Devastation, devotion and the undead in Downing Street : recent readers choice

From dystopian novels to romance fiction there is an great range of reviewed reading material this month. Featuring complex relationship issues in Donna Leon’s Venetian recent crime novel Unto us a son is given. Strange twists of fate and coincidence affect seaborne Shetland adventurer Cass Lynch in Death on a Shetland Isle by Marsali Taylor.  Tensions mount in a Swiss hotel as nuclear devastation doesn’t halt the murderous habits of of one of a small number of guests, Hanna Jameson has written a disturbing end of times thriller, The last asks what kind of person you want to be at the end of the world?

These selected books are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that other people can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

The last / Jameson, Hanna
“Breaking- Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington. Breaking- London hit, thousands feared dead. Breaking- Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.
Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn’t ignored his wife Nadia’s last message. Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive. Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer… As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn’t want to be found?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Somewhat harrowing but gripping dystopia novel of the post-trump era. Very well written.

Unto us a son is given / Donna Leon.Syndetics book cover
“The latest of Donna Leon’s bestselling Venice crime novels. As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned. But when Berta, one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?” (Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: Interesting exposition of the importance of honesty in a loving relationships. Brunetti is as philosophical as usual and the Venetian back drop is as enticing as usual.  There is less political intrigue than usual but still a very enjoyable read.

The truths and triumphs of Grace Atherton / Harris, Anstey
Also available as an eBook
“Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music. Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop. It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Well drawn characters. Story gets reader from page one and carries one along to the very end. Interesting re musical instrument restoration.

A lawless place / Donachie, David
“Edward Brazier is enlisted by Prime Minister William Pitt to assist his investigation into smuggling activity in Deal. However, with his love Betsy now locked into a loveless marriage with Tom Spafford, a useless drunk, and living as a prisoner, Brazier is distracted from his mission. Having foiled Spafford’s plan to steal Betsy away to her family-owned plantation in the West Indies, Brazier finds himself taken captive. Only his ingenuity will help engineer his escape and his cunning use of subterfuge will then allow him to infiltrate the smuggling gangs of Deal in a determined bid to unmask those in control. But with suspicion raised around him and his enemies banding together, can Brazier survive long enough to bring those responsible to justice?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: A good reflection of the era, but somewhat verbose! A list of characters would have been helpful.

Maybe this time / Mansell, Jill
“When Mimi first visits her dad’s new home in the Cotswolds, she falls in love with Goosebrook and the people who live there. (Well, maybe not snooty Henrietta, who lets Mimi walk miles in the rain rather than give her a lift.) There’s Paddy, with his flashing eyes and seductive charm. Friendly and funny Lois makes Mimi laugh. And seriously gorgeous Cal is welcoming and charismatic. Though Mimi loves her city life and her career, she’d be very happy to return to Goosebrook if it means seeing more of him. Life is about to take some unexpected and shocking twists and turns. And Mimi’s path and Cal’s are set to cross again and again – but will it ever be the right time for both of them? ” (Catalogue)

Readers’ review: You know you’re going to enjoy Jill Mansel’s book. This one is an enjoyable read and although everyone  lives happily ever after, there are some surprises and complications along the way!

In his father’s footsteps : a novel / Steel, Danielle
Also available as an eBook
“April, 1945. As the Americans storm the Buchenwald concentration camp, among the survivors are Jakob and Emmanuelle, barely more than teenagers. Each of them have lost everything and everyone in the unspeakable horrors of the war. But when they meet, they find hope and comfort in each other. Jakob and Emmanuelle marry, and resolve to make a new life in New York. The Steins build a happy, prosperous life for themselves and their new family, but their pasts cast a long shadow over the present. Years later, as the Sixties are in full swing, their son Max is an ambitious, savvy businessman, determined to throw off the sadness that has hung over his family since his birth. But as Max’s life unfolds, he must learn that there is meaning in his heritage that will help shape his future . . .” (Catalogue)

Readers’s review: A good read – some insightful looks into WW2 and holocaust.

The labyrinth index / Stross, Charles
“Britain is under New Management. The disbanding of the Laundry – the British espionage agency that deals with supernatural threats, has culminated in the unthinkable – an elder god in residence in 10 Downing Street. But in true ‘the enemy of my enemy’ fashion, Mhari Murphy finds herself working with His Excellency Nylarlathotep on foreign policy – there are worse things, it seems, than an elder god in power, and they lie in deepest, darkest America .A thousand-mile-wide storm system has blanketed the midwest, and the president is nowhere to be found – Mhari must lead a task force of disgraced Laundry personnel into the storm front to discover the truth. But working for an elder god is never easy, and as the stakes rise, Mhari will soon question exactly where her loyalties really lie.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Very good. Enjoying characters and story. Great continuation of the series.

Another reader commented: Good political satire aka horror story or paranormal spy thriller.  looking forward to the next in the series.

Death on a Shetland isle / Taylor, Marsali
“Readying her Norwegian sail-training ship, Sorlandet, for a fresh voyage through the Shetland Islands, Cass Lynch has the shock of her life when the new third officer is a ghost from her past – the man she thought she’d left to drown in the Atlantic eleven years before. Cass has an odd feeling about some of the new trainees: a slick city-boy, and a brother and sister. As her distrust of the newcomers deepens, two people go missing and a third is found dead. Struggling to confront the ghosts of her past, the deceased of her present, and the man of her future, Cass must out-manoeuvre the killer before she too becomes one of the victims.” (Catalogue)
Reader’s review: I enjoyed every page and wanted to catch the next plane/boat and experience the Shetland Islands for myself. Any chance of the library stocking two earlier books?
(These are now on order)

 

 

ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Paul Diamond

ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event.

Today is the first day of ComicFest! To finish our special “5 minutes with…” feature we have Paul Diamon, the author of three books (A Fire in Your Belly, Huia 2003; Makereti: taking Māori to the World, Random House NZ 2007; and Savaged to Suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand, Fraser Books 2018), and has also worked as an oral historian and broadcaster. From 2007 to 2009 Paul managed the Vietnam War Oral History Project for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. In 2017 Paul was awarded Creative New Zealand’s Berlin Writer’s Residency to complete a book about Charles Mackay, a mayor of Whanganui who was killed in Berlin in 1929. Paul Diamond appears at ComicFest with the support of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive.

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: I was asked to write a book about the history of Māori and cartoons. This initially focused on editorial cartoons in newspapers, but the scope was broadened to include images of Māori in other places, such as comics and graphic novels.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: Ideally, made up of coffee, collections, cartoons, cycling and cursive creation.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: My book, Savaged to Suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand, was launched by MP Louisa Wall at the National Library in September 2018.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: Not really, but preceding this, my cycle along the Wellington waterfront means it’s difficult to arrive at work grumpy, even if I may be a bit puffed.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: Personally: my parents, Briar and Eddie Diamond, and my bicultural ancestry, which I wrote about in the acknowledgements section of Savaged to Suit.
An illustration inspiration: An exhibition I saw at the House of Illustration in London in 2016, Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics, was wonderful to experience and has stayed with me. The exhibition introduced me to artists and work I wasn’t aware of, including Jacky Fleming and her marvellous book, The Trouble With Women as well as Barbara Yelin, see below. The exhibition was also a powerful reminder that just because work by different groups may not be obvious doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Which is why books and exhibitions play an important role in bringing collections to audiences and providing context to understand them.

 Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: As part of my research it was great to find out more about the Māori who’ve worked at editorial cartoonists. It’s not a very long list: Harry Dansey, Oriwa Haddon, Mark Tapsell, Noel Cook, James Waerea, Anthony Ellison, and Sharon Murdoch. I’m also a big admirer of Murray Webb’s caricatures.

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: A graphic novel about the story I’m going to be writing about in Berlin later this year, check it here. This is to do with the 1929 May Day riots in Berlin, in which Charles Mackay, a former mayor of Whanganui was shot. There are at least two graphic novels about the 1929 May Day riots: Babylon Berlin by Arne Jysch is a graphic novel adaptation of Volker Kutscher’s novel, Der Nasse Fisch and Jason Lutes’ Berlin series. Another inspiration for how to tell the story is Irmina, by Barbara Yelin, which I saw in the Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics exhibition in 2016. Subsequently, an English translation of Irmina was released, and I’ve been meaning to have a read. I loved the way Yelin combined images and text to bring alive a remarkable story and the history of the period leading up to the Second World War.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I’m looking forward to yarning about how cartoons work. In my research I learned about how nothing in a cartoon is there by accident, but the layers of meaning are not always obvious. It’d also be good to talk about stereotyping in cartoons, as I’ve been reflecting on this in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Not sure, but I might see if another of my inspirations, Varla Jean Merman aka Jeffery Roberson has any ideas!

You can find more about Paul online here.

CoNZealand at ComicFest!

ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow the updates on our Facebook event.

ComicFest will also be one of the first chances to get a sneak peek at CoNZealand, the upcoming convention of the World Science Fiction Society, being held right here in Wellington next year! The annual event is one of the world’s most prestigious science fiction conventions and is also home to the legendary Hugo Awards. Run entirely by fans, CoNZealand will offer a unique mix of events, workshops, discussions and much more, making for a very exciting experience!

CoNZealand have already confirmed several guests of honour, including Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon and Greg Broadmore. And to top it all off, the Toastmaster will be none other than George R.R. Martin! To hear more about CoNZealand and how you can be a part of it, come chat with the team at their ComicFest stall on 4 May, or check them out at conzealand.nz.

ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Dylan Horrocks

ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event.

ComicFest starts tomorrow! Next up on our special feature “5 minutes with…” we have Dylan Horrocks, a cartoonist best known for his graphic novel Hicksville and his scripts for the Batgirl comic book series. His works are published by the University of Auckland student magazine Craccum, Australia’s Fox Comics, the current affairs magazine New Zealand Listener from 1995 to 1997, the Canadian publishers Black Eye Comics and Drawn and Quarterly, and the American publishers Vertigo and Fantagraphics Books. He currently serialises new work online at Hicksville Comics.

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: My Dad has always been interested in comics, so I grew up in a house full of classics like Carl Barks’ Donald Duck as well as underground, European, and experimental comix. He also taught film, and watching the movies he’d project on our living room wall made me realise you could use visual narrative to do anything.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: I recently started teaching at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Design, so my days have become very busy. I’m often either in class or planning a class, or looking at students’ work. Otherwise, I’m probably at my studio writing or drawing. To relax, I watch old movies, read (often history), or play table-top role-playing games with friends.

dav

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: I’m working on a long non-fiction comic exploring the history and culture of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s about world-building – the urge to create an imaginary reality so detailed it begins to feel almost real – and how the emergence of fantasy role-playing games 45 years ago introduced a new way to inhabit these fictional worlds. There are other, shorter, comics I’ve drawn recently, but that’s the big one that’s occupying my time.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: One trick I learned a while back was to leave something unfinished at the end of each day. That way, when I sit down to start drawing or writing, I don’t have to stare at a blank page; I can just pick up where I left off – and before I know it I’m back in the groove.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: There are so many! Hergé’s Tintin is a huge influence on my work. But one New Zealand cartoonist who’s had a big impact on me for most of my life is Barry Linton, who died last year. He drew comics for more than 40 years, and left behind an extraordinary body of work. I hope someone gets it all back into print soon.

 Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: Again, there are too many to mention even a fraction! Strips was a New Zealand comics magazine published between 1977 & 1987. Barry Linton (who I mentioned above) was one of its founding artists, but there were so many great cartoonists in there: Colin Wilson (the main driving force for the first few years), Joe Wylie, Kevin Jenkinson, Laurence Clark. There are earlier comics I’m fascinated by, too, including the work of Eric Resetar, Harry Bennett, and Jack Raeburn (all of who were publishing locally in the 1940s and 1950s). These days New Zealand has a large and diverse comics scene, with many cartoonists whose work I find inspiring. And every week I find someone new who’s putting out beautiful zines or webcomics. Each new discovery is like a treasure: an Instagram post or a page in a student’s sketchbook.

dav

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: I have a comic I daydream about now and then. Sometimes when I’m lying in bed half-asleep, or when I’m walking to work in the morning, I’ll think about it. So far, all there is to show is a few words in my notebook. It may never happen. But I love that stage in a project, when everything’s still open, possible, uncontained. When it really is still a dream….

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: That depends how much I get done between now and then.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: I reckon Toby Morris and I could do a mean Captain Haddock and Tintin (now, if we can just find the right dog to play Snowy…).

You can find Dylan online in the following places:
Twitter: @dylanhorrocks
Website: hicksvillecomics.com
Instagram: @dylan.horrocks

China and Caesar – History New Books

This history picks can be found out in the wild at our branch libraries! Read up on Rome and Ten Caesars, King Arthur, people smugglers avoiding ISIS, and modern China from two perspectives.

Madame Fourcade’s secret war : the daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler / Olson, Lynne
“In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast Resistance organization – the only woman to hold such a role. Brave, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Now, in a dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Ten Caesars : Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine / Strauss, Barry S
“Rome’s legacy remains today in so many ways, from language, law, and architecture to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Barry Strauss examines this enduring heritage through the lives of the men who shaped it: Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian and Constantine. Over the ages, they learned to maintain the family business – the government of an empire – by adapting when necessary and always persevering no matter the cost.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The beekeeper of Sinjar / Mīkhāʼīl, Dunyā
“In the midst of ISIS’s reign of terror and hatred, an unlikely hero has emerged: the Beekeeper. Once a trader selling his mountain honey across the region, when ISIS came to Sinjar he turned his knowledge of the local terrain to another, more dangerous use. Along with a secret network of transporters, helpers, and former bootleggers, Abdullah Shrem smuggles brutalised Yazidi women to safety through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Eastern Turkey.” (Catalogue)

King Arthur : the making of the legend / Higham, N. J
“According to legend, King Arthur saved Britain from the Saxons and reigned over it gloriously sometime around A.D. 500. Whether or not there was a “real” King Arthur has all too often been neglected by scholars; most period specialists today declare themselves agnostic on this important matter. In this erudite volume, Nick Higham sets out to solve the puzzle, drawing on his original research and expertise to determine precisely when, and why, the legend began.” (Catalogue)

The Penguin history of modern China : the fall and rise of a great power, 1850 to the present / Fenby, Jonathan
“In 1850, China was the ‘sick man of Asia’. Now it is set to become the most powerful nation on earth. The Penguin History of Modern China shows how turbulent that journey has been. For 150 years China has endured as victim of oppression, war and famine. This makes its current position as arguably the most important global superpower all the more extraordinary. Jonathan Fenby’s comprehensive account is the definitive guide to this remarkable transformation.” (Catalogue)

Under red skies : three generations of life, loss, and hope in China / Kan, Karoline
“Through the stories of three generations of women in her family, Karoline Kan, a former New York Times reporter based in Beijing, reveals how they navigated their way in a country beset by poverty and often-violent political unrest. As the Kans move from quiet villages to crowded towns and through the urban streets of Beijing in search of a better way of life, they are forced to confront the past and break the chains of tradition, especially those forced on women.” (Catalogue)

Comics to Prepare You for Avengers: Endgame!

Avengers: Endgame, the hotly anticipated conclusion to a saga of 21 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hit theaters on April 24, and to help you prepare we’ve added a number of Marvel titles to Overdrive. Featuring the original stories that inspired Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the fan-favourite Jonathan Hickman series that introduced the fiendish Black Order and tales that take a terrifying peek into the mind of Thanos, the Mad Titan!

So head over to Overdrive to start borrowing–or check out our eLibrary Getting Started guide!

Overdrive cover The Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath, by Ron Marz (ebook)
“Collects Silver Surfer (1987) 60-66, Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme 36, Warlock & the Infinity Watch 1-6, material from Silver Surfer Annual 5. After defeating Thanos, Adam Warlock won the Infinity Gauntlet–and now has absolute power! Can the most powerful being in the universe be convinced to give up the Gauntlet? And who can be trusted with even a portion of its awesome abilities?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Infinity War, by Jim Starlin (ebook)
“Collects Infinity War #1-6, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #7-10 & Marvel Comics Presents #108-111. When evil dopplegangers of the Marvel heroes appear, it’s all-out war! Why has Magus unleashed them on an unsuspecting world? And is the heroes only hope…Thanos?! Plus, will the Infinity Gauntlet swing the tide of the war?” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Avengers (2012), Volume 1, by Jonathan Hickman (ebook)
“Collects Avengers #1-6. The greatest heroes in comics, together as one expansive, unbeatable team! The Avengers’ first mission takes them to Mars, but the secrets of the Garden lead right back to Earth’s Savage Land! Plus, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard and Captain Universe races to decipher the code hidden in the Avengers’ recent adventures!” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Thanos Rising, by Jason Aaron (ebook)
“Collects Thanos Rising #1-5. The vile face of Thanos left audiences in shock after last summer’s Marvel Studios’ “The Avengers” movie…but who is this eerily disturbing villain? Discover the hidden truth, as Thanos rises as the unrivaled rogue of wretchedness in this gripping tale of tragedy, deceit and destiny. Where did this demi-god of destruction come from – and more importantly, what does he want from the universe?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Thanos (2016), Volume 1, by Jeff Lemire (ebook)
“Collects Thanos #1-6. Thanos, possibly the most diabolical individual in the Marvel Universe, is back — and he’s out for vengeance on all who would oppose him! Unfortunately for the Mad Titan, he’s also heading for an unexpected reckoning…with his family. Take an ongoing walk on the dark side of the galaxy, and follow the deadly trail of destruction left in the wake of…Thanos! He is pure evil. He is unstoppable. And it’s time for someone — anyone — to take him down.” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Infinity Gauntlet, by Jim Starlin (ebook)
“Collects Infinity Gauntlet (1991) #1-6. The Mad Titan Thanos has seized control of Infinity Gauntlet and with it near-omnipotent power! Who can stop this deadly new overlord? All of Marvel’s top heroes star in this epic of cosmic proportions!” (Overdrive description.)

Nonesuch Records on Naxos Jazz Library

In the Naxos Jazz Library, there are over 17,770 albums available and new albums are added weekly. It offers mostly jazz, of course, but you can also find some intriguing popular music offered by labels such as Nonesuch records.

Nonesuch Records started as a budget classical label in 1964, and since former ECM records executive Robert Hurwitz became president, it has evolved as one of the most forward thinking labels, offering albums by acclaimed unique musicians from a wide range of genres. The musicians who have issued albums on Nonesuch records include Bjork, Fleet Foxes, David Byrne, Black Keys, K.D. Lang, Wilco, Laurie Anderson and many more. Some of the finest albums by these musicians are available in this Naxos Jazz Library.

To find albums by Nonesuch records, click LABELS on the homepage of the Naxos Jazz Libray. Check out our staff picks below and start streaming now!

Neil J’s picks

Cover from Naxos WILSON, Brian: Smile
Performed by: Wilson, Brian
It took from 1966 till 2004 for the full glory of the legendary lost masterpiece by the Beach Boys to finally see the light of day. This is Brian’s solo version of the work recorded from scratch and released after live performances received such positive reactions. It sounds much more cohesive , polished and finished than the subsequently released Beach Boys Smile sessions but lacks the subtly and sublime harmonic nuances that made the Beach Boys so great.

Cover from Naxos FLEET FOXES: Fleet Foxes
Performed by: Fleet Foxes
In their self titled debut album the Seattle based Fleet Foxes created something really special. Their folk rock styled harmonically soaked sound permeates every track. From the Bruegel painting on the front cover to the Crosby Stills and Nash harmonies you can hear and see the artists they love and who influence them yet they are always themselves they never get lost in their own record collection , instead delivering their unique , emotionally charged and uplifting music with grace and ease. Rightfully regarded as a modern classic.

Cover from Naxos ANDERSON, Laurie: Heart of a Dog
Performed by: Anderson, Laurie; Bernstein, Steven; Rathke, Mike; Reed, Lou; Saunders, Fernando; Scarpantoni, Jane; Shapiro, Paul; Smith, Tony Thunder; Wieselman, Doug
In many ways Laurie Anderson is a conceptual artist who just happens to work within the field of popular music . She came to the general music publics eye with the minimalist unexpected hit O superman. And like most of her work this soundtrack to the film of the same title Heart of a dog is a piece that operates and functions on May levels simultaneously. It is a meditation on the death of both her dog and her husband Lou Reed , it is about love and grief art and emotion and The Tibetan book of the dead and many other things all filtered through the prism that is Laurie Anderson’s mind . It also has wit and dry deadpan humour in an album that is light of touch and deeply profound.

Cover from Naxos BJÖRK: Biophilia
Performed by: Bjork,
Biophilia is the cutting edge, every experimental, constantly changing Björk’s eighth full-length release. It is wildly ambitious nature themed and has close tie ins with non traditional music partners like Apple and the National Geographic not to mention a narration by no less than David Attenborough . The music is as revolutionary as the ideas that circle it , sounding like a sound lab of her own creation and featuring electronics, sounds from nature and specially created invented instruments. It is an innovative masterclass in redefining music and sound all orchestrated in Björk’s uniques fashion yet it never feels forced or contrived.

Monty’s picks

Cover from Naxos MAGNETIC FIELDS (THE): 50 Song Memoir
Performed by: Magnetic Fields, The

 

 

 

Cover from Naxos NICKEL CREEK: Dotted Line (A)
Performed by: Chamberlain, Matt; Meyer, Edgar; Nickel Creek; Schatz, Mark; Valentine, Eric

 

 

Cover from Naxos OBERST, Conor: Ruminations
Performed by: Oberst, Conor

 

 

 

Cover from Naxos PUNCH BROTHERS: Antifogmatic
Performed by: Punch Brothers

 

 

 

Shinj’s Picks

Cover from Naxos VELOSO, Caetano: Estrangeiro
Performed by: Brown, Carlinhos; Cesinha, ; Costa, Toni; Fialho, Tavinho; Frisell, Bill; Lewis, Tony; Lindsay, Arto; Ribot, Marc; Scherer, Peter; Vasconcelos, Nana; Veloso, Caetano

 

 

Cover from Naxos BANHART, Devendra: Ape in Pink Marble
Performed by: Banhart, Devendra; Georgeson, Noah; Rogove, Gregory

 

 

 

Cover from Naxos GIDDENS, Rhiannon: Freedom Highway
Performed by: Adcock, Eric; Bartley, Patrick; Bhiman, Bhi; Corbett, Rowan; Dick, Jamie; Giddens, Rhiannon; Harrington, Lalenja; Horne, Alphonso; Jenkins, Hubby; McCalla, Leyla; Parson, Malcolm; Powell, Dirk; Sypher, Jason; Wilcox, Corey

 

Cover from Naxos BYRNE, David: American Utopia
Performed by: Airhead, ; Anderson, Ben; Barr, Isaiah; Bartlett, Thomas; Byrne, David; di Dalva, Gustavo; Edwards, Jamie; Eno, Brian; Epton, Alex; Flynn, Ethan P.; Freedman, Daniel; Giarmo, Chris; Happa, ; Jam City, ; Jenkins, Nathan; Keiper, Tim; Koreless, ; Kuumba, Tendayi; Lopatin, Daniel; Mansfield, Karl; McDonald, Rodaidh; Peñate, Jack; Reed, Ben; Refosco, Mauro; Sampha, ; San Juan, Stephane; Savolainen, Jaakkö; Swan, Angie; Viera, Davi; Williams, Joe; Wolfe, Brian; Wooten, Bobby

ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Jem Yoshioka

ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event.

Next on the list is Jem Yoshioka, an illustrator and comic artist living in Wellington, New Zealand. Deftly weaving words and pictures together, Jem’s comics tell evocative and emotional stories with themes of belonging, place, and heritage. Jem’s current webcomic project is a soft science fiction romance between an android and a human called Circuits and Veins.
Jem Yoshioka appears at ComicFest with the support of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive.

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: I have always loved to tell stories and draw pictures, so in a way I feel like I was always on the path to comics. I read a lot as a kid and loved picture books fiercely.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: I work a full time job in communications, so I spend my day getting to help tell people’s stories and make sure things are understood by as many people as possible. I walk to and from work along the Wellington waterfront. I spend my evenings drawing, with breaks for dinner, chores, or whatever. It’s a balance that has worked well for me, but I am careful to be mindful of my limits and not push myself too hard if I know I need a break. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Tetris and Star dew Valley to recharge when I need to!

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: My webcomic Circuits and Veins is my current biggest project. I’ve been updating it since July, 2017 (coming up on two years, goodness!), and it’s honestly such a rewarding project. Long form serialised webcomics are notoriously difficult to keep going, and some weeks are a lot harder than others.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: I’m constantly listening to podcasts or watching YouTube. Podcasts have helped me so much to keep focused and motivated when I need to meet a deadline. Having my ears occupied helps keep my mind from straying away. I’m a big fan of Actual Play podcasts (listening to other people play table top roleplaying games), because it’s like a form of collaborative storytelling. My favourites are Friends at the Table and The Adventure Zone. If you have recommendations, let me know! I’m always looking for new ones.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: That’s a tough one. Can I say my grandma, Taeko? She’s led an amazing life, growing up in Hiroshima, Japan, witnessing the horrors of war as a young girl and teenager, meeting my granddad in Japan, and moving to New Zealand in the 50s, before you could even really find rice here, let alone the right kind of rice. Whenever I get stuck I think back on who she is, that she still has such a lightness and humour about her through everything. It makes me feel strong again. This has been something that has been coming through in my art since 2015, when I started writing autobiography comics exploring my connection to Japan and my Japanese heritage, which of course is all through her.

 

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: I love Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, published on Webtoon. Rachel’s my best friend and we’ve known each other for half our lives, so I’m a bit biased. Rachel is a master illustrator and her work is so expressive, emotive, and even now her sense of storytelling, drama and comedic timing all work together to make me gasp. What else could you want from a comic?

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: To be honest, I’m doing it! Making Circuits and Veins is honestly a dream, and I’m so happy that so many people love reading it. It does have an end though, and I’m also equally excited about my next story, which will be a fantasy story based on Japanese folk stories. I tried to launch it last year as Starstruck, but I wasn’t completely happy with the execution, and splitting my time between two ongoing comic projects wasn’t the smartest, so I’ve pulled it back to the drawing board. I chip away on concepts for it in between updating Circuits and Veins

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I’m keen to talk about what it takes to update a regular serialised webcomic, and also about how to balance comics and non-comics life.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Marceline, from Adventure Time. She’s got the best style.

You can find Jem online in the following places:
Instagram: @jemyoshioka
Twitter: @jemyoshioka
Blog/Website: jemshed.com

ComicFest 2019: Comic Book Festival from May 2 – 4 at the National Library

Call comics what you like – sequential art, graphic novels, cartoons, manga – Wellington City Libraries loves everything about this expressive, influential, diverse medium. Our fourth celebration of comics, and local cartoonists, ComicFest 2019, is ready to kick off on May 2 – 4, at the National Library, 70 Molesworth St!

ComicFest 2019 interviews & more

With the recent closure of the Central library, the National Library have come to the rescue with a generous, well-timed offer to co-sponsor and house ComicFest in the Te Ahumairangi Foyer, Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium, and programme rooms on the corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets.

Once again, ComicFest will be giving away 1,000’s of free comics on Free Comic Book Day, with the brilliant support of Graphic comic store, who will be providing local sales of cartoonists on the day for the first time.

We couldn’t have staged ComicFest without our all-important sponsors – the National Library, Graphic comics, Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Book Council, the New Zealand Cartoon Archive, Weta Workshop, CoNZealand, Penguin Books, Unity Books and Wellington Zinefest

For more information on all the events at ComicFest, scroll further down the page for our complete programme, but expect FREE comics, panel discussions, presentations, workshops, Kids cosplay, quizzes, film showings and prizes from Weta Cave, Unity Books and CoNZealand!


Saturday – 4 May Programme

For all 3 days scroll further down


 


Full ComicFest 2019 Programme


Thursday 2 May

6:00pm – 8:00pm | Mystery ComicFest Film

Can you guess this classic Science Fiction film? Help us celebrate the start of ComicFest with one of the most beloved science fiction films of the 1980’s, based on a pulp classic novel and comic strip, and boasting a killer soundtrack! Please fill in the form to book a seat at this limited entry, free event. (Programme rooms)

Friday 3 May

5:30pm – 6:30pm | ComicFest Star Wars Quiz Night

Is the force with you? Are you are Star Wars mega brain, or are you a Padawan rather than a Jedi Master? Put your knowledge of the Star Wars universe to the test, in our very special Star War’s quiz. Join in groups of up to 5, and fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event. Fabulous prizes provided by CoNZealand! (Tiakiwai Seminar Rooms)

Sponsored by CoNZealand, 78th World Science Fiction Convention.

6:45pm – 8:45pm | Roger Langridge – A Career in Comics (Presentation and Workshop)

Eisner winning, London-based cartoonist, Roger Langridge has worked for major and independent comics publishers across the world and is visiting Wellington as part of ComicFest 2019! Roger will provide a presentation on his career in cartooning, with examples of his highly regarded comics. Join in later, as Roger provides the chance for all to create a unique and creative comic strip of their own, based on formal constraints provided at random!

Please fill in the form to reserve a place for the Presentation for this limited entry, free event.

If you would like to go to the Workshop, fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event.

(Auditorium / Tiakiwai Seminar Rooms)

Sponsored by Creative New Zealand

Saturday 4 May

All Day | Free Comic Book Day | CoNZealand Area | Drawing competition|

(Te Ahumairangi Foyer)

9:00am onwards | Free Comic Book Day

Grab some free comics from us and chat comics with our librarians at the National Library! Comics from all different publishers and for all age ranges are included in the selections, so there will be something for everyone. Thanks to Graphic for providing free comics, and book sales of local cartoonists on the day!

Sponsored by Graphic comics

CoNZealand, 78th World Science Fiction Convention Area

Come and talk to the crew of CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, and find out how you can join in the fun between 29 July and 2 August 2020, when SF and Fantasy authors from all over the world, including Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon and George R.R. Martin, will land right here in Wellington.

Drawing Competition: Can You Comicify That?

Come to the library and draw a ‘comicified’ version of your favourite character from a book, movie or TV show! Submit it to our drawing competition and be in to win a bunch of awesome prizes, or bring it to the Zine Crafting Table and learn how to turn it into your very own homemade comic! Entry forms available from the National Library during ComicFest. All ages and drawing levels welcome.

9:00am – 10:00am | Tea Dragon Workshop with Katie O’Neill (Workshop)

Kids (and big kids!) are welcome to join author of The Tea Dragon series Katie O’Neill in creating some new species of Tea Dragons based on suggestions from the audience. Feathers or scales? Wings or horns? And most importantly, what type of tea will they be? There will also be a demonstration by Katie of how she creates the colourful pages of her graphic novels. (Programme Rooms)

Sponsored by The New Zealand Book Council

10:00am – 10:30am | Kids Cosplay!

It’s May the fourth, so here’s your chance to dress up as your favourite Jedi, Robot or Sith Lord! Or come along as your favourite comic’s character to get lots of spot prizes, free comics from Unity books or a Weta Cave Workshop tour pass! Limited to children up to the age of 12, free entry. No weapons, or military cosplay please. (Te Ahumairangi Foyer)

Sponsored by Unity Books

10:30am – 11:30am | Comics Masterclass with Ant Sang (Workshop)

Join cartoonist creator, Ant Sang, of award-winning comic Shaolin Burning, and recently released graphic novel Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, for a workshop covering some of the fundamentals of comic storytelling. Should I use a close-up or wide shot? Big or small panel? How do I make a story that readers can’t put down?! All these questions will be answered, and more… Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event. (Programme Rooms)

Sponsored by Penguin Books

11:30am -12:30pm | The Future of Storytelling : A Look Inside the Art of Dr Grordbort’s Invaders (Presentation)

Did you know that Weta Workshop develops mixed reality games? Using the comic books of Dr. Grordbort’s, their gaming studio released Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders, available exclusively on Magic Leap. Weta Workshop’s Senior Artist, Jesse Barrett, delves into the challenges of expressing the world of Dr. Grordbort’s in a whole new medium and the solutions they uncovered while working within mixed reality. Learn which key elements Weta Workshop’s artists look for when translating from one medium to another and how to retain the vibe of an original source material. Attend this presentation and be in with a chance of winning a Weta Cave Workshop Tour pass. Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event. (Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium)

Sponsored by Weta Workshop

12:40pm -1:40pm | The Ascent of Children’s Comics (Panel Discussion)

There are more amazing comics made for children’s and young adult audiences than ever, aimed at diverse audiences across every age group. Join Eisner award winning cartoonists, Roger Langridge and Katie O’Neill, New Zealand Post Book Award Winning author, Ant Sang, Giselle Clarkson from, ‘The Sapling,’ and cartoonist-chair Sarah Laing, as they discuss the growing phenomena of children’s and young adult comics internationally, and in New Zealand. Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event. (Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium)

12:40pm -1:40pm| Comic Zine Crafting Table (Workshop)

Want to learn how to make and publish your own homemade comics? Check out some of the comic zines from the Wellington City Library zine collection made by local comic artists, and learn how to make your own with the volunteers of Wellington Zinefest at our crafting table. All ages welcome. Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event.

1:50pm – 2:35pm | Digital Comics Demo with Michel Mulipola (Presentation)

Join comic book artist and illustrator Michel Mulipola, as he demonstrates digital tools whilst drawing live (and live streaming) on the big screen! Bring pen and paper, and join in with Michel as he provides story-telling tips, panel composition ideas and illustration guidance. All welcome! Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event.  (Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium)

Sponsored by Wellington City Libraries

2:45PM – 3:45PM | Stories from Aotearoa / New Zealand (Panel Discussion)

What is a New Zealand comic (and who’s reading them)? How do we foster and celebrate diversity in comics? What stories aren’t being told? And what can we learn from New Zealand’s cartooning history? Join Jem Yoshioka, Paul Diamond, Alex Cara and Ross Murray to hear their perspectives on New Zealand cartooning in 2019. Discussion chaired by Hannah Benbow, cartoon and comics librarian at the National Library, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event. (Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium)

Sponsored by the New Zealand Cartoon Archive

3:55pm -4:55pm | Perspectives on the Cartooning Life (Panel Discussion)

The physical and digital world of comics creation and publishing has changed massively in recent years. What are the ways a cartoonist can succeed, and sustain a modern career in comics and cartoons? Join award-winning cartoonists, Sharon Murdoch, Michel Mulipola, Roger Langridge, and chair Dylan Horrocks as they discuss their brilliant careers, comics today and their views on the future of cartooning. Please fill in the form to reserve a place at this limited entry, free event. (Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium)

Sponsored by Creative New Zealand

Watching the Detectives!

Some of the most iconic television detectives started life on the printed page. So for our latest showcase we’ve decided to not only highlight our favourite sleuths, but also link them to their respective TV shows! So many fabulous mysteries to read, so many great programmes to watch—a perfect way to spend those darkening nights. Enjoy!

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: the interconnectedness of all kings / Ryall, Chris
“Dirk Gently: a detective with a belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, a unique relationship with the laws of probability and physics, and a love of cats and pizza. In his first-ever comic series, Dirk has been forced to leave his beloved England behind, coming to the too-sunny, too-cheery, and altogether too-bizarre-even-for-Dirk city of San Diego, California.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE. 

Poirot’s early cases / Christie, Agatha
“Captain Hastings recounts 18 of Poirot’s early cases from the days before he was famous… Hercule Poirot delighted in telling people that he was probably the best detective in the world. So turning back the clock to trace eighteen of the cases which helped establish his professional reputation was always going to be a fascinating experience. With his career still in its formative years, the panache with which Hercule Poirot could solve even the most puzzling mystery is obvious.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Wild fire / Cleeves, Ann
“Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread.With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

The remorseful day / Dexter, Colin
“How will Morse bid his final farewell? The murder of Yvonne Harrison at her home in the Cotswold village of Lower Swinstead had left Thames Valley CID baffled. A year after the dreadful crime they are still no nearer to making an arrest. But one man has yet to tackle the case–and it is just the sort of puzzle at which Chief Inspector Morse excels.” “So why is he adamant that he will not lead the re-investigation, despite dark hints of some new evidence?” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Overdrive cover The Hound of the Baskervilles / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ebook)
“The most famous of the Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles features the phantom dog of Dartmoor, which, according to an ancient legend, has haunted the Baskervilles for generations. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly of a heart attack on the grounds of the family’s estate, the locals are convinced that the spectral hound is responsible, and Holmes is called in.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Overdrive cover A Touch of Frost / R D Wingfield (ebook)
“Denton has never known anything like the crime wave which now threatens to submerge it. A robbery occurs at the town’s strip joint, the pampered son of a local MP is suspected of a hit-and-run and, to top it all, a multiple rapist is on the loose. Frost is reeling under the strain and now, more than ever, his colleagues would love to see him sacked. But Frost manages to assure his superior that all is under control. Now he has only to convince himself…” (Adapted from Overdrive description.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Overdrive cover A Rare Benedictine / Ellis Peters (ebook)
“Set in the Year of Our Lord 1120, three tales of intrigue and treachery, featuring the chain of events that led one-time crusader Cadfael into the Benedictine Order.” (Adapted from Overdrive description.) For DVD availability click HERE.

The troubled man / Mankell, Henning
“The final Kurt Wallander Mystery–and the first new Wallander novel for a decade. The Troubled Man confirms Henning Mankell’s position as the king of crime writing.” (Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.