Cultivating compassion: recent beliefs books

November’s list of recent books kicks off with a highly readable spotlight on Norse mythology, and an important exploration of animism, as well as including several books on creating space for happiness.

Syndetics book coverNorse mythology, by Neil Gaiman.
Read about Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, blood brother to Odin and a trickster. Gaiman has written these ancient stories with his deft novelist touch that makes for easy and accessible reading. These gods emerge with fierce competitive battles, propensity for calculation and manipulation, and a passion which drives their decision-making.

Syndetics book coverLearning to live well together : case studies in interfaith diversity, by Tom Wilson and Riaz Ravat.
“From celebrating cultural events, to considering how the police should interact with members of the public from different faith communities, this book highlights the ways in which all members of society can engage constructively with diversity. This is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to understand the issues of religion and belief that may arise at local and national levels, and develop appropriate attitudes and actions for peaceful resolution.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnimism : respecting the living world, by Graham Harvey.
“Animism’ is now an important term for describing ways in which some people understand and engage respectfully with the larger-than-human world. Its central theme is our relationship with our other-than-human neighbours, such as animals, plants, rocks, and kettles, rooted in the understanding that the term ‘person’ includes more than humans. Graham Harvey explores the animist cultures of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians and eco-Pagans, introducing their diversity and considering the linguistic, performative, ecological and activist implications of these different animisms.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe skeptic and the rabbi : falling in love with faith : a memoir, by Judy Gruen.
Gruen speaks with refreshing honesty about what it means to remain authentic to yourself while charting a new yet ancient spiritual path at odds with the surrounding culture. Judy Gruen began her Orthodox Jewish future with her marriage, a faith very different to her open liberal upbringing. Gruen brings the reader right along for the ride in this touching and humorous memoir.

Syndetics book coverThe book of joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.
How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. Here they share personal stories and spiritual practices revealing how to joyfully.

Syndetics book coverHappiness is a state of mind : how to create space for happiness in your life, by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa ; with Kate Adams.
“His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa reveals that the secret to happiness lies in the mind. Exploring the simple ways we can train our minds to recognise a happiness that is already there, he gives us the tools to embrace an appreciation for life as it is, rather than as we feel it should be, and helps us flourish as individuals, and as part of the wider world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe one life we’re given : finding the wisdom that waits in your heart, by Mark Nepo.
“Mark Nepo has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” ‘In order to fully live the one life we’re given,’ Nepo writes, “we each must affirm how precious this one life is and open ourselves to loving whatever life puts before us. Whether that is suffering, pain, fear or loss, or surprise, beauty, love or wonder, we work to stay in touch with our hearts in order to make sense of our experience.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSacred histories in secular New Zealand, edited by Geoffrey Troughton and Stuart Lange.
“Despite recent declines in church attendance, the persistence of religious tolerance, spiritual belief and celebration of Christian festivals and ideals suggests that Christianity plays a more enduring and significant role in New Zealand life than the country’s secular reputation would indicate. Sacred Histories in Secular New Zealand examines some often neglected aspects of New Zealand’s history – from missionaries and Christian Maori to charismatic preachers and puritan novelists, from sectarian conflict and competition to increased co-operation and unity. Together these highlight the interweaving of Christianity with culture, and the interplay of sacred and secular throughout New Zealand’s history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTen tales from Tibet : cultivating compassion, by Lama Lhakpa Yeshe.
“A collection of poetic re-tellings distilled from ancient oral tradition, the stories have been specially chosen by Lama Lhakpa Yeshe because they demonstrate a beautiful wisdom in a simple, yet profound way, and teach us how to nurture the singular human quality that defines us all.Introduced by global peace and environment campaigner, Satish Kumar, a pupil of Lama Lhakpa Yeshe, and illustrated with photography by fellow Buddhist Matthieu Ricard, this is a beautifully crafted book and unique guide to opening our hearts and minds by cultivating compassion–helping others and ourselves–to find joy, peace, and happiness.” (Syndetics summary)

“Water” you waiting for? Check out these new non-fiction books!

This month: the hot topic of water, and just how lucky are we?

Syndetics book coverThe origin of others / Toni Morrison ; with a foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid? Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison’s most personal work of nonfiction to date.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStorming the wall : climate change, migration, and homeland security / Todd Miller.
“In Storming the Wall, Todd Miller travels around the world to connect the dots between climate-ravaged communities, the corporations cashing in on border militarization, and emerging movements for environmental justice and sustainability. Reporting from the flashpoints of climate clashes, and from likely sites of futures battles, Miller chronicles a growing system of militarized divisions between the rich and the poor, the environmentally secure and the environmentally exposed. Stories of crisis, greed and violence are juxtaposed with powerful examples of solidarity and hope in this urgent and timely message from the frontlines of the post-Paris Agreement era.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverNomadland : surviving America in the twenty-first century / Jessica Bruder.
“Employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.” In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Jessica Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy–one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us.” (adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverOne another’s equals : the basis of human equality / Jeremy Waldron.
“Waldron argues that there is no single characteristic that serves as the basis of equality. He says the case for moral equality rests on four capacities that all humans have the potential to possess in some degree: reason, autonomy, moral agency, and ability to love. But how should we regard the differences that people display on these various dimensions? And what are we to say about those who suffer from profound disability–people whose claim to humanity seems to outstrip any particular capacities they have along these lines? Waldron, who has worked on the nature of equality for many years, confronts these questions and others fully and unflinchingly.” (adapted from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverHit refresh : the quest to rediscover Microsoft’s soul and imagine a better future for everyone / Satya Nadella with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols.
Hit Refresh is about individual change, the transformation happening inside Microsoft, and the arrival of the most exciting and disruptive wave of technology humankind has experienced–including artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and quantum computing. It examines how people, organizations, and societies can and must transform, how they must ‘hit refresh’ in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, and continued relevance and renewal. Yet at its core, it’s about humans and how one of our essential qualities–empathy–will become ever more valuable in a world where technological advancement will alter the status quo as never before.” (adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverAmericana : a 400-year history of American capitalism / Bhu Srinivasan.
“In a winning, accessible style, Bhu Srinivasan boldly takes on four centuries of American enterprise and reveals the unexpected connections that link them. We learn how Andrew Carnegie’s early job as a telegraph messenger boy paved the way for his leadership of the steel empire that would make him one of the nation’s richest men; how the gunmaker Remington reinvented itself in the postwar years to sell typewriters; how the inner workings of the Mafia mirrored the trend of consolidation and regulation in more traditional business; and how a 1950s infrastructure bill triggered a series of events that produced one of America’s most enduring brands: KFC.” (adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverWe were eight years in power : an American tragedy / Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“‘We were eight years in power’ was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s ‘first white president.’ This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period–and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history.” (adapted from book jacket)

Syndetics book coverBitch doctrine : essays for dissenting adults / Laurie Penny.
“Smart and provocative, witty and uncompromising, this collection of Laurie Penny’s celebrated essays establishes her as one of the most important and vibrant political voices of our time. Bitch Doctrine takes an unflinching look at the definitive issues of our age, from the shock of Donald Trump’s election and the victories of the far right to online harassment and the transgender rights movement.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverRefuge : rethinking refugee policy in a changing world / Alexander Betts and Paul Collier.
“Global refugee numbers are at their highest levels since the end of World War II, but the system in place to deal with them, based upon a humanitarian list of imagined “basic needs,” has changed little. In Refuge, Paul Collier and Alexander Betts argue that the system fails to provide a comprehensive solution to the fundamental problem, which is how to reintegrate displaced people into society. The numbers are stark: the average length of stay in a refugee camp worldwide is 17 years. Into this situation comes the Syria crisis, which has dislocated countless families, bringing them to face an impossible choice: huddle in dangerous urban desolation, rot in dilapidated camps, or flee across the Mediterranean to increasingly unwelcoming governments.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverThey can’t kill us all : the story of the struggle for Black lives / Wesley Lowery.
“A deeply reported book that brings alive the quest for justice in the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray, offering both unparalleled insight into the reality of police violence in America and an intimate, moving portrait of those working to end it. By posing the question, “What does the loss of any one life mean to the rest of the nation?” Lowery examines the cumulative effect of decades of racially biased policing in segregated neighborhoods with failing schools, crumbling infrastructure and too few jobs.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwilight of the money gods : economics as a religion and how it all went wrong / John Rapley.
“Imagine one day you went to a cash-machine and found your money was gone. You rushed to your branch, where a teller said that overnight people had stopped believing in money, and it all vanished. Seem incredible? It happened, and it could happen again. Twilight of the Money Gods is the story of economics, told not as the science it strove to be, but as the religion it became. Today, amid a crisis of faith in their expertise, we must re-imagine an economics for a new era – one filled with both danger and opportunity.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Water: quality and ownership / W.F. Benfield.
“New Zealand is fortunate in having a high quality water resource. It has fuelled an agricultural revolution where production has taken precedence over management of resources. In a world where clean water is becoming a scarce resource, we must protect ours for a nation’s future wellbeing. That is why urgent steps must be taken to address the issue of pollution of water by agricultural contamination and urban waste. The book also covers claims to “ownership” of New Zealand’s waters – from the bottling companies that take water from aquifers to make fortunes selling it overseas to demands by the Iwi Leaders Group to take ownership of a natural resource that falls from the sky. These issues have to be addressed and this book is an important step in that direction. ” (Back cover)

Recently added Classical CDs

For this selection of new classical music CDs we spotlight some vocal works: some Baroque Italian music (sacred and secular), and a post-Romantic opera.

Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and soloists.
“Debussy’s only completed opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, is widely considered to be one of the 20th century’s greatest. His setting of Maurice Maeterlinck’s love triangle between Mélisande, Golaud, and his younger half-brother Pelléas, creates a distinctive and tense atmosphere – a world of ambiguity, darkness and light, life, death and love; all underpinned by Debussy’s complex and subtle harmonies, and expressive use of orchestral colour” (back cover).

Catharsis. Performed by Xavier Sabata.
Startling cover. “Around the year 1600, a group of Florentine aristocrats, inspired by ancient Greek drama, gave birth to opera. They set out to glorify human passions in such a strong way that the spectator’s soul would be cleansed. This was a process that Aristotle called catharsis. In a fascinating program featuring works by works by Orlandini, Conti, Torri, Vivaldi, Handel, Hasse, Caldara, Sarro and Ariosti, countertenor Xavier Sabata, accompanied by George Petrou and Armonia Atenea, captures these moments at the heart of legendary heroes of Baroque opera” (amazon.com).

Vespers 1610, Monteverdi. Performed by the Dunedin Consort.
Fully titled: Vespro della Beata Vergine. Recorded at the Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, this performance – corralled by John Butt – concentrates its focus on some super vocal soloists, and features the wonderful His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts. Butt and the Dunedin Consort pay particular attention to getting the details of pitch and instrumentation spot-on, and as historically accurate as possible.

New CDs at your library

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs, from newcomers London Grammar to veterans such as Steve Winwood and Brian Wilson. The long awaited third installment in a deluxe reissue series A New Career in a New Town by David Bowie has already been proven very popular.

New Albums

London Grammar Truth is a beautiful thing.
“Four years after their debut, English trio London Grammar returned with their sophomore set, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, featuring production by Jon Hopkins (Imogen Heap, Coldplay), Paul Epworth (Florence + the Machine, Adele), and Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia). Once again, vocalist Hannah Reid takes center stage with her powerful, angelic instrument, which can stir the soul at the smokiest depths before jolting everything to the heavens in a fashion much like Florence Welch or Annie Lennox.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Mount Kimbie Love what survives
“Love What Survives is the third studio album from Mount Kimbie. It is a melodic yet robust electronic record for driving with the windows down and a distillation of their career to date, mixing multiple singing voices and musical personalities, flirting with freeform experimentation, pop tropes and an expansive sonic palette. As the title suggests the record is the product of three years of intense creative development, continually honed by the duo writing and rewriting their ideas to form something wholly idiosyncratic and personal.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Killers Wonderful wonderful
“Ghosts of that sound flutter through Wonderful Wonderful, but they get pushed aside by disco struts, brooding celebrity name-drops, Mark Knopfler cameos, and Fleetwood Mac harmonies so uncannily real you’d swear Lindsey Buckingham guested on the record. Such odd juxtapositions and untrammeled ambition have been the Killers’ stock in trade since at least Sam’s Town, but the impressive thing about Wonderful Wonderful is how the Killers are able to execute Flowers’ overstuffed ideas so precisely.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Horrors V
“Stunningly assertive fifth album from The Horrors. First single ‘Machine’ sees the group at their majestic, imperial best, although the ten tracks on the album are so diverse that when the final song ‘Something To Remember Me By’ appears to channel dance, trance and ‘80s pop genres it feels like both the most natural thing in the musical world and also the most surprising. ‘V’ shows the group at the peak of their powers, exhibiting a freedom and sense of exploration that feels truly liberating.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Steve Winwood Greatest hits live
“Steve Winwood will release his FIRST-EVER live album as a solo artist this September. ‘Winwood: Greatest Hits Live’ is a new 2CD collection sourced from Steve’s personal archives of live performances. With a 23-song tracklist handpicked by Steve, featuring his best loved songs. It offers fans a definitive musical portrait of his five-decade career. The expanded 2CD gatefold package features rare, previously unreleased material touching on all aspects of Winwood’s extensive catalogue, including contemporary arrangements of the music he created with the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, and on his classic solo recordings.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Brian Wilson Playback : the Brian Wilson anthology
“Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology is the first-ever compilation concentrating on Brian Wilson’s solo career, and given that his discography is a bit unwieldy, it’s not a surprise that Playback is a bit misshapen. Over the course of 18 tracks, Playback samples from nearly every record Wilson released between his eponymous 1988 solo debut and 2015’s No Pier Pressure, adding two unreleased tracks.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Mastodon Cold dark place
“Only the second proper EP from the band — the songs on 2001’s Lifesblood eventually made their way onto the 2006 compilation Call of the Mastodon — three of Cold Dark Place’s cuts (“North Side Star,” “Blue Walsh,” and the brooding, acoustic- and pedal steel guitar-heavy title track) were recorded during the sessions for 2014’s Once More ‘Round the Sun, and they reflect that LP’s somber tone and predilection towards accessible hard rock songcraft.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Box sets/ Reissues

David Bowie A new career in a new town (1977-1982).
“The third installment in a comprehensive deluxe reissue series of David Bowie’s entire catalog, A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982) chronicles perhaps the most artistically ambitious phase in Bowie’s career. A New Career in a New Town is a handsome, alluring, and exceptional-sounding reissue that earns its price tag.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Verve Urban hymns [deluxe]
“Expertly catching the mood of the late-‘90s upon its release in September 1997, The Verve’s third studio outing went on to become one of the all-time classic British albums. Now, exactly twenty years on, comes this Super Deluxe expanded edition, containing a host of special features. Re-mastering was undertaken by original co-producer Chris Potter and this 5CD / 1DVD box adds all of the era’s B-sides, the previously unreleased Haigh Hall concert plus further live material and BBC sessions from 1997-1998. The DVD features the full Haigh Hall concert, the ‘The Video 96-98’ documentary, a ‘Later With Jools Holland’ appearance from November 1997 plus the promo videos.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Pink Floyd The early years 1965-1967 : Cambridge st/ation.
“Four disc (2CD + DVD + Blu-Ray) set. Covering Syd Barrett’s time with the band, from the pre-EMI demos, through the non-album hit singles and related tracks, the first volume also features previously unreleased tracks like ‘Vegetable Man’ and ‘In The Beechwoods’ (newly mixed), plus BBC session recordings. Pink Floyd have also acquired the tapes of an unreleased 1967 concert in Stockholm. The DVD/Blu-ray includes historic TV performances plus some of Pink Floyd’s own film material.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

In the beginning was the book: New literature picks

In this wonderful new world we can read books in many electronic formats – on PCs, eReaders, iPads and smartphones – but we should never forget the comfort and inspiration given by the first hand-held device. Several of this month’s picks celebrate the book.

Syndetics book coverScribbles in the margins : 50 eternal delights of books / Daniel Gray.
“We lead increasingly time-poor lifestyles, bombarded 24/7 by petrifying news bulletins, internet trolls and endless noises. Where has the joy and relaxation gone from our daily lives? Scribbles in the Margins offers a glorious antidote to that relentless modern-day information churn. It is here to remind you that books and bookshops can still sing to your heart.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoman’s hour : words from wise, witty and wonderful women / foreword by Jenni Murray.
“For the last 70 years, the guests of Woman’s Hour have been entertaining listeners with their compelling combination of wit, warmth, insight, and humor. Woman’s Hour has interviewed many of the biggest female names from entertainment, politics, the arts, and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRedEdits / Geoff Cochrane.
‘Poets disimprove with age and should die young. Should resemble shooting stars. Should trace short arcs of fizz and fire and then disappear.’ –What I Told Bernie’s Class. In his new collection, Geoff Cochrane defies his own advice to disappear. Instead, he traces wry, darkly glittering lines from odd fragments, encounters, overheard conversations, and moments of absurdity and revelation. RedEdits is the work of one of the most memorable voices in New Zealand poetry.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA secret sisterhood : the literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot & Virginia Woolf / Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney ; foreword by Margaret Atwood.
“Male literary friendships are the stuff of legend, from Byron and Shelley to Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But the world’s most celebrated female authors are usually mythologized as solitary eccentrics or isolated geniuses. Friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney prove this wrong, thanks to their investigations into a wealth of surprising collaborations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn reading / Steve McCurry ; foreword by Paul Theroux.
“A celebration of the timeless act of reading – as seen through the lens of one of the world’s most beloved photographers.Young or old, rich or poor, engaged in the sacred or the secular, people everywhere read. This homage to the beauty and seductiveness of reading brings together a collection of photographs taken by Steve McCurry over his nearly four decades of travel and is introduced by award-winning writer, Paul Theroux.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAt home in the world : women writers and public life, from Austen to the present / Maria DiBattista and Deborah Epstein Nord.
“In this new literary history, Maria DiBattista and Deborah Epstein Nord contend that even the most seemingly traditional works by British, American, and other English-language women writers redefine the domestic sphere in ways that incorporate the concerns of public life, allowing characters and authors alike to forge new, emancipatory narratives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRooms of one’s own : 50 places that made literary history / Adrian Mourby.
“Award-winning BBC drama producer Adrian Mourby follows his literary heroes around the world, exploring 50 places where great works of literature first saw the light of day.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMorningstar : growing up with books / Ann Hood.
“In her admired works of fiction, including the recent The Book That Matters Most, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these beloved novels. Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn’t foster a love of literature, Hood discovered nonetheless the transformative power of books.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe book of forgotten authors / Christopher Fowler.
“Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead. So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.” (Syndetics summary)

New DVDs to take home and enjoy

New DVDs for October include the latest reboot of the Spiderman franchise, acclaimed biopic ‘Churchill’, quirky Monster-movie comedy ‘Colossal’; and new TV with the adaptation of French crime writer Bernard Minier 1st novel, acclaimed US show ‘This Is Us’ and the latest instalment of ‘House of Cards’.

Spider-man. Homecoming.
“A young Peter Parker, who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine, distracted by thoughts of proving himself.” (Syndetics summary)

Churchill.
“June 1944. Allied Forces stand on the brink: a massive army is secretly assembled on the south coast of Britain, poised to re-take Nazi-occupied Europe. One man stands in their way: Winston Churchill. An impulsive, sometimes bullying personality; fearful, obsessive and hurting. Fearful of repeating, on his disastrous command, the mass slaughter of 1915, when hundreds of thousands of young men were cut down on the beaches of Gallipoli. Obsessed with fulfilling historical greatness: his destiny.” (Syndetics summary)

My cousin Rachel.
“The movie is based on the 1951 novel by Daphne Du Maurier and tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian.” (Syndetics summary)

Colossal.
“Gloria is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Riverdale. The complete first season.
“A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small-town life, and the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.” (Syndetics summary)

The frozen dead.
“A horrific discovery in a small town nestled high in the French Pyrenees begins to unravel a dark mystery that has been hidden for years. Commandant Martin Servaz starts investigating and soon discovers a dark story of madness and revenge.” (Syndetics summary)

House of cards. The complete fifth season.
In the midst of the presidential election, tensions mount in the White House as Frank and Claire continue to navigate their political careers and redefine their relationships, particularly with each other.” (Syndetics summary)

This is us. The complete first season.
“Centered on characters who share the same birthday, the story follows several decades in the lives of Jack and Rebecca Pearson. As the plot unfolds, it traverses numerous timelines, and intertwines the stories of people whose lives connect in unexpected ways. Filled with memorable performances from its acclaimed cast, it is a smart, poignant dramedy.” (Syndetics summary)

It comes at night.
“Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, the tenuous domestic order he has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate young family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within him as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul.” (Syndetics summary)

Whitney : can I be me.
“Six-time Grammy winner Whitney Houston was one of the most successful female recording artists of all time. WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME offers a raw and uncensored look at Whitney Houston, exploring the impact her life and death had on the people around her and the world of music.” (Syndetics summary)

Ignite your creativity with these new craft books

Enjoy this month’s splendid selection of craft books and the variety of exciting projects! Get inspiration from the most recent quilt as-you-go designs and teach yourself easy techniques. Find countless tips and ideas for knitting from temporary style to classic accessories. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverLearn to crochet : 25 quick and easy crochet projects to get you started / Nicki Trench.
“Nicki Trench has taught hundreds of people how to crochet, so she knows what beginners need: clear instructions, and simple patterns on which to practise their newly-learned skills. Learn to Crochet starts with a step-by-step techniques section to teach you all the basic stitches and skills. Once you’ve learned the basics, there are 25 patterns for accessories to wear, items for the home, and bags and covers for the things you carry with you. Practice makes perfect, and with 25 patterns to choose from, you’ll soon be able to crochet with confidence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPopcorns, bobbles & puffs to crochet : the visual guide to everything you need to know / Lindy Zubairy.
“These wonderful textured stitches show up everywhere and in many guises. You will come across them in so many patterns, old and new, and in projects from the exquisitely fine gauge to the funkiest chunky. With its carefully photographed step-by-step sequences, smart captions, and useful annotations, this book will quickly enable you to pick up the skills and get familiar with the techniques–before getting started on the projects to put it all into practice. And just to make sure you get the hang of it, the book includes links to five one-minute films that show some of the step-by-step sequences repeated.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQuilt as-you-go made vintage : 51 blocks, 9 projects, 3 joining methods / Jera Brandvig.
“Get comfortable with basic piecing and machine quilting – one block at a time! Best-selling author Jera Brandvig is back, this time with a romantic take on her quilt-as-you-go designs. Try your hand at 9 projects, including an elegant sampler with 51 mix-and-match blocks. For quilt as-you-go enthusiasts, Jera shares three optional joining methods, including her technique that makes your quilt reversible! No matter how busy your schedule, you can set attainable goals and practice quilting patchwork blocks in small, manageable pieces.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYoko Saito’s patchwork bags & accessories.
“Yoko Saito’s sewing designs for bags and accessories are distinctive for their use of creative motifs and charming details, while her modern aesthetic utilizes muted tones for a soft, relaxing feel. In her new book she offers detailed diagrams and instructions for each project to guide you through the process of creating your own one-of-a-kind patchwork pieces. 25 designs–10 eclectic bags, 5 stylish pouches, and 10 sundry items like a placemat, notebook covers, pen case, rooster pillow cover, and more Follow Yoko Saito’s color choices, or branch out into your own favorite palette Each piece is infinitely customizable!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPat Sloan’s teach me to sew triangles : 13 easy techniques plus 12 fun quilts / Pat Sloan.
“Well-known teacher, designer, and online radio host Pat Sloan teaches all you need to know to create triangles with ease. Take your skills to the next level with this second book in her beginner-friendly “Teach Me” series. You’ll discover 11 different ways to sew triangles. Find the method that’s just right for you! Find expert tips throughout, including the math to make each type of unit with ease.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cable knitter’s guide : 50 patterns, 25 projects, countless tips and ideas / Denise Samson.
“Cables are beautiful and fun to knit — but if you’ve never worked one before, it’s hard to know where to start! The Cable Knitter’s Guide is divided into two parts: The first introduces 50 elegant variations on the basic cable, accompanied by detailed photographs and instructions. Novices can follow the links provided in the book to a series of YouTube videos of the author demonstrating how to work each cable! The second section forms a collection of 25 patterns for garments, accessories, and furnishings, each using one or more of the cables introduced earlier to add a little something extra to these delightful, striking designs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPonchos to knit : more than 40 projects and paired accessories in classic and contemporary styles / Denise Samson.
“These simple garments are all the rage, and for good reason. There are endless ways to shape them, style them, and wear them – their versatility is impossible to deny. Now handcrafting expert Denise Samson, author of The Cable Knitter’s Guide, has brought together her favorite poncho variations, along with the techniques that make them stand out from the crowd. Inside you’ll find striking knitwear designs from some of the finest Norwegian yarn producers alongside Samson’s own original patterns, plus four fabulous crochet projects.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKnitted cats & dogs / Sue Stratford.
“Combining the best from Knitted Cats & Kittens and Knitted Dogs & Puppies, the patterns are here produced all together in one book. The designs are fun and quirky, easy to follow and come in a range of characters, styles, shapes and sizes to suit knitters of all tastes and abilities. Each pattern comes with a comprehensive list of the yarns, needles and embellishments you need, and there are general notes too on basic techniques, materials, equipment and making up.” (Syndetics summary)

Fun grammar guides for English

Former editor, Caroline Taggart, has written a series of books on punctuation, grammar, and spelling, that all contain her trademark humorous approach to the subject. Take a look at some of these books at the library.

Syndetics book coverThe Accidental Apostrophe: Colour and Discover [paperback]
“In Roman times, blocks of text were commonly written just as blocks without even wordspacingnevermindpunctuation to help the reader to interpret them. Bestselling author Caroline Taggart brings her usual gently humorous approach to punctuation, pointing out what really matters and what doesn’t; why using six exclamation marks where one will do is perfectly OK in a text but will lose you marks at school; why hang glider pilots in training really need a hyphen; and how throwing in the odd semicolon will impress your friends. Sometimes opinionated but never dogmatic, she is an ideal guide to the (perceived) minefield that is punctuation.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKicking the bucket at the drop of a hat : the meaning and origins of popular expressions / Caroline Taggart.
“A fascinating collection of the many unusual and vibrant phrases that adorn our language, looking at their origins and meanings. Don’t be down in the dumps if you can’t cut the mustard when asked the definition of certain phrases – this down-to-earth guide is just the ticket. From advertising to the Ancient Greeks, from the military to meteorology, Kicking the Bucket at the Drop of a Hat takes us on a wonderful journey through our language’s history. With more phrases than you can shake a stick at, this collection will bring home the bacon for any Tom, Dick or Harry with a love of language.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMisadventures in the English language / Caroline Taggart.
“This book looks at some of the controversial aspects of English usage–grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation–and tries to assess what matters and what doesn’t. Looking at why it pays to be precise in punctuation–the hackneyed examples of “Let’s eat Grandma” and “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” show how a comma can make all the difference–why tautologies are simply annoying; and how corporate speak can actually mean nothing at all; this book covers the aspects of the English language that could leave you with cause for concern. By turns an explanation of the rules, a rant against gobbledygook and other modern horrors, this book will aid you in avoiding embarrassing cliches and jargon, and help you put your words in the right places.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCollins little book of grammar secrets / Caroline Taggart.
“Let’s admit it, we all struggle with Grammar. There, they’re or their? Who’s or whose? Me or I? Fewer or less? Worry no more, Caroline is here to take the grind out of grammar in easy bite-sized chunks. With insights into hyphens and the dreaded apostrophe, comparatives and superlatives and whether England is singular or plural, she offers clear but light-hearted advice on getting things right when it matters – and relaxing just a little when it doesn’t.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover500 words you should know / Caroline Taggart.
“Ever wanted to ameliorate your atavistic lexicon, engage in a little intellectual badinage or been discombobulated by tricky diction? 500 Words You Should Know has you covered. This book will inspire the reader to use uncommon words in their correct context, utilize the English language to its full potential, and test themselves on the words they think they already know. This veracious cornucopia of knowledge will have you confabulating with the literary cognoscenti in no time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAs right as rain : the meaning and origins of popular expressions / Caroline Taggart.
“Would you be down in the dumps if, when asked the definition of certain phrases, it was all Greek to you? Let’s not beat about the bush: the English language is littered with linguistic quirks, which, out of context, seem completely peculiar. If you can’t quite cut the mustard, this book will explain how on earth ‘off the cuff’ came to express improvisation, why a ‘gut feeling’ is more intuitive than a brainwave, and who the heck is ‘happy’ Larry. These expressions and countless more become a piece of cake once you’ve read As Right as Rain.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy grammar and I (or should that be ‘me’?) : old-school ways to sharpen your English / Caroline Taggart and J.A. Wines
My Grammar and I offers amusing examples of awful grammar, while steering you in the direction of grammatical greatness. Taking you on a tour of the English language through the minefield of rules and conditions that can catch you out, from dangling modifiers to split infinitives, it highlights the common pitfalls that every English language user faces on a day to day basis. Refreshing everything you should have learnt at school and more, My Grammar and I is informative yet entertaining.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Take our new vinyl for a spin!

Check out some of these newly catalogued albums, including the intriguing Neil Young’s long-unreleased recording and the new album by LCD Soundsystem, in our unique vinyl collection.

Neil Young Hitchhiker
“Recorded over the course of one lazy, stoned day in Malibu in 1976, Hitchhiker was never bootlegged, unlike Homegrown and Chrome Dreams, its unreleased cousins from the mid-’70s. Neil Young first let its existence be known in 2014, when he mentioned a 1976 solo acoustic session recorded with longtime producer David Briggs that was “a complete piece.” Most of the songs from that complete piece drifted out in different versions over the years.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

LCD Soundsystem American dream
American Dream is the long awaited fourth album from LCD Soundsystem. The first two singles released from the album are “call the police” and “american dream,” that moved Pitchfork to rave the songs “couldn’t sound timelier” and that “Murphy and company have never sounded so invigorated.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Foo Fighters Concrete and gold
“2017 release from Dave Grohl and his Foos, their first studio album in three years. “I wanted it to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever. To make a gigantic rock record but with Greg Kurstin’s sense of melody and arrangement… Motorhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper… or something like that.” So speaks Grohl of the mission statement made manifest in Foo Fighters’ ninth epic, the aptly-titled Concrete and Gold.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Mogwai Every country’s sun
“Mogwai return with their 9th studio album which was recorded with renowned producer Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lip’s, Mogwai’s Come On Die Young and ROCK ACTION) at his Tarbox Road Studios in New York State. Every Country’s Sun, named after a friends lack of knowledge in how the universe works, takes two decades of Mogwai’s signature, contrasting sounds and distills it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock, and transcendental euphoria. It will definitely appeal to fans of the band and will gain many new ones along the way.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Brian Eno Another green world
“It was here that Eno first began to experiment with abstract soundscapes, to employ a greater spatial element and the ethereal synthesizer effects that presaged an entire movement of ambient music. While most of the tracks are instrumental, the numbers that feature Eno’s peculiar, affectless voice and free-associative lyrics seem to blend into the fabric of the album. Superior guest musicians include John Cale, Robert Fripp and Phil Collins.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

New non-fiction for your ears

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to talk to an extraterrestrial, wonder no longer, because this month’s new eAudiobook non-fiction from Overdrive includes Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Other Minds, a critically acclaimed examination of the octopus – “the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” And if you’d like something more mammalian, we’ve got a range of other great titles from authors including Bill Bryson, Caitlin Moran and Hillary Clinton.

Overdrive cover Gastrophysics, by Charles Spence
“Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with one more person, and 75% more when with three? Why are 27% of drinks bought on aeroplanes tomato juice? How are chefs and companies planning to transform our dining experiences, and what can we learn from their cutting-edge insights to make memorable meals at home? These are just some of the ingredients of Gastrophysics.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson
“Bill Bryson’s first travel book opened with the immortal line, ‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.’ In his deeply funny new memoir, he travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, and the curious world of 1950s America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDT, cigarettes and nuclear fallout…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Moranifesto, by Caitlin Moran
“This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Other Minds, by Peter Godfrey-Smith
“Peter Godfrey-Smith explores the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so – a journey completely independent from the route that mammals and birds would later take.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull
“Ed Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques, honed over years, that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable. Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve centre of Pixar Animation Studios.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Vacationland, by John Hodgman
“Though wildly, Hodgmaniacally funny, John Hodgman’s Vacationland is also a poignant and sincere account of one human facing his forties, those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
“For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Man from the Train, by Bill James
“Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)