogue)

Postscript / Ahern, Cecelia (print), (eBook)
“‘We desperately need your help Holly. We’re running out of ideas and…’ She takes a breath in as if summoning the energy, ‘all of us are running out of time.’ When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone. Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life. But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…” (Catalogue)

Tin badges : a novel / Carcaterra, Lorenzo (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“As one of the NYPD’s most trusted “tin badges”–retired detectives brought in to solve cases that are beyond the reach of the everyday force–Tank Rizzo has faced off against some of the city’s toughest criminals without breaking a sweat. To tackle a case involving a dangerous kingpin known as Gonzo, Tank turns to his best friend and ex-partner, Pearl; a former mobster living out a seemingly quiet retirement as the owner of Tank’s favorite Italian restaurant; and a team of expert misfits he would trust with his life. But Gonzo will stop at nothing to defend the empire he’s built, and won’t hesitate to make it personal.” (Catalogue)

The giver of stars / Moyes, Jojo
“When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Mrs. Roosevelt’s new traveling WPA library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, Margery, the smart-talking, self-sufficient daughter of a notorious local criminal, a woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. Alice finds Margery as bracing and courageous as anyone she’s ever met–and comes to rely on her, especially as her marriage starts to fail. They will be joined by three other women–two white, one black–and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. Funny, heartbreaking, and rewarding, it is a rich novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.” (Catalogue)

Gun island : a novel / Ghosh, Amitav
“Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta’s world upside down. A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. Gun Island is a beautifully realised novel which effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.” (Catalogue)

Pursuit : a novel of suspense / Oates, Joyce Carol
“As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night. Now an adult, Abby thinks she’s outgrown her demons, until, the evening before her wedding, the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband, Willem. The following day Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge. Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before, the story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug addled father; and a daughter’s terrifying captivity.” (Catalogue)

Bloody genius / Sandford, John
“At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right? Then someone winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.” (Catalogue)

A thousand ships / Haynes, Natalie (print), (eBook)
“In the early hours of the morning, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and Troy has fallen. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash…The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across the oceans and sky in between. Arising from this are the individual tales of the women embroiled in the lead-up to and the aftermath of that legendary war, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all…Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls, and goddesses who, for so long, were kept silent.” (Catalogue)

Tales and Travelogues in Unexpected Places

This month we’ve got a lot of new travel writing hitting our shelves, featuring both some tourist favourites and remote destinations. We whirl from the Arctic to the Antarctic with some of the best travel writers of our time, stopping along the way in places such as Spain and Pakistan. Whether you are interested in culture, science, or just the human experience of travelling to new places, this booklist has you covered.

Overdrive cover My Midsummer Morning, Alastair Humphreys (ebook)
Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits – busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day, and finding himself truly vulnerable to the rhythms of the road and of his own life. But along the way, he found humility, redemption and triumph. It was a very good adventure. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Sun Is a Compass, Caroline Van Hemert (Audiobook)
In March of 2012 [Caroline Van Hemert] and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe.  A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, the book explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of creatures whose daily survival is nothing short of miraculous. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Bowing to Elephants, Mag Dimond (ebook)
In Bowing to Elephants, a woman gazes into the feathery eyes of a 14,000-pound African elephant and looks for answers to old questions in Vietnam and the tragically ravaged landscape of Cambodia. Dimond journeys to far-flung places―into the perfumed chaos of India, the nostalgic, damp streets of Paris, the gray, the reverent and silent mountains of Bhutan, and the gold temples of Burma. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Fifteen million years in Antarctica / Priestley, Rebecca
“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica offers a deeply personal tour of a place in which a person can feel like an outsider in more ways than one. With generosity and candour, Priestley reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Couchsurfing in Russia, Stephen Orth (ebook)
In this humorous and thought-provoking book, Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious land to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Orth follows the bestselling Couchsurfing in Iran with another complex, funny, and personal travelogue – a colourful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The crow eaters : a journey through south Australia / Stubbs, Ben
“Outsiders think of South Australia as being different, without really knowing much about it. Combining his own travel across the state with an investigation of its history, Ben Stubbs seeks to find out what South Australia is really like. In the spirit of the best travel writing and literary non-fiction, he lingers in places of quiet beauty and meets some memorable people… Stubbs brings this diverse state to life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From the lion’s mouth : a journey along the Indus / Campbell, Iain
“An insightful portrait of Pakistan with themes of religion, culture and hospitality in an account of travelling… Engrossing and eye-opening, Iain Campbell’s account of his travels through this mesmerising land will appeal to travellers, mountaineers, trekkers, wilderness enthusiasts, anyone interested in the culture and history of the subcontinent, and fans of quality travel writing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

North Korea journal / Palin, Michael
“In May 2018, Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal… Written with Palin’s trademark warmth and wit, and illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout, the journal offers a rare insight into the North Korea behind the headlines.” (Catalogue)