Explore like a local: Recent travel books

Are you planning on travelling to far off places 2023, or exploring closer to home? Either way, our recent travel books are sure to inspire you: with curated lists of unusual attractions, amazing islands, local travel tips and more!

You can reserve any of these items online for pick up from any of our branches, for free. Happy travelling!

Bring me! : the travel-lover’s guide to the world’s most unlikely destinations, remarkable experiences, and spectacular sights / Khong, Louise
“Now for the first time, BuzzFeed brings together all their tips, tricks, advice, and knowledge on hundreds of unlikely destinations and unique experiences in this officially licensed travel guide meets bucket list, where travelers are encouraged to seek out new adventures or simply daydream right from their couch. Get ready to see, taste, and explore hundreds of interesting places around the world, from weird museums and underwater adventures, to food festivals and extraordinary art. BuzzFeed’s Bring Me! offers thrill chasers the chance to see the world around them in exciting new ways”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The writer’s journey : in the footsteps of the literary greats / Elborough, Travis
“Follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s most famous authors on the journeys which inspired their greatest works in this beautiful illustrated atlas. Some truly remarkable works of literature have been inspired by writers spending time away from their typical surroundings. From epic road trips and arduous treks into remote territories to cultural tours and sojourns in the finest hotels, this book explores 35 influential journeys taken by literary greats and reveals the repercussions of those travels on the authors’ personal lives and the broader literary landscape.” (Catalogue)

The islands book : a journey to the world’s most amazing islands / Atkinson, Brett
“Islands have long been a source of fascination for travellers and theres an endless variety to explore: from storm-battered Faroes to the sort of tropical islands where long-gone pirates may have buried their treasure hauls. Following a similar format to Lonely Planets iconic pictorial The Travel Book, The Islands Book presents 150 of the world’s most unique and enchanting islands.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Barcelona like a local : by the people who call it home
“This insider’s guide is packed with recommendations from Barcelonans in the know, helping you to discover all their favourite hangouts and hidden haunts. Of course, with a city as enchanting as Barcelona we could fill the pages of this book tenfold. Rather, Barcelona Like a Local offers a snapshot of local life, and it’s yours for the taking. Whether you’re a Barcelonan looking to uncover your city’s secrets or a traveller seeking an authentic experience beyond the tourist track, this stylish guide helps you to experience the real side of Barcelona.” (Catalogue)

My family and other enemies : life and travels in Croatia’s hinterland / Novakovich, Mary
“My Family and Other Enemies is part travelogue, part memoir that dives into the hinterland of Croatia. Mary Novakovich explores her ongoing relationship with the region of Lika in central Croatia, where her parents were born.. ‘Lika is little known to most travellers – apart from Plitvice Lakes National Park and the birthplace of Nikola Tesla’ she says. ‘It’s a region of wild beauty that has been battered by centuries of conflict.” – Goodreads.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Zealand / Atkinson, Brett
“Lonely Planet’s Experience New Zealand is your guide to unforgettable experiences and local surprises. Discover the Dark Sky sanctuary of Great Barrier Island, explore laneways of Wellington, and tour the Paradise region – all guided by local experts with fresh perspectives. Uncover New Zealand’s best experiences and get away from the everyday!” (Catalogue)\


Explore Australia 2023 : Australia’s Essential Travel Guide
“Explore Australia 2023 is the latest edition of the country’s longest-running and most trusted travel guide. Now in its 39th edition, this guidebook has been completely revised and updated to reflect the way we travel across the continent, making it more user-friendly than ever!”–Publisher’s description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Blue Mountains best bushwalks / Stuart, Veechi
“The thoroughly revised fourth edition of the bestselling Blue Mountains Best Bushwalks is the perfect companion for the bushwalking fan. The book features: 67 different walks, varying in length from 30 minutes to two days, accurate, full colour maps and step by step directions, detailed walk statistics including distance, total ascent/descent, grade and estimated time, detailed information on Blue Mountains history and natural environment, walking ideas for families with children, including safety tips, and over 200 full colour photographs.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Colour studies: Recent design books

Here are some of our recent design related books! This month we’ve got a strong focus on creating a happy and space efficient living space, as well as a look into the history of architecture and the modern trend of illustrators becoming tattoo artists.

Some of these items are on order, so they aren’t on the shelf yet. Reserve them today to be one of the first to read them!

Design Happy : Colorful Homes for the Modern Family / Wentz, Betsy
“In her first book, interior designer Betsy Wentz shares 13 fabulous family homes. The book is really a practical design guide for anyone who may not want–or simply cannot afford–to hire an interior designer. The story of each home includes color studies, design lessons, and pro tips, plus plenty of practical advice for anyone who might face similar challenges.” (Catalogue)

Houseplants and design : a New Zealand guide / Carlson, Liz
“Houseplants have never been hotter. They have the power to instantly turn a house into a home and to create a feeling of peace and calm, transforming both your physical space and your headspace. Bringing nature inside is a simple way to maintain a connection to the outdoors.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


New Tattoo Artists : Illustrators and Designers Meet Tattoo / Cortes, Mariona Cabassa (EDT)
“Artists from disciplines commonly seen as far removed from tattooing embrace it with a different look and approach. Artists from graphic design, photography, illustration, painting and sculpture have found in tattooing a new tool to express themselves and give way to their distinctive language. And they do it with a fresh look and extraordinary results…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tiny Living Spaces : Innovative Design Solutions / Baker, Lisa
“Exciting and surprising approaches of how living spaces reduced to a minimum can enhance the quality of life to a maximum The trend towards the Tiny House – and also the Micro Flat – is more than just a short-term hype. It is an attitude towards life, a contemplation on the essentials to which more and more people are attracted.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Living Wild: How to Plant Style Your Home and Cultivate Happiness / Carter, Hilton
“In Living Wild, bestselling ‘plantfluencer’, author, designer and family man Hilton Carter explores multiple ways to style your home with plants – and cultivate happiness along the way.” (Catalogue)


The Story of Architecture / Rybczynski, Witold
“An inviting exploration of architecture across cultures and centuries by one of the field’s eminent authors” (Catalogue)


Wellington Pasifika Festival: Recent Pasifika related books

The Wellington Pasifika Festival is coming up soon, on Saturday 11 February at Waitangi Park at the Wellington waterfront. Therefore, it’s a great time to celebrate some of the Pasifika related book releases of the last year. 

You can find more information about the Wellington Pasifika Festival here.

How to loiter in a turf war : a novel / Coco Solid
“A genre-bending work of autobiographical fiction from one of Aotearoa’s fiercest and most versatile artists. Like nothing you’ve read before, How to Loiter in a Turf War is a lucid, genre-bending, cinematic work of autobiographical fiction. From one of Aotearoa’s fiercest and most versatile artists comes a day in the life of three friends beefing with their own city.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paradise camp / Kihara, Shigeyuki
“Interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara is the first Pasifika and first Fa’afafine artist to be presented by New Zealand at the prestigious 59th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. With a groundbreaking exhibition of new work that addresses some of the most pressing issues of our time, Kihara’s work interrogates and dismantles gender roles, consumerism, (mis)representation, and colonial legacies in the Pacific.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sāmoan proverbs = Alagā’upu ma Muāgagana a Sāmoa / Fa’afili, Tuiātaga Fa’afili
“This collection of more than 1,000 Samoan Proverbs and Proverbial sayings (Alaga’upu / Muagagana), with translations in English, serves as a useful reference for Samoan oratory, poetry and formal speeches.” (Catalogue)

Image from Te Herenga Waka University PressBeats of the pa’u / Samuela, Maria
“And in the night time we will dance in the moonlight to the quick, steady beats of the pa’u. The pa’u is the pulse of the Cook Islands, a rhythm carrying narratives of a culture to its people. But beyond the reach of its sound, on another shore, a community is working over the course of decades to build a new life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Image from Te Herenga Waka University PressFono : the contest for the governance of Sāmoa / Swain, Peter
“[This book] tells the story of the development of Samoa’s unique system of governance, and of those who have fought for power and shaped the development of the Independent State of Sāmoa.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Declaration : a Pacific feminist agenda
“Gathers together some of the Pacific’s leading activists, scholars and critical thinkers in a dynamic discussion about Pacific feminisms in the visual arts, shared histories, literature, cosmologies and everyday experiences”–Page 10.” (Catalogue)

Nuku : stories of 100 indigenous women / Matata-Sipu, Qiane
“The power of storytelling is evident in our earliest pūrākau. Stories can change the world. It is how our tūpuna passed on their knowledge, the blueprint for living well, for generations. Through telling their stories, the women in this book seek to influence the world around them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No other place to stand : an anthology of climate change poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand
“Whether the poems you read here are cloaked in ironic apathy or bare their hearts in rousing calls to action, they all arise from a deep sense of care for this living world and the people in it. Our poets are eulogists and visionaries, warriors and worriers. Most of all, they’re ordinary people prepared to sit and stare at a blank page, trying to do something with the bloody big troubles looming over our past, present and future. — from the introduction by the editors.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pasifika Black : Oceania, anti-colonialism, and the African world / Swan, Quito
“Pasifika Black details how liberation struggles in Oceania engaged Black internationalism in their fights against French, British, Indonesia, and Australian colonialisms. It explores how these diverse and uneven efforts informed political movements across the Black Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Ocean worlds, linking Black metropoles across Suva, Brisbane, Harlem (s), Paris, Lagos, Tripoli and Dakar.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Poet Interview: Sudha Rao

Photographer credit: Ebony Lamb

Sudha Rao is a Wellington based poet and dancer, originally from South India. She recently released her debut poetry collection, On elephant’s shoulders, published through The Cuba Press.

We were lucky enough to get to catch-up with Rao about her new book, her writing process and living the life of a mouse. You can watch the interview below, and then reserve a copy of her book through our online catalogue. Rao’s writing can also be found in Ko Aotearoa tātou, we are New Zealand : an anthology, More of us, and Meowing. Part 1, The Meow Gurrrls’ little book of poetry. We’ve also including a list of some of the many writers Rao mentions during this interview, which you can find below.

Thank-you to Sudha Rao for taking the time to chat with us and for providing such insightful answers to our questions. We’d also like to thank The Cuba Press for hosting us in their lovely office.

Super model minority / Tse, Chris
“From making boys cry with the power of poetry to hitting back against microaggressions and sucker punches, these irreverent and tender poems dive headfirst into race and sexuality”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Body politic / Cresswell, M. M
“Fifty years after she arrived in New Zealand from Los Angeles, Mary Cresswell’s focus is unchanged. As a poet with a scientist’s concern for detail she is still drawn to nature and what humanity has done with it. Seascapes are rocky and forbidding, landscapes are arid and treeless, and drones keep an eye on us. The few surviving animals-one frog and two birds-speculate on ‘extinction’ even as it is happening to them, just as the poet describes the strange paradox of the pandemic that on one hand threatens humanity and on the other allows the planet to breathe again. Mary uses wordplay, satire and absurdity to tell her story, and puts the body politic centre stage as the cause of and agent for repairing the mess we are in.” (Catalogue)

House & contents / O’Brien, Gregory
“Our mother’s clouds and insects fly to embrace your clouds and insects. Her architecture, roads, bridges and infrastructure rush to greet yours. Her molecules on their upward trajectory entwine with yours, the colour of her eyes, hair and skin. Her language, with its past participles, figures of speech, the sounds and tremors which are its flesh and bones these words go out to greet your words and to greet you – these words which will never leave her. House & Contents is a moving meditation on earthquakes and uncertainties, parents and hats, through Gregory O’Brien’s remarkable poetry and paintings.”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Lost and somewhere else / Bornholdt, Jenny
“In Lost and Somewhere Else, Jenny Bornholdt finds many places to stand: at home, in memories of places and people, and in the Ernst Plischke-designed Henderson House in Alexandra, Central Otago, in which she lived while writing these poems. This graceful, witty and unsettling book is Bornholdt at her very best: her language at once bold and subtle, and even her smallest insights profound.” (Catalogue)

Tender machines / Neale, Emma
“In this follow-up to the award-winning The Truth Garden, Emma Neale explores the state of the human condition in the second decade of the 21st century, when a post-humanist future looms large and our machines seem to know more than we do. In poems that are engaged, compelling, witty and moving, she looks at how we navigate a true line through the psychological, environmental, social and economic anxieties of our times.”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Selected poems / Manhire, Bill
“This generous selection of Bill Manhire’s poems moves from playful early pieces like “On Originality” and “How to Take off Your Clothes at the Picnic” to major works of recent years such as “Hotel Emergencies”–a powerful response to contemporary atrocities–and “Erebus Voices”–written to be read by Sir Edmund Hillary at the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Erebus tragedy. The poems featured in this definitive collection of New Zealand’s most important poet are deceptively simple, often funny, and always revelatory of his own and his country’s history.” (Catalogue)

Collected poetry and prose / Stevens, Wallace
“”Undoubtedly, the single finest collection of Wallace Stevens ever produced.” — Library Journal Wallace Stevens’s unique voice combined meditative speculation and what he called “the essential gaudiness of poetry” in a body of work of astonishing profusion and exuberance, poems that have remained an inspiration and influence for generations of poets and readers. Now, for the first time, the works of America’s supreme poet of the imagination are collected in one authoritative Library of America volume.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities / Chen, Chen
“In this ferocious and tender debut, Chen Chen investigates inherited forms of love and family — the strained relationship between a mother and son, the cost of necessary goodbyes — all from Asian American, immigrant, and queer perspectives. Holding all accountable, this collection fully embraces the loss, grief, and abundant joy that come with charting one’s own path in identity, life, and love. When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities. To be a season of laughter when my father says his coworker is like that, he can tell because the guy wears pink socks, see, you don’t, so you can’t, you can’t be one of them. To be the one my parents raised me to be. A season from the stormiest planet. A very good feeling with a man. Every feeling, in pink shoes. Every step, hot pink.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Bordering on miraculous: New poetry collections

It’s an exciting time to be reading poetry, but don’t just take our word for it; people are saying it’s “the year of poetry”. It seems like a great time to remind everyone that we have a decent poetry collection, featuring many bestselling titles from both Aotearoa and overseas.

Below, you’ll find a selection of new additions to our collection, a lot of which are already in hot demand! Some highlights include; essa may ranapiri’s Echidna (which we are huge fans of, we shared an interview with ranapiri recently), Ocean Vuong’s Time is a mother (from the author who brought us the heart breaking/building novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous) and Night School by Michael Steven (Winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award 2021). You can reserve all of these items via our online catalogue. 

This is also a great time to mention our new YouTube playlist – Poet Interviews. Check out our most recent interview with writer Khadro Mohamed below. If you are a local poet with a book coming out soon, let us know! We’d love to chat with you! 

Anomalia / Chung, Cadence
“Populated with strange specimens, cicada husks and glittering gems, these poems explore the love and cruelty of human nature. Chung is in conversation with her literary ancestors, from Sappho to Byron, bringing their work into the world of sparkly eyeshadow and McDonald’s bathrooms”–Gatefold cover.” (Catalogue)

Night school / Steven, Michael
“Winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award 2021, poet Michael Steven’s Night School explores the gap between fathers and sons, the effects of toxic masculinity, how power corrupts and corrodes, and whether weed, art and aroha can save us in a godless world.” (Catalogue)

We’re all made of lightning / Mohamed, Khadro
“Khadro Mohamed expertly navigates the experience of being a Muslim women in Aotearoa, bringing us along on her journey of selfhood. Shifting between Aotearoa, Egypt and Somalia, we get a glimpse into her worlds, which are rich and full of life. Mohamed has a sense of wonder for the world around her, exploring nature, food, family and identity. This book is a love letter to her homeland, her whakapapa, and herself.” (Catalogue)

Echidna, or The many adventures of Hinenākahirua as she tries to find her place in a colonised world : including throught is the story of Māui-Pōtiki & Prometheus / Ranapiri, Essa May
“Echidna is a dangerous animal; she pokes holes in men just to remind them what kind of monster she is wakes up every single morning and chooses violence cos what choice does she really have? essa may ranapiri’s second poetry collection follows the story of Echidna, their own interpretation of the Greek Mother of Monsters, as she tries to figure out life and identity living in a colonised world. “–Publisher’s information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Time is a mother / Vuong, Ocean
“Ocean Vuong’s second collection of poetry looks inward, on the aftershocks of his mother’s death, and the struggle – and rewards – of staying present in the world. Time Is a Mother moves outward and onward, in concert with the themes of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, as Vuong continues, through his work, his profound exploration of personal trauma, of what it means to be the product of an American war in America, and how to circle these fragmented tragedies to find not a restoration, but the epicenter of the break”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Bordering on miraculous / Edmeades, Lynley
“A frame of clouds a slice of sky a window full of doubt-soaked borders. Here we are listening to the hypernated sound of clouds and it is miraculous”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

The acts of oblivion / Batchelor, Paul
“The ‘Acts of Oblivion’ were a series of seventeenth-century laws enacted by both Parliamentarian and Royalist factions. Whatever their ends — pardoning revolutionary deeds, or expunging revolutionary speech from the record — they forced the people to forget. Against such injunctions, Paul Batchelor’s poems rebel. This long-awaited second collection, The Acts of Oblivion, listens in on some of England’s lost futures, such as those offered by radical but sidelined figures in the English Civil War, or by the deliberately destroyed mining communities of North East England, remembered here with bitter, illuminating force. The book also collects the acclaimed individual poems ‘Brother Coal’ and ‘A Form of Words’, alongside visions of the underworld as imagined by Homer, Lucian, Lucan, Ovid, and Dante.” (Catalogue)

The difference is spreading : fifty contemporary poets on fifty poems
“Since its inception in 2012, the online introduction to modern poetry known as ModPo has engaged tens of thousands of readers, listeners, teachers, and poets with its focus on a modern and contemporary American tradition that runs from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson up to some of today’s freshest and most experimental written and spoken verse.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine (it’s not) : poems / Alam, Taz
“A raw, honest and heartfelt poetry collection from Taz Alam – for the tough times, the great times, and everything in between.” (Catalogue)

How to burn a woman / Askew, Claire
“Claire Askew’s electrifying second collection is an investigation of power: the power of oppressive systems and their hold over those within them; the power of resilience; the power of the human heart. It licks flame across the imagination, and rewrites narratives of human desire.” (Catalogue)


Extremely online: New books about our digital lives

Whether we like it or not, the digital world is becoming harder to avoid. With this, there are a lot of important conversations to have around how living an online life impacts us mentally, what happens once we share our personal information with the internet and how we can determine whether what we read online is trustworthy.

The below booklist delves into some of these questions; including an exploration of online communities, how we might reimagine data access for a better world and a discussion about artificial intelligence.

Should you believe Wikipedia? : online communities and the construction of knowledge / Bruckman, Amy
“As we interact online we are creating new kinds of knowledge and community. How are these communities formed? How do we know whether to trust them as sources of information? In other words, Should we believe Wikipedia? This book explores what community is, what knowledge is, how the internet facilitates new kinds of community, and how knowledge is shaped through online collaboration and conversation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to be a woman online : surviving abuse and harassment, and how to fight back / Jankowicz, Nina
“When Nina Jankowicz’s first book on online disinformation was profiled in The New Yorker last year, she expected attention but not an avalanche of abuse and harassment, predominantly from men, online. All women in politics, journalism and academia now face untold levels of harassment and abuse in online spaces[…] Nina also uses on her own experiences to provide a step-by-step plan for dealing with harassment, abuse, doxing and disinformation in online spaces. The result is a must-read for researchers, journalists and all women with a profile in the online space”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Access rules : freeing data from big tech for a better future / Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor
“Information is power, and the time is now for digital liberation. Access Rules mounts a strong and hopeful argument for how informational tools at present in the hands of a few could instead become empowering machines for everyone. By forcing data-hoarding companies to open access to their data, we can reinvigorate both our economy and our society. Authors Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Thomas Ramge contend that if we disrupt monopoly power and create a level playing field, digital innovations can emerge to benefit us all.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Behind the cloud : a theory of the private without secrecy / Seele, Peter
“Our thoughts are free – but they are no longer secret. Today, our data is automatically stored and analyzed by algorithms behind the cloud – where we no longer have control over our data. Our most private and secret information is entrusted to the internet and permanently collected, stacked and linked to our digital twins. With and without our consent. “Privacy is dead”, as Mark Zuckerberg put it. How could it come to this? And, if everyone knows everything: what is still private today, and are there any personal secrets at all when the “gods” behind the cloud know us better than our friends and family?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Machines like us : toward AI with common sense / Brachman, Ronald J.
“The authors of Machines Like Us explore what it would take to endow computers with the kind of common sense that humans depend on every day–critically needed for AI systems to be successful in the world and to become trustworthy”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Stolen focus : why you can’t pay attention–and how to think deeply again / Hari, Johann
“Our ability to pay attention is collapsing. From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections comes a groundbreaking examination of why this is happening-and how to get our attention back. Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding it much harder to focus than he used to. He found that a life of constantly switching from device to device, from tab to tab, is diminishing and depressing. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions-even abandoning his phone for three months-but in the long-term, nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention and to study their scientific findings-and learned that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)