Feast your eyes on these! Graphic novels new to your library shelves

The talent and variety in this cache of new graphic novels is gratifying and inspiring. These creators have been galvanised by celebrities alive and not so alive, translating their ideas into captivating visual stories.


Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry ghosts / Bourdain, Anthony 
On a dark, haunted night, a Russian Oligarch dares a circle of international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 Candles–where each storyteller tells a terrifying tale of ghosts, demons and unspeakable beings–and prays to survive the challenge. Inspired by the Japanese Edo period game of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, Hungry Ghosts reimagines the classic stories of yokai, yorei, and obake, all tainted with the common thread of food.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Stairway. Volume one / Hawkins, Matt
“In 2012 geneticists discovered how to write information on DNA, record data like on a computer hard drive. What if what we used to call junk DNA had information left from millions of years ago? A post-graduate student discovers how to unlock this information and parts of bio-schematics and data are found in certain people.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dull Margaret / Broadbent, Jim
“Inspired by Dulle Griet (aka Mad Meg), Pieter Bruegel’s 16th-century painting of a ‘strong, intense woman striding determinedly across a violent landscape’, Dull Margaret is the first graphic novel by Academy Award winning actor Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and artist Dix (best known for his comics in the Guardian).” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mirenda. Vol. 1 / Wilkins, Grim
“A jungle woman gets a mysterious demon trapped in her leg and must go on an extraordinary adventure. Artist/writer GrimWilkins plays with the possibilities of comic storytelling, letting the visuals carry the weight. Originally appearing in Island magazine, Mirenda picks up the gauntlet left by the works of Moebius and Frazetta and runs with it. Collects chapters 1 through 5.” (Catalogue)

The provocative Colette / Goetzinger, Annie
“From her marriage at the age of 20, until her divorce, this snapshot of Colette’s life focuses on her formative years. Incredibly complex, powerfully determined, truly gifted, Colette challenged herself to reinvent her life and assert herself as a free woman. She helped to free women in their thinking and became member and then president of France’s prestigious Academie Goncourt, among many other honors as one of France’s preeminent authors. For mature readers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The realm. Volume 2 / Haun, Jeremy
“Fifteen years ago, our world was overrun by creatures of myth; orcs, dragons, and other nameless horrors threw the entire planet into total chaos. Today, the shattered remnants of civilization must fight just to survive in a deadly new era of violence and mayhem. While a powerful sorcerer marshals his forces, a group of warriors embark on a journey to reclaim our world from growing darkness.” (Back cover)

Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 : Hammerhead / Diggle, Andy
“Bond is assigned to hunt down and eliminate Kraken, a radical anti-capitalist who has targeted Britain’s newly-upgraded nuclear arsenal. But all is not as it seems. Hidden forces are plotting to rebuild the faded glory of the once-mighty British Empire, and retake by force what was consigned to history. 007 is a cog in their deadly machine – but is he an agent of change, or an agent of the status quo? Loyalties will be broken, allegiances challenged. But in an ever-changing world, there’s one man you can rely on: Bond. James Bond.” (Catalogue)

Hedy Lamarr : an incredible life / Roy, William
“From a childhood filled with curiosity and ambition despite the stereotypes imposed on her, to an abusive marriage that she ingeniously escaped from, to finding her way to stardom in the City of Angels in the face of rampant sexism and harassment, Hedy Lamarr would not only become a glamorous star of the Golden Age of Hollywood, alongside icons like Judy Garland and Clark Gable, but also an unparalleled inventor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Beatles : yellow submarine / Morrison, Bill
“The Beatles are recruited by the Captain of the Yellow Submarine to help him free Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the world of Pepperland from the music-hating Blue Meanies. The music-loving, underwater paradise of Pepperland has been overrun by the music-hating Blue Meanies and their leader, Chief Blue Meanie. Pepperland’s mayor sends aging sailor, Young Fred out in the fabled Yellow Submarine to find help.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Looking after Earth: New books on sustainability and the environment

Save, Make, Do book cover

Introducing Flint & Steel, published by Maxim Institute. Maxim Institute is an independent research and public policy think tank, working to promote the dignity of every person in New Zealand. These two volumes below are on sustainability, and on community.

On cultivating community.

On sustainability and what we leave behind.

See what else has recently been added to the sustainability and the environment bookshelves!

Gardening with biochar: supercharge your soil with bioactivated charcoal / Cox, Jeff
“Bio-activated charcoal — called biochar — is the new darling of organic gardeners, embraced for its outstanding abilities to enrich the soil and improve plant growth. Gardening with Biochar is the first comprehensive guide to understanding, making, and using it effectively in the home garden. In this highly accessible handbook, long-time garden writer Jeff Cox explains what biochar is and provides detailed instructions for how it can be made from wood or other kinds of plant material, along with specific guidelines for using it to enrich soil, prevent erosion, and enhance plant growth.” (Catalogue)

Green architecture / Jodidio, Philip
“The most exciting new buildings in the world are now almost all environmentally aware, sustainable, and conceived to consume far less energy than ever before. That architecture is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases in the world makes this new trend all the more significant. This book brings the best examples of green projects from the Architecture Now! series together with numerous new, never-seen-before projects. Text in English, French, and German.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Do-it-yourself projects to get you off the grid: rain barrels, chicken coops, solar panels, and more
“Instructables is back with this inspiring book focused on a series of projects designed to get you thinking creatively about going green. Twenty Instructable illustrates just how simple it can be to make your own backyard chicken coop, or turn a wine barrel into a rainwater collector. With dozen of full-colour photographs per project accompanying easy-to-follow instructions, this Instructables collection utilizes the best that the online community has to offer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No-waste kitchen gardening: regrow your leftover greens, stalks, seeds, and more / Elzer-Peters, Katie
“The expert advice in No-Waste Kitchen Gardening gives you all the instruction and tricks you’ll need to grow and re-propagate produce from food waste. You’ll be astonished at how much food waste you can re-grow. Two-part photo instructions show first what the root, chunk seed, or leaf should look like when you re-plant it, and second, when to harvest or re-plant it in soil to continue growing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ecovillages around the world
“A beautiful, full-colour book showcasing 20 best practice designs from ecovillages around the world. Highlights the unique features of each project and their solutions to the global social and environmental challenges that confront us.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Essential rainwater harvesting: a guide to home-scale system design / Avis, Rob
“Water is a crucial resource increasingly under stress. Yet rainfall, even in arid climates, can make up a sizable portion of any home, acreage, or farm’s water requirements if harvested and utilized with care. The key is appropriate planning and high-quality site- and climate-specific design. Essential Rainwater Harvesting is a comprehensive manual for designing, building, and maintaining water harvesting systems for the warm and cold climates of the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Climate justice: hope, resilience, and the fight for a sustainable future / Robinson, Mary
“Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people–people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pig: tales from an organic farm / Browning, Helen
“In a frosty field on the longest night of the year, eight little piglets snuffle their first breaths and jostle close to their mother to feed. Over the six months that follow, lifelong farmer Helen Browning and her partner Tim Finney record their adventures to show how pigs become the mischievous, competitive, intelligent and inventive animals that we know them to be. In doing so, they demonstrate why it is so crucial that the welfare of our farm animals – and equally, the way we manage our countryside – takes centre stage in the contemporary discussions around food, climate change and the loss of wildlife.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Repurposed: New Zealand homes using upcycled materials and spaces / Foster, Cate
“The book features 20 homes located throughout the country that feature a variety of clever solutions and design styles. There is everything from repurposed container homes to army barracks, farm utility buildings, churches and urban spaces finished with upcycled and repurposed furnishings.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Save make do: slash your grocery bill by living sustainably / Webster, Lyn
“If you want to get ahead in life, both financially and sustainably, budgeting guru Lyn Webster can help. In Save Make Do, you will learn- – how to shop smarter- what to grow in your garden- the magic of baking soda and vinegar- 30 handy recipes (meals, treats and snacks; cleaning products and cosmetics)- clever ways to save, save, save With a Save Make Do attitude, you’ll soon be on the road to financial freedom – by making simple, healthy and sustainable choices. Make a little go a LOT further. Previously published as Pig Tits & Parsley Sauce” (Catalogue)

The best you: New self-help books

Mastering Adulthood book cover

2019 has seen an abundance of new self-help books come through the door. So many great inspirational reads here to choose from to help you stay on track with those ‘levelling up’ goals for the year. Enjoy!

Best self: be you, only better / Bayer, Mike
“Life coach Mike Bayer has helped all kinds of clients, from pop artists to athletes to top level business executives to families in refugee camps, to ordinary people like you and me. His unparalleled passion for helping people, and a desire to make mental health care as mainstream as going to the gym is what brought him to the attention of Dr. Phil. With this book, Coach Mike’s simple yet powerful tools are ready for the mainstream, so that everyone can live the authentic life they truly desire and deserve.” (Catalogue)

Happy ever after: escaping the myth of the perfect life / Dolan, Paul
“Be ambitious; find everlasting love; look after your health–there are countless stories about how we ought to live our lives. These narratives can make our lives easier, and they might sometimes make us happier too. But they can also trap us and those around us. Here, happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a wealth of evidence to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness and shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting happiness.” (Catalogue)

Lead yourself to success: ordinary people achieving extraordinary results through self-leadership / Chambers, Alan
“This book shows you how to develop the leadership mindset to get wherever you want to go in life, trust your own judgement and come out on top of the world. Uncover your inner leadership potential. Find the adventure in everyday life. Alan helps thousands of people every year unlock the door to higher performance. Every single one of those people was a leader waiting to happen, even if they didn’t know it – but once they truly realised where their potential could take them, they became unstoppable.” (Catalogue)

Kidding: childlike solutions to bullsh*t adult problems / Williams, Laura
“Consider this your permission slip to relax, laugh, and finally find happiness. At once hilarious, irreverent, and downright inspiring, Kidding shows you how to connect with your inner child to make your mundane, complicated adult life much simpler (and happier). It’s a book about using your imagination and creativity to find joy, and about being happier by being who you are-which is to say, by being a big kid at heart. Kids do whatever the f*ck they want, precisely because they want to. To put it simply, kids have the answers, man.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mastering adulthood: go beyond adulting to become an emotional grown-up / Fielding, Lara E.
“Whoever said being a grownup was easy? For millennials up to the challenge, Mastering Adulthood offers smart and entertaining strategies for dealing with difficult emotions while facing the new realities of adulthood–such as graduating from college, starting a career, gaining financial independence, and creating meaningful relationships. More than just “adulting”–this book gives readers the emotional skills they need to thrive!” (Catalogue)

Already brilliant: play to your strengths in work and life / Bridge, Rachel
“Packed with practical tips, ideas and interviews with successful people in all walks of life, and supported by academic research, Already Brilliant will show you how to find a way of working that suits you best, how to begin developing good habits and how to overcome any obstacles standing in your way. And even better, how to turn those obstacles into advantages that will help rather than hinder you. You don’t have to live with the choices you have made. With this book, you can start afresh and make the changes you need to get to where you want to be. It’s time to get going.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Accept, value and empower yourself: a practical guide to building self-esteem / Bonham-Carter, David
“A practical guide to help you believe in yourself and feel better. A Practical Guide to Building Self-Esteem brings you easy-to-follow techniques for improving your self-image, so you can achieve a realistic and positive view of yourself and live a happier and more successful life. A positive self-image can help you to improve your relationships and focus on what matters to you, whether that’s dealing with feelings of inadequacy, exploring your creativity, or improving physical fitness.” (Catalogue)

Brief answers to the big questions

Brief Answers book cover

The popular science section is always fun to peruse — it’s interesting to see what topics are being thought about and considered, and whose legacy is being remembered and promoted.

Below we’ve included just a few of our picks of the new popular science books over the last few months. Our absolute favourite is a collection of answers to questions Stephen Hawking was asked across his long career as a public figure and popular science communicator — Brief answers to the big questions, but there’s lots more on a range of topics, including books on the history of the periodic table, the development of thinking about the atom, and how ancient DNA has changed our understanding of human history. Enjoy!

Brief answers to the big questions / Hawking, Stephen
“Professor Hawking was a brilliant theoretical physicist, an influential author and thinker, and a great popular communicator. Throughout his career he was asked questions by business leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs, academics and the general public on a broad range of subjects, from the origins of the universe to the future of the planet. Brief answers to the big questions brings together his thinking on the most timeless and the most-timely questions in science” (Catalogue)

Who we are and how we got here : ancient DNA and the new science of the human past / Reich, David
“David Reich describes how the revolution in the ability to sequence ancient DNA has changed our understanding of the deep human past. This book tells the emerging story of our often surprising ancestry – the extraordinary ancient migrations and mixtures of populations that have made us who we are. A groundbreaking book about how ancient DNA has profoundly changed our understanding of human history. Geneticists like David Reich have made astounding advances in the field of genomics, which is proving to be as important as archeology, linguistics, and written records as a means to understand our ancestry” (Catalogue)

Caves : exploring New Zealand’s subterranean wilderness / Thomas, Marcus
“New Zealanders as a collective share a deep connection with the outdoors. Our rivers, forests, and mountains are part of our national identity but our caves are less well-known and often misunderstood. Though nearly every corner of the country has been explored and mapped, exploration beneath our land is still in its infancy. This book takes readers on a journey into New Zealand’s longest and deepest caves. In Caves: Exploring New Zealand’s Subterranean Wilderness, Marcus and Neil share their passion for caving with well-researched narrative and dramatic photos – it’s as close as you’ll get to real caving without getting your socks wet” (Catalogue)

The book of why : the new science of cause and effect / Pearl, Judea
“Correlation does not imply causation.’ This mantra was invoked by scientists for decades in order to avoid taking positions as to whether one thing caused another, such as smoking and cancer and carbon dioxide and global warming. But today, that taboo is dead. The causal revolution, sparked by world-renowned computer scientist Judea Pearl and his colleagues, has cut through a century of confusion and placed cause and effect on a firm scientific basis. Now, Pearl and science journalist Dana Mackenzie explain causal thinking to general readers for the first time, showing how it allows us to explore the world that is and the worlds that could have been” (Catalogue)

Cracking the elements / Mileham, Rebecca
“Get back to basics with Cracking the Elements, and learn all about the building blocks of life as we know it. From the earliest-known elements to those named in 2016, this book takes a comprehensive look at the development of the periodic table – and reveals untold stories, unsung pioneers and plenty of fascinating science along the way. “(Catalogue)

Atom : the building block of everything / Challoner, Jack
“Until now, popular science has relegated the atom to a supporting role in defining the different chemical elements of the periodic table. This bold new title places its subject center stage, shining the spotlight directly onto the structure and properties of this tiniest amount of anything it is possible to identify. The book covers a huge range of topics, including the development of scientific thinking about the atom” (Catalogue)

Spotlight on new Classical music CDs

Maria Callas CD cover

We have recently received new compilations of works from two French greats: Hector Berlioz and Claude Debussy. To accompany these, we found a selection of digitally remastered recordings of the great Maria Callas. We hope you enjoy them!

Les Trois Sonates: The Late Works, Debussy. Various performers.
“A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many Harmonia Mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music. In the three chamber sonatas, here combined with the composer’s final pieces for solo piano, we attain the purity, the absolute concision, the distant and mysterious world that give these works a testamentary dimension.” (Cover)

Harold en Italie, Les Nuits d’été, Hector Berlioz. Performed by Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth.
“A new aesthetic calls for new forms: such is the challenge the composer set for himself in the two works presented here. In Les Nuits d’été Berlioz pioneered, well before Mahler and Ravel, a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In Harold in Italy, scored for large orchestra and solo viola, he experimented with the symphonic genre. These period-instrument performances by Les Siècles, led by François-Xavier Roth, with violist Tabea Zimmermann, also feature Stéphane Degout in the vocal cycle, heard here in the composer’s own version for baritone. File under: out of the ordinary.” (Cover)

The New Sound of Maria Callas.
“Unforgettable arias sung by the most iconic diva of all time – for the first time remastered in high-definition sound from the original tapes, for an unprecedented sound quality that shines new light on the voice of Maria Callas.” (Cover)

Simple quilting & stitching – New Craft books at your library!

Discover how to make the quilting process simple and enjoyable! Visit the world of embroidery and find useful ideas and tips how to make your projects come together!

Garden stitch life : 50 embroidery motifs & projects to grow your inspiration / Aoki, Kazuko
“In Garden Stitch Life, embroidery artist Kazuko Aoki invites you into her enchanting world of garden-themed embroidery. You’ll get a glimpse into her creative process, from sketching and selecting thread colors to stitching tips and techniques, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at her atelier, garden, and other inspiring locales. In addition to dozens of botanical motifs, you’ll also find designs based on the author’s favorite things in life: food, travel, and design. Projects include samplers, collages, patches, bags, table linens, and more!”-(Cover).

Mary Thomas’s dictionary of embroidery stitches : the classic guide / Eaton, Jan
”First published in 1934, this indispensable handbook has long been a well-loved favourite of novice and experienced embroiderers alike. This new, redesigned edition includes the internationally-renowned embroiderer Jan Eaton’s revisions to the original text, and a preface by famed embroiderer Mary Corbet.” – (Publisher’s description).

Modern memory quilts : a handbook for capturing meaningful moments : 12 projects + the stories that inspired them / Paquette, Suzanne
“Create modern heirloom quilts! 12 exciting designs for memory keeping, with the stories that inspired them. Learn tips for sewing with clothing to preserve the past and celebrate the future. Make gifts for children, honour a lost loved one, and celebrate your family’s legacy.”–Back cover.

The Kansas City star quilts sampler : 60+ blocks from 1928 to 1961
“Explore the archives of the Kansas City Star newspaper’s quilt-block patterns with the best designs from 1928- Meet the women who brought quilting to the newspaper, as profiled by best-selling author and quilt historian Barbara Brackman.1961”–Back cover.

Simple quilts for the modern home / Soebbing, Stephanie
Bright, fun, and simple-to-stitch quilts for beginning sewers–and everyone who loves modern style. Twelve projects range from lap to king-sized quilts.” “–Back cover.

Austin A40, Teslas and more: New Cars and Transport books

From old cars to the super technological Tesla and various expeditions through space. We have them all for this month’s new books.

Missions to the moon : the story of man’s greatest adventure brought to life with augmented reality / Rod Pyle ; foreword by Gene Kranz.
“With dozens of stunning photographs and fascinating memorabilia track the birth of the space race and Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight, to the many successes and failures of the Apollo mission, all the way to that boots-on-the-ground moment we have come to know so well.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

We had one of those too! / Barnett, Stephen
We Had One of Those Too! celebrates even more motoring memories from New Zealand’s golden age of motoring. Filled with a beautifully illustrated collection of cars, from the 1950s through to the 1970s, that Kiwis loved and drove during that period, this book is literally a nostalgic drive down memory lane.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Electric motorcycles and bicycles : a history including scooters, tricycles, segways and monocycles / Desmond, Kevin
“Since 1881, isolated prototypes of electric tricycles and bicycles were patented and sometimes tested. Limited editions followed in the wartime 1940s, but it was not until the lithium-ion battery became available in the first decade of this century that urban pedelecs and more powerful open-road motorcycles became possible and increasingly popular. The author covers the lives of the innovative engineers who have developed these e-wheelers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Interplanetary robots : true stories of space exploration / Pyle, Rod
“Exploring the planets has been a goal of America’s space program since the dawn of the space race. This insider’s perspective examines incredible missions of robotic spacecraft to every corner of our solar system and beyond. Award-winning science writer Rod Pyle profiles both the remarkable spacecraft and the amazing scientists and engineers who made them possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Kaikoura job : rebuilding KiwiRail’s main north line / Merrifield, A. L. R.
“The sea-level mountain railway has a long story of dramatic moments and events. The men who completed it in the 1930s and 1940s always referred to it as ‘The Kaikoura Job’. This is the story of the scenic coastal line, from its early beginnings through to the reconstruction efforts following the devastating 2016 earthquake.” (Catalogue)

Insane mode : how Elon Musk’s Tesla sparked an electric revolution to end the age of oil / McKenzie, Hamish
“Tesla is a car company that stood up against not only the might of the government-backed Detroit car manufacturers, but also the massive power of Big Oil and its benefactors, the infamous Koch brothers. The award-winning Tesla Model 3, a premium mass-market electric car that went on sale in 2018, has reconfigured the popular perception of Tesla and continues to transform the public’s relationship with motor vehicles.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Don’t make me pull over! : an informal history of the family road trip / Ratay, Richard
“In the days before cheap air travel, families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them–from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Penguin book of outer space exploration : NASA and the incredible story of human spaceflight
“From Sputnik to SpaceX, the story of that journey is told as never before in The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration. Renowned space historian John Logsdon traces the greatest moments in human spaceflight by weaving together essential, fascinating documents from NASA’s history with his expert narrative guidance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverWally Funk’s race for space : the extraordinary story of a female aviation pioneer / Sue Nelson.
“In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the ‘Women in Space’ programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, her scores beating many of the male candidates’, including those of John Glenn, the first American in orbit. But just one week before she was due to enter the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Driven : the men who made Formula One / Eason, Kevin
“This colourful and compelling account of the extraordinary flourishing of Formula One explores the quirks and extravagances of the men who converged – in one generation – to shape their sport; disparate characters with a common impulse: they were racers – and they were driven.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Recent DVDs from December & January

The Breaker Upperers DVD cover

December and January saw the addition of all these great DVDs including the 2nd season of the hugely popular The Crown; book adaptations with Crazy Rich Asians, Ladies In Black & On Chesil Beach; as well as an acclaimed documentary, cold case crime, some Sci-Fi adventure & a classic NZ comedy.

McQueen.
“A personal look at the extraordinary life, career, and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, it is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.” (Catalogue)

Ant-Man and the Wasp.
“Set after the events of Captain America: civil war, Ant-Man and the Wasp functions as an origin story. Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, sends Scott Lang on a mission to run down information about Pym’s earliest exploits. Most importantly, Pym wants to know whether his original superhero partner, The Wasp, is still alive. At the same time, Lang, the current Ant-Man, has to make the life balance between being a superhero and a dad work.” (Catalogue)

Unforgotten. Series 2
“When the remnants of a body are found hidden in a river, DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan are faced with an impossible investigation. There are four suspects – they are the pieces of the jigsaw Cassie and Sunny must solve. But the harder they try to put this picture together, the more blurred it becomes. It’s a case that will test their relationship in unexpected ways, and question their assumptions about the most damaged and destructive in society. When a victim becomes a criminal, is punishment the same as justice?” (Catalogue)

The Crown. The complete second season.
“As a new era begins, Queen Elizabeth struggles to navigate her while preserving both the monarchy and her marriage. Beginning with soldiers in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces fighting an illegal war in Egypt, and ending with the downfall of her third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan after a devastating scandal, the second season bears witness to the end of the age of deference, and ushers in the revolutionary era of the 1960s. This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.” (Catalogue)

Book Club.
“Four friends’ lives are turned upside down to hilarious ends when their book club tackles the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they inspire each other to make their next chapter the best chapter.” (Catalogue)

Crazy Rich Asians.
“A native New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors.” (Catalogue)

Christopher Robin.
“The young boy, who loved taking adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with a gang of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into that world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.” (Catalogue)

Ladies in Black.
“Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, Lisa, aged sixteen, takes a holiday job at the prestigious Sydney department store, Goodes. There she meets the “ladies in black,” when she is assigned to assist sales ladies Patty and Fay. Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion boutique Model Gowns, Lisa is awakened to a world of possibilities. As she grows from a bookish schoolgirl into a glamorous and positive young woman, the impact they have on each other will change all their lives.” (Catalogue)

The Breaker Upperers.
“Fifteen years ago, Mel and Jen discovered they were being two-timed by the same man. Bitter and cynical they became fast friends and formed’ The Breaker Upperers’, a small-time business breaking up couples for cash. Now they’re in their late-thirties and business is booming.” (Catalogue)

On Chesil Beach.
“It is summer 1962, when we first encounter Florence and Edward, a young couple in their early twenties, on their wedding day. Now on their honeymoon, they are dining in their room at a stuffy, sedate hotel near Chesil beach in Dorset. From a series of flashbacks, we learn about the differences between them–their attitudes, temperaments and their drastically different backgrounds. Out on the beach on their fateful wedding day, one of them makes a major decision that will utterly change both of their lives forever.” (Catalogue)

Star Trek Discovery. Season one.
“An odyssey that unfolds a decade before the era of Star Trek: The Original Series. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green – The Walking Dead), formerly one of Starfleet’s most respected first officers – and now its first mutineer. A human raised as a Vulcan, Burnham learned early that “all life is born from chaos”. Her defiance of a direct order resulted in an all-out war with the Klingon Empire and she was sentenced to life in prison – until Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs – Harry Potter) recruits her aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. Joining her on this dramatic, epic journey are First Officer Saru (Doug Jones – The Shape of Water), Chief of Security Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif – Penny Dreadful), Chief Engineer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp – Rent) and Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman – Longmire). Together, their powers of logic, science and compassion will meld on their quest for victory, survival and ultimately, peace in the universe.” (Catalogue)

Mandy.
“Red, a lumberjack living in the depths of the woods, has sequestered himself and his doting girlfriend, Mandy, from the world. Though Mandy is a gentle woman who spends most of her time immersed in a book, she finds herself in a life-threatening situation after being kidnapped by an ill-intentioned cult leader. When stripped from her home by a group of malicious cult members, Red sets out to avenge Mandy’s abrupt and inexplicable disappearance.” (Catalogue)

A Simple Favour.
“A mommy vlogger seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s sudden disappearance from their small town.” (Catalogue)

Raids and Revolutions – History Picks for February

A Rope in the Sky book cover

This month’s history picks feature only ONE book about the United States, to make up for last month. We’re going everywhere else, to Chinese and Cuban revolutions in Making China Modern and Cuba Libre!, Viking-era England in Dragon Lords: The History and Legends of Viking England, South Sudan in A Rope From The Sky, and finally we have Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present.

Syndetics book coverChicago : From Vision to Metropolis
“Chicago has been called the “most American of cities” and the “great American city.” Not the biggest or the most powerful, nor the richest, prettiest, or best, but the most American. How did it become that? And what does it even mean? At its heart, Chicago is America’s great hub. Chicago magazine editor Whet Moser draws on Chicago’s social, urban, cultural, and often scandalous history to reveal how the city of stinky onions grew into the great American metropolis it is today. An affectionate, beautifully illustrated urban portrait, his book takes us from the very beginnings of Chicago as an idea to the global city it has become.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaking China modern : from the Great Qing to Xi Jinping / Klaus Muhlhahn.
“A panoramic survey of China’s rise and resilience through war and rebellion, disease and famine, that rewrites China’s history for a new generation. It is tempting to attribute China’s recent ascendance to changes in political leadership and economic policy. Making China Modern teaches otherwise. Moving beyond the standard framework of Cold War competition and national resurgence, Klaus Mühlhahn situates twenty-first-century China in the nation’s long history of creative adaptation.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCuba libre! : Che, Fidel, and the improbable revolution that changed world history / Tony Perrottet.
“In this wildly entertaining and meticulously researched account, Tony Perrottet unravels the human drama behind history’s most improbable revolution: a scruffy handful of self-taught revolutionaries – many of them kids just out of college, literature majors, art students and young lawyers, and including a number of women – defeated 40,000 professional soldiers to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Cuba Libre is an entertaining look back at a liberation movement that captured the imagination of the world with its spectacular drama – and that set the stage for a build-up of Cold War tension that became a pivotal moment in history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDragon Lords : The History and Legends of Viking England
“Why did the Vikings sail to England? Were they indiscriminate raiders, motivated solely by bloodlust and plunder? One narrative, the stereotypical one, might have it so. But locked away in the buried history of the British Isles are other, far richer and more nuanced, stories; and these hidden tales paint a picture very different from the ferocious pillagers of popular repute. Eleanor Parker here unlocks secrets that point to more complex motivations within the marauding army that in the late ninth century voyaged to the shores of eastern England in its sleek, dragon-prowed longships.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfghanistan : A History from 1260 to the Present
“Located at the intersection of Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has been strategically important for thousands of years. Its ancient routes and strategic position between India, Inner Asia, China, Persia, and beyond has meant the region has been subject to frequent invasions, both peaceful and military. In this magisterial illustrated history, Jonathan L. Lee tells the story of how a small tribal confederacy in a politically and culturally significant but volatile region became a modern nation state.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCode Name: Lise : the true story of World War II’s most highly decorated woman / Larry Loftis.
“The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill. In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love – of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. ” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Rope from the Sky : The Making and Unmaking of the World’s Newest State
“South Sudan’s historic independence was celebrated around the world–a triumph for global justice and an end to one of the world’s most devastating wars. But the party would not last long; South Sudan’s freedom fighters soon plunged their new nation into chaos, shattering the promise of liberation and exposing the hubris of their foreign backers. Chronicling extraordinary stories of hope, identity, and survival, A Rope from the Sky journeys inside an epic tale of paradise won and then lost.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpitfire: Pilots’ Stories
“The Spitfire was perhaps the most successful fighter design of all time. It remained at the forefront of its genre from the biplane era until well into the jet age, a period including the Second World War, which saw a faster rate of technological advance than in any comparable period in history. Yet the Spitfire was more than just a superb flying machine. During the war it carved a unique place in the psyche of the British people, and many believe it played a major part in saving the nation from defeat during the grim days of 1940.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

All your D.I.Y needs: Recent Home and Garden picks

This month’s blog features innovative and cost-effective DIY ideas for kids furniture, pallet bookshelves, fancy interior, pebble gardens and much more!

Big impact landscaping : 28 DIY projects you can do on a budget to beautify and add value to your home / Bendrick, Sara
“If you’ve ever looked at the weed-filled expanse that passes for your backyard and wondered why your family never uses it, then this book is for you. Sara Bendrick… addresses the most common homeowner requests for affordable ways to bring privacy, shade, dining areas, fire features and manageable plantings into their yards to increase their enjoyment of outdoor spaces and increase the value of their home.” (Catalogue)

Affordable interior design : high-end tips for any budget / Helmuth, Betsy
“Homeowners and renters of all means dream of having a beautiful home. The media makes it look so easy, but many of us have less to work with and still long to live in style. Affordable Interior Design makes luxury an affordable reality. In this DIY home decorating handbook, Helmuth reveals insider tips and her tried-and-tested methods for choosing colors, creating a gallery wall, how to use accent tables, entry benches, rugs, and more!” (Catalogue)

Big ideas for small spaces : creative ideas and 30 projects for balconies, roof gardens, windowsills, and terraces / Maguire, Kay
“Instructions and photographs show to make 30 easy projects for the garden using inexpensive or found materials. Provides practical solutions to greening a small and otherwise barren area including outer walls, tiny patios, balconies, courtyards, terraces, windowsills and rooftops. Also includes instructions on the basics of gardening.” (Catalogue)

Outdoor woodworking : 20 inspiring projects to make from scratch.
Outdoor Woodworking is an impressive new title containing a collection of projects, all ideal for the garden, patio or deck. There are some projects ideal for those just starting out in woodworking and others that will challenge even the experienced woodworker. All of the projects include clear guidance on how best to approach the construction of each piece…”–Amazon.com.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Brickwork projects for patio & garden : designs, instructions and 16 easy-to-build projects / Bridgewater, Alan
“From the decorative to the practical, Brickwork Projects for Patio & Garden offers a range of projects for all levels of expertise. Sixteen original projects range from a simple garden wall to a beautiful raised herringbone patio. Each project has been photographed step-by-step during construction and the finished piece is shown in its garden setting. Clear construction diagrams and concise text accompany every project.” (Abridged Catalogue)

Pebble mosaics : 25 original step-by-step projects for the home and garden / Schneebeli-Morrell, Deborah
“You can take pebbles and other natural found objects and turn them into beautiful useful and decorative objects for the home and garden. Using easy methods and everyday materials, author Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell demonstrates in full color, step-by-step photographs how to create such beautiful items as a simple teapot stand to a rustic mosaic hearth.” (Abridged Catalogue)

Make : soft robotics : a DIY introduction to squishy, stretchy and flexible robots / Borgatti, Matthew
“Soft robotics is an emerging field that approaches robots in new ways, enabling them to operate in environments that are unstructured or unstable and to perform tasks that require delicacy and malleability.” (Book jacket)

The pallet book : DIY projects for the home, garden, and homestead / Peterson, Chris
“Author Chris Peterson presents everything the enterprising handyperson needs to know to reclaim and reuse pallets in innovative, useful ways. Just some of the projects included are: A handy vertical planter; Coffee table; Spice rack; Serving tray; Compost bin; Dog house; Bookshelves; Wine bottle rack; Side table; Adirondack chair. In addition to dozens of projects, the book includes a variety of pallet-specific knowledge. You’ll find a guide with the basic skills and tools needed to rework pallets, information on where to find and source pallets, a guide to decoding pallet markings, and important pallet-related safety.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The PVC pipe book : projects for the home, garden, and homestead / Peterson, Chris
“Whether you’re a homeowner, gardener, homesteader, prepper, or just a parent looking for some new toy ideas, the projects in The PVC Pipe Book give you plenty of options. For anyone who needs some insight and a few tips on working with PVC, Peterson covers all the basics, as well as finishing techniques.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Easy garden projects : 200+ simple ideas for your yard, garden & home.
“With its simple tutorials that anyone can do to enhance their space, Easy Garden Projects appeals to a wide swath of gardeners. Whether it’s a homemade faux-stone planter filled with succulents or a potting bench made from reclaimed wood, each design features a finished-project photo and step-by-step instructions to guide you on your gardening path. The look and feel of the book reflects the breezy, rustic, and organic style of the Country Gardens brand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Build a better vegetable garden : 30 DIY projects to improve your harvest / Russell, Joyce
“From simple woodwork projects for tunnels and frames to gadgets that deter slugs and carrot root fly, the results are well-designed as well as decorative.” (Book jacket)

Building unique and useful kids furniture : 24 great do-it-yourself projects / Carlsen, Spike
“Easy-to-build, affordable, beautiful, durable, fun furniture projects kids will love. You don’t need advanced skills. You don’t need specialized tools. You don’t need expensive materials. All of these projects can be built using basic tools and materials from any home improvement store. Step-by-step instructions and color photos show you exactly what to do–and many projects are labeled “Kid Friendly,” so your child can safely help you build it, developing their skills and confidence.” (Adapted from Catalogue)