Be transported by these new mystery novels!

Mystery novel fans will again be transported to far parts of the world with his month’s selection of new mysteries. From Thailand to Norway, India to Ireland, Norway to Germany, all will provide hours of gripping reading.

Syndetics book coverThe emerald lie / Ken Bruen.
“Jack Taylor, an ex-cop who is as addicted to trouble as he is to Jameson, pills, and pop culture. Jack is approached by a grieving father with a pocketful of cash on offer if Jack will help exact revenge on those responsible for his daughter’s brutal rape and murder. Though hesitant to get involved, Jack agrees to get a read on the likely perpetrators. But Jack is soon derailed by the reappearance of Emily (previous alias: Emerald), the chameleon-like young woman who joined forces with Jack to take down her pedophile father in Green Hell and who remains passionate, clever, and utterly homicidal. She will use any sort of coercion to get Jack to conspire with her against the serial killer the Garda have nicknamed “the Grammarian,” but her most destructive obsession just might be Jack himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe missing guests of the Magic Grove hotel : an Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency novel / David Casarett.
“As a nurse ethicist, Ladarat Patalung works to save the lives of her patients, and to make sure the ones she can’t save have at least the dignity of a “good death’. Detective Wiriya Mookjai fears that a killer is at large when wealthy foreign travelers start to go missing all across Thailand, and turns to Ladarat for help. The travelers have nothing in common, except for brief stays at a mysterious resort, known as the Magic Grove Hotel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHead Count / Judith Cutler.
“A head teacher’s work is never done, especially if, like Jane Cowan, you’re a victim of your own success. Having done well with Wrayford Primary, she’s now expected to bring other neighbouring schools up to scratch as well. And all these responsibilities are compounded by an influx of children, most of whom do not speak English, following their families supplying cheap labour to surrounding farms. Jane can’t turn a blind eye to the conditions in which many of these families are living, even more so when some children simply disappear. When everything points to the shadowy dealings of people smugglers in the area, she has her work cut out for her seeing justice done and that’s before a threat far closer to home rears his head.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFaithless / Kjell Ola Dahl ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frolich is shocked to discover that he knows her and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frolich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frolich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers and the killer, before he strikes again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn English murder / Cyril Hare.
“The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. With friends and family gathered round the fire, all should be set for a perfect Christmas, but as the bells chime midnight, a mysterious murder takes place. Who can be responsible, the scorned young lover, or the lord’s passed-over cousin, the social climbing politician’s wife, or the Czech history professor, maybe the obsequious butler? But perhaps the real question is: can any of them survive long enough to tell the tale?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn dust and ashes / Anne Holt ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“In 2001, three year old Dina is killed in a tragic car accident. Not long thereafter Dina’s mother dies under mysterious circumstances, and Dina’s father Jonas is convicted of her murder. In 2016, the cold case ends up on the desk of Detective Henrik Holme, who tries to convince his mentor Hanne Wilhelmsen that the father might have been wrongly convicted. Holme and Wilhelmsen discover that the case could be connected to the suicide of an eccentric blogger as well as the kidnapping of the grandson of a Euro-Jackpot millionaire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder attack / Edward Marston.
“June, 1917. While another daylight air raid batters London, the body of respected businessman and devoted family man Gilbert Donohoe is fished from the Thames, the victim of strangulation. Inspector Marmion struggles with the case alongside his anxieties for his now-missing son, Paul, but the pressure increases when the Metropolitan Police are the target of a series of vicious press attacks. As Marmion is pilloried in the press, he uncovers a seedy path through London which will lead him towards the killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBabylon Berlin / Volker Kutscher ; translated by Niall Sellar.
“Berlin, 1929. Detective Inspector Rath, was a successful career officer in the Cologne Homicide Division before a shooting incident in which he inadvertently killed a man. He has been transferred to the Vice Squad in Berlin, a job he detests, even though he finds a new friend in his boss, Chief Inspector Wolter. There is seething unrest in the city and the Commissioner of Police has ordered the Vice Squad to ruthlessly enforce the ban on May Day demonstrations. The result is catastrophic with many dead and injured, and a state of emergency is declared in the Communist strongholds of the city. When a car is hauled out of Berlin’s Landwehr Canal with a mutilated corpse inside the Commissioner decides to use this mystery to divert the attention of press and public from the casualties of the demonstrations. The biggest problem is that the corpse cannot be identified.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe widows of Malabar Hill / Sujata Massey.
“1920s India: Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer, with a legal education from Oxford, has a tragic personal history that makes women’s legal rights especially important to her. She has just joined her father’s law firm, which has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? The Farid widows live in full purdah, in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDry bones / Sally Spencer.
“When human bones are discovered in the cellars beneath St Luke’s College, two bodies, buried thirty years apart, the bursar, Charlie Swift, hires Jennie Redhead to investigate. As she uncovers a series of scandals stretching back sixty years, Jennie wonders how well she really knows her old friend Charlie and whether she can trust him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Contemporary Fiction

In this selection of new contemporary fiction there are debut novels by three very talented writers. One is set in Korea during the Japanese occupation in WWII, another set on an English country estate in the winter of 1969, and the third is set in Paris and Puerto Rico. These, with the other novels in this selection will provide many hours of entertaining and thought provoking reading.

Syndetics book coverWhite chrysanthemum / Mary Lynn Bracht.
“Hana and her little sister Emi are part of an island community of haenyeo, women who make their living from diving deep into the sea off the southernmost tip of Korea. One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier heading for where Emi is guarding the day’s catch on the beach. Her mother has told her again and again never to be caught alone with one. Terrified for her sister, Hana swims as hard as she can for the shore. So begins the story of two sisters suddenly and violently separated by war. Switch-backing between Hana in 1943 and Emi as an old woman today, White Chrysanthemum takes us into a dark and devastating corner of history. But pulling us back into the light are two women whose love for one another is strong enough to triumph over the evils of war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYear of the drought / Roland Buti ; translated by Charlotte Mandell.
“Europe is in the grip of the worst drought in living memory. The Sutter household teeters on the brink of ruin. The farmer and father of the family has invested his entire fortune in 10,000 chickens and a modern barn. But the barn’s cooling systems are failing, and the chicks are dying off in the heat. Meanwhile his wife invites the mysterious Cecile to stay at the farm. Their son, 13-year-old Gus, observes helplessly as both his family and his carefree childhood dissolve in the heat.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter the snow / Susannah Constantine.
“Christmas morning, 1969. All eleven-year-old Esme Munroe wants for Christmas is for her mother to be on one of her ‘good’ days and, secretly, for a velvet riding hat. So when she finds an assortment of wet towels and dirty plates in her stocking, she’s just relieved Father Christmas remembered to stop at The Lodge this year. But later that day Esme’s mother disappears in the heavy snow. Even more mysteriously, only the Earl of Culcairn seems to know where she might have gone. Torn between protecting her mother and uncovering the secrets tumbling out of Culcairn Castle’s ornate closets, Esme realises that life will never be the same again after the snow.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl who lied / Sue Fortin.
“Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret, one Erin has kept for over a decade, and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies. When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out?.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMary Rose / Geoffrey Girard.
“Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened. After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHistories / Sam Guglani.
“Histories” is a hypnotic portrait of life in one hospital, over one week. In the corridors and consulting rooms, by the bedside, through the open curtain, we witness charged encounters within the emotional and physical world of medicine. Old insecurities surface as junior doctors try to save a man from dying; an enraged chaplain picks a fight with a consultant; a porter waxes lyrical on his invisibility. These are only some of the stories that so seamlessly connect, collide and create an unforgettable panorama of being.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA field guide to the North American family : concerning chiefly the Hungates and Harrisons, with accounts of their habits, nesting, dispersion, etc., and full description of the plumage of both adult and young, within a taxonomic survey of several aspects of domestic life / by Garth Risk Hallberg ; with sixty-three illustrations done by various artists.
“For years, the Hungates and the Harrisons have coexisted peacefully in the same Long Island neighborhood, enjoying the pleasures and weathering the pitfalls of their suburban habitat. But when the patriarch of one family dies unexpectedly, the survivors face a stark imperative: adapt or face extinction. In sixty-three interlinked vignettes and striking accompanying photographs, the novella cuts multiple paths–which can be reconstructed in any order, through the lives of its richly imagined characters.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUselessness : a novel / Eduardo Lalo ; translated by Suzanne Jill Levine.
“The streets of Paris at night are pathways coursing with light and shadow, channels along which identity may be formed and lost, where the grand inflow of history, art, language, and thought, and of love, can both inspire and enfeeble. For the narrator of Eduardo Lalo’s Uselessness, it is a world long desired. But as this young aspiring writer discovers upon leaving his home in San Juan to study, to live and be reborn in the city of his dreams, Paris’s twinned influences can rip you apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Reservoir Tapes / Jon McGregor.
“Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. But the aftershocks of Becky Shaw’s disappearance have origins long before then, and those in the village have losses, and secrets, and stories of their own. Fresh hurts open old wounds; salvation comes from unexpected quarters and chance encounters release long-buried memories.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe miranda : a novel / Geoff Nicholson.
“Joe’s got a lot to think about, and time on his hands to do it, since divorcing his wife and quitting his job training volunteers for a shadowy government agency. The otherwise nondescript house he’s just moved into boasts one key feature: a circular path in an overgrown backyard, on which Joe plans to walk twenty-five miles a day for a thousand days. Joe figures that walking the circumference of the Earth, safely on his own patch of territory, might just be the thing he needs to move on with his life. But curious neighbours keep sharing their troubles and preoccupations, looping Joe into mundane intrigues, and unwittingly triggering Joe to use the unique problem-solving skills he learned on his old job.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Written by the winners: Recent history picks

This month’s picks deal with more than a few losses. Whether it’s the ruins of Aude de Tocqueville’s Atlas of Lost Cities, the Italian army brought to heel by an Ethiopian army to slow European colonialism in The Battle of Adwa, or the collapse of France in World War 2 in Case Red, you’re sure to find someone or something not coming out on top.

Syndetics book coverThe Balfour declaration : empire, the mandate and resistance in Palestine / Bernard Regan.
“On November 2, 1917, the British government, represented by Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour, declared that they were in favor of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” A hundred years after its signing, Bernard Regan recasts the history of the Balfour Declaration as one of the major events in the story of the Middle East. Offering new insights into the imperial rivalries between Britain, Germany and the Ottomans, Regan exposes British policy in the region as part of a larger geopolitical game.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDirectorate S : the C.I.A. and America’s secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan / Steve Coll.
“Resuming the narrative of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars, bestselling author Steve Coll tells for the first time the epic and enthralling story of America’s intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11. This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCase red : the collapse of France, 1940 / Robert Forczyk.
“The drama of the final three weeks of military operations in France in June 1940 has never effectively been captured on paper, but this is a story that needs to be told since it had great impact on the course of World War II and inter-Allied relations. This book will also address the initial German exploitation of France and how the windfall of captured military equipment, fuel and industrial resources enhanced the Third Reich’s ability to attack its next foe–the Soviet Union.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1947 : where now begins / Elisabeth Åsbrink ; translated from the Swedish by Fiona Graham.
“The year 1947 marks a turning point in the twentieth century. Peace with Germany becomes a tool to fortify the West against the threats of the Cold War. The CIA is created, Israel is about to be born, Simone de Beauvoir experiences the love of her life, an ill George Orwell is writing his last book, and Christian Dior creates the hyper-feminine New Look as women are forced out of jobs and back into the home. In the midst of it all, a ten-year-old Hungarian-Jewish boy resides in a refugee camp for children of parents murdered by the Nazis. This year he has to make the decision of a lifetime, one that will determine his own fate and that of his daughter yet to be born, Elisabeth.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dictionary of family history : the genealogists’ ABC / Jonathan Scott.
“Part encyclopedia, part dictionary, part almanac – Jonathan Scott’s Dictionary of Family History doesn’t claim to be exhaustive, but it is practical, easy to use, entertaining and genuinely informative. It is the kind of book you can dip into or use as a starting point for deeper study, and it is the essential companion for experienced family historians and for anyone who is approaching this fascinating subject for the first time. This concise, clear and wide-ranging compendium of helpful, sometimes surprising information is a valuable reference tool for everyone in the field.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAtlas of lost cities : a travel guide to abandoned and forsaken destinations / Aude de Tocqueville ; illustrations, Karin Doering-Froger.
“Like humans, cities are mortal. They are born, they thrive, and they eventually die. In Atlas of Lost Cities, Aude de Tocqueville tells the compelling narrative of the rise and fall of such notable places as Pompeii, Teotihuacán, and Angkor. Beautiful, original artwork shows the location of the lost cities and depicts how they looked when they thrived.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Battle of Adwa : African Victory in the Age of Empire
“In 1896, a well-disciplined and massive Ethiopian army did the unthinkable-it routed an invading Italian force and brought Italy’s war of conquest in Africa to an end. In an age of relentless European expansion, Ethiopia had successfully defended its independence and cast doubt on the assumption that all Africans would fall under the rule of Europeans.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA river in darkness : one man’s escape from North Korea / Masaji Ishikawa ; translated by Risa Kobayashi and Martin Brown.
“Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSS-Major Horst Kopkow : from the Gestapo to British intelligence / Stephen Tyas.
“On 27 May 1942, SS General Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated by British-trained Czech agents who had parachuted into Czechoslovakia. He died of his wounds on 4 June 1942. Two days later, Gestapo Captain Horst Kopkow’s department was given fresh directions. From 6 June 1942 until the end of the war, Kopkow was responsible for the fight against Soviet and British parachute agents dropped anywhere in German territories. By 1944 almost 150 British agents had been caught, deported, and almost all had been murdered without trial by December. Kopkow was directly involved in these murders. Arrested by British forces after the war, Kopkow was extensively interrogated, but for the next 20 years, Kopkow was a consultant for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Library love: New eAudiobook fiction

It’s not every day you get a love story set in a library, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in this month’s new eAudiobook fiction from Overdrive, with Charlie Lovett’s The Lost Book of the Grail. And if secret romance amongst the stacks isn’t your thing, we’ve got a range of other titles, from Katherine Heiny’s Standard Deviation to one of the latest Star Wars books, Battlefront II. Check out our eResources guide to get started!

Overdrive coverStandard Deviation, by Katherine Heiny
“Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She is charming, spontaneous and fun—but life with her can be exhausting. In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, re-enters Graham’s life. Graham starts to wonder: how can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverHomegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
“Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel—the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverThe Boy That Never Was, by Karen Perry
“Five years ago, three-year-old Dillon disappeared. For his father Harry – who left him alone for ten crucial minutes – it was an unforgivable lapse. Yet Dillon’s mother Robyn has never blamed her husband: her own secret guilt is burden enough. Now they’re trying to move on, returning home to Dublin to make a fresh start. But their lives are turned upside down the day Harry sees an eight-year-old boy in the crowd…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverHow to Survive a Summer, by Nick White
“Camp Levi, nestled in the Mississippi countryside, is designed to ‘cure’ young teenage boys of their budding homosexuality. Will Dillard, a midwestern graduate student, spent a summer at the camp as a teenager, and has since tried to erase the experience from his mind. But when a fellow student alerts him that a slasher movie based on the camp is being released, he is forced to confront his troubled history and possible culpability in the death of a fellow camper.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverBattlefront II, by Christie Golden
“After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. But not for long. In retaliation, the elite Imperial soldiers of Inferno Squad have been called in for the crucial mission of infiltrating and eliminating the Partisans—the rebel faction once led by notorious Republic freedom fighter Saw Gerrera.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverBroken River, by J. Robert Lennon
“An unusual and inventive psychological thriller about a Brooklyn family that moves to a house in upstate New York, in the wake of the husband’s affair. Twelve years before, there was a brutal double murder in the house, during which a young girl escaped; this event affects the houses new inhabitants in surprising ways.” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverWar, by Roald Dahl
“There’s a whole world of Dahl still to discover in a newly collected audiobook of his deliciously dark tales for adults . . . In war, are we at our heroic best or our cowardly worst? Featuring the autobiographical stories from Roald Dahl’s time as a fighter pilot in the Second World War as well as seven other tales of conflict and strife, Dahl reveals the human side of our most inhumane activity.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverGods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson
“When Arlene Fleet heads up north for college, she makes three promises to God: she will stop fornicating with every boy who crosses her path; never tell another lie; and never, ever go back to the “fourth rack of hell,” her hometown of Possett, Alabama. All she wants from Him is one little miracle: make sure the body is never found.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverBest Day Ever, by Kaira Rouda
“Paul Strom is the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever. But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. Is Paul the person he seems to be?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive coverThe Lost Book of the Grail, by Charlie Lovett
“Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library, nurturing his obsession with the Holy Grail. But when Bethany Davis arrives to digitize the library’s manuscripts, Arthur’s tranquility is broken. He sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit. Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, and when the future of the cathedral is threatened, their search takes on grave importance.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Mimi Pond and more: New graphic novels

There is a wonderful variation of theme in this month’s selection of new graphic novels. Included is The Customer is Always Wrong, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel from Mimi Pond, who will be in Wellington for the 2018 Writers & Readers. Also highly recommended is our own Brent Williams’s Out of the Woods: a journey through depression and anxiety.

Syndetics book coverAlone / Chabouté ; translation by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
“On a tiny lighthouse island far from the rest of the world, a lonely hermit lives out his existence. Every week a supply boat leaves provisions, its occupants never meeting him, never asking the obvious questions: Who are you? Why do you hide? Why do you never leave? What is it like to be so alone? Years spent on a deserted rock, a lifetime really; with imagination his sole companion has made the lighthouse keeper something more than alone, something else entirely. For him, what lies beyond the horizon might be nothing. And so, why not stay put? But one day, as a new boatman starts asking the questions all others have avoided, a chain of events unfolds that will irrevocably upend the hermit’s solitary life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe can opener’s daughter / Rob Davis.
“In the British Comic Award-winning The Motherless Oven , Scarper Lee asked: “Who the hell is Vera Pike?” In the second part of Rob Davis’ trilogy, we get a chance to find out. This is Vera’s story. Grave Acre is a cruel world of opportunity and control. Vera’s mother is the Weather Clock, the omnipotent and megalomaniacal Prime Minister of Chance. Her father is a can opener. Charting Vera’s unsettling childhood, the book takes us from her home in Parliament to suicide school and from the Bear Park to the black woods that lie beyond. In the present day, Vera and Castro Smith are determined to see their friend Scarper again, but is he still alive? And if so, can they save him? Can anyone outlive their deathday?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ladies-in-waiting / Santiago Garcia, Javier Olivares ; translation by Erica Mena.
“In 1656, Diego Velazquez, leading figure in the Spanish Golden Age of painting, created one of the most enigmatic works in the history of art: Las Meninas (The Ladies-in-Waiting). This graphic novel, written and drawn by two of Spain’s most sophisticated comics’ creators, examines its legacy as one of the first paintings to explore the relationship among the viewer, reality, and unreality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEducation / John Hankiewicz.
“A father and son go on a road trip to discover train station relics, a professor explains his intricate grading methods, and a pen-pal correspondence gets more suggestive and dangerous. These are all interconnected in John Hankiewicz’s Education through reveries, memories, and nostalgic abstraction to tell a story that only the medium of comics could do justice” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe magical twins / Alexandro Jodorowsky & Georges Bess ; Montana Kane, translator.
“When the King is taken prisoner by Tartarath, the ‘Dark Master’, twins Prince Aram and Princess Mara, set out to rescue their father and save the kingdom. But when the use of magic is forbidden, the twins have to find new ways to prove themselves worthy of restoring the throne.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Few / written by Sean Lewis ; art by Hayden Sherman.
“Hale is a US Palace Soldier who when witnessing a massacre while under cover, escapes through the forgotten American badlands with a gas mask wearing baby in tow. Now hunted by her country and the cult she was watching her life falls in the hands of two survivalist brothers. This edition collects issues 1 to 6.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReborn. Book one / Mark Millar, writer ; Greg Capullo, penciller ; Jonathan Glapion, inker.
“Where do you go when you die? Not heaven or hell; somewhere else, somewhere you have to fight to survive. Somewhere the people from the past are waiting for you, the good and the bad.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe customer is always wrong / by Mimi Pond.
“This is the saga of a young naive artist named Madge working in a restaurant of charming drunks, junkies, thieves, and creeps. Oakland in the late seventies is a cheap and quirky haven for eccentrics and the tales of the fascinating sleaze-ball characters that surround young Madge into her workaday waitressing life unfold. Outrageous and loving tributes and takedowns of her co-workers and satellites of the Imperial Cafe create a snapshot of a time in Madge’s life where she encounters who she is, and who she is not.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFog over Tolbiac Bridge / adapted by Jacques Tardi from the novel by Léo Malet ; [translated by Kim Thompson].
“Paris, 1950s. Nestor Burma’s past comes knocking when Belita, a young woman, leads him to the Salpetriere hospital, where he discovers the recently deceased Abel Benoit, an old buddy from his anarchist days. While Burma has chosen to move onto the (more or less) straight and narrow as a private eye, his friend had stayed on the other side of the law as a counterfeiter and worse, until his own past caught up with him lethally. So now it’s up to Malet to avenge his friend, and hopefully unravel a mystery whose roots run far and deep back into the past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOut of the woods : a journey through depression and anxiety / Brent Williams ; illustrator, Korkut Öztekin.
“Out of the Woods is a book to help people understand and overcome depression and anxiety. It is the author’s own story told entirely through 700 beautifully hand drawn watercolor illustrations. It is an immensely practical guide for sufferers, their loved ones, and professionals working in the area too. The book’s graphic memoir format blends a compelling personal story with the latest medical research, ideal for people who are in the depths of depression and struggling to read and take on board information. The book doesn’t pretend there is a quick way out of these illnesses and instead encourages people to make small steps to slowly build their own lasting recoveries. This is an inspiring story that will give vital information and hope to many people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Trendy embroidery to inspire you! New craft books

We hope you find inspiration and charming ideas in the latest craft books we have selected for you. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverEmbroidery : a maker’s guide / illustrations by Eleanor Crow ; project editing, Faye Robson.
Embroidery: A Maker’s Guide contains fifteen beautiful step- by- step projects for crafters at all levels. Each one takes its cue from a different tradition, including English goldwork, Indian beetle- wing embellishment, Japanese Kogin, and Irish whitework, as well as contemporary machine embroidery.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of felting & silk ribbon embroidery / Di van Niekerk ; with Toody Cassidy.
“Internationally renowned ribbon artist, Di van Niekerk, has brought the textile and embroidery worlds together to create a unique book that combines the two mediums, with fabulous results. Working in close association with felt specialist Toody Cassidy, and featuring art by felt designer Razaan Jakoet, this is a book to delight and inspire beginners keen to work with the striking fusion of felt and silk.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe embroidery stitch bible / Betty Barnden.
“A new and up-to-date edition of the immensely successful stitch bible, by bestselling needlework designer and author Betty Barnden.Trends in embroidery styles come and go, but the basic stitches and techniques remain the same. In this essential directory, hand sewers will have a collection of over 200 stitches at their fingertips – from basic chain worked into fabric through to Florentine work on a canvas. Each one is explained with written step-by-step instructions and how-to techniques to get you started, and are accompanied by clear artwork and a photo of the finished stitch.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJoyful daily stitching, seam by seam : complete guide to 500 embroidery-stitch combinations, perfect for crazy quilting / Valerie Bothell.
“Stitch a seam a day, This book will inspire you to stitch daily, even for a few minutes, Create a beautiful sampler, with a different treatment for each individual seam, Intricate and creative embroidery, silk ribbon, and beaded stitches.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaised embroidery : techniques, projects & pure inspiration / Kelley Aldridge.
“This practical, contemporary guide to the exciting and varied world of raised embroidery is written by Kelley Aldridge, an expert teacher with the Royal School of Needlework. Part of a new series showcasing the RSN’s traditional techniques, technical excellence and contemporary flair, it contains a complete grounding in raised embroidery stitches and techniques, three beautiful projects and galleries of inspiring work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSimply stitched with appliqué : embroidery motifs and projects with linen, cotton, and felt / Yumiko Higuchi ; [English] translation by Kyoko Matthews.
“Embroidery artist Yumiko Higuchi offers modern makers a fresh new spin on her beloved designs by combining embroidery stitches with hand appliqué. Learn how to use felt, cotton, and linen to create beautifully layered designs full of texture and contrast, then embellish with just a handful of basic embroidery stitches. With over 30 motifs inspired by nature, you’ll find designs for hydrangeas, sunflowers, lilacs, tulips, poppies, birds, bees, strawberries, and more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Ways of looking: Recent beliefs picks

2018’s first beliefs list includes discussions on the latest scientific research on wellbeing and spiritual activities, how NZ has been shaped by church, and a comparison on Buddhism and western psychotherapy.

Syndetics book coverEinstein and the rabbi : searching for the soul, by Naomi Levy.
The great Einstein once wrote to distressed rabbi Robert S. Marcus, a decorated battlefield chaplain in WWII, when his 11 year old son died. Rabbi Levy enters this intense human drama that draws on her own experience when she suddenly felt the spiritual presence of her murdered father beside her, guiding her. This is the story of an inspiring journey of discovery.

Syndetics book coverSeven ways of looking at religion : the major narratives, by Benjamin Schewel.
Schewel organizes and evaluates the main narratives of religious history which have been used by scholars and argues that debates can be viewed according to seven central themes: subtraction, renewal, transsecular, postnaturalist, construct, perennial, and developmental. Examining the basic logic, insights, and limitations of each of these narratives, Schewel offers an original philosophical perspective on religion today.

Syndetics book coverUncomfortable : the awkward and essential challenge of Christian community, by Brett McCracken.
The modern trend of Christians shopping around for a church to fit their needs is under McCracken’s microscope. “What if the biblical approach is actually that we should fit ourselves into the life and mission of the local church, adapting ourselves to the family and filling gaps where needed?” he writes. Each chapter tackles a different topic with suggestions about how to let go of personal preferences in light of Biblical teaching.

Syndetics book coverScience and spiritual practices, by Rupert Sheldrake.
Many recent studies have shown that religious and spiritual practices generally make people happier and healthier. Sheldrake summarizes the latest scientific research on what happens when we take part in these practices – Meditation – Gratitude – Connecting with nature – Relating to plants – Rituals – Singing and chanting – Pilgrimage and holy places. This is a book for anyone who has a sneaking suspicion that in the drive towards all-pervading secularism, something valuable has been left behind.

Syndetics book coverAdvice not given : a guide to getting over yourself, by Mark Epstein.
Epstein reveals how Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, two different traditions that developed in entirely different times, both identify the ego as the limiting factor in our well-being. Our ego claims to have our best interests at heart, but its consuming pursuit for attention, sabotage our true goals and cause suffering. When we release it, we are free.

Syndetics book coverThe rise and fall of Adam and Eve, Stephen Greenblatt.
Drawing on recent archaeological discoveries, Greenblatt compares the powerful Genesis narrative to the ancient Gilgamesh legend and recent discoveries Nag Hammadi, Egypt. He tracks the way they have acted as creative muses and catalysts over the centuries – a psalm of creation and a powerful dark allegory of accountability and pain at the same time. This story remains a signpost, not for an explanation of the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with primal challenges that continue to fascinate.

Syndetics book coverSunday best : how the church shaped New Zealand and New Zealand shaped the church, by Peter Lineham.
The inter-relationship of church and society has been complex from the early arrival of the missionaries. Historian Peter Lineham asks: If faiths aimed to influence the development of New Zealand society, how did NZ change those faiths? Who shaped whom?

Syndetics book coverJudgment detox : release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life, by Gabrielle Bernstein.
Motivational speaker Bernstein shares a 6 step process to release the judgmental beliefs that hold you back from living a better life. Pettiness disappears in the face of renewed priorities, freedom and compassion. But it does take commitment to healing.

Syndetics book coverWhat the Qurʼan meant and why it matters, by Garry Wills.
Pulitzer Prize-winning religious scholar Wills draws on his background as a devout Catholic and historian as he presents his unique understanding of what the Qur’an says, relying on commentaries rather than an in-depth knowledge of Arabic language or culture. He identified the social and political barriers that he and other American non-Muslims will have to address, before expounding on various aspects including Islamic prophets, caring for the community, Jihad, Sharia, and women and the veil. This is an encouragement to follow the author in reading further.

Otherworldly new sci-fi and fantasy

In this selection of new science fiction and fantasy novel there are several novels that continue series, which will please many readers. Stephen R. Donaldson begins a promising new series titled Great Gods War, with the first novel titled Seventh decimate. Highly recommended is Rivers Solomon’s amazing debut novel titled An unkindness of ghosts.

Syndetics book coverThe bronze skies / by Catherine Asaro.
“Major Bhaajan achieved the impossible. Born to the Undercity, the slums below the City of Cries on the planet Raylicon, she broke free from crushing poverty and crime to become a military officer with Imperial Space Command. Now retired from military duty, she walks the mean streets of Undercity as a private investigator. And she is about to embark on her most challenging case yet. Summoned by no less than the Ruby Pharaoh herself, Major Bhaajan is tasked with finding a killer. But this is no ordinary murderer. The Ruby Pharaoh witnessed a Jagernaut cut down Assembly Councilor Tap Benton, which shouldn’t have been possible. The Jagernauts are the elite of the elite soldiers in the Imperial Space Command. What’s more, the spinal node implanted in all Jagernauts should have prevented the murder. But the Ruby Pharaoh is sure of what she saw, and she has reason to believe that the Jagernaut will kill again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSurvival / Ben Bova.
“Book 4 of The Star Quest series. In Survival , a human team sent to scout a few hundred lightyears in front of the death wave encounters a civilization far in advance of our own, a civilization of machine intelligences. These sentient, intelligent machines have existed for eons, and have survived earlier “death waves,” gamma ray bursts from the core of the galaxy. They are totally self-sufficient, completely certain that the death wave cannot harm them, and utterly uninterested in helping to save other civilizations, organic or machine. But the humans have discovered them; they refuse to allow them to leave their planet, reasoning that other humans will inevitably follow if they learn of their existence.” (Adapted from Syndteics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmergence : a Foreigner novel / C.J. Cherryh.
“The nineteenth book in the Foreigner space opera series and the sequel to Convergence. Bren Cameron, acting as the representative of the atevi’s political leader, Tabini-aiji, as well as translator between humans and atevi, has undertaken a mission to the human enclave of Mospheira. Both his presence on the island and his absence from the continent have stirred old enemies to realize new opportunities. The space station on which the world increasingly relies is desperate to get more supplies up to orbit and to get a critical oversupply of human refugees down to the world below. Rationing is in force on the station, but the overpopulation problem has to be solved quickly and Bren’s mission on Mospheira has expanded to include preparation for that landing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeventh decimate / Stephen R. Donaldson.
“Fire. Wind, pestilence, earthquake, drought and lightning, these are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil. But a seventh Decimate exists, the most devastating one of all. For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides harnessing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power, and now the Bellegerins stand defenseless. Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to locate the book of the seventh Decimate and reverse the fate of his land.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBayou born / Hailey Edwards.
“Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious. However, there’s more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one, including Luce herself could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll those explosions were someone else’s fault / James Alan Gardner.
“Monsters are real, but so are heroes.Sparks are champions of weird science, boasting capes and costumes and amazing super-powers that only make sense if you don’t think about them too hard, they fight an eternal battle for truth and justice, mostly. Darklings are creatures of myth and magic: ghosts, vampires, were-beasts, and the like. Their very presence warps reality, doors creak at their approach and cobwebs gather where they linger. Kim Lam is an ordinary college student until a freak scientific accident transforms Kim and three housemates into Sparks and drafts them into the never-ending war between the Light and Dark. They struggle to master their new abilities and to design cool costumes and come up with great hero-names.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA war in crimson embers / Alex Marshall.
“The Crimson Empire trilogy concludes in this epic story of redemption. Zosia, the once-heroic warrior, now lives as an outcast, her former comrades-in-arms spread out around the world, and the world itself on the verge of destruction. But Zosia isn’t prepared to simply watch the world die. She has one last battle in her, but she can’t do it alone; she needs to rebuild her army and regain her sense of purpose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe castle in Cassiopeia / by Mike Resnick.
“Book 3 in the Dead Enders series. Pretorius and his Dead Enders kidnapped the real General Michkag and substituted a clone who had been raised and trained in the Democracy. They find that the clone likes being the most powerful man in the hundred-world Traanskei Coalititon and having been raised on Earth, he knows how humans think and react. This becomes a many-layered problem for Pretorius and what is left of his Dead Enders. As the only humans on a totally militarized alien world, they must first find where the best-guarded member of the enemy’s military, Michkag, is hiding and how many aliens, or regiments, or divisions, are guarding him, and then they must find a way past all his lines of defense to kill or capture him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlood and tempest / Jon Skovron.
“This the third book and conclusion in the Empire of Storms series. Still reeling from the events at Dawn’s Light, Hope struggles to understand what it means to be a warrior who has vowed to never again take up a sword. Red is enjoying his new role as imperial spy, perhaps a bit too much. But his loyalties will be tested when his employer, Lady Hempist, relents and assigns him the one task he’s been begging for all along: recruiting Hope and Brigga Lin to help rid the empire of biomancery once and for all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn unkindness of ghosts / Rivers Solomon.
“Eccentric Aster was born into slavery on, and is trying to escape from, -a brutally segregated spaceship that for generations has been trying to escort the last humans from a dying planet to a Promised Land. When she discovers clues about the circumstances of her mother’s death, she also comes closer to disturbing truths about the ship and its journey. Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSSMatilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot, -if she’s willing to sow the seeds of civil war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New year, old history: New history books

Image from Syndetics

Another year done and dusted, ready to have more history books written about it and featured in this series eventually! To start the year off, we’ve got modern China, the Goths, Hitler, the USSR, and last but not least, a re-examination of everyone’s favourite king, Richard III.

Syndetics book coverChasing the Chinese dream : stories from modern China / Nick Holdstock.
“China is undergoing the biggest and fastest societal and economic change in human history. Driving this dizzying transformation is the idea of the “Chinese Dream,” the promise that in the new China, anyone can make it. Chasing the Chinese Dream follows a cast of extraordinary characters: the people getting rich; running factories and buying luxury cars and Louis Vuitton bags. But it also provides insight into those left behind, trapped by a system defined by long hours and no prospects.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParadise in chains: the Bounty Mutiny and the founding of Australia / Diana Preston.
“The story of the mutiny of the Bounty and William Bligh and his men’s survival on the open ocean has become the stuff of legend. But few realize that Bligh’s escape was not the only open-boat journey in that era. Indeed, 9 convicts from the Australian penal colony, led by Mary Bryant, also traveled to the same port Bligh had reached only months before. Acclaimed historian Diana Preston provides the background and context to explain the thrilling open-boat voyages each party survived on their journey to safety.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Third Reich in 100 objects : a material history of Nazi Germany / Roger Moorhouse ; foreword by Richard Overy.
“This is a compelling, frequently shocking and revelatory guide to the Third Reich that has been collated and presented by two of the world’s leading World War II historians.The photographs gathered include Pervitin, Hitler’s Mercedes, Wehrmach toilet paper, Hitler’s grooming kit, the Nuremberg courtroom, the Tiger Tank, fragments of flak, the Iron Cross and, of course, the Swastika and Mein Kampf.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJack’s journey : a soldier’s experience of the First World War / Jack Pryce ; edited by Trish McCormack and Andrew Gibson.
“When Jack Pryce sailed to war in 1915 with the Otago Infantry Battalion he was restless, wanting to “make good” of his life. Experiencing the carnage of Gallipoli and Passchendaele and other epic battles on the Western Front, he rose through the ranks to gain his commission.” (Syndetics summary)


Syndetics book coverThe Goths / David M. Gwynn.
“In this engaging history, David M. Gwynn brings together the interwoven stories of the original Goths and the diverse Gothic heritage, a heritage that continues to shape our modern world. From the ancient migrations to contemporary Goth culture, through debates over democratic freedom and European nationalism, and drawing on writers from Shakespeare to Bram Stoker, Gwynn explores the ever-widening gulf between the Goths of history and the popular imagination.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed flag unfurled : history, historians, and the Russian Revolution / Ronald Grigor Suny.
“Reflecting on the fate of the Russian Revolution one hundred years after October, Ronald Grigor Suny explores the historiographical controversies over 1917, Stalinism, and the end of “Communism” and provides an assessment of the achievements, costs, losses and legacies of the choices made by Soviet leaders. Suny reevaluates the promises, missed opportunities, achievements, and colossal costs of trying to build a kind of “socialism” in the inhospitable environment of peasant Russia.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover Escaping Hitler : stories of courage and endurance on the freedom trails / Monty Halls.
“Some of the great untold stories of the Second World War concern the freedom trails, the highly dangerous escape routes out of Nazi Occupied Europe. Over 5,000 British, Commonwealth and American servicemen made the journey over the Pyrenees, the Slovenian mountains and the Italian alps. Mixing in depth research, interviews with survivors and his own experience of walking the trails, broadcaster and former Royal Marine Monty Halls brings the past to life in this dramatic and gripping slice of military history.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRichard III : brother, protector, king / Chris Skidmore.
“The last Plantagenet king remains one of England’s most famous and controversial monarchs. There are few parallels in English history that can match the drama of Richard III’s reign, witnessed in its full bloody intensity. By stripping back the legends that surround Richard’s life and reign, and returning to original manuscript evidence, Chris Skidmore rediscovers the man as contemporaries saw him. His compelling study presents every facet of Richard’s personality as it deserves to be seen: as one of the most significant figures in medieval history.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Cats, dogs, teabowls and other things that influence artists

Influence and inspiration, are fickle topics to understand even to the best of us, but perhaps none more so than the artistic community. The stories behind art and the artists who created them, what inspires artists and who they inspire in turn, are some of the greatest hidden stories of our time. So in our most recent picks we invite you to look closer at art, at muses, at what inspires, what what influences, and yes, at cats, dogs and Teabowls.

Syndetics book coverCats in art / Desmond Morris.
“The cat, that most graceful, stubborn, and agile of animals,has been a favorite subject of artists the world over from prehistory to the modern day.In his latest book, Desmond Morris tells the compelling story of cats in art. He explores feline art in its many forms, tracing its history from ancient rock paintings to the depiction of cats in cartoons. The result is a beautifully illustrated book that will delight anyone with a Kitty, Max, or Tigger in their life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dog a day / Sally Muir.
“It all began with a Facebook post in 2013: ‘My name is Sally Muir and this is a new gallery where I will add a dog drawing/painting every day, adding up to a massive 365 day dogfest.’ As the page grew in popularity, so did Sally’s dog portraits, leading to commissions, exhibitions at prominent galleries, and events. Drawing on artworks from the site, A Dog A Day is a lovingly curated collection and celebration of dogs, perfect for all dog lovers.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe teabowl : East & West / Bonnie Kemske.
“Revered for its associations of its past and its connotations of sophistication and simplicity, the teabowl enjoys an elevated status. Here Bonnie Kemske looks at the form as a whole, considering the history and ideas behind the original tea ceremony, how it moved into contemporary ceramics, and the way it is used today. This book is wide in scope, thorough in detail, and essential reading for anyone involved in making or using these tactile objects.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside the Freud Museums : history, memory and site-responsive art / Joanne Morra. “Sigmund Freud spent the final year of his life in London, surrounded by all his possessions, in exile from the Nazis. The long-term home and workspace he left behind in Vienna became a seemingly empty space. Now museums, both of these spaces resonate powerfully. Taking us on a journey through the ‘site-responsive’ artworks, Joanne Morra offers a fresh experience of the history and practice of psychoanalysis, of museums and contemporary art.” (AdaptedSyndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long dream of waking : new perspectives on Len Lye / edited by Paul Brobbel, Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks. “Recognized internationally as one of the twentieth century’s great modernist innovators, New Zealand artist Len Lye is most famous for his avant-garde experimental films and for his astonishing and playful kinetic sculptures.  In this collection of essays, writers from New Zealand and overseas consider Lye’s assured place in modern art from a variety of fascinating and thought-provoking angles. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Lent : a painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter / Sister Wendy Beckett. This delightful book describes and interprets a series of paintings for each day of Lent. Artists often address subjects that our culture seeks to avoid, and Sister Wendy’s brilliant and perceptive reflections will help you to read these paintings with a more discerning eye and encounter deeper levels of spiritual meaning than may at first appear. (Amazon Summary)

Syndetics book coverGordon Walters : new vision / commissioning editor, Zara Stanhope ; curators, Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite ; managing editor, Clare McIntosh.
“One of New Zealand’s most influential artists, in a practice spanning 50 years, he explored the seemingly infinite potential of a limited set of geometric forms to create art of increasing refinement. Here we see the first complete picture of the artist’s extensive body of work, offering readers new perspectives on the evolution of Walters’ rigorous abstraction.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverModern art in detail : 75 masterpieces / Susie Hodge.
“Great works of art cannot be fully understood in a single encounter. Modern Art in Detail: 75 Masterpieces spotlights the finer points that even connoisseurs may miss. From the late 19th century to the modern day, it treats each piece on its own merits, but it also views each as part of a tradition, which sees artists pass a baton down through the ages. Moreover, it charts the shift from the supremacy of artistic technique to the dominance of the idea or concept behind the object created.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)