Category: Recent picks

Kia mau ki te tūmanako, te whakapono me te aroha

First on the list of Māori material this year, is a lovely collection of whakataukī – pearls of wisdom – grouped under six “virtues” mātauranga/wisdom ; māia/courage ; atawhai/compassion ; ngākau tapatahi/integrity ; whakahautanga/self-mastery ; and whakapono/belief. The whakataukī in the heading of this blog is listed under “tūmanako” – and translates as: Hold fast to hope, faith and love.

Syndetics book coverMauri ora : wisdom from the Māori world / Peter Alsop & Te Rau Kupenga.
“Pearls of wisdom contained in proverbs – whakatauk-I – have been gifted from generation to generation as an intrinsic part of the M-aori world. As powerful metaphors, they combine analogy and cultural history in the most economical of words. Short and insightful, they surprise, engendering reflection, learning and personal growth. Mauri Ora links whakatauk-I to key personal virtues idealised across cultures and generations. The virtues – wisdom, courage, compassion, integrity, self-mastery and belief – stem from the science of positive psychology; the study of how to live a better life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand : the Māori portraits / edited by Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope.
“From the 1870s to the early twentieth century, the Bohemian immigrant artist Gottfried Lindauer travelled to marae and rural towns around New Zealand and – commissioned by Maori and Pakeha – captured in paint the images of key Maori figures. For Maori then and now, the faces of tipuna are full of mana and life. Now this definitive work collects those portraits for New Zealanders. The book presents 67 major portraits and 8 genre paintings alongside detailed accounts of the subject and work, with essays by leading scholars that take us inside Lindauer and his world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTakatāpui : a place of standing / [edited by] Jordon Harris.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Māori (takatāpui) tell their stories and reflect on the journey from exclusion and prejudice to taking their rightful place in Aotearoa. Illustrated with stunning colour photographs, Takatāpui features introductions by Witi Ihimaera, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and the late Henare Te Ua.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe toki me te whao : the story and use of Māori tools / Clive Fugill.
“It is over a century since the last major book on Māori carving tools. Clive Fugill, Master Carver at the NZ Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, tells the mythical, traditional and modern stories of the making and use of carving tools, including the adze (toki) and the chisel (whao) with detailed drawings and photos.” (Syndetics summary)

He iti kahurangi / nā Hēni Jacob.
“Particles are often a source of difficulty to Maori language learners, but using these correctly is essential in order to create a Maori spirit and flavour within the sentence, so that it sounds sweet to the Maori ear, and to follow nga tikanga o Te Reo Maori. Tohunga wetereo Heni Jacob explains the usage of the following pumuri and pumua: ahua, ake, anahe/anake, ano, ata, atu, haere, hanga, hangehange, harukiruki, hawerewere, he, hengahenga, hitarari, hitenga, hoake, hoatu, hoki, ia, iho, kaha, katoa, kau, ke, kehokeho, kenekene/keneuri, kere, kerekere, kino, kita, kitakita, koa, koia, kutikuti, mai, maioio, makehua, makuare/makuware, manunu, marie, matua, morukaruka/moruka, mea ake, na, nawenawe, nei, noa, nge, ngero/ngerongero, ngihangiha, ora, oreore, oti, pai, paku, panuku, patere, pea, penu, petapeta, piropiro, pohapoha, pu, puahoaho, puku, ra, ranei, rawa, rere, rikiriki, rirerire, riro, rukaruka, rukiruki, rukuruku, tahi, taiahoaho, tangetange, tangotango, tata, tere, tiahoaho, tika, tino, tokitoki, tonu, tuauriuri, uriuri, wawe, whaka-, whakaharahara, whakarere, whaioio.” (Syndetics summary)

Tikanga Māori : living by Māori values / Hirini Moko Mead.
“This is an authoritative and accessible introduction to tikanga Maori for people wanting to understand the correct Maori ways of doing things. It covers the ways that tikanga guides relationships between people, people’s relationship with the natural environment, spiritual areas, and health, and it proposes guidelines to test appropriate tikanga Maori responses to new situations and challenges in contemporary life.” (Syndetics summary)

Toitū̄ te whare / kaiētita Agnes McFarland rāua ko Taiarahia Black.
“A collection of articles exploring the role and significance of whare tipuna and marae as sources of traditional and ancestral knowledge, and of the richness of te reo Maori language and literature.
“Ko te kaupapa o te whare tipuna me te marae, he pupuri i nga korero tuku iho a te iwi mai ano i nga tipuna. He wahi hai wananga tahi i nga kaupapa. Ki te kore o tatau whare tipuna me o tatau marae ka ngaro atu tetahi wahi nui tonu o tatau, te iwi Maori. No reira, me kaha tonu tatau ki te whakapakari i a tatau ano, kia mohio pai ai tatau ki nga tikanga i runga i o tatau marae hai huarahi whakatairanga i to tatau reo rangatira. Ki te mau te reo ki roto i o tatau whare tipuna, ki te mau hoki ki te marae ka mau ki nga wahi katoa. Ko te tino putake o tenei pukapuka a Toitu te Whare he titiro atu ki nga papareanga o muri mai kia hangaia he pataka korero ma ratau, he whakatutu atu i nga heru herehere i nga ihoiho o tuawhakarere hai whakatipu whakaaro ma ratau.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWayfinding leadership : ground-breaking wisdom for developing leaders / Chellie Spiller, PhD, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, John Panoho.
“This book presents a new way of leading by looking to traditional waka navigators or wayfinders for the skills and behaviours needed in modern leaders. It takes readers on a journey into wayfinding and leading, discussing principles of wayfinding philosophy, giving examples of how these have been applied in businesses and communities, and providing action points for readers to practise and reflect on the skills they are learning.” (Syndetics summary)

New treaty, new tradition : reconciling New Zealand and Māori law / Carwyn Jones.
“Provides a timely examination of how the resolution of land claims in New Zealand has affected Mori law and the challenges faced by indigenous peoples as they attempt to exercise self-determination in a post colonial world. Combinind analysis with Mori storytelling, Jones’s nuanced reflections on the claims process show how Western legal thought has shaped treaty negotiations.” (Syndetics summary)

Maiea te tupua : whānau accounts of Waikato-Maniapoto World War One veterans and one conscriptee : commemorating 100 years of World War One / produced by Pūrekireki Marae with the support from Te Pua Wānanga ̄ki te Ao of the University of Waikato, the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust, the Maniapotō Māori Trust Board, Trust Waikato and Te Puni Kōkiri.
Accounts by family members of: Te Rauangaanga Mahuta, Kohatu Hari Hemara Wahanui, Tuheka Taonui Hetet, Te Rehe Amohanga, Rotohiko Michael Jones, Joseph Ormsby, William Takoro Kohi.

Syndetics book coverIndigenous homelessness : perspectives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand / edited by Evelyn J. Peters, Julia Christensen.
“Being homeless in one’s homeland is a colonial legacy for many Indigenous people in settler societies. The construction of Commonwealth nation-states from colonial settler societies depended on the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands. Essays … argue that effective policy and support programs aimed at relieving Indigenous homelessness must be rooted in Indigenous conceptions of home, land, and kinship, and cannot ignore the context of systemic inequality, institutionalization, landlessness, among other things, that stem from a history of colonialism…” (Syndetics summary)

Journal articles:

AlterNative ; vol. 12, issue 4 (2016)
p. 341 Te Mata Ira : faces of the gene : developing a cultural foundation for biobanking and genomic research involving Māori by Maui Hudson [...et al.]
p. 356 Ngā reanga o ngā Tapuhi : generations of Māori nurses by Leonie Walker, Jell Clendon, Leanne Manson & Kerri Nuku.
p. 369 A cause for nervousness : the proposed Māori land reforms in New Zealand by Paerau Warbrick.
p. 380 E Hine : talking about Māori teen pregnancy with government groups by Anna Adcock, Beverley Lawton & Fiona Cram
p. 396 Indigenous positioning in health research : the importance of kaupapa Māori theory-informed practice by Elana Curtis.

New Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels for January

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels includes the much awaited second book in series by Ben Bova, Ken Liu and David Dalglish, also the last book in the Guardians trilogy by Nora Roberts. Plus there is the first book in a new saga by Anthony Ryan titled Draconis memoria.

Syndetics book coverApes and angels / Ben Bova.
“Book 2 in the Star Quest Trilogy. A wave of death is spreading through the Milky Way galaxy, an expanding sphere of lethal gamma radiation that erupted from the galaxy’s core twenty-eight thousand years ago and now is approaching Earth’s vicinity at the speed of light. Every world it touched was wiped clean of all life. But it’s possible to protect a planet from gamma radiation. Earth is safe. Now, guided by the ancient intelligent machines called the Predecessors, men and women from Earth seek out those precious, rare worlds that harbor intelligent species, determined to save them from the doom that is hurtling toward them. The crew of the Odysseus has arrived at Mithra Gamma, the third planet of the star Mithra, to protect the stone-age inhabitants from the Death Wave. But they’ll also have to protect themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThunderlord : a Darkover novel / Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross.
“The saga of two kingdoms, divided by bitter history and present-day suspicions, one armed with devastating power and the other determined to overcome it, no matter what the price. Can love and resourcefulness overcome even the overwhelming power of a Thunderlord?” (Adapted from Syndetis summary)

Syndetics book coverFireborn / David Dalglish.
“The next novel in the Seraphim series following Skyborn. Bree and Kael Skyborn have seen their island invaded, their Seraphim disbanded, and their royal family imprisoned. A rebellion grows from the ashes, demanding Bree to be their Phoenix, their symbol against Center’s tyranny, and for Kael to find the doomsday prophet Johan and sway his cult to their side. Should they fail, the hope of their rebellion fails with them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWarp / Lev Grossman.
“Twenty-something Hollis Kessler languishes in a hopelessly magician-less world (with the exception of a fleet-footed nymph named Xanthe) not too far from where he graduated college. His friends do, too. They sleep late, read too much, drink too much, talk too much, and work and earn and do way too little. But Hollis does have an obsession: there’s another world going on in his head, a world of excitement and danger and starships and romance, and it’s telling him that it’s time to stop dreaming and get serious.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wall of storms / Ken Liu.
“Book 2 in the Dandelion dynasty series. Grace of Kings, Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, runs the archipelago kingdom of Dara, but struggles to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people and his vision. Then an unexpected invading force from the Lyucu Empire in the far distant west comes to the shores of Dara and chaos results. But Emperor Kuni cannot go and lead his kingdom against the threat himself with his recently healed empire fraying at the seams, so he sends the only people he trusts to be Dara’s savvy and cunning hopes against the invincible invaders: his children, now grown and ready to make their mark on history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
“In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself, and his equally ambitious daughter, are the chief suspects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvasion / Luke Rhinehart.
“Super-intelligent furry aliens suddenly appear from another universe. And they’ve come to earth to have fun. “Louie” follows fisherman Billy Morton home one day and he and his family come quickly to love the playful alien. But when Louie starts using their computer to hack into government and corporate networks, and steal millions from banks to give to others, they realize that Louie and his friends mean trouble. Billy, his wife and two sons begin a roller-coaster ride of fame, fortune, jail, death, resurrection, and a distinguished ranking high on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” List. The Government soon decides that all these aliens are terrorists. They must be eliminated. The aliens are playing games they hope will help humans to see the insanity of the American political, economic and military systems. But the Powers that Be don’t play games: they make war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsland of glass / Nora Roberts.
“Book 3 in the Guardians trilogy. Doyle Mac Cleirich, soldier and reluctant immortal, has always vowed never to return home. But when his search for the final star leads him to Ireland, it becomes clear that fate has other plans. Solitary by inclination, Doyle is also fighting his growing attraction to archaeologist Riley. His warrior spirit is drawn to the wild and there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley. As the six guardians face their final challenge, Riley and Doyle are prepared to risk their lives in battle. But without love to sustain them, the quest is doomed to failure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe waking fire / Anthony Ryan.
“Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Trading Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from captive or hunted Reds, Greens, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that bestow fearsome powers on the rare men and women known as the Blood-blessed. But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighbouring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly.The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAt the sign of triumph / David Weber
“The Church of God Awaiting’s triumph over Charis was inevitable. Despite its prosperity, the Charis was a single, small island realm. It boasted less than two percent of the total population of Safehold. How could it possibly resist total destruction? The Church had every reason to be confident of a swift, crushing victory, an object lesson to other rebels. But Charis had something far more powerful than simple numbers. It had Merlin, the cybernetic avatar of a woman dead over a thousand years, who was determined to break the Church’s grip upon the human mind and soul. So after eight years of war, it is not Charis but the Church that stands upon the brink of defeat. But the Church still commands immense resources, and faced with the unthinkable it’s decided that it, too, must embrace the forbidden technology which has carried Charis so far. In the end, it is simple, for only one can survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New French Books

Here is a selection of new novels in French that have been recently added to the Community Languages collection. Enjoy!

L’horizon à l’envers : roman / Marc Levy.
“Où se situe notre conscience? Est-ce qu’on peut la transférer et la sauvegarder? Hope, Josh et Luke, étudiants en neurosciences, forment un trio inséparable, lié par une amitié inconditionnelle et une idée de génie. Lorsque l’un des trois est confronté à une mort imminente, ils décident d’explorer l’impossible et de mettre en oeuvre leur incroyable projet. Émouvante, mystérieuse, pleine d’humour aussi… une histoire d’amour hors du temps, au dénouement inoubliable. Un roman sur la vie, l’amour et la mort… parce qu’après plus rien n’est pareil.”

“Where is our consciousness? Can we transfer it and save it? Hope, Josh and Luke, students in neuroscience, form an inseparable trio, bound by an unconditional friendship and an idea of ​​genius. When one of the three faces imminent death, they decide to explore the impossible and implement their incredible project. Moving, mysterious, full of humor too … a love story out of time, unforgettable denouement. A novel about life, love and death … because after nothing is the same.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

51tLMRdAcuL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Trois jours et une vie : roman / Pierre Lemaitre.
“À la fin de décembre 1999, une surprenante série d’événements tragiques s’abattit sur Beauval, au premier rang desquels, bien sûr, la disparition du petit Rémi Desmedt. Dans cette région couverte de forêts, soumise à des rythmes lents, la disparition soudaine de cet enfant provoqua la stupeur et fut même considérée, par bien des habitants, comme le signe annonciateur des catastrophes à venir.”

“At the end of December 1999, a surprising series of tragic events broke out over Beauval, foremost among them, of course, the disappearance of little Rémi Desmedt. The sudden disappearance of this child in this forest-covered area, which was subject to slow rhythms, provoked amazement and was even regarded by many as a sign of future catastrophes.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

51hDseGj2FL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_On regrettera plus tard : roman / Agnès Ledig.
“Valentine, une institutrice dans un village des Vosges, voit sa vie bouleversée par l’arrivée d’une fille fiévreuse, Anna, et de son père Eric, meurtri par la mort de sa femme. Au-delà de l’hébergement, elle leur ouvre son coeur.”
“Valentine, a teacher in a village in the Vosges, sees her life shattered by the arrival of a feverish girl, Anna, and her father Eric, bruised by the death of his wife. Beyond the accommodation, she opens her heart to them.” (Library catalogue)

51o6EyZIA3L._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_La fille de Brooklyn : roman / Guillaume Musso.
“Je me souviens très bien de cet instant. Nous étions face à la mer. L’horizon scintillait. C’est là qu’Anna m’a demandé : ” Si j’avais commis le pire, m’aimerais-tu malgré tout ? ” Vous auriez répondu quoi, vous ? Anna était la femme de ma vie. Nous devions nous marier dans trois semaines. Bien sûr que je l’aimerais quoi qu’elle ait pu faire. Intrigue diabolique, personnages uniques et attachants, suspense de tous les instants : avec La fille de Brooklyn, Guillaume Musso signe l’un de ses romans les plus ambitieux et les plus réussis.”

“I remember that moment very well. We were facing the sea. The horizon was sparkling. That’s where Anna asked me, “If I had done the worst, would you love me anyway?” “You would have answered what, you? Anna was the woman of my life. We had to get married in three weeks. Of course I would love her whatever she could have done. Devilish intrigue, unique and endearing characters, suspense at all times: with Brooklyn’s daughter, Guillaume Musso signs one of his most ambitious and successful novels.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

41zChUiCxnL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_Danser les ombres : roman / Laurent Gaude.
“En ce matin de janvier, la jeune Lucine arrive de Jacmel à Port-au-Prince pour y annoncer un décès. Très vite, dans cette ville où elle a connu les heures glorieuses et sombres des manifestations étudiantes quelques années plus tôt, elle sait qu’elle ne partira plus, qu’elle est revenue construire ici l’avenir qui l’attendait. Hébergée dans une ancienne maison close, elle fait la connaissance d’un groupe d’amis qui se réunit chaque semaine pour de longues parties de dominos. Dans la cour sous les arbres, dans la douceur du temps tranquille, quelque chose frémit qui pourrait être le bonheur, qui donne l’envie d’aimer et d’accomplir sa vie. Mais, le lendemain, la terre qui tremble redistribue les cartes de toute existence.”

“On this morning of January, the young Lucine comes from Jacmel to Port-au-Prince to announce a death. Very soon, in this city where she experienced the glorious and dark hours of student demonstrations a few years earlier, she knows that she will no longer leave, that she came back to build here the future that awaited her. Hosted in a former brothel, she meets a group of friends who meet weekly for long parts of dominoes. In the courtyard under the trees, in the sweetness of quiet time, something shuddered that could be happiness, which gives the desire to love and fulfill his life. But the next day, the earth that trembles redistributes the cards of all existence.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Our Katherine was a poet too – Recent Literature picks

Katherine Mansfield is New Zealand’s best known writer, but it’s for her short stories we remember her. It now emerges that she was a significant poet too. Claire Davison has arranged the poems chronologically in a beautiful little book so that we can chart her development, her experimentation with different forms and see the themes which preoccupied her throughout her writing life.
At the other end of the spectrum are two amusing little books, one of limericks written by Michael Palin and the other an imaginary look at what celebrities might carry in their handbags.

Syndetics book coverThe collected poems of Katherine Mansfield / edited by Gerri Kimber & Claire Davison.
“This edition is made up of 217 poems, ordered chronologically, so that the reader can follow Mansfield’s development as a poet and her experiments with different forms, as well as tracing the themes – love and death, the natural world and the seasons, childhood and friendship, music and song – that preoccupied her throughout her writing life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA sackful of limericks / Michael Palin ; illustrated by Tony Ross.
“If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the young fellow from Malta who bought his grandfather an altar … If you’re concerned about the camper called Jack who found a huge snake in his pack … And if you suspect that an eccentric landowner called Grey spent Christmas a very strange way but aren’t sure precisely what that entailed … Then a dip into Michael Palin’s Sackful of Limericks will provide all the answers – and a lot of fun besides.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWords are my matter : writings about life and books, 2000-2016 with a journal of a writer’s week / Ursula K. Le Guin.
Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, introductions to beloved books, and book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our foremost public literary intellectuals. Words Are My Matter is essential reading. It is a manual for investigating the depth and breadth of contemporary fiction — and, through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOne thousand things worth knowing / Paul Muldoon.
“Paul Muldoon’s new book, his twelfth collection of poems, is wide-ranging in its subject matter yet is everywhere concerned with watchfulness. Heedful, hard won, head-turning, heartfelt, these poems attempt to bring scrutiny to bear on everything, including scrutiny itself. One Thousand Things Worth Knowing confirms Nick Laird’s assessment, in the New York Review of Books, that Paul Muldoon is ‘the most formally ambitious and technically innovative of modern poets, [who] writes poems like no one else.’” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe man who invented fiction : how Cervantes ushered in the modern world / William Egginton.
“In the early seventeenth century, a crippled, graying, almost toothless veteran of Spain’s wars against the Ottoman Empire published a book. It was the story of a poor nobleman, his brain addled from reading too many books of chivalry, who deludes himself that he is a knight errant and sets off on hilarious adventures. That book, Don Quixote , went on to sell more copies than any other book beside the Bible, making its author, Miguel de Cervantes, the single most-read author in human history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCarry this book / Abbi Jacobson.
“With bright, quirky, and colourful line drawings, Jacobson brings to life actual and imagined items found in the pockets and purses, bags and glove compartments of real and fantastical people-whether it’s the contents of Oprah’s favorite purse, Amelia Earhart’s pencil case, or Bernie Madoff’s suitcase. Carry This Book provides a humorous and insightful look into how the things we carry around every day can make up who we are.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle grey cells : the quotable Poirot / Agatha Christie ; edited by David Brawn.
“A charming, beautifully designed collection of bite-sized wisdom from Agatha Christie’s beloved detective Hercule Poirot–delightful, witty, and perceptive quotations and bon mots to stimulate every fan’s little grey cells.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to be idle : a loafer’s manifesto / Tom Hodgkinson.
“From the founding editor of The Idler, the celebrated magazine about the freedom and fine art of doing nothing, comes not simply a book, but an antidote to our work-obsessed culture. In How to Be Idle, Tom Hodgkinson presents his learned yet whimsical argument for a new universal standard of living: being happy doing nothing. He covers a whole spectrum of issues affecting the modern idler–sleep, work, pleasure, relationships–while reflecting on the writing of such famous apologists for it.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA woman looking at men looking at women : essays on art, sex, and the mind / Siri Hustvedt.
“As well as being a prize-winning, bestselling novelist, Siri Hustvedt is widely regarded as a leading thinker in the fields of neurology, feminism, art criticism and philosophy. She believes passionately that art and science are too often kept separate and that conversations across disciplines are vital to increasing our knowledge of the human mind and body, how they connect and how we think, feel and see.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA poet’s Dublin / Eavan Boland ; edited by Paula Meehan and Jody Allen Randolph ; with photographs by Eavan Boland.
“Written over years, the transcendent and moving poems in A Poet’s Dublin seek out shadows and impressions of a powerful, historic city, studying how it forms and alters language, memory, and selfhood.” (Syndetics summary)

Popular non-fiction books in January

From books about making money to books about making war: economics, the human condition and rearing teenagers, there’s something for everyone in this month’s collection of new non-fiction books!

Syndetics book coverThe spies of winter : the GCHQ codebreakers who fought the Cold War / by Sinclair McKay.
“…Fascinating and insightful revelations from deep within the archives of this secret organisation reveal the story of the tumultuous early years of GCHQ as it navigated its way through an era of double agents, deception and betrayals. From the defection of the Cambridge Five and the treachery of the atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs, to the collapse of the British Empire, the ascension of Chairman Mao and the emergence of the US as a superpower, McKay deftly explores the impact these events had on the fledgling organisation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDefeating Jihad : the winnable war / Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
“Since September 11, 2001, America has been at war. And that’s about all anyone can say with certainty about a conflict that has cost 7,000 American lives and almost $2 trillion. As long as the most basic strategic questions–Who is the enemy? Why are we fighting?–remain unanswered, victory is impossible. Yet this war is eminently winnable if we remove our ideological blinders, accurately name our enemy, and draw up a strategy to defeat him. So says Dr. Sebastian Gorka, one of the most experienced and sought-after authorities on counterterrorism…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDo humankind’s best days lie ahead? / Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, Alain de Botton, Malcolm Gladwell ; edited by Rudyard Griffiths.
“From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations, and ideas, the human condition is improving… But is progress inevitable? What is seen as a breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality. So is the cup half full or half empty? As part of the Munk Debates series, held in Toronto biannually, pioneering cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and bestselling author Matt Ridley squared off against noted philosopher Alain de Botton and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, giving us an entertaining and thought-provoking face-off between four of the world’s most renowned thinkers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe econocracy : the perils of leaving economics to the experts / Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins.
“One hundred years ago the idea of ‘the economy’ didn’t exist. Now, improving the economy has come to be seen as perhaps the most important task facing modern societies. Politics and policymaking are conducted in the language of economics and economic logic shapes how political issues are thought about and addressed. The result is that the majority of citizens, who cannot speak this language, are locked out of politics while political decisions are increasingly devolved to experts. The econocracy explains how economics came to be seen this way – and the damaging consequences. It opens up the discipline and demonstrates its inner workings to the wider public so that the task of reclaiming democracy can begin.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSex, likes and social media : talking to our teens in the digital age / Allison Harvey and Deana Puccio.
“Welcome to the world of the Digital Native, where self-esteem is measured in Likes, everyone is sexting and ‘Pimps and Hoes’ is an acceptable party theme. Dates have been replaced with swipes, rape jokes are hilarious and ‘No’ means ‘Yes’. For most parents, the digital landscape that our kids and teens are growing up in is uncharted territory. How do we know if they’re happy? How do we talk to them about sex and relationships? How do we give them the new tools they need when we don’t have them ourselves? This book is here to help. Based on their professional work with young people, parents and teachers – and their experiences with their own children – Deana Puccio and Allison Havey give you the tools.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProperty entrepreneur : the wealth dragon way to build a successful property business / Vincent Wong.
“…Author Vincent Wong is one of the UK’s most dynamic and respected property entrepreneurs, and this book outlines his approach to creating wealth through property investing for both seasoned and aspiring investors. Emphasising the importance of treating property investing as a business, the author shares the wisdom of his first-hand experience and his investment techniques to help you navigate the ever-shifting property market and become a true property entrepreneur…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMolecular red : theory for the Anthropocene / McKenzie Wark.
“In Molecular Red, McKenzie Wark creates philosophical tools for the Anthropocene, our new planetary epoch, in which human and natural forces are so entwined that the future of one determines that of the other. …From the scientific pioneers who were trying to transform science during the Russia Revolution, to visionaries contemplating cyborg possibilities and science fiction dreams in late twentieth-century California, Molecular Red not only looks at the crisis of climate change that we face but also how we might be able to understand it, and how we might salvage some hope out of the wreckage.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUtopia is creepy : and other provocations / Nicholas Carr.
“With a razor wit, Nicholas Carr cuts through Silicon Valley’s unsettlingly cheery vision of the technological future to ask a hard question: Have we been seduced by a lie? Gathering a decade’s worth of posts from his blog, Rough Type, as well as his seminal essays, Utopia Is Creepy offers an alternative history of the digital age, chronicling its roller-coaster crazes and crashes, its blind triumphs, and its unintended consequences. …In famous essays including “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy,” Carr dissects the logic behind Silicon Valley’s “liberation mythology,” showing how technology has both enriched and imprisoned us–often at the same time…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unnatural world : the race to remake civilization in Earth’s newest age / David Biello.
“A Science Friday and Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of the Year. With the historical perspective of ‘The Song of the Dodo’ and the urgency of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a brilliant young environmental journalist argues that we must innovate and adapt to save planet Earth. Civilization is in crisis, facing disasters of our own making on the only planet known to bear life in the vast void of the universe. We have become unwitting gardeners of the Earth, not in control, but setting the conditions under which all of life flourishes–or not. Truly, it’s survival of the innovators.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRe-imagining capitalism / edited by Dominic Barton, Dezsö Horváth, and Matthias Kipping.
“Capitalism has been an unprecedented engine of wealth creation for many centuries, leading to sustained productivity gains and long-term growth and lifting an increasing part of humanity out of poverty and subsistence. But its effects, and hence its future, have come increasingly under question: Is capitalism still improving the wealth and well-being for the many? Or, has it become destructive for the economy, where long-term value creation is being sacrificed to the pressures of short-termism; for society, where the gap between rich and poor has increased and opportunities to lift oneself out of poverty have dwindled; and for the natural environment, which seems increasingly under threat with unforeseen consequences for prosperity and global order? This volume reflects both the urgency of the needed action and the opportunity to achieve a wide-ranging agreement and lasting movement towards a more responsible, equitable, and sustainable model of capitalism in order to ensure its very survival. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Graphic Novels for January

From horror to science fiction, biography to suspense thrillers, and everything in between, all are included in this month’s selection of new Graphic novels. Also included are the first volumes of three new series, Space-Mullet by Daniel Warren Johnson, Old man Logan by Jeff Lemire, and Mystery Girl by Paul Tobin.

Syndetics book coverDeath follows / story by Cullen Bunn ; art by A.C. Zamudio.
“Birdie, her sister, their pregnant mother, and their sickly father all live together on a struggling farm. When an itinerant farmhand named Cole comes to their aid, the children should be relieved. Instead, they find their lives spiraling into nightmare, as Cole regards Birdie with menacing desire. To make matters much worse, wherever he goes, the dead grow restless. As the horror threatens to consume her home and her family, Birdie is haunted by a chilling warning: some secrets are meant only for the dead.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to talk to girls at parties / by Neil Gaiman ; adaptation, art, & lettering by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá.
“Enn is a sixteen-year-old boy who just doesn’t understand girls, while his friend Vic seems to have them all figured out. Both teenagers are in for the shock of their young lives, however, when they crash a local party only to discover that the girls there are far, far more than they appear!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCarbon Grey / story, script & lettering, Paul Gardner ; created by Hoang Nguyen, Khari Evans, Mike Kennedy ; art, Khari Evans, Hoang Nguyen, Kinsun Loh.
“The Sisters Grey are warriors, sworn to protect their Kaiser. But as a great war rages, the Kaiser is found dead, and one sister, Giselle Grey is accused of his murder. Pursued by enemies, Giselle must unravel the prophecy of the Carbon Grey before history itself unravels.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpace-Mullet! [1] : one gamble at a time / written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson.
“Ex space marine Jonah and his co-pilot Alphius rove the galaxy, just trying to get by. Drawn into one crazy adventure after another, they forge a crew of misfits into a family that must face the darkest parts of the universe together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Olympic dream : the story of Samia Yusuf Omar / by Reinhard Kleist.
“The image of Samia Yusuf Omar running for last place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will forever be imprinted in the minds of all who saw it: The lean Somalian, wearing knee-length leggings and a baggy T-shirt, came in seconds behind her competitors. What the cheering crowd couldn’t know then was what it took to get there. An Olympic Dream follows Omar’s second attempt to represent her country at the Olympics, this time in London. Reinhard Kleist pictures the athlete training in one of the most dangerous cities in the world; her passage through Sudan and into Libya; and her fateful attempt to reach Europe” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Steam Man of the prairie and the Dark Rider get down / story by Joe R. Lansdale ; script by Mark Alan Miller ; art by Piotr Kowalski.
“On the great plains of the old American west, enormous steam-powered robots march across the countryside. Their mission: to defend the populace against invading Martians and armies of killer albino apes. The Steam Man, a giant metal man operated by a team of monster hunters, seems to have the defence of the West well in hand, until a crazed and powerful vampire comes to town with the intention of bringing forth the apocalypse.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOld man Logan [1] : Berzerker / writer, Jeff Lemire ; artist, Andrea Sorrentino.
“Fifty years from now, Logan, the man who no longer calls himself Wolverine, will have endured many atrocities: The Marvel Universe’s villains will have banded together and rid the world of its heroes. Logan’s closest friend, Hawkeye, will have been murdered in cold blood right before his eyes. And driven mad by the same radiation that gave him his superhuman strength, Bruce Banner will have fathered a family of hillbilly Hulks that eventually went on to slaughter Logan’s wife and two children. But now, in the present, Old Man Logan wakes up to discover himself in a world before these atrocities, before the Wasteland. And he’s going to seize this opportunity and change history to ensure that his future never comes to pass.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLovf : the illustrated diary of a man literally losing his mind / Jesse Reklaw.
“LOVF is the sketchbook companion of a man literally losing his mind. Homeless and broke after giving all his stuff to punk-rock heroin dealers, he ends up off his meds and on a secret quest from Portland to Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Seattle. Jammed with cartoons, mad schemes, psychedelic portraits, and notes from the road, LOVF is a travel journal and a mirror of the post-traumatic dream world its author can’t escape from.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBird in a cage / Rebecca Roher.
“Once a sharp, strong-willed and independent woman, Roher’s grandmother’s life took an unexpected turn when an accident left her with a brain injury, leading to early onset dementia. An unlikely protagonist, grandma was an elderly woman trapped by her deteriorating mind, aging body and the walls around her. This story illuminates the often overlooked narrative of a senior, her complicated history and inner life. Loveable and tragic, she is determined to get back to a familiar place, to be home again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMystery Girl. Volume 1 / script by Paul Tobin ; art and cover by Alberto J. Alburquerque.
“Trine Hampstead knows everything. Just knows it. Ask her a question like, ‘Where are my keys?’ or, ‘Is my husband cheating on me?’ or, ‘How can there be perfectly preserved mammoths in the ice of Siberia when the ice isn’t that old?’ and she just knows the answer. She’s the Mystery Girl. The only thing she doesn’t know is anything about the last ten years of her own life, including what happened to give her this ability” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Two ‘how-to’ books on permaculture begin this post, and we end with a book about the heroes working today to mitigate climate change, to secure a sustainable future for us and for our children.

Syndetics book coverThe permaculture promise : what permaculture is and how it can help us reverse climate change, build a more resilient future on Earth, and revitalize our communities / Jono Neiger ; foreword by Toby Hemenway.
“Permaculture is a design system that offers practical ideas for how humans can simultaneously provide for ourselves and regenerate the natural world. Here are 22 ways that permaculture can help us achieve that goal, brought to life through profiles of people and communities who are already taking the permaculture path. This groundbreaking approach moves beyond sustainability, connecting all the systems of human life, including gardening, housing, transportation, energy, and how we structure our communities.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverThe permaculture transition manual : a comprehensive guide to resilient living / Ross Mars ; foreword by Rob Hopkins.
“Caught between climate change and a fossil fuel-driven economy that demands ever more growth, the world faces a great transition–by design or disaster–away from fossil fuels to a less energy intensive future. …For the first time, the power of permaculture design has been brought to bear on the great transition problem. In the process, acclaimed permaculture teacher and designer Ross Mars has distilled his considerable knowledge into the ultimate resource for resilient living. The Permaculture Transition Manual is packed with information on permaculture design principles, soil building, nutrient-dense food growing, including top plant and tree selections for all climatic zones…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNatural designs : contemporary organic upcycling : 20 DIY designer projects / Aurelie Drouet.
“…Nature has always been a source of inspiration for designers, and this book offers readers the chance to create furniture and everyday objects with raw materials from mineral to plant. Enjoy a walk in the woods, or beachcomb by sea to unleash your imagination and bring a little nature into your home. From cork hanging lights, a slate desk to a natural wool pouffe and a birch coat stand, discover simple and elegant ideas that you can make yourself. There’s no need to be an experienced handyman to realize these original designs: this book presents 20 creations with step-by-step photos, plans and technical tips.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeagan eating : the lure of a healthy, sustainable seafood + vegan diet / Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey.
“In this first-of-its-kind seagan guidebook, you’ll find all the tips and tools you need to jumpstart your healthy, delicious plant-and seafood-based diet- – More than 66 simple, decadent, oil-free seagan and vegan recipes – including three weeks of menus – A buying guide to the healthiest, most sustainable seafood – Must-have kitchen staples, plus recipe hacks to make prep fast and easy – Advice for navigating today’s confusing food trends, like GMOs, organic versus nonorganic, tricky ingredient labels, and ‘superfoods’” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.comGrown & gathered / by Matt & Lentil.
“In Grown & Gathered, Matt and Lentil Pubrick’s first book, they tell you all that they know about growing, gathering, nurturing and cooking your own food. The first part of the book is Matt and Lentil’s guide to producing your own food. The information, advice and projects can be used whether you have a 3-acre block or a courtyard with planter boxes. The Grow chapter shows you how to grow vegetables and fruit in whatever space you have, using the most earth-friendly practices; Gather explains how to forage for things like mushrooms, native greens and wild fruits; Nurture provides guidance on raising your own animals, from chickens and bees to cows. The second part of the book features over 100 delicious, nourishing and creative wholefood recipes. There’s a host of staples, everything from how to prepare and sprout grains in a traditional way, to making and maintain a sourdough culture, and techniques and recipes for preserving and pickling.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrugal innovation : how to do better with less / Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu ; [foreword by Paul Polman].
“With an estimated trillion-dollar global market for sustainable products, and with potentially huge cost savings to be gained, frugal innovation is revolutionising business and reshaping management thinking. Based on the authors’ six key principles of frugal innovation, and packed with targeted advice and recommendations for business functions such as R&D, operations, HR and sales, Frugal Innovation is a masterclass in the art of doing more with less.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiving on one acre or less : how to produce all the fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs your family needs / Sally Morgan.
“You don’t need a huge parcel of land to start your own mini-farm and live more self-sufficiently. With an acre, or even a half-acre, you can juggle a job, family, and still grow fruit and veg and even have some chickens, pigs or sheep. Morgan takes the reader through the basics of a starting your own homestead, including planning and setting up, growing your own fruit and vegetables, keeping chickens, pigs and sheep– all while making use of sustainable and organic principles. This inspirational book is perfect for anyone who aspires to take control of their food supply, or who wants to do more with the land they’ve got.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA beekeeper’s year : setting up and managing backyard hives / Janet Luke.
A Beekeeper’s Year follows the progress of three novice beekeepers with three different types of hive, as they navigate their way through their first year of beekeeping. Follow their journey as they set up and manage their Top Bar, Warr#65533; and Flow hives – from obtaining bees to inspecting their hives, extracting honey and closing down the hive for the winter. A Beekeeper’s Year is an ideal introduction to backyard beekeeping, with everything you need to know about what equipment is required, managing your hives, keeping your bees healthy and pest and disease control. It is packed with stunning yet practical photographs to help you understand these fascinating creatures that are essential to the production of our food.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProtecting the planet : environmental champions from conservation to climate change / Budd Titlow & Mariah Tinger.
“Climate change is often associated with predictions of dire calamities. But in the past, heroic individuals have stepped forward to meet even the most ominous ecological challenges. This book tells an inspirational story–a story both of pioneering environmentalists who raised our collective consciousness regarding nature’s value and heroes of today who are working to secure a sustainable future. The authors begin with the mounting evidence for climate change as seen in rising carbon dioxide levels, higher global temperatures, melting ice sheets, and sea level rise. They conclude with a set of actionable strategies, demonstrating that there are good reasons to hope that we can achieve a sustainable lifestyle, protect our planet as our home, and ensure the future for our children.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent History Picks for January

This month have a look at far-reaching histories on today’s nation-states both new and old in Tokyo: A Biography and A History of South Sudan. Leaf through the intimate notes of Lydia Ginzburg from St. Petersburg under siege, or the unpredictable encounters of Tom Lutz’ ramblings through every country in the world. Take a trip through past and future in Robert L. Kelly’s Fifth Beginning, or follow the indigenous footsteps that made it back to deal directly with the empire, at the heart of London.

Syndetics book coverNotes from the blockade, and, A story of pity and cruelty / Lydia Ginzburg
“From her experience as a survivor of the 900-day siege of Leningrad, Lidiya Ginzburg has created a remarkable hero in whom she distils the experience of life under siege. Though she depicts the harrowing conditions, the reader takes away an impression of the dignity, vitality, and intellectual resilience of the thinking mind as it makes sense of extreme experience. This classic work of documentary fiction will be the first introduction of a major 20th-century Russian writer to many English-language readers.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIndigenous London : native travellers at the heart of empire / Coll Thrush.
“Historian Coll Thrush offers an imaginative vision of the city’s past crafted from an almost entirely new perspective: that of Indigenous children, women, and men who travelled there, willingly or otherwise, from territories that became Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, beginning in the sixteenth century. Thrush illustrates how London learned to be a global, imperial city and how Indigenous people were central to that process.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd the monkey learned nothing : dispatches from a life in transit / Tom Lutz.
“Without an itinerary and without a goal, Tom Lutz is on a mission to visit every country on earth, describing personal encounters in rarely visited spots and anecdotes from way off the beaten path. With an eye out for both the sublime and the ridiculous, Lutz falls, regularly, into the instant intimacy of the road with random strangers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNative American almanac : more than 50,000 years of the cultures and histories of indigenous peoples / Yvonne Wakim Dennis, Arlene Hirschfelder and Shannon Rothenberger Flynn.
“A primer on the Native American experience, presenting the rich history and continuing legacy of the indigenous and tribal nations. Fascinating biographies, insightful quotes, detailed data and absorbing narratives bring the stories of indigenous people to life, bringing unique insight into the American nation.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA history of South Sudan : from slavery to independence / Øystein H. Rolandsen, M. W. Daly.
“South Sudan is the world’s youngest independent country. Established in 2011 after two wars, South Sudan has since reverted to a state of devastating civil strife. This book provides a general history of the new country, from the arrival of Turco-Egyptian explorers in Upper Nile, [...] to the Anglo-Egyptian colonial era. The book concludes with coverage of events since independence, with insights into what the future might hold.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder the shadow : rage and revolution in modern Turkey / Kaya Genç.
“Turkey stands at the crossroads of the Middle East―caught between the West and ISIS, Syria and Russia, and governed by an increasingly forceful leader. Acclaimed writer Kaya Genç; has been covering his country for the past decade. In Under the Shadow he meets activists from both sides of Turkey’s political divide, getting to the heart of the compelling conflicts between history and modernity in the Middle East.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTokyo : a biography : disasters, destruction and renewal : the story of an indomitable city / Stephen Mansfield.
“The history of Tokyo is as eventful as it is long. In a whirlwind journey through Tokyo’s past from its earliest beginnings up to the present day, this Japanese history book demonstrates how the city’s response to everything from natural disasters to regime change has been to reinvent itself time and again.  Readers see a city almost unrivalled in its uniqueness, a place that–despite its often tragic history–still shimmers as it prepares to face the future.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy brother’s keeper : Christians who risked all to protect Jewish targets of the Nazi Holocaust / Rod Gragg.
My Brother’s Keeper unfolds powerful stories of Christians from across denominations who gave everything they had to save the Jewish people from the evils of the Holocaust. In one gripping profile after another, these extraordinary historical accounts offer stories of steadfast believers who together helped thousands of Jewish individuals and families to safety. Many of these everyday heroes perished alongside the very people they were trying to protect.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fifth beginning : what six million years of human history can tell us about our future / Robert L. Kelly.
“From four key pivot points in the six-million-year history of human development, Kelly looks ahead, giving us evidence for what he calls a fifth beginning, one that started about AD 1500 that some would call “globalization.” Kelly predicts that this will include the end of war as a viable way to resolve disputes, the end of capitalism as we know it, the widespread shift toward world citizenship, and the rise of forms of cooperation that will end the near-sacred status of nation-states. However, the author is cautiously optimistic: he dwells not on the coming chaos, but on humanity’s great potential.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe illustrated story of England / Christopher Hibbert ; illustrated by John Broadley ; new chapter by Dr Seán Lang.
“This concise and fast-paced introduction to English history keeps the reader enthralled through the entire course of the country’s political, economic, and cultural landscape, covering the whole sweep of English history from the Stone Age to the present. In this newly illustrated edition, John Broadley’s unique tableaux-like illustrations capture the landscape, costumes, and characters of the history that Hibbert’s text so vividly evokes.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Classical Additions

This week is an entirely serendipitous spotlight on recent Deutsche Grammophon arrivals, with a Romantic lean.

ClassicalrecentJana1Piano Concerto No. 1, Ballades, Chopin. Performed by Seong-Jin Cho.
“In 2015, aged just 21, Seong-Jin Cho won first prize at the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition, one of the most prestigious titles in all classical music. Now, in his first studio recording, Cho combines Chopin’s immensely popular Piano Concerto No. 1 with his almost equally beloved Ballades, revealing once again, as in his bestselling live debut CD, that he not only has brilliant fingers but is a master of characterization too” (Cover).

ClassicalrecentJana2Pictures at an Exhibition, Mussorgsky. Performed by Wiener Philharmoniker.
“For our current recording project, a wonderful programme of Russian delights, the Vienna Philharmonic and I have joined with children from Vienna’s El-Sistema-inspired Superar organisation, offering young people of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to engage with themes from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The sense of collective engagement through music – of individuals learning, listening, and creating together – resonates in the living tradition of the Vienna Philharmonic, inspires our artistic collaboration, and fules our desire to share music’s transformative power with future generations” (Gustavo Dudamel, cover).

ClassicalrecentJana3Revive. Performed by Elina Garanča.
“Gifted with a ‘one-in-a-million’ voice (The Independent) and ‘the unteachable ability to send shivers down the spine’ (Gramophone), Elina Garanča channels her musical experience, insight and emotional empathy into a personal celebration of the indomitable nature of the feminine spirit. Drawn from the masterworks of the Italian and French Romantic repertoire, Garanča’s gallery of great female characters couples captivating rarities with dazzling showstoppers” (Cover).

Women in Art – New Art books in January

This month we have books about amazing female artists and how their word is changing, or has changed, our world. From iconic female artists like Frida Kahlo, to academics, and even women as artists’ subjects, there is no lack of places to find inspiration.

Syndetics book coverWomen who read are dangerous / Stefan Bollmann ; foreword by Karen Joy Fowler.
“This concise survey of women readers as subjects in the visual arts touches on several periods and includes Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Michelangelo & Suzanne Valadon. Bollmann gives a useful history of the issues surrounding women’s access to literature (reading was once said to cause illness, immorality, and early death) and attempts to explain why so many different artists have chosen to depict this act.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverElizabeth Durack : art & life : selected writings / edited by Perpetua Durack Clancy.
Art &​ Life contains extracts from diaries, letters, essays, travelogues and poetry written by Elizabeth Durack over the course of seven decades. With wit and candour, the writing reveals some of the most important influences and episodes – and the paradox – of her life. Durack read and travelled widely and drew inspiration from many sources: from the men and women she knew; from classical Western and ancient Aboriginal traditions; and from contemporary politics.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverLadies drawing night : make art, get inspired, join the party / By Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachael Cole ; photographs by Kate Edwards.
“Grab your pens, round up some friends, and get ready for an inspiring night of drawing. Join in with Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, Rachael Cole, and friends as they gather together to try out new ideas, explore different media, collaborate, and swap stories of successes, doubts, and the joy of making art.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverModern Scottish women : painters and sculptors, 1885-1965 / edited by Alice Strang.
“This revelatory book concentrates on Scottish women painters and sculptors from 1885, when Fra Newbery became Director of the Glasgow School of Art, until 1965, the year of Anne Redpath’s death. It explores the experience and context of the artists and their place in Scottish art history, in terms of training, professional opportunities and personal links within the Scottish art world.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverWalk through walls : a memoir / Marina Abramović ; with James Kaplan.
“Performance artist Abramovic’ shares the remarkable experiences of her life and background on some of her best-known art pieces in this enchanting and emotionally raw memoir. She provides fascinating glimpses into her experiences living with Aboriginal Australians and her walk of China’s Great Wall, sharing illuminating notes from her performances diaries and giving insight into her teaching technique. This is an honest, gripping, and profound look into the heart and brilliant mind of one of the quintessential artists of the postmodern era.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book cover25 women : essays on their art / Dave Hickey.
“Hickey was inspired to revisit and revamp his essays about 25 women artists and their work as a tribute to his friend, the late curator and New Museum founder Marcia Tucker. He revels in the turbulent depths of painters as varied as Joan Mitchell, Vija Celmins, Bridget Riley, Elizabeth Murray, and Hung Liu. The artists are significant and intriguing, Hickey’s criticism exceptionally dynamic and enlightening.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverWomen artists : the Linda Nochlin reader / edited by Maura Reilly.
“Linda Nochlin has been a groundbreaking art critic and curator for decades. The text moves from 1971′s groundbreaking “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” through many years’ worth of catalogue essays, journal articles, and previously unpublished works. Readers will be delighted by this opportunity to watch Nochlin’s ideas advance over the decades. Nochlin’s contributions have been crucial in rethinking art history and rejecting the narrow idea of a core female aesthetic. (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverMargaret Preston / Elizabeth Butel.
“Margaret Preston, Australia’s foremost woman painter between the wars, sent a series of shock-waves through Sydney’s art circles with her vital art, her spirited journalism and her belligerent enthusiasm for living, during a career that spanned over seventy years. ‘A red-headed little firebrand of a woman’, she was an artist who never stood still, moving from realism to Post-Impressionism, to an Aboriginal-inspired style of art with unceasing verve and freshness.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverFrida Kahlo at home / Suzanne Barbezat.
“This book explores the influence of Mexican culture and tradition, La Casa Azul and other places Frida Kahlo called home, on her life and work. La Casa Azul, now one of the most visited museums in Mexico City, was the artist’s birthplace and the home where she grew up, lived with her husband Diego Rivera for a number of years, and also where she died. Fully illustrated, the book features Frida’s paintings together with archive images and family photographs, objects and artefacts she collected and photographs of the surrounding landscape.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)


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