New home, garden and DIY picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Calm and Carry On: New art books

Bomberg

In our most recent art picks we invite you to “keep calm and carry on” appreciating art. Whether your interests lie in 20th century artists such as David Bomberg and Mark Dion, instructional books, recounts of the influences of art or evolutionary tales of Manga through comics, cartoons and animation, or a WW2 slogan, we have quite the selection for you.

Book Jacket for: Keep calm and carry on : the truth behind the posterKeep calm and carry on : the truth behind the poster / Lewis, Bex
“‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has become one of the most recognizable slogans of the twenty-first century. But where is it from and why has it resonated so strongly with the modern British public? This book reveals the truth behind the now infamous poster, tracing its origins to the Second World War, when it was created to allay public panic in the event of a German invasion. Later seized upon as an encouragement in the economic crisis, ‘Keep Calm’ went on to become arguably the most successful meme in history.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Draw your weaponsDraw your weapons / Sentilles, Sarah
“A literary collage with hope at its core, Sentilles tells the true stories of Howard, a conscientious objector during World War II, and Miles, a former prison guard at Abu Ghraib, and in the process she challenges conventional thinking about how war is waged, witnessed, and resisted. The pacifist and the soldier both create art in response to war. Asking questions such as, what impact can one person have? And how should we respond to violence when it feels like it can’t be stopped?” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: BombergBomberg / MacDougall, Sarah
“This monograph on the influential 20th-century British artist David Bomberg (1890-1957) accompanies a major new exhibition curated by the authors. A comprehensive account, providing an informed and accessible overview of Bomberg’s career and achievements, combining a biographical narrative with an analytical and interpretative approach. Including new material relating to Bomberg’s Jewish background and sumptuous illustrations.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Mangasia : the definitive guide to Asian comicsMangasia : the definitive guide to Asian comics / Gravett, Paul
“An exhaustive and visually engaging account, Mangasia charts the evolution of manga from its roots in late nineteenth-century Japan through the many and varied forms of comics, cartoons and animation created throughout Asia for more than one hundred years. With infographics, maps, timelines, and reproductions from all across Asia, this book is the first to explain the significance of key themes, the meanings of embodied myths and the connections between various manga traditions.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: In celebration of Cecil Collins : visionary artist and educatorIn celebration of Cecil Collins : visionary artist and educator
“Cecil Collins is arguably one of the greatest English visionary artists since Blake and Palmer. With emblematic figures such as the Fool, and the Sibyl in extraordinary landscapes, Collins portrayed an original and inspiring philosophy of life. Recognized as belonging to the Neo-Romantic movement of poetical art, his dedication to depicting his mystic understanding made his work highly distinctive.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Mark Dion : misadventures of a 21st-century naturalistMark Dion : misadventures of a 21st-century naturalist / Erickson, Ruth
“Part of a generation of artists expanding institutional critique in the 1990s, Dion adopted the methods of the archaeologist or the natural history museum, juxtaposing natural objects, taxidermy, books, and more to reorganize the natural and the manmade in poetic, witty ways. Generously illustrated, this publication introduces new insights and features more than seventy-five artworks.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Ann Blockley's watercolour workshop : projects and interpretations.Ann Blockley’s watercolour workshop : projects and interpretations./ Blockley, A 
“Artist Ann Blockley is renowned for her innovative approach to watercolour painting. Her highly anticipated new book provides a series of workshops demonstrating how to push the boundaries of watercolour, using key techniques to develop your own work and take your paintings to the next level. Her beautiful and inspirational artworks demonstrate how different interpretations of a subject might take an unexpected or unusual direction, and how to make the most of these opportunities.” (Adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Book Jacket for: Wanted : the search for the modernist murals of E. Mervyn TaylorWanted : the search for the modernist murals of E. Mervyn Taylor
“The detective hunt for some of this country’s most important and beautiful murals. Mervyn Taylor was one of the most celebrated New Zealand artists of the 1930s to 1960s. He was highly connected to modernism and nationalism as it was expressed in the New Zealand art and literature of the period. This fascinating and beautiful book, bursting with archival material, details the detective hunt for his murals and tells the stories of their creation.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: The art of buying art : how to evaluate and buy art like a professional collectorThe art of buying art : how to evaluate and buy art like a professional collector / Bamberger, Alan S.
“This classic, since its original publication in 1990, has been revised to bring it completely up to date and make it internationally relevant. It now includes information on the internet (researching and buying directly from artists), global art fairs and the contemporary art world. Without a doubt the best and most readily understandable book on how to buy, sell, price, evaluate, appraise and collect artworks for any art buyer, not just collectors no previous knowledge of art or the art business is necessary.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Living the life more fabulous: New fashion and beauty books

1930s Fashion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ways of looking: Recent beliefs picks

2018’s first beliefs list includes discussions on the latest scientific research on wellbeing and spiritual activities, how NZ has been shaped by church, and a comparison on Buddhism and western psychotherapy.

Syndetics book coverEinstein and the rabbi : searching for the soul, by Naomi Levy.
The great Einstein once wrote to distressed rabbi Robert S. Marcus, a decorated battlefield chaplain in WWII, when his 11 year old son died. Rabbi Levy enters this intense human drama that draws on her own experience when she suddenly felt the spiritual presence of her murdered father beside her, guiding her. This is the story of an inspiring journey of discovery.

Syndetics book coverSeven ways of looking at religion : the major narratives, by Benjamin Schewel.
Schewel organizes and evaluates the main narratives of religious history which have been used by scholars and argues that debates can be viewed according to seven central themes: subtraction, renewal, transsecular, postnaturalist, construct, perennial, and developmental. Examining the basic logic, insights, and limitations of each of these narratives, Schewel offers an original philosophical perspective on religion today.

Syndetics book coverUncomfortable : the awkward and essential challenge of Christian community, by Brett McCracken.
The modern trend of Christians shopping around for a church to fit their needs is under McCracken’s microscope. “What if the biblical approach is actually that we should fit ourselves into the life and mission of the local church, adapting ourselves to the family and filling gaps where needed?” he writes. Each chapter tackles a different topic with suggestions about how to let go of personal preferences in light of Biblical teaching.

Syndetics book coverScience and spiritual practices, by Rupert Sheldrake.
Many recent studies have shown that religious and spiritual practices generally make people happier and healthier. Sheldrake summarizes the latest scientific research on what happens when we take part in these practices – Meditation – Gratitude – Connecting with nature – Relating to plants – Rituals – Singing and chanting – Pilgrimage and holy places. This is a book for anyone who has a sneaking suspicion that in the drive towards all-pervading secularism, something valuable has been left behind.

Syndetics book coverAdvice not given : a guide to getting over yourself, by Mark Epstein.
Epstein reveals how Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, two different traditions that developed in entirely different times, both identify the ego as the limiting factor in our well-being. Our ego claims to have our best interests at heart, but its consuming pursuit for attention, sabotage our true goals and cause suffering. When we release it, we are free.

Syndetics book coverThe rise and fall of Adam and Eve, Stephen Greenblatt.
Drawing on recent archaeological discoveries, Greenblatt compares the powerful Genesis narrative to the ancient Gilgamesh legend and recent discoveries Nag Hammadi, Egypt. He tracks the way they have acted as creative muses and catalysts over the centuries – a psalm of creation and a powerful dark allegory of accountability and pain at the same time. This story remains a signpost, not for an explanation of the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with primal challenges that continue to fascinate.

Syndetics book coverSunday best : how the church shaped New Zealand and New Zealand shaped the church, by Peter Lineham.
The inter-relationship of church and society has been complex from the early arrival of the missionaries. Historian Peter Lineham asks: If faiths aimed to influence the development of New Zealand society, how did NZ change those faiths? Who shaped whom?

Syndetics book coverJudgment detox : release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life, by Gabrielle Bernstein.
Motivational speaker Bernstein shares a 6 step process to release the judgmental beliefs that hold you back from living a better life. Pettiness disappears in the face of renewed priorities, freedom and compassion. But it does take commitment to healing.

Syndetics book coverWhat the Qurʼan meant and why it matters, by Garry Wills.
Pulitzer Prize-winning religious scholar Wills draws on his background as a devout Catholic and historian as he presents his unique understanding of what the Qur’an says, relying on commentaries rather than an in-depth knowledge of Arabic language or culture. He identified the social and political barriers that he and other American non-Muslims will have to address, before expounding on various aspects including Islamic prophets, caring for the community, Jihad, Sharia, and women and the veil. This is an encouragement to follow the author in reading further.

Paris, thrifting and a Haircult: New fashion & beauty books

Paris and Scandinavia are on the fashion itinerary this week, as well as a world atlas of street style! We have a nifty new guide to thrift shopping, a browse through some questionable fashion choices and a look at the all important Ladies’ Haircult.

Syndetics book coverParis : through a fashion eye / Megan Hess.
“In the second of her series of books on classic fashion destinations, Megan Hess takes you on a super stylish adventure through the French capital, showing you the best places for a fashionista to eat, sleep, shop and play – all illustrated in her inimitable, elegant style. Megan’s tour reveals where fashion icons such as Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfield, Chistian Dior and Louis-Francois Cartier worked and played, the top restaurants, hotels, boutiques and sites to visit, as well as Megan’s own personal favorite places to shop. This is a must-have insider’s guide to Paris for any fashion lover or Francophile.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverItems : Is Fashion Modern?
“An encyclopaedic selection of 111 garments, footwear, and accessories – from humble masterpieces to high fashion – that have had a strong impact on society in the 20th and 21st centuries and continue to hold currency today. Published to accompany the first major exhibition on fashion design at The Museum of Modern Art since 1944, Items: Is Fashion Modern? presents 111 iconic garments, footwear and accessories that have strongly influenced society in the 20th and 21st- centuries and continue to hold currency today.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe World Atlas of Street Fashion
“An extensively researched and generously illustrated volume offering a striking and diverse portrait of street style in cities and cultures around the world. Through its extensive research, striking photography, and handsome design, World Atlas of Street Fashion is the essential resource on world street style.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Syndetics book coverThriftstyle : the ultimate bargain shopper’s guide to smart fashion / Allison Engel, Reise Moore and Margaret Engel ; photographs by Roger Snider.
“Shoppers will learn to navigate the racks of their local consignment shop, spot name brands like Versace, Dior, and Burberry, select the best quality items, and repair secondhand clothes that need some love. Photo-filled chapters on thrifted handbags, jewelry, scarves, and other accessories show what’s available and give tips for distinguishing quality items from fakes. Interviews with expert tailors, dry cleaners, shoe repair wizards, and fabric-dyeing professionals explain what makes a damaged piece of clothing worth renovating. Before-and-after photos show what can be done to refashion less-than-perfect finds.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI actually wore this : clothes we can’t believe we bought / written by Tom Coleman ; photography by Jerome Jakubiec.
“In everyone’s closet, there is one article of clothing that truly demonstrates a momentary lapse in fashion judgment. I Actually Wore This is the first book to celebrate these fashion blunders and lets us in on how and why they happened: the purple velour jumpsuit that was supposed to make you look dangerous, the Baron von Trapp-ish Tyrolean jacket that seemed like a good idea after six beers in Munich, and the cocktail napkin-sized swimsuit. Each of these cringe-inducing items somehow managed to find its way into the wardrobe of a typically fashionable person, and the authors are here to tell you how that happened.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDress Scandinavian / Pernille Teisbæk.
“In her gorgeous first book Pernille offers professional tips on how to create a minimalist wardrobe and look, mix and match patterns successfully, adopt androgynous looks or new colour combinations, try out new materials and mix fabrics, plus plenty of timeless fashion advice such as a jeans-fit guide and essential Dos and Don’ts. Her beauty chapter reveals Pernille’s capsule survival kit and how to achieve her natural look. Pernille also covers pared-back Scandinavian home design with an eye on balancing elegant simplicity and minimalism with inviting homeliness and warmth, or hygge, and inspirational pictures. A perfect gift for all Scandi lovers and anyone wanting insider advice from one of fashion’s most stylish experts.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLadies’ haircult : women’s hairstyles and culture from 1920 to 1980 for all-time pin-ups, bohemians, princesses and bad girls / Giulia Pivetta ; illustrated by Matteo Guarnaccia.
“Women’s hairstyles have changed dramatically over the past century. Charting the progression from styles dictated by fashion and tradition towards more unique and individualized looks, this book explores how the history of women’s hair in the west corresponds with their liberation over the course of the 1900s. The volume closes with a section dedicated to the most famous hairstylists and salons de coiffeur, past and present.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Chanel, Shoes and Fairytales – Fashion picks for August

Immerse yourself in fashion with our new picks for August – we have shiny new volumes on Chanel, shoes and fairytales, as well as an in-depth look at how the Second World War shaped and influenced women’s fashion.

Syndetics book coverChanel catwalk : the complete Karl Lagerfeld collections / introductionby Patrick Mauriès.
“Ever since his first show for the house in 1983, Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collections have consistently made headlines and dictated trends the world over. For the first time, every Chanel collection ever created by Lagerfeld is here gathered in a single volume – a unique opportunity to chart the development of one of the world’s most influential fashion brands and discover rarely seen collections. A treasure trove of inspiration, this richly illustrated publication will be the must-have reference for all fashion professionals and Chanel obsessives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion on the ration : style in the Second World War / Julie Summers ; in partnership with Imperial War Museums.
“In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: ‘Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.’ And, she continued, ‘Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.’For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity – and one they weren’t going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. As a nation went into uniform and women took on traditional male roles, clothing and beauty began to reflect changing social attitudes. For the first time, fashion was influenced not only by Hollywood and high society but by the demands of industrial production and the pressing need to ‘make-do-and-mend’. Beautifully illustrated and full of gorgeous detail, Fashion on the Ration lifts the veil on a fascinating era in British fashion.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMoreschi : the Italian art of shoemaking : works of art in leather / edited by Christina Morozzi ; text, Christina Morozzi.
“An exclusive look inside the world of Moreschi, one of the world’s most prestigious shoemakers. Moreschi is renowned for its exacting standards and unique style, and for producing each and every pair on-site, from the arrival of the leather to boxing and dispatching to stores. The art of shoemaking is detailed throughout this richly illustrated book. Through conversations with the founder, the artisans’ memories, and pictures of dozens of the factory’s creations, a story unfolds that confirms the vast heritage of artisan culture that lies behind Italian production.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFairy tale fashion / Colleen Hill.
“Dress plays a crucial role in fairy tales, signalling the status, wealth, or vanity of particular characters, and symbolizing their transformation. This is the first book to examine the history, significance, and imagery of classic fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. A comprehensive introduction to the topic of fairy tales and dress is followed by a series of short essays on thirteen stories. Generously illustrated, these stories are creatively and imaginatively linked to examples of clothing by Comme des Garc¸ons, Dolce and Gabbana, Charles James, and Alexander McQueen, among many others.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmart textiles for designers : inventing the future of fabrics / Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman.
“Smart Textiles for Designers introduces the different qualities and properties that can be embedded in, integrated with, and applied to fabrics, and looks at the different contexts in which these smart textiles can be used. A survey of specific fabrics grouped by properties provides a core reference section and a palette for the designer to work from. The book also examines five different design approaches and features interviews with leading designer and design teams, showing their processes and working methods. The first book to look at smart textiles through the eyes of a designer, this is both a core reference work and an inspirational guide for students and professionals alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSublime elegance : the timeless charm of evening gowns / text by Maria Maccari.
“These evening gowns made history–influencing the worlds of fashion, entertainment, and contemporary culture. Splendid images capture the rich detail of the fabrics and the evolution of styles and trends in women’s formal wear. These sublimely elegant dresses electrified the spectators at leading fashion shows and glittered at celebrity events. Organized by fabric color, these gowns will take readers on a kaleidoscopic journey into haute couture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of dressing curves : the best-kept secrets of a fashion stylist / Susan Moses with Jelani Bandele ; foreword by Emme.
“The Art of Dressing Curves gives plus-size women the confidence and know-how to dress beautifully for their particular body shape. From foundation garments to wardrobe essentials to hair and makeup, Susan dispenses advice on every aspect of dressing well for one’s shape, size, and personality, insight supplemented by a wealth of elegant editorial photographs, anecdotes, tips, and sidebars, as well as lists of specialty retailers, designers, and websites that cater to plus-size.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Religious reading : latest arrivals

August’s listed books are quite a mixed bunch, across a range of religions. However, they invite the reader to challenge their misconceptions, and look below the surface to think more deeply about our beliefs and moral decisions.

Syndetics book coverThe faith of Christopher Hitchens : the restless soul of the world’s most notorious atheist, by Larry Alex Taunton.
“Hitchens was a man of many contradictions: a Marxist in youth who longed for acceptance among the social elites; a peacenik who revered the military; a champion of the Left who was nonetheless pro-life, pro-war-on-terror, and after 9/11 something of a neocon; and while he railed against God on stage, he maintained meaningful – though largely hidden from public view – friendships with evangelical Christians like Francis Collins, Douglas Wilson, and the author Larry Alex Taunton…. Taunton traces Hitchens’s spiritual and intellectual development from his decision as a teenager to reject belief in God to his rise to prominence as one of the so-called “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheism.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIslam evolving : radicalism, reformation, and the uneasy relationship with the secular West, by Taner Edis.
“How is Islam adapting to the rapid changes of the 21st century? Despite political unrest and terrorism, the author argues that many Muslim societies are successfully developing their own versions of modern life. In contrast to the secular liberal model that prevails in the West, Islam is demonstrating alternative ways to be modern while maintaining a distinctly Muslim worldview. Professor Edis, an American physicist with a secular viewpoint who was raised in Turkey, is uniquely qualified to evaluate the interplay of modern trends and Islamic values. He devotes separate chapters to prominent examples of what he calls Islam’s “pious modernity.” … This balanced overview of Islam’s relationship with the modern world will be of interest to open-minded readers in both the West and the East.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBreak the norms : questioning everything you think you know about God and truth, life and death, love and sex, by Chandresh Bhardwaj.
“Have you ever felt like you’re living out a script written for you by others–in your work, your relationships, or spirituality? “To break through the norms we’ve been conditioned to believe is an act of rebellion,” writes Chandresh Bhardwaj. “We must be prepared to be brutally honest. We must overturn our assumptions and unlearn our suffering. We must be willing to discover our real reasons for being alive….Authenticity is inherent each of our souls. When we start to be authentic, we start to get back in touch with our divine source.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhy be Jewish? : a testament, by Edgar M. Bronfman.
Completed just weeks before the author’s death, this charts his respect and love for his Jewish faith. This is a personal journey and walk through the main ideas and beliefs, explaining meanings and traditions gathered over a lifetime of study. He explains that even secular Judaism is still immersed in moral values derived from the ancient texts.

Syndetics book coverQueer virtue : what LGBTQ people know about life and love and how it can revitalize Christianity, by Reverend Elizabeth M. Edman.
“Christianity, at its scriptural core, incessantly challenges its adherents to rupture false binaries, to “queer” lines that pit people against one another. Thus, Edman asserts that Christianity, far from being hostile to queer people, is itself inherently queer. Arguing from the heart of scripture, she reveals how queering Christianity – that is, disrupting simplistic ways of thinking about self and other – can illuminate contemporary Christian faith. Pushing well past the notion that “Christian love = tolerance,” Edman offers a bold alternative: the recognition that queer people can help Christians better understand their fundamental calling and the creation of sacred space where LGBTQ Christians are seen as gifts to the church.” (Drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgnostic : a spirited manifesto, by Lesley Hazleton.
“Hazleton gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking,” and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Stepping over the lines imposed by rigid conviction, she draws on philosophy, theology, psychology, science, and more to explore, with curiosity and passion, the vital role of mystery in a deceptively information-rich world; to ask what we mean by the search for meaning; to invoke the humbling yet elating perspective of infinity; to challenge received ideas about death; and to reconsider what “the soul” might be.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhen awareness becomes natural : a guide to cultivating mindfulness in daily life, by Sayadaw U Tejaniya ; edited by Robert French ; foreword by Steven Armstrong.
“Meditation is great – but it’s not what Buddhist practice is all about. That’s the message of this engaging and funny Burmese Buddhist monk, and it’s a message that is finding a significant following among Westerners in the Insight Meditation tradition. Sayadaw U Tejaniya teaches how to bring awareness to any sort of activity in order to discover deep insight and liberation from suffering. It works in sitting meditation, but it works just as well when sorting the laundry or doing data entry. “My teachings are nothing new,” he says. “They are, as always, based on the four foundations of mindfulness: awareness of the body, awareness of feelings and sensations, awareness of mind, and understanding of dhamma or nature, i.e., mind and matter.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTears to triumph : the spiritual journey from suffering to enlightenment, by Marianne Williamson.
“The internationally recognized teacher, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of A Return to Love argues that our desire to avoid pain is actually detrimental to our lives, disconnecting us from our deepest emotions and preventing true healing and spiritual transcendence. Marianne Williamson is a bestselling author, world-renowned teacher, and one of the most important spiritual voices of our time. In Tears to Triumph, she argues that we – as a culture and as individuals – have learned to avoid facing pain. By doing so, we are neglecting the spiritual work of healing” (drawn from the publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverRuthless : Scientology, my son David Miscavige, and me, by Ron Miscavige, with Dan Koon.
“The only book to examine the origins of Scientology’s current leader, RUTHLESS tells the revealing story of David Miscavige’s childhood and his path to the head seat of the Church of Scientology told through the eyes of his father. Ron Miscavige’s personal, heartfelt story is a riveting insider’s look at life within the world of Scientology.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover30-second religion : the 50 most thought-provoking religious beliefs, each explained in half a minute, editor, Russell Re Manning ; contributors, Richard Bartholomew…[et al.]
As the title explains, this is not an in-depth study. It is designed to be a quick intro to the main beliefs and history of the major religions from around the world, allowing easy comparison across their main tenets, beliefs and practices, which can be an aid to further research.

Story in Science : latest picks

Scientific writing can take many forms, and these latest arrivals to the collection are evidence of a happy marriage of science and story-telling. Muse on personal stories behind big inventions, the biographies of three very different scientists, or the challenge of explaining complex stuff using only the 1,000 most popular words in our language.

Syndetics book coverHouston, we have a narrative : why science needs story, by Randy Olson.
“Hollywood has a lot to teach scientists about how to tell a story – and, ultimately, how to do science better.” In this book Olson sketches out a blueprint to turn the dull into the dramatic. He first outlines the problem that when scientists tell us about their work, they pile one detail on top of another. But they need to understand the core of narrative – momentum (“And”), conflict (“But”), and resolution (“Therefore”) (or ABT). Taking this approach, audiences sit enthralled for hours (watching TED talks on youtube?).

Syndetics book coverThe invention of science : a new history of the scientific revolution, by David Wootton.
We live in a world made by science. How and when did this happen? This book tells the story of the extraordinary intellectual and cultural revolution that gave birth to modern science, and mounts a major challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy of its history. … “[this] is a truly remarkable piece of scholarship. His work has an ingenious and innovative linguistic foundation, examining the invention and redefinition of words as tracers of a new understanding of nature and how to approach it. His erudition is awesome, and his argument is convincing.” Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University.

Syndetics book coverThe human side of science : Edison and Tesla, Watson and Crick, and other personal stories behind science’s big ideas, by Arthur W. Wiggins and Charles M. Wynn Sr. ; with cartoon commentary by Sidney Harris.
“”This lively and humorous book focuses attention on the fact that science is a human enterprise. The reader learns about the foibles and quirks as well as the admirable ingenuity and impressive accomplishments of famous scientists who made some of the greatest discoveries of the past and present. Examples abound: Robert Hooke accused Isaac Newton of stealing his ideas about optics. Plato declared that the works of Democritus should be burned. …book takes the reader behind the scenes of scientific research to shine new light on the all-too-human people who “do” science.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPenguins, pineapples & pangolins : first encounters with the exotic, by Claire Cock-Starkey.
Can you remember the first time you saw an elephant? In these modern times every child has seen a video clip, or a photo at the very least, of far away animals or plants. But, if we travel back in time a few hundred years, to the age of exploration or before trades routes became more frequented, people were discovering new animals, food or other cultures for the first very first time – with absolutely no frame of reference. Based on stories gleaned from the British Library archives, this new book reflects the awe and wonder these fresh encounters.

Syndetics book coverThe man who knew infinity : a life of the genius Ramanujan, by Robert Kanigel.
“In 1913, a young unschooled Indian clerk wrote a letter to G H Hardy, begging the preeminent English mathematician’s opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Realizing the letter was the work of a genius, Hardy arranged for Srinivasa Ramanujan to come to England. Thus began one of the most improbable and productive collaborations ever chronicled. With a passion for rich and evocative detail, Robert Kanigel takes us from the temples and slums of Madras to the courts and chapels of Cambridge University, where the devout Hindu Ramanujan, “the Prince of Intuition,” tested his brilliant theories alongside the sophisticated and eccentric Hardy, “the Apostle of Proof.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProf : Alan Turing decoded : a biography, by Dermot Turing.
If you enjoyed the Imitation Game, dip into this biography of Alan Turing by his nephew, Sir Dermot Turing. We meet him in the film as mathematician, codebreaker, computer scientist, and as a war hero underestimated and mistreated by his own country. This is a fresh look at the influences on Alan Turing’s life and creativity, and the later creation of a legend. This is a unique family perspective drawing on sources only recently released to the UK National Archives, including photos.

Syndetics book coverA numerate life : a mathematician explores the vagaries of life, his own and probably yours, by John Allen Paulos.
“In this fluid and varied memoir, Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University, calls into question the accuracy of the stories people craft about others’ lives and their own. From a mathematical standpoint, he tackles subjects such as the deceptiveness of the concept of normal, the nuances that exist within one’s sense of self, and the inevitability of encountering coincidences. Delving into psychology, philosophy, statistics, and logic, Paulos reveals the far-reaching applications of mathematical thought in people’s lives as well as how they record and remember past events. Rather than adopting the pointed structure of a persuasive essay, Paulos chases down tangents and relates his own experiences, with nostalgia.” (drawn from Publishers Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThing explainer : complicated stuff in simple words, by Randall Munroe.
Randall Munroe has set himself a tricky task – to explain things using only drawings and a vocabulary of only our 1,000 most common words. Yes, that’s right, only 1,000. So although it fits into the ‘How do things work?’ answers reading shelf, this approach is worth reading for his choices of words and language. If you’ve ever had to explain how a micro-wave really works to a young child, then you’ll recognise the book’s value.

Syndetics book coverServing the Reich : the struggle for the soul of physics under Hitler, by Philip Ball.
Many scientists had to make compromises and concessions as they continued to work under the Nazi regime, such as world-renowned physicists Max Planck, Peter Debye and Werner Heisenberg. This is a tale of moral choices – the dilemmas, the failures, the interference in their work, questions of responsibility and three very human stories of people struggling to navigate living in a very different world than they imagined.

Syndetics book coverA survival guide to the misinformation age : scientific habits of mind, by David J. Helfand.
“We live in the Information Age, with billions of bytes of data just two swipes away. Yet how much of this is mis- or even disinformation? A lot of it is, and your search engine can’t tell the difference. As a result, an avalanche of misinformation threatens to overwhelm the discourse we so desperately need to address complex social problems such as climate change, the food and water crises, biodiversity collapse, and emerging threats to public health. This book provides an inoculation against the misinformation epidemic by cultivating scientific habits of mind. Anyone can do it – indeed, everyone must do it if our species is to survive on this crowded and finite planet.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secret life of space, by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest.
The authors share stories that Stonehenge was built to celebrate the winter solstice rather than the summer, the telescope was not invented by Galileo, Einstein did not predict the presence of black holes or the Big Bang. Read about the sanitary engineer who found evidence of life on Mars, and other little known scientific heroes.

Passwords to Paradise : Beliefs books

A fascinating and detailed work on the influence of language and linguistics on the development of religions across the ages is featured in this month’s latest arrivals together with a thoughtful treatment on globalisation by Miroslav Volf.

Syndetics book coverLife’s too short to pretend you’re not religious, by David Dark.
Religion is often a forbidden topic in conversation. Some prefer the word “spirituality” which doesn’t have quite the same association with ritual, self-righteousness, or hypocrisy. But religion includes the stories that make up a person’s values and beliefs. Dark illuminates how thoughts are handed down to us, what we judge to be essential, and argues a convincing case for religion’s place in modern society.

Syndetics book coverFlourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World, by Miroslav Volf.
In this perceptive and thoughtful book, a leading theologian discusses how world religions and globalization have interacted across the centuries, but what ought their relationship to be? How do we judge globalization – how well it enables us to live out our authentic humanity? Despite their flaws, religions remain one of our most powerful sources of moral motivation and renewal. The ongoing process of reform in religions needs to shape globalization to encourage people to flourish at every level.

Syndetics book coverPasswords to paradise : how languages have re-invented world religions, by Nicholas Oster.
“Ostler (The Last Lingua Franca) roams across several millennia of world history and delves into precise linguistic shifts looking for clues to how the “missionary religions” of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam have been affected by the new language communities they entered. [He demonstrates how] they may have been altered not only by the imperfect art of translation but by their social, political, and military contexts. … For those fascinated by linguistic transitions, this impressive study is a feast. (drawn from Publisher’s Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPutting God second : how to save religion from itself, by Rabbi Donniel Hartman.
“Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life’s vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards?” He observes that the primary focus of a relationship with God can distract religious believers from their own traditions’ ethics. So he argues that decency toward one’s neighbour must always take priority over acts of religious devotion.

Syndetics book coverThe surrender experiment : my journey into life’s perfection, Michael A. Singer.
Shares stories from the author’s pursuit of enlightenment, from his years as a hippie introvert and successes as a computer engineer through his work in humanitarian efforts, counseling readers on how to navigate confusing aspects in the spiritual journey, with lessons on how to put aside conflicting beliefs, let go of worries, and transform misdirected desires. Singer provides a road map to a new way of living not in the moment, but to exist in a state of perpetual happiness.

Syndetics book coverPagan planet : being, believing & belonging in the 21st century, edited by Nimue Brown.
“What does it mean to live as a Pagan in this uncertain world of climate change, economic hardship and worldwide social injustice? What does it mean to hold nature as sacred when ravaging the land is commonplace? How do we live our Paganism in our families and homes, our communities and countries? Pagans are stepping up in all kinds of ways. … This is a book of grass-roots energy, of walking your talk and the tales of people who are, by a vast array of means, engaged with being the change they wish to see in the world.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverThe heaven promise : engaging the Bible’s truth about life to come, by Scot McKnight.
“Heaven. Eternity. The Afterlife. Mention any of these concepts, and people of all ages and from all walks of life are certain to have opinions. Maybe that’s why there are so many books and movies that feature heaven-and-back experiences. …. Separating fact from fiction, McKnight helps the reader examine the over-arching story of scripture in order to discover what awaits us. Heaven isn’t the construction of a fairy-tale or some mythical narrative. It’s …the fulfilment of God’s promise to us.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBrand Luther : 1517, printing, and the making of the Reformation, by Andrew Pettegree.
“Pettegree illustrates Luther’s great gifts not simply as a theologian, but … as the world’s first mass-media figure, its first brand. He recognized the power of pamphlets, written in the colloquial German of everyday people, to win the battle of ideas. … Luther had a partner in the form of artist and businessman Lucas Cranach, who together with Wittenberg’s printers created the distinctive look of Luther’s pamphlets. Together, Luther and Cranach created a product that spread like wildfire.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Emmaus code : finding Jesus in the Old Testament, by David Limbaugh.
This made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2015. Limbaugh takes as his starting point a meeting between Jesus and two travellers where the former began discussing “Moses and all the prophets” to explain to them what was already in the (OT) Scriptures about himself. The reader is taken on a journey through all 39 OT books to reveal Jesus Christ and God’s meta-narrative.

Syndetics book coverShi’i Islam : a beginner’s guide, by Moojan Momen.
“Provides readers with an accessible and insightful introduction to the Shi’i branch of Islam, from its beginnings after the death of the Prophet Muhammad through to the present day. As well as providing a historical overview, the book also introduces readers to Shi’i doctrines and practices, explains the key differences between the Shi’i and Sunni branches of Islam, and addresses the role and position of women within Shi’i communities.” (drawn from publisher’s description)

New CDs for March

Exciting new CDs feature from the up-and-coming talents such as Savages and Grimes to the rock legend Neil Young. The Roy Orbison’s 13 CDs-set has been added to our extensive box set collection. Fantastic new music keeps coming. Check them out here, and reserve the items you like.

B016Z8K7US_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_Savages – Adore life
“Savages’ second album Adore Life was recorded in RAK Studios, London in April 2015. Johnny Hostile was the producer and Richard Woodcraft the engineer. Anders Trentemoller took care of the mixing in Copenhagen. All songs were written and played by Savages – Ayşe Hassan (bass), Fay Milton (drums), Gemma Thompson (guitar), Jehnny Beth (vocals). Lyrics by Jehnny Beth.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageGrimes – Art angels
“Grimes already defied easy classification on Visions, a collection of dreamy electronic collages that resembled pop just enough to make it one of 2012’s most acclaimed albums. When she returned three years later with Art Angels, her music was even more paradoxical; Claire Boucher’s fourth album is wilder, more ambitious, and — at least on the surface — more accessible than her breakthrough.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

cover imageTindersticks – The waiting room
“Tindersticks release their new album ‘The Waiting Room,’ a milestone not just numerically, but musically and creatively. Their first studio album since 2012’s critically acclaimed ‘The Something Rain’ (9/10 DiS, 8.1 pitchfork, 8/10 the Quietus, 8/10 DIY, 4/5 Guardian, 4/5 Independent on Sunday, 4/5 Uncut, 4/5 Q, 4/5 Observer) is the most ambitious, diverse and elaborate album you’ll have heard from Tindersticks in recent years. 2 decades into their musical voyage Tindersticks, established masters of restraint and poetic human emotion, are a band now confidently making the best songs of their career.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageMegadeth – Dystopia
“Dystopia, the 15th studio album by metal legends Megadeth, is mostly an aggressive return to thrash. Written over nearly two years, the band recorded 14 songs for the set, but included 11 on the standard edition.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageNeil Young – Bluenote Café
“Neil Young has announced that the latest Performance Series release from the Neil Young Archives is Bluenote Café. The album collects various performances captured during Neil’s 1988 tour. This superb live 2-CD set documents one of Young’s most funky and heartfelt periods and features seven unreleased songs: “Soul of a Woman,” “Bad News Comes to Town,” Ain’t it the Truth,” “I’m Goin’,” “Crime of the Heart,” “Doghouse,” “Fool for Your Love,” and a searing 19+ minute version of the immortal “Tonight’s the Night” from The Pier in New York City.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageMiguel – Wildheart
“•A complete anthology of Miguel’s featured appearances released — or disseminated, as the freaky wordplay lover might call it — between Kaleidoscope Dream and this would be assorted, to say the least. It would include appearances on a crop of major R&B and rap songs, a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” and a highlight turn on Hudson Mohawke’s Lantern. A few of the extracurricular moves pointed toward his next solo step, but the clues remained clearest in the darker corners of Kaleidoscope Dream.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

cover imageJeremih – Late nights : the album
“The great magnitude of Jeremih’s extracurricular successes, combined with slips the singer pinned on himself and his label, made the five-year separation between All About You and Late Nights: The Album an odd one. It’s apparently truer to Jeremih’s vision than his first two albums, though only the most attentive listening reveals an artist with more dimensions — or more vocal ability — than the one who sang “Birthday Sex” and “Down on Me.”” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageSia – This is acting
“This Is Acting, a collection of songs originally written for — and rejected by — clients such as Adele, Rihanna, and Beyonc. But as the album title hints, there’s more going on here than recycling. Sia’s skill at crafting songs full of drama and vulnerability that feel real, no matter how loud they get, is in full force on This Is Acting.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

RecentPicks1Suede – Night Thoughts
“Night Thoughts is a quintessentially Suede title: specific yet vague, a notion that seems either romantic or sad depending on perspective. Twenty years, a decade of which was spent in a split, certainly has shifted Suede’s perspective, particularly that of leader Brett Anderson. With that past behind them, Suede can still dwell on big issues of love and mortality, but now that the past is in perspective, it all means a little bit more and what lies ahead is a little more precious, and that wide view makes Night Thoughts all the more moving.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageRoy Orbison – The M.G.M. years – 1965-1973
“This MGM Years box set is a summation of that marvelous work 13 full-length albums including the long sought-after The Fastest Guitar Alive soundtrack (Roy starred in the film) and a new collection of B-Sides & singles that have never before appeared on a full-length Roy Orbison album. This collection is the largest compilation of Orbison music to date.” (adapted from amazon.com)