Category: Recent picks

New Science Fiction and Fantasy for March

There are new titles from several very popular writers included in this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. These are Greg Bear, William R. Forstchen, Terry Goodkind, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charles Stross. Highly recommended is A closed and common orbit by Becky Chambers, that can be read as a stand-alone novel, not necessarily as the second title in her Wayfarers series.

Syndetics book coverThe bear and the nightingale : a novel / Katherine Arden.
“At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind, she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSummerlong / Peter S. Beagle.
“It was a typically unpleasant Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos, even the weather takes notice. As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers, dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson, visited by Joanna’s previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires. Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness’s past is a dark secret, and even summer days must pass.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTake back the sky / Greg Bear.
“The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war. Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists; both are intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. The former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA closed and common orbit / Becky Chambers.
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world, because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe final day / William R. Forstchen.
“The sequel to One year after. Since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States more than two years ago, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has suffered famine, civil war, and countless deaths. Now, after defeating a new, tyrannical federal government, John Matherson and his community intend to restore their world to what it was before the EMP apocalypse. But a new, aggressive government announces that it’s taking over and ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states. John fears he and his town will be targets. Will John and his people accept the new, autocratic regime? Or will revolution rip the fledgling nation apart at the seams?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath’s mistress : sister of darkness / Terry Goodkind.
“One-time lieutenant of the evil Emperor Jagang, known as “Death’s Mistress” and the “Slave Queen”, the deadly Nicci captured Richard Rahl in order to convince him that the Imperial Order stood for the greater good. But it was Richard who converted Nicci instead, and for years thereafter she served Richard and Kahlan as one of their closest friends and one of their most lethal defenders. Now, with the reign of Richard and Kahlan finally stabilized, Nicci has set out on her own for new adventures. One of her jobs will be to keep her travelling companion, the unworldly prophet Nathan, out of trouble. But her real task will be to scout the far reaches of Richard Rahl’s realm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Dreamblood duology / N. K. Jemisin.
The Dreamblood Duology includes the novels The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers, the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru, the most famous of the city’s Gatherers, must question everything he knows. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn of vengeance / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman, the very sister of the woman who testified against him. Carrying a secret she knows Bastien will annihilate her over, she must find some way to trust her former wingman before he catches on and kills her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA blade of black steel / Alex Marshall.
“The sequel to A Crown for Cold Silver. After five hundred years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned, and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star. As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm, or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire games / Charles Stross.
“The year is 2020. It is seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence, has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Graphic Novels for March

This month’s selection form the recently received new Graphic Novels includes the first volumes in two new series by popular writers, Huck by Mark Millar and Dragon Ace by Greg Rucka. Also included are two debut graphic novelists, one a memoir by American Amy Kurzweil, and the other by Argentinean Lucas Varela.

Syndetics book coverCarthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
“The megalodon, the prehistoric ancestor of the great white shark, was the most ferocious predator of the seas, an 80-foot killing machine extinct for millions of years. But when divers drilling in an underwater cave are attacked by this living fossil, oceanographer Kim Melville discovers that this creature may not only have survived, but thrived, and is reclaiming its place at the top of the food chain.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency : a spoon too short / written by Arvind Ethan David ; art by Ilias Kyriazis.
“After the many and conflicting versions of the legendary Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams created Dirk Gently: a detective with a belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, a troubled relationship with the laws of probability and quantum physics, and a love of cats and pizza. Dirk finds himself investigating a bizarre case of poaching, dumbstruck tourists, and the inner membranes of a rhinoceros’ nose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMooncop / Tom Gauld.
“The lunar colony is slowly winding down, like a small town circumvented by a new super highway. As our hero, the Mooncop, makes his daily rounds, his beat grows ever smaller, the population dwindles. A young girl runs away, a dog breaks off his leash; an automaton wanders off from the Museum of the Moon. Each day that the Mooncop goes to work, life gets a little quieter and a little lonelier.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOne hundred nights of hero / Isabel Greenberg.
“A feminist fairy-tale of betrayal, loyalty, madness, bad husbands, lovers both faithful and unfaithful, wise old crones, moons who come out of the sky, musical instruments that won’t stay quiet, friends and brothers and fathers and mothers and above all, many, many sisters.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrivate beach / David Hahn ; with a new foreword by Jeff Parker.
“Everyday life takes on touches of the bizarre in these tales of sexy and cynical Trudy Honeyvan and her circle of twenty-something friends. From oddball coincidences to occasional UFO sightings to an ominously cryptic message from a Magic 8 Ball, Trudy’s world is becoming increasingly weird, right up to the point when a pair of mysterious men in black ask her to “lend ambiance” to a nightclub called Heaven’s Rift.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlying couch : a graphic memoir / Amy Kurzweil.
“Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHuck [1] : All-American / Mark Millar, writer ; Rafael Albuquerque, artist ; created by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque.
“In a quiet seaside town, a gas station clerk named Huck secretly uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. But when his story leaks, a media firestorm erupts, bringing him uninvited fame. As pieces of Huck’s past begin to resurface, it’s no longer clear who his friends are, or whose lives may be in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBurning fields / written by Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel ; illustrated by Colin Lorimer.
“Dana Atkinson, a dishonorably discharged army investigator, is pulled back to the Middle East when a group of American oil technicians disappears under bizarre circumstances. With the help of an Iraqi investigator, Dana discovers a series of unusual incidents at the drill site, which lead her and an unlikely ally to discover a mythic evil that has been released, one that threatens both the lives of the entire region and the fragile peace that exists.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDragon Age [1] : magekiller / script, Greg Rucka ; pencils, Carmen Carnero ; inks, Terry Pallot.
“Tessa and Marius are mercenary partners united by an unbreakable bond and compelled to eliminate those who use magic to hurt others. When they betray a powerful patron who intended to kill them once their job was completed, they’re forced to run and join the Inquisition. With the breach in the sky tearing the world apart, there’s more to fear than Venatori and an angry former employer. Can Tessa, Marius and the Inquisition overcome the greatest threat Thedas has ever faced?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe longest day of the future / Lucas Varela.
“In a futuristic city, two mega-companies share power, while indulging in a thankless war to eliminate the other, by any means necessary. The crash of an extraterrestrial flying saucer will, perhaps, change that. This masterfully crafted, witty and irreverent graphic novel is Argentine cartoonist and graphic designer Lucas Varela’s debut.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Skincare & style – New fashion and beauty books in March

March brings a bumper crop of makeup and beauty books, equipping you perfectly for the change of seasons. We also have a shiny new volume from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Carson Kressley and a closer look at everyone’s favourite fashion staple – denim.

Syndetics book coverWhere stylists shop : the fashion insider’s ultimate guide : the secret source list of designers, stylists, editors, bloggers, models, costume designers, street-style stars, and tastemakers / Booth Moore.
“Booth Moore, visionary fashion editor at The Hollywood Reporter, brings together her A-list rolodex, insider knowledge, and industry access to create the definitive guide to shopping around the world. As an international authority on fashion and style, she interviews top celebrity stylists, bloggers, fashion designers, and other tastemakers to give readers the ultimate guide to the best boutiques, brands, websites, and bargains that every fashionista should know.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFace : make-up, skincare, beauty / Sam and Nic Chapman.
“Sam and Nic Chapman began the YouTube channel Pixiwoo in 2008 as a way to educate women and men of all ages in the art of make-up. Now, they have compiled their extensive knowledge into one book. Fully illustrated using photos from their tutorials, this beautiful book includes advice, techniques and top tips for your skin, brows, eyes, lashes and lips. From easy-to-follow guides to recommendations for the ideal tools used to create the perfect look, this incredible manual will reveal how to manage and style each feature to suit you best.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDoes this book make my butt look big? : a cheeky guide to feeling sexier in your own skin and unleashing your personal style / Carson Kressley, with Riann Smith.
Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big? is a roadmap for all of us to build unshakable body and fashion confidence. We need to be reminded that fashion is FUN. We need to know that with the right tools, we have the power to transform our self-perception by shifting our mindset from woe-is-me to wow-is-me. We need the secrets of playing to our strengths and minimizing our flaws. We need to take more chances, and leave what doesn’t work in the dust. Most of all, we need Carson, our peppy, blond fairy godstylist, to show us the way!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover50 ways to wear denim / Lauren Friedman.
50 Ways to Wear Denim is an illustrated guide to styling denim in 50 different looks. Each one spotlights an iconic denim garment (think denim shirts and skirts, jeans for every figure, overalls, jean jackets, and more) or suggests unexpected ways to incorporate denim into an outfit, from dressing up denim for a fancy event to mix-and-matching it with leopard print, florals, and plaids. Lively introductory sections explore denim’s history, anatomy, and key terminology, plus tips for shopping and caring for this staple fabric. A must-have fashion resource for fashionistas and denim lovers of all ages.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMake it up : the essential guide to DIY makeup & skin care / Marie Rayma.
“Marie Rayma shares the recipes she has developed through years of trial, error, and testing to come up with the very best. This is real makeup and skincare: bright lipsticks, quality mineral powders, long-wearing eyeliners, and masks and cleansers that yield results. These awesome oils, butters, clays, and minerals will replace the petroleum products, artificial colors, and lab-created mystery fragrances that have untold effects on our bodies. Products can be tailored for individual needs-from swapping out ingredients not suitable for sensitive skin to whipping up the perfect colors suited for any complexion.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUndercover / Jun Takahashi.
“The first comprehensive book on the work of Jun Takahashi of UNDERCOVER, an icon of Harajuku streetwear and the presumptive heir to the heavy mantle of Japanese deconstruction. Takahashi Jun’s fashion is not born out of an excessively intellectualized agenda. While not quite populist, his generative influences are instead romantic–even gothic. Undercover is insightfully curated with fashion-filled chapters devoted to Takahashi’s sketches, graphic work, collaborations, and most innovative designs to date. This book gives readers first time access into Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER, one of the most desired and multidimensional clothing lines in contemporary fashion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEat beautiful : nourish your skin from the inside out / Wendy Rowe.
“In this refreshing beauty book, Wendy will teach you how to keep your skin healthy and let your inner and outer beauty shine. Wendy has devised over 70 easy and delicious recipes specifically designed to feed your skin with the nutrients it needs to glow. Each of the recipes correlates to an essential skin-feeding ingredient that will help target specific skin problems and common complaints. Wendy provides specific advice for foods to embrace or avoid depending on your skin.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fashion of film : how cinema has inspired fashion / Amber Butchart.
The Fashion of Film is the perfect book for the fashion fan. In it, fashion historian Amber Butchart takes a journey through the last 100 years of cinema style and its influence on the catwalks. With beautiful imagery and thoroughly-researched text, she looks at how our most iconic movies have transformed the world of high fashion. Karl Lagerfeld was influenced by the dystopian vision of Metropolis, the picture-perfect world of Wes Anderson’s films are echoed in the collections of Miuccia Prada, and Audrey Hepburn was key to Hubert de Givenchy’s work. Fashion designers have long taken their inspiration from silver screen idols, and continue to do so today.” (Syndetics summary)

New eAudiobook Non-Fiction in March

This month Overdrive presents a range of significant non-fiction eAudiobooks, including Laurence Rees’ The Holocaust and Sue Klebold’s A Mother’s Reckoning. The Guardian calls Rees’ work “one of the best introductions to the Holocaust”, while the Washington Post describes A Mother’s Reckoning as a “painful and necessary” read. To learn more about Overdrive’s non-fiction collection, visit our website, or download the app.

Overdrive cover What to Think About Machines That Think, by John Brockman
“Stephen Hawking recently made headlines by noting, ‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.’ Others, conversely, have trumpeted a new age in which smart devices will exponentially extend human capacities. No longer just a matter of science-fiction, it is time to seriously consider the reality of intelligent technology.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Holocaust, by Laurence Rees
“This landmark work answers two of the most fundamental questions in history – how, and why, did the Holocaust happen? Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Now, in his magnum opus, he combines their enthralling eyewitness testimony, a large amount of which has never been published before, with the latest academic research to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Fry’s English Delight, Series 5, by Stephen Fry
“A fifth series in which Stephen Fry examines the highways and byways of the English language. He tells The Story of X: a letter holy and profane, sexy and chaste; discusses intonation, the ‘song’ of English and how cadence affects meaning; muses on the art and craft of conversation – and whether true conversation can happen on TV and radio – and ponders the meaning of meaning, and the gap between brain and mouth that means language can never truly represent thought.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
“Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Walk Through Walls, by Marina Abramovic
“This memoir spans Marina Abramovic’s five decade career, and tells a life story that is almost as exhilarating as her performance art. Taking us from her early life in communist ex-Yugoslavia, to her time as an a young art student in Belgrade in the 1970s, where she first made her mark with a series of pieces that used the body as a canvas, the book also describes her relationship with the West German performance artist named Ulay who was her lover and sole collaborator for twelve years.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde
“In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, influential poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Descent of Man, by Grayson Perry
“Grayson Perry has been thinking about masculinity since he was a boy. Now, in this funny and necessary book, he turns round to look at men with a clear eye and ask, what sort of men would make the world a better place, for everyone? Perry admits he’s not immune from the stereotypes himself, and his thoughts are shot through with honesty, tenderness and the belief that, for everyone to benefit, upgrading masculinity has to be something men decide to do themselves.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Mother’s Reckoning, by Sue Klebold
“On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives. For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. In the hope that the insights she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Why Can’t I Meditate?, by Nigel Wellings
“Mindfulness can help us relax and is great for coming to grips with thoughts that make us depressed or anxious, but it can also bring us into a more intimate relationship with ourselves—a prospect that can make some feel uncomfortable. This is where Why Can’t I Meditate? comes in. Full of practical ways to help our mindfulness practice flourish, it also features guidance from a wide spectrum of secular and Buddhist mindfulness teachers, and personal accounts by new meditators.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Design details – Design & Architecture picks in March

Several exciting new titles have been added to our design & architecture sections recently, so take a look below for books on the past, present, and future of design, and examples of architects designing their own abodes for living and leisure. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverDesigner Maker User : An Introduction to Design
“Designers, makers and users are the three essential participants in the creation of any kind of design. Exploring these relationships enables us to understand how we shape the world and how it, in turn, shapes us. Designer Maker User traces the evolution of design, from its roots in the Industrial Revolution to its transformation by the digital explosion. Designer Maker User provides readers with an appreciation for the significance of design and its far-reaching impact on the world in which we live.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new web typography : create a visual hierarchy with responsive web design / Stephen Boss, Jason Cranford Teague.
“With a vast selection of typefaces now available, there is no excuse for using boring typography in web design. The New Web Typography shows you how to implement web-safe fonts to create visually appealing and multi-browser-friendly websites while encouraging you to develop designs that express your own unique typographic voice. This book discusses general principles for choosing typefaces for on-screen display and tips for creating a visual hierarchy that works on monitors, tablets, and smartphones.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere architects stay : lodgings for design enthusiasts / Sibylle Kramer.
“The combination of architecture and vacations is highly inspiring. It promises relaxation and pleasure, beauty and style, all in one. From the archaic forest hut in the mountain, the luxuriously decorated loft in a major metropolis, or the romantic idyllic house by the lake – these part-time dream houses allow visitors to forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life and they are the perfect place for a short escape or a longer time out.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrint & pattern : nature / Bowie Style.
“The latest book based on the popular Print & Pattern blog, Print & Pattern: Nature celebrates beautiful surface designs, patterns, and motifs of leaves, insects, grasses, butterflies, and trees. Product areas covered include stationery, cards and giftwrap, fabrics, wallpaper, rugs, ceramics, homewares, gadget skins, and more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat’s So Great About the Eiffel Tower? : 70 Questions That Will Change the Way You Think About Architecture
“Why do we find the idea of a multi-colored Parthenon so shocking today? Why was the Eiffel Tower such a target for hatred when it was first built? Is the Sagrada Familia a work of genius or kitsch? Why has Le Corbusier, one of the greatest of all architects, been treated as a villain? This book examines the critical legacy of both well known and either forgotten or underappreciated highpoints in the history of world architecture. You may never look at architecture in the same way again!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchitects’ homes / edited by Bethany Patch.
“This stunning book takes a rare glimpse into the intriguing and unique homes of some of the world’s best-known architects. How do these architects design their own private domains? How do their furnishing styles impact on the structural integrity of the space? How do these individuals express their interior design flair in their own haven? Combining rich photography and spectacular imagery with the personal stories of these industry professionals, this book provides a rich source for those keen to delve into the design aesthetics, concepts and innovations of leaders in their very own field.” (Syndetics summary)

The play’s the thing – Literature picks for March

Well so said Hamlet, and this month’s picks certainly seem to reflect this. We feature two collections of New Zealand plays and the prize -winning playscript on which the Oscar winning film “Fences” was based. Also on offer are books about Alice Munro, Maya Angelou, Jan Morris and Jonathan Swift – a rich harvest indeed.

Syndetics book coverMaya Angelou : adventurous spirit / Linda Wagner-Martin.
“A comprehensive biographical and critical reading of the works of American poet and memoirist Maya Angelou (1928-2014). Linda Wagner-Martin covers all six of Angelou’s autobiographies, as well as her essay and poetry collections, while also exploring Angelou’s life as an African American in the United States, her career as stage and film performer, her thoughtful participation in the Civil Rights actions of the 1960s, and her travels abroad in Egypt, Africa, and Europe.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe map and the clock : a laureate’s choice of the poetry of Britain and Ireland / edited by Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke.
The Map and the Clock is a celebration of the most scintillating poems ever composed on our islands. Curated by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and by Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales, this anthology gathers fourteen centuries of extraordinary verse – beginning with the first writings from the old languages of England and Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and culminating in some of our most recent poets.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeaths of the poets / Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
“From Chatterton’s Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats’ death warrant in a smudge of arterial blood; from Dylan Thomas’s eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plath’s desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen or John Berryman’s leap from a bridge onto the frozen Mississippi, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA double sorrow : Troilus and Criseyde / Lavinia Greenlaw.
“When Chaucer composed Troilus and Criseyde he gave us, some say, his finest poem, and with it one of the most captivating love stories ever written. A Double Sorrow, Lavinia Greenlaw’s new work, takes its title from the opening line of that poem in a fresh telling of this most tortured of love affairs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlice Munro : Hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage ; Runaway ; Dear life / edited by Robert Thacker.
“The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to the Canadian writer Alice Munro in 2013 confirmed her position as a master of the short story form. This book explores Munro’s work from a full range of critical perspectives, focussing on three of her most popular and important published collections: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001), Runaway (2004), and her final collection Dear Life (2012).” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBats plays / Ken Duncum & Rebecca Rodden.
“Six seminal plays from Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden, whose playwriting partnership powered the vibrant theatre scene round Wellington’s BATS Theatre in the 1980s and 90s. These collected plays are boldly inventive, darkly comic and ceaselessly imaginative.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAriel : a literary life of Jan Morris / Derek Johns ; drawings by Jan Morris.
“Jan Morris is one of the great British writers of the post-war era. Soldier, journalist, writer about places (rather than ‘travel writer’), elegist of the British Empire, novelist, she has fashioned a distinctive prose style that is elegant, fastidious, supple, and sometimes gloriously gaudy.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFences / a play by August Wilson ; introduction by Lloyd Richards.
“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. In his work, Mr. Wilson depicted the struggles of black Americans with uncommon lyrical richness, theatrical density and emotional heft, in plays that give vivid voices to people on the frayed margins of life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJonathan Swift : the reluctant rebel / John Stubbs.
“Born in Ireland in 1667, Jonathan Swift defiantly clung to his Englishness. He refused to relinquish this attachment even as corruption and injustice gradually led him to turn against the English government. In a long life, Swift proved a reluctant rebel, though one with a relish for the fight, and implacable when provoked – a voice of withering disenchantment unrivalled and a conscientious Anglican minister.” (Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.comStage journeys : 10 short plays from New Zealand / by Paula Crimmens, Tim Hambleton, Richard Prevett, Kerrie Anne Spicer, Rex McGregor, Richard Bull, June Allen, Richard C. Harris, Nataliya Oryshchuk.
Stage Journeys is a collection of 10 award-winning New Zealand plays, each 10 minutes long with no more than 3 onstage characters. This collaboration, written by 9 talented New Zealand playwrights, offers a tantalising selection of genres and styles, suitable for all audiences. Each writer promises to take you on a rollercoaster ride of theatrical delight-from comedy through to drama and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Be creative this season! New Craft books for March

Take a look at a delightful selection of fun and easy to follow projects with ideas and instructions how to create simple and stylish pieces. Find some fantastic knitting, quilting and crocheting ideas for you to start your own project. Have fun!

Syndetics book coverMade in paracord! : 25 great jewelry, accessories, and home projects to knot / Caitlin Wynne.
“This collection of 25 designs, all created in brightly colored paracord, will inspire you to get knotting. There are no special skills required, and paracord is an easy, and easily available, material to work with, so you’ll be creating simple and stylish pieces in no time. You’ll find tons of accessories, including survival and other bracelets, key chains, bags, belts, and headbands, as well as homewares like wall hangings, hammocks, bowls and plates-and more!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover200 fun things to crochet : decorative flowers, leaves, bugs, butterflies, and more! / edited by Victoria Lyle.
“If you ever find yourself wondering what to crochet next, then just open this book, and you’re guaranteed to find the answer. 200 Fun Things to Crochet is an irresistible collection of cute little crochet projects for all levels of ability. Containing a mix of beautiful projects inspired by nature–crochet flowers, birds, bugs, leaves, and even sea creatures–as well as a collection of charming floral squares, you’ll want to pick up your hook, sort through your yarn stash, and get started right away.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesigner crochet accessories : fresh, new designs for hats + scarves + cowls + shawls + handbags + jewelry and more.
“Sometimes, all it takes is the right accessory to pull off a great look. And if that accessory happens to be handmade by you? All the better! In this book, popular author/designer/teacher Melissa Leapman shows you how to make more than 25 fresh and beautiful crocheted accessories. From winter warmers like cozy hats and scarves that make a statement to all-season wardrobe builders such as one-of-a-kind jewelry, colorful handbags, and stunning shawls, Melissa Leapman’s Designer Crochet Accessories has it all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDresden carnival : 16 modern quilt projects, innovative designs / Marian B. Gallian and Yvette Marie Jones.
“A parade of modern Dresden quilts awaits, packed with playful colour choices, new layouts, and exciting borders. Peruse 16 projects, 4 bonus variations, and 5 alternate colourways, for creativity that knows no bounds! Basic needle-turn techniques are included, and patterns range from beginner-friendly to more advanced. These truly innovative Dresden blocks for the next generation take a perennial favourite and infuse it with pizazz!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKnitting without needles : a stylish introduction to finger and arm knitting / Anne Weil.
“Who knew you could actually knit without needles? Put down those complicated knitting projects that take forever to finish. Knitting Without Needles brings cool home, gifts, and clothing accessories–cowls, totes, rugs, poufs, scarves, and more–within arm’s reach. An all-in-one resource for a new kind of craft, this book shows you how to loop yarn with your fingers or your forearms with thirty patterns that are simple to follow and produce stylish results. Best of all, many of them knit up fast–in less than an hour!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverModern knits from Sweden : a warm mix of shawls, scarves, cowls, mittens, hats and more / Erika Åberg ; photography, Malin Nuhma.
“All your favorite contemporary knits, in one book: shawls, scarves, hats, wrist warmers, mittens, and gloves! With delightful easy-to-wear accessories in all styles and sizes, from classic and elegant to cozy and colorful, garter stitch and stockinette to entrelac and herringbone, Modern Knits from Sweden will keep any experienced knitter warm all winter long.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe knitted hat book : 20 knitted beanies, tams, cloches, and more.
“Brimming with quick and fun-to-knit designs for stitchers of all skill levels, The Knitted Hat Book features a modern take on classic knitted caps. In this top-notch collection, your favorite knitwear designers have created more than 20 head-turning toppers. Hats of all shapes and styles: berets, beanies, tams, cloches, toques, and more. Whether you’re looking for instant knitting gratification, a few chic designs to perk up your wardrobe, or the perfect small project to hone new skills, The Knitted Hat Book has you covered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Keep ’em guessing – New eBook Fiction in March

Do you ever wonder about your neighbours? Sure, they look normal, but everyone’s got a secret or two. Several of this month’s new releases on Overdrive address this very question, including Marina Lewycka‘s latest novel, The Lubetkin Legacy. Add in great new crime fiction set in Belfast and Detroit, and you’ll have enough mystery to keep the whole street guessing!

Overdrive cover The Lubetkin Legacy, by Marina Lewycka
“North London in the twenty-first century: a place where a son will adopt an old lady to impersonate his departed mother, rather than lose the council flat. A time of golden job opportunities, though you might have to dress up as a coffee bean or work as an intern at an undertaker. A place rich in language – whether it’s Romanian, Russian or buxom housing officers talking managementese. Marina Lewycka is back in this hilarious, farcical, tender novel of modern issues and manners.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Telex from Cuba, by Rachel Kushner
“Fidel and Raúl Castro are in the hills, descending only to burn sugarcane plantations and recruit rebels. Rachel K. is in Havana’s Cabaret Tokio, entangled with a French agitator trying to escape his shameful past. Everly and K.C. are growing up in the dying days of a crumbling American colony, about to discover the cruelty and violence that have created their childhood idyll.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, by Adrian McKinty
“Belfast 1988: a man has been shot in the back with an arrow. It ain’t Injuns and it isn’t Robin Hood. But uncovering exactly who has done it will take Detective Inspector Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on the high bog where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
“Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father’s closet. It is a search that will lead him through New York, history and himself towards some kind of peace.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Flea Palace, by Elif Shafak
“Bonbon Palace was once a stately apartment block in Istanbul. Now it is a dilapidated home to ten wildly different individuals. There’s a womanising, hard-drinking academic with a penchant for philosophy; a ‘clean freak’ and her lice-ridden daughter; a lapsed Jew in search of true love; and a charmingly naïve mistress. When the garbage at Bonbon Palace is stolen, a mysterious sequence of events unfolds that result in a soul-searching quest for truth.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover My Sister’s Bones, by Nuala Ellwood
“Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped Herne Bay and their father. Her sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks. But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream. What secret has Kate stumbled upon? And is she strong enough to uncover the truth . . . and make it out alive?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Mackenzie’s Mountain, by Linda Howard
“Mary Elizabeth Potter is a self-appointed spinster with no illusions about love. When she meets Wolf Mackenzie, a man with a chip on his shoulder the size of Wyoming, she sets out to convince the whole town he’s a man worth loving. But Wolf’s not sure he’s ready for the taming of Wolf Mackenzie.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Fear, by Dirk Kurbjuweit
“Randolph insists he had a normal childhood, though his father kept thirty loaded guns in the house. Now he has an attractive, intelligent wife and two children, enjoys modest success and has just moved into a beautiful flat in a respectable part of Berlin. Life seems perfect—until his wife, Rebecca, meets the man living in the basement below. Their downstairs neighbour is friendly at first, but soon he starts to frighten them—and when Randolph fails to act, the situation quickly spins out of control.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones
“Tough, smart, and struggling to stay afloat, former detective August Snow is the embodiment of Detroit. It’s not long before he’s summoned to the home of business magnate Eleanore Paget, who wants August to investigate the increasingly unusual happenings at her private wealth management bank. August declines, and a day later, Paget is dead. What begins as an inquiry into Paget’s death soon drags August into a rat’s nest of Detroit’s most dangerous criminals.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton
Cry the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its contemporaneity, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry the Beloved Country is a work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Aussie rock – New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music feature some Aussie stuff; intriguing inside stories of Midnight Oil and The Go-Betweens, and Dig: Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85 would be the perfect accompaniment to them. As always, fantastic biographies, this time about legends such as Brian Wilson, Phil Collins and Johnny Marr, have been added. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverDig : Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85 / David Nichols ; foreword by Dave Graney.
“A comprehensive and highly readable history of the first quarter-century of Australian rock and pop music, Dig appeals to everyone with more than a passing interest in rock ‘n’ roll. Those whose knowledge of Australian rock and pop does not extend far beyond the Easybeats, AC/DC, Little River Band and Nick Cave can discover a wealth of music beyond those star names; while even those familiar with the work of the Missing Links, Pip Proud, Radio Birdman and the Moodists learn much about the scenes and connections that produced these bands and dozens of others.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMidnight Oil : the power and the passion / Michael Lawrence.
“Midnight Oil are one of the most ‘Australian’ rock bands this country has produced. Born from the Australian pub rock scene that gave us AC/DC, Cold Chisel and INXS, the Oils were able to break out of that scene without compromising themselves in any way. Indeed, their breakthrough overseas record was the most Australian album they made. But it wasn’t just the subject matter that made them fiercely Australian; it was their stubborn independence, and their refusal to play the rock’n’roll game and respect its rules and masters.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrant & I : inside and outside the Go-Betweens / Robert Forster.
Grant & I is the story of the friendship and collaboration of Grant McLennan and Robert Forster, who gave Australia The Go-Betweens. At its heart is a privileged insight into a prolific artistic collaboration that lasted three decades, and an extraordinary friendship that rode out the band’s break-up to remain strong until Grant’s premature death in 2006. Unconventional in lineup and look, noted for near misses and near hits, always a beat to one side of the mainstream – the band’s unusual beginnings were followed by twists that often confounded its members as well as fans and record companies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI am Brian Wilson : a memoir / Brian Wilson ; with Ben Greenman.
I Am Brian Wilson reveals as never before the man who fought his way back to stability and creative relevance, who became a mesmerizing live artist, who forced himself to reckon with his own complex legacy, and who finally completed Smile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. Today Brian Wilson is older, calmer, and filled with perspective and forgiveness.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCured : the tale of two imaginary boys / Lol Tolhurst.
“A deeply rebellious, sensitive, tough, and often surprisingly “normal” young man, Robert Smith was from the start destined for stardom, a fearless non-conformist and provocateur who soon found his own musical language through which to express his considerable and unique talent. Intensely lyrical and evocative, gripping and unforgettable, Cured is the definitive story of a singular band whose legacy endures many decades hence, told from the point of view of a participant and eyewitness who was there when it happened-and even before it all began.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSet the boy free : the autobiography / Johnny Marr.
“An artist who helped define a period in popular culture, Johnny Marr tells his story in a memoir as vivid and arresting as his music. The Smiths, the band with the signature sound he cofounded, remains one of the most beloved bands ever, and have a profound influence on a number of acts that followed–from the Stone Roses, Suede, Blur, and Radiohead to Oasis, The Libertines, and Arctic Monkeys. Rising above and beyond the personal struggles and bitter feuds, Marr delivers the story of his music and his band, sharing the real insights of a man who has made music his life, and finally giving fans what they’ve truly been waiting for.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNot dead yet : the memoir / Phil Collins.
Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZayn.
“After five years of massive success with One Direction, ZAYN launched his career as a solo artist with Mind of Mine, becoming one of the most successful artists in the world. Never-before-released photos give readers insight to ZAYN, no-holds-barred. Gorgeously designed with hundreds of full-color photographs and Zayn’s notes, drawings, song lyrics, and personal stories, the book captures Zayn’s most private moments and his candid feelings on fame, success, music, and life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFortunate son : my life, my music / John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough.
“Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the most important and beloved bands in the history of rock, and John Fogerty wrote, sang, and produced their instantly recognizable classics: “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Born on the Bayou,” and more. Now he reveals how he brought CCR to number one in the world, eclipsing even the Beatles in 1969. By the next year, though, Creedence was falling apart; their amazing, enduring success exploded and faded in just a few short years. Fortunate Son takes readers from Fogerty’s Northern California roots, through Creedence’s success and the retreat from music and public life, to his hard-won revival as a solo artist who finally found love.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou’re making me hate you : a cantankerous look at the common misconception that humans have any common sense left / Corey Taylor.
“Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor’s third book is a searingly hilarious trawl through the endless backwaters of human stupidity. Funny, profane, blasphemous, and above all right on target, You’re Making Me Hate You is pure Corey Taylor unleashed, exposing the underbelly of human depravity in all its ragged glory.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLoose canon : the extraordinary songs of Clive James & Pete Atkin / Ian Shircore.
“For the last fifty years, Clive James has been writing remarkable songs – witty, moving, sometimes satirical, often thrillingly poetic – with his musical partner, Pete Atkin. They’ve written more than two hundred together, releasing the first album of their work in 1970 and the last in 2015. Stephen Fry is a huge fan, as his dazzling foreword to this book proves. And Clive himself believes these songs are the best things he’s ever done. Loose Canon explores the sparkling lyrics and brilliantly memorable tunes that have won Clive and Pete a fanatical cult following but still managed to remain the British music industry’s best kept secret.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAltamont : the Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the inside story of rock’s darkest day / Joel Selvin.
“Celebrated rock journalist Joel Selvin tells the definitive story of the Rolling Stones’ infamous Altamont concert in San Francisco, the disastrous historic event that marked the end of the idealistic 1960s. The product of twenty years of exhaustive research and dozens of interviews with many key players, including medical staff, Hells Angels members, the stage crew, and the musicians who were there, and featuring sixteen pages of color photos, Altamont is the ultimate account of the final event in rock’s formative and most turbulent decade.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove for sale : pop music in America / David Hajdu.
“In Love for Sale, David Hajdu–one of the most respected critics and music historians of our time–draws on a lifetime of listening, playing, and writing about music to show how pop has done much more than peddle fantasies of love and sex to teenagers. From vaudeville singer Eva Tanguay, the “I Don’t Care Girl” who upended Victorian conceptions of feminine propriety to become one of the biggest stars of her day to the scandal of Blondie playing disco at CBGB, Hajdu presents an incisive and idiosyncratic history of a form that has repeatedly upset social and cultural expectations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeatles gear : all the Fab Four’s instruments from stage to studio–the ultimate edition / Andy Babiuk.
“This ultimate guide to all the gear used by the Beatles details exactly which guitars, drums, amplifiers, and keyboards the Fab Four embraced throughout their brief but revolutionary career. John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s moves from cheap early instruments to the pick of 1960s technology are carefully and entertainingly documented in an easy-to-read narrative, fully illustrated with many previously unseen photographs, a cache of rare memorabilia, and a unique collection of specially photographed instruments used by the Beatles. This landmark book is perfect for the fan absorbed by music rather than hairstyles, and for any reader with an abiding interest in the 1960s.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Spotlight on solo and chamber music – New classical CDs

This week among the new additions we found these interesting gems.

Rafał Blechacz, Johann Sebastian Bach.
“Rafał Blechacz, ‘a superlative pianist’ (BBC Music Magazine), further demonstrates his versatility in his first album devoted to Bach. Among the highlights of his wide-ranging programme are the Italian Concerto, one of Blechacz’s signature pieces (‘His reading was, above all, a model of textural transparency’ – Portland Press Herald), and the Partita No. 1 (‘It was immediately clear from the first sweet, liquid notes that Blechacz is a musician in service to the music, searching its depths, exploring its meaning and probing its possibilities’ – Washington Post)” (cover).

Flute Quartets, Mozart. Performed by the Brodsky Quartet and Lisa Friend.
“Members of the Brodsky Quartet meet the internationally famous flautist Lisa Friend in an album of key works of the flute repertoire: Mozart’s flute quartets. Highly praised for previous recordings, her own compositions, solo recitals in Europe, the US, and Asia, as well as appearances with prestigious orchestras, Lisa Friend devotes her very first recording on Chandos to witty, colorful interpretations or Mozart. The flute quartets of Mozart are central to the classical flute repertoire – and deservedly so: the composer’s characteristic charm, wit, beauty, and elegance are in evidence throughout” (amazon.com).

Voyages: Orgue de la Philharmonie de Paris. Performed by Olivier Latry.
Organ compilations are unique in that they are a recording of a specific instrument installed in a specific space. Olivier Latry says, “A space within a space, bonded for all time with the environment in which it is housed, the inherent rapport between the organ which we are about to hear and its surroundings means that it is without a shadow of doubt the soul of the Philharmonie. May the listener relax and be transported to rediscover universal music illuminated by an instrument with so many attributes” (cover).

Piano Trios Op. 65 & 90, Dvořák. Performed by Trio Wanderer.
“The Trio Wanderer pays tribute to Dvořák and his last two trios, including the rarely played no. 3 in F minor, heartfelt and sombre. The famous Dumky Trio… opens this new recording. Passionate and melancholy by turns, it is also the most innovative and the freest of Dvořák’s trios…” (cover).


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