Swimming suffragettes: New biographies

Staying

“A revolution in swimming was underway. By custom and often by law, women in America and England weren’t allowed in the water without covering their limbs in a heavy “bathing costume” that weighed them down. But some women wanted to jump into the water unencumbered, and even to race…”Sarah Laskow

Swimming features prominently in this month’s new biographies, including Jenny Landreth’s Swell, which details the connection between women’s suffrage and swimming, as well as Yusra Mardini’s Butterfly: from Refugee to Olympian, describing Mardini’s escape from Syria and later membership of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. And if you’ve forgotten your togs or towel, don’t worry–we’ve got plenty of biographies set on dry land as well!

Syndetics book coverSwell : a waterbiography / Jenny Landreth.
“These days, swimming may seem like the most egalitarian of pastimes, open to anyone with a swimsuit–but this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until the 1930s that women were finally, and reluctantly, granted equal access to the water. This is the story of the women who made that possible, a thank-you to the fearless “swimming suffragettes” who fought for equal access, and won.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverButterfly : from refugee to Olympian–my story of rescue, hope, and triumph / Yusra Mardini with Josie Le Blond.
“When young Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini realized her boat’s engine shut down as she was travelling from Syria to Greece with other refugees, there was no hesitation: she dove into the water. Grabbing a rope with one hand, she began kicking up the black water, inching the boat towards the distant shore. This act of bravery saved the lives of a boatload of refugees–and started her towards the Rio Olympics.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverExcuse me while I slip into someone more comfortable : a memoir / Eric Poole.
“In 1977, Eric Poole is a talented high school trumpet player with one working ear, the height-to-weight ratio of a hat rack, a series of annoyingly handsome bullies and a mother irrationally devoted to Lemon Pledge. But who he wants to be is a star…ANY star. Picking up at the end of his first acclaimed memoir, Where’s My Wand?, Poole’s journey from self-delusion to acceptance is simultaneously hysterical, heartfelt and inspiring.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverThe girl : Marilyn Monroe, the seven year itch, and the birth of an unlikely feminist / Michelle Morgan.
“With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverStaying : a memoir / Jessie Cole.
“As children, Jessie Cole and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever half-sisters. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her family fell apart. This heartbreaking memoir asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life–and finding peace in a place of pain.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverOdyssey of the unknown Anzac / David Hastings.
“Ten years after the end of World War I, the Sydney Sun reported that an unknown Anzac still lay in a Sydney psychiatric hospital. Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand responded to this story and began an international campaign to find the man’s family. David Hastings follows this one previously unknown Anzac, George McQuay, from rural New Zealand through Gallipoli and finally home. By doing so, he takes us deep inside the Great War and the human mind.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverMI5 and me : a coronet among the spooks / Charlotte Bingham.
“When Lottie is summoned to her father’s office at the age of 18, she is astonished to learn that this unexciting parent is a spy. Even more perturbing is his view that she should stop drifting around and get a proper job, something patriotic and worthwhile. This unique memoir is a window into 1950s Britain: a country where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverSkybound : a journey in flight / Rebecca Loncraine.
“In her mid-30s Rebecca Loncraine was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two years later, and after months of gruelling treatment, she flew in a glider for the first time. In that engineless plane, soaring 3000 feet over the landscape of her childhood with only the rising thermals to take her higher and the birds to lead the way, she fell in love.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary.)

New books about movies

Ink and Paint

New books on movies feature a variety of fascinating books including All the things I lost in the flood; the comprehensive collection of Laurie Anderson’s works, and the unique movie guide by Gordy LaSure (a.k.a Richard Ayoade). Check them out!

Syndetics book coverAll the things I lost in the flood : essays on pictures, language, and code / Laurie Anderson.
“Laurie Anderson is one of the most revered artists working today, and she is as prolific as she is inventive. She is a musician, performance artist, composer, fiction writer, and filmmaker. A few years ago, Anderson began poring through her extensive archive of nearly forty years of work and she brings together the most comprehensive collection of her artwork to date.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInk & paint : the women of Walt Disney’s animation / by Mindy Johnson.
“In this glossy volume, featuring never-before-seen photos, artwork, and detailed accounts, the process, techniques, and contributions of the women – and men – who defined the Walt Disney Studio’s legendary Ink & Paint Department over the years are carefully explored, preserved, and shared for future generations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJim Henson’s the Dark crystal : the ultimate visual history / Caseen Gaines ; foreword by Cheryl Henson ; introduction by Brian and Wendy Froud.
Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History is the definitive collection of rare artwork, interviews, and on-set photos from the beloved Jim Henson fantasy classic. This deluxe coffee-table book contains an in-depth look at the day-to-day production of the film and showcases a huge range of incredible visuals, including candid set photography, previously unseen concept art, storyboards, production notes, and more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe grip of film / by Gordy LaSure (a.k.a. Richard Ayoade)
“Gordy LaSure’s passionate about film. He eats film, he drinks film, and sometimes he’ll even watch a film. But most of all he loves talking to people about film: whether a comely student with low confidence and a father complex, a Studio ‘development’ exec who doesn’t trust his own judgement, or the countless people Gordy LaSure’s encountered in his capacity as the web moderator on an Excessive Sweating Discussion Forum. Gordy LaSure’s always talking about films and how they’d be a shit ton better if only people would pull their asses out of their ears and listen to Gordy LaSure.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom the third eye : the Evergreen review film reader / edited by Ed Halter and Barney Rosset ; additional research by Matt Peterson.
“For the first time ever, Evergreen Review’s important contributions to film culture are available in one volume. The book presents writing on the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Passolini, Ousmane Sembene, Andy Warhol and others. Offering incisive essays and interviews from the late 1950’s to early 1970’s, From The Third Eye explores politics and revolution in cinema, underground and experimental film, pornography and censorship and the rise of independent films against the dominance of Hollywood.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSense of occasion / Harold Prince.
Sense of Occasion gives an insider’s recollection of the making of such landmark musicals as West Side Story , Fiddler on the Roof , Cabaret , Company , Follies , Sweeney Todd , Evita , and Phantom of the Opera , with Prince’s perceptive comments about his mentor George Abbott and his many celebrated collaborators, including Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Boris Aronson, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Throughout, he offers insights into the way business is conducted on Broadway, drawing sharp contrasts between past and present.” (Syndetics summary)

A variety of new non-fiction books

Climate Leviathan

This time we have three new books on climate change for you to devour. Other topics are death, debt, and how to make more money.

Syndetics book coverSunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia.
Sunburnt Country pieces together Australia’s climate history for the first time. It uncovers a continent long vulnerable to climate extremes and variability. It gives an unparalleled perspective on how human activities have altered patterns that have been with us for millions of years, and what climate change looks like in our own backyard.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverAll that remains : a life in death / Sue Black.
“Professor Dame Sue Black discusses the subject she grapples with every day–death–bringing her unique perspective to the multitudinous circumstances in which life is lost. From the painful grieving process after losing a loved one, to violence, murder, criminal dismemberment, missing persons, war, natural disasters, unidentified bodies, historical remains — involving investigative agencies, lawyers, justice, criminal sentences, and always sadness and pain, she takes us on a scientific and reflective journey explaining the genetic DNA traits that develop before our birth, and those traits and features we gather in the twists and turns through life, all of which add up to an identity that reveals itself in death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDreamers : how young Indians are changing the world / Snigdha Poonam.
“600 million Indians, more than half the population, are under twenty-five. This generation lives between extremes: more connected and global than ever, but with narrow ideas of Indian identity; raised with the cultural values of their grandparents, but the life goals of American teenagers. These dreamers are the face of a new India. Angry, and frustrated with being marginalised by both globalisation and India’s old politics, they place hope in the Modi government’s exclusionary nationalism and, above all, in their personal truths: shape your own future; exploit, or be exploited.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChina’s great wall of debt : shadow banks, ghost cities, massive loans, and the end of the Chinese miracle / Dinny McMahon.
“Over the course of a decade spent reporting on the ground in China as a financial journalist, Dinny McMahon gradually came to the conclusion that the widely held belief in China’s inevitable economic ascent is dangerously wrong. McMahon shows how, lurking behind the illusion of prosperity, China’s economic growth has been built on a staggering mountain of debt. McMahon goes beyond the headlines to explain how such waste has been allowed to flourish, and why one of the most powerful governments in the world has been at a loss to stop it.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClimate leviathan : a political theory of our planetary future / Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann.
“Despite the science and the summits, leading capitalist states have not achieved anything close to an adequate level of carbon mitigation. What are the likely political and economic outcomes of this? Where is the overheating world heading? Climate Leviathan provides a radical way of thinking about the intensifying challenges to the global order. Drawing on a wide range of political thought, Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann argue that rapid climate change will transform the world’s political economy and the fundamental political arrangements most people take for granted.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding and dwelling : ethics for the city / Richard Sennett.
Building and Dwelling is the definitive statement on cities by the renowned public intellectual Richard Sennett. In this sweeping work, he traces the anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. Through it all, he laments that the “closed city”–segregated, regimented, and controlled–has spread from the global North to the exploding urban agglomerations of the global South. As an alternative, he argues for the “open city,” where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFuture presence : how virtual reality is changing human connection, intimacy, and the limits of ordinary life / Peter Rubin.
“Heralded as the most significant technological innovation since the smartphone, virtual reality is poised to transform our very notions of life and humanity. Though this tech is still in its infancy, to those on the inside, it is the future. VR will change how we work, how we experience entertainment, how we feel pleasure and other emotions, how we see ourselves, and most importantly, how we relate to each other in the real world. And we will never be the same.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnprecedented Crime : Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival
Unprecedented Crime first lays out the culpability of corporations, governmental, political and religious bodies, and especially the media through their failure to report or act on the climate emergency. No emergency response has even been contemplated by wealthy high-emitting national governments. Yet, independently of governments, scores of proven zero-carbon game changers have been coming online all over the world. These exciting technologies, described in the book, are now able to power both household electricity and energy-dense heavy industry.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover7 steps to wealth : the vital difference between property & real estate / John L. Fitzgerald.
7 Steps to Wealth is the only real estate book in Australia endorsed by three of Australia’s property billionaires. Most importantly the book exposes the difference between property and real estate, proving that it’s only the land that appreciates and that the buildings that sit on the land actually depreciate. Fitzgerald proves that certain residential land is Australia’s best growth asset–and will continue to be given current record population growth.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRandomistas : how radical researchers changed our world / Andrew Leigh.
“Randomised test are carried out on us every day–by supermarkets, search engines, online dating sites, political parties and direct marketers. But how do these tests work? Are there any ethical issues? And what do they reveal about our choices? In Randomistas, Andrew Leigh tells the stories of radical researchers who overturned conventional wisdom in medicine, politics, business, law enforcement and more. From finding the cure to scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, randomistas have shaped life as we know it – but they often had to fight to conduct their trials and have their findings implemented.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Melbourne’s master storyteller: New eAudiobook non-fiction

This House of Grief

In the mid-1970s, while living in a sweltering share-house in Melbourne, Helen Garner would escape to the State Library of Victoria and write what would eventually become Monkey Grip, one of Australia’s defining novels. Over thirty years later the celebrated author has released another classic: the non-fiction This House of Grief. This House of Grief has been described as containing “trademark Helen Garner touches: harrowing scenes recorded without restraint or censorship; touching observations of characters’ weaknesses; wry moments of humour.” So log in to Overdrive to discover—or re-discover—this master storyteller yourself!

Overdrive cover This House of Grief, by Helen Garner
“On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, players in the extraordinary drama of the quest for justice.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Tomorrow Will Be Different, by Sarah McBride
“Informative, heart-breaking and profoundly empowering, Tomorrow Will Be Different is Sarah McBride’s story of love and loss and a powerful entry point into the LGBTQ community’s battle for equal rights and what it means to be openly transgender. From issues like bathroom access to health care to gender in America, McBride weaves the important political and cultural milestones into a personal journey that will open hearts and change minds.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Invisible Ink, by Brian McDonald
“Acclaimed by successful screenwriters and authors, Invisible Ink is a helpful, accessible guide to the essential elements of the best storytelling. Brian McDonald, an award-winning screenwriter who has taught his craft at several major studios, supplies writers with tools to make their work more effective and provides readers and audiences with a deeper understanding of the storyteller’s art.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong
“Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It’s an entire world, a colony full of life. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth. In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The ISIS Apocalypse, by William McCants
“The Islamic State is one of the most successful jihadist groups in modern history. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions and daring anyone to stop them. Based almost entirely on primary sources—including secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters—William McCants’ The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervour, strategic calculation and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State’s past and foreshadow its dark future.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Feminist Fight Club, by Jessica Bennett
“Are you aged zero to infinity? Finished with the sexist status quo? Welcome to the Feminist Fight Club. You have lifetime membership. Feminist Fight Club provides an arsenal of weapons for surviving in an unequal world. You will learn how to fight micro-aggressions, correct unconscious bias, deal with male colleagues who can’t stop ‘manterrupting’ or ‘bro-propriating’ your ideas – and how to lean in without falling the f*ck over.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, by Jason Schreier
“Developing video games—hero’s journey or fool’s errand? The creative and technical logistics that go into building today’s hottest games can be more harrowing and complex than the games themselves, often seeming like an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier takes listeners on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Flat Broke with Two Goats, by Jennifer McGaha
“Told with bold wit, unflinching honesty and a firm foot in the traditions of Appalachia, Flat Broke with Two Goats blends stories of homesteading with the journey of two people rediscovering the true meaning of home.” (Overdrive description.)

New home, garden and DIY picks

Design By Nature

This month’s home, garden and DIY blog features  upcycling for gardens, decorating stylish homes and even building solar powered robots at home.

Syndetics book coverHome sweet maison : the French art of making a home / Danielle Postel-Vinay.
“How do the French create the elusive and alluring sanctuaries they call home? This question long intrigued Danielle Postel-Vinay. Thanks to a chance encounter with a French expat in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and years of immersive research, she embarked on a quest to discover the secrets of the French home aesthetic. Experiencing first-hand la belle vie–the beautiful life–Postel-Vinay now shows everyone how to create their own French sanctuary, a home sweet maison, no matter where they live.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUpcycling outdoors / Max McMurdo ; photography by Brent Darby.
“Following the success of his first book Upcycling, Max has turned his thoughts to the outdoors with this truly inspirational collection of inventive projects, each built from recycled materials and unwanted ‘spare parts’. Whether you want to create a firepit from bicycle wheels, an outdoor plant display from a painted dressing table, or fashion a potting shed from three vintage doors, Max provides invaluable know-how on the tools, techniques and materials required to take you on an outdoor creative journey.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Anatomy Of Treehouses: New Buildings From An Old Tradition
“This beautiful book shows how the treehouse can be many things: from simple structures based on centuries-old woodworking skills to modern geodesic forms strung high up above the treeline. There is something magical about treehouses – whatever your age. There are treehouses with wood-burning stoves, some with copper baths and some with elevated linking walkways obscured by the canopy of trees above. The book offers both visual inspiration, but also the human stories behind the creation and design of these treehouses.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesign by nature : creating layered, lived-in spaces inspired by the natural world / Erica Tanov ; photographs by Ngoc Minh Ngo.
“Inspired by nature’s colors, textures, and patterns, design icon Erica Tanov uses her passion for textiles to create beautiful, timeless interiors that connect us to the natural world. Now, in her first book, Design by Nature, Tanov teaches you how to train your eye to the beauty of the natural world, and then bring the outdoors in–incorporating patterns and motifs from nature, as well as actual organic elements, into simple ideas for everyday decorating and design.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew order : a decluttering handbook for creative folks (and everyone else) / Fay Wolf ; illustrated by Jeremy Gates.
“Can a decluttered space fuel a creative mind? Heck yes, says organizing expert Fay Wolf, who has helped everyone from Hollywood celebrities to schoolteachers to work-from-home parents achieve a simpler, more fulfilling life. Here, Wolf outlines her basic rules for saying goodbye to the stuff crowding up your space and hello to new habits that free you up for the things you’re passionate about. And it can all be done in as little as a few minutes a day.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new seed-starters handbook / Nancy Bubel with Jean Nick.
“An easy-to-use reference that gives readers the most up-to-date information on how to start seeds successfully and grow their favorite plants from year to year. Step-by-step guides to starting plants from seed, which allows for earlier harvests, greater variety, and healthier seedlings. It also presents an encyclopedia of more than 200 plants–including vegetables and fruits, garden flowers, wildflowers, herbs, trees, and shrubs–with details on how to start each from seed.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHome robotics : maker-inspired projects for building your own robots / Daniel Knox.
“Relying on common, easily-sourced components, an illustrated guide for both beginner and intermediate robotics enthusiasts offers step-by-step instructions to design and build their very own robot beginning with a simple cardboard creation to a robot powered by solar energy.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCraeft : how traditional crafts are about more than just making / Alexander Langlands.
“In a period of meaningless mass manufacturing, our growing appetite for hand-made objects, artisan food, and craft beverages reveals our deep cravings for tradition and quality. But there was a time when craft meant something very different; the Old English word craeft possessed an almost indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom, and power. In this fascinating book, historian and popular broadcaster Alex Langlands goes in search of the mysterious lost meaning of craeft.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom Fibre to Fabric: The Ultimate Guide to Soft Furnishings [hardback]
“This ultimate reference book for everyone involved in interior designer presents the technical knowledge needed to make the right choices. It covers the variety of fabrics available, how fibres are turned into fabrics, and how they are used in the home. The photography will inspire and delight.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTruly Nordic : Nordic craftsmanship, branding campaigns and design.
“Nordic design exhibits a philosophy that’s characterised by efficiency, clean lines and a simple and cheerful palette. History and culture have been the fundamental premise of their aesthetic approach, imbued with a respectful attitude towards nature visible in their material choices and graphic expressions. With a notion to examines creative works by regional influences, Truly Nordic explores contemporary design emerging from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The book spans cutting-edge projects from brand identities to set designs and everything in between.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew minimalism : decluttering and design for sustainable, intentional living / Cary Telander Fortin + Kyle Louise Quilici ; photography by Kelly Ishikawa.
“This book promises an opportunity for self-reflection and lasting change, by getting to the bottom of why we’ve accumulated too much stuff in the first place, therefore allowing us to transform our lives. Professional decluttering and design team Cary and Kyle of New Minimalism will take you through every step, from assessing your emotional relationship to your stuff to decluttering your home to then turning it into a beautifully designed space that feels clean and tidy without feeling sparse or prescriptive.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sewing book / Alison Smith.
“250 step-by-step techniques will guide you whether you are sewing clothes, making soft furnishings, or doing alterations. Master hand and machine sewing with close-up photographs and clear instructions to demystify even the trickiest techniques, and choose from 15 stylish projects to practise your sewing skills. Every project is brand new for this updated edition of the ultimate sewing bible, with 5 new sewing techniques now added. With in-depth coverage of sewing tools, techniques, and fabric, this is the ultimate sewing resource for beginners, students, and seasoned stitchers alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Emu or eBook? New Australian fiction

Some great and memorable things have come out of Australia: Thylacoleo carnifex, the giant marsupial lion; not one but three national Frisbee teams; the world’s oldest fossil (at 3.4 billion years old!). And this month Overdrive is adding to the list with fantastic new Australian fiction, including work from emerging authors such as Jay Carmichael and Robbie Arnott. So once you’re done wondering about the platypus (how does a mammal lay an egg?!) sign up to Overdrive and have a read!

Overdrive cover Peripheral Vision, by Paddy O’Reilly
“A teenager on the tram meets an old man claiming to be Jesus Christ. Six young women band together on a night prowl. A Filipino immigrant clashes with his eldest sister, who has brought him to Australia for a better life. And in a future where dogs have risen up against their owners, a mother is alarmed by her adolescent daughter’s behavior. Through such diverse characters, Paddy O’Reilly takes us into the fringes of human nature.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Ironbark, by Jay Carmichael
“Markus Bello’s life has stalled. Living in a small country town, mourning the death of his best friend, Grayson, Markus is isolated and adrift. As time passes, and life continues around him, Markus must try to face his grief, and come to terms with what is left. Through his protagonist, Markus, author Jay Carmichael depicts the conflict and confusion of life as a gay man in rural Australia.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Flames, by Robbie Arnott
“A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte—who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire. The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief and love and the bonds of family, tracing a journey across the southern island that takes us full circle.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Chemistry, by Weike Wang
“Our unnamed narrator is three years into her post-grad studies in chemistry and nearly as long into her relationship with her devoted boyfriend, who has just proposed. But while his path forward seems straight, hers is ‘like a gas particle moving around in space’. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka
“Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides, clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet. Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heartbreaking story in this spellbinding and poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Street Sweeper, by Elliot Perlman
“Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams, an African American probationary janitor, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly patient. A few kilometres uptown, Australian historian Adam Zignelik, an untenured Columbia professor, finds both his career and his long-term romantic relationship falling apart. As these two men try to survive in early twenty-first-century New York, history comes to life in ways neither of them could have foreseen.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Homesick For Another World, by Ottessa Moshfegh
“There’s something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh’s stories, something almost dangerous while also being delightful – and often even weirdly hilarious. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet; all yearning for connection and betterment, in very different ways, but each of them seems destined to be tripped up by their own baser impulses.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Book of Colours, by Robyn Cadwallader
“London, 1321: in a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Turning for Home, by Barney Norris
“Every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday – it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Life, loss and love (and grave robbing?) with new Biographies

Letters From the Suitcase

Most memoirs deal in facts, in whos and whats and whens. However this month’s new biographies contain something a bit different: When We Were Ghouls, by Amy E. Wallen. When We Were Ghouls follows Wallen and her family as they travel around the globe, facing “seismic shifts in cultures”. Years later Wallen must pick through uncertain memories to try and find the truth – were her parents really grave robbers?

Syndetics book coverHarry: Life, Loss, and Love / Katie Nicholl.
“On the eve of his wedding comes the most intimate and informative portrait yet of Prince Harry, from royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of the bestselling William and Harry and Kate. From his earliest public appearances as a mischievous redheaded toddler, Prince Harry has captured the hearts of royal enthusiasts around the world. In Harry, Britain’s leading expert on the young royals offers an in-depth look at the wayward prince turned national treasure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverLetters from the suitcase: a wartime love story / [edited by] Rosheen and Cal Finnigan.
“Mary and David Francis were only 21 and 19 when they met in 1938. They fell in love instantly, and against the wishes of David’s parents, they lived together and married. These poignant letters reveal their intelligence and thoughtfulness, their passion, the everyday details of their lives working as a secretary at Bletchley Park and as a young officer in action on the other side of the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverYoung queen: the story of a girl who conquered the world / Parris Goebel with Tracy O’Connor.
“In this honest memoir, Parris Goebel shares the extraordinary story of how she went from high-school dropout to award-winning dancer, choreographer and video director. She has worked with some of the biggest stars in music, including Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Justin Bieber. A true #girlboss.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverEverything I know about love / Dolly Alderton.
“When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist Dolly Alderton has seen it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod Stewart-themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped and realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverChurchill: the greatest Briton / Christopher Catherwood.
“A richly visual examination of the most revered Briton in history, from his birth at Blenheim Palace, to his inspirational wartime leadership, to his final years as a grand old man of world politics. This illustrated portrait, complete with 160 painstakingly researched photographs, artworks, speeches and letters sourced from the family archives at Cambridge, provides insight into every facet of this remarkable man.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverWhen we were ghouls: a memoir of ghost stories / Amy E. Wallen.
When We Were Ghouls follows Wallen’s recollections of her family who, like ghosts, came and went and slipped through her fingers, rendering her memories unclear. Were they a family of grave robbers, as her memory of the pillaging of a pre-Incan grave site indicates? Are they, as the author’s mother posits, ‘hideous people’? Or is Wallen’s memory out of focus?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverErnest Hemingway: a biography / Mary V. Dearborn.
“His writing was taken up with notions of human dignity and worth, ‘the necessity of man’s freedom, of personal honor,’ notions by which a man should live and die in a world that had lost the possibility of hope. Dearborn’s is the first full biography of Hemingway to be written by a woman, the first to fully explore the causes of his suicide and to substantially deepen our understanding of the man.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverGirls at the Piano / Virginia Lloyd.
“A brilliant memoir about how learning the piano shaped the lives of two women worlds and generations apart that will resonate for music lovers everywhere and for anyone who has tried to master the piano.” (Syndetics summary.)

Living the life more fabulous: New fashion and beauty books

1930s Fashion

Our favourites this month include beauty vlogger Tricia Cusden’s beauty and lifestyle guide for older women, a new book on fashion embroidery and a close-up look at the designs of Charles James. For vintage fashion fans we have shiny new volumes on 1920s and 1930s fashion, as well as a glamorous new edition on the American fashion runway. This selection of new fashion and beauty will definitely have you living the life more fabulous!

Syndetics book coverLiving the life more fabulous : beauty, style & empowerment for older women : a handbook / Tricia Cusden.
“We are the first generation to expect to live into advanced old age, so my intention is to show you the very best ways to achieve the goal of a stylish, healthy, happy and satisfying ‘final great adventure.”
At the age of 65 Tricia was fed up of being overlooked by the beauty industry. So she decided to take matters into her own hands by founding Look Fabulous Forever, a make-up company aimed at older women and began a vlog. Living the Life More Fabulous will cover topics from beauty, confidence, health and give advice on how to live an engaged life and keeping an active mind.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmerican runway : 75 years of fashion and the front row / Booth Moore and the Council of Fashion Designers of America ; foreword by Diane von Furstenberg.
“New York Fashion Week has served many purposes throughout its long history, but it has always remained at the center of the American fashion world. Now, this illustrious history is told as it’s never been told before, in a book packed with designer interviews, backstage ephemera, and exclusive photographs culled from all 75 years of New York Fashion Week. American Runway will bring to life the people, places, and over-the-top runway productions of New York Fashion Week–and will sate the appetites of die-hard fashion fans and casual fashionistas alike.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion embroidery : embroidery techniques and inspiration for haute-couture clothing / Jessica Jane Pile.
“Add a unique touch to your clothes with this inspirational guide to couture embroidery and embellishment. Whether you’re interested in adding monogrammed initials to your snuggly bathrobe, stitching a flower on your favorite jacket, or adding sparkling beads to a new dress, this beautifully illustrated book shows you how. It features hand-drawn designs, catwalk photographs, and step-by-step guides, so it’s perfect for beginners looking to personalize their own clothes, as well as more experienced embroiderers who want to apply new techniques to different fabrics.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCharles James, portrait of an unreasonable man : fame, fashion, art / Michèle Gerber Klein.
“Inspired by the discovery of long-overlooked interviews conducted just before his death, this is the first biography of the visionary fashion designer Charles James. This portrait of the life and times of Charles James draws on the glamour of Europe in the 1930s, and the dazzle of New York City from the ’40s through the ’70s as it travels with James from his birth to privilege in England in 1906 and follows his career through his complex and turbulent relationships with exceptional women such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Eleanor Lambert, ending with his penurious death in New York’s fabled Chelsea Hotel. As engrossing as a novel, as dramatic as grand opera, James’s story will provoke, rivet, and inspire.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beauty of dirty skin : the surprising science of looking and feeling radiant from the inside out / Whitney Bowe, MD.
“Internationally renowned dermatologist and research scientist Dr. Whitney Bowe presents, for the first time, the connection between a healthy gut and radiant, clear skin, with a 21-day program to maximize skin health and beauty. With simple explanations of the science, do-it-yourself practical skincare strategies, and a life-changing 21-day program, The Beauty of Dirty Skin is your roadmap to great skin from the inside out and the outside in.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1920’s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook [paperback]
“Containing page after page of fabulous Art Deco fashions, 1920s Fashion documents comprehensively the seasonal fashion styles of the Twenties. Sumptuously illustrated with over 600 original photographs, drawings, and prints, this title is a must-have reference work for not only students of fashion and vintage collectors, but for all fashionistas. 1920s Fashion focuses on the Art Deco period with its beautiful beaded dresses, cloche hats and strappy shoes as worn by the fashionable flappers and the “bright young things” of the time.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1930’s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook [paperback]
“An essential guide to Thirties fashion, this is a must-have handbook for fashion students as well as anyone interested in fashion or cultural history. Featuring elegant silk tea-dresses, tailored suits and draped furs, 1930s Fashion reveals the incredible elegance of this era’s fashions. Meanwhile, an authoritative introductory essay assesses the major themes within fashion during this period and presents its most notable designers. Giving a unique insight into the glamorous and opulent fashions of this fabulous bygone era, this book is not only a rich source of inspiration but also a significant and long-awaited reappraisal of Thirties fashion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Stitching up the universe: New eAudiobook fiction

The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

But is that true? And if so, what’s been stitched together in this month’s new eAudiobook fiction from Overdrive? As well as Bradbury’s 1953 classic, there’s a patchwork of other great titles, from Zadie Smith’s White Teeth to Ian McEwan’s The Innocent. Political tensions emerge in Alex Berenson’s The Deceivers and to top it off, there’s the novel that spawned the latest Netflix hit: Altered Carbon!

Overdrive cover Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
“Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of 20th-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future, narrated here by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins. Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities: the printed book.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
“Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons, but the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bachelor Girl, by Kim van Alkemade
“From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Code of Conduct, by Brad Thor
“Hidden deep within one of the world’s most powerful organizations is a secret committee with a devastating agenda. Its members are afforded incredible protections—considered elites, untouchables. But when four seconds of video is captured halfway around the world and anonymously transmitted to D.C., covert wheels are set in motion, and counter-terrorism operative Scot Harvath is tapped to undertake the deadliest assignment of his career.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover This Could Hurt, by Jillian Medoff
“Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Innocent, by Ian McEwan
“The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life – and to lose his unwanted innocence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova
“An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world. But that was eight months ago. Richard now has ALS. As his muscles, voice and breath fade, he and his ex-wife Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late. Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Deceivers, by Alex Berenson
“It was supposed to be a terrorist sting. The guns were supposed to be disabled. Then why was there so much blood? The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or ‘sleeve’) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.” (Overdrive description.)

Prepare for Prunesquallor! eBook Fiction in April

Rejoice! The 77th Earl of Groan and Lord of Gormenghast Castle is returning to the small screen thanks to none other than Neil Gaiman! In preparation, Overdrive has released the first book in Mervyn Peake’s fantasy masterpiece, Titus Groan. Peake’s Gormenghast series has been called “one of the most brilliantly sustained flights of Gothic imagination”, so if you haven’t yet entered the Hall of Bright Carvings, now’s your chance!

Overdrive cover Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake
“Titus, heir to Lord Sepulchrave, has just been born: he stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that stand for Gormenghast Castle. Inside, all events are predetermined by a complex ritual, lost in history, understood only by Sourdust, Lord of the Library. There are tears and strange laughter; fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings; dreams and violence and disenchantment contained within a labyrinth of stone.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Sophia of Silicon Valley, by Anna Yen
“During the heady years of the tech boom, incorrigibly frank Sophia Young lucks into a job that puts her directly in the path of Scott Kraft, the eccentric CEO of Treehouse. Overnight, Sophia becomes an unlikely nerd whisperer. But when engineer/inventor Andre Stark hires her to run his company’s investor relations, Sophia discovers that the high-status career she’s created for herself may not be worth living in the toxic environment of a boys-club gone bad.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Boy Overboard, by Peter Wells
“Hungry Creek runs out over mudflats and curves around to a tidal beach. Hungry Creek is where everything is put that nobody wants: a dump, a zoo, a loony bin. It is also a magical place. Jamie is eleven, on the threshold of discovery. But he can’t find the map that will explain where he fits in or who he is. His parents are away and he is staying with family friends. The sea is rising towards high tide, and he is a boy overboard.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Scent of Eucalyptus, by Barbara Hanrahan
“Barbara Hanrahan was both a writer and a visual artist, and this magical first novel is an autobiographical evocation of her childhood. A delicious blend of fantasy and realism, it is a powerful, lyrical story of a child’s rites of passage through a world where the family home, its garden, and the three women who preside over it, area vital and compelling participants in the shaping of a child’s rituals of discovery and awareness.” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Moloka’i, by Alan Brennert
“Rachel Kalama, growing up in the 1890s, is part of a loving Hawaiian family. But at the age of seven her dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy. But Rachel’s life, though shadowed by disease, isolation, and tragedy, is also one of joy, courage, and dignity. This is a story about life, not death; hope, not despair. It is not about the failings of flesh, but the strength of the human spirit.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Scandal, by Fredrik Backman
“Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Why Kill the Innocent, by C. S. Harris
“London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose’s ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Summer of Impossible Things, by Rowan Coleman
“How far would you go to save the person you love? Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life – even if it means sacrificing her own.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)