People and Places Newsletter for July

‘Tis the season for vicarious living in this month’s People and Places eNewsletter. Substitute the icy blast of southerly chill winds for the warm eddies of reflected glory, exotic climes and historical intrigue. Photos of Will and Kate? Check. Obamas mother? Check. And I haven’t even mentioned Tibet and Colin Firth yet.

Remember you can reserve these items and even suggest we buy something that’s not on the shelf!


We have a little bit of everything this month -among them biographies of a celebrated British actor, a foreign girl in Iran, a daughter paying tribute to a father who gave her a lifelong love of reading, a woman living an exciting life in the Australian outback and an comprehensive study of the woman who first shaped Barack Obama – his mother. We hope there is something to take your fancy in this eclectic mix.

Syndetics book coverWilliam & Catherine : their romance and royal wedding in photographs : including a brief photographic history of British royal weddings / created by David Elliot Cohen ; foreword by Robert Jobson.
“This book profiles the relationship, courtship, and royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and provides a brief history of previous royal weddings.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFarangi girl : a memoir of my mother, parties with princes and growing up in Iran / Ashley Dartnell.
“Born a farangi (foreign) girl in 1960s Tehran to an American beauty and a handsome English father, Ashley Dartnell’s life had all the ingredients of a fairy tale. This stunning memoir tells how it all went wrong: from servants and parties to betrayals and bankruptcy.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA singular woman : the untold story of Barack Obama’s mother / Janny Scott.
“The mother of a path-breaking politician was a quiet revolutionary in her own right, according to this vibrant biography. Former New York Times reporter Scott paints Stanley Ann Dunham (1942-1995) as a study in unconventionality: a white woman who entered an inter-racial marriage at a time when they were illegal in many states; bore a son at 18; became an expatriate who thrived in the alien culture of Indonesia after her divorce from Obama’s father. In Indonesia, she remarried and bore a daughter but ultimately became a single mother who forged a significant career as an anthropologist and economic-development expert. Drawing on Dunham’s personal and professional writings and reminiscences by friends, colleagues, and the president and his half-sister, the author sensitively portrays a woman of both the warm sociability and charisma and a sharp, strong-willed and sometimes prickly intellect.” (Summary from globalbooksin print).

Syndetics book coverColin Firth : the biography / Alison Maloney.“From the moment Colin Firth took on the role of Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, emerging from the lake in ‘that scene’, he was set on a path from sex symbol to national treasure and Hollywood star. This biography reveals his early life in Nigeria; the secrets of his escape to Canada with actress Meg Tilly, and more.”(Summary from

Syndetics book coverIf you ask me : (and of course you won’t) / Betty White.
“Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White’s wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood”–Publisher’s description.

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Travel stories & guides

New Travel Guides:

Syndetics book coverTibet / [This edition written and researched by Bradley Mayhew … [et al.]].
“Tibet is simply one of the most remarkable places in Asia. It offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one of the most likeable peoples you will ever meet.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverA.A. Gill is further away : helping with enquiries / A.A. Gill ; photographs by Tom Craig.
“From the moment he joined THE SUNDAY TIMES, A.A. Gill has wanted to interview places – to discover the personality of a place as if it were a person, to listen and talk to it. A selection of the very best pieces that Gill has written over the past five years, A.A. GILL IS FURTHER AWAY is a wonderfully insightful and funny compendium of travel writing taken mostly from THE SUNDAY TIMES, but also from GQ, TATLER and CONDE NAST TRAVELLER. Gill writes with a clarity and acerbity that conveys the intensity of his experiences in his travels around the world.” (

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Many of the New Zealand collection newest titles this month have a history focus. A collection of writings from one of the most widely read New Zealand historians Michael King heads the list.

Syndetics book coverThe silence beyond / selected writings by Michael King ; with an introduction by Rachael King.
“The Silence Beyond is a wide-ranging and often personal collection of King’s writings – many in print for the first time or no longer available – including essays, talks and eulogies for friends.” –Back cover.

Syndetics book coverNew Zealanders in focus : the documentary photography of Peter James Quinn.
“Peter James Quinn is one of New Zealand’s preeminent social documentary photographers. His images are revealing, offering insights into the nature of society we thought we knew well. His are images of humanity, pride, sadness, unbridled joy all approached with compassion and humour”.(Summary from Syndectics)

Syndetics book coverIrresistible North : from Venice to Greenland on the trail of the Zen brothers / Andrea di Robilant.
“In this engaging book about a historian in pursuit of a riddle, di Robilant (Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon) relates not just what he found but how he found it and both what he knew and didn’t know by the end of the quest. It’s the best kind of history: scrupulously honest, with attention to detail, and never exaggerated. The puzzle is a centuries-old map, supposedly drawn by the Zen brothers-merchants, sailors and explorers in late 14th-century Venice -David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” (Library Journal)

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