Read before you crawl… Fiction Choices

The excitement is building as LitCrawl is almost upon us! But before we get to the main event, and to get you prepared and in the mood, we have selected just a few titles from some of the many fantastic fiction luminaries appearing at this years event. Make sure you check out this year’s programme and start planning your crawl! We just can’t wait! Enjoy!

The blue / McCallum, Mary
“Lilian lives in an isolated island community at the mouth of Tory Channel trying to make the best of a life that has at its core a secret grief. It is 1938 and for three months of every year the men take to the sea to hunt whales with fast boats and explosive harpoons. This year, the whales aren’t the only ones returning – Lilian’s troubled son Micky has come home too. In this rugged, unsettled world, things are not always what they seem.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Dreamquake / Knox, Elizabeth
“Following on from the mesmerising Dreamhunter, the story continues dramatically as Grace, ‘overdreamt’ by Laura, introduces a nightmare, instead of the happy holiday dream programmed, to a packed Opera House audience, with chaotic results. Laura has collected and dreamt the nightmare in response to a letter she thinks is from her dead father, Tziga, who has been forced by the government to dream it to keep prisoners frightened and subdued.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Baby / Jochems, Annaleese
“Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen when her bootcamp instructor, the striking Anahera, suggests they run away together. With stolen money and a dog in tow they buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But there’s an intruder waiting to upset Cynthia’s plans and when a trip to an island utopia goes horribly wrong, a rot sets in on their relationship.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead people’s music : a novel / Laing, Sarah
“Classical is karaoke – just playing covers of dead people’s music – or so Wellingtonian Rebecca concluded at her London conservatorium. She’s sabotaged her scholarship there, but wants to keep playing the cello, like her grandmother, Klara. Now unmoored from her classical training, she’s in New York City, where Klara grew up. As Rebecca investigates her Jewish-refugee heritage, she starts to compose her own songs, but has to contend with diabetes and other burning issues: is she with the right man, or should she swap stability for lust? And how much longer can she live with a neurotic, junk-scavenging flatmate, on the verge of murdering another zebra fish?” (Catalogue)

I’m working on a building / Adam, Pip
“Everything becomes clearer in reverse – because sometimes, things have to be taken apart to be understood. In the near future, an exact replica of the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s Burj al Khalifa, is being built on New Zealand’s West Coast. It’s an exercise in economic stimulation and national confidence-building after a run of natural and financial disasters. Catherine is the engineer in charge of making sure it all works. She feels there is something wrong in the plans. Or is there something wrong in her? I’m working on a building follows Catherine from the top of the tower to a geodesic dome in a park in London; from the Grand Lisboa in Macau to student accommodation in Wellington; from a South Auckland theme park to the Pompidou Centre; to reveal the way chance events can undo the best efforts of human beings to plan and build their lives and worlds.” (Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The Bleeders – hundreds of ‘Believers’ who set up on the banks of the river, who start to buy up the town and win souls. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family (promiscuous dad, angry mum, twins Lucky and Grub, Elijah the River Child and fervent, prayerful Grandma Bett), for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Fishing for Māui / Ritchie, Isa Pearl
“A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness. Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but shes the only one who can tell somethings not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?” (Catalogue)

Fosterling / Neale, Emma
“A young man is found unconscious in a remote forest. He is over seven feet tall, his skin covered in thick hair which reminds onlookers of an animal’s pelt. A compelling story about society and our reactions to difference, convincingly evoked, beautifully written.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s choice: Engaging with fiction titles

Recent selections from our collection by patrons include thrillers, science fiction, historical and contemporary fiction. Some reviews will make you wonder if your reading experience will be a little or a lot different.

The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

The last girl / Hart, Joe
“A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than one percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women. Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away, told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.” (Catalogue)

“Although the pace was a bit slow to start it developed into a very exciting book. I look forward to the next in the series.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

The wife : a novel / Wolitzer, Meg
The Wife is a wise, sharp-eyed, compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she’s made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. But it’s also an unusually candid look at the choices all men and women make for themselves, in marriage, work, and life. With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer invites intriguing questions about the nature of partnership and the precarious position of an ambitious woman in a man’s world.” (Catalogue)

“I thought this book very apt in this 125 years of suffrage, as Joan Castleman finally decides at the age of 64 years to have another chance at life.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 star rating)

Man out of time / Bishop, Stephanie
“One summer, a long time ago, Stella sat watching her father cry while the sky clouded over. He had tried to make amends: for his failures, for forgetting to buy the doll she once hoped for, for the terrible things he had done. The first time Stella sensed that something was wrong was on her ninth birthday. There was an accident, and when she opened her eyes there was the tang of blood in her mouth. Leon was beside her. But not quite there. In the winter, when her father finally came home from hospital, he looked different. Looked at her differently. Now he was missing, and Stella held the key to his discovery. But did he want to be found?” (Catalogue)

“I thought this book was bleak and the only way I could deal with it was to dip into it every 20 pages or so.  Nothing like My Name Is Lucy Barton, which I loved.” (Unrateable)

The late bloomers’ club : a novel / Miller, Louise
“Two sisters, beloved diner owner Nora and her short-on-cash filmmaker sibling, Kit, are inheriting the property of local cake-making legend Peggy. The town is divided on whether the sisters should sell the land to a big-box developer, which Nora opposes, but everyone wants to find Peggy’s lost dog. Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie Diner, is perfectly happy serving up coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what’s “the usual.” But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her free-spirited, younger sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town’s beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.” (Catalogue)

“I thought this book was a great light read. I didn’t want to put it down.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

River under the road / Spencer, Scott
“Thirteen parties over the course of two decades–an opium infused barbeque, a reception for a doomed presidential candidate, a fund-raiser for a blind child who speaks in tongues, a visit to one of New York’s fabled sex clubs–brilliantly reveal the lives of two couples. Funny and cutting, affecting and expansive, River Under the Road is Scott Spencer’s masterpiece of all that lies beneath our everyday lives-a story about the pursuit of love, art, and money, and the inevitable reckoning that awaits us all.” (Catalogue)

“Well written and well developed characters.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐  (4/5 stars)

Belladonna / Drndić, Daša
“Andreas Ban is a writer and a psychologist, an intellectual proper, full of empathy, but his world has been falling apart for years. When he retires with a miserable pension and finds out that he is ill, he gains a new perspective on the debris of his life and the lives of his friends. In Belladonna, Dasa Drndic pushes to the limit the issues about illness and the (im)possibility of living (and dying) in contemporary, utterly dehumanised world where old age and illness are the scarlet letters of shame thrown in the face of the advertised eternal youth and beauty.” (Catalogue)

“Most interesting and unusual. I feel I should read it again to pick up all the points.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  (5/5 stars)

The history of bees / Lunde, Maja
“This novel follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees–and to their children and one another–against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis… Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.” (adapted from Catalogue)

“A great read… I can envision an film.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 stars)

The orphan of Florence / Kalogridis, Jeanne
“In this irresistible historical novel set in the turbulent world of the Medicis, a young woman finds herself driven from pick-pocketing to espionage when she meets a mysterious man.” (Catalogue)

“Excellent, good storylines and interesting plot.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

LitCrawl is back at WCL!

LitCrawl is back and this year they are celebrating five years of the crawl! From 8 – 11 November you can get involved in over 50 events featuring writers, illustrators, storytellers, musicians, historians, taxidermists, performance artists and more! LitCrawl features the famous crawl on Saturday 10 November from 6pm to 9.15pm, during which there are 25 events in as many locations in Wellington’s CBD. The LitCrawl Extended programme is running again this year between Thursday 8th and Sunday 11th November and is a mixture of free and ticketed events, so make sure you mark your diaries and take a good look at the programme! There is something for everyone at LitCrawl! For the full programme see www.litcrawl.co.nz 

We have two very exciting events at Central this year!

True Stories Told Live is back! LitCrawl and the New Zealand Book Council are bringing True Stories Told Live back to Central on Saturday 10 November as part of Phase 1 of the crawl. From 6pm – 6.45pm an epic line up of writers deliver true stories on the theme of age. Featuring Victor Rodger, Eirlys Hunter, Lizzie Marvelly, Raymond Antrobus, Helen Heath and Kate Spencer. Hosted by Penny Ashton. To plan out the rest of your crawl, check out the full programme online.

And something for the kids! Earlier on Saturday 10 November bring the kids along to the first ever KidsCrawl. LitCrawl has joined forces with the amazing Annual (edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris) to create an adventure for the whole family. From 10-11am at the Central Library, you will be given a story map that takes you all over the library in search of Annual authors who have a story to tell… KidsCrawl is free but registration is essential so make sure you send an email to kidscrawl@litcrawl.co.nz to register your storyhunters. For more information check out the website.

Read before you crawl…

The programme is out, you’ve seen then line up, now it’s time to get reading! Search the catalogue and place those reserves for the authors you are most excited to see and keep an eye out for our special Read Before You Crawl blogs which will be coming out weekly as we countdown to the big weekend!

Read before you crawl… Fiction Choices
Read before you crawl… a Poetry Showcase
Read before you crawl – KidsCrawl Edition

 

Did someone say prizes?

In the lead up to LitCrawl we will have some tickets and books to give away! Make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to be in it to win it!

Advance recommendations for great new fiction titles

Rosewater book cover

There are lots of new titles coming in from talented authors in the next few months. That means getting in quick if you want you be reading them soon!

Our advance recommendations for up and coming titles include crime writing and thrillers; titles where political and social values are explored and Science Fiction and fantasy works were the possibilities of the mind and potential realities are explored.

Excitement has been building for the new Haruki Murakami book titled Killing Commendatore which  is due to published 9 October 2018. The new novel, written in homage to the The Great Gatsby, has already been censored in Hong Kong. Opaque wrappers are required wherever the book is for sale or loan, libraries there will only allow borrowing to patrons over 18 years of age.

Already on our library shelves  is the new Kate Atkinson novel, Transcription, along with Belinda Bauer’s Snap. Yet to be published, Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver brings together two timelines  in the same location and  focuses on families facing challenges due to changing cultures. Kingsolver’s deft handling of family dynamics and the impacts of change bring this tale to life. Mohammed Hanif delivers two sides to modern conflict with Red Birds. Three times Hugo winner Science Fiction writer N K Jemisin has a new short story collection called How long ’til black future month? which delivers a kaleidoscopic view of her imagination.  Tade Thompson’s  Rosewater, is named after a town, grown up around an alien entity embedded in Nigerian soil. Once a year the biodome surrounding the incomer opens…

See below, for these and more titles, coming soon to a library near you!

Transcription / Atkinson, Kate
“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.” (Catalogue)

Love is Blind [paperback] / Boyd, William
Love is Blind is a tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of artistic endeavour and the illusions it creates; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away. At once an intimate portrait of one man’s life and an expansive exploration of the beginning of the 20th century, Love is Blind is a masterly new novel from one of Britain’s best loved storytellers.” (Catalogue)

 

Killing Commendatore / Murakami, Haruki/ Gabriel, Philip (TRN)/ Goossen, Ted (TRN)
“The much-anticipated new novel from the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Killing Commendatore is an epic tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art–as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby–and a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.” (Catalogue)

 

Bridge of clay. / Zusak, Markus
Bridge of Clay is about a boy who is caught in the current – of destroying everything he has, to become all he needs to be. He’s a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for memory and tragedy. He builds a bridge to save his family, but also to save himself. It’s an attempt to transcend humanness, to make a single, glorious moment: A miracle and nothing less.” (Catalogue)

 

Red Birds [paperback] / Hanif, Mohammed
“Written with his trademark wit, keen eye for absurdity and telling important truths about the world today, Red Birds reveals master storyteller Mohammed Hanif at the height of his powers.
An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb.  In the camp, teenager Momo’s money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other’s throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind.” (Catalogue)

Unsheltered / Kingsolver, Barbara
“Brilliantly executed and compulsively readable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred–whether family or friends–and in the strength of the human spirit.” (Catalogue)

Snap / Bauer, Belinda
“On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. “Jack’s in charge,” she’d said. “I won’t be long”. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever. Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother.” (Catalogue)

Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy, 1) [paperback] / Thompson, Tade
“Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers. Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, coming to a realization about a horrifying future.” (Catalogue)

How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories [paperback] / Jemisin, N K
“In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises.” (Catalogue)

Lethal White / Galbraith, Robert
“When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story.  Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. ” (Catalogue)

In a House of Lies / Rankin, Ian
“A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods.  Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case.  Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead – and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.” (Catalogue)

The Vogels: The strange and fascinating story behind NZ’s first ever Science Fiction novel

New Zealand has had a long love affair with Science Fiction starting perhaps with Sir Julius Vogel.
Sir Julius Vogel (1835 –1899) was the eighth Premier of New Zealand, a keen cricketer, partially deaf in one ear, regarded as the father of New Zealand railways, instrumental in the setup of the Otago Daily Times and described in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography as a ‘vastly ambitious’ and ‘clever, impulsive, generous, strong-willed to the point of being domineering.” A politician and entrepreneur who enjoyed the good things in life perhaps to excess. (He suffered badly from gout in later life.)
In his retirement Vogel also wrote New Zealand’s first ever Science Fiction novel published in London in 1889 called “Anno Domini 2000”; or, “Woman’s Destiny” in which poverty had vanished and women held the highest posts in government.

You can read this work by clicking the link below:
http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-AnnVoge.html

You can further explore his life  by borrowing the following eBook  from our Overdrive collection:

Syndetics book coverJulius Vogel [electronic resource] / Raewyn Dalziel.
“Julius Vogel dominated New Zealand politics in a way that no man had done before him and few have done since. He was behind the policy that transformed New Zealand from a collection of sparsely settled and isolated provinces into a unified nation, he cultivated trade connections and was an advocate of greater colonial autonomy and equal rights between men and women; he was an optimistic visionary. Raewyn Dalziel’s definitive biography, Julius Vogel: Business Politician, traces both the career and the character of the man.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

To honour this landmark work and achievement, the New Zealand National Science Fiction Convention annually awards the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (nicknamed The Vogels”) to “recognise achievement in New Zealand science fiction, fantasy, horror, and science fiction fandom “.
The 2018 awards for best novel and best youth novel went to the following works :

Best Novel
Syndetics book coverHounds of the underworld / Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray.
“Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Best Youth Novel

Syndetics book coverThe traitor and the thief / Gareth Ward.
“A thief, a spy and a steampunk showdown at Traitor’s Gate! Discovered picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, fourteen year old Sin is hunted across the city. Caught by the enigmatic Eldritch Moons, Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, Sin learns spy craft while trying not to break the school’s Cast-Iron Rules. Befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb, together they endeavour to unmask a traitor causing havoc within the palace.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A measure of darkness – new Mysteries

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

This month’s selection of new mystery novels features several detectives with very different investigating techniques — from a septuagenarian version of classic hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe (from author Lawrence Osborne), to a another remote Shetland investigation for Ann Cleeve’s much loved detective DI Jimmy Perez. Also included is the internationally critically acclaimed novel Stick together — by Sophie Hénaff —  about corruption at the very highest levels of the Parisian police force and the oddball team of misfits that set out to clean this mess up. All this makes for what we feel is a very satisfying alternative to the more usual police procedural mystery! Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverOnly to sleep : a Philip Marlowe novel / Lawrence Osborne.
“The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe – now in his seventy-second year – is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it. For Marlowe, this is his last roll of the dice, his swan song. His mission is to investigate the death of Donald Zinn – supposedly drowned off his yacht, and leaving behind a much younger and now very rich wife. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils?” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWild fire / Ann Cleeves.
“Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves, who will run the case. Perez is facing the most disturbing investigation of his career. Is he ready for what is to come?” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverStick together / Sophie Hénaff ; translated from the French by Sam Gordon.
“After their successful solving of three cold cases and exposing corruption at the very highest level of the Paris police force, Anne Capestan’s squad of misfits and no-hopers should be in a celebratory mood. However, now despised by their colleagues at 36 quai des Orfèvres and worried for their future, morale has never been lower among the members of the Awkward Squad. Capestan does her best to motivate her troops, but even she cannot maintain a cheerful façade when she has to investigate the murder of Commissaire Serge Rufus, the father of her ex-husband. Worse, it soon appears that his murder is linked to two other victims, both of whom were warned by the killer before they struck…” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBetty Church and the Suffolk vampire / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“Inspector Betty Church — one of the few female officers on the force — has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here — this is the place she grew up.  Time ticks slowly in Sackwater, and crime is of a decidedly lighter shade. Having solved the case of the missing buttons, Betty is called to the train station to investigate a missing bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat…” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverToucan keep a secret / Donna Andrews.
“Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan Meg’s friend Reverend Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the columbarium, Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor of the crypt. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone. Toucan Keep a Secret is the latest book in author Donna Andrews’ hilarious Mag Langslow mystery series.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom / Nancy Atherton.Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom
“On a dull and dreary October day, Lori Shepherd and her husband Bill set off for the historic town of Rye, on the southeast coast of England, for a quiet weekend together without the kids. Bill must first pay a visit to a reclusive client–but after Lori drops him off, a powerful storm drives her off course and leaves her stranded in an ancient, rambling inn called The King’s Ransom. When Lori is spooked by ghostly noises in the night, Aunt Dimity reminds her rather tartly that not all ghosts intend to harm the living.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAn unfinished murder / Ann Granger.
“As young children, Josh Browning and his sister, Dilys, stumbled across a dead body while playing on the outskirts of their Cotswold village. Terrified by what they’d seen, neither of them told a soul. Now, twenty years later, Josh finds the dead woman’s charm bracelet among his sister’s possessions. Who better to tell than his trusted friend, the man he gardens for, retired Superintendent Alan Markby? As Markby listens to Josh’s confession, alarm bells start to ring. The dates and details tie in with a missing person case that was never solved.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverA measure of darkness : a novel / Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman.
“Former star basketball player Clay Edison is busy. He’s solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man, earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. Plus his brother’s fresh out of prison, bringing with him a whole new set of complications. Then the phone rings in the dead of night. A wild party in a gentrifying East Bay neighborhood. A heated argument that spills into the street. Gunshots. Chaos. For Clay and his fellow coroners, it’s the start of a long night and the first of many to come. The victims keep piling up. What begins as a community tragedy soon becomes lurid fodder for social media.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Continue reading “A measure of darkness – new Mysteries”

2018 Hugo Award Winners — plus, Worldcon coming to NZ in 2020!

The news that the 78th Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention, the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society) would be coming to Wellington in 2020 was greeted with excitement and no small amount of anticipation in our libraries! We hope you’re just as excited, and if you’re just coming to the news now, the icing on the cake is that master storyteller George R. R. Martin has been announced as Master of Ceremonies.

But, it’s not just the Master of Ceremonies announcement that has us salivating. All elements, strands and areas of the science fiction community will be catered for, and plans are afoot for the genre to be celebrated in style with events, workshops, signings and much, much more!

One aspect of Worldcon that has us the most excited, is that every year Worldcon hosts science fiction’s most prestigious awards, the Hugo Awards.  The Hugo awards are the science fiction world’s equivalent of the Pulitzers, the Oscars and the Grammys all rolled into one (we exaggerate, but only slightly!). It’s a wide and inclusive list this year. In past years, some of science fiction’s most loved authors have been recipients — Neil Gaiman, Isaac Asimov, Connie Willis, Philip K. Dick, and Ursula K. Le Guin, amongst others.

This year’s Worldcon was in San José, California, and below you’ll find this year’s celebrated authors and their wonderful novels — recommended loudly by librarians near and far. Choose any one for an immersive reading experience, ideas that will expand and entertain, and the best of the best science fiction has to offer. Have a browse and join us in our excitement for 2020 and Wellington’s very own host city experience!

2018 Hugo Award Winners

Best Novel:

Syndetics book coverThe stone sky by  N.K. Jemisin.
“The shattering conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed  trilogy that began with The Fifth Season, winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016, and The Obelisk Gate, winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2017. The Moon will soon return — whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Best Related Work:

Syndetics book coverNo Time to Spare : Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K Le Guin. 
“In her last great frontier of life, old age, Ursula K. Le Guin explored new literary territory — the blog, a forum where she shined. The collected best of Ursula’s blog, No Time to Spare presents perfectly crystallized dispatches on what mattered to her late in life, her concerns with the world, and her wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Best Graphic story:

Syndetics book coverMonstress. Volume two, The blood / Marjorie Liu, writer ; Sana Takeda, artist.
“The Eisner-nominated Monstress is back! Maika, Kippa,and Ren journey to Thyria in search of answers to her past… and discover a new, terrible, threat.”
(Adapted from Syndetics)

Best Young Adult book:

Syndetics book coverAkata warrior by (the fantastic) Nnedi Okorafor.
(Sequel to Akata Witch)
“A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Tour the far reaches of space – new Science Fiction

From a galaxy far, far away comes our most recent selection of  scintillating  new Science Fiction titles — featuring some of the genre’s most popular writers. Included in this month’s selections are new works by Benedict Jacka and Mercedes Lackey; and highly recommended by us is the reissue of Binti by Nnedi Okorafor — which won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novella (and would be a top choice if you are looking for a Star Wars  read to curl up with in the colder weather).  The icing on the cake this month is a very welcome reissue of one of our favourite Science Fiction books by one of our favourite Science fiction writers — the masterwork that is “The Lathe of Heaven”, by Ursula K Le Guin.  Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverThe lathe of heaven : a novel / Ursula K. Le Guin.The Lathe of Heaven
“In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAdrift / Rob Boffard.
“In the far reaches of space, a tour group embarks on what will be the trip of a lifetime – in more ways than one . . .
For one small group, a tour of the nearby Horsehead Nebula is meant to be a short but stunning highlight in the trip of a lifetime. But when a mysterious ship destroys Sigma Station and everyone on it, suddenly their tourist shuttle is stranded. They have no weapons. No food. No water. No one back home knows they’re alive. And the mysterious ship is hunting them.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverRecord of a spaceborn few / Becky Chambers.
“Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way. But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKill the farm boy / Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson.Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of Pell
“In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes. Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This is not that fairy tale. There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosen. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverArabella the Traitor of Mars
“Hail the conquering heroes! The tyrant, Napoleon, has been defeated with Arabella and the crew of the Diana leading the final charge. But, victory has come at a tremendous cost. Britain’s savior, Lord Nelson, has not survived the final battle and the good people of the Diana must now return to London as both heroes and pallbearers. At last husband and wife, Arabella and Captain Singh seem to have earned the attention of great men, ones who have new uses in mind for the Mars Company captain and his young wife. Both Company and Crown have decided that it is time to bring Mars into the folds of Empire, and they think Singh is the perfect man to do it.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMarked / Benedict Jacka.Marked
“Alex Verus is tracking down dangerous magical items unleashed into the world by Dark Mages – however, when the Light Council decide they need his help in negotiating with the perpetrators, Alex must use all his cunning and magic to strike a deal. The ninth novel in the urban fantasy series which began with Fated – the Alex Verus novels are magic-filled fan favourites, perfect for readers of Jim Butcher and Ben Aaronovitch.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAvalanche / written by Mercedes Lackey with Cody Martin, Dennis Lee & Veronica Giguere ; edited by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon.
“Ultima Thule has been destroyed — but somehow the Thulians mounted an even bigger force to destroy Metis. The Metisians that escaped the carnage and destruction of their secret city now must somehow find somewhere safe to go — without getting snapped up by various world governments. And now the Thulians have changed their tactics to blitz guerilla warfare.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBinti / Nnedi Okorafor.
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCondomnauts
“In the 24th century, Josue Valdes’ rise from the slums Rubble City, Cuba to one of the galaxy’s most accomplished explorers was nothing short of meteoric. Once an orphan who spent his childhood on the street racing cockroaches for cash, Josue found his true-calling: a sexual ambassador for humanity and the Nu Barsa colony. Following the success of Super Extra Grande and A Planet for Rent, the wildly inventive and sexually progressive Condomnauts is a raucous and uproarious adventure that would make even Barbarella blush.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAlliancesThrawn: Alliances (Star Wars)
“‘I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.’ Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root — its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Who’s reading what? Our most popular Fiction

The avid readers of Wellington have been spending these long winter nights, chilly commutes, and chance sunny spells devouring the latest offerings of the fiction world.  What have been the most favourite titles this past season? Interest in Pip Adam’s new award winning title means The New Animals is in a favoured position amongst readers. Adam has received high praise for writing technique and her faceted nuanced characters that live beyond accepted palatable current Auckland stereotypes.

There is a decent helping of gritty mystery writing from the likes of Jo Nesbø and Donna Leon. Jo Nesbø’s Macbeth is one in the Hogarth Shakespeare series preceded by Edward St. Aubyn’s treatment of King Lear in Dunbar. North American President turned author Bill Clinton writing with James Patterson has also captured the capital’s attention, as have writing luminaries Ali Smith and Michael Ondaatje.  Below are the top 10 titles by issues in August.

1. Macbeth / Nesbø, Jo
“When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess. He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past.He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach.But a man like him won’t get to the top. Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his. Unless he kills for it.” (Catalogue)

2. The woman in the window / Finn, A. J
“It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?” (Catalogue)

3. The temptation of forgiveness / Leon, Donna
“As the twenty-seventh novel unfolds in Donna Leon’s exquisite chronicle of Venetian life in all its blissful and sordid aspects, Brunetti pursues several false and contradictory leads while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness and craftiness of Signorina Elettra, Patta’s secretary and gate-keeper. Exasperated by the petty bureaucracy that constantly bedevils him and threatens to expose Signorina Elettra, Brunetti is steadied by the embrace of his own family and by his passion for the classics.” (Catalogue

4. The new animals / Adam, Pip
Carla, Sharon and Duey have worked in fashion for longer than they care to remember — for them, there’s nothing new under the sun. They’re Generation X: tired, cynical and sick of being used. Tommy, Cal and Kurt are Millenials, they’ve come from nowhere, but with their monied families behind them they’re ready to remake fashion. They represent the new sincere, the anti-irony. Both generations are searching for a way out, an alternative to their messed-up reality. Pip Adam’s new novel walks the streets of Auckland city now, examining the fashion scene, intergenerational tension and modern life with an unflinching eye. From the the wreckage and waste of the 21st century, new animals must emerge.” (Catalogue)

5. The punishment she deserves / George, Elizabeth
“No. 1 New York Times best-selling George returns with the next mystery featuring DI Thomas Lynley and his partner DS Barbara Havers, who’s in the lead here. Approached by a Member of Parliament with a request to investigate the supposed suicide of a constituent’s son, New Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner sees an opportunity to stick Havers with an impossible case and thence get rid of her. (He’s not a fan.) George’s last title was in 2015, so folks will be clamoring. Award-winning author Elizabeth George delivers another masterpiece of suspense in her Inspector Lynley series.” (Catalogue)

6. Dear Mrs. Bird : a novel / Pearce, A. J.
“London, 1940. Emmeline Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. The irrepressible Emmy keeps writing letters in this hilarious and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.” (Catalogue)

7. The President is missing / Clinton, Bill
“The President is Missing. The world is in shock. But the reason he”s missing is much worse than anyone can imagine. With details only a President could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver.” (Catalogue)

8. An unsuitable match / Trollope, Joanna
“Rose Woodrowe is getting married to Tyler Masson – a wonderful, sensitive man who is head-over-heels in love with her. The only problem? This isn’t the first time for either of them, and their five grown-up children have strong opinions on the matter… Who to listen to? Who to please? Rose and Tyler are determined to get it right this time, but in trying to make everyone happy, can they ever be happy themselves?” (Catalogue

9. Winter / Smith, Ali
“Following Autumn, the first of four novels named for the seasons and drawing on their moods, Smith takes an icy look at the era of Brexit and fake news, examining themes of history and memory and celebrating our will to survive. Winter. It makes things visible. Ali Smith’s shapeshifting Winter casts a warm, wise, merry and uncompromising eye over a post-truth era in a story rooted in history and memory and with a taproot deep in the evergreens, art and love.” (Catalogue)

10. Warlight / Ondaatje, Michael
“In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined to protect, and educate… But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel.” (Catalogue)

New Graphic novels

Hasib book cover

Wellington City Libraries has a wealth of graphic novels for the edification and delight of Wellingtonians.  This month has seen some new voices added to the collection and some great compilations of seasoned artists and writers. British comic artist Shaky Kane has compiled all the Deadline strips and the Hoey siblings Coin-Op anthology has amassed twenty years of work. There are translated works, new episodes in long running series and original takes on conventional heroes as with DC’s Young Animal: Milk wars reworking Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman into a freaky Happy Days-esque version of “reality”.  The same trippy feel is echoed in Ice Cream Man: Rainbow sprinkles.

Film has a stylistic treatment in the form of Lawrence Block’s Eight million ways to die. Lawrence Block was so pleased with Snyder’s version he heaped praise on this artistic interpretation of his novel. Other artistic endeavors are explored in a translated Guardians of the Louvre. The classic Thousand and One Nights is also reprised with Hâsib and the Queen of Serpents. The sketchy world of Farel Dalrymple reveals an interlinking quest for some questionable characters in It Will All Hurt. And explore geography with Olivia Burton, as travel becomes an internal journey, beautifully laid out in her exploration of Algeria.

Delve into the newly acquired graphic novels at your library, with some choice selections below.

Hâsib & the queen of serpents : a tale of a thousand and one nights / B., David
“Heir to the wise Daniel, Hâsib is a young woodcutter promised to a great future. When his greedy companions abandon him in the middle of the forest, he meets the Queen of Serpents. She then tells her story, a fabulous adventure filled with gods and demons, princes and prophets. From Kabul to Cairo, journeys intertwine with intrigues and spiritual quests while the fabulous nights follow one another.” (Catalogue)

Redlands. Volume one, Sisters by blood / Bellaire, Jordie
“A mysterious coven of witches runs the town of Redlands, Florida–and in order to stay on top, sacrifices must be made. When possession turns into friendship, and when love evolves into spite, the witches’ reign is challenged.” (Catalogue)

Algeria is beautiful like America / Burton, Olivia
“Olivia had always heard stories about Algeria from her maternal grandmother, a Black Foot (a “Pied-Noir,” the French term for Christian and Jewish settlers of French Algeria who emigrated to France after the Algerian War of Independence). After her grandmother’s death, Olivia found some of her grandmother’s journals and letters describing her homeland. Now, ten years later, she resolves to travel to Algeria and experience the country for herself; she arrives alone, with her grandmother’s postcards and letters in tow, and a single phone number in her pocket of an Algerian, Djaffar, who will act as her guide.” (Catalogue)

Chainmail bikini : the anthology of women gamers
Chainmail Bikini is an anthology of comics by and about female gamers! Forty cartoonists have contributed comics about the games they’re passionate about — from video games to tabletop role-playing to collectible card games. The comics in Chainmail Bikini explore the real-life impact of entering a fantasy world, and how games can connect us with each other and teach us about ourselves. Alliances are forged, dice get rolled, and dragons get slain! Chainmail Bikini shows that while women are not always the target market for gaming, they are a vital and thoroughly engaged part of it, and are eager to express their personal take as players, makers, and critics of games.” (Catalogue)

It will all hurt / Dalrymple, Farel
“A weird, sad, silly, sketchy, and dreamy watercolor fantasy action quest in which Alemendra Clementine and her crew of anti-social adventurers all come together on a psych-apocalyptic world to take down an evil wizard.” (Catalogue)

Coin-Op comics anthology 1997-2017 / Hoey, Maria
“This first-ever collection by the award-winning team of siblings Peter and Maria Hoey encompasses the very best of their inventive and mysterious comics. The compilation ranges from the Hoeys’ early comics in Blab! Magazine to their groundbreaking newest series, Coin-Op. All in all, it’s more than twenty short stories and vignettes about music and film, the comic and the absurd, the past and the future all sparkling with innovative storytelling and design.” (Catalogue)

Good news bible : the complete Deadline strips of Shaky Kane. / Kane, Shaky
“This major retrospective of comics and illustration from essential British cartoonist Shaky Kane collects the entirety of his work from the classic ’90s magazine Deadline for the first time. Heavily influenced by the great Jack Kirby, Shaky produces comics that combine intensity and bombast with a psychedelic and unmistakably British cynicism.” (Catalogue)

DC/Young Animal : milk wars / Orlando, Steve
“What happens when the Doom Patrol team of misfits meets Justice League of America, or the new Gotham vigilante Mother Panic comes face to face with Batman? Will Shade the Changing Girl be able to appease Wonder Woman and will Cave Carson be able to team up with Swamp Thing to destroy the evil, interdimensional corporation called RetCo from the inside? Valid questions. Very valid. How will we ever find out the answer? Right here in DC/Young Animal: Milk Wars, of course!” (Catalogue)

Ice Cream Man. Volume one, Rainbow sprinkles / Prince, W. Maxwell
Ice Cream Man is a genre-defying comic book series, featuring disparate one-shot tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man–a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who with a snap of his fingers–lickety split!–can change the course of your life.” (Catalogue)

Lawrence Block’s Eight million ways to die / Snyder, John K.
“In crime-ravaged 1980s New York, a troubled ex-cop turned unlicensed detective takes on his most dangerous case, hunting down a serial killer-hitman, and ultimately coming face-to-face with his deadliest enemy, himself. The highly detailed, full-color artwork from John K. Snyder III perfectly complements the noir aesthetic of Block’s writing, making this a must have for fans of crime fiction, both in prose and graphic novel form.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Guardians of the Louvre / Taniguchi, Jirō
“After a group trip to Europe, a Japanese artist stops in Paris alone, intent on visiting the museums of the capital. But, bedridden in his hotel room with fever, he faces the absolute solitude of one suffering in a foreign land, deprived of any immediate or familiar recourse. When the fever breaks somewhat, he sets out on his visit and promptly gets lost in the crowded halls of the Louvre. Very soon, he discovers many unsuspected facets to this world in a museum in a journey oscillating between feverish hallucination and reality, actually able to speak with famous painters from various periods of history, led to crossroads between human and personal history by… the Guardians of the Louvre.” (Catalogue)