Our latest Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase of newly acquired books.

“Well, all information looks like noise until you break the code.”
– Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

With the 2019 Hugo award nominees recently announced and it now being just under a year until the Hugo awards ceremony here in Wellington at CoNZealand, it is great to see two newly acquired science fiction and fantasy books that have connections to the Hugos. The first is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik which is on the 2019 Hugo long list. The second is Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy. Mercedes Lackey is one of the guests of honour at CoNZealand next year.

There were lots of other new titles that caught our attention including the continuing rise of the awesome Afro Futurism genre as represented in this month’s list by Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection. There is also Neal Stephenson’s latest magnum opus Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, described by the New York Times no less as “a staggering work of imagination”. And as if that wasn’t enough two new books from acknowledged fantasy masters Stephen Donaldson and Tad Williams as well as a whole plethora of other science fiction and fantasy goodies to enjoy.

Overdrive cover Spinning Silver / Novik, Naomi (print) (eBook)
“Miryem was brought up in a snowbound village, on the edge of a charmed forest. She comes from a family of moneylenders, but her kind father shirks his work. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, his family faces poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what’s owed, and her neighbours soon whisper that she can turn silver into gold. Then an ill-advised boast attracts the cold creatures that haunt the wood. Nothing will be the same again, for words have power.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eye spy / Lackey, Mercedes
“In this second installment of the Family Spies series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, the children of Heralds Mags and Amily must follow in their parents’ footsteps to protect the realm. When Abi senses the imminent collapse of a bridge only moments before it happens, she saves countless lives, including that of her best friend, Princess Katiana. The experience, though harrowing, uncovers her unique Gift–an ability to sense the physical strains in objects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fall, or, Dodge in hell : a novel / Stephenson, Neal
Fall, or Dodge in Hell is pure, unadulterated fun: a grand drama of analog and digital, man and machine, angels and demons, gods and followers, the finite and the eternal. In this exhilarating epic, Neal Stephenson raises profound existential questions and touches on the revolutionary breakthroughs that are transforming our future. Combining the technological, philosophical, and spiritual in one grand myth, he delivers a mind-blowing speculative literary saga for the modern age.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The war within / Donaldson, Stephen R
“It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. But an ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Empire of grass / Williams, Tad
“The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Exhalation / Stories / Chiang, Ted (print) (eBook)
“This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Triumphant / Campbell, Jack (print) (eBook)
“The recently colonized world of Glenlyon has learned that they’re stronger when they stand with other star systems than they are on their own. But after helping their neighbor Kosatka against an invasion, Glenlyon has become a target. An attack is launched against Glenlyon’s orbital facility with forces too powerful for fleet officer Rob Geary to counter using their sole remaining destroyer, Saber. Mele Darcy’s Marines must repel repeated assaults while their hacker tries to get into the enemy systems to give Saber a fighting chance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Staff Pick DVDs: July Part Two

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists, part one is here!


Shoplifters
One of the most consistent filmmakers of today, Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda has never made a bad film but his latest work is an exceptional work even by his standard. He questions what family really means by gracefully portraying vulnerable people who live in a shabby house in the edge of society. The narrative is gentle and atmospheric but it’s, in fact, almost Ken Loach-like social realism drama. (Shinji)

Kusama : infinity : the life and art of Yayoi Kusama.
The history, evolution and development of Kusama’s core themes, concepts and the ideas behind her work are well covered. While her conservative upbringing and her life story are covered in this documentary, for me this is one of the film’s weaker elements. By end of this well made and highly informative movie we know a lot about Yayoi Kusama’s art and practice and her position in the modern art world but perhaps a little less about the artist herself. (Neil J)

Ngati
Director Barry Barclay theorised a “fourth cinema” that would be made by indigenous film-makers, from an indigenous perspective with the primary intended audience being indigenous peoples. He achieved his goals with the beautiful Ngāti, the story of a young Australian doctor exploring his Māori heritage. The first feature film to have a Māori writer and director is one of the masterpieces of New Zealand cinema. (Joseph)

Bohemian Rhapsody
This is the biographical story of the life of Freddie Mercury from his youth through to Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance (of which this movie contains the entire performance). As a matter of course, this has all the wonderful Queen music that we know and love. Giving a wonderful ‘behind the scenes’ look at how they came to write their songs, Raimi Malek is wonderful as Mercury. (Brigid)

Informer
Tense drama as Raza Shar, a young charismatic second generation Pakistani from East London, is coerced by a Counter-Terrorism officer’s DS Gabe Waters (Paddy Considine) and DC Holly Morten’s into going undercover as an informer. As the stakes get higher Raza’s life slowly spins out of control, while Considine’s new partner begins to probe his undercover past and drag up some secrets he’d prefer to stay buried. (Mark)

Annihilation.
The husband of an ex-soldier now biologist goes missing on a deep secret mission in the Shimmer (a mysterious part of the world where strange things happen). Lena’s husband suddenly returns sick and minus his memory, so she and her team must enter the Shimmer to find out what happened. A good story. and reminiscent of The Fog. (Brigid)

Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde isn’t just set in cold war Berlin. It’s set in the end of days of cold war Berlin. Which is different. Something is about to happen. I can’t remember if this movie actually features the song Atomic by Blondie. But it doesn’t matter because the whole situation oozes Blondie and Atomic and crumbling trust, following crumbs, spies, hair follicles and sun bleached Charlize Theron as the most powerful American spy. (Tim)

Instant family
A great comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, and Rose Byrne, a professional couple who suddenly realise they are missing something in their lives. Children. After a discussion and doing a course they are all set to become foster parents! When matched with a Spanish-speaking rebellious teenager, they find out she has siblings and Pete and Ellie suddenly go from 0 to 3 children overnight. (Brigid)

The little drummer girl.
Adaptation of the novel by John le Carré, set in the ’70s in which Charlie is recruited by charismatic agent Gadi, to play a part in operation to ensnare a serial bomber for Mossad spymaster Kurtz. A Palestinian terror cell has been responsible for the killing of a number of prominent Jews in western Europe, and the aim of the mission is to embed Charlie within the cell so she can draw out its elusive leader. (Mark)

You were never really here
Lynne Ramsay is a poet of the visual cinema with a distinctive vision – You Were Never Really Here is a real departure in some ways from her previous films. In places it feels like a modern day Taxi Driver and as such it is a powerful, brutal, visceral and violent watch not for the faint hearted. Yet Ramsay’s trademark visual style is still there, only this time it’s the harsh neon city or the sheen of light on blood. (Neil J)

American honey
Shot on warm, saturated film, the viewing experience is an absolute pleasure. The soundtrack rattles with dance pop, 21st century hip-hop and country. The narrative rises and falls, resembling life; full of risk, sorrow and joy. Sasha Lane proves her acting chops in the lead role and Shia LaBeouf delivers his best performance. Director Andrea Arnold has bottled the spirit of youth in these economically precarious times. (Joseph)

The old man & the gun
Based on the story of Forrest Tucker, who had a unique leisurely style of bank robbery and escaped from prison 16 times, director David Lowery turned it into a witty laid-back outlaw tale. The centre of the movie is, of course, Redford who plays Tucker, and it is obvious that he loves playing this character. The chemistry between Redford and legend Sissy Spacek, who plays his love interest, is simply wonderful, and lifts the whole thing to another level. A perfect swansong. (Shinji)

The Happytime Murders
Melissa McCarthy stars in this Brian Henson alternative production about a place where puppets and people live and work together. A detective (McCarthy) is teamed with her ex-partner, a puppet, to investigate a series of murders of puppets from the Happytime movie series. Don’t be fooled by the puppets as this movie is very definitely R rated – most definitely NOT Sesame Street. (Brigid)

Bad times at the El Royale
A group of mysterious strangers show up at a once posh but now slightly run down hotel in the late 1960’s, but it soon becomes apparent that not everything or everyone are who or what they seem. There is much to be enjoyed about ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ as it has a twisty, compelling plot, it is very stylishly filmed and sports a stellar cast. (Neil J)

Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen brothers are always a directing duo to watch, and this Oscar Isaac starring feature is one of their finest. Set in the early 60s folk music scene in Greenwich Village, the snow and solemn environments provide the backdrop to the road rambling of a failing folk musician. (Joseph)

Staff Pick DVDs: July Part One

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists!


Unforgotten. Series 3.
When human remains are found on the central reservation of a motorway near London, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker), DI Suni Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and their team of detectives are assigned the case. A doctor, a television presenter, a failing salesman, and an artist are a close-knit group of old school friends who hold the key to what happened. (Mark)

First man
First Man is a film centred round the build up to the Apollo moon landings and in particular Neil Armstrong. It is a film that both aims to show simultaneously how we touched the stars through these missions and also be a close examination of Armstrong’s personal life. These two cleverly interwoven threads show that his domestic life and his historic role as first man on the moon are in fact part of the same thing. (Neil J)

Wildlife
“I feel like I need to wake up, but I don’t know what from or to”, a housewife named Jeanette, played by Carey Mulligan who is the anchor of the film, tells her son. The actor Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) has turned director, and his debut feature ‘Wildlife’ is a quiet portrait of the painful process of an idyllic young family gradually falling apart. (Shinji)

Broken
This is based on an early Maori story from the 1800’s when a young girl was murdered by a marauding tribe. The girl always carried the gospel of Luke with her and the book was stolen by the murderer, who read it and was then filled with remorse. Our story starts in present day New Zealand with an ex-gang leader who has pulled out to raise his daughter after the death of his wife. (Brigid)

Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a marvellously sensitive portrait of teenage-hood, self-discovery, friendship and family. Saoirse Ronan performs excellently in the lead role of a disaffected high-schooler who dreams of going to college in New York. One of the greatest coming of age films to be made, whilst never falling into the traps and tropes of the genre. The dialogue is true; believable, relatable and piercing. (Joseph)

Counterpart. Season one.
Howard Silk is a low-level bureaucrat in a Berlin-based UN agency called the Office of Interchange, where he works exchanging coded call-and-response messages with another agent. However one day all this changes, as he is drafted into an urgent meeting… and finds himself face to face with his double. The ‘other’ Howard now needs this worlds Howard to help with a new mission. (Mark)

The breaker upperers
This is a funny New Zealand movie starring Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek. It is set in Auckland and features many cameos of famous New Zealand actors. The two ladies in question discover they are being two timed by a man, but instead of getting bitter they become friends and set up a company which helps people break up with each other. Great for a laugh. (Brigid)

Vice
If there was ever a movie award for the most perfectly named film then Vice must be a strong candidate to take that prize. It is the story of the unassuming Vice president Dick Cheney and his terrifying and amoral pursuit of power, money and influence ably assisted by his wife Lynne Cheney (the Lady Macbeth of the piece). It is described as a comedy and if you like the darkest type of satire that holds but for many people it will watch as a shocking indictment of American politics. (Neil J)

Summer 1993
Watching the Catalan writer-director Carla Simon’s debut feature ‘Summer 1993’ is like watching the most exquisite home video; very personal yet universal. Based on Simon’s childhood experience, it follows 6-year-old Frida who is moved from Barcelona to Catalan countryside to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. Avoiding dramatization, it’s a sensitively crafted, beautiful filmic memoir. (Shinji)

Searching
After David Kim’s (John Cho) 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened. 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet…online. A thriller told exclusively via screen shots seems like a total bore, but this hyper-modern thriller utilises character dialogue recorded through webcams, apps, security camera footage, as well as key moments portrayed through YouTube clips to generate as much suspense as a traditional narrative. (Mark)

Finding your feet
Great movie with a superb cast including Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley. When Lady Sandra Abbot discovers that her husband has been having a long term affair with her best friend she leaves and renews her friendship with her sister (Celia Imrie). These two make an unlikely pair and with time, love and lots of laughs Lady Sandra starts to discover herself and life and love again. It is a funny movie but does have some sad and poignant moments in it. (Brigid)

Ryuichi Sakamoto : CODA
How do great artists face their own mortality? These huge questions rather than a career overview is what you get in this poignant documentary about the iconic Japanese musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto. This film is almost a meditation on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s current creativity, a powerful and moving piece delivered in a gentle and sad way. (Neil J)

Lean on Pete
This film is about a 15-year-old boy, Charlie, who lives in poverty and runs away with a racehorse he takes care of to save it from the slaughterhouse. Blending a human-animal special bond story with a road movie and a coming of age tale, the movie shows a harsh slice of America; a dysfunctional family, poverty, placelessness etc., and a lot of events – mostly unfortunate, tormenting ones – unfold. (Shinji)

Sorry to bother you
This is an unusual story set in an alternative reality version of Oakland, where a poor but ambitious salesman starts working as a telemarketer. Cassius Green finds he has a real gift for sales and has a meteoric rise in the company. However, Cassius discovers his workplace is not what he thinks it is when he accidentally enters the wrong door. A very unusual story. (Brigid)

Frances Ha
Greta Gerwig stars as the loveable and exasperating Frances as she rambles through New York, facing technical homelessness and creative frustration. A tale of optimism in the face of adversity. The black and white cinematography is virtuosic and deeply satisfying. (Joseph)

The guilty
Alarm dispatcher and sidelined police officer, Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) answers an emergency call from a woman, that he soon ascertains has been kidnapped. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman, but soon realises that there is more to the situation that first appears. (Mark)

Striving for self-improvement and happiness!

Discover ways to find happiness and achieve your family goals with ideas and tips found in these newly arrived library books. Happy reading!

Listen to me! : taking the conflict out of child discipline / Martin, Anna
“Are you confused by all the different parenting advice on how to discipline your child? Have you been trying a variety of different methods for years that don’t really work or feel uncomfortable to use? Regardless of your situation, you might find it helpful to change the way you think about discipline altogether. Dr Anna Martin has turned traditional methods on their head to come up with effective strategies that put listening and the wellbeing of children before lecturing.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Raising girls in the twenty-first century / Biddulph, Steve
“Steve Biddulph’s Raising Boys was a global phenomenon. The first book in a generation to look at boys’ specific needs, parents loved its clarity and warm insights into their sons’ inner world. But today, things have changed. It’s girls that are in trouble.” (Catalogue)

Maybe you should talk to someone : a therapist, her therapist, and our lives revealed / Gottlieb, Lori
“With starting wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. This book is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds. It reveals what it means to be human!” (Catalogue)

Girl, stop apologizing : a shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals / Hollis, Rachel
Rachel Hollis knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people–whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee–instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.” (Dust jacket)

Agatha Christie meets the Tour de France in our latest fiction mysteries showcase

“It’s incredible… Many Colombians have tried before, we’ve had great cyclists in the past. But I’m the first one to win the Tour! Colombia deserves it.” – Egan Bernal 2019 Tour de France winner.

With the 2019 Tour de France over and the first ever Colombian rider Egan Bernal winning the race, it is very timely that Mexican author Jorge Zepeda Patterson has just released an Agatha Christiesque murder mystery, where riding for the coveted yellow jersey takes a deadly turn. Other intriguing new acquisitions in this month’s showcase include The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes – a compendium of tales of fictional detectives that were written during the same era as the deer stalker-topped sleuth. We also have a new novel by top Scottish crime writer Alex Grey as well as new works by R.J. Ellory and Katherine Hall Page.

The black jersey : a novel / Zepeda Patterson, Jorge
“Marc Moreau, a professional cyclist with a military past, is part of a top Tour de France team led by his best friend, an American star favored to win this year’s Tour. But the competition takes a dark turn when racers begin to drop out in a series of violent accidents: But as the victim count rises, the number of potential murderers–and potential champions–dwindles.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rivals of Sherlock Holmes : the greatest detective stories: 1837-1914
“If “Rue Morgue” was the first true detective story in English, the title of the first full-length detective novel is more hotly contested. Two books by Wilkie Collins–The Woman in White (1859) and The Moonstone (1868)–are often given that honor, with the latter showing many of the features that came to identify the genre: a locked-room murder in an English country house; bungling local detectives outmatched by a brilliant amateur detective; a large cast of suspects and a plethora of red herrings; and a final twist before the truth is revealed.” (Catalogue)

The darkest goodbye / Gray, Alex
“When newly fledged DC Kirsty Wilson is called to the house of an elderly woman, what appears to be a death by natural causes soon takes a sinister turn when it is revealed that the woman had a mysterious visitor in the early hours of that morning – someone dressed as a community nurse, but with much darker intentions. As Kirsty is called to another murder she finds herself pulled into a complex case involving vulnerable people and a sinister service that offers them and their loved ones a ‘release’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Three bullets / Ellory, Roger Jon
“It was the shot heard around the world. On 22nd November 1963, John F. Kennedy’s presidential motorcade rode through Dealey Plaza. But what if it missed? Mitch Newman is a photojournalist based out of Washington, D.C. His phone never rings. When it does, a voice he hasn’t heard in years will tell him his former fiancée Jean has taken her own life. Jean was an investigative reporter working the case of a lifetime. Somewhere in the shreds of her investigation is the truth behind her murder.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The body in the wake / Page, Katherine Hall (print) (eBook)
“For the first time in years, Faith Fairchild has time for herself. Her friend Sophie Maxwell is also spending the summer on Sanpere Island, hoping for distractions from her worries that she isn’t yet pregnant.  Faith has her hands full. And that’s before a body with a mysterious tattoo and connections far away from small Sanpere Island appears in the Lily Pond. Once again, Faith will get to the bottom of this strange case–and whip up a delicious blueberry buckle on the side.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Girls like us / Alger, Cristina
“FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in ten years. When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up to spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young Latina women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A summer of murder / Bottini, Oliver
“When the local fire brigade is called to a burning farm shed, a volunteer is killed as a weapons cache beneath it explodes. Louise Bonì, back with Freiburg Kripo after a period of withdrawal, is assigned to the task force dealing with the case. The meagre evidence they gather points to a possible connection with German neo-Nazis or illegal arms dealers from the former Yugoslavia, but the appearance of secret service agents marking out the forest suggests more is at stake.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The roadhouse / McGinnis, Kerry
“When aspiring actress Charlie Carver learns that her cousin Annabelle has died, she immediately leaves Melbourne to fly home. The reunion, however, is interrupted when Molly suffers a heart attack. With her mother airlifted out for life-saving surgery, Charlie is left to take the reins of the struggling family business. The authorities declare Annabelle to have taken her own life, but when a woman’s body turns up at an abandoned mine site, Charlie begins to wonder what else is being covered up, and why.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ancestry in August – Family History Month 2019

August is Family History Month! Join us for talks by Suzanne Sutton-Cummings from the NZ Society of Genealogists (Hutt Valley Branch).

A Public Talk: Sharing Your Stories

  • Johnsonville Library – Friday 23rd August, 10.30-11.30am
  • Tawa Library – Monday 26th August, 11am-12noon

Suzanne will take us through ways to present your family history – from the basics of recording the details to tips on writing and editing, and creative ways to present and publish your stories, documents and photographs, both online and on paper. After each talk there will be an opportunity to consult with Suzanne about your projects and get further advice.

Research Your Family History

  • Johnsonville Library – Friday 23rd August, 1-4pm
  • Tawa Library – Monday 26th August, 1-4pm

Register to reserve time with a librarian for one-to-one help with your family history research – whether you would like help to get started or make some progress with your ‘brick walls’. You can also make an appointment to discuss your whakapapa research with Māori Specialist Ann Reweti. There is no charge for these appointments but bookings are essential.

Contact Johnsonville Library 477 6151 or Tawa Library 232 1690 for bookings.

Food, glorious food – our picks of cooking books

An eclectic mix of health foods, comfort foods and fast foods


Modern Baking : cakes, cookies and everything in between / Hay, Donna
“Donna Hay, Australia’s bestselling, favourite and most trusted cook, brings you one of her most beautiful books yet: Modern Baking, with over 250 mouth-watering recipes for cakes, biscuits and all kinds of divinely delicious sweet treats. Inside are more than 250 recipes – my all-time favourite essentials, plus some super-smart shortcuts for when life gets crazy busy.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Lateral Cooking / Segnit, Niki
Lateral Cooking is, in a sense, the ‘method’ companion to its bestselling predecessor, The Flavour Thesaurus – and is just as useful, ingeniously organised and enjoyable to read. The recipes in each chapter are then arranged on a continuum, the transition from one recipe to another generally amounting to a tweak or two in the method or ingredients.” (adapted from Catalogue)

River Cottage : Veg Everyday! / Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hugh
“Why don’t we eat more veg? They’re healthy, cost-effective and, above all, delicious. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall believes that we should all be eating more of the good stuff, as he explains in this brilliant book. With over 200 recipes and vibrant photography from Simon Wheeler, River Cottage Veg Every Day is a timely eulogy to the glorious green stuff.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Eating Well Everyday / Gordon, Peter
“Using easily sourced ingredients and simple methods, the Godfather of fusion cooking Peter Gordon has created over 170 dishes that demonstrate his passion for innovative flavours and textures in an everyday setting.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Let Me Feed You, Rosie Daykin (ebook)
“Rosie’s cooking is as unfussy and straightforward as it is delicious and beautiful. Given how busy life can be, she doesn’t believe making a comforting home cooked meal should make it any more complicated; because complicated doesn’t always mean better. Let Me Feed You is a warm, humorous cookbook full of easy-to-follow recipes destined to become new favorites.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Healthy Kids Cookbook / Bloomfield, Jill
“More than 60 delicious and easy recipes for any child learning to cook! From homemade breakfast smoothies to rainbow salad, nutritious sweets and wholesome party food, Healthy Kids Cookbook has everything you need to cook yummy meals and snacks that are packed with nutrition. With step-by-step recipes, full-page colour photography, notes for the parents, and variations to suit different tastes and dietary requirements, this book is perfect for any household that has young chefs in training!” (Catalogue)

Alternative Vegan : healthy plant-based recipes that break the rules / Reginato, Marie
“Marie Reginato makes plant-based cooking more exciting with over 75 healthy recipes with the option of adding in seafood or eggs. With delicious recipes – a majority of which are dairy, egg and gluten free – and the wiggle room to stick to a healthy lifestyle long term, Alternative Vegan is the carefully-crafted, modern approach to ditching the “one size fits all” mentality.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Tacos and Margaritas / Burggraf, Steve
“This is a smart, fun collection of everyone’s favorite foods in a single book–who doesn’t love hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, and margaritas? With more than 100 recipes, from quick and easy to classic to more gourmet fare, including some more unusual ingredients, this book brings all of your fast-food favorites together in one place.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Toni Morrison: a Personal Reflection

After the recent death of Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, our fiction selector Neil reflects on his memorable meeting with the literary great.

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. Many years ago I had the great privilege of running a book signing event for one of her novels. What I best remember is the way she could communicate to her audience even the darkest of events with great humanity and compassion. Though it was a long time ago, I can still recall how her presence lit up the room and how the audience hung rapt on every word she said.

Born in 1931, she said to biographers “Storytelling was part of family life.” After gaining a master’s degree at Cornell University she started a teaching and editing career before publishing her first novel, The Bluest Eye in 1970. What followed was a remarkable stream of stunning works, with razor sharp dissections of slavery and racism and their consequences for individuals and society. She was awarded just about every literary award available, including the Nobel Prize, the French Legion of Honour and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In our ever more divided world, her messages about the corrosive power of racism and slavery are as powerful and important as they ever were. For more reflections on Toni Morrison, visit The Guardian tribute page.

New fictional excursions

This month our new fiction selection offers humour and tragedy with authors that craft tales to confront and amuse. Travelling to new lives, the characters of Christy Lefteri and polyglot Pajtim Statovci reveal two very different tales of escape from Syria in The Beekeeper of Aleppo and European peregrinations in Crossings as politics and violence carve new and unexpected paths. These authors have lived the lives of their characters through emigration and profession, the absurd coincidences of real life enhance their writing.

Colson Whitehead relates the brutal reality of a segregation era reform school in The Nickel Boys. Inspired by horrific events that transpired at the real-life Dozier School for Boys, Whitehead’s brilliant examination of America’s history of violence is a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight.

The talented Deborah Moggach, script writer and serial inspiration for movies, Tulip Fever and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has written on the ever expanding care for the elderly in The Carer. And the transformative Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame writes on female self determination with a flair for the theatrical 1940’s. Other selections delve into espionage, undertaking and small town justice, a wealth of enjoyment to discover. Enjoy!

The carer / Moggach, Deborah
“James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day? Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nickel boys : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Joe Country / Herron, Mick
“If Spook Street is where spies live, Joe Country is where they go to die. In Regent’s Park, Diana Taverner’s tenure as First Desk is running into difficulties. If she’s going to make the Service fit for purpose, she might have to make deals with a familiar old devil. Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Beirut Hellfire Society : a novel / Hage, Rawi
“When his father meets a sudden and untimely death, Pavlov, the son of a local undertaker is approached by a colorful member of the mysterious Hellfire Society, an anti-religious sect that, among many rebellious and often salacious activities, arranges secret burial for outcasts who have been denied last rites because of their religion or sexuality. Deftly combining comedy with tragedy, gritty reality with surreal absurdity, Beirut Hellfire Society asks: What, after all, can be preserved in the face of certain change and imminent death?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The care and feeding of ravenously hungry girls / Gray, Anissa
“The Butler family has had their share of trials, as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest.  Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe beekeeper of Aleppo / Christy Lefteri.
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of girls / Gilbert, Elizabeth (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.” (Catalogue)

Crossing / Statovci, Pajtim
“In the devastation of post-Communist Albania, Bujar and Agim feel trapped: Bujar struggling to come to terms with the loss of his father, Agim facing dangerous realizations about his sexuality and his feelings for Bujar. When shame and guilt push Bujar and Agim to leave everything behind, the unfamiliar life of an immigrant and asylum seeker sets Bujar on a path of reinvention. But Bujar’s quest for identity and belonging is haunted by the mystery of what happened to Agim–his one, true beloved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Confession with blue horses / Hardach, Sophie
“Tobi and Ella’s childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery, their past in full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family’s daring and terrifying attempt to escape. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses? In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for the archive, piecing together the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye, unravelling the secrets at its heart becomes an obsession.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Teams, extremes and everything in between – sport and fitness books

From inspiring stories about extreme athletes, sporting champions, and blind sportsman, to more everyday exercises with jump rope, the wide ranging topics covered in this selection will inspire you to get ready for the more active summer months.

Eat Like an Athlete : boost your energy and performance through nutrition / Austin, Simone
“In Eat Like an Athlete, sports dietitian Simone Austin shares practical tips and suggestions on how to boost your energy and performance through nutrition, derived from her years of experience advising elite athletes. Simone’s hands-on manual allows people of all ages, from weekend warriors to professional players, to give their bodies optimal nourishment for training, competition and recovery.” (Catalogue)

Ballerina body : dancing and eating your way to a leaner, stronger, and more graceful you / Copeland, Misty
““The celebrated ballerina and role model, Misty Copeland, shares the secrets of how to reshape your body and achieve a lean, strong physique and glowing health. Misty Copeland believes “There has been a shift in recent years in which women no longer desire the bare bones of a runway model. Standards have changed: what women do want is a long, toned, powerful body with excellent posture.” In other words, the body of a ballerina.” (Catalogue)

Incredible Sporting Champions / Amson-Bradshaw, Georgia
“These women showed what it really means to “play like a girl.” Includes Marie Marvingt, Cathy Freeman, Sarah Storey, Serena Williams, Kaori Icho, Tatyana McFadden, Katie Ladecky, and other female sports legends. In Incredible Sporting Champions, you will meet just a few of the incredibly talented, dedicated and brave women who have refused to let people decide for them what they are capable of achieving.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Extreme athletes : true stories of amazing sporting adventurers / Guillain, Charlotte
“This title is part of the ‘Ultimate Adventurers’ series. This series tells real-life stories of courage, endurance and survival against the odds. There will be stories of success and disappointment, individual achievement and teamwork.” (Catalogue)

The Captain Class : the hidden force that creates the world’s greatest teams / Walker, Sam
“Walker starts with one of the most hotly debated questions in sports: What are the greatest teams ever–particularly those that sustained success over a long period of time. At that point, Walker became obsessed with another, more complicated question: What did these teams have in common? A genius coach? A transcendent superstar? A groundbreaking system? Or was it all a matter of chemistry?” (adapted from Catalogue)

101 Best Jump Rope Workouts / Lee, Buddy
“Get moving with 100 high intensity jump rope workouts for all fitness levels. A jump rope is the most effective fitness equipment you can own. Great for cardio, endurance and HIIT training a jump rope is versatile, portable, and efficient. Buddy Lee, recognized internationally as the world’s expert at jump rope fitness, provides 100 challenging, dynamic and varied workouts in this unique collection. Simple and effective, these jump rope workouts can be done anywhere and anytime.” (Catalogue)

No Barriers : a blind man’s journey to kayak the Grand Canyon / Weihenmayer, Erik
No Barriers is about my journey since coming down from Mt. Everest in 2001, and the path to where I am today. It is the story of my own life, the personal and professional struggles in the pursuit of growth, learning, and family, as well as a dream to kayak one of the world’s great rivers as a blind athlete. It is also about the many people I’ve encountered along the way who possess what I call a “No Barriers” mindset, who live a No Barriers life.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Running Rewired, Jay Dicharry (ebook)
In Running Rewired, America’s leading endurance sports physical therapist and coach shares a program for runners to become stronger, faster, and more durable. Jay Dicharry distills cutting-edge biomechanical research into 15 workouts any runner can slot into their training program to begin seeing real results in about 6 weeks. Running Rewired will show you how to shed old injuries, mobility problems, weaknesses and imbalances and rewire your body-brain movement patterns.” (adapted from Overdrive description)