Playstation trial at the library

Exciting news for fans of gaming! We are trialing some Playstation gaming at these libraries – Karori, Johnsonville, Cummings Park, Miramar and Kilbirnie. Some of the reasons we chose to try this at Wellington City Libraries include:

  • Play of all types is critical to the learning and development of children.
  • In moderation, gaming has been associated with higher intelligence, doing well at school and getting on well with peers.
  • Gaming encourages problem solving, strategic thinking, and creativity. As a shared experience, it encourages collaboration, community building and communication.
  • There is scientific evidence that gaming can physically increase parts of the brain related to memory, spatial navigation, and fine motor function.
  • It can also improve eyesight for the visually impaired, and improve a person’s sense of wellbeing.
  • We believe games can attract non-readers into the library and enable us to expose them to a reading culture and promote related library services.
  • Cost is a barrier to aspects of digital media literacy for some. Libraries can remove this barrier and foster community inclusiveness.
  • Most games involve elaborate storytelling and tie-in with other items held at the library. Read the book, watch the movie, listen to the CD and play the game!
  • Gaming adds a strand to existing library creative learning resources such as board games, puzzles, Lego and library makerspaces.
  • The NZ Physical Activity Guidelines (Ministry of Health) suggest up to 2hrs per day of recreational screen time is acceptable (in addition to school screen time) for children.
  • Other New Zealand libraries have been successfully running Playstation gaming sessions for over 10 years.

Parents are welcome to play with their children. Parental permission and supervision is required for children. Noise control is managed by the use of headsets.

We are offering it for a few hours per week only – not all the time, so please check with your nearest participating library as to which games they have available and when games can be played.

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Goldfrapp Silver eye
Future Islands The far fields
Father John Misty Pure comedy
Steve Hackett The night siren

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Gorillaz Humanz
Be Music
Bob Dylan Triplicate
Nick Cave Lovely creatures : the best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Sun Kil Moon Common as light and love are red valleys of blood
Conor Oberst Salutations


New Graphic Novels for May

This month’s selection of recently received new Graphic Novels includes the first volumes in three new series with one by the prolific Brian Wood. There is also the continuation of the award winning graphic memoir by Riad Sattouf, The Arab of the Future 2: a graphic memoir: a childhood in the Middle east (1984-1985)

Syndetics book coverBecoming Andy Warhol / by Nick Bertozzi ; illustrated by Pierce Hargan.
“Celebrated during his lifetime as much for his personality as for his paintings, Andy Warhol (1928-87) is the most famous and influential of the Pop artists, who developed the notion of 15 minutes of fame, and the idea that an artist could be as illustrious as the work he creates. This graphic novel biography offers insight into the turning point of Warhol’s career and the creation of the Thirteen Most Wanted Men mural for the 1964 World’s Fair, when Warhol clashed with urban planner Robert Moses, architect Philip Johnson, and Governor Nelson Rockefeller.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath of the artist : a graphic novel / by Karrie Fransman and friends.
“On 13 August 2013 graphic novelist Karrie Fransman invited four old friends from university to an isolated cottage on the misty moors of the Peak District to join her for a week of hedonism and creativity. Like Shelley and Byron before them, they would use the retreat to tell stories. Except these would be comics, collected together in this very book. The theme would be The Death of the Artist. None of the five friends realised how appropriate this theme would become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRolling blackouts : dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq / Sarah Glidden.
“Cartoonist Sarah Glidden accompanies her two friends, reporters and founders of a journalism non-profit, as they research potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East and, specifically, the war’s refugees. Joining the trio is a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come across and perhaps even themselves. As the crew works their way through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, Glidden observes the reporters as they ask civilians, refugees, and officials, “Who are you?” Everyone has a story to tell: the Iranian blogger, the United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, the Iraqi refugee deported from the US, the Iraqis seeking refuge in Syria, and even the American Marine.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMarch. Book one / John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell.
“This graphic novel is Congressman John Lewis’ first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a climax on the steps of City Hall.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHead Lopper. Vol. 1, The island or A plague of beasts / written and drawn by Andrew Maclean.
“The Head Lopper, Norgal, and the nagging severed head of Agatha Blue Witch arrive on the Isle of Barra to find it overrun with beasts; minions of the Sorcerer of the Black Bog. When Queen Abigail hires Norgal and Agatha to slay the Sorcerer, they trek across the island relieving the horrors of their heads, and playing right into the hands of a master manipulator.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe discipline. Volume 1, The seduction / writer, Peter Milligan ; artist, Leandro Fernández ; colorist, Cris Peter ; letterer, Simon Bowland.
“When frustrated Manhattan wife Melissa Peake allows herself to be seduced by a mysterious stranger, she is drawn into an ancient war between The Discipline and the creatures known as The Stalkers. She must discover previously unimagined potential within herself to survive, but at what cost?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEquinoxes / Pedrosa ; translation by Joe Johnson.
“In an equinox, day is as long as night, as if the world found perfect equilibrium between shadow and light, a fleeting equilibrium, similar to the stakes of our human destinies. Segmented into four tableaux for four seasons, unrelated people of all social backgrounds seeking equilibrium cross paths with other solitudes, weaving in and out of one another’s lives- all captivated and tormented by the enigmatic meaning of life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Arab of the future 2 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985) / Riad Sattouf ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Riad has settled in his father’s hometown of Horms, gets to go to school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riads story takes in the sweep of politics, religion, and poverty, but is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteacher, the lure of the black market, with its menu of shame and subsistence, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. As family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to make the most dramatic of changes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDisillusioned illusions : a graphic novel / Greg Stump.
“When a pair of washed-up silhouettes abandon the optical illusion business to make a graphic novel, they desperately hope the book will rocket them to fame and fortune. They’ll do just about anything to finish their project, anything, that is, except put forth any kind of effort whatsoever. Instead, they enlist a Juilliard-trained actor named Rodney to bear the burden of the work while they bicker, smoke, and relax in the break room. But their ingenious attempts at evading the hard labors of proper storytelling backfire when the three become entangled in a labyrinthine narrative of deception, adoption, and betrayal. Alliances and identities are forged and discarded with the turn of a page as the trio hurtles towards a thrilling courtroom conclusion that threatens to pull back the curtain on closely-guarded secrets and conspiracies” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack Road. Vol. 1. The holy North / story, Brian Wood ; art and cover, Garry Brown ; colors, Dave McCaig ; lettering and production, Steve Wands.
“1000 A.D. The Christian conversion of pagan lands is well underway, turning the Viking north into a bleak war zone of occupation and violence. Magnus The Black is an ex-warrior turned fixer for the Church, only looking to ease his people through this painful time. But when a Vatican official under his care is murdered on the infamous “Black Road”, he uncovers a secret, something so big it threatens to change the balance of power in all of Europe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Staff Picks CDs: Feb-May

A wide range of music styles and artists curated by our avid music fans on staff over the last few months. We hope you find something new to enjoy.

Hammock – Everything and Nothing
After experimenting with post-classical sound, the ambient, post-rock duo from Nashville seems to enter a new phase. This 16-songs-76-minutes-suite is their most pop album, featuring several singers and some rhythmical tunes. However, their distinguished musical world; mesmerising, gradually sublimated emotional sound scape, remains beautifully and enthrals you. Somewhere in the mixture of Cocteau Twins, Sigur Ross and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this album should appeal to a wider audience. (Shinji)

Ingrid and Christine Jensen – Infinitude
Canadian sister jazz musicians Ingrid and Christine Jensen (trumpeter and saxophonist respectively) have played together over the years, but making a collaboration album is something new for them. Born and raised on Vancouver Island where surrounded by an abundance of nature, their Nordic roots is strongly embedded in the music here, and blends wonderfully into modern sonic jazz which shows the shadows of the late 60s’ Miles Davis. The communication among the players is so fluid, and the guest guitarist Ben Monder adds rich textures. Infinitude is a beautiful, sublime album. (Shinji)

Craig Taborn – Daylight Ghosts
One of the most innovative and versatile jazz pianists of today Craig Taborn has found ECM label as his home and this third effort for the label is a sheer magic. Assembled from his long-time friends and master musicians, the quartet shows amazing interplays and integrates Taborn’s enigmatic compositions into the highly skilful group improvisations. It’s a hybrid chamber jazz infused with subtle electronica, post rock, complex rhythm etc. This group is probably more avant-garde on stage but this is an ECM production. Their radicalness is slightly reduced and beautified. However, it worked out fantastically. A masterpiece is born. (Shinji)

Ross Harris – The Kugels play Klezmer
Ross Harris is perhaps better known as the leading composer of the New Zealand classical world or perhaps his pioneering electronic pieces with the Free Radicals. However his latest works are a revelation, the album comprises traditional Jewish Klezmer pieces. Melancholic, lyrical, delicate and beautiful , the music is played with grace and finesse by the Kugels who are the Wellington based quartet to which he belongs . The album pulls off that rare feat of sounding both vibrant and fresh whilst being firmly rooted in the tradition to which the music belongs .
Highly recommended. (Neil J)

Relative Abundance – Golden Pavilion
Golden Pavilion is an ambitions, experimental, emotionally engaging album . A modern classical piece with deep roots in modern electronic ambient works. If you like Steve Reich or Brian Eno or indeed cutting edge modern electronica then this will be right up your street.
The band describes the piece as being like music from a long lost fictional civilisation that might have borne some similarity to Japan, Tibet, Nepal or Indonesia: a work of fictional anthropological field recording. relativeabundance.bandcamp.com/album/kinkaku-ji (Neil J)

Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
Their music creates a dreamy soundscape punctuated by clicks and snares, overlaid with intriguing lyrics suggesting themes such as the suffering of a Matador in the bull ring, to relationship breakup aftermath, even alluding to Maurice Sendaks “Where the wild things Are”. For me, it is the perfect music to distract from the dreary windy rainy Autumn weather. (Lisa)

Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
The award winning British poet/rapper excels on her second album which is something quite spectacular. The grooves are fat, the tunes are great, and the lyrics, while cutting and acerbic, are drawn from a deeply humane perspective. This is an intensely political record that harks back to the early days of hip-hop as she directs her fine honed literary tirades at capitalism, gentrification, climate change, war, disconnectedness, isolation and more. Yet, surprisingly, the total does not come across as preachy or over wrought, and this is largely due to Kate Tempest’s impassioned delivery and the quality of the music. She obviously cares very much and really wants you to as well. (John)

Machinedrum– Human Energy
US electronic producer Travis Stewart, aka Machinedrum, has slowly built a worldwide profile with his workman like approach, consistently releasing excellent records and his latest is no exception. Last year’s “Vapor City”, his first for the esteemed Ninja Tune label, was a standout, merging genres including dubstep, r’n’b, jungle, footwork and ambient to create something original and very cool. “Human Energy”, inspired by the California new age movement, finds him coming as close as he has come to the popular arena, featuring very catchy tunes, a range of guest r’n’b vocalists, great beats and excellent production to create a summer record of euphoric glitch pop. (John)

Pink Floyd – The Early Years 1967-1972
This double cd features a relatively small selection of tracks from “The Early Years 1967-1972”- the mammoth 27 disc box set released earlier this year. Unless you are a dedicated fan, this selection should satisfy curiosity concerning Pink Floyd’s early time as an arty underground band before Dark Side of the Moon” launched them into the stratosphere. Nicely contextualized by a well-informed booklet included here are their first singles, some early BBC Sessions, previously unreleased soundtrack works, early live recordings and, intriguingly, 2016 remixes of three tracks from “Obscured By Clouds”. (John)

Nicolas Jaar – Sirens
The Chilean producer made a big splash with his 2011 release “Space Is Only Noise” and “Sirens”, experimental releases aside, is his follow up. Difficult to pin down, Nicolas Jaar is a fiercely creative producer who doesn’t simply merge genres; he throws them up in the air and creates something new and fresh with what falls down. His Discogs page tags him as “Electronic, Ambient, Downtempo, Modern Classical, Techno” which gives some indication. Using all manner of instruments, field recordings, lovely vocals, discreet electronics and a range of moods from ambient through downbeat to driving rock he has created not so much a record as a world to explore. (John)

The Radio Dept – Running Out of Love
This Swedish band have gradually built a loyal international following since the release of their 2003 debut “Lesser Matters”. Capturing everything that is appealing about the classic indie sound – gentle vocals, sweet melodies, driving grooves and meaningful lyrics – they deviate only slightly from their distinctive sound on this, their fourth release, by including more electronica in the mix and also incorporating a political awareness into some of their lyrics. Simultaneously nostalgic and forward looking, this is probably their most consistent album that comes as a friendly reminder of what a lovely thing it can be to have warm, intelligent music in your life. (John)

Shirley Collins – Lodestar
A real event within the folk world, 84 year old Shirley Collins, the “faerie queen” of UK psych folk who turned her back on singing and has lived in relative obscurity for almost 40 years, was finally coaxed back to a microphone by devoted fans. Recorded live to laptop in her rural cottage and accompanied by members of the next generation of folk musicians, this is a beautiful document, capturing her moving renditions of traditional British and American songs in a pure and humble fashion that enables times past to live again. (John)

Roman Flugel – All the Right Noises
In these beat saturated EDM times its refreshing to discover an electronic producer exploring more abstract regions yet still creating accessible sounds. Roman Flugel’s third album is “about the solitary time in hotel rooms between gigs, and that strange mixture of peace and isolation”, and he has created a collection of pieces that lie between ambient and dancefloor in the wonderful world of electronic listening music. It’s an imaginative and diverse ride, beautifully produced with sparkling highs and throbbing lows, that moves between a variety of styles and while the whole thing has a slightly unsettling feel, that is part of its charm. (John)

The Clean – Getaway(reissue)
Since their surprise 1981 hit “Tally-Ho” hit the charts, launching the ‘Dunedin sound’ into worldwide consciousness, The Clean have only released five albums and this re-issue of their fourth, 2001’s ‘Getaway’, with great artwork and an accompanying second disc featuring the rare tour-only live eps – “Syd’s Pink Wiring System” and “Slush Fund”, sits well in their scant but highly influential discography. The album sees the band in mature song writer mode and these well produced tracks cover a wide range of styles from the characteristic motorik chug of their early days to slower compositions featuring a range of instruments and a quieter mood. (John)

Kate Bush – Before the Dawn
In 2014 Kate Bush returned to the stage with a series of twenty-two shows and this three disc set is a recording of that show. Surprisingly, the set doesn’t focus on Kate’s hits, featuring only “Hounds of Love”, “Running Up That Hill” and “Cloudbusting”. Instead the focus is on two of her more ambitious works – “The Ninth Wave” (side two of Hounds of Love) and “A Sky of Honey” (side two of Aerial). With the album proudly stating “nothing on the record was re-recorded or overdubbed”, the performances are wonderful – her voice magnificent, with the accompanying musicians supplying sensitive and finely tuned performances. While it is a little frustrating to be missing the visuals of the stage show (with no DVD included) this is a treat for fans and not to be missed. (John)

VA – Jon Savage’s 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded
British writer Jon Savage’s new book explores how the year 1966 unfolded in music, taking one key song from each month and expanding on a theme. It’s a great book, well researched, and strongly recommended for those interested in the history of contemporary music and cultural development over the past 50 years. This two disc compilation is a companion to that book, featuring many of the key tracks discussed by Savage. The 48 tracks represent a wide snapshot of the times, from The Who’s ‘Substitute’ through Love’s ‘7 and 7 Is’ to Lee Dorsey’s ‘Working In a Coalmine”, and there is even a track from the very first David Bowie album! It’s a fascinating journey and a great listen if you have read the book or not. (John)

Romare – Love Songs Part Two
Romare’s debut album, last year’s ‘Projections’ was one of the years’ best electronic releases, featuring a great collection of sample laden smooth and funky grooves that always stayed engaging, edgy and interesting. His follow up, again on London’s Ninja Tune label, is essentially more of the same – and that is a very good thing. Nothing is too frantic and the grooves keep rolling, created from expertly selected samples from classic jazz, funk, house and soul that steer the tracks unfailingly into expertly layered excursions, some quiet and beguiling, some as seductive and funky as one could hope for. It’s a very cool ride from a talented producer that holds together nicely as an album rather than just a collection of tracks. (John)

Bonobo – Migration
Migration is Simon Green, aka Bonobo’s, sixth release since his 2000 debut, the gorgeous ‘Animal Magic’, and over that time he has become one of the most respected and successful electronic producers on the planet. His last album, 2013’s ‘The North Borders’ was his breakthrough and was toured, with an ensemble of live musos, across 30 countries on four continents to a total audience of around 2 million. His sound has evolved into a gorgeous form of electronic soul that features pianos, guitars, woodwind, strings and guest vocalists interlaced with found sounds and Green’s expertly crafted drum and keyboard programming. By turns melancholic, majestic and celebratory this is music that invites you into its own world. (John)

Brian Eno – Reflection
Brian Eno follows up ‘The Ship’, his 2017 vocals based release, with an hour long piece of generative music that continues on from his wispy 1991 work – ‘Neroli’. These generative pieces are delicate minimal electronic works that represent Eno’s strivings to create music that floats on the air like perfume, that doesn’t seem like music so much as pleasurable sounds that drift by your ears – always different, always the same – like a river. Generative music is created by putting together systems that generate the sounds in random patterns and with ‘Reflection’ comes the option to purchase an iOS app that presents a simple visual that gradually changes colors as the music itself slowly shifts, generating music indefinitely without ever repeating itself. So it seems that Eno has finally created a piece of infinite music. In these anxious times ambient works like this are a welcome respite, representing as they do, a peaceful and calming virtual river to sit beside. (John)

The XX – I See You
The London trio’s third release in seven years finds them continuing their moody brooding indie pop trajectory, however their sound palette has evolved, appearing to have incorporated production ideas from trio member, Jamie XX’s very successful solo electronic venture “In Colour”. This shift is evident from the get go with the first track, ‘Dangerous’, built on a bass groove and skittering hi hats. The lyrics are, as always, yearning, bittersweet love songs, and when Romy Madley Croft sings “I’ve been a romantic for so long” it’s easy to hope that never changes as The XX create their gorgeous and beautifully produced take on pop throughout, arguably, their best record yet. (John)

Sun Ra – Singles: The Definitive Collection 1952 – 1991
This impressive three disc set contains all of Sun Ra’s singles presented in chronological order. The first question one may ask is why did Sun Ra even bother releasing singles? The visionary outer space jazz maestro could hardly have been aiming for top 40 air play and, according to the liner notes, the mystery remains unexplained. Over his career Sun Ra simply decided that certain tunes needed to exist as 45s and he went ahead and pressed them, sometimes in runs as small as 50. Consequently, several are rare collectors’ items now, but thanks to the current media we are able to hear them all in remastered splendour. Beginning with his poem “I Am An Instrument” the listener is taken through the entire of Sun Ra’s career from big band jazz through be-bop to doo-wop to experimental and beyond. It’s a fascinating journey and these short compositions offer a great road into Sun Ra’s universe. (John)

William Basinski – A Shadow In Time
New York sound artist William Basinski made waves in the ambient world fifteen years ago with the first instalment of his astounding work, ‘The Disintegration Loops’. Since then he has regularly released his strange and hypnotically repetitive ambient sound projects and these two 20 minute pieces compare well with the best in his canon of work. The first piece, ‘For David Robert Jones’, a tribute to David Bowie, is oddly moving, and features, as a nod to Bowie’s own saxophone honking on ‘Subterraneans,’ a saxophone loop slowly mutating over the decaying extract from a heavenly choir, while the second piece ‘A Shadow In Time’ is a work of austere beauty, composed for an archaic Voyetra 8 synthesizer. (John)

The All Seeing Hand – Sand To Glass
Three years on from the excellent ‘Mechatronics’, Wellington trio, The All Seeing Hand return with their fourth album, which finds them refining their electronics driven sound into a subtly more reflective mode without sacrificing any of their characteristic intensity, having said that, there are still all out bangers like the excellent ’Silicon & Synapse’. Imaginative, exciting and powerful, this is a band brimming with confidence pouring their energy into well produced and well-constructed arrangements that make full use of Jonny Marks’ ecstatic throat singing, three guest vocalists and Alphabethead’s grungy electronics, all driven by B. Michael Knight’s excellent drumming. It’s a captivating sound, not quite electronica, not quite punk, not quite metal, not quite experimental and not quite rock and it would be fair to say that no-one else anywhere is making music quite like this at the moment. (John)

Johann Johannsson – Original Soundtrack – Arrival
Since his debut release in 2002, Icelandic ambient composer, Johann Johannsson, has been making consistently excellent music and it was inevitable that he would eventually make film soundtracks, as his composition style is especially evocative, conjuring up complex worlds of the imagination. His latest project was the soundtrack to the excellent sci-fi film “Arrival”, for which he provides a score that is suitably mysterious, spooky and tense, making full use of treated voices that perfectly complement the overall eeriness of the film, and to his credit, the music works equally well as a stand-alone work. (John)

Thievery Corporation – The Temple of I & I
Thievery Corporation have released a record every three or four years since their 1996 debut “Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi”, and their sound hasn’t changed a lot in that time, however, that may not be a bad thing. They perfectly nailed the sound of dubby downbeat early on, and even though this music is more likely to be played in cafes these days than anywhere else, that doesn’t detract from the quality of the music, which has remains consistently high. Their last record, 2014’s ‘Saudade’, explored Latino rhythms and this time around they turn their attention to dub and have made their most roots oriented album yet. Featuring a great horn section, and a different guest vocalist on each track, comprised of male and female toasters, songsters and rappers, the grooves roll on in a beautifully produced bass heavy treat. (John)

Traffic – Five Classic Albums
On his path from vocalist/keyboard player with the Spencer Davis Group as a 14 year old musical prodigy with a voice like Ray Charles, to FM blue-eyed soulboy, Stevie Winwood spent seven years from 1967-74 as core member of the loosely labelled prog rock group, Traffic. Contained here are five of the six Traffic albums that span a range of styles. Their first two releases, ‘Mr Fantasy’ and ‘Traffic 2’ strongly reflect the psychedelic influence of those times, featuring songs by turn enigmatic, playful and moody accompanied by saxophone, flute, keyboards and electric and acoustic guitar. The later records find the group evolving into a cross genre jam band with the fifth album, ‘Shootout At the Fantasy Factory’ featuring the Muscle Shoals rhythm section. It’s good to be able to hear these records back to back, but anyone who wants a shortcut is directed to the double disc set ‘Smiling Phases’ which features highlights across their six albums plus their early singles and includes a booklet that places this music within a historical context. (John)

Matthew Dear – DJ Kicks
US electronic producer Mathew Dear’s excellent contribution to the ongoing DJ Kicks series features his distinctive take on dance music, mixing excerpts from a wide range of tracks over an hour. The slinky minimal grooves roll out seamlessly, featuring vocal snippets, hypnotic bass lines and four to the floor house and techno rhythms which slowly build to the last four tracks, three of which are from Mathew Dear’s dance floor alter ego, Audion. (John)

Howe Gelb – Future Standards
Howe Gelb’s first band ‘Giant Sand’, who’s rhythm section would eventually become Calexico, helped kickstart the alt country movement back in 1985. He has created a vast back catalogue over three decades, breaking style now and again to indulge his love of low key cocktail jazz. Recorded at his home, ‘Future Standards’ is his most overt exploration of that style so far, complete with a classic cocktail jazz trio of tinkly piano, walking bass and soft brush drums. Gelb’s low key crooning is accompanied by guest vocalist Lonna Kelley and between them they offer a languid and dreamlike take on twelve original love songs that are so perfectly rendered that any potential irony is surpassed. (John)

The Bats – The Deep Set
2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the Bats debut “Daddy’s Highway” and their ninth album, “The Deep Set”, is remarkable in that neither their lineup nor their sound has significantly changed in that time. What is even more remarkable is how their jangly guitars, gentle vocals and songs of quiet hope have not dated in any way, still offering a welcome respite for the world weary. The Bats are telepathically tight after all this time and this new batch of songs, that keeps a true indie flag flying, are as good as anything they have done.

Natural beauty and fancy hats – New Fashion and Beauty in May

Get your skin radiant and ready for winter with our new fashion and beauty books for May. Try out some natural beauty remedies and recipes and find the best natural beauty products for your skin type. We also take a look at a New Zealand fashion story – the life and work of Kiwi milliner Lindsay Kennett.

Syndetics book coverAll natural beauty : organic & homemade beauty products / Karin Berndl & Nici Hofer.
“From dull skin to drab hair and tired eyes, the traditional recipes in this book can change a multitude of little beauty niggles, and each of the treatments is free from nasty paraffins, synthetic colors, and Triclosan – and they can be made at a fraction of the cost of store-bought products. From a nourishing lip balm that will soften your lips, to a chickpea and turmeric face mask, which will make your skin glow, to a shea butter varicose vein body butter, there’s something for everyone. Also included are shampoo, make-up remover, toner, and more.” (adapted from Amazon)

A passion for fashion : the life of Lindsay Kennett master milliner / as told to and written by Hilary E. Hunt.
“Lindsay Kennett developed his passion for fashion as a young boy in the isolated Paradise and Glenorchy regions of Otago. Lindsay went on to create hats for fashion-conscious women all over New Zealand. His millinery salon in Parnell attracted many interesting patrons, and his numerous ‘travelling hat shows’ brought delight to all who attended them. Since his ostensible retirement in Dunedin in the early 1990s, Lindsay has held sell-out shows and exhibitions of his hats and artwork to raise money for charities. Superb photographs of just some of Lindsay’s collection of 100 hats illustrating millinery fashions from 1900 to 1990 complement this engaging memoir.” (summary from Fishpond)

Syndetics book coverThe nature of beauty : organic skincare, botanical beauty rituals and clean cosmetics / Imelda Burke.
“Choosing natural beauty doesn’t mean ditching hi-tech products in favour of homemade potions. It means being conscious about what you’re buying: what are you putting on your skin, what does it do and where does it come from? This honest, expert book will teach you how to recognise what your skin needs and how to buy the best products for you. It offers both time-honoured and modern techniques, tips and guidance for all ages, and showcases the powerful ingredients and brands that you need to know about.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSkin : delicious recipes & the ultimate wellbeing plan for radiant skin in 6 weeks / Liz Earle.
“This is the only book you will ever need to transform dull, lifeless skin, to skin that radiates youth and good health. This book features a 6-week programme to nourish your skin from the inside out. Each week focuses on a different aspect of skincare, from detox and exfoliation, cleansing and healing, to nourishing, balance and, finally, radiance and maintenance. The programme is accompanied by 80 delicious and easy recipes to prove that what you put in your body is just as important for your skin as what you put on it.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJeremy Scott / foreword by Jeffrey Deitch.
“The definitive monograph on Jeremy Scott, one of the most creative and influential American designers working in fashion today. Jeremy Scott is an American designer whose sensibility has brought elements of humor, rebellion, and fantasy to the elevated culture of couture – from his earliest collections in Paris to the outrageous runway shows in recent years that led the New York Times to call him ‘fashion’s last rebel.’ Creative, original, and iconic, Scott is the voice of his generation, his work a colourful marriage of the ubiquity of cultural reference with the refinement of high fashion.” (syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover200 skills every fashion designer must have : the indispensable guide to building skills and turning ideas into reality / Aisling McKeefry.
“Fashion is all about experimenting with styles, pushing the boundaries, and setting new trends. 200 Skills Every Fashion Designer Must Have offers a practical overview of the core concepts and techniques required. Readers will find: Step-by-step tutorials for essential skills; Tips on techniques for sewing and alterations; Guidance on working with fabrics, textures, and patterns; Fundamental concepts explained in vocational context.”–ONIX annotation.

Syndetics book cover50 men’s fashion icons that changed the world / Dan Jones.
“Painfully cool and instantly recognisable, the 50 style trailblazers in this collection used fashion to attract attention, gain influence, express themselves and make powerful statements. From Fred Astaire to Prince, Marlon Brando to Bob Dylan, JFK to Fred Perry, this book covers the looks and stories of politicians and actors, musicians and designers. With stunning photography, this book is the perfect gift for fashionistas, design students, and anyone who loves good style!” (Amazon)

Bad girls get good press – recent biography picks

This month’s top pick is a beautifully illustrated book which celebrates women who had the courage to challenge the status quo and forged the way for women who came after them. Robin Dalton, once a society figure and subsequent good-time girl, is not quite in the same league,but her story is an entertaining and inspiring one..
Good girls get good press too – activist Coretta King, widow of Martin Luther King, a nurse who devoted her life to sick children – and Queen Victoria, who was a famously good woman.

Syndetics book coverBad girls throughout history : 100 remarkable women who changed the world / Ann Shen.
“The 100 revolutionary women featured in this illustrated book were bad in the best sense of the word: they challenged the status quo and changed the rules for those who followed. From ancient times through present day, from pirates to artists, scientists to spies, these courageous women achieved unprecedented feats and left a permanent mark on human history.”–Back cover.

Syndetics book coverBreaking ranks / James McNeish.
“Three distinct stories about three distinct men, but with one thing in common – they all paid the price for standing up for what they believed. From a great writer, three great stories about conscience and consequence. This is the story of three men – a doctor, a soldier and a judge. They are men of rare achievement. The doctor has the gift of saving others but not himself. The soldier disobeys orders and abandons his command post in a bid to die with his men. The judge cares more to uphold a principle than save himself from ruin. All three defy convention.”(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverJuliet’s answer : one man’s search for love and the elusive cure for heartbreak / Glenn Dixon.Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak
“Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak. When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet–letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world”.(Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverVictoria : the heart and mind of a young queen / foreword by Daisy Goodwin ; written by Helen Rappaport.
‘The official companion to ITV’s drama, ‘The Victoria letters” delves into the private writings of the young Queen Victoria, painting a vivid picture of the personal life of one of England’s greatest monarchs.”(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverAlways the children : a nurse’s story of home and war / Anne Watts.
“Anne Watts grew up in a small village in north Wales in the 1940s. She trained as a nurse and midwife, joined the Save the Children Fund, and was posted to Vietnam in 1967. Here, Anne was faced with a vision of hell that her training at Manchester’s Royal Infirmary could not have prepared her for.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverSully : my search for what really matters / Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger ; with Jeffrey Zaslow.Proxy Error
“Airline pilot Captain “Sully” Sullenberger tells his life story, including his perspective on the emergency landing on the Hudson River that earned him the world’s admiration, and offers insight into the qualities that have been vital to his success”–Publisher.

Syndetics book coverThe long and winding road / Alan Johnson.
“When Tony Blair brought Alan Johnson into Parliament in 1997, it was something of a culture shock. Blair famously said to him ‘Oh, so you really are working class aren’t you’. In this memoir of politicking and skulduggery, he tells of his experiences in Westminster.”(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverOne leg over : having fun – mostly – in peace and war / Robin Dalton.At the age of ninety-five, Robin Dalton looks back on her life, particularly on her love life. Married at nineteen, disastrously, Robin has a lucky escape-her ‘Society Divorce’ makes the front page of Sydney newspapers, bumping the war to page three ‘One leg over” is a story of love and romance, of loss and great sadness. But above all it’s a celebration of a wonderful life..”(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverMy life, my love, my legacy / Coretta Scott King ; as told to the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.The Washington Post ‘s Books to Read in 2017
The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
USA Today , “New and Noteworthy”
Read it Forward, Favorite Reads of January 2017″.The life story of Coretta Scott King–wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist.” (provided by publisher)

A GOOD ONE YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Syndetics book coverMy history : a memoir of growing up / Antonia Fraser.‘Antonia Fraser’s memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of history. The fascination began as a child when her evacuation at the beginning of the war to an Elizabethan manor house became an inspiration for historical imaginings – and developed into an enduring passion; as she writes, ‘for me, the study of History has always been an essential part of the enjoyment of life’.(Amazon.co.uk summary)

AND A GOOD ONE IN ANOTHER PART OF THE LIBRARY
Syndetics book coverPrinces at war : the bitter battle inside Britain’s royal family in the darkest days of WWII / Deborah Cadbury.
‘British author Cadbury explores the many layers involved in the abdication crisis of 1936, which ceded the British crown to the seemingly least prepared of the four sons of George V, George VI, aka Bertie, who revealed himself in the subsequent crisis of war to be the most suitable and stalwart of all.”(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

New Classical Music Additions

We have recently received some interesting new classical albums, and here’s a small selection of additions (more on the way!):

Elgar & Tchaikovsky. Performed by Johannes Moser.
“The profoundly moving, elegiac lyricism of Elgar and the wistful charm and brilliance of Tchaikovsky are on full display in this irresistible new release from Pentatone played with consummate virtuosity by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Andrew Manze. Composed at the end of the First World War, Elgar’s powerful Cello Concerto in E minor is one of his best-loved and most deeply-felt works…” (amazon.com). Tchaikovsky contributes four works for cello and orchestra to this compilation: Variations on a Rococo Theme; Nocturne; Andante Cantabile; and Pezzo Capriccioso.

Das Lied von der Erde, Mahler. Performed by Jonas Kaufmann.
“Gustav Mahler’s masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth) has always been subtitled as a Symphony for Tenor and Alto (or Baritone) and traditionally two voices have sung the six movements of the work. However Jonas Kaufmann felt differently about this and decided to sing both parts himself. This is the first time that one voice has sung both parts for a recording of this piece. Last June, in the tradition-steeped Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein, where a number of outstanding Mahler performances have taken place, Kaufmann joined the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Jonathan Nott for this historic recording. According to the Kurier newspaper after the performance, ‘this experiment went far beyond the risky test phase and, in the end, became a complete work of art in itself. What would normally be considered pretentious is absolutely logical in the case of Kaufmann, who is able to showcase the splendor of his baritone as well as the radiant upper reaches of his range.'” (amazon.com)

Music for the 100 Years’ War. Performed by the Binchois Consort.
“This recording features music of predominantly royal association spanning the reign of Henry V, the Battle of Agincourt and its aftermath, and the coronations in England and France of the boy king Henry VI. The Binchois Consort under Andrew Kirkman bring this music vividly to life, while the copiously illustrated booklet is a pleasure in itself.” (amazon.com)

Coming soon: Heimat, performed by Benjamin Appl; Elgar, Symphony No. 1, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Doric String Quartet.

Timeless designs – New Craft books for May

Add warmth and drama to your outfit with beautiful patterns of lace and shawls, create projects the whole family will love, with tips and instructions from this collection of recently arrived books. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverClassic knit shawls : 20 timeless designs featuring lace, cables, & more / from the editors at Interweave.
“Timeless designs featuring lace, cables, and more … For this collection of classic patterns we carefully collected an array of popular styles for knitters of all levels.”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book cover“Jo’s little favorites : timeless quilts from scraps and fat quarters / Jo Morton.
“Easy to start, even easier to complete! Top-selling designer of reproduction fabric Jo Morton makes creating small quilts almost effortless with expert techniques for accurate piecing and helpful tips on choosing and using fabric. Discover how to display small quilts in your home with Jo’s advice for incorporating quilts into your personal decorating scheme. What will you do with all the little quilts you’ll make?”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverAmiguruME pets : make cute crochet animals / Allison Hoffman.
“Crocheting mini-pets can be fun, especially when you have an opportunity to customize. Hoffman shows you how to mix and match features to create reproductions of your own cat or dog, in yarn. You’ll also get a chance to make a fantasy pet, such as a penguin, sloth, unicorn or dragon.”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book cover“Stitching with Beatrix Potter / Michele Hill.
“Bring Beatrix Potter’s delightful stories to life: stitch by hand and by machine as you create projects the whole family will love; learn about the life and work of Beatrix Potter with historical vignettes; amazing appliqué tips”–Page [4] of cover.

Syndetics book coverThe cross-stitch garden : over 70 cross-stitch motifs with 20 stunning projects / Kazuko Aoki ; translator, Kyoko Matthews.
“Inspired by her love of wildflowers, Kazuko Aoki has created a collection of more than 20 projects and over 100 individual cross-stitch motifs. Designs are included for all your floral favourites, such as viola, pansies, poppies and roses. These motifs are used to create traditional samplers, as well as bags, pincushions, pillows, coasters, aprons and tea towels. Instructions are presented in counted cross-stitch charts, plus step-by-step diagrams for constructing projects.”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverLuxe vintage : vintage inspired interiors and projects / Tahn Scoon ; photography by John Downs.
This is a lush, rich, densely packed book, focusing on how to achieve relaxed but luxurious interiors by way of layering textures and color, adding the right decorative details, mixing high and low pieces, and utilizing pre-loved pieces and more. […] With simple and whimsical projects and styles accompanied with descriptive and instructional text and lots of beautiful luxurious images. Luxe Vintage is the perfect handbook assistant for home decor.– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverSunshine spaces / Beci Orpin.
In “Sunshine Spaces”, designer Beci Orpin shows us how to make and create a range of fun homewares and other fabulous ideas for your outdoor space, including outdoor entertaining as well as how to bring a little of the outdoors inside your home! Inspired by the color and beauty of nature, projects include planter pots and hanging pots, picnic blanket and outdoor cushions, hammock and swing, sun umbrella and many more. […] Using a range of easily accessible materials, Beci shows you everything you need to know about bringing the sunshine into your life and home.– Provided by publisher.

New ‘Other Genre’ for April, this month features psychological thrillers

This month’s ‘Other Genre’ fiction category features psychological thrillers. These novels will ensure the reader is gripped in suspense, with at times moments of unease and menace. Highly recommended is Fever dream : a novel, translated from the Spanish by Samanta Schweblin

Syndetics book coverThe marriage lie / Kimberly Belle.
“Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and life is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt: another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board and, according to the airline; Will was one of the passengers. Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to uncover what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she finds shock her to her very core.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRattle / Fiona Cummins.
“A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter. He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum. Now the time has come to add to his collection. Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs for his collection. So begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe trophy child / Paula Daly.
“Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she’s driven, but in gossiping circles she’s known as: the tiger mother. Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent—no matter the cost. But in an unending quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family start to rebel against her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Roanoke girls / Amy Engel.
“Beautiful, rich, mysterious, the Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them that’s never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies. Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing and Lane has no choice but to go back. She is a Roanoke girl. Is she strong enough to escape a second time?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeneath the skin / Sandra Ireland.
“Taking a job in the studio of an Edinburgh taxidermist probably isn’t Walt’s wisest decision. Suffering from combat stress and struggling to outrun the demons from his past, he now finds himself confronted by the undead on a daily basis. His enigmatic boss, Alys, and her sister, Mouse, have their own uneasy relationship with the past. Someone doesn’t want to let them go. Can Walt save Mouse’s eight-year-old son, William, from becoming the next victim? And can he save himself?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHe said / she said / Erin Kelly.
“In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear. While Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something and someone is always in the dark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExposure / Aga Lesiewicz.
“When up-and-coming photographer Kristin Ryder begins to receive anonymous emails, her life in a trendy loft in London’s Hoxton with ultra-cool street artist boyfriend, Anton, suddenly feels unsafe. The emails come with sinister attachments that suggest the sender has an intimate knowledge of Kristin’s past, and soon her life spirals out of control. Who can she trust? And will she be able to discover the sender’s identity before it’s too late?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe black sheep / Sophie McKenzie.
“Francesca was widowed a year ago. Since then she has focused on her children, trying to soothe their grief as well as her own. Her husband and father never quite saw eye to eye but no one could have cared more for her in the past year than her close-knit family. Finally, she feels she might be ready to move on with life. Until she is contacted out of the blue by someone who says he must get information to her. That her husband’s death wasn’t what it seemed and that her family knows more than they say. Who can Francesca trust? What will happen to her if she puts her faith in the wrong person?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhirlwind / Hilary Norman.
“Liza Plain, a Boston-based journalist hoping for her big break, is dreading spending Christmas in Shiloh, Rhode Island, with her difficult grandfather, until news of the disappearance of a retired local priest triggers her realization that this could be linked to a series of unsolved, church-linked missing persons cases. Michael Rider used to be a decent man with a good life, but a past traumatic event with far-reaching consequences has left him dangerously close to breaking point. Now he is receiving strange emails from an organisation calling itself Whirlwind, offering him the chance to avenge himself on those who’ve done him wrong. Liza and Michael will both be in Shiloh on Christmas Eve. The night a raging blizzard seals off the town from the outside world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.comFever dream / Samanta Schweblin ; translated by Megan McDowell.
“A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)


  • Archives

  • Categories