Get The London Times that was printed on your birthday! (or your Mum’s!)

The Central Library is offering to library members its hard-copy vintage collection of The Times, dating from 1946 through to the start of 1976.  Each issue is for sale at $5 per copy but there is only one copy of each date. Please note that this collection excludes the Sunday Times which was, and remains, a separate newspaper editorially

This is an ideal quirky gift for anyone born between 1946 and 1976; please pre-order your copy by visiting or phoning the 2nd floor reference desk at the Central Library on 04 801 4114.

Major historical and cultural events covered during this period include:

The moon landing in July 1969
The resignation of President Nixon in August 1974
Muhammad Ali defeats George Foreman at ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire, October 1974

You can still access and read this entire date-range of The Times for free via the Times Digital Archive on My Gateway.

Just in time for Christmas, come in, grab a copy and delve into the past.

A feast of fiction awaits you in our monthly fiction showcase!

A Keeper book cover

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien.

There’s an abundance of treasures and rich pickings in our December fiction showcase. These include Huia Short Stories 12, a fabulous edition of the Māori fiction collection of short stories now in its twelfth outing, From the Ashes, a tale of friendship and family set in fifties Auckland from Deborah Challinor, TV celebrity Graham Norton’s witty A Keeper and another scintillating Tudor tome from C.J. Sansom called Tombland. So why not enjoy the feast and indulge yourself in a great read!

Syndetics book coverFrom the ashes / Deborah Challinor.
“A captivating story of family and friendship through one decade of incredible change. In 1950s Auckland things are changing – and fast. Women are joining the workforce in numbers, whitegoods are readily available and the age of rock’n’ roll has arrived. Allie Manaia works the Elizabeth Arden counter at Smith and Caughey’s. It’s been two years since the Dunbar and Jones fire, where some of her friends perished, but she still has nightmares. From the Ashes follows the fortunes of the women of three families through one decade of incredible change.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn island Christmas / Jenny Colgan.
“Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful. It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings? Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wych elm / Tana French.
“For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable. One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed birds / Mohammed Hanif.
“An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn’t what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it’s an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. In the camp, teenager Momo’s money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other’s throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHuia short stories 12 : contemporary Māori fiction.Server ErrorYour request could not be completed.
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers 2017 as judged by Whiti Hereaka, Paula Morris, Poia Rewi amd Rawinia Higgins. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in te reo Māori and Best Novel Extract categories. This writing competition, held every two years, is organised by the Maori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers as a way to promote Māori writers and their work. The awards and the collection of finalists’ fiction celebrate Māori writing and bring new writers to light.” — Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverBerta Isla / Javier Marías ; translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Berta Isla and Tomás Nevinson meet in Madrid. Young and in love, they quickly decide to spend their lives together – never suspecting that they will grow to be total strangers, both living under the shadow of disappearances.Tomás, half-Spanish and half-English, has an extraordinary gift for languages and accents. Leaving Berta to study at Oxford, he catches the interest of a certain government agency, and its mysterious agent, Bertram Tupra. Tomás is determined to evade the agent’s attentions but his fate is sealed by a series of escalating events that will affect the rest of his life – and that of his beloved Berta. Finishing his time at Oxford, he returns to Madrid to marry her, already knowing that the life they planned has been lost forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA keeper / Graham Norton.
“Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light. 40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMelmoth / Sarah Perry.
“Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But the sheltered life she has crafted for herself is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile safety net. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTombland / C.J. Sansom.Tombland
“Summer, 1549.Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . . The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s Prophecy / Singh, Nalini.Archangel’s Prophecy
“Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind . . . and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill. Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late, and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world. This time, survival may not be possible . . . not even for the consort of an archangel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Reader’s Choice – the reviews are in!

Shadowless Book Cover

From translated writing, science fiction and contemporary fiction, the variety of readers feedback is from across the fiction spectrum. This month it’s the new and classic titles that have the eyes of literary browsers. As with all reading experiences they are unique to the reader.

The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Syndetics book coverShadowless / Hasan Ali Toptaş ; translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely and John Angliss.
“In an Anatolian village forgotten by both God and the government, the muhtar has been elected leader for the sixteenth successive year. When he staggers to bed that night, drunk on raki and his own well-deserved success, the village is prosperous. But when he is woken by his wife the next evening he discovers that Nuri, the barber, has disappeared without a trace in the dead of night, and the community begins to fracture. Blurring the lines of reality to terrific effect, Shadowless is both a compelling mystery and an enduring evocation of displacement from one of the finest, most exciting voices in Turkish literature today.” (Syndetics summary)

“I thought this book would be better as a short story. There were some good observations but as a novel it didn’t hold my attention”⭐⭐⭐(3/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverJosh and Hazel’s guide to not dating / Christina Lauren.
“Most men can’t handle Hazel. But her best friend Josh isn’t most men. Josh has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?” (Syndetics summary)

“Fun, light, chick-lit novel. Quite funny and enjoyable if you want a light easy romance novel”⭐⭐⭐(3/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverElefant / Martin Suter ; translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch.
“What would you do if you woke up to see a living, breathing, tiny, glowing, pink elephant? If you’re anything like Schoch, who lives on the streets of Zürich and is decidedly down on his luck, you might well think it’s time to put away the bottle before your hallucinations get any stranger, and go back to sleep. But what if the tiny pink elephant is still there when you wake up? And clearly needs someone to take care of it? And what if you discover that it’s been created through genetic engineering, by a group of scientists who just want to use it to get rich and don’t care about the elephant’s welfare? And that they’re in cahoots with a circus and will stop at nothing to get it back? What if this little elephant is about to change your life?” (Syndetics summary)

“Ingenious. The humans involved are some of them rather tedious. But the central figure does develop excellently” ⭐⭐⭐(3/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverThe winter soldier / Daniel Mason.
“Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War One explodes across Europe. From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and, finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.” (Syndetics summary)

“This was a superb read from start to finish. Austrian med student in remote E European field hospital in WWI. Doesn’t sound promising? Believe me this will be winning Oscars in the Hollywood version in a few years. Riveting.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverStrangers with the same dream / Alison Pick.
“‘We came into their valley at dawn.’ So begins this taut roller-coaster of a novel. From three vastly different points of view, Alison Pick relates the same vivid and riveting story of one transformative year. That year is 1921, and a band of young Jewish pioneers, many escaping violent homelands, have set out to realize a utopian dream–the founding of a kibbutz–on a patch of land that will later become Israel. Writing with a tightly controlled intensity, Alison Pick takes us inside the very different minds of her three key characters–two young unmarried women, escaping peril in Russia and Europe; and one slightly older man, a group leader who is married with two children–to depict how idealism quickly tumbles into pragmatism, and how the utopian dream is punctured by messy human entanglements.” (Syndetics summary)

“I thought this book was cleverly written about the beginning of something that continues to challenge international relations. A triptych that reminds that there is always multiple versions of history and the truth” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverThe fortress / S.A. Jones.
The Fortress asks questions about consent, power, love and fulfilment, and is absorbing, explicit, confronting and moving. Jonathon Bridge has the corner office, the tailored suits and the impeccable pedigree. He has a fascinating wife, a child on the way and a string of nubile lovers on the side. His world is our world: the same chaos and sprawl, haves and have-nots, men and women, skyscrapers and billboards. But it also exists alongside a vast, self-sustaining city-state called The Fortress where the indigenous inhabitants — the Vaik — continue to live much as they have always done. The Vaik is an all-female civilisation where Johnathon will have to live as a supplicant for a year.” (Syndetics summary)

“I thought I didn’t like fantasy as a genre but it turns out I wasn’t the target audience. It was an immensely satisfying read to the end. Fantasy is usually overly populated with books targeted at white cis men!” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverPhone / Will Self.Phone
“Meet Jonathan De’Ath, aka ‘the Butcher’. The curious thing about the Butcher is that everyone who knows him – his washed-up old university lecturer father, his jumbling-bumbling mother, his hippy-dippy brothers, his so-called friends, his spooky colleagues and his multitudinous lovers – they all apply this epithet to him quite independently, each in ignorance of the others. He knows everyone calls him ‘the Butcher’ behind his back, but he also knows that they don’t know the only real secret he maintains, encrypted in the databanks of his steely mind- Colonel Gawain Thomas, husband, father, highly-trained tank commander – is Jonathan De’Ath’s longtime lover.” (Syndetics summary)

“Interesting in parts, but needs a good editor. I enjoyed his earlier works, which had black humour, sadly lacking in this latest trilogy” ⭐⭐(2/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverSo long, and thanks for all the fish : volume four in the trilogy of five / Douglas Adams ; foreword by Neil Gaiman.
“Thirty years of celebrating the comic genius of Douglas Adams… There is a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. It’s not an easy thing to do and Arthur Dent thinks he’s the only human who’s been able to master this nifty little trick – until he meets Fenchurch, the girl of his dreams. Fenchurch knows how the world could be made a good and happy place. Unfortunately she’s forgotten. Convinced that the secret lies within God’s Final Message to His Creation they go in search of it. And – in a dramatic break with tradition – actually find it… Volume four in the trilogy of five” (Syndetics summary)

“I enjoyed it when I first read it in the ’80’s but less so this time. The basic concept of uplifted dolphins seems sillier now. However it is written well and is a classic, so it will appeal to some” ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

Remembering Nicolas Roeg and Bernardo Bertolucci

The world has lost two of the outstanding filmmakers of our time; Nicolas Roeg and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Nicolas Roeg died on 23 November aged 90. He made his name as a cinematographer (Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death, Francois Trufaut’s Fahrenheit 451 etc.) before turning into a director. In the 70s, he was the most acclaimed British auteur with a unique visionary style, leaving highly influential works such as Walkabout (1971), Don’t Look Now (1973) and The Man who Fell to Earth (1976).

 

 

 

 

One of the most provocative and influential directors of our time Bernardo Bertolucci died on 26 November aged 77. He was still in his 20s when The Conformist (1970) was hailed as a revolutionary work. He also worked outside of Italy, and enjoyed huge commercial successes with the controversial erotic drama The Last Tango in Paris (1972) and The Last Emperor (1987), which won 9 Academy Awards including Best Picture and the Best Director.

 

 

 

 

All covers are used with permission.

Make a gift at the library this festive season!

Every Tuesday and Thursday in December between 4-7 pm, come along to our festive crafts station on the 1st floor of the Central Library and get creative!

Make your own hand-made gift card, a special book mark, or perhaps a little decoration for your tree! Have something you’ve always wanted to make into something? Bring your own materials or make use of what’s available on our crafty supplies trolley! There will be local crafting experts on hand and a tonne of ideas and craft books ready to help you get inspired!

Drop by for 5 Minutes, half an hour, or hang out for the full 3 hours! Have fun to your own schedule at our festive crafts station and and give a gift of creativity this year!

These sessions will be held on the 1st floor of the Central Library by the enquiries desk from 4-7 pm on Tuesdays & Thursdays with the last session being held on December 20th.

WCL on Pinterest!

If you haven’t checked out Pinterest before, we couldn’t recommend it more! Relished by crafters and DIYers everywhere, pinterest is a platform filled with ideas and inspiration to help your creative juices flow. Check out Wellington City Libraries on Pinterest, we recommend starting with our Book art & DIY as well as the Crafty Explorations boards!

Looking for more inspiration?

Make sure you check out our regular Craft – Recent Picks Blog to see all of the best new craft books as well as our Discover the joy of Christmas crafting – a Christmas Craft blog! Just want to browse? Head to the 745.5s we have so many books to choose from!

 

Librarian’s Choice for Holiday Crafts

Here are a few recommendations just to get you started, as recommended by your local crafting librarians!

Syndetics book coverFolded book art : 35 beautiful projects to transform your books — create cards, display scenes, decorations, gifts, and more / Clare Youngs.
“Follow Clare Youngs ‘ simple step-by-step projects to make a huge variety of creative book art projects. In the first chapter, Folding Books, get folding and make a beautiful bird, a sailor’s knot, and a shining star, they look impressive but are deceptively simple to make. All the projects have helpful step-by-step instructions and illustrations so all you need are a few old books and you are ready to start!” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverCrafting with nature : grow or gather your own supplies for simple handmade crafts, gifts & recipes / Amy Renea, founder of A Nest for All Seasons.
“The book has a total of 58 detailed step-by-step tutorials and 44 quick-and-easy inspiration ideas and crafting techniques. Amy Renea is the founder of A Nest for All Seasons, chosen as the reader’s choice best gardening blog in the Better Homes & Gardens Blogger Awards.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverBibliocraft : a modern crafter’s guide to using library resources to jumpstart creative projects / Jessica Pigza ; photographs by Johnny Miller ; photostyling by Shana Faust ; illustrations by Sun Young Park.
“There is untold wealth in library collections, and, like every good librarian, Jessica Pigza loves to share. Whatever the quest–historic watermarks transformed into pillows, Japanese family crests turned into coasters, or historic millinery instructions worked into floral fascinators–anyone can utilize library resources to bring their creative visions to life.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPaper stars : 25 festive decorations for every occasion / Karen-Marie Fabricius.
“In Paper Stars, well-known artist Karen-Marie Fabricius provides 25 charming designs, each with detailed step-by-step instructions and gorgeous photographs. These pretty paper stars are not only perfect for Christmas, but they also look wonderful year-round, hanging on a window, from the mantelpiece, on cupboard doors, or as unique adornments for birthday presents. Making these paper stars is a fun craft for the entire family.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverSend something beautiful : fold, pull, print, cut and turn paper into collectible keepsakes and memorable mail / Emily Hogarth.
“The art of creating and then giving or sending something beautiful can also be a real joy, as this book reveals. Including a huge array of paper crafting and engineering techniques, plus 25 inspiring projects to help you spoil or impress your penpals, friends, family or loved ones. The book itself also makes the perfect gift and includes basic and original templates to draw from or cut out.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Getting to know the ‘How to Get Published’ Event Panel: Odessa Owens

Join us on Saturday 1 December, 1.30 pm at the Central Library for a public talk and Q&A session on “How to get published”. There is a great panel for this exciting event made up of top industry experts from New Zealand’s publishing industry.

As a precursor to our “How To Get Published” event, we are going to do a weekly feature blog on each member of the panel and their specialist areas of interest in the publishing world.

This week’s featured panelist: Odessa Owens!

Odessa Owens has worked in publishing for over a decade, making award-winning books for Te Papa Press until 2015, when she began to run the Whitireia Publishing Programme. In 2016 she was the convening judge of the PANZ Book Design Awards.

Getting to know the ‘How to Get Published’ Event Panel: Fergus Barrowman

Join us on Saturday, 1 December at 1.30 pm at the Central Library for a public talk and Q&A session on “How to get published”. There is a great panel for this exciting event made up of top industry experts from New Zealand’s publishing industry.

As a precursor to our “How To Get Published” event, we are going to do a weekly feature blog on each member of the panel and their specialist areas of interest in the publishing world.

This week’s featured panelist: Fergus Barrowman!

Fergus Barrowman has been the Publisher of Victoria University Press since 1985. In 1988 he founded the literary magazine Sport, which he continues to edit and publish. He was awarded an MNZM in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Throughout his publishing career, Fergus has contributed to the teaching and assessment of New Zealand’s leading creative writing programme, Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

Our most popular Fiction: Top reads at a mystery branch location

Our fiction collection brings you the talent of local writers and international award winners. Those brave enough to write out their inner workings or extrapolate on the world around them. So whether you enjoy untangling a thriller with unexpected plot twists or delving into the imagination of the world’s best fantasy writer maybe a reader’s favourite out there will be your next favourite too!

Wellington City Libraries is lucky enough to have eleven branches throughout the city. It’s no surprise that each branch has it’s own particular set of reading loves. This month the most popular ten reads is brought to you from a mystery location, maybe it’s the branch you borrow from?

Transcription / Kate Atkinson.
Syndetics book cover“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.” (Syndetics summary)

The furthest station / Ben Aaronovitch.
Syndetics book cover“A brand new novella in the PC Grant series! There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It’s PC Peter Grant’s speciality. Only it’s more than going ‘bump’. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow up interviews rather difficult. Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.” (Syndetics summary)

Why mummy swears : the struggles of an exasperated mum / Gill Sims.
Syndetics book cover“Welcome to Mummy’s world… The Boy Child Peter is connected to his iPad by an umbilical cord, The Girl Child Jane is desperate to make her fortune as an Instagram lifestyle influencer, while Daddy is constantly off on exotic business trips… Mummy’s marriage is feeling the strain, her kids are running wild and the house is steadily developing a forest of mould. Mummy has also found herself a new challenge, working for a hot new tech start-up. But not only is she worrying if, at forty-two, she’s also somehow (accidentally) rebranded herself as a single party girl who works hard, plays hard and doesn’t have to run out when the nanny calls in sick. Can Mummy keep up the facade while keeping her family afloat? And, more importantly, can she find the time to pour herself a large G+T? Probably effing not.” (Syndetics summary)

Everything is lies / Helen Callaghan.
Syndetics book cover“Sophia’s parents have lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed. Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find her mother hanging from a tree in the garden. Her father lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death. The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. To clear her mother’s name Sophia needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there…” (Syndetics summary)

Kill the farm boy / Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Syndetics book cover“Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born… there is a faraway kingdom…the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death… and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar ‘happily ever after’ that ever once-upon-a-timed.” (Syndetics summary)

Wild fire / Ann Cleeves.
Syndetics book coverWild Fire is the eighth, and final book, in Ann Cleeves’ bestselling Shetland series Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life.But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate.” (Syndetics summary)

End game / David Baldacci.
Syndetics book cover“Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They’re the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man. But now, Blue Man is missing. Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can’t help but fear the worst.” (Syndetics summary)

The after wife / Cass Hunter.
Syndetics book cover“When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.
She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband. Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.
But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death…a gift called iRachel.
The After Wife is an emotional story about love, loss, longing and belonging.” (Syndetics summary)

All for nothing / Walter Kempowski ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell ; introduction by Jenny Erpenbeck.
Syndetics book cover“A wealthy family tries–and fails–to seal themselves off from the chaos of post-World War II life. The von Globig family’s manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-year-old son, Peter. As the road fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof begins to receive strange visitors–a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee. Yet in the main, life continues as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the family, until their caution, their hedged bets, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven’t allowed themselves to imagine.” (Syndetics summary)

Sleeping beauties : a novel / Stephen King and Owen King.
Syndetics book cover“In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.
One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? ” (Syndetics summary)

Introducing VR at Wellington City Libraries!

As you might have seen, Wellington City Libraries will soon be hosting A Step Back in Time, a virtual reality (VR) expo featuring Jurassic Park, David Attenborough and more!

Book your session

But what exactly is VR? In terms of mechanics, VR is usually a computer, stereoscopic headset and set of sensors working together to create the sensation of standing in–and moving through–an entirely digital space (check out Wareable for a more technical explanation!). But VR is much more than just its physical components.

One of the things VR is great for is exploring new worlds. We’ve recently had a lot of fun discovering tropical islands and distant galaxies with VR experiences such as Nature Treks, while our previous VR expo featured coral reefs and the Mariana Trench via Wevr’s fantastic theBlu.

But it’s not just the creation of space that VR excels at–it’s also a platform for telling stories. Several film studios have expanded already successful movie franchises into the VR world, including Universal Studios’ Jurassic World: Blue and Jurassic World: Apatosaurus (both on show at our expo!). Traditional studios don’t have a monopoly on creating content, either: one of our favourite stories is the beautiful Allumette–a re-imagining of The Little Match Girl created by Penrose Studios.

Despite theses successes, however, the technology really comes into it’s own when used in even more creative ways. An early pioneer of this was Tilt Brush, a virtual artist’s studio that lets you paint, sculpt and design works of digital art. Other experiences, such as Pixar’s Coco VR, combine creativity with traditional gaming, meaning that one minute you’re exploring the land of the dead, the next you’re dancing onstage before a crowd of skeletons!

These are just a few of the ways people are currently using VR technology, but there are many, many more. The world of VR is an open, evolving, uncertain place–and that’s exactly why we like it! As its uses continue to grow, we’ll do our best to keep you updated, so keep an eye out for more blogs. And while you’re waiting, why not join us at A Step Back in Time to discover VR for yourself!