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.)

Interesting new non-fiction books

Beginning with Why Things Are Better Than You Think, and ending with In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, the books in between look at the poverty of the working class, the increasing inequality suffered by the middle class, and many others.

Syndetics book coverFactfulness : Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
“When asked simple questions about global trends– what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school –we systematically get the answers wrong. In Factfulness, Hans Rosling offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new urban crisis : how our cities are increasing inequality, deepening segregation, and failing the middle class– and what we can do about it / Richard Florida.
“In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. And yet all is not well, Richard Florida argues in The New Urban Crisis. Florida demonstrates how the same forces that power the growth of the world’s superstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality. Meanwhile, many more cities still stagnate, and middle-class neighborhoods everywhere are disappearing. Our winner-take-all cities are just one manifestation of a profound crisis in today’s urbanized knowledge economy.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeet the Frugalwoods : achieving financial independence through simple living / Elizabeth Willard Thames.
“In 2014, Liz Thames and her husband, Nate, were conventional young urban professionals working nine-to-five jobs. Determined to retire as early as possible in order to start living each day–as opposed to wishing time away working for the weekends–they enacted a plan to save as much money as they could. In less than three years, Liz and Nate reached their goal. Today they are financially independent and living out their dream with their young daughters on a sixty-six acre homestead in the woods of Vermont.” (adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverBroke and patriotic : why poor Americans love their country / Francesco Duina.
“Why are poor Americans so patriotic? They have significantly worse social benefits compared to other Western nations, and studies show that the American Dream of upward mobility is, for them, largely a myth. So why do these people love their country? Why have they not risen up to demand more from a system that is failing them? In Broke and Patriotic, Francesco Duina contends that the best way to answer these questions is to speak directly to America’s most impoverished. Spending time in bus stations, Laundromats, senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, public libraries, and fast food restaurants, Duina conducted over sixty revealing interviews in which his participants explain how they view themselves and their country.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover“We are all fast-food workers now” : the global uprising against poverty wages / Annelise Orleck.
“Tracing a new labor movement sparked and sustained by low-wage workers from across the globe, We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now is an urgent, illuminating look at globalization as seen through the eyes of workers-activists: small farmers, fast-food servers, retail workers, hotel housekeepers, home-healthcare aides, airport workers, and adjunct professors who are fighting for respect, safety, and a living wage. With original photographs by Liz Cooke and drawing on interviews with activists in many US cities and countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, South Africa, and the Philippines, it features stories of resistance and rebellion, as well as reflections on hope and change as it rises from the bottom up.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe patterning instinct : a cultural history of humanity’s search for meaning / Jeremy Lent.
“Taking the reader on an archaeological exploration of the mind, the author, an entrepreneur and sustainability leader, uses recent findings in cognitive science and systems theory to reveal the hidden layers of values that form today’s cultural norms. By shining a light on our possible futures, the book foresees a coming struggle between two contrasting views of humanity: one driving to a technological endgame of artificially enhanced humans, the other enabling a sustainable future arising from our intrinsic connectedness with each other and the natural world. This struggle, it concludes, is one in which each of us will play a role through the meaning we choose to forge from the lives we lead.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe line becomes a river / Francisco Cantú.
“Cantú: the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story.” (adapted from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverMicrotrends Squared : The New Small Forces Driving the Big Disruptions Today
“Ten years after his bestseller Microtrends, Mark Penn identifies the next wave of trends reshaping the future of business, politics, and culture. Mark Penn has boldly argued that the future is not shaped by society’s broad forces but by quiet changes within narrow slices of the population. Ten years ago, he showed how the behavior of one small group can exert an outsized influence over the whole of America. Today, the world is in perplexing upheaval, and microtrends are more influential than ever.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe doomsday machine : confessions of a nuclear war planner / Daniel Ellsberg.
“Here, for the first time, former high level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking first-hand account of America’s nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization–and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration–threatens our very survival.” (adapted from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverHow we met : the ways great love begins… / Michèle A’Court.
How We Met is based on a collection of ‘How We Met’ stories – those lovely stories couples love to tell (and we all love to hear) about how they got together. The author’s theory: that these stories of how couples meet – the romantic, absurd, serendipitous, convoluted, scandalous, breath-taking moments of connection – help to weave their lives together. Partly as ‘proof’ that they were meant to begin this couple-journey, and also because in each retelling they go back to those first falling-in-love feelings and rekindle the passion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn conclusion, don’t worry about it / Lauren Graham.
If you’re kicking yourself for not having accomplished all you should have by now, don’t worry about it. Even without any ‘big’ accomplishments yet to your name, you are enough.
In this expansion of the 2017 commencement speech she gave at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Pessimists and optimists: New non-fiction

Image from Syndetics

From the pessimist view to the optimistic one, books with all manner of viewpoints appear in this months’ choices.

Syndetics book coverBooks that changed history / contributors, Father Michael Collins with Alexandra Black [and 3 others].
“Turn the pages of the most famous books of all time and marvel at the stories behind them. Over 75 of the world’s most celebrated, rare, and seminal books are examined and explained in this stunning treasury. Books That Changed History is a unique encyclopedia spanning the history of the written word, from 3000 BCE to the modern day. Chronological chapters show the evolution of human knowledge and the changing ways in which books are made…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRevolution / Emmanuel Macron ; translated by Jonathan Goldberg and Juliette Scott.
“In Revolution, Emmanuel Macron, the youngest president in the history of France, reveals his personal story and his inspirations, and discusses his vision of France and its future in a new world that is undergoing a ‘great transformation’ that has not been known since the Renaissance. This is a remarkable book that seeks to lay the foundations for a new society–a compelling testimony and statement of values by an important political leader who has become the flag-bearer for a new kind of politics.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe world of the book / Des Cowley and Clare Williamson.
“All earthly existence must ultimately be contained in a book.’French poet Stephane Mallarme understood that books hold the world’s stories. From the earliest known myths and legends to postmodern fictions, books are mirrors of real worlds, windows into imagined worlds and keepers of powerful ideas. Beautifully illustrated, The World of the Book is a celebration of this age-old tradition drawing upon the rare collections of the State Library of Victoria…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDestined for war : can America and China escape Thucydides’s trap? / Graham Allison.
“CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. War broke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the seventeenth case looks grim…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDo we need economic inequality? / Danny Dorling.
“In this original new book, Danny Dorling critically analyses historical trends and contemporary assumptions in order to question the idea that inequality is an inevitability. What if, he asks, widespread economic inequality is actually just a passing phase, a feature of the capitalist transition from a settled rural way of life to our next highly urban steady-state? Is it really likely that we face a Blade Runner -style dystopian future divided between a tiny elite and an impoverished mass? Dorling shows how a stabilising population, changing gender relations and rising access to education make a more egalitarian alternative to this nightmare vision not only preferable, but realistic. This bold contribution to one of most significant debates of our time will be essential reading for anyone interested in our economic, social and political destiny.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArtificial intelligence : the quest for the ultimate thinking machine / Richard Urwin.
“What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? What can it do and how is it created? In this highly accessible guide to the subject, Richard Urwin bases his assessment of AI on the definition of AI as a tool that is ‘constructed to aid or substitute for human thought’. He explains how AI came about, the importance of the development of the computer and then examines how AI has developed over the years through the construction of computer programs and how the language used to construct these programs has become more and more sophisticated, thus allowing AI to become better and better.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe End of Old Age
“In this revolutionary book, Dr Marc Agronin explores the new reality of old age: that aging is not ‘old age’, but a life force with struggles and triumphs, losses and gifts, and a chance to live well. As one of America’s leading geriatric psychiatrists, Dr Agronin sees both the sickest and healthiest of senior members of society; he observes what makes their lives better and more purposeful, and what doesn’t. The latest scientific research and Dr Agronin’s first-hand experience are brilliantly and often movingly distilled in The End of Old Age…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAutomating Inequality : How High-tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor
“Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems–rather than humans–control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA lab of one’s own : science and suffrage in the First World War / Patricia Fara.
“Understanding the past is crucial for improving the future, and Patricia Fara examines how inherited prejudices continue to limit women’s scientific opportunities. Suffragists aligned themselves with scientific and technological progress. Defying arguments about intellectual inferiority and child-bearing responsibilities, during the War they won support by mobilising women to enter conventionally male domains, including science, industry, medicine, and the military…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe growth delusion : wealth, poverty, and the well-being of nations / David Pilling.
“…Ultimately, it is the perceived health of the economy which determines how much we can spend on our schools, highways, and defense; economists decide how much unemployment is acceptable and whether it is right to print money or bail out profligate banks. The backlash we are currently witnessing suggests that people are turning against the experts and their faulty understanding of our lives. Despite decades of steady economic growth, many citizens feel more pessimistic than ever, and are voting for candidates who voice undisguised contempt for the technocratic elite…” (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverCollusion : secret meetings, dirty money, and how Russia helped Donald Trump win / Luke Harding.
“December 2016. [the author] and former Moscow bureau chief, quietly meets former MI6 officer Christopher Steele in a London pub to discuss President-elect Donald Trump’s Russia connections. A month later, Steele’s now-famous dossier sparks what may be the biggest scandal of the modern era… Drawing on new material and his expert understanding of Moscow and its players, [the author] takes the reader through every bizarre and disquieting detail of the ‘Trump-Russia’ story–an event so huge it involves international espionage, off-shore banks, sketchy real estate deals, the Miss Universe pageant, mobsters, money laundering, poisoned dissidents, computer hacking, and the most shocking election in American history.” (adapted from back cover)

Science-ish: Recent Science picks

This month’s selections features all sorts of science – from Kiwi science discoveries to astrophotography to science in films and everything in between!

Syndetics book coverScientific sleuthing : chemical discoveries made in New Zealand / edited by Rebecca Hurrell, Andrew Muscroft-Taylor, Glyn Strange, Bryce Williamson.
“Scientific Sleuthing begins with New Zealanders solving different problems: the cause of toxic honey, uses for our unique flora and fauna, paints that can withstand our harsh and temperamental climate. It then unfolds into a world where globalisation has propelled New Zealand scientists to international standing: seeking treatments for cancer; developing new processes; discovering compounds and materials that perform in ways that earlier generations could not have imagined. In their chosen fields, New Zealand chemists lead the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAstronomy photographer of the year. Collection 6.
“All the winning and shortlisted images from the 2017 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, hosted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The images are submitted in one of the following categories:Image Categories* Earth and Space* Our Solar System* Deep Space* Young Astronomy Photographer of the YearSpecial Prize Categories* Best Newcomer* People and Space* Robotic Scope Each image is accompanied by caption, photographer, location and technical details.ExhibitionEvery year the Royal Observatory, Greenwich hosts a free exhibition of the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, showcasing some incredible images of the sky.www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlowfish’s oceanopedia : 291 extraordinary things you didn’t know about the sea / Tom Hird.
“The seas of our planet cover more than seventy percent of the Earth, yet we know less about the ocean depths than the surface of the moon. Join marine biologist and fish-fanatic Tom ‘the Blowfish’ Hird as he lifts the lid on a treasure chest of fascinating facts, to reveal just what we do know about what lurks beneath the waves.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe zoomable universe : an epic tour through cosmic scale, from almost everything to nearly nothing / Caleb Scharf ; illustrations by Ron Miller ; and 5W Infographics.
“In The Zoomable Universe , the award-winning astrobiologist Caleb Scharf and the acclaimed artist Ron Miller take us on an epic tour through all known scales of reality, from the largest possible magnitude to the smallest. Drawing on cutting-edge science, they begin at the limits of the observable universe, a scale spanning 10^27 meters–about 93 billion light-years. And they end in the subatomic realm, at 10^-35 meters, where the fabric of space-time itself confounds all known rules of physics. In between are galaxies, stars and planets, oceans and continents, plants and animals, microorganisms, atoms, and much, much more. Stops along the way–all enlivened by Scharf’s sparkling prose and his original insights into the nature of our universe–include the brilliant core of the Milky Way, the surface of a rogue planet, the back of an elephant, and a sea of jostling quarks.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScience(ish) : the peculiar science behind the movies / Rick Edwards, Dr Michael Brooks.
“Covering movies from 28 Days later to Ex Machina, this is a … ride through astrophysics, neuroscience, psychology, botany, artificial intelligence, evolution and plenty more subjects you’ve always wanted to grasp.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverA grain of sand / text and photography by Gary Greenberg.
“To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.” – William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence” 1805
Here is the world viewed within a grain of sand, thanks to the stunning three-dimensional microphotography of Dr. Gary Greenberg. To some, all sand looks alike–countless grains in a vast expanse of beach. Look closer–much closer–and your view of sand will never be the same. Employing the fantastic microphotographic techniques that he developed, Greenberg invites readers to discover the strange and wonderful world that each grain of sand contains.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe botanical treasury : celebrating 40 of the world’s most fascinating plants through historical art and manuscripts / edited by Christopher Mills.
“For centuries, an eclectic group of plants have captivated the world and propelled explorers to extraordinary lengths to collect them. Now, The Botanical Treasury brings together centuries of botanical adventures and discoveries in one sumptuous collection.
This treasury features a full-color exploration of our most important and interesting plants; facsimiles of rarely seen letters, maps, and journals from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and forty beautifully reproduced, frameable prints. Together they offer a fascinating look at the world of plant hunting and the cultivation of our knowledge about the plant world.
Every one of the featured plants is extraordinary in some way, be it for its appearance, biology, medicinal properties, or importance to economics, politics, or the arts. Equally extraordinary are the stories associated with the discovery of these plants, revealing the lengths to which collectors and growers would go to find them. The entries build a history of botany and paint a larger picture of the age of exploration.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books on Sustainability and the environment featuring homesteading tips and tricks

Image from Syndetics

A wide range of books for the homesteader and for all those passionate about our environment.

Syndetics book coverThe living jigsaw : the secret life in your garden / Val Bourne ; with a foreword by Chris Packham and photography by Marianne Majerus.
“Val Bourne’s garden is living proof that cultivating a healthy ecosystem – what she calls her ‘living jigsaw’ – really can produce a beautiful and productive garden. By encouraging a wide diversity of birds, animals, insects, and even slugs, your garden will find a natural balance that will allow plants to shrug off problems before they become entrenched… Val’s personal, inspirational and practical approach offers tried-and-tested techniques, with beautifully illustrated, proven results.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStorey’s guide to raising dairy goats : breed selection, feeding, fencing, health care, dairying, marketing / Jerry Belanger & Sara Thomson Bredesen.
“This best-selling handbook is packed with detailed information on housing, feeding, and fencing dairy goats. It’s been the trusted resource on the topic for farmers and homesteaders since it was originally published in 1975, and the new edition — completely updated and redesigned — makes Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats more comprehensive and accessible than ever. In-depth sections explain every aspect of milking, including necessary equipment, proper hand-milking techniques, and handling and storing the milk. New color illustrations show each stage of kidding, and substantial chapters on dairy goat health and breeding include the most up-to-date research and practices.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere honeybees thrive : stories from the field / Heather Swan.
“Through a lyrical combination of creative nonfiction and visual imagery, Where Honeybees Thrive tells the stories of the beekeepers, farmers, artists, entomologists, ecologists, and other advocates working to stem the damage and reverse course for this critical pollinator. Using her own quest for understanding as a starting point, Swan highlights the innovative projects and strategies these groups employ. Her mosaic approach to engaging with the environment not only reveals the incredibly complex political ecology in which bees live–which includes human and nonhuman actors alike–but also suggests ways of comprehending and tackling a host of other conflicts between postindustrial society and the natural world…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe community resilience reader : essential resources for an era of upheaval / edited by Daniel Lerch.
The Community Resilience Reader combines a fresh look at the challenges humanity faces in the 21st century, the essential tools of resilience science, and the wisdom of activists, scholars, and analysts working with community issues on the ground. It shows that resilience is a process, not a goal; how resilience requires learning to adapt but also preparing to transform; and that resilience starts and ends with the people living in a community…. building strength and resilience at the community level is not only crucial, but possible.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World [hardback]
“Discover the hidden power soil has to reverse climate change, and how a regenerative farming diet not only delivers us better health and wellness, but also rebuilds our most precious resource–the very ground that feeds us… by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, we can reverse global warming, harvest healthy, abundant food, and eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies, and ultimately our planet…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall house living Australia / Catherine Foster.
Small House Living Australia features 21 small, inspiring Australian homes. Some are clever additions onto tight urban sites- others are tranquil weekenders in deep countryside – what all have in common is a shared belief that good architectural design principles make even the smallest of architectural and ecological footprints possible. With land ever more expensive, growing environmental pressures and an increasing number of small households, architects and designers are responding with great ingenuity to produce both practical and cost-effective buildings, and all the while never sacrificing the most essential of human needs – a beautiful home…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCall of the Reed Warbler : a new agriculture, a new earth / Charles Massy.
“…It is a story of how a grassroots revolution – a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help turn climate change around, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone – from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health – Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. He shows – through evocative stories – how innovative farmers are finding a new way and interweaves his own local landscape, its seasons and biological richness…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn inconvenient sequel : truth to power : your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice, and help solve the climate crisis / Al Gore.
“Vice President Gore, an environmental hero and a leading expert in climate change, brings together cutting-edge research from top scientists around the world; approximately 200 photographs and illustrations to visually articulate the subject matter; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming… Where Gore’s first documentary and book took us through the technical aspects of climate change, the second documentary is a gripping, narrative journey that leaves you filled with hope and the urge to take action immediately. This book captures that same essence and is a must-have for everyone who cares deeply about our planet.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChanging energy : the transition to a sustainable future / John H. Perkins.
“Human societies around the globe have received immense benefits from uses of coal, oil, gas, and uranium sources, yet we must now rebuild our energy economies to rely on renewable sources and use them efficiently. The imperative for a fourth energy transition comes from dangers related to climate change, geopolitical tensions, documented health and environmental effects, and long-term depletion of today’s sources. Changing Energy envisions a viable post-fossil fuel economy and identifies the barriers to be overcome.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA new garden ethic : cultivating defiant compassion for an uncertain future / Benjamin Vogt.
“…Author Benjamin Vogt addresses why we need a new garden ethic, and why we urgently need wildness in our daily lives — lives sequestered in buildings surrounded by monocultures of lawn and concrete that significantly harm our physical and mental health. He examines the psychological issues around climate change and mass extinction as a way to understand how we are short circuiting our response to global crises, especially by not growing native plants in our gardens. Simply put, environmentalism is not political, it’s social justice for all species marginalized today and for those facing extinction tomorrow…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOutskirts : living life on the edge of the green belt / John Grinrod ; [illustrations by Eleanor Crow].
“Green belts are part of the landscape and psyche of post-war Britain, but have led to conflicts at every level of society – between conservationists and developers, town and country, politicians and people, nimbys and the forces of progress. …John discovers strange hidden places, from nuclear bunkers to buried landfill sites, and along the way meets planners, protestors, foresters and residents whose passions for and against the green belt tell a fascinating tale of Britain today…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Blasphemous libel and other stories: New Biographies

If you missed cartoonist Tom Scott’s appearance at the New Zealand Festival, never fear – his memoir Drawn Out is available now! Drawn Out has been shortlisted for a New Zealand Book Award, and includes Scott’s famous battle with Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. Check it out, along with a range of other great titles!

Syndetics book coverDrawn out : a seriously funny memoir / Tom Scott.
“Tom Scott has been drawing political cartoons for Wellington’s Dominion Post since 1988, and was famously banned from the Press Gallery by P.M. Muldoon. His memoir covers his childhood – a tragi-comedy of a poor Irish Catholic family, his uni days when he was editor of the student newspaper and sued for blasphemous libel, his parliamentary career, his work with Ed Hillary and more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe trauma cleaner : one woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay & disaster / Sarah Krasnostein.
“Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife… But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn praise of difficult women : life lessons from 29 heroines who dared to break the rules / Karen Karbo ; illustrations by Kimberly Glyder.
“From Frida Kahlo and Elizabeth Taylor to Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, and Lena Dunham, this witty narrative explores what we can learn from the imperfect and extraordinary legacies of 29 iconic women who forged their own unique paths in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA life of my own / Claire Tomalin.
“This enthralling memoir follows Claire Tomalin through triumph and tragedy in equal measure, from a difficult wartime childhood to her marriage to a brilliant young journalist. Tomalin writes of the intense joys of a fascinating progression as she became one of the most successful literary editors in London before discovering her true vocation as a biographer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGeorge / Sean Smith.
“Georgios Panayiotou was just eighteen when he decided to adopt the stage name of George Michael. Sometimes his two worlds would collide with shattering consequences. Bestselling biographer Sean Smith has gone back to the neighbourhoods of North London to trace the astonishing journey of a sensitive but determined boy who grew up to be one of the biggest British pop stars of all time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn odyssey : a father, a son, and an epic / Daniel Mendelsohn.
“When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn’s narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception, recognition and the meaning of home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExtraordinary life of A.A. Milne / Nadia Cohen.
“Very few authors can ever dream of coming close to the legacy left by A.A. Milne, but Milne himself was never able to enjoy his fame and fortune. He died deeply resenting Winnie the Pooh’s success. The Extraordinary Life of A.A. Milne delves deep into the life of Milne and sheds light on new places, and tells stories untold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHitler, my neighbor : memories of a Jewish childhood, 1929-1939 / Edgar Feuchtwanger with Bertil Scali ; translated by Adriana Hunter.
“Edgar Feuchtwanger was a carefree five-year-old when Adolf Hitler moved into the building opposite. In 1933 the joy of this untroubled life was shattered. Edgar’s parents, stripped of their rights as citizens, tried to protect him from increasingly degrading realities. In 1939 Edgar was sent alone to England. It wasn’t until the age of 88 he felt ready to tell the story of his buried childhood and his infamous neighbour.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGordon Walters : new vision / commissioning editor, Zara Stanhope ; curators, Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite ; managing editor, Clare McIntosh.
“A substantial publication, Gordon Walters : New Vision, is being co-published by Auckland Art Gallery and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to mark the occasion of this exhibition.” (Syndetics summary)

Maps, Middle-Earth & Miss D: New film and TV books

Cover from Syndetics

Take a journey through your favourite movies with the gorgeously illustrated Cinemaps: an atlas of great movies. New books on movies and TV shows also feature the intriguing Movie Geek and The Girl in the Show. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverCinemaps : an atlas of great movies / maps by Andrew DeGraff ; essays by A. D. Jameson.
“This beautifully illustrated atlas of beloved movies is an essential reference for cinephiles, fans of great films, and anyone who loves the art of mapmaking. Acclaimed artist Andrew DeGraff has created beautiful hand-painted maps of all your favorite films, from King Kong and North by Northwest to The Princess Bride , Fargo , Pulp Fiction , even The Breakfast Club –with the routes of major characters charted in meticulous cartographic detail.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovie geek : the Den of Geek! guide to the movieverse / Simon Brew with Ryan Lambie & Louisa Mellor ; foreword by Mark Kermode.
“Movie Geek is a nerdy dive into popular movies, brought to you by the hugely popular entertainment and pop culture fan website Den Of Geek. Discover hidden stories behind movies you love (and, er, don’t love so much), and find out just why the most dangerous place to be is in a Tom Hanks film.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl in the show : three generations of comedy, culture, and feminism / Anna Fields.
“For fans of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer–and every other “funny woman”–comes a candid feminist comedy manifesto exploring the sisterhood between women’s comedy and women’s liberation. At its heart, The Girl in the Show captures the urgency of our continued struggle towards equality, allowing the reader to both revel in–and rebel against–our collective ideas of “women’s comedy.”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI’ll have what she’s having : how Nora Ephron’s three iconic films saved the romantic comedy / Erin Carlson.
“A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy– When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle –which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham. In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss D & me : life with the invincible Bette Davis / Kathryn Sermak with Danelle Morton.
“For ten years Kathryn Sermak was at Bette Davis’s side–first as an employee, and then as her closest friend–and in Miss D and Me she tells the story of the great star’s harrowing but inspiring final years, a story fans have been waiting decades to hear. Miss D and Me is a window into the world of the unique and formidable Bette Davis, told by the person who perhaps knew her best of all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiddle-Earth from script to screen : building the world of The lord of the rings & The hobbit / foreword by Peter Jackson ; written by Daniel Falconer – additional writing by KM Rice.
“For the first time ever, the epic, in-depth story of the creation of one of the most famous fantasy worlds ever imagined–an illustrious compendium that reveals the breathtaking craftsmanship, artistry, and technology behind the magical Middle-earth of the blockbuster film franchises, The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Trek beyond : the makeup artistry of Joel Harlow / Joe Nazzaro.
“With the release of Star Trek Beyond in 2016, viewers were given a spectacular visual treat as a whole host of new aliens made their appearance for the first time in the rebooted franchise. At the heart of the process of bringing these breathtaking intergalactic species to life was Academy Award-winning make-up artist Joel Harlow. Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow presents the extraordinary work done by Harlow and his crew. Featuring fascinating pencil sketches, stunning concept art and beautiful photography, this visually arresting book gives fans a unique in-depth look into the remarkable work that went into this immensely popular movie.” (Syndetics summary)

New eAudiobook non-fiction

When an exert from Emily Chang’s Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley was published in Vanity Fair earlier this year, the response was described as a “mini earthquake”. And with Overdrive now releasing the entirety of Brotopia as an eAudiobook, you can discover what has made this work such a powerful addition to discussions on the tech industry, gender equality and the #metoo movement! Sign up here to get started…

Overdrive cover Brotopia, by Emily Chang
“Silicon Valley has long prided itself on being the land of opportunity, but the truth is that women have been marginalized and harassed from the start. Chang explores how this came to be, what it means, and what can be done to fix it. She delves into the seedy underbelly of shiny Silicon Valley via hard-hitting interviews with major influencers. She reveals the secrets that tech companies have tried to hide for years, and offers a fresh set of tangible solutions.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Brave, by Rose McGowan
“Rose McGowan was born in one cult and came of age in another, more visible cult: Hollywood. Every detail of her personal life became public, and the realities of an inherently sexist industry emerged with every script, role, public appearance and magazine cover. Hollywood expected Rose to be silent and cooperative and to stay the path. Instead, she rebelled.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Where the Past Begins, by Amy Tan
“In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt and heart-breaking letters, she gathers together evidence of all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Big Picture, by Sean Carroll
“In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level and the human level—and then how each connects to the other. Carroll’s presentation of the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness and the universe is dazzlingly unique.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Transgender History, by Susan Stryker
“Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change through the early 1970s; the mid-’70s to 1990—the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the ’90s and ’00s.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Mighty Franks, by Michael Frank
“Michael Frank’s family was unusual to say the least, and most unusual of all was his aunt, ‘Hankie’: a Hollywood screenwriter spinning seductive fantasies. With no children of her own, Hankie took a particular shine to Michael, telling him about ‘the very last drop of her innermost self’. This love complicated the delicate balance of the wider family and changed Michael’s life forever.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Trumpocracy, by David Frum
“Bestselling author, former White House speechwriter and media commentator David Frum explains why President Trump has undermined our most important institutions in ways even the most critical media has missed, in this thoughtful and hard-hitting book that is a warning for democracy and America’s future.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover On Being a Therapist, by Jeffrey A. Kottler
“An updated revision of Jeffrey Kottler’s classic book On Being a Therapist reveals the new realities and inner experiences of therapeutic practice today.” (Overdrive description.)

Typing with Tom Hanks: New eBook fiction

Did you know that Tom Hanks owns more than 250 typewriters? Or that he’s appeared in a documentary about them: 2017’s California Typewriter? In fact it was on one of these typewriters he wrote he debut short story collection, the appropriately named Uncommon Type. Check out Uncommon Type—along with heaps of other new eBooks—on Overdrive today!

Overdrive cover Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks
“A hectic, funny sexual affair between two best friends. A World War II veteran dealing with his emotional and physical scars. A second-rate actor plunged into sudden stardom and a whirlwind press junket. These are just some of the people and situations that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks explores in his first work of fiction.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Queens’ Play, by Dorothy Dunnett
“1548 and seven-year-old Mary Queen of Scots has been dispatched to France. But surrounded by the double-dealing of a dangerous and unpredictable court, she suffers a series of ‘accidents’. Her mother orders Francis Crawford of Lymond to protect Mary, believing that at the heart of the court is an assassin hired to kill the infant monarch. Lymond must hunt down this individual before he himself is exposed…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Long Way from Home, by Peter Carey
“Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture – and the crimes they committed along the way.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
“In the spring of 1948 Arthur Miller retreated to a log cabin in Connecticut with the first two lines of a new play already fixed in his mind. He emerged six weeks later with the final script of Death of a Salesman – a painful examination of American life and consumerism. Opening on Broadway the following year, Miller’s extraordinary masterpiece changed the course of modern theatre.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Spoilt City, by Olivia Manning
“It is 1940, and Guy and Harriet Pringle and their friends in the English colony in Bucharest find their position growing ever more precarious. The ‘phoney war’ is over and invasion is an ever-present threat. Their easy life among Bucharest’s café society is gradually eroded as rumours become reality, and the Germans march in…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Jesus’ Son, by Denis Johnson
Jesus’ Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts and lost souls. These stories tell of spiralling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson’s prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature.” (Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Children of Húrin, by J. R. R. Tolkien
“It is a legendary time long before The Lord of the Rings, and Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwells in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and within the shadow of the fear of Angband, the fates of Túrin and his sister Niënor will be tragically entwined. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire, in an attempt to fulfil the curse of Morgoth, and destroy the children of Húrin.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Phone, by Will Self
“Zack Busner is a psychiatrist who has made his name through his unorthodox treatment of psychological damage—but now his own mind is fraying. Jonathan De’Ath, aka “the Butcher,” is an MI6 man who remains a mystery even to those closest to him. There is only one person who thinks of him with tenderness: De’Ath’s long-time lover. As Busner’s mind totters and Jonathan’s affair teeters, they come to face the interconnectedness of all lives, while a phone continues to ring…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Under Parr, by Andrea Bramhall
“December 5th, 2013 left its mark on the North Norfolk Coast in more ways than one. A tidal surge flooded homes and businesses up and down the coast. It also buried a secret in the WWII bunker hiding under the golf course at Brancaster. A secret kept for years, until it falls into the lap of Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon. A skeleton, deep inside the bunker. How did it get there? Well, that’s Kate’s job to find out.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Perfect Death, by Helen Fields
“Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late. But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)