New eBook Graphic Novels in May

This month some of DC’s biggest selling graphic novels have become available as eBooks through Overdrive. It’s a great chance to try a new series or enjoy an old favourite. If you want lots more graphic novels, check out Comics Plus Library Edition which all library users can now access through My Gateway.

Overdrive cover All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison (eBook)
“The amazing creative team of writer Grant Morrison (BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM) and artist Frank Quitely (WE3) join forces to take Superman back to basics and create a new vision of the World’s First Super-Hero. Witness the Man of Steel in exciting new adventures featuring Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Bizarro, and more. Collects ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #1-12” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Suicide Squad, Volume 1, by Adam Glass (eBook)
“Writer and co-creator of the CW show Supernatural Adam Glass rolls out an all-new team of death-row super villains recruited by the government totake on missions so dangerous-they’re sheer suicide! The story begins with the Suicide Squad defeated, imprisoned and being interrogated about their newest mission. Harley Quinn, King Shark, Deadshot and company must make it out alive without revealing who’s pulling the strings behind their illegal operations. Who will be the first to crack under the pressure? More importantly will they make it all out alive? Collects issues #1-7.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Watchmen: International Edition, by Alan Moore (eBook)
“This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin. One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, WATCHMEN has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Flash, Volume 1, by Brian Buccellato (eBook)
“The Fastest Man Alive returns with the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but he has seemingly met his match when he faces DC Comics’ hottest new Super Villain, Mob Rule, who really can be everywhere at once! As Mob Rule wages a campaign of crime across Central City, including an electromagnetic blast that plunges the city into darkness, The Flash learns the only way he can capture Mob Rule and save Central City is to learn how to make his brain function even faster than before—but as much as it helps him, it also comes with a steep price.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Supergirl, Volume 1, by Michael Green (eBook)
“Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. Crash landing on a strange new planet, Supergirl must come to grips with Krypton’s destruction with her cousin Superman and learn about her own recent past. But an ingenious new foe wants that same information – and will do anything to get it. Presenting an all-new take on Superman’s cousin Kara! Collects issues #1-7.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Constantine, Volume 1, by Ray Fawkes (eBook)
“The star of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK and HELLBLAZER—the longest-running Vertigo series—is unleashed in his own DCU title! Liar, cheater, manipulator…John Constantine is all of these, and yet he uses these skills and more to protect the world from the darkest corners of the DC Universe. Collects Constantine #1-6.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Batman, Volume 1, by Scott Snyder (eBook)
“After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to the origins of the city he’s sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Sandman, Volume 1, by Neil Gaiman (eBook)
“NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision. In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Collects issues #1-8.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Fables, Volume 1, by Bill Willingham (eBook)
“WINNER OF FOURTEEN EISNER AWARDS When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown’s sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber. Collects FABLES #1-5.” (Overdrive description)

A ComicFest recommendation: NZ Book Council

This year’s ComicFest has once again been lucky enough to have the backing of the NZ book Council. They’ve kindly sponsored cartoonist and novelist Sarah Laing for Free comic book day involvement on the 2nd of May. Here’s a NZ book council recommendation with some help in drafting from the Book council’s very own Lynette.

The fall of light“If you are looking to swot up before ComicFest hits Wellington City Library delve to the bottom of this article to discover Graphic Novelist, Rachel Fenton’s recommended reading list. Beneath the barrage of Hairy MacLary and Maurice Gee, Rachel has gone in to bat for the fantastic comic book and graphic novel creators of Aotearoa.

Included in her top reads is Sarah Laing’s, The Fall of Light and upcoming anthology Three Words; an Anthology of New Zealand Women Comics and Cartoonists, edited by Indira Neville, Sarah Laing and Rae Joyce.

Check out the books, then check in at the City Library on Saturday 2 May from 1.00pm to meet the editors and creators of these truly awesome works.”

New Graphic Novels for June

Our monthly selection of the best new Graphic Novels this month includes Pachyderme, a surreal story from the French writer Frederik Peeters, whose first graphic novel Blue Pills: a positive love story, was an instant hit. Also this month we have the first volumes of three new series.

Syndetics book coverThumbprint / written by Jason Ciaramella ; art by Vic Malhotra ; based on the novella by Joe Hill. “Private Mallory Grennan had done terrible things as an Abu Ghraib prison worker. After being discharged from the army, Mal thought she was leaving her sins behind to start a new life back home. But some things can’t be left behind; some things don’t want to be left behind.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThrud the Barbarian / written and illustrated by Carl Critchlow.
“Thrud’s axe has always done his talking, whether he’s stomping a dragon, or accidentally laying waste to an entire town during a battle with his arch-nemesis, ‘The Black Currant’. In this first collected volume, Thrud faces down the necromancer To-Me Ku-Pa, protects his beer supplies against fierce Frost Giants, and gets his pint spilled on a mission into the depths of the jungle!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlanetoid. Volume one / Ken Garing. “Silas, an ex-soldier turned space pirate, finds himself stranded on a mysterious planet in alien territory. As he explores the long-abandoned industrial ruins of the planet’s surface, he will have to fend off roving cyborg militias and a hostile alien military with a bounty on his head. Ultimately, Silas will have to build a coalition amongst the planetoid’s nomadic tribes in order to make a final stand against the larger tyrannical forces that rule over them.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverSabertooth Swordsman and the mayhem of the malevolent mastodon mathematician / by Damon Gentry and Aaron Conley. “When his village is enslaved and his wife kidnapped by the malevolent Mastodon Mathematician, a simple farmer must find his inner warrior. Being granted the form of the Sabertooth Swordsman by the Cloud God of Sasquatch Mountain, he embarks on a treacherous journey to the Mastodon’s fortress, encountering on the way ogres, plague mutants, the king’s army, and goats.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverStorm Dogs. Volume 1 / script, David Hine ; art, Doug Braithwaite.
“Dispatched to the protected world of Amaranth to investigate mysterious deaths, Commander Burroughs and her team find a planet in which the rain itself is lethal, the treaties protecting the natives are willfully ignored, technological bans are systematically broken, and corruption infests every branch of government. Hints of sophisticated civilization seemingly incompatible with what is believed of the local Elohi and Joppa tribes, along with evidence of predators as yet undocumented, foreshadow revelations that will reward the hubris of the off-worlders.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJSA Liberty Files : the Whistling Skull / B. Clay Moore, writer ; Tony Harris. “This six-part mini-series is set in 1940s Europe. With the Nazi war machine on the move, crimes are still committed even in the smallest hamlets. From the world of the JSA: Liberty Files, witness the birth of a new hero for the ages.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverMister X : Eviction and other stories / written, illustrated, and colored by Dean Motter ; introduction by Brian Michael Bendis.
” This new collection of short stories follows the titular character as he prowls Radiant City, a town combining a Fritz Lang-inspired futuristic art deco grandeur with Blade Runner’s claustrophobic grime, sorting out political corruption, rampaging robots, and all manner of madmen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverPachyderme / Frederik Peeters ; written and illustrated by Frederik Peeters, translated by Edward Gauvin.
“The fictional Pachyderme begins in a traffic jam created by an elephant in the middle of the road. Out of the fray walks a stylishly dressed woman en route to her hospitalized husband. Even before she reaches the hospital, the woman begins to see things (alien-looking babies) and when she wanders the building there is more: a spy-type capable of emerging from a pipe in the wall and, in the morgue, the reanimated corpse of an old woman who may be herself-to-come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad houses / written by Sara Ryan ; illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil.
“Teenagers Anne and Lewis cross paths and together refuse to succumb to the fate of the older generation as they discover the secrets of their hometown and their own families”(Adpated from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLook straight ahead : a graphic novel / by Elaine M. Will.
“Although fictional, this story of a young man’s breakdown and subsequent institutionalization captures the experience of mental illness and the slow path of treatment. Jeremy is a loner at school, with a crush on his friend’s girlfriend, general insecurity, and insomnia. Then things spiral out of control. An early sequence of his drawing, which descends into his own visions, is both startlingly accomplished cartooning and a disturbing foreshadowing of what’s to come, as Jeremy succumbs to his illness. He starts having hallucinations, and after he fights back against school bullies, he’s sent to treatment.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Fiction newsletter for May

Welcome to the Fiction Newsletter for May. We have selected the best and the most highly recommend fiction from the new additions to our collection rev to our received this month. In our ‘Other Genre’ category we feature New Zealand writers. This month there are many first novels from some exciting talented new authors. We hope you will enjoy many hours of pleasurable reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

So many great new novels in this month’s selection of new Contemporary Fiction, that deciding on just three to tempt was difficult. But Jo Nesbo fans will be pleased to see his new novel, titled, The son has been included.

Syndetics book coverEvery day is for the thief : fiction / Teju Cole with photos by the author.
“Set in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria, the novel follows a nameless narrator’s visit to his homeland after a lengthy stay in the United States. Estranged from his mother and unemotional about his father’s death, the protagonist seeks his humanity and redemption in art. Lagos, the home of numerous Internet scams and frequent power cuts-possesses a violence that both disgusts his protagonist and fascinates him. The narrator details a Nigeria that is violent and corrupt, but also multi-cultural and alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe truth about the Harry Quebert affair / Joël Dicker ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher’s deadline looms. But Marcus’s plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe son / Jo Nesbø ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“As a teenager, Sonny Lofthus learns of his father’s death, the circumstances of which disgrace his family and catapult Sonny into despair. To cope with his loss, Sonny seeks escape through heroin and at age 18 admits to crimes he did not commit. As payment for his confession, corrupt Oslo prison staff, lawyers, and a priest supply Sonny with a steady stream of heroin. Then, 12 years later, the same faction threatens to cut off Sonny’s heroin supply unless he confesses to a murder. At the same time, a fellow inmate provides Sonny with new information about his father’s death. Sonny breaks out of prison to make the people responsible pay for their treachery. While Oslo police search for Sonny, he untangles a web of corruption throughout the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Very casual, the title of the first collection of work by Canadian Michael DeForge, is highly recommended and is included as one of the best Graphic Novels from this month’s selection of new material.

Syndetics book coverGod hates astronauts. Volume 1, The head that wouldn’t die! / written and illustrated by Ryan Browne.
“Conceived during a 24-hour comic creating exercise before evolving into a Webcomic, which then spurred a successful Kickstarter campaign to produce a hardcover collection, this comic has now been repackaged with many bonuses. The heroic team-known as The Power Persons Five-is hired by NASA for a mission, but often are anything but heroic as they confront all manner of strange enemies, from voodoo space bears to decapitated ghost cow heads.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVery casual / Michael DeForge.
“Prolific young Canadian-born avant-garde artist DeForge has become one of his generation’s most admired cartoonists, and this is his first sizable collection. Most of the work here has appeared in a barrage of mini-comics, small-press publications and Web comics. Many of DeForge’s comics center on body horror: in “Sweet Tat,” a popular band is made up of ugly lumps of flesh who infect their fans with a terrible disease, and some of the wordless comics deal with bodies that morph in more or less disturbing ways.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHip hop family tree [1] : 1970s-1981 / Ed Piskor.
“Originating as a webcomic serialized at Boing Boing, this oversize volume is an epic, exhaustive chronicle of the most culturally impactful popular music movement of the past four decades. With its roots embedded in the streets of 1970s New York City, hip-hop and rap slowly germinated as a DIY urban party phenomenon, weaving a powerful funky spell among the Big Apple’s people of color. Local deejays and rappers were catapulted into the scene’s spotlight overnight, and the battles for performance supremacy honed the skills of the form’s progenitors at parties and clubs, which soon led the sounds they created to be recorded and distributed on bootleg vinyl. As the movement grew, so too did its visibility, and the rest is international pop-culture history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

The new mysteries for May include fiction from many popular authors, including Donna Leon and John Lescroart

Syndetics book coverThe keeper : a novel / by John Lescroart.
“In the latest Dismas Hardy legal thriller, a missing-persons case gets very complicated, very fast. Hal Chase is a guard at the San Francisco County Jail; one night, while he’s out at the airport picking up a relative, his wife, Katie, disappears from their home. Hal is soon picked up by police as the prime suspect. Because Katie was a client of Hardy’s marriage-counselor wife, Hal wants Dismas to take his case. Hardy asks his old pal, former homicide cop Abe Glitsky, to pitch in with the investigative legwork. Glitsky soon uncovers some serious holes in Hal Chase’s story his alibi, for instance, is very shaky and when Katie’s body is found, and her husband is arrested for the murder, Dismas wonders if he could possibly be defending a guilty man, while Glitsky wonders if he’ll come out of this case alive. Lescroart has occupied a chair at the head table of the legal-thriller society for quite awhile, and this smartly plotted, sharply written novel will do nothing to dislodge him from that lofty perch.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolf / by Mo Hayder.
“In Hayder’s best Jack Caffery thriller yet, a worn-out Jack is feeling all the years he has put into police service and his never-ending quest to find out what happened to his long-lost brother. The novel opens with a young girl finding a stray dog with a ripped note tucked into its collar that states, “Help us.” A vagrant known as the Walking Man witnesses this and promises the young girl that he will help the dog. Never one to give out information willingly, the Walking Man surprisingly contacts Jack-offering up a trade: find out who needs help and, in return, the Walking Man will give Jack some closure about his brother. This deal with the devil sets off a home invasion novel unlike no other. The Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy family with secrets and issues of their own, are being held hostage in their estate. Will Jack find them in time? And why was this family chosen in the first place? VERDICT Dark and twisty, this gripping crime novel by an Edgar Award winner is an outstanding read, whether Jack is a new character to the reader or an old friend.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBy its cover / Donna Leon.“Donna Leon’s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its characters, and its fearlessness in exploring politics, morality, and contemporary Italian culture. In the pages of Leon’s novels, the beloved conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they never have been before. One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem—the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn’t exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The highly recommended, Descent by Ken MacLeod is included in the best of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy selection.

Syndetics book coverThe long tomorrow / Leigh Brackett. “One of the original novels of post-nuclear holocaust America, published in 1955, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. Len and Esau are young cousins living decades after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization as we know. The rulers of the post-war community have forbidden the existence of large towns and consider technology evil. ** However Len and Esau long for more than their simple agrarian existence. Rumors of mythical Bartorstown, perhaps the last city in existence, encourage the boys to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure that will call into question not only firmly held beliefs, but the boys’ own personal convictions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe chemickal marriage / G.W. Dahlquist. “The follow up to The Glass Book of Dream Eaters and The Dark Volume. Miss Temple, young, wealthy and far away from home, never wanted to be a heroine. Yet her fiancé is dead (admittedly, by her own hand), her companions slain and her nemesis, the terrifyingly wicked Contessa Lacquer-Sforza, escaped. It falls on her tiny shoulders to destroy a deadly cabal whose alchemy threatens to enslave the world. Miss Temple plots her revenge. But Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang are alive, barely, their bodies corrupted by the poisonous blue glass. Wounded and outnumbered, Miss Temple, Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang pursue their enemies through city slums and glittering palaces as they fight to prevent the cabal’s crushing dominion and unholy marriage between man and machine.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverDescent / Ken MacLeod.
“How far would you go for the truth? Ball lightning, weather balloons, secret military aircraft, Ryan knows all the justifications for UFO sightings. But when something falls out of the sky on the hills near his small Scottish town, he finds his cynicism can’t identify or explain the phenomenon. And in a future where nothing is a secret, where everything is recorded on CCTV or reported online, why can he find no evidence of the UFO, nor anything to shed light on what occurred? Is it the political revolutionaries, is it the government or is it aliens themselves who are creating the cover-up? Or does the very idea of a cover-up hide the biggest secret of all?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

An amazing selection of New Zealand fiction features in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category that includes some great new talented writers.

Syndetics book coverGlacier murder : a Philippa Barnes mystery / Trish McCormack.
“Glacier guide sleuth Philippa Barnes investigates a murder in New Zealand’s Westland National Park. What do you do when you need to escape from your life? Vivien Revell didn’t intend to die. She was conflicted and scared but she was also creative and clever. She should have been able to get away but years later Philippa discovers her mangled body in a crevasse on the Franz Josef Glacier. It looks like an accident but Vivien’s friend Julia is convinced she was murdered and persuades Philippa to investigate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe road from midnight / Wendyl Nissen.
“Magazine editor Jane Lyndhurst has it all: a gorgeous . younger celebrity husband, a glamorous, fulfilling career and a beautiful, healthy daughter. But on the overnight train from Paris to Venice her five-year-old daughter Charlotte goes missing. As her life crumbles about her Jane refuses to leave Venice, clinging to a seemingly irrational belief that her daughter is alive somewhere out there.” (Adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe bright side of my condition / Charlotte Randall.
“Based on the true story of four convicts who spent nearly a decade on the Snares Islands in the early nineteenth century” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Woof, arrf, stories of my fluffy friend: New Books About Dogs

From heroic earthquake dogs, to whimsical animal poems, the stories of the lovely fluffy dogs will cheer up your day and melt your heart.

Syndetics book coverA dog walks into a nursing home : lessons in the good life from an unlikely teacher / Sue Halpern.
“Halpern’s (Can’t Remember What I Forgot) love of life and openness to its infinite possibilities shine through in this powerful and engaging account of her time working in a Vermont nursing home. Her efforts to brighten the residents’ lives were aided by a remarkable Labradoodle named Pransky-“one singular, faithful, charitable, loving, and sometimes prudent dog.” Confounding both her expectations and the reader’s, Halpern was surprised to find that happiness was “the dominant emotion for both Pransky and me,” at the nursing home where they work together as a therapy-dog team. From the outset, the book’s humanity is evident, as seen in a description of an encounter with a legless man Halpern had never seen before and would never see again. Instead of simply passing by the man, who embodied her worst fears about nursing homes, Halpern, prodded by her dog, engaged him in conversation and got out of her comfort zone. Time and again, anecdotes bolster her contention that in places where “life is in the balance,” it is possible to get to the essentials about human nature.” (Abridged from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverLuv from Dog / by Murray Ball.
“Following on from the ‘Wisdom of Dog’, comes ‘Love from Dog’, a book focusing on the many romances down on the Footrot Flats farm. From the intense relationships between Dog and Jess and Wal and Cheeky to the troubled and sometimes fleeting encounters of many other Raupo residents, love is definitely in the air.” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverWedding dogs : a celebration of holy muttrimony / by Katie Preston Toepfer and Sam Stall.
“Dogs attend weddings, often making up the bridal party, in this lighthearted catalogue of four-legged matrimonial revelers. Toepfer writes: “When my parents were married, my dad’s best man was a Labrador and my mum’s maid-of-honor was a Dalmatian.” A broad range of weddings, breeds, and locations are covered. Each wedding features a canine photograph and comments from the newlyweds. An “exuberant kiss” is planted on a bride in Montreal, a lathering, in fact. Bride Casi in Virginia recalls, “The dogs totally outshined me at my own wedding!” Kelly, whose pugs couldn’t make the ceremony, made pug cake toppers, had pug buttons hidden in her bouquet, and included pix of the three pugs on the wedding announcement. Outdoor weddings show a more appropriate environment for the shaggy guests, being amenable to common complaints of barks and rowdiness. A great picture of a hulking mastiff mix shows him absconding with the bride’s bouquet; perhaps a greater infraction occurs when “Romeo, enthralled by his mistress’s dress, immediately grabbed a mouthful and commenced a one-sided game of tug-of-war.” Chipper captions work in tandem with precious pictures of dapper canines: “While other guests shed tears of joy, Addie merely shed.” (Abridged grom Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverQuake dogs : heart-warming stories of Christchurch dogs / text by Laura Sessions ; photography by Craig Bullock. “Strange-but-true dog stories from the Christchurch earthquakes, with beautiful photographs illustrating each story. A collection of stories about Christchurch dogs and the earthquakes u true tales of heroism, odd and quirky stories, funny stories, sad stories u stories that will surprise you, make you chuckle or make you go awwww. Includes stories of USAR dogs that worked in the central city right after the February earthquake; Guinness, the unofficial mascot of the Student Volunteer Army; Nemo who has a special gift for predicting earthquakes; dogs who were rescued and dogs who rescued others; and the uncanny knowledge that a number of dogs showed in their efforts to find their owners. Dogs have been a huge comfort to their owners in Christchurch. The intensity of the earthquake experience has heightened the wordless connection between people and their dogs, and their understanding of each others’ emotions. Part of the proceeds from the book help support one of the organisations that helped to save many dogs following the earthquakes. HUHA is a national organisation that works to rescue and re-home animals around the country, and they went to Christchurch three times to take more than 70 dogs plus numerous other animals to safe and loving homes elsewhere in the country.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMonster knits for little monsters : 20 super-cute animal-themed hat, mitten and bootee sets to knit / Nuriya Khegay ; [photography by Alexandra Vainshtein].
“25 super cute animal themed hat and mitten sets and snowsuits to knit. Coverall hats to keep your childs head, ears and neck warm and toasty Practical pullover design ensures your little one wont tug it off Stylish matching mitten. All in one snowsuits for babies create a very Cute outfit indeed. Patterns to suit all knitting levels, from beginner to advanced, and in a rrange of sizes from 6 months to 4 years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPug and other animal poems / Valerie Worth ; pictures by Steve Jenkins.
“As with the highly regarded Animal Poems (2007), Jenkins’ meticulous cut-paper collage images successfully catch the essence of Worth’s concise, vivid poems about a startling variety of creatures. The 18 featured animals, each radiant upon a separate double-page spread against boldly colored backgrounds, run the gamut from large (bull) to small (fly), from beautiful (Bengal tiger) to ugly (pug), from lively (fox) to dead (mouse), and from unusual (wood thrush) to more common ( My Cat ). Rendered in action close-ups, each should be recognizable to children. Worth’s free-verse poems are chock-full of delicious metaphor ( The Bengal tiger / Batters his cage; / His rage is thunder, / Sharp stripes flash ), providing a precise mental image. While some concepts may be a tad sophisticated for the youngest, the language and images should inspire appreciation in audiences of all ages.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverChaser : unlocking the genius of the dog who knows a thousand words / John W. Pilley with Hilary Hinzmann.
“Many dog owners think their own pet is smart, but get ready to meet an energetic and truly intelligent border collie, Chaser. Pilley (psychology, emeritus, Wofford Coll.) shares a remarkable story of his family dog, who over a period of three years learned to recognize and fetch more than 1,000 objects by name and eventually was even taught the meaning of different types of words such as verbs and prepositions. Pilley conducted other experiments and concluded that Chaser has two cognitive abilities: memory storage and working memory. Pilley’s findings were published in a scholarly journal, and Chaser has appeared on the Today Show and CBS Evening News and was featured in a NOVA Science Now episode on animal intelligence along with Alex, Irene Pepperberg’s fascinating parrot. While the author focuses on Chaser’s intelligence, he writes charmingly about fun, loyalty, and the friendship that an older man and his companion dog share. VERDICT Along with Pepperberg’s Alex & Me, Chaser’s remarkable story adds to our evolving understanding of how animals learn and is recommended for dog and animal intelligence collections.” (Abridged from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverEvery dog has its day : a thousand things you didn’t know about man’s best friend / Max Cryer.
“Why has Fido become a generic term for all dogs? Why did hundreds of people collect dog faeces – and sell it?Dogs never eat other dogs, so why is it a dog-eat-dog world? Did any dogs survive the ‘Titanic’?What is a Yorkipoo?Do mad dogs really go out in the midday sun? ‘Every Dog Has Its Day’ pays homage to man’s best friend, telling the stories of famous dogs in history, tracing the origins of some of our favourite breeds, showing how dogs have become a significant part of our language, and describing the amazing range of activities in which dogs are involved. Written with Max Cryer’s characteristic light touch and sense of humour, this is a fascinating – and sometimes surprising – collection of historical facts and eccentricities of language. It will delight all dog-lovers and anyone with a morsel of interest in the world around them.” (Syndetics summary)

New Graphic Novels for January

The first volumes in three great new series, Suicide Squad, Space Ducks, and Clone are in this month’s selection of new Graphic Novels. Also included is the highly recommended Domovoi by Peter Bergting.

Syndetics book coverDomovoi / Peter Bergting.
“A tale of Slavic folklore intruding on modern life. The witch Vasilisa has died, leaving behind Uncle Ivan, who is a domovoi or house spirit, to explain the responsibility that now falls to her granddaughter Jennie. Long ago, Vasilisa and Jennie’s long-lived cat Bulka traveled to the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom and escaped with the magic bones belonging to Bolshoi Korol. With Vasilisa’s death, her spell that keeps the bones in hiding has failed, and Korol’s agents, the poleviki, have come in search of them.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSuicide Squad. Volume 1, Kicked in the teeth / Adam Glass, writer ; Federico Dallocchio…[et al.], artists.
“An all-new team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous, they’re sheer suicide.The story begins with the Suicide Squad defeated, imprisoned and being interrogated about their newest mission. Harley Quinn, King Shark, Deadshot and company must make it out alive without revealing who’s pulling the strings behind their illegal operations. Who will be the first to crack under the pressure? More importantly will they make it all out alive?” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverSpace Ducks [1] : an infinite comic book of musical greatness / by Daniel Johnston.
“The title says it all folk music giant Daniel Johnston brings his unfiltered creative energy and life-long love of the form to his first comic book, an infinite journey into musical and comic-book greatness” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverToday is the last day of the rest of your life / Ulli Lust ; [English language translator, Kim Thompson].
“With the punk phenomenon so often romanticized in popular culture, it can be easy to skew or forget the realities of the time. Not for Lust, though, who chronicles even the most unsavory details of a road trip she and unstable companion Enid took along the fringes of European society in 1984. Originally released almost a decade ago in German to international acclaim, this sprawling bildungsroman follows the duo on their haphazard trek from the streets of Vienna to the Italian sea.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrue blood : shake for me / story by Michael McMillian, Annie Nocenti ; art by Michael Gaydos, Greg Scott, and Beni Lobel.
“An ancient and powerful nomadic wolf pack comes to Bon Temp to conduct its annual “Great Hunt,” a ritualistic culling of an entire town over the course of a weekend. Can Sookie and Alcide convince the werewolves and vampires to work together and save the town?” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe killer [2] / written by Matz ; illustrated by Luc Jacamon ; translated by Matz and Edward Gauvin.
“A brutal, bloody, and stylish noir story of a professional assassin lost in a world without a moral compass. This sequel to The Killer follows our nameless narrator as he tries to track down the trail of those behind an attempt on his life, while trying to avoid the kind of personal entanglements that make the life of a professional assassin all the more difficult” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrimates : the fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas / Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks.
“Ottaviani(Feynman) examines the lives and scientific work of the three great primatologists of the 1960s, as they intersect through mutual mentor Louis Leakey. The women make groundbreaking discoveries in primatology, forever changing scientists’ views of humans’ closest relatives while battling obstacles-from poachers to government obstruction. Ottaviani succeeds in capturing their hard work and the thrilling breakthroughs during years of research, without looking away from some of the darker details, such as Leakey’s womanizing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKillogy / created, written, illustrated & lettered by Alan Robert.
“What do you get when you throw three murderers into one prison cell together? Well, when those characters happen to be based on the likenesses of celebrities Frank Vincent (Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Sopranos), Marky Ramone (formerly of The Ramones) and Brea Grant (Heroes, Dexter), you can bet that the outcome will be anything but ordinary. This is an off-the-wall, genre-busting mash-up of crime, dark comedy, and horror.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRevival. Volume two, Live like you mean it : a rural noir / story by Tim Seeley, art by Mike Norton.
“For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life and now, the living and the recently-returned struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy, amidst political and religious conflicts.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverClone. Volume 1, First generation / David Schulner, writer ; Juan Jose Ryp, artist.
“Dr. Luke Taylor’s perfect life comes to a dramatic halt when an identical, bloodied version of himself arrives at his doorstep with news that he is one of many clones and they’re all after his pregnant wife and their unborn child.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)