Category: Recent picks

New Art Books for February

Enjoy a selection of these beautiful art books new to the library this month. We have art books from New Zealand and the globe including the works of Gottfried Lindauer and J.M.W. Turner. If you want to develop your own work there are new books on using perspective and symbolism.

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.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Beatrix Potter : sketches, paintings, and illustrations / Text by Emily Zach ; Foreword by Steven Heller ; Introduction by Linda Lear ; Afterword by Eleanor Taylor.
“Published for the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth, this magnificent collection celebrates the artist behind The Tale of Peter Rabbit and numerous other beloved children’s books. Brimming with famous images and rarely seen gems this monograph explores Potter’s artistic process and reveals the places that inspired her timeless work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing autism / Jill Mullin ; with a foreword by Temple Grandin.
“In Drawing Autism, behaviour analyst and educator Jill Mullin has assembled a staggering array of work from autistic artists – ranging from Gregory Blackstock and Jessica Park to the unknown but no less talented. Their creations, coupled with artist interviews, comprise a fascinating and compelling book that serves to educate and inspire anyone whose life has been affected by ASD.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing perspective / Tim Fisher.
“In this essential addition to Search Press’s high level drawing series, Tim Fisher gives a masterclass in perspective drawing, from one-point, two-point and multiple point right through to curvilinear perspective. There is good basic advice on drawing techniques such as hatching and creating tone, as well as on measurement, proportion, scale and adding people and animals in a landscape.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTurner : the extraordinary life and momentous times of J.M.W. Turner / Franny Moyle.
“J.M.W. Turner is one of the most important figures in Western art, and his visionary work paved the way for a revolution in landscape painting. Bringing a new level of expression and colour to his canvases, he paved the way for the modern artist. Franny Moyle brilliantly tells the story of the man to give us an astonishing portrait of the artist and a vivid evocation of Britain and Europe in flux.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMedieval wall paintings / Roger Rosewell.
“What medieval wall paintings remain in English churches tend to be shadows of their former selves – rare fragments of art that have survived not only the Reformation, but successive waves of iconoclastic zeal and unsympathetic restoration. Roger Rosewell here offers a guide to the role played by medieval wall paintings, as religious, didactic and commemorative works of art, telling the stories of those who created them and those who used them on a daily basis.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Suter : people, places, perspectives : artworks from the collection.
“This book is timed to coincide with the reopening of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū after an extensive redevelopment project. It features a selection of works from the gallery’s permanent collections, chosen by Gallery Director Julie Catchpole and Bishop Suter Trust Chairperson Craig Potton.” (Dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverSymbolism / Rodolphe Rapetti ; translated from the French by Deke Dusinberre.
“The result of over ten years of research, this work offers an in-depth analysis of the European Symbolist movement: its conceptual background, major characteristics, ramifications, known and less-well known works, and main personalities.” (Syndetics summary)

Some New Classical CDs

This week we feature three discs fresh off the courier:

ClassicalrecentFeba1Missa Defunctorum, Scarlatti. Performed by Odhecaton.
“This recording is a discovery of Alessandro Scarlatti’s heretofore unknown sacred music, where Renaissance tradition meets Baroque sensibility. At its core is the Missa defunctorum for four voices and basso continuo… The Miserere for nine voices… follows Allegri’s model only outwardly, as Scarlatti moves steadily away from it through his harmonic originality, formal richness, and expressivity. Finally, the Magnificat displays a unique synthesis of the Palestrinian model and the expressive language of the eighteenth century for a unique and compelling recording” (Cover).

ClassicalrecentFeba2Cantatas 52, 54, 82, 170, Johann Sebastian Bach. Performed by Iestyn Davies, with Arcangelo.
“Bach’s Ich habe genug is a timeless, transcendental masterpiece. This profound expression of Christian faith at the very end of life demands artistry of a special order. British countertenor Iestyn Davies, accompanied by Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo, now joins the likes of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the work’s distinguished discography. The couplings are equally ravishing performances of two other great solo cantatas, and two refreshingly familiar orchestral sinfonias” (amazon.com).

ClassicalrecentFeba3Rostropovich Encores. Performed by Alban Gerhardt and Markus Becker.
“For the young Alban Gerhardt, Rostropovich was ‘a reason to become passionate about the cello.’ In the liner notes he recalls being ‘blown away’ on first hearing Slava play live in Berlin. This splendid follow-up to his program of Casals Encores sees Gerhardt paying homage to his great predecessor with an eclectic program of shorter works, including two by Rostropovich himself” (amazon.com).

Coming soon: the Brodsky Quartet performing Mozart flute quartets with Lisa Friend; Vivaldi’s concertos for two violins performed by Giuliano Carmignola and Amandine Beyer with Gli incogniti; and some organ music courtesy of Olivier Latry and the organ of the Paris Philharmonie.

New Travel Books for February

This month offers a guided tour by countless authors across the varied terrains of Morocco, Syria and Ethiopia. After reading these first hand encounters, make the baby steps towards visiting some of these places yourself with Lonely Planet’s new seasonal compendium Where to Go When, one of it’s more practical tomes, equally as good for drooling at as it is for the meticulous planning of the trip of a lifetime. For more backyard insights, consult the moody waters of Islands and uncover some of the unseen realities of the submerged rocks surrounding the endlessly fascinating archipelago we call Aotearoa and New Zealand.

Syndetics book coverMorocco : in the labyrinth of dreams and bazaars / by Walter M. Weiss ; translated by Stefan Tobler.
“Walter M. Weiss brings extensive knowledge of the region to bear as he travels the breadth and depth of the country’s social and geographical contrasts. Weiss visits the settings of modern legends, such as Tangier, as well as the two medieval centres Fès and Meknès, and sees earthen kasbahs and Marrakech’s bazaar. On the way, he meets acrobats, Sufi musicians, pilgrims, craftsmen, beatniks, rabbis, and Berber farmers–a kaleidoscope of variety and cultural influence.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe street philosopher and the holy fool : a Syrian journey / Marius Kociejowski.
“The ancient land of Syria remains for many a sinister and forbidding destination, only recently opening up to foreign travellers. Marius Kociejowski presents a completely fresh and unexpected face to this mysterious country. Based on his own visits to Syria, The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool describes a journey which brings him into contact with a host of colourful and unusual characters, each of whom is an outsider of sorts.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverEthiopia : through writers’ eyes / edited by Yves-Marie Stranger.
“This book is the perfect companion to any exploration of Ethiopia, be it in the precarious saddle of an Abyssinian pony, or from the folds of an armchair. A compendium of all things Ethiopian, the book throws wide-open the precious windows of understanding, allowing you to gaze deeper into the landscape and people with additional wonder.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet’s where to go when : the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year / written by Sarah Baxter & Paul Bloomfield.
Where To Go When, the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year, is a beautifully illustrated book that is both practical and inspiring. For every month of the year it presents 30 recommendations of destinations that are at their best during each month, whether due to their climate, or value or because there’s a lot going on.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInspired journeys : travel writers in search of the muse / edited by Brian Bouldrey.
“Full of humor, profundity, and obsession, these are tales of writers on peregrine paths. Some set out in search of legends or artistic inspiration; others seek spiritual epiphany or fulfillment of a promise. All of these pilgrimages are worthy journeys–redemptive and serious. But a time-honored element of pilgrimage is a suspension of rules, and there is absurdity and exuberance here as well.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForty shades of white : my amazing Antarctic journey / Ginni Bazlinton.
“Ginni Bazlinton signed up for a voyage to the planet’s fifth largest continent. Antarctica was a vast unknown to her when she set off on the rugged scientific vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy. For this grandmother ‘from next door’ her encounter with an area known to so few becomes the gateway to a profound attachment to the miracle that is Antarctica and a keener understanding of the Earth and humanity’s ambiguous role within it.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIslands : a New Zealand journey / Bruce Ansley and Jane Ussher.
“New Zealand is surrounded by hundreds of islands, mainly remnants of a larger land mass now beneath the sea. Some are idyllic retreats; others have poignant histories of castaways, prisons and leper colonies. Some have become sanctuaries, safe from destructive predators; some are farmed by fifth and sixth generations of the same family; others are isolated outposts, barely sustaining life at all; while some are hidden where you’d least expect…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNever put all your eggs in one bastard / Peta Mathias.
“In this ‘memoir of sorts’, Peta looks back at the patterns of her life while she embarks on the next big stage in it- selling her beloved cottage in Auckland to buy a dilapidated old house in Uzos in the south of France and transforming the old wreck into a stylish home and cooking school. Spiced with recipes, the thrills and tribulations of reinventing yourself and her trademark humour, this book is really about never putting all your eggs in one bastard.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParis by Ladurée Paris / text, Serge Gleizes ; photography, Pierre-Olivier Signe ; translator, Jonno Slysa.
“In Paris by Ladurée, author Serge Gleizes compiles the iconic luxury patisserie’s 200 favorite Parisian addresses and guides readers to the best that the most elegant city in the world has to offer in cuisine, interior design, table décor, beauty, fashion, hotels, and culture–in a book small enough to carry while traveling.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBy the seat of my pants / edited by Don George.
“Lonely Planet knows that some of life’s funniest experiences happen on the road. These 31 globegirdling tales that run the gamut from close-encounter safaris to loss-of-face follies, hair-raising rides to culture-leaping brides, eccentric expats to mind-boggling repasts, wrong roads taken to agreements mistaken. The collection brings together some of the world’s most renowned travellers and storytellers with previously unpublished writers.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent Home, Garden & DIY picks

Whether you’ve decided to roll up your sleeves or put up your feet, you’ll be interested in this month’s home, garden & DIY blog. Tips include bathroom upgrade, tasteful home and garden, and even creative DIY with industrial pipes.

Syndetics book coverDIY industrial pipe furniture & decor : creative projects for every room of your home / James Angus.
“Packed with easy-to-follow tutorials and 400 step-by-step color photos, this helpful DIY guide teaches you how to transform plumbing fixtures into all types of cool household furnishings… Author James Angus explains everything you need to know, from choosing the fittings and using the right tools to mastering the art of assembly and adding designer touches for a finished look.” (Page 4 of cover)

Syndetics book coverA touch of farmhouse charm : easy DIY projects to add a warm and rustic feel to any room / Liz Fourez, creator of Love Grows Wild.
“Opening A Touch of Farmhouse Charm is like taking a breath of fresh, clean country air. With the turn of each page, Liz Fourez leads you on a tour through her family’s house, restored to its 1940s rustic farm style, and teaches you how to make each handmade decoration yourself. …Farmhouse style is about cultivating a connection among family, home and nature; A Touch of Farmhouse Charm helps you bring the warmth and beauty of simpler times to your modern life naturally.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBathroom upgrades / editors of Fine Homebuilding.
Bathroom upgrades, from the editors of Fine Homebuilding, provides all the advice you need to remodel a bathroom of any size or shape, on any budget. Our pros take you through every step of the process with the site-tested tips and techniques that Fine Homebuilding is known for to help you create the bathroom you’ve always dreamed of.”–Back cover.

Syndetics book coverThe hinterland : cabins, love shacks and other hide-outs / [edited by Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten].
“The cabin has become our third place, our hideaway where we can recharge our spirits and reconnect with ourselves, away from the restraints of society and the stress of the everyday. This book presents the best new cabin architecture and design. We all need to be somewhere else, just for a little while. The cabin is that somewhere else. They allow us to get into a different state of mind, one where we can just have a good time. Four walls and a roof and a weekend–these getaways free us from the distracting and unessential, and put us back in touch with nature and our own inner peace. In cabins, we can savor solitude or share experiences with friends among mountains, rivers, woods, and wildlife…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover101 organic gardening hacks : eco-friendly solutions to improve any garden / Shawna Coronado.
“The word “hack” has a multitude of meanings these days, but if you ask garden author Shawna Coronado what a hack is, she might just wave her hand toward her own back yard. She could be pointing at the garden bench she created from leftover wood posts and a few cinder blocks, or the rows of wine bottles buried soldier-style along a winding pathway, or even the garden soil itself, which is blended by hand from an organic soil recipe she devised. A hack is really just a great idea that’s come to life… Divided into a dozen different categories for easy reference, each hack is accompanied by a clear photo that shows you exactly how to complete it.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRhapsody in green : a novelist, an obsession, a laughably small excuse for a vegetable garden / Charlotte Mendelson ; illustrations by Aitch.
“Her garden may look like a drunk old man’s mini allotment, chaotic, flowerless, with weird recycling and nowhere to sit. However, it is actually a tiny jungle… where she grows a taste of perhaps a hundred kinds of delicious fruits and peculiar vegetables…” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverL’art de la simplicite = how to live more with less / Dominique Loreau.
“Dominque Loreau is the master in the art of de-cluttering and simplifying. Now her groundbreaking L’art de la Simplicite, a huge bestseller in her native France, is translated into English for the first time. Loreau’s principle of “less is more” is set to change your life forever. Living in Japan and inspired by Asian philosophy, Loreau takes you on a step-by-step journey to a clutter-free home, a calm mind and an energized body. Free yourself of possessions you don’t want or need; have more money to spend on life’s little luxuries; eat better and lose weight; and say goodbye to anxiety and negative relationships.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of hygge : how to bring Danish cosiness into your life / Jonny Jackson & Elias Larsen.
“Hygge (pronounced ‘hue-ga’) is a Danish word that describes the feeling of being cosy, comfortable and at peace with the world. It’s almost impossible to translate into English, but this concept might explain why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world. The Art of Hygge is packed with delicious recipes to share with friends, craft ideas for decorating your home, and inspirational suggestions for enjoying the magic of everyday pleasures.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuild a better vegetable garden : 30 DIY projects to improve your harvest / Joyce Russell ; photography by Ben Russell.
“Following on from the hugely successful Polytunnel Book, Joyce and Ben Russell have devised 30 kitchen garden projects that anyone can make and enjoy. Not only do the projects add decorative detail to the garden, each project is devised to either extend the season, protect crops from pests or improve yields. Apart from the obvious cost-savings benefits from growing or making your own, the desire to work with craft fulfils the need to keep improving your patch of land.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShe sheds : a room of your own / Erika Kotite.
“Create your very own hideaway right at home with She Sheds. They’ve got their man caves, and it’s time for you to have a space of your own. She Sheds shows you how to create cozy getaways with inspiration from across the country. Start by defining the goal and purpose of your space. Will you use it for entertaining, crafting, or alone time? Then, use the gallery of over 100 photos as inspiration for your decor, paint colors, and landscaping. You’ll even find fun upcycling ideas to personalize your space…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Get your glam on – New fashion and beauty for February

Get your glam on with February’s selection of new fashion books. With shiny new volumes about Vivienne Westwood, Audrey Hepburn, Versace and Vogue, to name but a few, this February is set to be very glamorous indeed.

Syndetics book coverGet a life! : the diaries of Vivienne Westwood, 2010-2016 / Vivienne Westwood.
“Vivienne Westwood began Get A Life, her online diary, in 2010 with an impassioned post about Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Since then, she has written two or three entries each month, discussing her life in fashion and her involvement with art, politics and the environment.Reading Vivienne’s thoughts, in her own words, is as fascinating and provocative as you would expect from Britain’s punk dame – a woman who always says exactly what she believes. The beauty of Vivienne Westwood’s diary is that it is so fresh and unpredictable. In book form, generously illustrated with her own selection of images, it is irresistible.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover50 dresses that changed the world.
“Everything around us is designed and the word ‘design’ has become part of our everyday experience. But how much do we know about it? Fifty Dresses That Changed the World imparts that knowledge listing the top 50 dresses that have made a substantial impact in the world of British design today. From the 1915 Delphos Pleated dress to Hussein Chalayan’s 2007 LED dress, each entry offers a short appraisal to explore what has made their iconic status and the designers that give them a special place in design history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVersace / written by Donatella Versace, Maria Luisa Frisa, and Stefano Tonchi.
“A long-awaited and highly intimate visual history of Versace, the glamorous and globally renowned Italian fashion house. This richly illustrated tome chronicles Donatella’s interpretation of Versace in the twenty-first century and her remarkable work as the curator and face of Versace. Versace includes exclusive contemporary and archival imagery from runway and backstage shots to intimate scenes at the Versace atelier, with accompanying original essays penned by fashion’s most authoritative voices. This glittering volume delivers the magnetic vibrancy, supreme luxury, and glamour quotient that define Versace.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMartine Sitbon : alternative vision / edited by Marc Ascoli & Martine Sitbon.
“The first book on the highly influential French fashion designer renowned for her rock’ n’ romantic style and for reinvigorating the house of Chloe. Martine Sitbon has become an icon among designers and fashionistas, earning her praise from Karl Lagerfeld as being “the only living French designer.” Handpicked to breathe new life into Chloe in the mid-1980s, and the first woman to be named designer at the house, while simultaneously working on her own ready-to-wear label, Sitbon has been at the helm of high fashion for decades. With never-before-seen sketches and photographs, this book allows readers to gain a better understanding of the designer’s personal universe and inspirations that have until now been largely hidden from view.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAudrey : the 50s / David Wills ; designed by Stephen Schmidt.
“A stunning photographic compilation showcasing Audrey Hepburn’s iconic career in the 1950s–the decade that solidified her place as one of the world’s greatest stars in film and fashion. Among the highlights: Rare and classic images digitally restored from vintage photographic prints, original studio negatives and transparencies. Never-before-seen publicity photos, scene stills and work shots. Previously unpublished “posed candids” of Audrey at home. Beautifully restored advertisements, fan magazine layouts, international film posters and lobby cards. Quotes from photographers, directors, and costars, including William Holden, Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Cecil Beaton, and Audrey herself.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSelf.Styled : dare to be different / Anthony Lycett.
Self-Styled is about the celebration of freedom of expression, diversity and individualism through personal style. Showcasing photographic diptychs of a select group of fabulous urbanites, each double-page spread illustrates a unique personal choice while implicitly exploring themes such as gender, colour, body shape and taste. The concept behind Self-Styled is simple: each person is asked to choose two outfits – one that represents daywear and a second that represents nightwear. Then, through a dual photographic portrait, author Anthony Lycett encapsulates their distinctive personalities in a stylist-free zone as they are: self-styled. Since embarking on the project in 2008, Anthony has photographed people from all walks of life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside Vogue : a diary of my 100th year / Alexandra Shulman.
“Alexandra Shulman reveals the emotional and logistical minefield of producing the 100th anniversary issue (that Duchess of Cambridge cover surprise), organizing the star-studded Vogue 100 Gala, working with designers from Victoria Beckham to Karl Lagerfeld and contributors from David Bailey to Alexa Chung. All under the continual scrutiny of a television documentary crew. But narrowly-contained domestic chaos hovers – spontaneous combustion in the kitchen, a temperamental boiler and having to send bin day reminders all the way from Milan fashion week. This is a rich, honest and sharply observed account of a year lived at the centre of British fashion and culture.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

New DVDs for January

This month’s new DVDs feature a doco on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history; new comedy with David Brent & Bridget Jones; real life drama with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger; unconventional parenting with Viggo Mortensen; female investment banking with Anna Gunn; a Detective Superintendent’s journey to exact justice for the victims’ families with Gillian Anderson; and Western action with seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns.

cover imageThe first Monday in May.
“The First Monday in May follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, China: Through The Looking Glass – an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collision of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence as well as fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

MyLibDVDs3Sully.
“On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.” (Editorial Reviews, amazon.com)

MyLibDVDs4Bridget Jones’s baby.
“After breaking up with Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageCafé society.
“Woody Allen writes and directs this comedy drama starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell. Set in the 1930s, the film follows Bobby (Eisenberg), a young New Yorker who travels to Los Angeles to work for his uncle Phil (Carell), a prominent Hollywood agent. In L.A. Bobby meets and falls for Phil’s secretary Vonnie (Stewart), who, unfortunately, is already taken. Returning home, Bobby gets a job at his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll)’s nightclub where he becomes enthralled by New York’s high society. The cast also features Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Jeannie Berlin and Ken Stott.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

MyLibDVDs6Captain Fantastic.
“Unconventional family drama from writer-director Matt Ross. Viggo Mortensen stars as Ben, a father raising his six children Bodevan (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks) and Nai (Charlie Shotwell) in the isolated forests of the Pacific Northwest. As a result of their rural location the children have been sheltered from popular culture supplemented with Ben’s rigorous homeschooling which imparts to them a left-leaning education in which Noam Chomsky’s birthday is celebrated as if it’s Christmas. When a tragic event propels the family unit into reality, they find themselves much at odds with their fellow citizens and Ben’s parenting methods are scrutinised. The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Mortensen) and a BAFTA for Best Leading Actor (Mortensen). (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageDavid Brent : life on the road.
“Ricky Gervais writes, directs and stars in this documentary-style comedy, reprising his role as ‘The Office’ character David Brent. Taking place 15 years after the British sitcom, the film follows the former office manager as he takes time off from his day job as a sales rep to tour with his rock band Foregone Conclusion. Leaving behind his job at Slough cleaning products supplier Lavichem, for a holiday at least, Brent takes to the M25 on a self-funded tour, with bandmates who can’t really stand him, to play to disappointing crowds across the country in one last attempt at breaking into show business. Joined on the road by talented young rapper Dom Johnson (Doc Brown), David is followed by cameras, for what he believes will be a successful film, eager to catch up with him since his documentary appearance.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageRams.
“In a secluded valley in Iceland, brothers Gummi and Kiddi live side by side, tending to their prized ancestral sheep. But a long-term grudge means that they haven’t spoken to each other for four decades, passing messages via the sheep dog. When a lethal ovine disease suddenly appears in the valley, the authorities move in to cull all of the livestock. But Gummi and Kiddi don’t give up easily and each brother tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion: Kiddi by using his rifle and Gummi by using his wits. As the authorities close in the brothers will need to come together to save the special breed of sheep passed down for generations – and themselves – from extinction.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageEquity.
“A female investment banker, Anna Gunn, fighting to rise to the top of the corporate ladder at a competitive Wall Street firm, navigates a controversial tech IPO in the post-financial crisis world, where loyalties are suspect, regulations are tight, but pressure to bring in “big money” remains high. Equity is a unique Wall Street drama about women who thrive on competition and ambition to stay equal in the game.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe fall. Series 3.
“At the climax of the last series, audiences were left reeling as Spector, critically injured in a devastating ambush, lay bleeding in the arms of Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. Moments before, the intense and single-minded investigator thought she had her man; now, shocked and desperate, she’s losing him. Bringing a killer to book is going to take much more now than simply catching him. In the emotionally charged aftermath of the shooting, Gibson’s personal journey to exact justice for the victims’ families must begin with the blood-soaked fight to keep Spector alive. As the Fall reaches its inexorable conclusion, it’s clear that the rules of this deadly game of cat and mouse are set to shift once again.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe daughter.
“Christian returns to his family home for his father Henry s wedding to the much younger Anna. While home, Christian reconnects with his childhood friend Oliver, who has stayed in town working at Henry s timber mill and is now out of a job. As Christian gets to know Oliver s wife Charlotte, daughter Hedvig and father Walter, he discovers a secret that could tear Oliver s family apart. As he tries to right the wrongs of the past, his actions threaten to shatter the lives of those he left behind years before.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe magnificent seven.
“Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. With the sleepy town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

New Mysteries for January

This month’s selection of new Mystery novels will provide readers with many satisfying hours of thrilling reading. Included and highly recommended is the second novel by Vaseem Khan, a new writer in this genre, who is becoming very popular. His latest mystery is titled The perplexing theft of the jewel in the crown.

Syndetics book coverNone but the dead / Lin Anderson.
“Sanday, one of Britain’s northernmost islands, inaccessible when the wind prevents the ferry crossing from the mainland, or fog grounds the tiny, island-hopping plane. When human remains are discovered to the rear of an old primary school, forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod and her assistant arrive to excavate the grave. Approaching midwinter, they find daylight in short supply, the weather inhospitable and some of the island’s inhabitants less than co-operative. When the suspicious death of an old man in Glasgow appears to have links with the island, DS Michael McNab is dispatched to investigate. Desperately uncomfortable in such surroundings, he finds no internet, no CCTV, and no police station. As the weather closes in, the team, including criminal profiler and Orkney native Professor Magnus Pirie are presented with a series of unexplained incidents.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLovemurder / Saul Black.
“Troubled San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart is planning a rare weekend away from the job when she gets the call. The body of a woman, brutally murdered has been found and a cryptic note left by the body is addressed to Valerie.The victim is unknown to her, but as Valerie analyses the scene, the clues begin to point in a deeply disturbing direction: to a maximum security prison where a woman called Katherine Glass is awaiting execution for a series of gruesome killings. And Valerie was the cop who put her there.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStone coffin / Kjell Eriksson ; translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg.
“One sunny summer morning a young woman and her six-year old daughter are run over by a car. Both are killed immediately. Is it an accident, or did someone kill them on purpose? The same morning the husband of the deceased young woman disappears. During the police investigation, it turns out that the husband had recently bought a property that nobody knew anything about. A few days later a macabre discovery is made in a forest nearby” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe inheritance / Charles Finch.
“Charles Lenox has received a cryptic plea for help from an old Harrow schoolmate, Gerald Leigh, but when he looks into the matter he finds that his friend has suddenly disappeared. As boys they had shared a secret: a bequest from a mysterious benefactor had smoothed Leigh’s way into the world after the death of his father. Lenox, already with a passionate interest in detective work, made discovering the benefactor’s identity his first case, but was never able to solve it. Now, years later, Leigh has been the recipient of a second, even more generous bequest. Is it from the same anonymous sponsor? Or is the money poisoned by ulterior motives? Leigh’s disappearance suggests the latter, and as Lenox tries, desperately, to save his friend’s life, he’s forced into confrontations with both the most dangerous of east end gangs and the far more genteel denizens of the illustrious Royal Society.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo echo : Hanne Wilhelmsen Series, Book 6 / Anne Holt
“When celebrity chef Brede Ziegler is discovered stabbed to death on the steps of the Olso police headquarters it sends a shockwave through the city’s in-crowd. Ziegler had lots of famous friends, is there a culprit among them, or was this a random act of violence? Police investigator Billy T. takes on the case, but is met with conflicting information about what kind of man Ziegler was. It seems nobody really knew the dead man, including his glamorous wife, the restaurant co-owner and the editor of his memoir.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe perplexing theft of the jewel in the crown / Vaseem Khan.
“For centuries, the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king. Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem it is a prize that many have killed to possess. So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRuler of the night / David Morrell.
“1855. The railway has irrevocably altered English society: a whole day’s journey can now be covered in a matter of hours. This brings freedom and danger. When a gentleman is stabbed to death in a locked first-class passenger compartment, the crime paralyzes London. In the next compartment, Thomas De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. They join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, Detective Ryan and his partner-in-training, Becker, to pursue the killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe reckoning on Cane Hill / Steve Mosby.
“Every year, Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son–even though he buried him years ago. His son’s murder took everything from him, apart from his belief in the law, even though the killers were never found. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it. Uncovering the facts will lead him on a dark journey, where he must face his own wrongs as well as those done to those they love.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Oxford anomaly / Norman Russell.
“Jeremy Oakshott, Fellow of Jerusalem Hall, and an authority on the Crusades, is content with life until renowned archaeologist Mrs Lestrange urges him to join her expedition to Syria. His wealthy uncle, Ambrose Littlemore, refuses to help him, and is murdered soon afterwards. Detective Inspector Antrobus has already investigated the savage murder of one of Oakeshott’s old friends, but the scholar’s alibis are completely water-tight. Assisted by his doctor friend, Sophia Jex-Blake, Antrobus looks further afield, visiting two criminal lunatic asylums, a remote nunnery, and a quiet country village, where at last they uncover the truth about five savage murders, and the identity of their perpetrator.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn bitter chill / Sarah Ward.
“Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide. Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’ this month featuring translated novels

Some fabulous reading entertainment from around the world is provided in this month’s selection of new ‘Other Genres’ fiction. There is a wide range of translated novels, from Sweden, Germany, France, Japan, Israel, Algeria and Russia. Highly recommended is the Japanese best seller, by popular Banana Yoshimoto, titled Moshi Moshi.

Syndetics book coverAnd every morning the way home gets longer and longer : a novella / Fredrik Backman ; translated by Alice Menzies.
“An exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis house is mine / Dörte Hansen ; translated from the German by Anne Stokes.
“All her life Vera has felt like a stranger in the old and drafty half-timbered farmhouse she arrived at as a five-year-old refugee from East Prussia in 1945, and yet she can’t seem to let it go. Sixty years later, her niece Anne suddenly shows up at her door with her small son. Anne has fled the trendy Hamburg, Germany neighborhood she never fit into after her relationship imploded. Vera and Anne are strangers to each other but have much more in common than they think. As the two strong-willed and very different women share the great old house, they find what they have never thought to search for: a family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBetween life and death / Yoram Kaniuk ; translated from the Hebrew by Barbara Harshav.
“Famed Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk describes the four months during which he lay unconscious in a Tel Aviv hospital, hovering between the world of the living and that of the dead. Shifting between memory and illusion, imagination and testimony, this novel probes into the place of death in society, the lust for life, and the force of human relationships.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe angels die / Yasmina Khadra ; translated from the French by Howard Curtis.
“As a child living in a ghetto, Turambo dreamt of a better future. When his family find a home in the city anything seems possible. Through a succession of menial jobs, the constants for Turambo are rage at the injustice surrounding him, and a reliable left hook. A boxing apprenticeship offers Turambo a choice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe graveyard apartment / Mariko Koike ; translated from the Japanese by Deborah Boliver Boehm.
“A young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow into, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that the longer they stay, the more trapped they become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Mayakovsky tapes : a novel / Robert Littell ; translated from the Russian by R. Litzky.
“In March 1953, four women meet in Room 408 of Moscow’s deluxe Metropole Hotel. They have gathered, not altogether willingly, to reminisce about Vladimir Mayakovsky, the poet who in death had become a national idol of Soviet Russia. In life, however, he was a much more complicated figure. Each of these ladies loved Mayakovsky in the course of his life, and as they piece together their memories of him, a portrait of the artist emerges.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverDon’t turn out the lights / Bernard Minier ; translated by Alison Anderson.
“Martin Servaz is on leave in a clinic for depressed cops, haunted by his childhood sweetheart Marianne’s kidnapping by his nemesis, the psychopath Julian Hirtmann. One day, he receives a key card to a hotel room in the mail, the room where an artist committed suicide a year earlier. Someone wants him to get back to work, which he’s more than ready to do, despite his mandatory sick leave. Servaz soon uncovers evidence of a truly terrifying crime. Could someone really be cruelly, consciously hounding women to death?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStory of a sociopath : a novel / Julia Navarro.
“Thomas Spencer is a man who knows how to get what he wants, though his poor health and aging looks are the price he’s had to pay. He wears these features proudly, like scars from the battles that propelled him to the top in his glamorous career as a publicist and media maven. But lately, after several cardiac episodes, he senses that his time in the sun is dwindling. In the solitude of his luxurious Brooklyn apartment, he begins to look back on the convoluted trajectory his life has taken. What follows is a spellbinding psychological narrative that takes us through the world of international media and politics from the 1990s to the present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe slow waltz of turtles / Katherine Pancol ; translated by William Rodarmor.
“Fortysomething mother of two Josephine Cortes is at a crossroads. She has just moved to a posh new apartment in Paris after the success of the historical novel she ghostwrote for her sister, Iris. Still struggling with her divorce, the result of her husband running off to Kenya to start a crocodile farm with his mistress, she is now entangled too in a messy lie orchestrated by her sister. And just when things seem they can’t get any more complicated, people start turning up dead in her neighborhood.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMoshi Moshi / Banana Yoshimoto ; translated by Asa Yoneda.
“Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying, unsuccessfully to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Clever ideas – New Craft books for January

It’s the perfect season to expand your crafting repertoire and try new methods and techniques of creating unique pieces. Make gifts for family and friends or craft items that can be passed down from generation to generation. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book cover100 little knitted gifts to make / text, Susan Penny, Val Pierce, Fiona McDonald, Susie Johns, Sue Stratford, Monica Russel, Susan Cordes, Lee Ann Garrett.
“Knitting continues to be a very popular craft, and this book has a very wide appeal both to beginners and more accomplished knitters. The book covers a wide variety of themes from knits, baby bootees, phone covers, mug hugs, headbands and scarves, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Special stitches used are explained in detail, and yarns are described in generic terms, so that readers can use what is available to them, wherever they live. The projects are satisfying to make and can be made as gifts for special occasions and celebrations to family and friends.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe urban woodsman : a modern guide to carving spoons, bowls & boards / Max Bainbridge.
“This book appeals to the modern man and woman looking for a creative outlet that will connect them to their environment, be they in the city or the countryside. Max discusses the basic tools and hand grips, and with step-by-step carving and cutting techniques you will soon be mastering the skills to make your own creations. Starting with eating spoons, cooking spoons and spatulas, you can move on to butter knives, coffee scoops and chopping boards – even small bowls can be mastered without using a lathe. And there is added advice on finishing your projects – how to sand, ebonise, scorch and texture the surface as well as waxing and oiling your new, beloved kitchen creations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSimply shibori : handmade, hand-dyed projects for the home / Fiona Fagan.
“Shibori is a resist dyeing technique and there are full instructions on making colour dyes using natural ingredients such as saffron. More than 30 projects are included, each made from plain fabrics, encompassing items for the kitchen, dining room, living room, and bedroom as well as a selection of lifestyle projects that would be perfect to make as gifts. This treasure trove of desirable projects includes an assortment of cushions, covers, bed linen, up-cycled lampshades, table runner, and napkins, to name just a few. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMind-blowing modular origami : the art of polyhedral paper folding / Byriah Loper.
“Modular origami is the latest craze in paper folding! These three-dimensional models are created from a number of small pieces of paper that are easily folded and then cleverly fit together to form a spectacular shape. They range from paper polyhedra to ornate flower-like spheres. Author Byriah Loper has been creating modular origami sculptures for just five years, but in that time, he’s pushed the upper limits of the art form with some of the largest, most complex geometric paper constructions ever assembled. A great way to learn origami, the easy-to-follow diagrams and step-by-step instructions in this book show you how to fold the paper components and then assemble them to create 22 incredible models.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDIY string art : 24 designs to create and hang / Jesse Dresbach.
“String art is making a comeback with seemingly endless new designs, and author Jesse Drebach’s modern, more flexible approach lets you methodically string away to your heart’s content. This book is full of patterns–simple to more intricate designs–that help you quickly get to the fun part of the craft–the stringing! DIY String Art includes simple geometrics, nature-inspired motifs worked on tree slices, zodiac signs, and even patterns for negative space string art. These are cool, urban designs, and they look amazing no matter where you hang them. Jesse’s double-wrap technique lets you add pronounced details and even create a string frame–he’s thought of, basically, everything you need to know to string a gallery of modern art!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover100 simple paper flowers / Kelsey Elam.
“Paper flowers are cropping up everywhere, taking centre stage in upmarket window displays and bringing pops of colour to winter weddings. They make a great impact, and offer an uplifting hit of colour at times when real flowers are scarce or too expensive. Best of all, they’re easy and enjoyable to make. 100 Simple Paper Flowers shows you how to put together dozens of ideas. With templates and projects, discover how a handful of techniques can work across the board, whether you want a bunch of daisies for your desk or an outsize bouquet of lilies for an event.” (Syndetics summary)

New Orchestral CDs

In a veritable influx of classical CDs this week we found these four Romantic, late-Romantic and 20th century orchestral gems.

ClassicalrecentJanb1Symphonies 2 & 4, Schumann. Performed by Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
“This is the first recording of Antonio Pappano conducting two of Schumann’s most popular symphonies, No. 2 in C major and No. 4 in D minor. Pappano brings his customary energy to the ensemble, while drawing out the magnificent beauty of the string section and the delicacies of the woodwind. His careful approach to detail makes this a commanding interpretation.” (amazon.com)

ClassicalrecentJanb2Symphonies 4, 5, 6, Tchaikovsky. Performed by the Arctic Philharmonic.
The final three of Tchaikovsky’s variously-flavoured symphonies together on a 2 CD set, performed by the Arctic Philharmonic, who are indeed based within the Arctic circle (and are in fact the world’s northernmost orchestra).

Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Shostakovich. Performed by Frank Peter Simmermann and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester.
Live performances of Shostakovich’s violin concertos, performed by well-regarded violinist Zimmermann together with the previously-titled NDR Sinfonieorchester.

ClassicalrecentJanb4The Piano Concertos, Brahms. Performed by Rudolf Buchbinder and the Wiener Philharmoniker.
Brahms’ two piano concertos (D minor and B flat major) performed live at the Musikverein in Vienna in 2015. “‘With Brahms’ [writes Buchbinder], ‘most people are struck only by the idea that his music is incredibly difficult and complex. But sometimes it requires a whole lifetime to become intimate with Brahms’ sound-world and achieve the maturity that gives you a new freedom as a performer and ensures that your relationship with the music becomes the most natural thing in the world for you’” (programme notes).


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