People & Places newsletter – January 2015

Welcome to the first People & Places newsletter for 2015! We hope you’ve had a relaxing holiday period and have had a chance to spend some time in the sunshine. In this newsletter we feature a variety of books we are sure you’d love to peruse from the shade of your sun umbrella!

Library News

Biography

After the Christmas buzz has subsided, biography-lovers may seek out a comfortable chair somewhere in the sun and take in one of the interesting books offered to them here. A special treat this month is My life in houses by Margaret Forster, which tells her story through the houses she has lived in — a very interesting personal narrative and social history of modern England.

Syndetics book cover Tibetan peach pie : a true account of an imaginative life / Tom Robbins.
“Legendary novelist, American icon, and author of the international bestseller Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Tom Robbins’s zany romp through his wild life and times. Tom Robbins is an American institution. For over forty years, his warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels such as Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Another Roadside Attraction, and Jitterbug Perfume have entranced readers the world over.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Māori boy : a memoir of childhood / Witi Ihimaera.
“This is the first volume of Witi Ihimaera’s enthralling memoir, packed with stories from the formative years of this much-loved writer. Witi Ihimaera is a consummate storyteller – one critic calling him one of our ‘finest and most memorable’. Some of his best stories, however, are about his own life. This honest, stirring work tells of the family and community into which Ihimaera was born and of his early life in rural New Zealand.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The lives of the famous and the infamous : everything you need to know about everyone who mattered / The Week ; compiled and edited by Steve Tribe.
“Read about the man who convinced Einstein there was a God, the newspaper publisher who brought down a president and the code-cracking genius who helped foil the Nazis, and remember the lives of those that created the extraordinary moments in our modern history. Based on the obituaries that appear in every issue of The Week, here is a book that brings together the famous and infamous figures of our generation.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Don’t give up, don’t give in : lessons from an extraordinary man / Louis Zamperini and David Rensin.
“Louis Zamperini has lived one of the most amazing lives imaginable. Zamperini was an American Olympic athlete before serving in the Second World War. During the war his plane was shot down, leaving him stranded on a life raft in the middle of the ocean for 47 days. He survived and was rescued by Japanese forces, only to be imprisoned and tortured in a POW camp. Amazingly, Louis survived this ordeal too and went on to help others.” (Global Books summary)
Syndetics book cover Behind the mask : the life of Vita Sackville-West / Matthew Dennison.
“Matthew Dennison traces the triumph and contradictions of Vita Sackville-West’s extraordinary life. His narrative charts a fascinating course from Vita’s lonely childhood at Knole, through her affectionate but ‘open’ marriage to Harold Nicolson (during which both husband and wife energetically pursued homosexual affairs, Vita most famously with Virginia Woolf), and through Vita’s literary successes and disappointments, to the famous gardens the couple created at Sissinghurst.” (Global Books summary)
Syndetics book cover My life in houses / Margaret Forster.
“‘I was born on May 25, 1938, in the front bedroom of a house in Orton Road, on the outer edges of Raffles, a council estate. I was a lucky girl.’ So begins Margaret Forster’s journey through the houses she’s lived in, from that sparkling new council house, built as part of a utopian vision by Carlisle City Council, to her beloved London house of today, via Oxford, Hampstead, the Lake District and a spell in the Mediterranean.” (Wellington City Libraries catalogue)
Syndetics book cover Travelling to work : diaries 1988-1998 / Michael Palin.
“Travelling to work is the third volume of Michael Palin’s widely acclaimed diaries. After the Python years and a decade of filming, writing and acting, Palin’s career takes an unexpected direction into travel, which will shape his working life for the next twenty-five years. Yet, as the diaries reveal, he remained ferociously busy on a host of other projects throughout this whirlwind period.” (Wellington City Libraries catalogue)

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Travel stories & guides

Still feel up for some summer travel adventures? Here are some places and ideas for you to peruse!

Syndetics book cover Places to go, people to see / Kate Spade New York.
Places to go, people to see” focuses on the how, where and why of travel through the lens of the always-inspired Kate Spade New York girl. this new volume features vibrant photography, old-world glamour, a dash of charm and inspirational quotes, tips and words of wisdom that every Kate Spade New York girl should know. …showcases chic destinations such as paris, new york city, the amalfi coast, marrakech, tokyo, and st moritz, along with ways to incorporate those things seen, heard and experienced into life back home.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mountain to mountain : a journey of adventure and activism for the women of Afghanistan / Shannon Galpin.
“Focusing on the war-torn country of Afghanistan, Galpin and her organization, Mountain2Mountain, have touched the lives of hundreds of men, women and children. In addition to launching the non-profit, in 2009 Galpin became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan. Now she’s using that initial bike ride to gain awareness around the country, encouraging people to use their bikes “as a vehicle for social change and justice to support a country where women don’t have the right to ride a bike.” Galpin describes her first forays into fundraising, her deep desire to help women and girls halfway across the world, her love for adventure and sports, and her own inspiration to be so much more than just another rape victim.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Roof explorer’s guide : 101 New York City rooftops / by Leslie Adatto ; photographs, Heather Shimmin and Ari Burling.
Roof explorer’s guide : 101 New York City rooftops by Leslie Adatto is the first and ultimate guide to an urban treasure trove of rooftop gems. This complete guide showcases a dazzling array of surprising rooftop escapes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, from hotel rooftop bars and restaurants to elevated parks to museums, theaters, green roofs and elevated farms. (It) even features rooftop classes, entertainment and sports…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The White Nile diaries / John Hopkins.
“…It all began at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New York, in 1961. Two Princeton graduates, John Hopkins and Joe McPhillips, have returned from Peru, where they dreamed of buying a coffee plantation in the jungle. Hatching a plan to ride a motorbike across North Africa, they buy a sleek, white R50 BMW and paint her name–’The White Nile’–on the fuel tank, in honor of the route they plan to follow. In clear, elegant prose, Hopkins describes deadly salt deserts and fig-laden oases, disappeared travelers and the funerals of young Tunisians killed in the battle for independence. …They encounter armed vigilantes in the Tunisian desert and outrun Libyan border patrols, barely escaping with their lives. They climb the pyramids of Giza at dawn and ride the ‘Desert Express’ across the wastelands of the Nubian Desert, but their final adventure, at Sam Small’s Impala Ranch, is perhaps the most surreal of all.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Zealand

The New Zealand Collection continues to grow with an amazing array and selection of books. This month features topics that vary from the submerged continent of Zealandia on which New Zealand is located, to the science of earthquakes a topic that can frighten and amaze. Economic topics also feature with a book on the NZ CPI (Consumers Price Index) as well as inspiring tales of Kiwi ingenuity.

Syndetics book cover Zealandia : our continent revealed / Hamish Campbell & Nick Mortimer.
“Imagine a typical continent with seemingly endless land in all directions. There are broad valleys and uplands, wide-open vistas across undulating plains, and upstanding mountain ranges far in the distance. There may be prominent features that command attention and draw the eye, such as odd-shaped hills, peaks, pinnacles, mesas and volcanoes. And there may be canyons, valleys, gorges, large depressions and basins. Now imagine this same continent under the sea, and largely drowned.Welcome to Zealandia. A big book full of big ideas, and brought to you by renowned GNS scientists Hamish Campbell (co-author of In Search of Ancient New Zealand) and Nick Mortimer, Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed is in every respect a landmark publication – thought-provoking, visually stunning and eminently readable.” (abridged Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Living on shaky ground : the science and story behind New Zealand’s earthquakes / Matthew Wright.
“The extraordinary story of New Zealand’s earthquakes, the science and forces that shape them, and the danger of earthquakes yet to hit. This is the story of New Zealand’s turbulent tectonics, how earthquakes are measured and described, and how scientists are predicting future shakes across New Zealand. The must-have guide for anyone affected by earthquakes in New Zealand, those curious to know what’s next in-store, or anyone studying the evolving science behind them.” (abridged Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The New Zealand CPI at 100 : history and interpretation / edited by Sharleen Forbes and Antong Victorio.
“Very few New Zealanders have lives unaffected by the Consumers Price Index, or CPI. It is used by the New Zealand government to adjust student allowances, welfare benefits and superannuation; by the Reserve Bank to guide monetary policy; by the old Court of Arbitration, and by employers and employees, to negotiate wages; and by the media to inform the public about the effects of price changes on their standard of living. Whichever way you look at it, the CPI is a fascinating window into New Zealand’s social and economic history.” (adapted Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover No. 8 re-wired : 202 New Zealand inventions that changed the world / Jon Bridges & David Downs.
“If necessity is the mother of invention then Kiwi ingenuity is its father.No. 8 Re-wired is a comprehensive, colourful treasury of New Zealand inventions – jam-packed with the stories behind 202 home-grown creations and the crafty people who dreamt them up. From well-known innovations (human flight, the discovery of DNA, the pavlova) to lesser-known feats (instant coffee, the referee’s whistle, the electronic petrol pump) to the newest in high-tech world-firsts (robots and jetpacks!), it is the most complete and entertaining book ever on Kiwi ingenuity. And, yes, the pav is definitely ours. A surprising and absorbing account of Kiwi can-do, and a celebration of the No. 8 wire spirit on which New Zealand is built. (abridged Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Deadline : the gripping memoirs of a pioneering newsman / by Alan Sayers.
“A veteran reporter’s life of recording NZ history, war, tragedy, sporting greatness and delight, etc. From his time in naval intelligence during World War 11 to his career as a ground-breaking photo journalist. If all the world’s a stage then Alan Sayers has met most of the cast – from miscreants and murderers to hobos and heroes. His life as a photo journalist has led him to dive the depths for gold and scale the heights for survivors…” (Syndetics summary)

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