What the soul feels: 10 new Photography books

They say, that photography, like art, it is less what the eye sees and more what the soul feels, and we couldn’t agree more. So whether your soul feels the mists of the mountains, the droplets of water from a dog shaking his coat, vintage cameras, cityscapes, fashion, selfies or satellite imagery, we’ve got you covered! Check out these 10 new photography books from our collection.

Syndetics book coverPawtraits / Ken Drake.
Pawtraits is a stunning photographic collection capturing man’s best friends at their most adorable, playful, mischievous and downright lovable selves. Each shot is an artwork, a beautiful, personal ‘tail’ of the love between a dog and their human, captured in Zoo Studio’s signature style.  Animal lovers & photographic art connoisseurs alike will fall in love with this book. A portion of the sales of Pawtraits will be donated to the RSPCA.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhotographs from the edge : a master photographer’s insights on capturing an extraordinary world / Art Wolfe with Rob Sheppard
“Legendary nature photographer Art Wolfe presents an intimate, behind-the-scenes guide to the experiences, decisions, and methods that helped him capture images from some of the most exciting locations across the globe. From endangered species to cultural celebrations to natural wonders, Wolfe brings each subject to life through his stunning photography and the stories he shares in this one-of-a-kind photo safari.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI love my selfie / essay by Ilan Stavans ; auto-portraits by ADÁL.
“What explains our current obsession with selfies? In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie’s historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. He sees selfies as tools people use to disguise or present themselves as spontaneous and casual. Provocative and engaging, this book will change the way readers think about this unavoidable phenomenon of twenty-first-century life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagnum photobook : the Catalogue Raisonné / texts by Fred Ritchin & Carole Naggar.
“Including unpublished behind-the scenes material, together with ephemera from the photographers’ archives about the making of their books. With an introduction by Fred Ritchin and texts by Carole Naggar, this book explores the evolution of the photobook, as well as the important role that Magnum has played in the history of documentary photography.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAging gracefully : portraits of people over 100 / Karsten Thormaehlen.
“A beautiful and fascinating exploration of what it is like to be over 100 years old, Aging Gracefully invites readers to look into the face of a century of life experience with portraits of centenarians captured by the compassionate, minimalist lens of photographer Karsten Thormaehlen. The striking photographs are accompanied by short bios of the centenarians, featuring quotes and wisdom on love, food, humor, and living with grace.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn reading / Steve McCurry ; foreword by Paul Theroux.
“Young or old, rich or poor, people everywhere read. This homage to the beauty and seductiveness of reading brings together a collection of photographs taken by Steve McCurry over four decades of travel and is introduced by award-winning writer, Paul Theroux. McCurry’s mesmerizing images of the universal human act of reading are an acknowledgement and tribute to the overwhelming power of the written word.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarth from space / by Yann Arthus-Bertrand ; translated from the French by Nicholas Elliott ; GoodPlanet Foundation.
“With more than 150 breathtaking satellite photographs, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, an aerial photographer and environmental activist, discusses the impact of deforestation, urban sprawl, ocean pollution, and more. Earth from Space ‘s compelling selection of satellite images raises important questions about our future, while showcasing the planet’s beauty, leaving no doubt that it is something crucial to protect.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverErik Madigan Heck : old future / texts by Justine Picardie and Susan Bright.
“In contemporary fashion photography, Erik Madigan Heck is something of an anomaly – a very successful anomaly who steers his own path. His work is elegant and unashamedly beautiful, exploring the intersections of fashion, painting and classical portraiture. Working with natural light and combining in-camera effects with digital post-production, he produces evocative and seductive images that are both timeless and futuristic.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetro photo : an obsession : a personal selection of vintage cameras and the photographs they take / David Ellwand.
“From the pinhole to the Pentax, Retro Photo: An Obsession is a visual journey through the history of photography, highlighting some of the iconic cameras of the analog era. At once an accessible guide to vintage cameras, a highly personal take on photographic history, and a celebration of classic design, here is a book that takes the fear out of old-style photography and puts the fun back in.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York serenade / Ciro Frank Schiappa, photographs ; Michele Primi, texts.
New York Serenade is homage to the city of New York. The project consists of fifty pictures that share stories we believe are relevant to describe the continuous changing of the historical sites, the urban landscape, and the different forms of art that the city itself produced over the years. Our aim is to write a story about history, art, music, and New York City, and create a journey through this tradition, around historical places that are holding memories of the past while the future is written somewhere else.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

All you need now is a garden: New eBooks

Cicero once said that if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. And while he probably didn’t expect that library to include eBooks, he’d be happy to know that Robert Harris’ acclaimed ‘Cicero’ trilogy is now a part of it. Joining Harris’ work are a range of other great titles, including Eliza Robertson’s debut novel Demi-Gods and the first in J.Y. Yang’s excellent ‘Tensorate’ series. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover Demi-Gods, by Eliza Robertson
“It is 1950, and Willa’s mother has a new beau. The arrival of his sons at Willa’s summer home signals the end of her safe childhood. Willa is drawn to the solitary Patrick, and as they grow up, their encounters become increasingly charged. But when Willa finally tries to reverse the trajectory, an act of desperation has devastating results.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Line Made by Walking, by Sara Baume
“Struggling to cope with urban life, Frankie, a twenty-something artist, retreats to the rural bungalow on ‘turbine hill’ that has been vacant since her grandmother’s death. Her family come and go, until one day they don’t, and she is left alone to contemplate the path that led her here, and the smell of the carpet that started it all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Cicero Trilogy, by Robert Harris
“An epic trilogy by Robert Harris. Imperium takes us inside the violent, treacherous world of Roman politics, Lustrum is a study in the timeless enticements and horrors of power while Dictator is an intimate portrait of a brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave man. An unforgettable collection.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Last Time We Spoke, by Fiona Sussman
“Carla and Kevin Reid are celebrating their wedding anniversary with their son Jack. On a murderous collision course with this joyous yet fragile gathering is Ben Toroa, an unexpected and unwanted visitor. As Carla struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of the appalling events of the night, their stories will be forever entwined.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Days of Anna Madrigal, by Armistead Maupin
“The suspenseful and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s ‘Tales of the City’ series follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable characters – Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane – as she embarks on a road trip that will take her deep into her past.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
“A triple murder in Moscow’s famous Gorky Park amusement centre rocks the capital; three corpses found in the snow, so badly mutilated that their identities can’t be verified. Now, to identify the victims and uncover the truth, Chief Investigator Arkady Renko must battle the KGB, FBI and the police – and stay alive doing it.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang
“A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down. Unwilling to continue as a pawn in their mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes is a step away from his twin Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering their bond?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Death of Bees, by Lisa O’Donnell
“Marnie and her sister Nelly have always been different. Marnie leads a life of smoking, drinking and drugs; Nelly enjoys eating cornflakes with Coke and reading Harry Potter. But when Lennie, the old guy next door, starts to get suspicious, it’s only a matter of time before their terrible secret is discovered.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Misadventures of a City Girl, by Meredith Wild
“Fresh off a divorce, Madison Atwood needs an escape, and Avalon Springs is the place. Luke Dawson lives off the grid, but when he finds a beautiful woman soaking in the hot springs on his property, he can’t turn her away. They make no promises, but mother nature has other plans…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel
“An unknown vessel, not of this world, materializes in London. A colossal figure towering over the city, it makes no move. Is this a peaceful first contact or the prelude to an invasion?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Paris, thrifting and a Haircult: New fashion & beauty books

Paris and Scandinavia are on the fashion itinerary this week, as well as a world atlas of street style! We have a nifty new guide to thrift shopping, a browse through some questionable fashion choices and a look at the all important Ladies’ Haircult.

Syndetics book coverParis : through a fashion eye / Megan Hess.
“In the second of her series of books on classic fashion destinations, Megan Hess takes you on a super stylish adventure through the French capital, showing you the best places for a fashionista to eat, sleep, shop and play – all illustrated in her inimitable, elegant style. Megan’s tour reveals where fashion icons such as Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfield, Chistian Dior and Louis-Francois Cartier worked and played, the top restaurants, hotels, boutiques and sites to visit, as well as Megan’s own personal favorite places to shop. This is a must-have insider’s guide to Paris for any fashion lover or Francophile.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverItems : Is Fashion Modern?
“An encyclopaedic selection of 111 garments, footwear, and accessories – from humble masterpieces to high fashion – that have had a strong impact on society in the 20th and 21st centuries and continue to hold currency today. Published to accompany the first major exhibition on fashion design at The Museum of Modern Art since 1944, Items: Is Fashion Modern? presents 111 iconic garments, footwear and accessories that have strongly influenced society in the 20th and 21st- centuries and continue to hold currency today.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe World Atlas of Street Fashion
“An extensively researched and generously illustrated volume offering a striking and diverse portrait of street style in cities and cultures around the world. Through its extensive research, striking photography, and handsome design, World Atlas of Street Fashion is the essential resource on world street style.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Syndetics book coverThriftstyle : the ultimate bargain shopper’s guide to smart fashion / Allison Engel, Reise Moore and Margaret Engel ; photographs by Roger Snider.
“Shoppers will learn to navigate the racks of their local consignment shop, spot name brands like Versace, Dior, and Burberry, select the best quality items, and repair secondhand clothes that need some love. Photo-filled chapters on thrifted handbags, jewelry, scarves, and other accessories show what’s available and give tips for distinguishing quality items from fakes. Interviews with expert tailors, dry cleaners, shoe repair wizards, and fabric-dyeing professionals explain what makes a damaged piece of clothing worth renovating. Before-and-after photos show what can be done to refashion less-than-perfect finds.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI actually wore this : clothes we can’t believe we bought / written by Tom Coleman ; photography by Jerome Jakubiec.
“In everyone’s closet, there is one article of clothing that truly demonstrates a momentary lapse in fashion judgment. I Actually Wore This is the first book to celebrate these fashion blunders and lets us in on how and why they happened: the purple velour jumpsuit that was supposed to make you look dangerous, the Baron von Trapp-ish Tyrolean jacket that seemed like a good idea after six beers in Munich, and the cocktail napkin-sized swimsuit. Each of these cringe-inducing items somehow managed to find its way into the wardrobe of a typically fashionable person, and the authors are here to tell you how that happened.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDress Scandinavian / Pernille Teisbæk.
“In her gorgeous first book Pernille offers professional tips on how to create a minimalist wardrobe and look, mix and match patterns successfully, adopt androgynous looks or new colour combinations, try out new materials and mix fabrics, plus plenty of timeless fashion advice such as a jeans-fit guide and essential Dos and Don’ts. Her beauty chapter reveals Pernille’s capsule survival kit and how to achieve her natural look. Pernille also covers pared-back Scandinavian home design with an eye on balancing elegant simplicity and minimalism with inviting homeliness and warmth, or hygge, and inspirational pictures. A perfect gift for all Scandi lovers and anyone wanting insider advice from one of fashion’s most stylish experts.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLadies’ haircult : women’s hairstyles and culture from 1920 to 1980 for all-time pin-ups, bohemians, princesses and bad girls / Giulia Pivetta ; illustrated by Matteo Guarnaccia.
“Women’s hairstyles have changed dramatically over the past century. Charting the progression from styles dictated by fashion and tradition towards more unique and individualized looks, this book explores how the history of women’s hair in the west corresponds with their liberation over the course of the 1900s. The volume closes with a section dedicated to the most famous hairstylists and salons de coiffeur, past and present.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Tim’s NaNoWriMo Tips

Starting your first NaNoWriMo can be a daunting experience, but never fear! Our resident NaNoWriMo veteran Tim will give you the low-down on what to expect during your thirty day writing epic – including tips and tricks to help you through those more challenging times at the keyboard!

Did you do much planning before your first NaNoWriMo?

The planning I did on my first NaNoWriMo really made things difficult because I had a story I wanted to tell – and when it wasn’t working I just stopped. This was failed attempt #1. The trick is to remember the goal of this challenge: to hit the word count. What I learned from that experience was the planning caused me to have an additional goal which got in the way of the first. If you are able to get away with writing a complete novel you’ve had planned out in one month – good oh! But it seems like everybody I talk to who has tried the challenge learned to loosen up on the planning and allow the story to carry its own momentum.

What were your thoughts after your first day’s writing? How did this change throughout the month?

Every year I try NaNoWriMo I feel very disheartened after my first day. It’s like going for a jog for the first time in ages. It sucks! But the trick is not minding that it sucks. That’s why the whole online community is so great. There are subreddits and hashtags you can latch onto and remember you aren’t alone. In recent years, NaNoWriMo has become rather big on YouTube – so you can actually *see* you aren’t alone too! Real life face-to-face meet ups organized by communities – like the group that meets up in the Central library – are a really good way to get accountable. It wasn’t until after my second attempt at the challenge that I realized I couldn’t write this many words while alone on my laptop in my bed after a full day’s work. It was too tempting to just watch a TV show instead.

Did the intensity of NaNoWriMo help or change your writing in unexpected ways?

The intensity of NaNoWriMo forced me to shed a lot of silly stylistic rituals and habits I’d picked up from years of trying to be a ‘serious writer’. There are days when you just want to blab the words out onto your text editor and go to sleep. Or get on with your day. This is a Good Thing. Because when you stop being so self-conscious with your writing it’s always way better. I think there is a weird doubt we all have that if each sentence isn’t clever then readers will think we aren’t worth reading. But this is a fallacy. Just write.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting through those harder moments?

Gripe! Gripe to your friends and to your flatmates and to your partner and to your pet. This way, everyone can know how interesting and creative you are for attempting to write a novel in a month. I also sincerely recommend showers. Just go stand in the shower and give yourself a pep talk. Pump some beats. Yeah, you got this. You are a writer. The novel might end up a bit shabby but by gosh you are actually writing!

How did it feel to complete 50,000 words?

I don’t know. I’ve never completed 50,000 words. I think it probably feels like sending off a university assignment when you close all the tabs of research. Or maybe it feels like when your bus has all green lights in the morning and you actually get to work on time. Or perhaps like a cool lemon lime bitters with like one ice in it and you’re part of the first wave of humans exploring intergalactic space. Who knows! Some do.

What happened to the non-writing areas of your life during NaNoWriMo, and do you have any advice in regards to this?

To be honest, if you aren’t a very organized person you are going to fail NaNoWriMo. Most likely. Because unless you already have up to an hour of every day carved out for ‘creative activities’ then something will suffer. And it would be great if it was your mindless internet browsing time but let’s be honest – that usually isn’t what is sacrificed. Just remember to shower. Also, it should be noted that having the free time to do NaNoWriMo is quite a privilege. Many people in New Zealand and the rest of the world DO NOT have a spare second to do something so silly and awesome.

What happened to your NaNoWriMo writing after November?

Nothing. I always hide mine. They are so embarrassing! This is something I obviously need to work out in therapy. But if you want a good time, check out Twitter for silly first lines of NaNoWriMo novels. So when you are writing your great November Novel, just remember: that’s your bar. That’s your company. Now get out there and take a jump!

 

Nothing but biography: Recent biographies

“Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” So wrote the esteemed Benjamin Disraeli. A little sweeping maybe, but we biography-lovers cannot but concur. There are some excellent examples of the craft on offer this month.

Syndetics book coverAlexander Hamilton / Ron Chernow.
“Alexander Hamilton was an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who overcame all the odds to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat she ate : six remarkable women and the food that tells their stories / Laura Shapiro.
“Each of the six women in this entertaining group portrait was famous in her time, and most are still famous in ours; but until now, nobody has told their lives from the point of view of the kitchen and the table.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSargent’s women : four lives behind the canvas / Donna M. Lucey.
“In this seductive, multilayered biography, based on original letters and diaries, Donna M. Lucey illuminates four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny intuition, Sargent hinted at the mysteries and passions that unfolded in his subjects’ lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA secret sisterhood : the literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf / Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney ; foreword by Margaret Atwood.
“Male literary friendships are the stuff of legend; think Byron and Shelley, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But the world’s best-loved female authors are usually mythologized as solitary eccentrics or isolated geniuses.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ocean fell into the drop / Terence Stamp.
The Ocean Fell into the Drop is a different kind of showbusiness memoir, one that traces Terence Stamp’s twin obsessions, acting and mysticism, and the relationship the two have to each other for him, through the trajectory of his life.” (Syndetics summary)
See also Stamp album by the same author.

Syndetics book coverThe gamekeeper / Portia Simpson.
“The H is for Hawk for lovers of the outdoors and wildlife. A fascinating memoir of Scotland’s first-ever qualified female gamekeeper. In this wonderful memoir, Portia tells the story of how she first broke into a traditionally conservative, male-dominated profession and the skills, training and dedication that helped to set her apart.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secret history of Jane Eyre : how Charlotte Brontë wrote her masterpiece / John Pfordresher.
“In The Secret History of Jane Eyre, John Pfordresher tells the enthralling story of Bronte’s compulsion to write her masterpiece and why she then turned around and vehemently disavowed it.” (Syndetics summary)

One to look forward to:
Syndetics book coverAn Almost Perfect Christmas
“From perennially dry turkeys to Christmas pudding fires, from the round robin code of conduct to the risks and rewards of re-gifting, An Almost Perfect Christmas is an ode to the joy and insanity of the most wonderful time of the year.” (Syndetics summary)

A good one reissued:
Syndetics book coverMoab is my washpot / Stephen Fry.
“A number one bestseller in Britain, Stephen Fry’s astonishingly frank, funny, wise memoir is the book that his fans everywhere have been waiting for.” (Syndetics summary)

A good one you might have missed:
Syndetics book coverDadland : a journey into uncharted territory / Keggie Care.
“Keggie takes us on a spellbinding journey, in peace and war, into surprising and shady corners of history, her rackety English childhood, the poignant breakdown of her family, the corridors of dementia and beyond. As Keggie pieces Tom – and herself – back together again, she celebrates the technicolour life of an impossible, irresistible, unstoppable man.” (Syndetics summary)

Cultivating compassion: recent beliefs books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recently added Classical CDs

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

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

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

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

New CDs at your library

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

New Albums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Box sets/ Reissues

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

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

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

In the beginning was the book: New literature picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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