Fatal Flaws and Wild Cards: New Mystery Fiction!

Ready for some New Year mysteries? Look no further than our first booklist for 2020! Top of the pile is The Wild Card by Renée (Ngāti Kahungungu). As Ataria Sharman explains in The Pantograph Punch,  protagonist Ruby Palmer “is no damsel-in-distress. She’s a theatre-stealing, boss ass wahine toa determined to solve the mystery of her friend’s death, even at risk to her own life.”

Also in this month is the fourth book in the Wyndham and Banerjee historical crime series by Abir Mukherjee as well as the second novel by German writer Simone Buchholz to be translated in to English. Enjoy!

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered–her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand. To discover the truth, Ruby needs to find the wild card, and fast.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The ashes of London / Taylor, Andrew
“London, 1666. As the Great Fire consumes everything in its path, the body of a man is found in the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral. The son of a traitor, James Marwood is forced to hunt the killer through the city’s devastated streets. There he encounters a determined young woman who will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. When a second murder victim is discovered in the Fleet Ditch, Marwood is drawn into the political and religious intrigue of Westminster – and across the path of a killer with nothing to lose…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Death in the East / Mukherjee, Abir
“1922, India. Leaving Calcutta, Captain Sam Wyndham heads for the hills of Assam, to the ashram of a sainted monk where he hopes to conquer his opium addiction. But when he arrives, he sees a ghost from his life in London – a man thought to be long dead, a man Wyndham hoped he would never see again. Wyndham knows he must call his friend and colleague Sergeant Banerjee for help. He is certain this figure from his past isn’t here by coincidence. He is here for revenge . . .” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Beton Rouge / Buchholz, Simone
On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. He’s soon identified as a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way. Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect . . . to the dubious past shared by both victims.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

One fatal flaw / Perry, Anne
“It is 1910 and a fire has left one criminal dead and another charged with murder. Convinced of his innocence, Jessie Beale begs barrister Daniel Pitt to defend him. It’s a hopeless case–unless Daniel can find a witness whose testimony on fire damage is so convincing that any jury would believe him. Daniel’s friend Miriam Croft was taught by forensic scientist Sir Barnabas Saltram, who has built his reputation on giving evidence of this kind. But when Saltram agrees to testify, Daniel starts a chain of devastating events.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Murder fest / Wassmer, Julie
“A local Arts Festival is being held to honour a cultural exchange visit from representatives of Borken – Whitstable’s Twin Town in Germany. Yet very soon, personality clashes surface among the participants; local politicians try to use the festival for their own ends while others jostle for improved billing on the festival programme. Tempers flare, old feuds re-surface and on the eve of the first event, a cryptic message – Murder Fest – is received by the local police.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Fiction New (and Like New!)


The first new books for the year are in! Included in this month’s selection is Becky Manawatu’s debut novel Auē. Auē has been called a “contemporary story of loss, grief and domestic violence – but also of hope” and has been getting some great feedback. Check out RNZ’s interview with Manawatu here, and a preview of the first chapter via The Spinoff here.

Also in: re-releases, including the combined works of Giorgio Bassani with The Novel of Ferrara and the first English language edition of Irina Odoyevtseva’s Isolde. And of course there’s also a great range of page-turning summer reads, including Danielle Steel’s Spy: a Novel and Westwind by Ian Rankin. Enjoy!

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The novel of Ferrara / Bassani, Giorgio
“Set in the Italian town of Ferrara, these six interlocking stories present a world of unforgettable characters: the doctor whose homosexuality is tolerated until he is humiliatingly exposed by a scandal; a survivor of the Nazi death camps whose neighbors’ celebration of his return gradually turns to ostracism; a man who has never recovered from the wounds inflicted in youth. Above all, the city itself assumes a character and a voice, deeply inflected by the Jewish community to which the narrator belongs.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

I am God / Sartori, Giacomo
I am God. Have been forever, will be forever. Forever, mind you, with the razor-sharp glint of a diamond, and without any counterpart in the languages of men. So begins God’s diary of the existential crisis that ensues when, inexplicably, he falls in love with a human. And not just any human, but a geneticist and fanatical atheist who’s certain she can improve upon the magnificent creation she doesn’t even give him the credit for. It’s frustrating, for a god…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Westwind / Rankin, Ian
“After his friend suspects something strange going on at the launch facility where they both work–and then goes missing–Martin Hepton doesn’t believe the official line of “long-term sick leave”. He leaves his old life behind, aware that someone is shadowing his every move. The only hope he has is his ex-girlfriend Jill Watson–the only journalist who will believe his story. But neither of them can believe the puzzle they’re piecing together–or just how shocking the secret is that everybody wants to stay hidden…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Hunter’s moon : a novel in stories / Caputo, Philip
Hunter’s Moon is set in Michigan’s wild, starkly beautiful Upper Peninsula, where a cast of recurring characters move into and out of each other’s lives, building friendships, facing loss, confronting violence, trying to bury the past or seeking to unearth it. Once-a-year lovers, old high-school buddies on a hunting trip, a college professor and his wayward son, a middle-aged man and his grief-stricken father, come together, break apart, and, if they’re fortunate, find a way forward.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

This is yesterday / Ruane, Rose
“Alone and adrift in London, Peach is heading into her mid-forties with nothing to show for her youthful promise but a stalled art career and the stopgap job in a Mayfair gallery that she’s somehow been doing for a decade. She is too young to feel this tired, and far too old to feel this lost. When Peach is woken one night with news that her father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is in intensive care, she can no longer outrun the summer of secrets and sexual awakenings that augured twenty-five years of estrangement from her family.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

In love with George Eliot : a novel / O’Shaughnessy, Kathy
“Marian Evans is a scandalous figure, living in sin with a married man, George Henry Lewes. She has shocked polite society, and women rarely deign to visit her. In secret, though, she has begun writing fiction under the pseudonym George Eliot. As Adam Bede‘s fame grows, curiosity rises as to the identity of its mysterious writer. Gradually it becomes apparent that the moral genius Eliot is none other than the disgraced woman living with Lewes…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

On swift horses / Pufahl, Shannon
“Muriel is newly married and restless, transplanted from her rural Kansas hometown to life in a dusty bungalow in San Diego. She misses her freethinking mother and her sly, itinerant brother-in-law, Julius, who made the world feel bigger than she had imagined. And so she begins slipping off to the Del Mar racetrack to bet and eavesdrop, learning the language of horses and risk. Meanwhile, Julius is testing his fate in Las Vegas, working at a local casino where tourists watch atomic tests from the roof.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Spy : a novel / Steel, Danielle
“At eighteen, Alexandra Wickham is presented to King George V and Queen Mary in an exquisite white lace and satin dress her mother has ordered from Paris. But fate, a world war, and her own quietly rebellious personality lead her down a different path. By 1939, England is at war. Alex makes her way to London as a volunteer in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. But she has skills that draw the attention of another branch of the service. Fluent in French and German, she would make the perfect secret agent…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Isolde / Odoevt︠s︡eva, Irina
“Left to her own devices, fourteen-year-old Russian Liza meets an English boy, Cromwell, on a beach. He thinks he has found a romantic beauty; she is taken with his Buick. Restless, Liza, her brother Nikolai and her boyfriend enjoy Cromwell’s company–until his mother stops giving him money. First published in 1929, Isolde is a startlingly fresh, disturbing portrait of a lost generation of Russian exiles.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Conscious Fashion and Plant-based Beauty: our latest fashion and beauty books

Our latest fashion and beauty books make it easier to do good and to reduce your impact on the environment, with titles such as Fashionopolis and Plant-based Beauty. We also have Megan Hess’s latest book full of beautiful fashion illustrations and two new men’s fashion titles. Also new on our shelves is Supreme Models, the first-ever book celebrating black models. Find a comfy chair and enjoy!

Syndetics book coverPlant-based beauty : the essential guide to detoxing your beauty routine / Jess Arnaudin.
“The essential guide to detoxing your beauty routine. Plant-Based Beauty is a practical companion to your daily routine, helping you to truly understand the ingredients you are putting on your skin and replacing them with self-care rituals to look forward to. Jess Arnaudin helps to de-code the language, myths and science surrounding natural ingredients and shares recipes and her favourite beauty foods as part of her philosophy of ‘Inside Out Beauty’.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe conscious closet : the revolutionary guide to looking good while doing good / Elizabeth L. Cline.The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good
“With her landmark investigation Overdressed, Elizabeth Cline was the first to reveal fast fashion’s hidden toll on garment workers, the environment, and even our own satisfaction with our clothes. The Conscious Closet shows exactly what we can do about it. Based on her personal experiences getting off the fast-fashion treadmill and figuring out a common-sense, affordable approach to style, Elizabeth shares how to pare down your closet; swap, resell, or recycle what you don’t love; care for and repair what you do; and how to affordably buy, thrift, or rent the ethical wardrobe of your dreams.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashionopolis : the price of fast fashion & the future of clothes / Dana Thomas.
“An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry – and the grassroots, high tech, international movement fighting to reform it. In Fashionopolis , Thomas sees renewal in a host of developments, including printing 3-D clothes, clean denim processing, smart manufacturing, hyperlocalism, fabric recycling – even lab-grown materials. From small-town makers and Silicon Valley whizzes to household names such as Stella McCartney, Levi’s and Selfridges, Thomas highlights the companies big and small that are leading the crusade.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSupreme Models : Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion
“The first-ever book celebrating black models, filled with revealing essays, interviews, and stunning photographs. Written by celebrity stylist and journalist Marcellas Reynolds, Supreme Models features more than 70 women from the last 60 years. The book is filled with gorgeous photographs of the women, and details their most memorable covers, campaigns, runway shows, and editorials. Black models have been influencing fashion and pop culture for decades, reshaping the standards and boundaries of beauty. Supreme Models is a celebration of their monumental impact.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElegance : the beauty of French fashion / Megan Hess.
“Join internationally renowned fashion illustrator Megan Hess as she explores the timeless beauty and glamour of ten of France’s best-loved designers in a stylish celebration of one of the world’s favourite fashion destinations. In these pages, Megan Hess unspools the threads of ten legendary designers – Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Givenchy, Chloé, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Celine – to discover the origins of haute couture, prêt-à-porter and everything chic. Accompanied by Megan’s exquisite illustrations of current and archival collections, Elegance: The Beauty of French Fashion tells the story of how France’s iconic fashion houses have influenced the very fabric of design.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGarçon style : New York, London, Milano, Paris / Jonathan Daniel Pryce ; foreword by Sir Paul Smith.
“Delve into New York, London, Milan and Paris with close to 300 street-style images by the award-winning photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce. From impeccable tailoring to vintage finds, these evocative images capture the myriad ways men in the fashion capitals express themselves sartorially. Featuring a foreword by Paul Smith and interviews with a selection of each city’s most stylish men, Garçon Style is a stunning showcase of menswear today.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sartorial travel guide / Simon Crompton.
“An indispensable, informative, and portable insider’s companion to the most fashion-forward cities for well-dressed and worldly men. This essential travel guide distills a decade of style expert Simon Crompton’s experiences traveling the world to meet and advise the finest menswear producers and artisans–providing everything the modern man needs to know to travel in style and explaining what to buy and where to buy it. The Sartorial Travel Guide includes maps to assist trip planning and practical advice on how and what to pack, readers will be prepared for any occasion. Whether on vacation or looking to fill a few spare hours on a business trip, this is the ideal guide for any sartorial adventure.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

The lost art of Scripture and other books on beliefs

Popular author Karen Armstrong’s latest reflection on ways of reading world Scriptures combines with a mixed bag of topics such as angels, cults, a biography on St Patrick, and a new angle on Selfies.

When one religion isn’t enough : the lives of spiritually fluid people, by Duane Bidwell.
“Contrary to popular assumptions, many people regularly cross religious boundaries. Complicated legacies of colonialism may be part of their family story, and they may consider themselves both Christian and Hindu, or Buddhist, or Yoruban, or one of the many other religions native to colonized lands. Bidwell explores how people people can engage radically opposed truth claims, and what this growing population tells us about change within our communities.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zealot : a book about cults, by Jo Thornely, Jo
Whatever the reason people join cults, once people are in, it’s usually very difficult for them to leave. Cults have ways of making their followers prove their loyalty, and in return they get a chance to feel secure within the cult’s embrace, with an added bonus of being utterly terrified of the outside world. From the tragic Jonestown to the Waco Branch Davidians, this book is a wide-sweeping look at cults around the world.” (Catalogue)

The lost art of Scripture : rescuing the sacred texts, by Karen Armstrong.
“Today we see the Quran being used by some to justify war and terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception. For hundreds of years these texts were instead viewed as spiritual tools- scripture was a means for the individual to connect with the divine, and to experience a higher level of consciousness. Holy texts were seen as fluid and adaptable, rather than a set of binding archaic rules or a ‘truth’ that has to be ‘believed’. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sacred misinterpretation : reaching across the Christian-Muslim divide, by Martin Accad.
“Theological issues are crucial to how Christians and Muslims understand and perceive each other. In Sacred Misinterpretation Martin Accad guides readers through key theological questions that fuel conflict and misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians. A sure-footed guide, he weaves personal stories together with deep discussion of theological beliefs. Accad identifies trends, recognizes historical realities, and brings to light significant points of contention that often lead to break-down in Christian-Muslim dialogue. He also outlines positive and creative trends that could lead to a more hopeful future. “(Catalogue)

Selfies : searching for the image of God in a digital age, Craig Detweiler.
“How can we seek God and care for each other in digital spaces? Craig Detweiler, a nationally known writer and speaker and an avid social media user, examines the selfie phenomenon, placing selfies within the long history of self-portraits in art, literature, and photography. He shows how self-portraits change our perspective of ourselves and each other in family dynamics, education, and discipleship. Challenging us to push past unhealthy obsessions with beauty, wealth, and fame, Detweiler helps us to develop a thoughtful, biblical perspective on selfies and social media and to put ourselves in proper relation to God and each other.” (Catalogue)

The House of Islam : a global history, by Ed Husain.
“Today, Islam is to many in the West an alien force, with Muslims held in suspicion. … The House of Islam thoughtfully explores the events and issues that have come from and contributed to the broadening gulf between Islam and the West, from the United States’ overthrow of Iran’s first democratically elected leader to the emergence of ISIS, from the declaration of a fatwa on Salman Rushdie to the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Husain leads us clearly and carefully through the nuances of Islam and its people, taking us back to basics to contend that the Muslim world need not be a stranger to the West, nor our enemy, but our peaceable allies.” (Catalogue)

Angels : a visible and invisible history, by Peter Stanford.
“What exactly are angels, and why have so many in different times and contexts around the globe believed in them? This is a thought-provoking and entertaining twenty-first century look at what was once referred to as ‘angelology’, which searches out the origins of angels in religious thought, history, psychology and wider culture, and asks why, in an age of disbelief, they remain more compelling and comforting for many than God. (Catalogue)

Confronting Christianity : 12 hard questions for the world’s largest religion, by Rebecca McLaughlin, Rebecca
“This book explores 12 hard questions that seem to undermine the Christian faith: the existence of suffering, the reality of judgment, the authority of Scripture, the success of science, and more. Drawing on state-of-the-art academic research, personal stories, and deep scriptural excavation, this book argues that–when looked at more closely–what first seemed like roadblocks to faith actually become signposts.” (Catalogue)

Saint Patrick retold : the legend and history of Ireland’s patron saint, by Roy Flechner.
” Saint Patrick was, by his own admission, a controversial figure. Convicted in a trial by his elders in Britain and hounded by rumors that he settled in Ireland for financial gain, the man who was to become Ireland’s patron saint battled against great odds before succeeding as a missionary. Saint Patrick Retold draws on recent research to offer a fresh assessment of Patrick’s travails and achievements. This is the first biography in nearly fifty years to explore Patrick’s career against the background of historical events in late antique Britain and Ireland.” (Catalogue)

Dublin Noir: New Mystery Fiction

What exactly makes a murderer? What leads to the decision to kill? These are the questions Irish author Olivia Kiernan considered when writing the second book in her Frankie Sheehan series, The Killer in Me. The Financial Times has called The Killer in Me fresh, tense and gruesome, while the Wall Street Journal described it as a “captivating new thriller.” Now you, too, can discover why it just might be one of the best police procedural stories this year.

Also new to Wellington City Libraries this month: the latest works from Christi Daugherty, S.C. Perkins and Scottish author (and founder of the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival) Alex Gray. Enjoy!

Only the dead can tell / Gray, Alex
“When Dorothy Guildford is found stabbed to death in her home, all signs point to her husband, Peter. The forensic psychologist is convinced there’s more to the case than meets the eye but Police Scotland are certain they have their man. While DC Kirsty Wilson searches for evidence that will put Peter away for good, she is shocked to discover a link to a vast human-trafficking operation . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The killer in me / Kiernan, Olivia
“Murder convict Sean Hennessy is released from prison to return to a seaside community in Dublin. He has always professed his innocence. But within months of his release, two bodies appear in the peaceful suburb of Clontarf. With a TV documentary pushing the public’s sympathies in Hennessy’s direction, the original evidence against him is called into question and Detective Frankie Sheehan finds herself doubting her original analysis of the case.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

Murder once removed / Perkins, S. C.
“According to her friends, Lucy Lancaster, Austin, Texas genealogist, has never been drunk. Tipsy, sure, but drunk? No way. So when she arrives back at her office from a three-martini lunch a few sheets to the wind, it’s a notable occasion. Even more momentous is what her client, Austin billionaire Gus Halloran, has announced on live television with a blotto Lucy standing at his side: Texas senator Caleb Applewhite might be responsible for the murder of Seth Halloran.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

A dangerous collaboration / Raybourn, Deanna
“Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favour. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed.” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

A beautiful corpse / Daugherty, Christi
“With its antebellum houses and ancient oak trees draped in a veil of Spanish moss, Savannah’s graceful downtown is famous around the world. When a woman is killed in the heart of that affluent district, the shock is felt throughout the city. But for crime reporter Harper McClain, this story is personal. The corpse has a familiar face . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue.)

The 2019 Nebula long list has been announced

The long list for the 2018 Nebula best novel award has just been announced. The Nebula’s are one of the most prestigious awards in the Science Fiction and Fantasy community and are awarded annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They aim to recognise the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in America the previous year. They were first awarded in 1966 and now feature six categories the most recent category addition was in 2018 when a Best Game writing category was added. The latest list of nominees is incredibly varied and shows just how strong and vibrant the Science Fiction genre is.

The full fiction finalists list:

The poppy war / Kuang, R. F.
“A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China. Opium runs through the heart of the Nikara Empire, a constant reminder of the war with the Federation of Mugen that brought it to the empire’s shores. A war that only ended thanks to three heroes – the Vipress, the Dragon Emperor and the Gatekeeper – known as the Trifecta. They were legendary figures, each bestowed with god-like powers, who united the warlords of the Empire against the Federation. Decades have passed. The Trifecta is shattered; the Dragon Emperor is dead, the Gatekeeper is missing, and the Vipress alone sits on the throne at Sinegard. Peace reigns, yet the poppy remains.” (Catalogue)

The calculating stars / Kowal, Mary Robinette
“On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Blackfish City / Miller, Sam J
“After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, it has started to crumble under the weight of its own decay – crime and corruption have set in, a terrible new disease is coursing untreated through the population, and the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside deepest poverty are spawning unrest. Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor – a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will lead to unprecedented acts of resistance.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSpinning silver / Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver is a new take on the classic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Already highly regarded is the stunning Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It is an urban fantasy adventure novel written from a Native American viewpoint set in a future climate changed ravaged Earth,  its a powerful, unique and gripping read.

Currently available on our eBook Overdrive service:

Overdrive coverWitchmark, C. L. Polk (ebook)
“In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

In search of wisdom: Recent beliefs books

Whispers and Vanities book cover

Two important books lead the selections for November – gathering diverse reflections and essays on peace-making in Aotearoa, and Samoan indigenous spirituality. They are joined by two books on ancient mythologies, a vision of an inclusive Christianity through the prism of transgender issues, and tools drawn from Buddhist mindfulness teaching to overcome negative self-talk.

Syndetics book coverWhispers and vanities : Samoan indigenous knowledge and religion, edited by Tamasailau M. Suaalii-Sauni, Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Vitolia Mo’a, Naomi Fuamatu, Upolu Luma Va’ai, Reina Whaitiri, Stephen L. Filipo.
“The essays and poetry form a careful assessment of aspects of Samoa’s religious and cultural values, from within and outside Samoa, and respond to an address on Samoan religious culture given by Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Tupuola Tufuga Efi, to the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions. The address challenges some fundamental aspects of and assumptions in modern Samoan indigenous religious culture.” (Drawn from the publisher’s summary).

Syndetics book coverPursuing peace in Godzone : Christianity and the peace tradition, edited by Geoffrey Troughton and Philip Fountain.
“This follow-up to Saints and Stirrers brings the history of the Christian-inspired peace movement up to the present. Quaker pacifism, nuclear testing in the Pacific, Maori land alienation and cultural dispossession, apartheid in South Africa, protests at Waihopai and changing attitudes to Anzac Day are some of the topics that are of intense contemporary interest.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn search of wisdom : a monk, a philosopher, and a psychiatrist on what matters most, by Matthieu Ricard, Christophe André, Alexandre Jollien ; translated by Sherab Chödzin Kohn.
“Join these three luminaries as they share their views on how we uncover our deepest aspirations in life, the nature of the ego, living with the full range of human emotion, the art of listening, the temple of the body, the origin of suffering, the joy of altruism, true freedom, and much more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTransforming : the Bible and the lives of transgender Christians, by Austen Hartke.
“This provides access into an underrepresented and misunderstood community and will change the way readers think about transgender people, faith, and the future of Christianity. By introducing transgender issues and language and providing stories of both biblical characters and real-life narratives from transgender Christians living today, Hartke helps readers visualize a more inclusive Christianity, equipping them with the confidence and tools to change both the church and the world.” (Drawn from the publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverLiving with the gods : on beliefs and peoples, by Neil MacGregor.
“Acclaimed art historian McGregor explores the relationship between faith and society. It examines mankind’s beliefs not from the perspective of institutional religions but according to how shared narratives have shaped societies–and what happens when different narratives run up against each other.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSacred Britannia : the gods and rituals of Roman Britain, by Miranda Aldhouse-Green.
“Two thousand years ago, the Romans sought to absorb into their empire what they regarded as a remote, almost mythical island on the very edge of the known world — Britain. What homegrown deities, cults, and cosmologies did the Romans encounter in Britain, and how did the British react to the changes? Aldhouse-Green examines the two-way traffic of cultural exchange and the interplay between imported and indigenous factions to reveal how this period on the cusp between prehistory and history knew many of the same tensions, ideologies, and issues of identity is still relevant today.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe triumph of Christianity : how a forbidden religion swept the world, by Bart D. Ehrman.
“From the bestselling author on early Christianity, this is the story of how Christianity grew from a religion of twenty or so peasants in rural Galilee to the dominant religion in the West in less than four hundred years. Christianity didn’t have to become so dominant, it easily could have remained a sect of Judaism. An immensely readable narrative, which upends the way we think about one of the most important cultural transformations our world has ever seen–one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.”(Drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTalk to yourself like a Buddhist : five mindful practices to silence negative self-talk, by Cynthia Kane.
“If you talk to your friends in a negative manner, you will end up without friends. And if you talk to yourself in the same way, you will end up an emotional train wreck. Kane defines negative self-talk as the vehicle by which we pass judgments on ourselves for mistakes and circumstances, even for something as trivial as wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong belt. … Rooted in Buddhist teaching and incorporating contemporary mindfulness teachings, this book encourages readers to overcome both with internalized thoughts and spoken words. ” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside the atheist mind : unmasking the religion of those who say there is no God, by Anthony DeStefano.
“Aims to debunk the theories of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and others, through revealing their inconsistencies. He argues that atheism is a “religion” of its own, complete with a creed, a set of commandments and sacraments, and a rigid moral code with rewards and punishments and a “superstition” of the worst kind.” (Syndetics summary)

Paint like a girl! – Art, History and Feminism

Madam & Eve book cover

As the world marches to the chant of “Girl Power!” and we bear witness to #MeToo, and as here in New Zealand we celebrate 125 years of Suffrage, we are observing a resurgence of feminism and watching as the waves of change filter across our perceptions, society and history. The world of art; ever the medium of visionaries, rebels, leaders and forward thinkers, has a hidden history that is fervently female. In this month’s recent picks, we invite you to open your minds and look at art through the eyes of feminism and equality. From fresh looks at art history, to records of important social movements, from local pioneers such as Elizabeth Lissaman, to looking at how women represent each other through art. Explore this special collection of new books that reflects these times and our changing perceptions.

Madam & Eve : women portraying women / Rideal, Liz
“How do women paint or photograph each other? How do they represent each other in performance or sculpture? Explore the female gaze as it focuses on other women, as an artist and a curator investigate the work of over 200 artists.  The result is an amazing parade of artworks: eye-catching, poignant, powerful, political, idiosyncratic, playful, awkward, passionate, sexy and positive. It is also an eloquent examination of the impact that the feminist movement has had on contemporary art.” (Catalogue)

Art unfolded : a history of art in four colours / Street, Ben
“Trace the history of art through 48 paintings and four colors. Blue: the color of the beyond and the divine. Red: the color of blood, purity and sensuality. Green: the color of new life, but also of sickness and death. Gold: the color of wealth, attributed to the things we value most. These four colors tell the history of art in a way that few other details can and  grant us access to fascinating stories, both of individual works of art and the world in which they were created.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

A mouth is always muzzled : six dissidents, five continents, and the art of resistance / Hopkinson, Natalie
“As people consider how to respond to a resurgence of racist, xenophobic populism, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled tells an extraordinary story of the ways art brings hope in perilous times. Weaving disparate topics from sugar and British colonialism to attacks on free speech and Facebook activism and traveling a jagged path across the Americas, Africa, India, and Europe, Hopkinson, argues that art is where the future is negotiated.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

A big important art book (now with women): profiles of unstoppable female artists–and projects to help you become one /Krysa, Danielle
“Walk into a museum, or open an art book, and you’ll probably be left wondering: where are all the women artists? This book offers an exciting alternative to this male-dominated art world, showcasing the work of contemporary women artists alongside creative prompts that will bring out the artist in anyone.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Ninth Street women : Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler : five painters and the movement that changed modern art / Gabriel, Mary
“Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting–not as muses but as artists.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Significant others : creativity & intimate partnership
“Biographies of artists and writers have traditionally presented an individual’s lone struggle for self-expression. In this book, critics and historians challenge these assumptions in a series of essays that focus on artist and writer couples who have shared sexual and artistic bonds. Featuring duos such as Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverForms of enchantment : writings on art & artists / Marina Warner.
“Here, Warner captures the visual experience of the work of a diverse group of artists, with a notable focus on the inner lives of women, through an exploration of the range of stories and symbols to which they allude in their work. With illustrations of the works being described, Marina Warner’s writing unites the imagination of artist, writer, and reader, creating a reading experience that parallels the intrinsic pleasure of looking at art.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Reading art : art for book lovers / Trigg, David
“As every book tells a story, every book in art is part of an intriguing, engaging, and relatable image. Books are depicted as indicators of intellect in portraits, as symbols of piety in religious paintings, as subjects in still lifes, and as the raw material for contemporary installations. Reading Art spotlights artworks from museums and collections around the globe, creating a gorgeous, inspiring homage to both the written word and to its pivotal role in the visual world.” (Syndetics Summary)

All too human : Bacon, Freud and a century of painting life
“A new account of one of the most distinctive and fascinating chapters of modern British art: how artists have used painting to record their personal, sensuous and often intense experiences of life. Spanning a century, this history encompasses a diverse but related group of painters, who focused on the depiction of the human figure and the everyday landscape they inhabited. Despite their differences, they all shared a similarly intense and scrutinizing gaze, and remained loyal to their pursuit of intimate and powerful representations of reality.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverElizabeth Lissaman : New Zealand’s Pioneer Studio Potter
“Tracing the life and work of Elizabeth Lissaman OBE (1901-1991), Marlborough-born, Lissaman potted continuously for almost 70 years until 1990, spanning much of New Zealand’s twentieth-century studio pottery movement. This volume is illustrated with over 100 pieces of Lissaman’s pottery, selected from leading private and public collections, such as those from the Marlborough Museum who aim to ensure the legacy of Lissaman and that she may be celebrated as an icon of New Zealand Culture.” (Adapted Back Cover Summary)

Humanity of the Moment – Photography Recent Picks

Hip Hop At The End of the World book cover

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” — Robert Frank

Explore the humanity of these moments; from the ‘Beat Generation’ to Victorian giants of photographic exploration, go from Ground Zero NYC to life in Venice with Peggy Guggenheim and witness the evolution of Hip Hop through the lens of Brother Ernie. Turn the pages and open a window to another time and place with these latest picks from our new photography books.

Hip-hop at the end of the world : the photography of Ernie Paniccioli / Paniccioli, Ernie
“With more than 250 images of artists including Ice Cube, The Notorious B.I.G., N.W.A, Lauren Hill & TLC, many that have never before been published, this book is set to become the new hip-hop photography bible. With exclusive, behind-the-scenes access, preeminent photographer Brother Ernie captures the last four decades of the evolution of hip-hop, the styles that grew from it, and the artists who shaped it.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Joel Meyerowitz : where I find myself : a lifetime retrospective / Meyerowitz, Joel
“Organized in inverse chronological order and spanning his whole career to date. This book covers all of Meyerowitz’s great projects: his work inspired by Morandi, the exclusive coverage of Ground Zero, his trips in the footsteps of Robert Frank and of course his iconic street photography. Joel Meyerovitz is incredibly eloquent and candid about how photography works or doesn’t, and this is an inspiration for all interested in photography.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Destinations
“For the first time, Gourmet Traveller has compiled a collection of its most dazzling travel photography. Visit some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places through the lenses of the world’s finest photographers. Traverses the globe making stops along the banks of the Yangzi River, on the streets of Cuba and at the grand turquoise minarets of Uzbekistan. Immerse yourself in the architecture, the food and the culture of the places you’ve been to and the ones you long to visit.” (Catalogue)

I see a city : Todd Webb’s New York / Webb, Todd
“A rich portrait of the everyday life and architecture of New York, Webb’s work is clear, direct, focused, layered with light and shadow, and captures the soul of these places shaped by the friction and frisson of humanity. Published on the occasion of the exhibition Todd Webb’s New York at the Museum of the City of New York, this book restores the reputation and legacy of a forgotten American artist.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Encounters with Peggy Guggenheim / Moses, Stefan
“In Encounters with Peggy Guggenheim, renowned photographer Stefan Moses reveals his collection of photographs of Peggy, taken between 1969 and 1974, many of which have never been seen before. Striking, eccentric, and dramatic, Moses photographed Peggy in her favorite places around Venice, as well as in her private palazzo at Canal Grande. An inspiration for art-, photography- and fashion-lovers alike, take a behind-the-scenes look at of one of the world’s most eccentric and inspirational women.” (Catalogue)

The Beat scene / Glinn, Burt
“Featuring a remarkable collection of largely unseen photographs of the ‘Beat Generation’ by renowned Magnum photographer Burt Glinn, these photographs manage to capture the raw energy of a generation in a way that has never been seen before in print. Shot between 1957 and 1960 in New York and San Francisco, the images feature nearly everyone involved in the scene, including Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, poets like Gregory Corso and William Morris, and many more.” (Adapted Syndetics Review)

Double take : the world’s most iconic photographs meticulously re-created in miniature / Cortis, Jojakim
Double Take presents forty astonishingly accurate reconstructions of iconic photographs–ranging from the earliest known to the world’s most expensive. These images have been painstakingly re-created in miniature by two photographers, Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Victorian giants : the birth of art photography : Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Clementina Hawarden, Oscar Rejlander / Prodger, Philip
“Bringing together the works of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography, Lewis Carroll (1832-98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79), Oscar Rejlander (1813-75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65), these four artists would come to embody the very best in photography of the Victorian era. Featuring striking portraits of sitters such as Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Thomas Carlyle and Lord Tennyson.” (Adapted Syndetics Review)

Latest Looks: November Fashion and Beauty

Leopard book cover

This month we have the exciting and much-awaited memoir by New York’s iconic Bill Cunningham, and it’s such a great read! Other new items include an illustrated style guide and a recipe book for beauty and hair products made from natural ingredients you already have at home. There’s also an up-close look at timeless leopard print – roar!

Fashion climbing / Cunningham, William J
“For Bill Cunningham, New York City was the land of freedom, glamour, and, above all, style. Growing up in a lace-curtain Irish suburb of Boston, secretly trying on his sister’s dresses and spending his evenings after school in the city’s chicest boutiques, Bill dreamed of a life dedicated to fashion. Fashion Climbing is the story of a young man striving to be the person he was born to be: a true original. Written with his infectious joy and one-of-a-kind voice, this memoir was polished, neatly typewritten, and safely stored away in his lifetime. He held off on sharing it–and himself–until his passing. Between these covers, is an education in style, an effervescent tale of a bohemian world as it once was, and a final gift to the readers of one of New York’s great characters.” (adapted from catalogue)

How to dress : secret styling tips from a fashion insider / Fullerton, Alexandra
“The perfect book for anyone who wants to know the secrets to always looking stylish with minimal effort. Alex encourages readers to get to know their style icons alongside streamlining their own style and outlines the central capsule wardrobe which can be edited to suit each individual personal preference. This book will be an indispensable guide to creating your own style and making sure you never look at your wardrobe and think ‘I have nothing to wear’ again.” (adapted from catalogue)

Skin food : natural skin & hair care treatments / Thompson, Sophie
“When it comes to our skin, nature knows how to soothe, smooth, hydrate, refresh, tone and feed us. Sister & Co teaches that you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive beauty products to feed your skin. All you need is a few ingredients that are available in your local supermarket and the alchemy can begin! Skin Food features 70 nourishing recipes which show you how to make luxurious skincare products from scratch, so you can fill those beautiful glass pots sitting in your bathroom with incredible scrubs, butters and salts.” (adapted from catalogue)

Betak : fashion show revolution.
“The New York Times describes Alexandre de Betak as ‘the Fellini of fashion and the Cecil B. DeMille of the runways’. For 25 years, Betak has produced many of the fashion world’s most memorable shows and events for brands as diverse as Dior and Victoria’s Secret. This stunning, lavishly produced volume celebrates his career via set and show photography, as well as hundreds of unpublished behind-the-scenes images. Structured thematically to bring readers inside Betak’s creative process, the book provides unrivalled insight into how fashion becomes art as well as commerce.” (Catalogue)

Leopard : Fashion’s Most Powerful Print / Alexander, Hilary
“Explore the enduring appeal of fashion’s most powerful print in the definitive collection of all things leopard. From the catwalk to covers, Saint Laurent to Celine, rock stars to First Ladies, Leopard includes the most iconic and arresting images of leopard print. With a foreword by the biggest advocate of the print, Donatella Versace, Leopard is a must-have for leopard print aficionados and a valuable resource for fashion designers and stylists.” (Catalogue)

Gilessølvekatie / Sundsbø, Sølve
“Giles Deacon specializes in modern couture and dressing the industry’s top players. Before setting up his own label, GILES, in 2004, Deacon was head of design at Bottega Veneta and Gucci. Katie Grand is one of the world’s most influential stylists and fashion editors. Solve Sundsbo is a fashion photographer and filmmaker, respected for his otherworldly concepts and stylistic versatility.” (Catalogue)