Latest Reader’s Choice Fiction selections

The Bight Edge of the World cover

Read something great, intriguing, surprising or satisfying? Want to let other people know about it?

The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material.  You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Shelter in place / Roberts, Nora
“Sometimes, there is nowhere safe to hide. It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived. The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “One word, ‘Brilliant’. There is a reason why Nora Roberts is an international bestseller, her books just keep getting better and better.” (no rating, but I guess it would be high!)

Ascendant / Campbell, Jack
“In the three years since former fleet officer Rob Geary and former Marine Mele Darcy led improvised forces to repel attacks on the newly settled world of Glenlyon, tensions have only gotten worse. When one of Glenlyon’s warships is blown apart trying to break the blockade that has isolated the world from the rest of human-colonized space, only the destroyer Saber remains to defend it from another attack. Geary’s decision to take Saber to the nearby star Kosatka to safeguard a diplomatic mission is a risky interpretation of his orders, to say the least.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A good entry in a good series, although you get more out of it if you’ve red the books that come before it. A more thoughtful approach to political issues than is usual for military science fiction.” (4/5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tane’s war / Weir, Brendaniel
“One lifetime, two battles. It’s 1953 and Briar is a dreamer living with his father in Pukekohe. His behaviour sees him sent to a training farm to be “turned into a man”. But the plan backfires when his arrival awakens feelings in fellow shearer, Aussie. Tane is the farm foreman and his Maori heritage sets him apart. Briar and Aussie threaten the walls Tane has built around his own secret past; walls created in the trenches of WW1. Tane is confronted with a choice. He cannot change history but maybe he can help change the future.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was excellent. It was very cleverly constructed with different interweaving timeframes and connected characters… It was also a sad eye-opener of cruel homophobia. Luckily views in Aotearoa are more tolerant now… (review abridged)” (5/5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The boat runner : a novel / Murphy, Devin
“Epic in scope and featuring a thrilling narrative with precise, elegant language, The Boat Runner tells the little-known story of the young Dutch boys who were thrown into the Nazi campaign, as well as the brave boatmen who risked everything to give Jewish refugees safe passage to land abroad. Through one boy’s harrowing tale of personal redemption, here is a novel about the power of people’s stories and voices to shine light through our darkest days, until only love prevails.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was an excellent read for all mature readers… As an avid reader of books in the War genre I think this novel is among the very best with many unexpected twists and turns.  It certainly is thrilling” (5/5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kompromat / Johnson, Stanley
Kompromat reveals how the devilishly cunning machinations of Russian President Igor Popov succeed in crucially influencing the electoral outcome on both sides of the Atlantic. Plot, counterplot and subplot are deftly woven into an “alternative” account of events which ends as Britain’s new Prime Minister, Mrs Mabel Killick, seeks her own mandate to deal with Brexit-related turbulence.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A different slant on political events made this book very entertaining but at times a bit confusing. It told a reasonably plausible story which while not deep was thought provoking. Bang up to date too!”. (4/5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

To the bright edge of the world / Ivey, Eowyn
“Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was great.  Brought an era to life with a present day contrast to a colonial era.” (5/5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Introducing Kids Club

It’s a way for children to win prizes just by reviewing books!  Starting today (August 1st), Kids’ Club will replace BookBusters and BookSeekers, which means there will no longer be monthly book club meetings in the library.
Instead children can post their great reviews on the Kids’ Blog, for everyone to see and comment on. Best of all, they’ll earn prizes for their reviews, encouraging children to read and review more items.

Check out the club info here, or start reviewing books straight away here.

Kids’ Club is open to all 5-12 year olds that have a Wellington City Libraries’ membership.

New Zine Alert – Permanent Vacation!

Permanent Vacation Zine

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over.  Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

So begins Permanent Vacation, the latest project from Kerry Ann Lee and a whole swag of other Wellington zine scene veterans.  I’ve had this zine sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks now, and it’s quickly become my favourite new zine to flick through over my mid-afternoon coffee and chocolate shortbread from Nikau cafe.

Permanent Vacation is like a coffee table book in zine form – big and shiny, full of both style and substance – the kind of treat you want to keep on hand to curl up with at whim.  With beautiful photos from exciting places like Tokyo and Upper Hutt, travel writing from Milford Sound, art inspired by the TradeMe discussion forums, musings on punk music and vernacular architecture – Permanent Vacation will transport you to a pretty place from your office desk or armchair.

Latest music reviews: black sheep, yellow swans and more

Kiss my sweet apocalypse, Black Sheep.
Black Sheep is an anarcho psychedelic outfit fronted by the always interesting Julian Cope, and an assortment of other bearded fellows. This double disc set is a collection of tunes recorded in honour of various historical rabble rousers backed with a steely leftist agenda and a damn fine sprawling escapist sound. As with every two disc set not everything works, there’s some tracks that get lost amongst all the somewhat drug fuelled themes, but overall it’s a triumphant inspiring listen. Definitely not for anyone who isn’t enthused about experimental music, but for the curious and crusaders it’s a fine choice (Craig)

For more reviews from our library staff, see our Popular Music page

Hello Sandwich!

Hello Sandwich: Tokyo Guide by Ebony Bizys

When I found this zine it already had a “Librarian’s choice” sticker on it and it definitively deserves it!HelloSandwich1

This little zine is really informative, so if you are planning to go to Tokyo or you know someone heading in that direction, Hello Sandwich is “the guide” to read.

For every neighborhood that the zine covers there is a small map of the area as well as a concise description of where to go and why.

Also, if you do not know any Japanese do not panic because Hello Sandwich will provide you with a list of survival phrases.

This zine is super kawaii and really useful.

If you like the zine you will probably enjoy the blog too.


New DVD reviews: SciFi, vampires, politics and more

Space-1999. Year 1.
Where to start? Probably the greatest science fiction series ever to air. Too much? Maybe? Space 1999 was a revolutionary and terrifically exciting venture from Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson…. It’s a stand out cult classic series, if you’re a fan of science fiction at all, or for that matter nifty moustaches, cranking sideburns, zip up flared leisure suits or long meaning stares at the camera, then it is absolutely imperative you watch this, imperative!

Read the full review – plus other staff reviews for Let The Right One In, The Wrestler, Gommorrah, State of Play (UK & US) and more – on our Movies page

Brand New Reviews

Pencil Pal by Kylie 

This is a short but real sweet zine that we picked up at Auckland Zinefest last month by our very own ex zine librarian Kylie. It’s called ‘Pencil Pal’ after a peanuts strip where Charlie Brown wants to write to his pen pal but keeps getting ink all over the page, so he changes to pencil and calls his pen pal ‘pencil pal’ from then on. Cute huh? Well, along with tips on writing and replying to letters, there is also a list of reasons why you should get yourself a pen pal – my favourite is to have people to send cards to that you find in second hand shops. Tell me about it! I have a whole heap! What I found most interesting though was Kylie’s description of her pen pals past and present, including the 7 year old miss who sent back her letters with spelling corrected!


It’s for Cook, Volume 1.  by Emma Boyd 

E mate kai ana koe? Are you hungry?

To show my pleasure, I would have liked to get this little volume mucky on my counter, splodged with beetroot, carrot, and pineapple. It’s a small volume, cute sized and illuminated with photography.

Having only 9 recipes it could seem sparse, but this, it reads like a recipe book but looks like a menu, somewhat wholesome, but not in a yoga -every -day -only -organic- in- big -letters -self -help -self -righteous wholesome.

With much self-control I returned it to the library in the condition I borrowed it, with some cumin seed stuck between my teeth.

Kia mākona. Bon appétit. 


I Hate Mom’s Cat by Corinne Mucha

I Hate Mom’s Cat is a short comic in which Corinne Mucha does more or less what the title suggests – details how and why she hates her mother’s cat, Teddy. In simple, childlike drawings and sweetly funny text, she outlines Teddy’s many character flaws and compares them to her memories of the saint-like cats of her childhood – against which Teddy doesn’t stand a chance. This is one of six zines by Corinne Mucha that we hold, including the full length graphic novel, My Alaskan Summer.


Shiny new zines

There are loads of new zines in the Zine Collection, here are some highlights:

Make Your Place: Affordable Sustainable Nesting Skills
Written and illustrated by Raleigh Briggs
This little book has all the intimacy and charm of a hand-written letter. Born out of a series of workshops in Seattle, Washington and previous zines on the subject, it contains all sorts of interesting information on the use of non-toxic materials for First Aid, cleaning, body care, gardening and composting. Many recipes for products are given; the author believing that making these is a spiritual and life-enhancing act, as well as the most basic step we can take to save our planet.
The style is very vernacular, the author addressing the reader as a friend and fellow traveller. The many pen and ink drawings are simple but nicely executed. This is a pleasant and worthwhile publication and one which serves a very useful purpose.
– Reviewed by Sue

Papercutter – issue 10
This issue of Papercutter features the work of Damien Jay, Jesse Reklaw and Minty Lewis. All three have completely different drawing styles and it’s a real treat to have them together in one zine. I especially liked Damien Jay’s comic about a corpse named Willy who won’t rest and won’t let anyone else rest either! It’s melancholy rather than scary, and simply but beautifully drawn.
– Reviewed by Steph

Cardboard Box coverCardboard Box, issue three
Cardboard box is a breath of fresh air on the NZ zine scene. Now with three issues under their belt it looks as though the Box isn’t going anywhere too soon, and it’s a good thing too. This issue includes a feature on Squam Art Retreat (I really want to go now, who cares that it’s in the States…), a thought provoking article on the NZ news media, and a DIY cleaning chemistry recipe page; who knew cleaning could be so fun?

All this goodness comes along with interviews with hot shot musicians and artists, great illustrations, poetry and blog and music reviews…so much quality packed into a zine-shaped cardboard box.
– Reviewed by Carmel

For more info about the WCL Zine Collection, please visit

The most underrated NZ music of all time (according to some of us anyway)

The staff at Wellington City Libraries, being into all things Kiwi, have come up with a list of the most underrated New Zealand bands or albums of all time.   Check these out, and let us know if you agree with our picks:

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