We will be at the Better Home & Living Show

interior decoration illustration
Come along to the Westpac Stadium on 6-8 May from 10-5pm and meet the library team. Learn about how we can help with free ideas for your DIY projects, renovations, interior design and garden makeovers. Don’t forget that the library is your place for inspiration. We’ll also be sharing about eMagazine titles which have been added to our Zinio range, such as Country Living, plus the new features on the Zinio for Libraries app, e.g. direct links to check out new magazines.

Mind & Body Newsletter for February

This month’s Mind & Body selections offer a range of cooking ideas for health, lean budgets or just to discover a few new recipes. In sports, Jon Bridges’ offers a gentle introduction to the beginning cyclist; and in beliefs, John Stedman does his bit to simmer the flames in the atheism/religion debate with ‘Faithiest’.

Library News

Cooking

Bread, cake-decorating, food for entertaining, and retro sixties cooking — we hope you enjoy our picks of this month’s new cookbooks!

Syndetics book coverGreedy Girl’s Diet : eat yourself slim with gorgeous guilt-free food / Nadia Sawalha; photography Keiko Oikawa.
“Nadia Sawalha has always loved cooking, but until recently rarely ate her own food. Like a lot of women, whilst her family tucked in to delicious dishes, she nibbled on diet food. Later, ravenously hungry, she binged, somehow convincing herself that the calories didn’t count if nobody saw her eating them.” (Library Catalogue)
“Nadia’s approach is simple and sensible – a little less oil, a leaner cut of meat, brown instaed of white rice, more herbs and spices, and a dessert every day. The 100 recipes in her Greedy Girl’s Diet are healthy, satisfying nd full of flavour.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverGluten-Free & Vegan Bread : artisanal recipes to make at home / Jennifer Katzinger ; photographs by Kathryn Barnard.
“Jennifer Katzinger makes baking artisanal gluten-free and vegan breads at home simple. This cookbook contains recipes for yeasted breads, fougasse, flatbreads, sweet breads, sourdough, quick breads, savory breads, sandwich breads. More than 60 recipes, including Country Baguette, Cinnamon Pecan Rolls, Kalamata Olive Bread, Simple Focaccia, Quinoa Crackers, Matzo Flatbread, Walnut Wild Rice Bread, Quick Anadama Bread, Irish Soda Bread, Cranberry Pecan Bread, and fifty others.” — Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverThe Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating [electronic resource] / Ruth Clemens.
“Find out how even the busiest of busy girls can whip up impressive homemade treats in next to no time! Ruth Clemens, finalist on the original series of The Great British Bake Off, shares her secrets in creating speedy but gorgeous cakes, bakes and biscuits. Choose from 25 beautiful projects to make in under an hour, under 3 hours or less than a day and be amazed at what you can achieve!” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook : the ultimate guide to the gluten-free, milk-free diet / Pamela J. Compart and Dana Laake.
“This special diet has become an essential step of treatment for families struggling with autism and ADHD. And these recipes for gluten- and casein-free foods, meals, and snack are simple to prepare and yummy, – making it easier than ever to please kids who have behavioral or developmental challenges, or are just picky eaters.” (Book jacket – Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverModern Australian Food / [food director, Pamela Clark].
“Australian food has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. We have become a nation of foodies, knowledgeable and discriminating. Modern Australian Food showcases the best of our recipes from our city café culture, to country cooking to coastal food.” – back cover.

Syndetics book coverNutmeg & Custard / Marcus Wareing ; with Chantelle Nicholson.
“Nutmeg and Custard is Marcus Wareing’s definitive guide to the kind of food you will want to share time and time again with family and friends. With over 100 stunning recipes …..divided into themed chapters … there is something here for everyone who loves great food.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverTake One Pot : super simple recipes cooked in one pot, / Georgina Fuggle, photography by Tara Fisher.
“The beauty of cooking in one pot is that it involves minimal fuss. All the recipes can be created in just one single vessel – the roasting tin, the casserole, the deep frying pan or the baking dish, so no specialist equipment is required. The recipes cater to cooks of all levels of expertise and include tips on how to get ahead, recipe variations and serving ideas. Whether you’re cooking a family meal or a quick supper, Take One Pot delivers satisfying and comforting food.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSpice Trip / Stevie Parle & Emma Grazette.
“Stevie Parle and Emma Grazette are on a mission to spice up Britain’s kitchens and demystify the treasures hidden away in our cupboards. They have been on an incredible spice trip to all corners of the world to discover the secrets of six essential everyday spices and poured the best recipes, therapies and mementoes from their journey onto the pages of this book for us all to take home and use.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook : more than 100 retro recipes for the modern cook / by Rick Rodgers and Heather MacLean.
“Smartly timed to coincide with the new season of AMC’s Mad Men, this compilation of retro recipes from Rodgers (Thanksgiving 101) and Maclean (co-author, Fabulicious!) covers all the requisite dishes for 60s-style entertaining, including Piggies in Blankets, a rumaki that suggests substituting pineapple or dates for those averse to chicken liver, a tomato and shrimp aspic, and Chicken a la King…. Rodgers and Maclean provide plenty of fun food ideas.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverDr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity Cookbook : eat to thrive, live long, and be healthy / Mao Shing Ni ; photography by Philip Dixon.
“This cookbook shares recipes from some of the most famous “longevity capitals” of the world, gathered from Dr. Mao’s extensive centenarian and patient interviews. The recipes make use of the top ten healing and longevity foods, while still tasting delicious!” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverWheat Belly Cookbook : 150 recipes to lose the wheat, lose the weight, and find your path back to health / William Davis, MD.
“This cookbook companion to the New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly serves up 150 great tasting wheat-free recipes to help readers lose weight and beat disease.”(Library Catalogue)
“Join the wheat-free revolution right from your kitchen with 150 sumptuous dishes for any occasion designed to slim you down and improve your health. The Wheat Belly Cookbook is your guide to living a slim, vibrant, delicious life.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverSo Easy : luscious, healthy recipes for every meal of the week / Ellie Krieger ; photography by Alexandra Grablewski.
“As weekly host of the Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite,” Krieger is known for creating light and healthy dishes that are easy to prepare. With 150 delicious fortifying recipes, “So Easy” makes it simple to tackle any mealtime situation. 50 color photos.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRound the World in Eighty Dishes : the world through the kitchen window / Lesley Blanch ; with illustrations by the author.
“Russia, Afghanistan, Turkey, America, Egypt, Romania and Bulgaria are just some of the countries where this adventurous and inquisitive traveller has investigated the cooking pots and enjoyed – or otherwise – the hospitality of the locals. An incurable romantic, Miss Blanch invests the food she describes with the aura of exoticism.” -Elizabeth David – (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverTart It Up! : sweet & savoury tarts & pies / Eric Lanlard ; photography by Kate Whitaker.
“From a ‘proper’ Quiche Lorraine to an indulgent Raspberry Cheesecake Pie, Eric lanlard , best selling author of Home Bake and co-author of Cox Cookies and Cake, shares his secrets for creating delicious pies and tarts every time you bake.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe $120 Food Challenge / Sandra Reynolds ; photography by Rob Palmer.
“Can you feed a family of four on $120 a week? In these days of rising food costs it sounds impossible, but Sandra Reynolds – home cook, household budget supremo and single mum – shows how. Based on Sandra’s enormously successful blog, this book provides tried-and-tested advice on how to budget, plan meals, shop strategically and cook from more than 100 delicious recipes…” (Book Jacket)

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Sports, Fitness & Recreation

This month’s selection of new books include books on cricket, boxing, martial arts, cycling golf, poker, swimming, running, sports coaching, bridge and more.

Syndetics book coverCoaching Excellence / Frank Pyke, editor.
“No single resource can convey everything that a coach should know and do. So Coaching Excellence does the next best thing: it builds on the basics to provide you with a wealth of information so you can become more adept in your role as an excellent coach. Eighteen experts offer the best knowledge, research and insights that you can apply in working with your athletes, players and teams.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverThe World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges / Richard Hoad and Paul Moore.
“The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges is a truly inspiring and beautiful collection of what we can achieve when racing to the limits. With full-colour stunning photography, coverage of every detail of these cruel challenges and including accounts of competitors who have lived to tell the tale, this book is a wonderful testament to those who face Mother Nature and survive.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSilent Mind Golf : How to Empty Your Mind and Play Golf Instinctively / Robin Sieger ; foreword by Tony Jacklin.
“Imagine being able to achieve the perfect mental state to make your best possible swing over every shot. Being fearless at critical putts and stepping up with an inner calm that allows you to play great golf every time you stand over the ball.Now, Silent Mind Golf , the first in a major four-book series from Robin Seiger, removes the mystery behind the mental prowess that lies at the heart of peak performance….free of jargon, with easy-to-follow exercises and inspiring examples drawn from the lives of golf’s greatest players, this unique book will be your guide to developing the single most neglected, least understood and ultimately decisive dimension of the game: mental strength.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverRide : from ultra-cycling rookie to racing across America / Josh Kench.
“At his brother’s wedding in 2002, 30-year-old Josh Kench … announced that he was going to do the Coast to Coast. His pronouncement was met with derision but he’s proved his doubters wrong. Josh won the 2010 Ultra-enduro Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge covering a mind-numb[ing] 8 laps of the 160km course in 55 hours. But that was only the start. In June 2011, the 39-year-old Wellington plumber lined up to compete in the Race Across America – a 16-day race covering 4828km from California to Maryland. This is the story of how an ordinary Kiwi bloke became an ultra-endurance athlete and decided to take on the world”–Publisher’s information.

Syndetics book coverThe Tao of Gung Fu : a study in the way of Chinese martial art / Bruce Lee ; edited by John Little.
“This is the book that Bruce Lee had intended to publish as an in-depth follow up to his Chinese Gung Fu. Prior to his death, he had written the majority of the text, which explores such topics as yin-yang as it applies to martial arts, Eastern and Western fitness methodologies, and studies of martial arts and self-defense techniques. Also included is Bruce Lees Gung Fu scrapbook of anecdotes on the histories and traditions of the various martial arts of China. The manuscript was completed and edited by martial arts expert John Little in cooperation with the Bruce Lee Estate.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSuperfly : The Jimmy Snuka Story / Jimmy Snuka with Jon Chattman.
“Focusing on the superstar who single-handedly influenced the development of sports entertainment, this autobiography highlights the legacy of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) icon Jimmy Snuka….This fascinating account relates how a native of the Fiji Islands was at the center of two of wrestling’s most talked-about moments: the night Snuka leapt from the top of the 15-foot cage–only to miss his opponent and consequently lose the match–and the night Rowdy Roddy Piper smashed a coconut over Snuka’s head during a segment of Piper’s Pit in 1984. Exposing the amazing life of this WWE Hall of Fame member in detail, this record presents the ups and downs of a wrestler who grew to be a key figure in the expansion of the company and all professional wrestling”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverBradman’s War : How the 1948 invincibles turned the cricket pitch into a battlefield / Malcolm Knox.
“Hailed as one of the greatest cricket teams of all time, the 1948 ‘Invincibles’ are the only Australians to complete a tour of England undefeated….In his revelatory account of the legendary tour, Malcolm Knox lays bare the shock among the fans, commentators and players’; from both teams at Bradman’s single-minded on- and off-field tactics, as he exacted revenge for pre-war slights he was unable to shake off in his pursuit of history….The Invincibles is more than a record of an extraordinary cricket achievement….it also prompts reflection on what place entertainment and inspiration have in competitive sport.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverEasy Rider : A Kiwi’s Guide to Cycling / Jon Bridges.
“Outlines the many joys of riding a bike in New Zealand, and provides a complete beginners’ guide – from riding for fun, to commuting, riding for fitness, mountain biking and even racing. We learn about the reasons for, the reasons against (there aren’t any), the basics of buying a bike and getting started, riding in New Zealand traffic, training and racing, safety and etiquette, maintenance, gizmos, gadgets, Lycra – and so much more.” – Cover flap.

Syndetics book coverOn Par : The Everyday Golfer’s Survival Guide / Bill Pennington.
“Called “the voice of the everyday golfer,” Pennington, the New York Times “On Par” columnist, writes a hilarious, informative primer on the essentials of golf, schooling novices or the professional bewitched by mastering the links…… A chapter on golf-speak will tickle readers with a sampling of the colorful jargon of golf pros such as air mail (overshooting), cabbage (deep rough), or Saddam Hussein (going from bunker to bunker). Tongue-in-cheek, he writes the role of being a good golf partner means effective teamwork rather than attracting attention with “mismatched socks or an unzipped fly.” (Syndetics, Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverGlorious Summers and Discontents : selected writings from a dramatic decade / Mike Atherton.
“Former England Cricket captain Mike Atherton was named the Sports Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards in March 2010.. This book compiles Atherton’s best writings over the last decade, to provide a revealing and insightful portrait of modern cricket and much else besides..” (Global Books)

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Religion and beliefs

Spiritual healing, church history and mindfulness meditation all feature in this month’s selections. Don’t forget that our Gale database has many religions and beliefs periodicals in full text. Titles include : Interpretation, Islam & Science, Journal of religion and popular culture, Journal of theological studies and many more. Use your library card to login for free.

Syndetics book coverNine lives : the Enneagram in life stories, by Eric Foggitt.
Why do we make the same mistakes over and over? Why do people make crazy choices? Can we change and grow up or are we like the proverbial leopard with his spots? In these nine short stories you’ll meet… a whole cast of [characters] who find out – eventually – that it is possible to change and grow. Each of the main characters is a different Enneagram type.

Syndetics book coverThe complete Buddhism for mothers : Buddhism for mothers, Buddhism for mothers of young children, Buddhism for mothers of schoolchildren, by Sarah Napthali.
Become a calmer and happier mother with The Complete Buddhism For Mothers. Parenthood can be a time of great inner turmoil for a woman, yet parenting books invariably focus on nurturing children rather than the mothers who struggle to raise them. … In her clear and engaging way, Sarah Napthali takes us on a journey through the challenges (and the pleasures!) of raising children, using Buddhist teachings and principles to help her answer the eternal questions of mothers everywhere: Who am I now? Where am I going? And how can I do my best by my children and myself? … Even if exploring Buddhism at this busy stage of your life is not where you thought you’d be, it’s well worth reading this book. (drawn from the publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverThe first Muslim : the story of Muhammad, by Lesley Hazleton.
“It is surprising how little most people know about the life of the prophet Muhammad. Hazleton sets out to rectify that in this eminently readable biography. Relying on two biographies from the eighth and ninth centuries, as well as other sources, she presents Muhammad’s life as both history and story. It begins with a moving scene: Muhammad alone in the barren mountains, at night, praying and waiting. Who he is and how he came to be there are revealed in chapters that show him as an orphan in need of protection, as a young camel driver appreciated for his fairness, as a prophet touched by Allah, and as a political leader driven to bring the message to all those with ears to listen. … A highly readable, insightful biography.” Drawn from Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics.

Syndetics book coverBuddha’s book of sleep : sleep better in seven weeks with mindfulness meditation, by Joseph Emet ; [foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh].
Buddha’s Book of Sleep is the first book to treat sleep disorders from the perspective of mindfulness meditation. Yet this is a natural choice – mindfulness meditation has proven effective for other psychological problems such as stress, depression and anxiety and these very issues are what become sleep problems when our heads hit the pillow. Divided into two sections, this book attacks sleep disorders with a combination of wisdom and practical meditation exercises. … [this] will help the reader calm their hurried thoughts and rest easy. (description from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWhen “spiritual but not religious” is not enough : seeing God in surprising places, even the church, by Lillian Daniel.
“In this wise and witty collection, some of them short musings and others in-depth theological explorations, United Church of Christ pastor Daniels [writes] about people who feel compelled to tell her they find God in nature, as if Christians “never heard all those Old Testament psalms that praise God in the beauty of natural creation,” she dissects shallow, individualistic spirituality, and evokes the rough beauty of church where “we are stuck with one another.” Whether pondering the reality of never-completed jobs (like parenting), sharing lessons learned from teaching in Sing Sing prison, or describing her personal struggles with yoga and meditation through the lens of the Martha and Mary story, Daniels offers an honest, often hilarious perspective on faithful living….” (drawn from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverJesus wars : how four patriarchs, three queens, and two emperors decided what Christians would believe for the next 1,500 years, by Philip Jenkins.
Historian Philip Jenkins tells the fascinating, violent story of the Church’s fifth century battles over ‘right belief’ that had a far greater impact on the future of Christianity and the world than the much-touted Council of Nicea convened by Constantine a century before. Over the last 2000 years, Christians have repeatedly struggled to resolve the tension between two seemingly rival claims: Jesus was fully human and yet fully divine. Never was the debate more central to Christianity than during the Church Councils of the fifth century…. (drawn from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWisdom of compassion: stories of remarkable encounters and timeless insights
“An attendee at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s meetings all over the world and coauthor with him (The Wisdom of Forgiveness), Chan provides an insider’s account of the spiritual master’s teachings at venues large and small. “This is the Dalai Lama in context,” he writes, “live, unscripted, and at his most charismatic.” Encounters are arranged by theme: “Overcoming Adversity,” “Educating the Heart,” and “Compassion in Action.” … These inspiring dialogues communicate His Holiness’s worldwide appeal and essential commitment to compassion. (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJews and words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger.
“These four long essays – really more of a free-flowing conversation between the noted Israeli novelist and his daughter, a historian-focus primarily on the Jews as “a nation only by virtue of its texts,” from the Bible to the work of contemporary Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai – and the interpretations and argumentations that flow from them. The authors, secular Jews who are lovers of the Hebrew Bible, note that “Genesis, Isaiah, and Proverbs are our pyramids… our Gothic cathedrals… undemolished in the flow of time.” They look specifically at the role of “vocal women,” such as Eve and Lilith, in the Bible and biblical legends…. it will appeal to lay readers interested in a nonreligious Judaism based on contemporary readings of traditional and more modern Jewish texts. (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverFool me twice : fighting the assault on science in America, by Shawn Lawrence Otto.
“Otto (founder and CEO, ScienceDebate.org) provides the latest defense of science in the ongoing culture wars. From the space program to the public debates on evolution and global warming, Otto makes the case that postmodern ideologies like the “marketplace of ideas” and the equality of different “ways of knowing” have resulted in a devaluation of scientific knowledge in the media, the general public, and the political spheres. Politicians, journalists, the public, and scientists themselves all share the blame for the shrinking role science plays in public discourse and policy….. Although overly polemic at times, the arguments are eloquent and the sources rigorous and thorough. The information contained in the book is critical to an informed electorate and enlightened policy makers. (drawn from CHOICE review, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEthics, by Julian Baggini ; series editor, Simon Blackburn.
The Big Questions series is designed to let renowned experts confront the 20 most fundamental and frequently asked questions of a major branch of science or philosophy. In ‘The Big Questions: Ethics’ Julian Baggini, one of Britain’s best-known philosophers, condenses complex, contemporary issues of right and wrong into 20 key questions. He examines how we can start to answer them, what they might mean to us and how they influence the way we choose to live our lives. The ideas debated include : Can it ever be right to kill? Should euthanasia be legal? Do animals have rights? (drawn from goodreads.com)

Syndetics book coverLet it go : forgive so you can be forgiven, by T.D. Jakes.
This book explores forgiveness as an idea and at the same time offers specific and clear actions for readers who seek to apply the idea in their daily lives. Offenses are a part of life, he says. But conflicts can be resolved and relationships do have a future, if we learn how to forgive. No matter how great or small the injustice, Jakes shows how the matter can be put behind you for the sake of a better tomorrow if you can “Let It Go.”

Syndetics book coverUnapologetic : Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense, by Francis Spufford.
“A book written for atheists. I was giggling all of the way through. A very sweary book but I think the language helps make his point. For once we have a defence of faith which is predicated not on nit picking arguments but rather on how it feels to believe, and how it feels right to the author. I identify with him a lot. I love the honesty of his writing. He has no pat answers. I’m sure many traditional Christians will be offended by this book. And that is sad. Couldn’t put it down…” Goodreads customer review.

Syndetics book coverFaitheist : how an atheist found common ground with the religious, by Chris Stedman.
In Faitheist, Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of bridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious. As someone who has stood on both sides of the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious to find common ground and work together to make this world – the one world we can all agree on – a better place. (drawn from the publisher’s description)

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Health

Selections include: using food as medicine to create better health; improving metabolism to lose weight; an anatomy manual revealing what happens to the body during exercise; how to help prevent anxiety; using traumatic past events to promote positive change; restoring health with yoga and meditation; the effects of a rare autoimmune condition called anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis; what to eat when diagnosed with cancer; understanding human trauma in relation to wild animals; the history of influenza and the effect of doctors in Victorian England society in the field of mental health.

Syndetics book coverJanella Purcell’s elixir : how to use food as medicine / Janella Purcell.
”Janella Purcell believes that the food we eat affects our physical body, and also our mind and spirit. In this invaluable book she shares her expertise in foods, health, and nutrition, and shows you how to care for yourself, naturally and easily, using food as medicine at home. In this entertaining and practical guide, Janella presents an intriguing variety of subjects and information. These range from suggestions to assist healthy aging, to a discussion on organic produce and why you should use it, to tips for those suffering from headache, fatigue, immunity problems, fertility issues, and Syndrome X – among many, many other topics. Also included are easy-to-prepare recipes using some wonderful ingredients that will quickly become part of your recipe repertoire and make you feel fabulous. Janella Purcell’s Elixir introduces us to what Eastern philosophy has been practicing for thousands of years – the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit and how this affects our state of mind, health, and personality. Janella Purcell’s Elixir is really a volume to use, to keep, and to treasure.” (Book Description)

Syndetics book coverThe thyroid solution diet : boost your sluggish metabolism to lose weight / Ridha Arem.
“In this follow-up to The Thyroid Solution, endocrinologist Arem, clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Texas Thyroid Institute, presents a detailed diet plan to rebalance the hormone systems and speed up metabolism. Arem says cutting calories doesn’t work; instead, his method ramps up thyroid hormone activity, lowers ghrelin levels (the hormone that stimulates appetite), and boosts leptin sensitivity (the hormone that limits food intake). In Part I Arem explains how hormones and a sluggish metabolism can lead to weight gain. He also reveals how stress can result in overeating, and delves into the importance of sleep and its effect on hormones. Part II zeros in on an adapted combination of the Mediterranean Diet and the PRO Diet (Protein-Rich Oriental Diet), featuring foods that maximize metabolism efficiency with an emphasis on timing and scheduling meals to work with the body’s natural rhythms. The third section presents a step-by-step weight-loss program as well as a “20/10″ exercise program (20 minutes of cardio-focused high intensity interval training plus 10 minutes of strength training). Readers seeking a quick fix won’t find it, but those who are willing to work a little harder and dig into the scientific underpinnings of weight loss may be fascinated by the connections to hormones.” (Publishers Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe student’s anatomy of exercise manual / chief consultant, Ken Ashwell.
”The Student’s Anatomy of Exercise Manual is designed to improve the reader’s understanding of how the body works during exercise. It features common exercises (including weight lifting, stretching, and cardiovascular) and uses detailed full-colour anatomical illustrations to show exactly which muscles are used in each exercise – including identifying active and stabilizer muscles. Readers can see what’s happening inside the body during a workout session. Visualizing and understanding exactly which muscles are activated during various exercises will not only increase knowledge of anatomy and understanding of how the body works, but it will help improve the effectiveness of workout and rehabilitation routines. The Student’s Anatomy of Exercise Manual contains a 30-page colouring-in workbook featuring black-and-white line illustrations of parts of the muscular system, to help readers memorize the location of the various muscles. A glossary of anatomical terms is also included…” (Book Description)

Syndetics book coverRelax : say goodbye to anxiety and panic / Patrick McCarthy.
“This book, for people who experience anxiety and panic attacks, explains how anxiety occurs and offers a simple three-step process to prevent it. Written in a conversational, easy-to-read style by a doctor specialising in medical hypnosis, the book is accompanied by a CD that provides a self-hypnosis process to prevent anxiety and panic attacks that has been used to treat thousands of people. The CD teaches people how to relax in less than a minute, replace negative thoughts with positive ones in less than a second, and change from a pessimistic to an optimistic style of thinking.” (HUIA Publishers)

Syndetics book coverWhat doesn’t kill us : the new psychology of posttraumatic growth / Stephen Joseph.
” For the past twenty years, pioneering psychologist Stephen Joseph has worked with survivors of trauma. His studies have yielded a startling discovery: that a wide range of traumatic events – from illness, divorce, separation, assault, and bereavement to accidents, natural disasters, and terrorism – can act as catalysts for positive change. Boldly challenging the conventional wisdom about trauma and its aftermath, Joseph demonstrates that rather than ruining one’s life, a traumatic event can actually improve it. Drawing on the wisdom of ancient philosophers, the insights of evolutionary biologists, and the optimism of positive psychologists, “What Doesn’t Kill Us” reveals how all of us can navigate change and adversity – traumatic or otherwise – to find new meaning, purpose, and direction in life.” (Book Description)

Syndetics book coverYoga and meditation : a holistic approach to perfect homeostasis / Yogini Shubh Veer.
”…Dr Yogini Shubh Veer has been teaching yoga and meditation for over 4 decades and in Yoga and Meditation she shares her rich experience to help you restore your physical and mental balance. You’ll learn the basics of life: Breathing, pranayama and prana, diet, ethics, relaxation, concentration and will discover how each one has an impact on your daily life. In clear simple language, the intricacies of yoga and meditation are explained. 108 yoga postures with some 400 step-by-step illustrations and instructions are included – including the complete ‘Surya Namaskar’, Salutation to the sun, 24 postures in one. Lessons on relaxation will help to ease any tension and depression and the sections on yoga’s relation to holism and homeostasis will let you unlock the secret to optimal health. Yoga and Meditation will help you to discover nature’s amazing way to perfect homeostasis, the key to health, through the millennia old legacy of yoga and meditation.” (Book Description)

Syndetics book coverOh baby : birth, babies and motherhood uncensored / Kathy Fray.
” Refreshingly honest, openly frank and candidly blunt, this book has been written by a mother for other mothers. It oozes with warm fuzzies, it reeks of mumsy terms, it exudes realism in every paragraph and it is refreshing in its guiltless honesty. Modern first-time mothers are often alone – devoid of once traditional motherhood knowledge and practical support. Often previously self-confident women find themselves inconceivably isolated, hopelessly fumbling over everyday mothering tasks, enduring torturous levels of sleep deprivation, feeling desperately despondent and physiologically aching and leaking everywhere. This book provides supportive, caring advice – one Mum to another – while at the same time serving as an encyclopaedic medical reference regarding the mother and baby. Checked thoroughly by medical professionals, this book is a unique blend, like having access to a kind and gentle GP as well as to all the gems of wisdom of years of mothers’ coffee groups. This new title clearly and compassionately explains the ups as well as the downs which are perfectly normal aspects of giving birth and mothering in today’s society.” (Book Description)

Syndetics book coverWaking the tiger : healing trauma : the innate capacity to transform overwhelming experiences / Peter A. Levine ; with Ann Frederick. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma – The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
“Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed. Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.” (Book Description)

Syndetics book coverBrain on fire : my month of madness / Susannah Cahalan.
“New York Post reporter Cahalan details the madness that briefly robbed her of her independence and ability to write. At first, the author’s erratic behavior seemed symptomatic of overwork. Soon, her lack of physical control and frightening, self-destructive behavior became impossible to ignore. Following a string of misdiagnoses, a top neurologist recognized a then newly discovered autoimmune condition called anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis. With the help of her doctor and supportive family and boyfriend, Cahalan recovered and was back at work within a year…” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverHow to eat well when you have cancer / Jane Freeman.
“Diet in cancer is a highly emotive area and one of great confusion. Has my diet caused my cancer? Will I recover if I give up dairy products? Is it worth spending money on supplements? This book is a practical nutritional guide for those diagnosed with cancer, those undergoing treatment, and those whose treatment is over. It tackles the problems associated with nutrition and cancer, such as lack of appetite, nausea and dehydration. It suggests ways to keep up your strength and energy, particularly when you don’t feel like eating. Other topics include how to avoid infection and help the healing process; monitoring your food intake and weight; and planning an eating plan that’s right for you. Includes recipes.” (Book Description)

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Personal Development

New Year’s resolutions to keep and habits you want to change? Have a browse of our picks from the latest new personal development books!

Syndetics book coverMadly in love with me : the daring adventure of becoming your own best friend / Christine Arylo.
“Most of us know that loving ourselves would be a good idea, but we have no clue what that really means. Self-love feels too vast, too esoteric, and frankly like something you should keep under wraps. This breakthrough book on self-love changes all that by taking you beyond the idea of loving, valuing, and caring for yourself into daring acts that will help you experience it. Christine Arylo provides practical, fun ways to explore and embody the ten branches of self-love every day and in every part of your life. Reading this book is like receiving permission to treat yourself as a best friend would.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverChangeology : 5 steps to realizing your goals and resolutions / John C. Norcross, with Kristin Loberg and Jonathon Norcross.
“Change is hard. But not if you know the 5-step formula that works whether you’re trying to stop smoking or start recycling. Dr. John C. Norcross, an internationally recognized expert, has studied how people make transformative, permanent changes in their lives. Over the past thirty years, he and his research team have helped thousands of people overcome dozens of behavioural ailments. Now his cutting-edge, scientific approach to personal improvement is being made available in this indispensable guide. Unlike 95 percent of self-help books, the Changeology plan has a documented track record of success. Whether you want to quit overeating or drinking, or end depression, debt, and relationship distress, Dr. Norcross gives you the tools you need to change what you want within 90 days.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFearless at work : timeless teachings for awakening confidence, resilience, and creativity in the face of life’s demands / Michael Carroll.
“Work is such a crucial part of our life, and yet we often struggle with-and feel overwhelmed by-the numerous challenges it presents us. Whether it’s job insecurity, making peace with or leaving an unfulfilling job, or dealing with office conflicts, we often experience fear and a sense of groundlessness just at a time when we want to be our most creative and resilient. Drawing on Buddhist philosophy, Michael Carroll, a longtime human-resources executive, meditation teacher, and executive coach, explains how the practice of mindfulness-full awareness of our moment-to-moment experience-can help us become more confident and open to possibility in our work life. He offers a system of potent, inspiring principles that we can use as a practice for helping us work with our insecurities and awakening our natural bravery, resourcefulness, and resilience.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe as if principle : the radically new approach to changing your life / Richard Wiseman.
“Change the way you behave and you change the way you feel – that’s the simple and powerful message in this insightful and engaging new book by internationally renowned psychologist Richard Wiseman. Most self-help books encourage you to think differently: to think yourself thin, imagine a richer self or to visualize the perfect you. This is difficult, time consuming, and often doesn’t work. Ripping up the rule book, Professor Richard Wiseman, renowned psychologist with 90,000 Twitter followers and 13 million YouTube viewers, presents a radical new insight into your body and brain: that it’s your actions that have the power to instantly change the way you think and feel. Smile and you’ll become measurably happier. Clench your fist and you will increase your willpower. Put a spring in your step and you will feel instantly younger. Acting, not thinking, is what controls your emotions and allows you to unleash your hidden potential. Drawing on a dazzling array of scientific evidence, Professor Wiseman shows how this simple idea can be used to easily increase motivation, overcome depression, lose weight, stop smoking, and even slow aging. So don’t just think about changing your life. Do it.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverThe antidote : happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking / Oliver Burkeman.
“Self-help books dont seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth, even if you can get it doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can’t even agree on what happiness means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way? Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hard-headed business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it’s our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty – the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent persons guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverThe 5 elements of effective thinking / Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird.
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people aren’t a special breed – they just use their minds differently. By using the straightforward and thought-provoking techniques in ‘The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking’, you will regularly find imaginative solutions to difficult challenges, and you will discover new ways of looking at your world and yourself – revealing previously hidden opportunities. Filled with engaging examples that unlock truths about thinking in every walk of life, ‘The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking’ is written for all who want to reach their fullest potential – including students, parents, teachers, businesspeople, professionals, athletes, artists, leaders, and lifelong learners. Whenever you are stuck, need a new idea, or want to learn and grow, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking will inspire and guide you on your way.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverHold me tight : your guide to the most successful approach to building loving relationships / Sue Johnson.
“In Hold Me Tight, Dr Sue Johnson shares her highly effective therapy programme: Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Forget learning how to argue better and making grand romantic gestures. Instead, Johnson teaches that the way to enhance – or save – a relationship is to re-establish a secure emotional attachment and preserve the ‘bond’ between you. This model has achieved an astounding 75 per cent success rate. Through illuminating case studies from her practice, advice and practical exercises, couples will learn how to nurture their relationships and ensure a lifetime of love.” (Book cover)

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People & Places Newsletter for March

In this month’s People & Places: the tumultuous life of Margaret Mitchell, ‘Gone with the Wind”s Scarlett O’Hara; Karl Pilkington continues to travel to exotic locations – hating every minute – for our amusement; and ‘Listening In’ provides the closest thing to a JFK autobiography – phone conversations, meetings and reflections recorded in the Oval Office.

Library News

Biography

Scarlett O’Hara is probably one of the best -known heroines in modern fiction.What is less well-known is that the author’s life was almost as tumultuous as that of her fictional creation.. Mitchell’s life mirrored Scarlett’s in that she rejected a conventional suitor and chose a wild outsider instead. But unlike Scarlett she was given a second chance, and that union gave birth to ‘Gone with the wind’.
Two other books selected this month feature second chances. Many will have seen the moving French film ” The Intouchables“.- ‘A second wind’ is the true story behind it. Phillipe Pozzi de Borgo was a wealthy champagne magnate who became a quadraplegic after a hang-gliding accident. Abdel was the tough, streetwise Algerian immigrant who reluctantly became his carer. His bucaneering approach to life gave fun and freedom to Philippe and ultimately helped him to find his life partner. In a neat juxtaposition looking after Philippe led to a new life for Abdel.
Award-winning writer Elie Weisel was given the gift of a new life after heart surgery. In “Open heart’ he reflects on his life – his successes and dispappointments and his hope that he had made the world a better place.

Syndetics book coverWives and stunners : the Pre-Raphaelites and their muses / Henrietta Garnett.
“Essentially a domestic biography whose main concern is the tragicomedy of manners enacted by a closely knit group of friends and lovers,’ Wives and Stunners’ tells the story of Janey Morris, Georgie Burne-Jones, Lizzie Siddall, Effie Gray and–less well-known–Marie Spartali, Aglaia Coronio and Mary Zambacco.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverMargaret Mitchell & John Marsh : the love story behind Gone with the wind / a biography by Marianne Walker.
“Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), author of Gone With the Wind , jilted her kind, protective suitor, John Marsh, and instead married Red Upshaw, an unstable bootlegger who physically abused her. Even after she divorced Upshaw, Mitchell, according to Walker, was a confused romantic who in many ways resembled her heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. A “classic demanding-dependent personality,” Mitchell found more than a supportive fatherly mate in public relations executive Marsh, whom she finally married in 1925. Walker, a professor of English and philosophy at the University of Kentucky-Henderson Community College, reveals that Marsh played a vital role in the creation of Mitchell’s classic Civil War saga. He offered key ideas and advice, continuously edited the manuscript as his wife wrote it, and helped with the revision. Walker quotes liberally from the couple’s letters and also draws on interviews, family papers and archival research to tell a moving love story of a symbiotic union that lasted 24 years. A remarkable piece of detective work.” (Summary from www.globalbooksinprint.com).

Syndetics book coverA second wind / Philippe Pozzo di Borgo ; translated by Will Hobson.
“Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not in the habit of asking for help. Then, in 1993, a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic. The only person who wasn’t bothered by Philippe’s condition was Abdel, the unemployed Algerian immigrant from the outskirts of society who would become Philippe’s unlikely caretaker.”(Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverOpen heart / Elie Wiesel ; translated by Marion Wiesel.
“A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time. Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and during the unspeakable Event. The gifts of marriage and children and grandchildren that followed. In his writing, in his teaching, in his public life, has he done enough for memory and the survivors? His ongoing questioning of God—where has it led? Is there hope for mankind? The world’s tireless ambassador of tolerance and justice has given us this luminous account of hope and despair, an exploration of the love, regrets and abiding faith of a remarkable.”(Summary from www.globalbooksinprint.com).

Syndetics book coverWilliam Colenso : printer, missionary, botanist, explorer, politician : his life and journeys / by A.G. Bagnall and G.C. Petersen ; [edited by Ian St George].
“Colenso, a Church Missionary Society missionary, printer and botanist, established the first printing press in New Zealand and printed the first book, 5000 copies of the New Testament in Māori, in 1837. He also printed the Treaty of Waitangi. His Authentic and genuine history of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1890) is regarded as the most reliable European account from the time. Throughout his life, he defended the rights and equality of Māori. Posted to Hawke’s Bay and determined to expand the activities of the mission, Colenso undertook major journeys to reach isolated Māori villages on the east coast of the North Island and inland.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverMoranthology / Caitlin Moran.
“British journalist Moran’s (How To Be a Woman) award-winning columns for The Times are available here for an American audience for the first time. In the introduction, she declares her intentions to write “a collection of instances of how brilliant the world often is.” To that end, she covers topics that range from her personal history (being homeschooled in a housing project in the industrial city of Wolverhampton, her work interviewing musicians including Keith Richards and Lady Gaga), social issues (benefit reform, the welfare state, the importance of libraries, particularly to poor communities; she describes them as places “where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary”. (Summary from www.globalbooksinnprint.com).

Syndetics book coverThe watchmaker’s daughter / Sonia Taitz.
“From the time Taitz was small, her parents’ stories about the Holocaust were like telling me about the secrets of the cosmos. Parts of this refugee family’s dynamics were competitions about which parent’s family had suffered most my life was worse than yours . . . you don’t know from suffering and, more happily, affection. When Sonia’s adored father pulled her toward him, my joy was boundless I had been – selected.’ Only then, chosen, did I feel fully alive. Her Jewish home, where even the walls were sighing, makes her eager for an outside world and education. She realizes, however, that her promised land is not Yale Law School, and finally becomes her own true self while studying literature at Oxford”.(Booklist)

Syndetics book coverRaffles and the golden opportunity 1781-1826 / Victoria Glendinning.
“This is the first biography in decades of the ‘Father of Singapore’. Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781-1826) was the charismatic and persuasive founder of Singapore and Governor of Java. An English adventurer, disobedient employee of the East India Company, utopian imperialist, linguist, zoologist and civil servant, he carved an extraordinary (though brief) life for himself in South East Asia. The tropical, disease-ridden settings of his story are as dramatic as his own trajectory – an obscure young man with no advantages other than talent and obsessive drive, who changed history by establishing – without authority – on the wretchedly unpromising island of Singapore, a settlement which has become a world city”.(Wellington City Libraries’ catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverRobespierre : a revolutionary life / Peter McPhee.
“Historian and professor McPhee (Living the French Revolution, 1789-1799) adds to his volumes on French history with a comprehensive biography of the controversial, diminutive, outspoken, and ambitious man who overcame adversity to become a lawyer, who argued for the rights of children born out of wedlock and freedom of the press in 18th-century France, and whose name is inextricably linked with the French Revolution-for better or worse. McPhee maintains that Maximilien Robespierre “was seeking to make sense of the chaos of a world in revolutionary upheaval and to use his talents to create stability and certainty for a new order”-but at the end of his short life, he was “reviled as thoroughly as he had once been idolized.” (Book jacket).

Syndetics book coverMemé : the three worlds of an Italian-Chinese New Zealander / Memé Churton.
“Memé is half-Italian and half-Chinese and this unusual combination has coloured her personality and the course of her life. Growing up in Italy, she lived through the rise of Fascism and the Second World War. Next she went to China and found herself in the midst of the Chinese Revolution. Then she travelled to the other side of the world at the invitation of a New Zealand soldier whom she had met at the end of the war. Memé was shocked by the curiously old-fashioned and provincial way of life she found in 1950s New Zealand, but for various reasons she stayed, got married, and became involved in a variety of campaigns to enlarge its culture. She managed one of the first dealer art galleries, started one of its first European-style coffee bars, championed international cuisine, promoted fashion for women.”(Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverAn extraordinary theory of objects : a memoir of an outsider in Paris / Stephanie LaCava ; with illustrations by Matthew Nelson.
“Fashion writer Lavaca’s childhood and teenage years were strange and confounding. The author’s family moved from New York to a Parisian suburb in 1993 when she was 12; the next year she suffered a breakdown. Always considered a bit strange as a child, she found solace and a sense of order in collecting objects. She had a passion for ancient mythologies: “I was obsessed with cabinets of curiosities, historical efforts to catalog and control nature’s oddities,” Lacava writes. As an adult Lacava began looking back over her life “through a narrative illuminated with objects and their respective stories.”(Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverLife is a gift : the zen of Bennett / Tony Bennett ; foreword by Mitch Albom.
“Relaxed and comfortable but full of vigor, Bennett’s voice has charmed audiences for more than 60 years. Writing in the same style as he sings, in this new work he shares meditative lessons culled from his amazing life. Having learned the value of hard work during the Great Depression, the pointlessness of war during WWII, and the importance of being true to yourself during a career that has seen musical fads come and go over and over, Bennett (The Good Life, with Will Friedwald) has developed a loose set of rules by which he lives. Whether he is suggesting people “Only Sing Good Songs” or “Everything Should be Done with Love,” Bennett explains how these tenets have shaped his success and makes suggestions about how others can apply them to their lives”. (Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverThe varnished untruth : my story / Pamela Stephenson.
“This is the autobiography of Pamela Stephenson, the wife of Billy Connelly and renowned writer and actress in her own right.”I am darn good at getting under other people’s skin, but opening up about my own life is quite a different matter. So how shall I portray myself? There are choices, you know: Wife, mother, psychologist, writer, comedian, actor, dancer, diver, gypsy, dreamer, rich girl, poor girl, beggar girl, thief. I am all of those and more. Tell you what, you decide. You decide exactly what I am.” A complicated childhood in Australia, a bold move to London, being a woman in a man’s world on Not the Nine O’Clock News, becoming Mrs Billy Connolly, motherhood, career changes and then Strictly Come Dancing – told in her own inimitable style”.(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

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Travel stories & guides

New travel books, taking you from Antarctica to Japan, Europe, China, Africa and ‘Around India in 80 Trains’.

Syndetics book coverTokyo on foot : travels in the city’s most colorful neighborhoods / text and illustrations by Florent Chavouet.
“In this first English edition of a graphic memoir of a young French graphic artist of his stay in Tokyo in 2006, Chavouet presents his sketches evidently inspired by Japanese cartoon styles, hand-drawn maps, and impressions of the sights, sounds, and cultural quirks of the neighborhoods of what he notes has been called “the most beautiful of ugly cities.” The book was originally published in 2009 by Editions Philippe Picquier, and awarded a prize that year at the International Festival of Geography. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHere, there, elsewhere : stories from the road / William Least Heat-Moon.
“”It’s collected-works time for the renowned author of such outstanding travel literature as Blue Highways (1983) and River-Horse (1999). Thirty magazine pieces comprise this assembly, with some articles ranging abroad, such as the author’s depictions of his ventures to New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and Britain. Most, however, amble around America or radiate from the author’s home states of Missouri and Kansas. ….–Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeave the lipstick, take the iguana : funny travel stories and strange packing tips / edited by Marcy Gordon.
“The ninth book in the best-selling Travelers’ Tales humor series. This laugh-out-loud collection will resonate with experienced travelers and novices alike and includes hilarious misadventures with packing, travel fashion, border crossings, language faux pas, weird encounters with exotic cuisine, and romantic overtures abroad.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGypset travel / Julia Chaplin.
“Gypsy+Jet Set = Gypset. In the follow-up to her best-selling Gypset Style, Julia Chaplin explores the little-known enclaves of gypsetters around the globe, from the Aeolian Islands in Italy to Lamu, Kenya; North Goa, India; and Jose Ignacio, Uruguay. Chaplin coined the term ‘gypset’ to describe a new lifestyle that fuses the carefree ethos of a gypsy nomad with the sophistication of the jet set. Gypset Travel delves into this glamorous bohemian world of artists, designers, and bons viivants through intimate photography and first-person anecdotes.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverAround India in 80 trains / Monisha Rajesh.
“To understand India you have to see it, hear it, breathe it and feel it. Living through the good, the bad and the ugly is the only way to know where you fit in and where India fits into you. In 1991 Monisha and her family uprooted from Sheffield to Madras in the hope of making India their home again. But fed up with soap-eating rats, severed human heads, paying bribes, and the creepy colonel across the road, they soon returned to England, determined never to go back again. But twenty years later, Monisha takes a page out of Jules Verne’s classic tale, turns to a map of the Indian railways and embarks on an adventure around India in 80 trains connecting 80 cities, covering 40,000km – the circumference of the Earth. …” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire Antarctica : ice, silence & emperor penguins / Gavin Francis.
“It is said to be one of our oldest stories: a young man goes to a far-off land in search of a mythical and wondrous beast. For years, Gavin Francis yearned to go to the remotest place on our planet, to see one of the strangest beasts alive. This is how he came to spend fourteen months living alongside emperor penguins as the base-camp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. …Combining an evocative and enchanting narrative with a sublime sensitivity to the natural world, this is travel writing at its very best.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCooks, clowns and cowboys : 101 skills and experiences to discover on your travels / [written by Andrew Bain … [et al.]].
“101 experiences, courses and lessons into classical skills and talents from around the world ; Tips on becoming the next molecular gastronomy genius, an intrepid archeologist, a Paris-based artist and more; The ultimate reference book for making the most of your travels – and gaining new skills along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover The further adventures of an idiot abroad / Karl Pilkington ; photography by Freddie Claire ; illustrations by Dominic Trevett.
“…Taking the Bucket List of ‘100 Things to Do Before You Die’ as his starting point, Karl combines brilliant stories from his recent adventures to Alaska, Siberia and beyond with entertaining, highly-opinionated views on what other people aspire to do with their lives. * Why on earth would anybody want to run with the bulls in Pamplona? * Go ’storm chasing’ through Tornado Alley? * Have lunch with the Queen? * Or touch hands with the Pope? The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad is a fitting finale to two years of eventful globe-trotting. Frank, funny and strangely inspiring, this is Karl’s final word on travel.”–amazon.com. (Syndetics summary)

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History

We hope you enjoy the selection of recent history books for February 2013. Countries featured are Australia, Great Britain and America. We also have the story of a man looking for his ancestors. Fascinating!

Syndetics book coverBatavia : betrayal, shipwreck, murder, sexual slavery, courage, a spine-chilling chapter in Australian history / Peter FitzSimons.
“Batavia is the greatest story in Australia’s history. The Shipwreck of the Batavia combines in just the one tale the birth of the world’s first corporation, the brutality of colonisation, the battle of good vs evil, the derring-do of sea-faring adventure, mutiny, ship-wreck, love, lust, blood-lust, petty fascist dictatorship, criminality, a reign of terror, murders most foul, sexual slavery, natural nobility, survival, retribution, rescue, first contact with native peoples and so much more. Described by author Peter FitzSimons as “a true Adults Only version of Lord of the Flies, meeting Nightmare on Elm Street,” the story is set in 1629, when the pride of the Dutch East India Company, the Batavia, is on its maiden voyage en route from Amsterdam to the Dutch East Indies, laden down with the greatest treasure to leave Holland…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBritain’s empire : resistance, repression and revolt / Richard Gott.
“This revelatory new history punctures the still widely held belief that the British Empire was an enlightened and civilizing enterprise of great benefit to its subject peoples. Instead, Britain’s Empire reveals a history of systemic repression and almost continual violence, showing how British rule was imposed as a military operation and maintained as a military dictatorship. For colonized peoples, the experience was a horrific one-of slavery, famine, battle and extermination.
Yet, as Richard Gott illustrates, the empire’s oppressed peoples did not go gently into that good night. Wherever Britain tried to plant its flag, there was resistance. From Ireland to India, from the American colonies to Australia, Gott chronicles the backlash. He shows, too, how Britain provided a blueprint for the genocides of twentieth-century Europe, and argues that its past leaders must rank alongside the dictators of the twentieth century as the perpetrators of crimes against humanity on an infamous scale. In tracing this history of resistance, all but lost to modern memory, Richard Gott recovers these forgotten peoples and puts them where they deserve to be: at the heart of the story of Britain’s empire.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrairie fever : British aristocrats in the American West, 1830-1890 / Peter Pagnamenta.
“From the 1830s onward, a succession of well-born Britons headed west to the great American wilderness to find adventure and fulfillment. They brought their dogs, sporting guns, valets, and all the attitudes and prejudices of their class. Prairie Fever explores why the West had such a strong romantic appeal for them at a time when their inherited wealth and passion for sport had no American equivalent.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReunion : a search for ancestors / [Ryan Littrell].
“Where do I come from? That question sets Ryan Littrell on a fascinating journey that crosses centuries. An anonymous letter reveals the first clues about his family story, and soon those clues lead to country graveyards, long-lost cousins, and a shocking DNA discovery. And as one hint follows the next, he uncovers his place in a tragic struggle–a tale of heartbreak, betrayal, and unfailing strength. A real-life account, Reunion shows how our ancestors are still a part of us, and how our story began long before we were even born”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRasputin : the untold story / Joseph T. Fuhrmann.
“Using material from newly opened Soviet archives, particularly the correspondence of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, Fuhrmann, an emeritus professor of history at Murray State University in Kentucky, extends the range of his Rasputin: A Life (1990). He shows how an obscure Russian Orthodox monk became a close adviser to the czar and czarina, particularly after he predicted the recovery of their son, Alexis, from a possibly fatal illness in 1909. Alexandra turned to him for advice on Russia’s WWI military campaign, and he influenced the appointment of high officials. This outsize influence, and rumors that Rasputin was pro-German, impelled a cabal of members of the nobility to assassinate him in December 1916. Fuhrman provides graphic details of the murder and weighs the evidence that the British Secret Intelligence Service participated in the plot. Fuhrmann draws a complex portrait of a dissolute alcoholic figure who allegedly raped at least one woman, yet he was seen by his many followers as a starets (charismatic holy man). Fuhrmann does not provide a final appraisal of Rasputin’s significance in the immediate prerevolution period. Still, this vivid, briskly written biography brings to life one of the most colorful and sinister figures in modern Russian history. Illus. Agent: Andrew Lownie, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverListening in : the secret White House recordings of John F. Kennedy / John F. Kennedy Library Foundation ; selected and introduced by Ted Widmer ; foreword by Caroline Kennedy.
“Everyone knows Nixon had tape recorders running in the Oval Office, but most Americans aren’t aware that FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower experimented with audio recording and that JFK installed taping systems in 1962 that he could activate to record significant meetings and phone conversations and, occasionally, his own reflections. All 265.5 hours of those tapes (with redactions, however) are now available at the Kennedy Presidential Library. This volume, accompanied by two CDs, gathers several dozen of the most interesting conversations. In addition to obvious subjects Cuba, civil rights, space, and Vietnam the collection also includes many remarks on history, politics, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and other foreign-policy developments. Because the tapes’ quality varies, some transcripts include too many skips and unclears to convey much meaning. Quite helpful, on the other hand, are the book’s illustrations, which range from photographs to contemporaneous documents and handwritten notes. Despite its limitations, Listening In lives up to Widmer’s descriptions, a portrait of a president being president, and the closest to an autobiography we will ever get.–Carroll, Mary Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFormer people : the final days of the Russian aristocracy / Douglas Smith.
“The wide discrepancy between the Russian peasant class (who made up 80 percent of Russia’s 19th-century population) and the nobility helped precipitate the Russian Revolution and the subsequent methodical elimination of the educated aristocratic class. Independent historian Smith (The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great’s Russia) has meticulously researched the revolutionary and Soviet eras, focusing on two noble families: the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns. Using archival resources and both primary and secondary works, Smith gives us what he calls the first work to detail the nobles’ everyday lives, as well as the consequences to the country of their elimination. By focusing on these two families, Smith brings to life another aspect of Russian and Soviet history in the first half of the 20th century. The profiled families embody what many of the Russian nobles endured, and their choices attest to the resiliency of the human spirit. VERDICT This work will be enjoyed by Russophiles and historians of the tsarist era, as well as those studying this period of Soviet history. Those who enjoy studying the Romanovs will appreciate learning more about the Russian aristocracy as a whole. As such, an important addition to Russian history collections.-Maria C. Bagshaw, Elgin Comm. Coll. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverVikings / Neil Oliver.
“The Vikings famously took no prisoners, relished cruel retribution, and prided themselves on their bloody-thirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the west and as far as Baghdad in the east. As the Vikings did not write their history, we have to discover it for ourselves, and that discovery, as Neil Oliver reveals, tells an extraordinary story of a people who, from the brink of destruction, reached a quarter of the way around the globe and built an empire that lasted nearly two hundred years. Drawing on the latest discoveries that have only recently come to light, Neil Oliver goes on the trail of the real Vikings. Where did they emerge from? How did they really live? And just what drove them to embark on such extraordinary voyages of discovery over 1000 years ago? VIKINGS will explore many of these questions for the first time in an epic story of one of the world’s great empires of conquest.” (Fishpond)

Syndetics book coverChurchill’s angels : how Britain’s women secret agents changed the course of the Second World War / Bernard O’Connor.
“Over 70 female agents were sent out by Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. These women – as well as others from clandestine Allied organisations – were flown out and parachuted or landed into occupied Europe on vital and highly dangerous missions: their job was to work with resistance movements both before and after D-Day. Bernard O’Connor relates the experiences of these agents of by drawing on a range of sources, including many of the women’s accounts of their wartime service. There are stories of rigorous training, thrilling undercover operations evading capture by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France, tragic betrayals and extraordinary courage.” (Global Books In Print)

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New Zealand

From the mountains to the oceans, the urban forest to an island, this month’s collection features a look at New Zealand’s diverse natural and urban environments. There is also a timeline of key events in our history in “Nation Dates” and the last book “Sinai Journal” looks at 30 years of New Zealand’s involvement in multinational foces.

Syndetics book coverAbove the treeline : a nature guide to alpine New Zealand / Alan F. Mark ; contributions by David Galloway, Rod Morris, David Orlovich, Brian Patrick, John Steel and Mandy Tocher.
“This first ever field-guide to New Zealand’s rich and diverse alpine environment includes: an informative introduction on alpine habitats and ecology; detailed descriptions of more than 675 species of flowering plants; a visual guide to easily recognised flowering-plant genera ; sections on conifers, ferns, mosses and liverworts, lichens and fungi; coverage of alpine fauna, including birdgs and lizards, butterflies and moths, grasshoppers, beetles and other invertebrates.–Cover”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoastal fishes of New Zealand / Malcolm Francis.
“Coastal Fishes of New Zealand provides a comprehensive, informative and up-to-date identification guide to the fishes likely to be encountered by New Zealand divers and fishers. Illustrated with over 275 superb colour photographs of live fish in their natural habitats, this book includes all of New Zealand’s common reef fishes, and also many of those that live in other habitats. Using the latest research, marine scientist Malcolm Francis also provides a wealth of other information about identifying features, geographical distribution, habitat and size for 221 species of fish. Other interesting biological features, such as feeding, growth, spawning and behaviour are also discussed. If you were to have one book on the abundant fish life found around our coasts, this is the one to own.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAuckland’s remarkable urban forest / Mike D. Wilcox.
“Auckland’s Remarkable Urban Forest provides a comprehensive account of the trees and forests of Auckland. It covers trees to be found in the parks, reserves, campuses, school grounds, cemeteries and historic homesteads of the city; public native bush reserves within the urban Auckland area; native revegetation projects undertaken by community groups; exotic woodlands; street trees; trees of suburban home gardens; notable trees; flowering trees; tree health, forest climbers weeds; utilisation and management of the urban forest”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNation dates : significant events that have shaped the nation of New Zealand / [Wendy McGuinness & Miriam White].
“Nation Dates presents a timeline of 440 key events, spanning the years 1770-2011, that have shaped the development of New Zealand as a nation. The Sustainable Future Institute has compiled this timeline as an important record of our nation’s past and a valuable resource for establishing a context for our future”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinai journal : 30 years of Kiwis serving with the Multinational Force and Observers.
“It’s the world’s most successful peace keeping mission – which hardly anyone’s heard of!” So says one of the many New Zealand Defence Force personnel interviewed for Sinai Journal: 30 Years of Kiwis serving with the Multinational Force and Observers. 2012 marked the thirtieth year of New Zealand’s significant contribution to the successful, if not widely known, Multinational Force and Observer (MFO) peace keeping mission in the Sinai, set up in 1982 to monitor the Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel. Working with 11 other countries to preserve a cold peace between two once warring nations, New Zealanders have distinguished themselves at the MFO with their sense of humor and can-do attitude. Sinai Journal documents the adventures of around eighty personnel who have served at the MFO since 1982 through personal anecdotes, essays and some wonderful photos. Contributions of note include those from the two kiwi Force Commanders; Don McIver and Warren Whiting; as well as colourful characters such as former MP and current Carterton Mayor, Ron Mark. This book is a fascinating social history that celebrates both the thirty year milestone and recognises New Zealand’s long standing, unique, contribution to peace in an unpredictable and volatile part of the world”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKiwi prefab : cottage to cutting edge : prefabricated housing in New Zealand / Pamela Bell & Mark Southcombe.
“Until recently New Zealanders thought of prefabs as drab, cheap, temporary, poorly designed school classrooms. Prefab houses tended to be thought of as cheap, small, relocatable, standard homes. However, today’s prefab home is design rich, high-quality, and readily customised to individual sites and needs. It is likely to be state of the art, an innovative blend of architecture, design, manufacturing and construction. This book documents and contextualises a history of kiwi prefabrication, our prefab architecture, its present state, some prefab characters and characteristics, and emerging and possible prefab futures”. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDiplomatic ladies : New Zealand’s unsung envoys / Joanna Woods.
“This book tells the inside story of New Zealands diplomatic wives and daughters over a hundred years of diplomacy. Based on private letters, MFAT archives and personal interviews, it records many unknown episodes in New Zealands diplomatic history, including the part played by the spouses in Baghdad during the first Gulf War, and the perils faced by diplomatic wives in Saigon and Tehran. It also gives a unique insight into the workings of diplomatic life and the role of the diplomatic hostess”. (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Hobbit crisis : how Warner Bros. bent a government to its will and crushed an attempt to unionize The hobbit / Jonathan Handel ; with Pip Bulbeck.
“All was not well in Middle-earth . . .After the third Lord of the Rings movie premiered in 2003, fans of the series eagerly anticipated production and release of its prequel, The Hobbit. It turned out they had a while to wait, as a series of troubles delayed production for years.Then, in September 2010, when almost everything seemed resolved, U.S. and international actors unions issued a pub-lic alert advising their members “not to accept work on this non-union production.” Warner Bros. threatened to rip the troubled production from the country and events quickly spiraled out of control. New Zealand plunged into crisis. Saving the Hobbit was do or die for the local film industry, and the government scrambled to avoid disaster. Director Peter Jackson vowed to “fight like hell” to keep the shoot in New Zealand. But then studio executives flew in from Los Angeles like colonial masters ready to bring down the hammer. This short book (70 pp. plus bibliography, etc.) tells the tale”.(adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand boxing scrapbook / Dave Cameron with Paul Lewis.
“From the 1800s to the second decade of the new millennium, New Zealand boxers have made a mark on the national and international stages – from the days of Bob Fitzsimmons and ‘Torpedo’ Billy Murphy through to David Tua’s quest for a world title today. The New Zealand Boxing Scrapbook offers an insight into ‘the sweet science’ of boxing and the men involved. A collection of boxing history, memorabilia and artefacts”–Publisher information.

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Fiction Newsleter for January 2013

Welcome to the first Fiction newsletter for the year. We have selected the best of this month’s fiction selections to tempt you. Suspese/thriller novels were featured in this month’s Other Genre selections. Great reading for these lovely lazy summer days.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

From the new contemporary novels chosen this month we have included the second novel from Dawn French titled, Oh dear Sylvia. Another clever humourous read from this very talented woman.

Syndetics book coverGone : a novel / Cathi Hanauer.Gone
“For the past fourteen years, Eve Adams has worked part-time while raising her two children and emotionally supporting her sculptor husband, Eric, through his early fame and success. Now, at forty-two, she suddenly finds herself with a growing career of her own, a private nutritionist practice and a book deal, even as Eric’s career sinks deeper into the slump it lipped into a few years ago. After a dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate Eve’s success, Eric drives the babysitter home and, simply, doesn’t come back. Eve must now shift the family in possibly irreparable ways, forcing her to realize that competence in one area of life doesn’t always keep things from unravelling in another.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverOh dear Silvia / Dawn French.
“Who is in Coma Suite Number 5? A matchless lover, a supreme egotist, a selfless martyr, a bad mother, a cherished sister, a selfish wife, or all of these. This is Silvia Shute, who has always done exactly what she wanted, until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops. Her past holds a terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors is set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. Meanwhile she must lay there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers. Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit.” (adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverTrains and lovers / Alexander McCall Smith. “The rocking of the train car, the sound of its wheels on the rails, there’s something special about this form of travel that makes for easy conversation. This is just what happens to the four strangers who meet in Trains and Lovers. As they travel by rail from Edinburgh to London, they entertain one another with tales of how trains have changed their lives.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

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Graphic novels

A very diverse selection from our new Graphic novels this month, that illustrates so well the breadth and depth of this collection. The best and a must read is The Red Diary or The Re(a)d diary, by Teddy Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle, a graphic novel in a class of its own.

Syndetics book coverSunset / created and written by Christos Gage ; art by Jorge Lucas.
“Long ago, Nick Bellamy stole millions from his mob employer, Mr. Gianelli. He left the mob and married the woman he loved. It’s 30 years later, and Nick’s now-comatose wife requires most of his time while his life is less eventful. But Gianelli has found Nick and is determined to destroy his life. Although Nick avoids Gianelli’s every attempt at ending his life, his wife is murdered, and this one-time enforcer returns to violence to get revenge.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFreeway / Mark Kalesniko.
“A 416-page tour de force chronicling a single day, a few hours even, in the life of his recurring dog-headed alter ego, Alex Kalienka. Stuck in a horrendous traffic jam on his way to his increasingly miserable job as an animator at Mickey Walt Studios, a burnt-out and depressed Alex alternately rages, reminisces, fantasises and hallucinates. Then again, are they in fact fantasies or prescient flashes? Is a threatening car tailing Alex just a paranoid fantasy or a genuine threat?” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe red diary ; the re(a)d diary / [Teddy Kristiansen & Steven T. Seagle].
“Artist and writer Kristiansen and writer Seagle, have collaborated in an unconventional way for this beautiful, dual-story graphic novel. Published in French, Kristiansen’s original story chronicles the search of a biographer for the truth behind the life of an unknown artist who died during WWI. Seagle uses the same images to tell a different tale of war, art, and identity, as an old man searches to connect to the diaries of his youth. Seagle, who had not read the original before creating his own story, has done a remarkable job of creating a tale similar in tone and scope to Kristiansen’s original, while also telling a story wholly its own.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Colin Bateman‘s new mystery, Prisoner of Brenda is highlighted in this month’s great selection of new mysteries for January. Bateman in the king of satire and very dark humour, a joy to read.

Syndetics book coverDie easy : a Charlie Fox thriller / Zoë Sharp.
“In Sharp’s white-knuckle 10th Charlie Fox thriller (after 2012’s Fifth Victim), professional bodyguard Charlie takes on an assignment in post-Katrina New Orleans-the first job with her lover and partner, Sean Meyer, since he recovered from being shot in the head, though he’s forgotten much of their relationship. Tasked with protecting wealthy businessman Blake Dyer during the After Katrina Foundation fundraising event, Charlie is grateful for what appears to be a straightforward task. But when a face from her and Sean’s military past reappears and there’s a calculated attack on the party, Charlie realizes that there might be more at stake than just the financial well-being of several powerful men. Sharp convincingly mixes hand-to-hand combat with the ups and downs of Charlie’s attempts to rebuild her old life with Sean, even as that possibility grows dimmer by the day…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaboo / Casey Hill.
“Forensic investigator Reilly Steel, Quantico-trained and California-born and bred, imagined Dublin to be a far cry from bustling San Francisco, a sleepy backwater where she can lay past ghosts to rest and start anew. She’s arrived in Ireland to drag the Irish crime lab into the 21st century, plus keep tabs on her Irish-born father who’s increasingly seeking solace in the bottle after a past family tragedy. But a brutal serial killer soon puts paid to that. When a young man and woman are found dead in an apartment, the gunshot wounds on their naked bodies suggest a suicide pact. But Reilly’s instincts are screaming that something’s seriously amiss, and as more bodies are discovered, the team soon realises that a twisted murderer is at work, one who seeks to upset society’s norms in the most sickening way imaginable…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe prisoner of Brenda / Bateman.
“When notorious gangster ‘Fat Sam’ Mahood is murdered, the chief suspect is arrested nearby. But he seems to have suffered a breakdown. Incarcerated in a mental institution, he’s known only as the Man in the White Suit. The suspect remains an enigma until Nurse Brenda calls on Mystery Man.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

Included in this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, are the new novels from Piers Anthony and Jim Butcher.

Syndetics book coverLuck of the draw / Piers Anthony.
“Bryce, an 80-year-old man in failing health, suddenly finds himself in Xanth, with his body rejuvenated, his health restored and his future already determined for him. As part of a bet between the Demons Earth and Xanth, Bryce must enter a contest to win the heart of the Princess Harmony, whether she is willing or not.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold days : a novel of the Dresden files / Jim Butcher.
“Being killed has barely slowed down the Chicago PI, who now serves as the Winter Knight. In that role, Dresden operates as hit man for Mab, the queen of air and darkness, who is forbidden from killing mortals. Not only is his liege capricious and deadly, but Dresden soon finds himself up against new supernatural foes, not least the Redcap, who dyes his headgear with the blood of anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. The greatest danger, however, may be from Dresden’s new assignment from Mab: to murder her daughter, Maeve.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sacrifice game : book II in the sacrifice game trilogy / Brian D’Amato ; with the illustrations by the author.
“The previous book, In the Courts of the Sun, a team of scientists sent math prodigy and Mayan descendant Jed DeLanda back in time to the year AD 664 to learn the “Sacrifice Game,” a divination ritual that the ancient Maya used to predict the apocalypse on December 21, 2012. But after arriving in the body of a willing human sacrifice instead of a Mayan king, Jed’s experiences led him to the fateful decision that rather than avert the apocalypse, he must ensure instead that the world ends. Using his knowledge of the divination game, Jed sets in motion a series of events that will bring about the destruction of humanity, ending the world’s pain and suffering once and for all. But before the plan can be completed, the organization that sent him into the past discovers his intention and devotes every resource to stop him.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

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Other genres

This month’s selection of Other Genre fiction features Suspense/Thriller novels and includes the latest novel from Michael Connelly titled The Black Box, another dangerous, but intriguing investigation for the popular character Harry Bosch.

Syndetics book coverThe black box : a novel / Michael Connelly.
“In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch’s ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the “black box,” the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverShadow Creek : a novel / Joy Fielding.
“Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely travelling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancée, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex husband and is grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies. What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverDid you miss me? / Karen Rose.
“The last thing Ford Elkhart remembers is walking his girlfriend back to her car. Now he’s lying tied and gagged on a cold, dark floor, with only one chance to escape before he ends up like the bones surrounding him. Assistant State’s Attorney Daphne Montgomery is devastated by her son’s disappearance and is immediately convinced that his kidnapping is connected to the white supremacist she’s just had jailed for murder. FBI Special Agent Joseph Carter isn’t so sure, especially when he learns that Ford’s girlfriend is also missing. Is Ford’s abduction payback for Daphne’s courtroom victory, or is he a pawn in an even more dangerous game?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Music and Movies Newsletter for January

This month in Music & Movies: See what all the Golden Globes fuss was about with season one of hit HBO comedy series Girls; Can’t stop watching The Terminator? It happens to us all, but why not try something different with “If you like the Terminator…”; and breaking news reveals that that notoriously slippery beast called ‘comedy’ can be boiled down to just 169 secrets. Just don’t go explaining every sitcom joke to your friends – you might rapidly have none.

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs for January include new TV shows from Ashley Judd as an ex-spy searching for her missing son, Lena Dunham with her acclaimed NYC sitcom ‘Girls’ & Poppy Montgomery as a Police Detective with perfect recall. Also out this month, the acclaimed Ralph Fiennes Shakespeare update ‘Coriolanus’; ‘Hope Springs’ with Meryl Streep & Tommy Lee Jones as an aging married couple attempting to reconnect with each other; & Steve Carell & Keira Knightley seek a friend for the end of the world…

Cover imageMissing. The complete first season.
“How far would you go to save the person you love most in the world? Emmy Award nominee* Ashley Judd stars in Missing, ABC’s riveting new series, bursting with international intrigue and thrilling twists and turns. Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) learns that her son, Michael, has disappeared while studying abroad, and it’s a race against time when she travels to Europe to track him down. It soon becomes clear that Becca is no ordinary woman, but a former CIA agent deactivated after the devastating death of her husband, Paul Winstone (Sean Bean). If she wants to find her son alive, Becca will have to rely on old friends, as well as old enemies, ex-lovers, and spies, and will be forced to reopen old wounds. Her resourcefulness, skill, and determination will be put to the test – but a mother’s love knows no limits. ABC’s action-packed drama grabs you from the very first minute and never lets go. Relive Becca’s search through the streets of Europe, complete with exclusive bonus features that take you even deeper into her journey.” (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageCoriolanus.
“Fiennes’s bullet-headed, battle-scarred General Caius Martius may be willing to put his life on the line for his people, but he has no interest in actually listening to their concerns, a development that anticipates the Occupy movement. As Rome’s food supply dwindles and rioting begins, Martius suspends civil liberties, and heads off to battle against a man he both despises and admires, Volscian leader Aufidius (Gerald Butler). In the script by Gladiator’s John Logan, automatic weaponry replaces swords, contributing to an especially visceral Shakespearean adaptation (Hurt Locker cinematographer Barry Ackroyd’s handheld camera work reinforces the rough-hewn quality). At home, Martius’s wary wife (Jessica Chastain) and proud mother (Vanessa Redgrave) fear for his life, while his most ardent supporter, Senator Menenius (Brian Cox, excellent), defends him against his detractors, like Tribune Sicinius (James Nesbitt). Though successful on the battlefield, the political neophyte–now known as Coriolanus–soon finds himself an exile, eventually aligning with Aufidius, but what looks like a turncoat move proves more complicated…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageHysteria.
“What do women want? Well, science may debate that for years, but Hysteria provides a very entertaining answer in the form of a historical romp through early psychology. Based on the story of a young British doctor who essentially invented the first vibrator, Hysteria handles its offbeat subject matter lightly and amusingly. And its cast is splendid. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Felicity Jones play Victorian-era sisters, Charlotte and Emily, daughters of the prominent physician Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce). Into their lives comes an ambitious, thoughtful young doctor, Mortimer Granville (played by the dreamy Hugh Dancy). Dr. Granville’s life work has become focused on women’s issues, including the all-encompassing diagnosis “hysteria,” for which he is experimenting with therapeutic “pelvic massage” treatments. When he comes to Dr. Dalrymple for mentoring and approval of his rather unorthodox treatments, the doctor’s two daughters vie for his romantic affections. In lesser hands, this film could have been a Victorian-era 40-Year-Old Virgin or The (Sexual) Hangover, but director Tanya Wexler keeps the action crisp, light, and focused. Hysteria is a great date movie or a splendid escape for history, and hysteria, lovers…” (From Amazon.com review)

Cover imageHope springs.
“Kay and Arnold are a middle-aged couple who have been married for 30 years and now are sleeping in separate rooms and barely interact in any meaningful loving way. Finally, Kay has had enough and finds a book by Dr. Feld which inspires her to sign them up for the doctor’s intense week-long marriage counseling session. What follows is an insightful experience as Dr. Feld manages to help the couple understand how they have emotionally drifted apart and what they can do to reignite their passion.” (From syndetics summary)

Cover imageFlipped.
“Even if you’re not a child of the early ’60s, Flipped’s tale will resonate with your heart. Director Rob Reiner treats viewers to a sweet but honest glimpse into the lives of a young girl and boy during the early 1960s as they maneuver through first crushes and heartbreak. Reiner once again shows he understands how to put together a compelling, yet simple, human story. We meet Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) and Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) on the day Bryce’s family moves across the street from Juli’s. Told by “flipping” between Juli and Bryce’s voices, a tale of early childhood love emerges. Juli loves Bryce’s baby blues from the first moment she sees them and she just knows he’s holding onto her first kiss. Bryce thinks Juli, who raises chickens and loves the neighborhood sycamore tree, is weird. The story doesn’t merely flip between the two stories, though. In 1963, the year eighth grade comes around, Juli begins to wonder if there’s any substance behind those baby blues… just as Bryce starts to see Juli’s eccentricities as endearing instead of embarrassing. Sweetly reminiscent without a saccharine aftertaste…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageSeeking a friend for the end of the world.
“A sweet and subtle love story, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World begins when Dodge (Steve Carell) watches his wife run away from him because she’s just learned that an asteroid is going to destroy the Earth. Dodge finds himself unmoored in a world that’s lost its bearings in a much bigger way; some people surrender to hedonism, some cling to the mundane patterns of their lives, and others just kill themselves. Then Dodge is given one last chance at meaning in his life: a neighbor named Penny (Keira Knightley) reveals that she’s failed to give him some of his misdirected mail… including a letter from his cherished high school sweetheart, who reveals he was the love of her life. As civilization falls apart around them, Dodge and Penny set off on a road trip to reunite Penny with her family and Dodge with his lost love. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World could have been broad and goofy, but instead the movie takes the scenario seriously (without, mind you, losing its sense of humor). Dodge and Penny discover that their lives, disconnected from a possible future, aren’t what they were, and the result is both comic and surprisingly heartfelt…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageGirls. The complete first season.
“Lena Dunham mocks the idea of being a voice to a generation, but there’s no question she’s captured something ineffably of the moment in her sitcom Girls. Dunham writes and directs most episodes and stars as Hannah, a smart but self-flagellating writer floundering in the urban wilds of New York City. Both an homage and a counterpoint to Sex in the City, Girls has its own quartet: Hannah, who’s just been financially cut off by her parents; Marnie (Allison Williams), lovely but uptight, who’s bored by her too devoted boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott); Jessa (Jemima Kirke), a transplant from England who keeps her true feelings hidden under a cool surface; and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), a hapless chatterbox who’s ashamed that she’s still a virgin. All of these girls, grappling with adult life, can be funny, irritating, embarrassing, and richly sympathetic–sometimes at the same time.
Girls doesn’t tackle themes per episode; instead, it’s a series of moments, vividly observed and often joltingly funny social interaction and sexual relationships (some graphically depicted, with all the freedom that cable television allows). Dunham doesn’t explain everything all at once, but gives only glimpses into the characters in each episode…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

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Film and television books

This month our selection of new books includes the visual companion to Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the official series three tie-in for Downton Abbey, how to make and market your own web series, and the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies. Plus, Nicole Kidman, The Big Lebowski, film history, and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe chronicles of Downton Abbey / foreword, Julian Fellowes ; text, Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis ; photography, Joss Barratt, Nick Briggs and Giles Keyte.
“The Chronicles of Downton Abbey take you deep into the lives of the Crawleys, their servants, lovers, friends and guests. So wander the crowded servants’ quarters and peek into luxurious bed chambers. This lavish book explores the lives of every important member of the Downton estate. Focusing on each character individually, it examines their motivations, their actions and the inspirations behind them. An evocative source of story and background, it will take you even deeper into the secret, beating heart of the house.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cabin in the woods : the official visual companion / foreword by Drew Goddard ; afterword by Joss Whedon ; screenplay written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard ; interviews by Abbie Bernstein.
“This exclusive companion book to the Cabin in the Woods movie, directed by Joss Whedon, features an extended interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the full script, and over 150 photos and stunning pieces of production art. The details of the plot are a closely guarded secret, though Joss himself has described it as ‘a straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie’, adding, ‘it is not just a slasher in the woods. It’s a little more complicated than that…’” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe Big Lebowski : an illustrated, annotated history of the greatest cult film of all time / by Jenny M. Jones.
“This is the first comprehensive, highly illustrated analysis of the history, legacy, and cultural significance of the 1998 Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. Author Jenny Jones explores what it is that makes the film so raucous, quotable, memorable, and downright hilarious” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHistory of film / David Parkinson.
“In this lively, informative and up-to-date analysis of what has been called the seventh art, David Parkinson traces the evolution of the moving image from the earliest shadow shows to the digital film-making of the 21st century. Covering the key elements and players that have contributed to its artistic and technical development, the book offers a remarkably concise overview of film throughout the world” (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverNicole Kidman / Pam Cook.
“Nicole Kidman is a high-profile, successful exponent of contemporary commodity stardom, and a product of fundamental changes in the media industries over the last two decades. Pam Cook vividly brings to life her journey from Australian actress to global superstar, looking at her work in different contexts from film and television to fashion, commercials, philanthropy and the Internet. This absorbing case study unveils a star narrative as compelling as any that appears in her films.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb TV series : how to make and market them / Dan Williams.
“Online distributors – such as YouTube, Hulu, and Funny or Die – are interested in acquiring web series (episodic digital entertainment, like mini-TV shows) that attract audiences and appeal to advertisers. Web TV Series… How to Make and Market Them provides advice and expertise to help readers create their own original, successful online shows – projects that can be profitable, potentially developed into film or television properties, and help to start a career in the industry. Readers will learn how to develop characters and stories designed for new media platforms, and find tips for planning, shooting, and editing that are tailored specifically to web series production. This book also extensively covers the latest distribution platforms and social media marketing strategies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComedy by the numbers : the 169 secrets of humor and popularity / [edited] by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren.
“Being funny is hard work: just ask Gary Rudoren and Eric Hoffman. Like many people, they once believed that comedy was simply a matter of coming up with “zingers” and “jokes.” But after countless hours of painstaking research, they’ve discovered that true creativity is derived from simple formulas and the memorization of data. Their groundbreaking new book makes the secrets of comedy accessible to all, not only to the naturally funny, but to those who lack the ability or talent to be funny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar trek FAQ : everything left to know about the first voyages of the Starship Enterprise / Mark Clark.
“Star Trek FAQ tells the complete story of Star Trek, from the before the beginning (the books, films, and TV shows that inspired producer Gene Roddenberry to create Star Trek) until after the end (when the show emerged as a cultural phenomenon in syndication), and including dramatic behind-the-scenes stories (e.g., Leonard Nimoy’s struggle with alcoholism and actress Grace Lee Whitney’s controversial firing) often omitted from “authorized” histories of the program.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverU.S.S. Enterprise owners’ workshop manual : 2151 onwards (NX-01, NCC-1701, NCC-1701-A to NCC-1701-E) / Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley ; technical consultant, Michael Okuda.
“The U.S.S. Enterprise is without doubt the most famous starship in history. The vessels that have carried the name have saved the galaxy countless times and her captains, including Archer, Kirk, and Picard, have been legendary. This Haynes Manual provides in-depth information about these extraordinary ships, from the Enterprise NX-01, to Captain Kirk’s Enterprise NCC-1701 and Captain Picard’s Enterprise NCC-1701-D including histories of each vessel, technical information about their systems, and discussions of key technologies such as transporters and warp-speed travel.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

cover imageBritish comedy cinema / edited by I.Q. Hunter and Laraine Porter.
British comedy cinema has been a mainstay of domestic production since the beginning of the last Century and arguably the most popular and important genre in British film history.
This edited volume will offer the first comprehensive account of the rich and popular history of British comedy cinema from silent slapstick and satire to contemporary romantic comedy. Using a loosely chronological approach, essays cover successive decades of the 20th and 21st Century with a combination of case studies on key personalities, production cycles and studio output along with fresh approaches to issues of class and gender representation. Films covered include: St Trinians, A Fish Called Wanda, Brassed Off, Local Hero, The Full Monty, Four Lions and In the Loop. (description from Amazon.co.uk)

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Popular Music

This month our picks of the popular music new books are all about rock legends, such as Neil Young, Pete Townshend and Bruce Springsteen. Enjoy the incredible stories!!

Syndetics book coverWaging heavy peace : a hippie dream / Neil Young.
“An iconic figure in the history of rock and pop culture (inducted not once but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Neil Young has written his eagerly awaited memoir.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWho I am / Pete Townshend.
“He is one of the greatest musical talents Britain has ever produced. But even as the principle songwriter and lead guitarist for The Who, it would be unjust to define Pete Townshend’s life simply through his achievements with bandmates Daltrey, Moon and Entwistle. Now, in one of the most eagerly awaited autobiographies of recent times, this icon tells about his incredible life and elaborates on the turbulences of time spent as one of the world’s most respected musicians – being in one of rock’s greatest ever bands, and wanting to give it all up. Incredibly, as a man who has achieved so much, this truly unique story of ambition, relentless perfectionism and rock and roll excess will be regarded as one of his greatest achievements. (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverBruce / Peter Ames Carlin.
“After 3 decades of groundbreaking music Bruce Springsteen still manages to amaze audiences around the world. Highly acclaimed music critic Peter Carlin tracks the Boss’s dazzling ascent to fame, whilst painting a vivid portrait of the real Springsteen: an insistently private man who nevertheless would do anything for his fans. Recently, in response to his mother’s failing health, Springsteen decided he wanted to tell his story, and that he wanted Carlin to tell it. With unprecedented access to Springsteen, his family, friends and management, Carlin presents a riveting and highly personal account of Springsteen’s life.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverJagger / Philip Norman.
“Bestselling biographer Philip Norman offers an unparalleled account of the life of a living legend, Mick Jagger. From Home Counties schoolboy, to rebel without a cause to Sixties rock sensation and global idol, Norman unravels with astonishing intimacy the myth of the inimitable frontman of The Rolling Stones. MICK JAGGER charts his extraordinary journey through scandal-ridden conspiracy, infamous prison spell, hordes of female admirers and a knighthood while stripping away the colossal fame, wealth and idolatry to reveal a story of talent and promise unfulfilled.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverLuck or something like it / Kenny Rogers.
“The country music legend shares the story behind his meteoric rise to fame, including the highs and lows, and the secrets behind his biggest hits.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLed Zeppelin : the oral history of the world’s greatest rock band / Barney Hoskyns.
“With Robert Plant on lead vocal and Jimmy Page on guitar, Led Zeppelin is one of the most iconic, legendary, and influential rock bands in musical history. Tales of their indulgence in sex, drugs, and excess have swirled for decades. In this definitive oral history of the band, Barney Hoskyns finally reveals the truth about Led Zeppelin, paring away the myths and describing what life was really like for four young men on top of the world. Through fresh new interviews with the surviving band members, close friends, their tour manager, and scores of other fascinating characters, Hoskyns provides deep insights into the personalities of the band members and chronicles the group’s dramatic rise, fall, and legacy.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

cover image “The third album by Bat For Lashes–the moniker for singer-songwriter Natasha Khan–is titled The Haunted Man. It features the singles “Laura” and “All Your Gold”. Speaking about the album, Khan said: “I really wanted to strip things back in honour of women like Patti Smith; just these raw, honest women. I had no make-up on, it’s just me and my haunted man!” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover image “It’s hard to place Alt-J. Originally from Leeds, they spend their time in a Cambridgeshire basement making their own brand of uniquely dubbed “folk-step”. However, the noises that An Awesome Wave emits far escape the dull, dark depths such a creative location suggests. Instead, it’s a stunning and encompassing affair of both innovative and electrifying musicianship and exemplary song writing. This album spans every workable idea, genre, and influence that can be crammed under the guitar music umbrella, yet it never feels disorientating. Instead, what swoons gracefully through speakers is an entirely comprehendible and accessible collection of beautiful pop songs. Movement is key on this album. Samples and sounds cascade and cross with elegance, but it’s Joe Newman’s lead vocal that acts as the cement, pulling everything together and guiding it seamlessly into making sense.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover image “The remastered version is even better than the original. You can hear more. But the original mastered rock story-telling. Opera is a big word. Ask Mozart if this is an opera. I don’t know. But it is fantastic rock music. They nailed it. I missed this album so much for so many years, so glad to have it back and even better. The photos are priceless, and the notes confirm that these guys were enjoying this experience. The press have always focussed on the aggression and destruction. This album is just so creative. You want to travel back in the Tardis and just hang around in the background watching them do it. Like Sgt. Pepper only rockier and twice as long. The Who are a magnificent rock band. If there’s a negative to these kind of classic albums it’s that you really need to go out and buy some really good stereo gear which you can’t afford.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk customer review)

cover image “In addition to 12 of Clark’s original compositions, Blak and Blu also features a 13th song – a blistering cover of Little Johnny Taylor’s (popularized by Albert Collins), “If You Love Me Like You Say / Third Stone From The Sun” (Jimi Hendrix) is actually a complete reworking of the song utilizing the Hendrix riff reinterpreted by Clark. The result is an extraordinary hybrid of the two ideas that breathes new fire to an old favorite.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverHow music works / David Byrne.
The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame inductee and co-founder of Talking Heads presents a celebration of music that offers insight into the roles of time, place and recording technology, discussing how evolutionary patterns of adaptations and responses to cultural and physical contexts have influenced music expression throughout history and culminated in the 20th century’s transformative practices.(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRadiohead : the stories behind every song / James Doheny. “With complex, haunting soundscapes and raw, soul-searching lyrics, Radiohead has blazed an uncompromising trail to become one of the most critically acclaimed, socially aware, and perennially popular rock acts in the world. Like such predecessors as Pink Floyd, U2, and REM, the band has maintained its underground cred even while residing at the heart of the popular mainstream. Now writer and musicologist James Doheny reveals the inside story behind every Radiohead song in a comprehensive and insightful book no true fan will want to be without.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverAcoustic guitar making : the steel string guitar / Nick Blishen. “Many people are frustrated by the mass-produced guitar and dream of something more unique. This practical book will help readers achieve that dream, and will inform and enlighten them along the way. Drawing on a range of ideas and techniques, it explains the process in a clear and logical way, thereby demystifying the task and making the guitar a joy to build and then to play. It covers tools, techniques, and selection of materials; how to avoid pitfalls and make faster progress; and how to achieve a professional finish and set up the guitar.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

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