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The Best of the Best: must reads from the latest fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. This time we have a bumper selection of books, chosen from arrivals in recent weeks. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverGeneral theory of oblivion / José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
A novel set in post-colonial Angola, by an award winning Portuguese writer, that will be remembered long after the last page is read.

Syndetics book coverThe march of the foxgloves / Karyn Hay.
A fascinating historical novel, with a plot that is highly entertaining and very amusing.

Syndetics book coverMansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Sarah Laing.
A very clever, very New Zealand story that is quite brilliant.

Syndetics book coverNormal / Warren Ellis.
A gripping intelligent techno-thriller set in the near future.

Syndetics book coverBlack water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
This French best seller is guaranteed to keep readers hooked until the final pages with their astounding revelations.

Syndetics book coverCarthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
Fabulous illustrations, and a gripping multi-layered story.

Syndetics book coverDear Mr. M : a novel / Herman Koch ; translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett.
A literary thriller, that will keep the reader in suspense until the last page.

Syndetics book coverFear / Dirk Kurbjuweit ; translated from the German by Imogen Taylor.
This is a murder story, a psychological thriller, and something more, a gripping and thought-provoking read.

Syndetics book coverCity of strangers : a novel / Louise Millar.
With well-drawn characters and increased suspense to a roaring conclusion that ties the two plot threads together, this is a very satisfying thriller.

Syndetics book coverEmpire games / Charles Stross.
This is a continuation of Stross’s popular Merchant Princes series and is more a high-tech thriller than a fantasy about walking between worlds in a multiverse, this first of three alternate histories. All the brilliance of imagination readers have come to expect with this writer.

Reading across genres – April Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter from WCL. We have highlighted three of the most tempting reads from each genre that in turn demonstrates the diversity and depth of Wellington City Libraries fiction collection. This is also demonstrated by the debut novels selected for this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category. We do hope you will find some great reading, and perhaps a new author to enjoy.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s new Contemporary Fiction includes new novels from several award winning authors. One of these is George Saunders with his first novel, titled Lincoln in the bardo. He will be a guest at the Auckland Writers Festival in May.

Syndetics book cover 4 3 2 1 : a novel / Paul Auster.
“On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Days without end : a novel / Sebastian Barry.
“Thomas McNulty, barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas fights in the Indian Wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lincoln in the bardo : a novel / George Saunders.
“February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.
Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic Novel collection always provides a wide range of genres, a large variation in writing style and art work, so that devoted readers will find endless hours of entertaining reading. This month’s selection, with debut graphic novelist to the first volumes of new series again confirms the scope and diversity of this collection.

Syndetics book cover Carthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
“The megalodon, the prehistoric ancestor of the great white shark, was the most ferocious predator of the seas, an 80-foot killing machine extinct for millions of years. But when divers drilling in an underwater cave are attacked by this living fossil, oceanographer Kim Melville discovers that this creature may not only have survived, but thrived, and is reclaiming its place at the top of the food chain.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Flying couch : a graphic memoir / Amy Kurzweil.
“Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Huck [1] : All-American / Mark Millar, writer ; Rafael Albuquerque, artist ; created by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque.
“In a quiet seaside town, a gas station clerk named Huck secretly uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. But when his story leaks, a media firestorm erupts, bringing him uninvited fame. As pieces of Huck’s past begin to resurface, it’s no longer clear who his friends are, or whose lives may be in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

This month’s selection of new mystery novels included many characters with a diverse range of occupations investigating crime and murder. These together with the very popular police procedural mysteries provide a great choice for readers.

Syndetics book cover Right behind you : a novel / Lisa Gardner.
“Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah is about to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner. A call comes in about a double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover City of strangers : a novel / Louise Millar.
“When Grace and her childhood sweetheart Mac come home from their honeymoon in Thailand, they’re shocked to find a dead body beside their pile of unopened wedding presents. The police are unable to ID the man, so it is assumed that he was a burglar who died from natural causes. Little do they know that evidence for a rather different story is hidden right beneath their apartment.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

In the new Science Fiction and Fantasy selection for this month there were new novels from several very popular writers. Greg Bear, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charles Stross, just to name a few.

Syndetics book cover Take back the sky / Greg Bear.
“The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war. Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists; both are intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. The former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A closed and common orbit / Becky Chambers.
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world, because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Empire games / Charles Stross.
“The year is 2020. It is seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence, has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

The new ‘Other Genres’ category this month features Debut Novelists. All the first novels selected have received excellent reviews with great promise and expectation for future work.

Syndetics book cover Barking dogs / Rebekah Clarkson.
“If you took a bird’s-eye view of Mount Barker, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks in an ordinary regional town. Get closer. Peer through a window. You might see Nathan Long, obsessively recording the incessant bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. If you listen, you may hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure, incorruptible love. Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Syndetics book cover Nina is not ok / Shappi Khorsandi.
“Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Fish in exile / Vi Khi Nao.
“How do you bear the death of a child? with fish tanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New ‘Other Genres’ fiction featuring debut novelists

This month’s ‘Other Genres’ category features debut novelists, with three first novels from Australian writers. There is a wide variation of theme, from historical to psychological thrillers, chic lit to horror and suspense to romance. Highly recommended is the translated novel by German author Dirk Kurbjuweit, titled Fear.

Syndetics book coverThe Florentine Bridge / Vanessa Carnevale.
“Young Australian artist Mia Moretti has been cancer free for nine months. But her battle with the illness has taken its toll, leaving her depressed and tormented by overwhelming fears. What’s more, she can’t seem to paint anymore. Mia needs a fresh start so when a surprise opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it. What she doesn’t count on is meeting Luca, a handsome Italian mechanic. As Mia slowly lets down her walls and allows Luca in, her passion for life is reignited and her new perspective begins to inspire her art. But just when she’s ready to let go of her past, will a tragedy threaten her new life with Luca?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBarking dogs / Rebekah Clarkson.
“If you took a bird’s-eye view of Mount Barker, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks in an ordinary regional town. Get closer. Peer through a window. You might see Nathan Long, obsessively recording the incessant bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. If you listen, you may hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure, incorruptible love. Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime.” (Adapted from Book cover)

Image from Fishpond.co.nzThe Crying Place / Lia Hills.
“After years of travelling, Saul is trying to settle down. But one night he receives the devastating news of the death of his oldest friend, Jed, recently returned from working in a remote Aboriginal community. Saul’s discovery in Jed’s belongings of a photo of a woman convinces him that she may hold the answers to Jed’s fate. So he heads out on a journey into the heart of the Australian desert to find the truth, setting in motion a powerful story about the landscapes that shape us and the ghosts that lay their claim.A stunning literary debut that takes the reader into the mysteries and truths that lie at the heart of our country.” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe Huntingfield paintress / Pamela Holmes.
“Plucky and headstrong Mildred Holland reveled in the eight years she and her husband, the vicar William Holland, spent traveling 1840s Europe, finding inspiration in recording beautiful artistic treasures and collecting exotic artifacts. But William’s new posting in a tiny Suffolk village is a world apart, and Mildred finds a life of tea and sympathy dull and stifling in comparison. When a longed-for baby does not arrive, she sinks into despondency and despair. A sudden chance encounter fires Mildred’s creative imagination and she embarks on a Herculean task that demands courage and passion. Defying her loving but exasperated husband, and mistrustful locals who suspect her of supernatural powers, Mildred rediscovers her passion and lives again through her dreams of beauty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSomeone out there / Catherine Hunt.
“A story of obsession, revenge and deceit, of a woman caught up in terrifying circumstances. Laura Maxwell appears to have it all, perfect career, perfect husband, perfect life. But how well do you really know the people around you? All it takes is one tiny crack to shatter the whole façade.A series of accidents causes Laura to believe that someone is deliberately targeting her, trying to harm her. Fear starts to pervade every part of her life, affecting her work and her marriage, and she feels increasingly isolated. If no one believes Laura’s story, who will be there to protect her when her attacker closes in for the kill?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNina is not ok / Shappi Khorsandi.
“Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFear / Dirk Kurbjuweit ; translated from the German by Imogen Taylor.
“Randolph insists he had a normal childhood, though his father kept thirty loaded guns in the house. Now he has an attractive, intelligent wife and two children, enjoys modest success as an architect and has just moved into a beautiful flat in a respectable part of Berlin. Life seems perfect until his wife, Rebecca, meets the man living in the basement below. Their downstairs neighbour is friendly at first, but soon he starts to frighten them and when Randolph fails to act, the situation quickly spins out of control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFish in exile / Vi Khi Nao.
“How do you bear the death of a child? with fish tanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Futures / Anna Pitoniak.
“This is a story of a relationship that falls apart, a story of heartbreak and betrayal. It is the story of a young couple who graduate from Yale in 2008, just as the financial crisis begins and there are no jobs for graduates. It is a story of their new start together in New York City and their tentative first steps into adulthood. It is a story of growing up and taking chances and making terrible mistakes. This is Evan and Julia’s story. This is a love story.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDefender / G X Todd.
“In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road. The moment locks them together. Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet. These voices have purpose, and when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The best of the best: must reads from the latest fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverCooking for Picasso : a novel / Camille Aubray.
Art, food, music love and mystery all on the French Riviera, delightful page turning escapism.

Syndetics book coverDark matter : a novel / by Blake Crouch.
A skillfully plotted science fiction technothriller about multiple realities, great edge of the seat reading.

Syndetics book coverHeroes of the frontier : a novel / Dave Eggers.
A fast–paced topical,truly entertaining funny novel, from a highly acclaimed writer.

Syndetics book cover5,000 km per second / Manuele Fior ; translated from Italian by Jamie Richards.
This Italian award winning graphic novel, with stunningly beautiful artwork, is full of emotion, sad, yet hopeful.

Syndetics book coverA rising man / Abir Mukherjee.
A gripping, atmospheric historical crime novel.


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