The Best and Bitey-ist Vampire Novels Ever!

Anno Dracula book cover

Over 120 years after the release of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the author’s great-grandnephew has written a prequel to the Victorian vampire classic! Dacre Stoker’s novel, Dracul, is based on the original typescript of Dracula as well as associated notes and journals, and “speculates on what Bram Stoker’s early life might have been like had the creatures he later created been real.”

But Dacre Stoker isn’t the first to build upon Dracula’s story: below you’ll find a list of nine unnerving titles that have been influenced by the Transylvanian Count, from Nordic noir to alternative history to a sci-fi classic (as well as one work that pre-dates Dracula by 26 years!).

The historian: a novel / Kostova, Elizabeth
“Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.” (Catalogue)

Let the right one in / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
“John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend, as well as a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.” (Catalogue)

Interview with the vampire / Rice, Anne
“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.” (Catalogue)

The passage / Cronin, Justin
“A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.” (Catalogue)

Anno Dracula / Newman, Kim
“It is 1888 and Dracula has married Queen Victoria and turned a large percentage of the English population into the undead. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction (Dr Jekyll, Oscar Wilde, Swinburne, John Jago), the novel tells the story of vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.” (Catalogue)

Dracula: the un-dead / Stoker, Dacre
“The official sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, written by his direct descendant and endorsed by the Stoker family, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew joins with Dracula documentarian Holt to create a sequel based on notes the author left behind. A quarter-century has passed, and Bram Stoker is directing a play about Dracula–who seems to be making a comeback…” (Catalogue)

Dracula’s guest [electronic resource] / Stoker, Bram
“Published in 1914, several years after Bram Stoker’s death by his widow, Dracula”s Guest is one of several stories that Stoker had wished to publish as a supplement to his most famous novel. Join him as he drags the reader out into the hills beyond Munich on one of the most terrifying nights of the year–Walpurgisnacht, or The Witches Night.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive?” (Catalogue)

Carmilla / Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
“Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Carmilla is the ultimate Gothic vampire tale. When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. It’s not until Laura’s father, increasingly concerned for his daughter’s well-being, sets out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.” (Catalogue)

Books on CD: a new lease on borrowing life!

The Origin audiobook cover

Audiobooks are free at Wellington Central Library! If you’re downloading or listening on CD there is no charge and the lending period for books on CD is still four weeks. We have collected all of the CD audiobooks at the Central Library and you can now find them at the end of the Fiction collection on the ground floor, just to the side of the Fiction Enquiries desk.

Books on CD are a curious phenomena in the story telling world- a whole book read to you as you choose to hear it! No USB port in your vehicle? Books on CD are great for a road trip, lengthy car trips become a time to enjoy a tale. A ten CD set can be devoured in one sitting, well you might need a comfort stop or three. Admittedly, there is the odd cringe at the delivery of the occasional narrator, but the variety of classic titles to newly published material, read by an array of performers means that there is plenty to choose from.

There are some great titles to borrow have look at some of our new acquisitions below:

Earthly remains / Leon, Donna
“During an interrogation Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break. Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off to a villa on Sant’Erasmo- a place of rest, reflection, and reading. Then David Casati, the caretaker, goes missing after a storm, and Brunetti feels compelled to investigate.” (Catalogue)

Death of a ghost / Beaton, M. C
“When Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth hears reports of a haunted castle near Drim, he assumes the eerie noises and lights reported by the villagers are just local teenagers. Still, Hamish decides that he and his policeman, Charlie “Clumsy” Carson, will spend the night at the ruined castle to get to the bottom of the rumors once and for all. There’s no sign of any ghost… but a dead body propped against the wall. Something strange and deadly is going on at the castle, and Hamish must get to the bottom of it before the “ghost” can strike again…” (Catalogue)

The last Tudor / Gregory, Philippa
“The latest novel from Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. At seventeen, Lady Jane Grey was England’s queen for nine days before Mary Tudor claimed the throne and had her executed. Jane’s younger sister, Katherine, was locked in the Tower of London by queens Mary and Elizabeth to prevent her producing a Tudor son. But the last Grey sister, a beautiful dwarf disregarded by the court, keeps her family’s secrets.” (Catalogue)

A legacy of spies / Le Carré, John
“Spymaster le Carré returns with his greatest creation, George Smiley. Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.” (Catalogue)

The house of unexpected sisters / McCall Smith, Alexander
“Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi investigate a new mystery and learn valuable lessons about first impressions and forgiveness in this latest installment of this irresistibly charming series. Precious Ramotswe has always idolised her father, the late Obed Ramotswe. She feels that she knows all about his life, but does she? Sometimes our parents surprise us, and we discover that things were not quite what we thought them to be.” (Catalogue)

The terranauts / Boyle, T. Coraghessan
“It’s 1994, and in the Arizona desert a grand experiment is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” are to live under glass in a prototype of an off-earth colony. With humor and wit, T.C. Boyle inhabits the perspectives of the players in this survivalist game, illuminating the inherent fallibility of human nature.” (Catalogue)

Origin : a novel / Brown, Dan
“In keeping with his trademark style, Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art, and architecture into this new novel. Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earthshaking discovery that will answer them.” (Catalogue)

The woman in the window : a novel / Finn, A. J
“A twisty, powerful Hithcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. Finn’s white-knuckler defines the term hot debut. Its heroine, the reclusive Anna Fox, hides away in her New York apartment tippling wine, watching old movies, and looking out the window, most recently at the husband, wife, and teenage son who just moved in across the way. Then she sees-or thinks she sees-something shocking, and what follows has wracked nerves enough to merit Gone Girl/Girl on the Train comparisons. (Catalogue)

Our most popular Fiction. Who’s reading what?

October is the season of book awards, with the Man Booker award and the Dagger awards from the Crime Writer’s Association. Also this year, in lieu of the Nobel for Literature, the librarians of Sweden had a hand in the New Academy for Literature. Selecting the author who has told the story of the “humans in the world”. Using a global open vote, the Laureate Maryse Conde from Gaudeloupe has been awarded top prize. Taking this idea to heart we have created a list of the most recent popular reads here at Wellington City Libraries, books are rated by number of issues across the system.

There are a few themes running through the most popular reads, the way World War II upturned the lives of many and how loss leads to new experiences. Wellington readers seem to love a well crafted thriller that keeps readers guessing as to motives and methods. One surprising entry is the Walking Dead series of graphic novels, which has proved to be hugely popular with our readers.

1. Warlight / Ondaatje, Michael
“The multi-award-winning author of The English Patient turns in a new novel both mysterious and dramatic, featuring 14-year-old Nathaniel and older sister Rachel, whose parents leave them in the care of a shadowy and possibly criminal individual called the Moth when they move to Singapore in 1945. The Moth’s friends, connected by wartime service, have lots to teach the siblings, who face more confusion when the siblings’ mother returns, mum about their father. 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.”(Catalogue)

2. The walking dead. Compendium one / Kirkman, Robert
“The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibilty. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled, no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living”(Catalogue)

3. 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, the Russels are a picture-perfect family of three. 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)

4. Careless love / Robinson, Peter
“A young, local student has apparently committed suicide. Her body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. She didn’t own a car. Didn’t even drive. How did she get there? Where did she die? Who moved her, and why? As the inconsistencies multiply and the mysteries proliferate, Annie’s father’s new partner, Zelda, comes up with a shocking piece of information that alerts Banks and Annie to the return of an old enemy in a new guise. This is someone who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get what he wants–and suddenly the stakes are raised and the hunt is on.” (Catalogue)

5. The other wife / Robotham, Michael
“Childhood sweethearts William and Mary have been married for sixty years. William is a celebrated surgeon, Mary a devoted wife. Both have a strong sense of right and wrong. This is what their son, Joe O’Loughlin, has always believed. But when Joe is summoned to the hospital with news that his father has been brutally attacked, his world is turned upside down. Who is the strange woman crying at William’s bedside, covered in his blood – a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer?” (Catalogue)

6. Transcription / Atkinson, Kate
“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. 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 bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.” (Catalogue)

7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Shaffer, Mary Ann
“In January 1946, London is beginning to recover from World War II, and Juliet Ashton is looking for a subject for her next book. She spent the war years writing a column for the Times until her own dear flat became a victim of a German bomb. While sifting through the rubble and reconstructing her life, she receives a letter from a man on Guernsey, the British island occupied by the Germans. So begins a correspondence that draws Juliet into the community of Guernsey and the members of the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Named to protect its members from arrest by the Germans, the society shares their unique love of literature and life with a newfound friend. Seeing this as the subject of her next book, Juliet sails to Guernsey, a voyage that will change her life” (Catalogue)

8. Clock dance / Tyler, Anne
“Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory, surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. (Catalogue)

9. Pieces of her / Slaughter, Karin
“Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we? But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again. (Catalogue)

10. The midnight line / Child, Lee
“Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not? So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.” (Catalogue)

Anna Burns has won the 2018 Man Booker Prize

Anna Burns has won the 2018 Man Booker Prize with her unique take on the troubles in Northern Ireland.  Her novel Milkman has been praised for its distinctive voice and dark humour. She is the first Northern Irish writer to receive the prize. Its portrayal of a divided society in which a man uses these troubles to sexually pursue a young woman has been lauded. Anna Burns manages to deal with major, serious issues that can be found in many cultures in a common sense fashion that also contains elements of humour.

The book has been described as “incredibly original” by the Booker’s chair of judges, the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah. The novel’s themes whilst local also manage to cover the same experiences in a universal fashion. Anna Burns said of her life changing Booker win, “It’s nice to feel I’m solvent. That’s a huge gift.”

Milkman / Burns, Anna
“Written in a perfectly-rendered Irish vernacular Set in an un-named city but with an astonishing, breath-shorteningly palpable sense of time and place Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. The story of inaction with enormous consequences and decisions that are never made, but for which people are judged and punished.

Middle sister is our protagonist. She is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her nearly-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with milkman (which she herself for the life of her cannot work out how it came about). But when first brother-in-law, who of course had sniffed it out, told his wife, her first sister, to tell her mother to come and have a talk with her, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…” (Catalogue)

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”