#StayAtHome Film Festival: Kerry’s Fashion Picks

Looking to escape your living room lockdown by gazing at beautiful dresses and appreciating elegant design? Missing popping out for some lunchtime window shopping?  Dreaming of the opportunity to wear something more classy than trackies?  We have you covered!

Our online resources contain a surprising amount of fashion related content, from movies, to the all important magazines, and a whole resource dedicated to the Vogue archive.  You will never not know what a minaudiere is again.

Beamafilm, our online movie streaming platform, have a whole category dedicated to fashion films aptly titled Fabulous Fashion – so you can binge all of the movies.  Below is a selection of my documentary picks about well-known designers.

Dior and I

Year: 2014
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Frédéric Tcheng

Watch the full film here!

Raf Simons is one of the most revered designers of the last few years.  So much so that he will soon be joining Miuccia Prada at the helm of Prada – quite the honor!  This fascinating documentary covers his career at Dior, and in particular, the creation of his first haute couture collection for the house.  It is a real behind the scenes glimpse at both Raf and Dior, extremely chic and surprisingly emotional.  You can read an interview with director Fredereic Tcheng (from Interview magazine) here.


Year: 2018
Length: 111 minutes
Director: Ian Bonhote

Watch the full film here!

McQueen follows the meteoric rise of Alexander McQueen as he was discovered and set up his own fashion label.  He was an incredibly inspired designer and the film highlights how innovative and influential he was on the fashion world during the late nineties and oughties.  It’s also a very moving film that looks a the challenges he faced professionally and personally and his eventual decline into depression.  A good watch for some drama. Vogue UK comprehensively covered this documentary, the director’s and McQueen’s legacy: begin your reading here.


Year: 2017
Length: 89 minutes
Director: Reiner Holzemer

Watch the full film here!

I watched this film recently and it is pure escapism.  Dries van Noten is a very elegant designer who creates beautiful, wearable – and covetable! – clothes.  This documentary looks at his career trajectory and design processes, following the creation of a collection and the corresponding fashion show.  We also see behind the scenes into his life, relationship and mind-blowing house.  Worth it just for the glimpse into his garden – the kind of magical garden we only can only dream of, especially at the moment.  (Here is a video interview with director Reiner Holzemer.)

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Year: 2018
Length: 80 minutes
Director: Lorna Tucker

Watch the full film here!

Vivienne Westwood is a principled designer and activist whose message is more relevant than ever.  Throughout her career she has always espoused consuming less, protecting the environment and engaging with society.  This documentary takes us into her world, showing us what motivates her work.  It is told mainly in her words, through interviews – somewhat painfully and grouchily drawn out of her.  The movie also illustrates just how ground-breaking and iconic Westwood is in both her designs and lifestyle.  Director Lorna Tucker calls Westwood her hero, read an interview with her here.

Discover More:

Image from ‘The Wanderers’ Vogue, March 2010, v200 n3
For further reading on any of these designers you could try our Vogue Archive online tool.  It offers access to all the content from US Vogue, from 1892 to the present, both images and articles.  You can search for a designer or brand (or any topic or keyword) and it will show you articles, editorials and fashion shoots, and even adverts.  All high-resolution, downloadable, full-page, colour images.  The ability to limit your search results to find exactly what you want is incredibly detailed – you can search for a year, a fabric, an illustration, a type of clothing or style.  The perfect lockdown activity! (Click here for a Youtube tutorial to get you started.)

Who knows what changes will come to the fashion industry and magazine publishing post-Covid-19, so time for some reading now!  The library has a huge range of fashion magazines available, in lots of different languages, through our online magazine platforms – RBdigital and Pressreader.  My pick would be Vogue UK (pictured above and found in RBdigital) which is edited by Edward Enninful, who has created a magazine that addresses the challenges of inclusivity and sustainability.  Also pictured are Vogue India and Vogue Russia which, along with Vogue US and Vogue Australia, can be found in RBdigital.

Did you know that magazines from RBdigital and Pressreader can be read for free, on your computer or in an app on your tablet or phone?  You can download magazine issues to your device to read offline – and keep forever!  – as well as set up alerts that let you know when the latest issues are available.  You can find help getting started with these resources through our eLibrary here.  The RBdigital and Pressreader apps are available to download for free from the Google Play or Apple stores.




New for RBdigital online magazines in 2020

 The library has just renewed our RBdigital online magazine subscriptions for 2020. This provides us with a good opportunity to review our collection and look at what new magazines are on offer. Unfortunately, there’s always some cancellations too – either by us (due to performance), by RBdigital (which is beyond our control) or because they are no longer being published.

First up, this year’s new magazines include popular magazines Australian House and Garden, Period Living and New Zealand Property Investor, as well as BBC Sky at Night, Motorcycle Trader, New Idea and staff pick, The Hollywood Reporter.  All are available to read and download now, and come with a year’s worth of back issues.

Titles that have gone this year are Bass Player, Kung Fu Tai Chi, Popshot Journal and That’s Life; three magazines that have ceased publication: Smith Journal, Web Designer and National Geographic Traveller ; and three that now available to read through Pressreader: NZ Weddings, New York magazine and Town and Country UK.

If you love magazines and haven’t used RBdigital before then it is well worth a look!  RBdigital provides us with lots of magazines that you can read for free, on your computer or in the RBdigital app on your tablet or phone.  You can also download magazines to your device to read offline – and keep them forever!  You can find the RBdigital homepage through our eLibrary.  There’s a helpful userguide to get you started, all you’ll need is your library card and PIN number.  The RBdigital app is available to download for free from the Google Play or Apple stores.

So check it out!  And if you need any help, pop in to your local library for assistance or fill out our technical support form to put you in touch with our eLibrary team.

Looking for a movie to watch tonight?

To start you on your Kanopy and Beamafilm movie journey we’ve got some librarian recommendations for you – of course! 

Monty, the digital selector (and long-time film fan) has created a playlist of his cult movie favourites in Kanopy.  Both Kanopy and Beamafilms allow you to create lists of your must-watch movies, which can be saved to your account.  Both also keep details of your viewing history.  So you’ll always be able to find something to watch!

Our picks from Kanopy

Access Kanopy About Kanopy

Monty, who buys the library’s eBooks and eAudiobooks, has chosen his favourites:

Hidden – Caché (2005)
“A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.” (From IMDb)
Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Night on Earth (1991)
“An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night. ” (From IMDb)
Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Paris, Texas (1984)
“Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.” (From IMDb)
Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Our picks from Beamafilm

Access Beamafilm About Beamafilm

Kerry, the serials librarian (that’s magazines and newspapers), has chosen her top three, past-film-festival, documentaries in Beamafilm.

Dior and I (2014)
“A thrilling behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’s highly anticipated first Haute Couture collection as Christian Dior’s new Artistic Director.” (From Catalogue)

Take Every Wave (2017)
“This is the remarkable story of an American icon who changed the sport of big wave surfing forever. Transcending the surf genre, this in-depth portrait of a hard-charging athlete explores the fear, courage and ambition that push a man to greatness–and the cost that comes with it.” (From IMDb)

A Band Called Death (2012)
“A documentary on the 1970s punk trio Death, and their new-found popularity decades after they disbanded.” (From IMDb)

Online movie streaming now at Wellington City Libraries

Two streaming platforms — Kanopy and Beamafilm — are available for you to watch a huge selection of indie and world movies, film festival favourites, award-winning documentaries, classic cinema and kids movies!

On our website, you can access both of these streaming platforms from our eLibrary homepage.

You’ll find some introductory information below — plus both the Kanopy and Beamafilm websites have comprehensive help pages if you need more information.)

About Kanopy

Access Kanopy

What is Kanopy? What kind of movies does it have?

Kanopy is a streaming platform that focuses on thoughtful entertainment, including some of the world’s best cinema.  They offer over 30,000 movies, with new titles added every month.

It will also give you access to Kanopy Kids, for kids’ content, and The Great Courses collection for lectures from top scholars around the world.

Who can access it?

It’s available to Wellington City adult residents, ratepayers and workers — access it with your library membership. Not a member? Find about more about joining.

How many movies can I watch?

You’ll get 6 movie credits per month, which means you’ll be able to watch 6 movies for free, and those credits will reset at the beginning of each month.

(Every movie you start watching with Kanopy counts against your play credits, with the exception of Kanopy Kids content and The Great Courses collection.)

How do I use it?

To watch movies:

  • Visit either wcl.kanopy.com, or go through our eLibrary homepage and choose ‘Kanopy’
  • Create a Kanopy account — you’ll be prompted to select your library (Wellington City Libraries), and confirm your library card details (your PIN/password for your library card is your last name) – then away you go!

Films can be streamed from any internet connected device including computers, phones or tablets and on TV’s via Chromecast, AppleTV or HDMI.  There’s also an app for Android and IOS devices.


Access Beamafilm

What is Beamafilm? What kind of films does it have?

Beamafilm is a streaming platform that has a curated collection of international movies and documentaries, with a strong Australasian focus.  They have over 500 movies to choose from and new titles are added regularly.

Who can access it?

It’s available to anyone who holds a Wellington City Libraries’ adult membership card (any adult membership card type). Just login using your library card details, then create a Beamafilm account to start watching movies.

Not a member? Find about more about joining

How many movies can I watch?

Unlimited! There are no monthly limits on how many films you can watch.

How do I access it?

Unlike Kanopy, with Beamafilm you’ll need to authenticate that you’re a Wellington City Libraries borrower every time you access the site:

  • Visit our eLibrary home page and click on Beamafilm, or visit wellingtoncitylibraries.beamafilm.com. Enter your library card number to confirm you’re a member of Wellington City Libraries
  • Create your Beamafilm account or log in to your existing Beamafilm account and start watching

Films can also be streamed from any internet connected device including computers, phones or tablets and on TV’s via Chromecast, AppleTV or HDMI.

Some of our Central Library magazines have found new homes

A selection of over 70 magazines that you used to find at the Central Library have recently found new homes at some of our branch libraries. View the complete list of the reallocated magazines and their new locations.

These magazines are now available to be borrowed – pop into the library to browse the collection, or you  search our catalogue by title – where you’ll be able to reserve the issue you want for free, to be picked up from the branch you choose.

Lunch Lady has found a new home at Kilbirnie library; a selection of new-to-Karori library magazines.

The libraries where you can find formerly-Central magazines are Brooklyn, Island Bay, Karori, Newtown, Tawa and Wadestown.

New magazine issues for the branches

New magazines are slowly, but surely, heading out to branches now! With the closure of Central Library, there was no space to receive deliveries but the team have set up a temporary work space and are now able to unpack, sort and distribute new magazines to branches.

Don’t forget that many of our print magazines are also available through our eMagazine resources RBdigital and Pressreader.  You’ll be able to find the latest issues of The Listener, The Economist, the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Country Life, The Oldie and many, many more on these platforms as soon as they are published.  You can find RBdigital and Pressreader in our eLibrary.  Helpful information on getting started is here.


New magazines for RBdigital in 2019

The RBdigital magazine subscriptions have been renewed for 2019 and there’s a few changes to take note of this year.
Firstly the good news – lots of new magazines for you! The new year kicks off from the evening of March the 1st and from that day you can expect to find some different magazines.  Hopefully something for everyone!


The new ones are: SUP World, American and Russian Vogues, Juno (investing made simple), Popshot (a UK literary magazine), the Paris Review, That’s Life, New York magazine, Junkies magazine (an Australian upcycling magazine), Womankind, Dumbo Feather, Entrepreneur, Kamuke Ukulele. They all come with a year’s worth of back issues.

The not so good news is that some magazines have gone from our RBdigital collection this year.  This is because they were either, no longer available to renew (which is unfortunately beyond our control) or no longer being published.  These magazines are: The Atlantic, Redbook, Shutterbug, Cosomopolitan (Australia), Dog’s Life, Donna Hay, Gamesmaster, Linux User and Developer, Martha Stewart Living, Wood Magazine and Men’s Fitness (USA).  They will disappear from RBdigital at the same time as the new ones arrive (from the evening of March 1st).

If you haven’t used RBdigital before it is well worth a look!  RBdigital provides us with lots of magazines that you can read, for free, on your computer, or in the RBdigital app on your tablet, phone or other device.  If you download them to your device you can read magazines offline – and keep them forever!  You can find the RBdigital homepage in our eLibrary or through our Mygateway pages.  There’s a helpful userguide to get you started, all you’ll need is your library card.  The RBdigital app is available to download for free from the Play or Apple stores.  So check it out and if you need any help, pop in to your local library for assistance or fill out our technical support form to put you in touch with our eLibrary team.

New for RBdigital in 2018


We have just renewed our RBdigital magazine subscriptions for 2018.  We always use this time as an opportunity to review our collection and look at what new magazines are on offer.  There’s always some cancellations too – either by us (due to performance), or by RBdigital as sometimes magazines are no longer available to renew (which is beyond our control).

This year you can expect to see five new magazines – UK House and Garden; Australian Men’s Fitness; Minecraft World, W magazine and New Zealand’s Metro magazine.
The titles that are no longer available are – Australian Rolling Stone; Australian Metro; Girlfriend; Horrible Histories, Vanity Fair and Renegade Collective.

All changes will kick off from March 1st, so expect to see the new magazines from then.  All back issues of the cancelled magazines will still be available to read and download for a while after that date.

If you haven’t used RBdigital before then now is the time!  They provide us with lots magazines that you can read for free and if you download them to your device you can keep them forever.  You can find the RBdigital homepage in our elibrary or through our Mygateway pages.  There’s a helpful userguide to get you started, all you’ll need is your library card.  The RBdigital app is available to download for free from the Play or Apple stores and it allows you to read magazines offline.  So check it out and if you need any help, pop in to your local library for assistance or fill out our technical support form to put you in touch with our elibrary team.

Drama Online & BWB Texts now available!

The library has purchased two new online tools for you to use through our website – Bloomsbury Drama Online and BWB Text Collection.  Both can be found on our Mygateway page (the home of our online resources) and can be accessed either at home or in the library.

Firstly, Drama Online is a one stop shop for anyone with an interest in drama.   This award winning database features over 1,200 classic and contemporary play texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare. Background to the plays are provided through critical scholarly works, theory and practical “how to” guides. There is also streaming video of live performances from Shakespeare’s Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A. Theatre Works. You can search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters.

Feedback from the talented thespians on staff is that it should have real appeal to students, drama teachers and those involved in community theatre.  Dive straight in and have a play (haha) or check out this overview below.

The second online tool is from Bridget Williams, the BWB Text Collection.  Bridget Williams Books is a well-known local publisher of New Zealand print books and recently they have also developed an ebook platform. We previously purchased the BWB Treaty of Waitangi Collection and have now added Texts Collection to our offerings.

The BWB Texts Collection brings together a diverse group of short ebooks on the big issues facing New Zealand by some of the country’s best writers and commentators. Topics covered include: the housing crisis, climate change, child poverty, inequality, the 1981 Springbox tour and public health.

One of the big positives for us all is that they are so easy to use – titles are meant to be read in the web browser, and this can be any web browser on any device.  There’s no downloading involved, just click on the title and read!   And the number of users are unlimited.

New additions to our eMagazines

Every year we renew our Zinio subscriptions.  And every year we take this as an opportunity to look at the magazines you’re reading, what’s popular and what’s not. It’s that time of year now!  As a result, we’ve made some changes to the titles you’ll find in Zinio.

Luckily for us there were heaps of new magazines to choose from this year.  Some of the new magazines you’ll now find in Zinio are:
New Zealand Woman’s Weekly | The Listener | Architectural Digest | Elle UK | Vogue UK | BBC Music | Mojo | New Philosopher | North & South | Attitude | Spoke | Wheels | Your house and garden.

There are a few titles we decided to switch to a different version in Zinio – for example we’ll now be getting the US edition of New Scientist and the NZ version of Australian Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Day. Also, there will be more copies of our most popular magazine The Economist!

There are also some magazines we’ve discontinued and you’ll no longer find in Zinio – some we chose to stop due to low usage and some have been removed by the publishers, which is beyond our control.  Fortunately a handful of ceased magazines can now be found in PressReader (our other online eMagazine resource): you’ll find Cuisine, NZ House and Garden, NZ Life and Leisure, NZ Gardener and Forbes there now, all you need are your library card details to read them.

Alternatively, take a look about in Zinio as there are plenty of titles to choose from and hopefully something for everyone.

If you haven’t used Zinio before now would be a great time to start.  Zinio allows you to read the latest magazines (some sooner than we get the actual magazine!) as it appears in print, for free of charge, either in the browser on your PC or downloaded to a tablet or mobile device.  All you need is a library card!  You can find Zinio in our eLibrary or through Mygateway.info, where you’ll also find instructions for getting started and some useful FAQs.  Or pop in to your local library for a demo or to ask staff for assistance.


Big Library Read with Overdrive ebooks now on!

Every three months Overdrive, one of our eBook providers, runs a ‘Big Library Read’.  Described a ‘global eBook club’, the ‘big read’ allows library users the chance to borrow a certain eBook simultaneously, to be read altogether – just like you would with your book club!  (There are even discussion questions if you’re interested here and here).  This time the big read will be running from Thursday October 8th until Wednesday the 21st.

The latest offerings are two young adult novels – The door in the hedge’ by Robin McKinley and In the shadows of blackbirds’ by Cat Winters.  This is the first time two different books have been offered at once and these two were chosen by library staff and the public, who were able to vote for their favourite choice.  They should be good then!

Overdrive cover The Door in the Hedge, by Robin McKinley (eBook)
Robin McKinley is a well known and award-winning young adult writer. This book is a collection of fantasy stories about faerieland featuring princes, princesses, frogs and other fairy tale characters you’ll know well.


Overdrive cover In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters (eBook)
On a completely different note is Cat Winter’s novel – a historical horror romance mash-up. It’s about a young woman in America dealing with the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak, who has to struggle not just with a world in turmoil but also ghosts of those who have succumbed to the illness.
Both of these titles are available from Overdrive, in our elibrary.  From October 8th, the start of the big read, for the two following weeks they will be available for anyone who wants to borrow them – no waiting or reserving!


link to blog post about the big library read

New Fiction Genre Stickers

genrestacktwoWe now have new fiction stickers!
Two new genres will be easily identified by a coloured sticker that will appear along the spine of the book.  They are Historical, which is green.  and Thrillers, which is a goldy yellow.  They’re almost exactly the same as our current ones (mysteries and science fiction and fantasy) as they’re similar in appearance – a coloured label with the genre word, stuck near the bottom of the spine.
We’re hoping they make your fiction browsing more enjoyable and the stickers help you to find some of your favourite authors, genres or just something good to read!


Kerry’s Fiction Picks: An interview with Richard Jackson

rsz_confessions-revised_2Last week I suggested the upcoming novel from writer Richard Jackson, Confessions of a Terrorist.  He was delighted to have his novel mentioned by Wellington City Libraries and offered us the chance to interview him about his new book and the topic of terrorism.  Jackson is a Professor of Peace Studies at Otago University; he has written extensively on terrorism – journal articles, academic books and chapters.  Jackson also edits a journal on terrorism,  Critical studies on Terrorism, and maintains his own blog on the subject.

So how could we say no to the chance to hear more about this exciting book!?  Here’s what he had to say.

2rsz_1portrait_-_rj-5On your blog you talk about wanting to give a glimpse into a terrorist’s mind, to humanise them and present a terrorist as a fully formed person with feelings and ideas.  Was this your main motivation for writing a fictional novel about terrorism?

Humanising ‘terrorists’ was definitely one of the main motivations for writing the novel. It is a feature of our current society that ‘terrorists’ have been thoroughly dehumanised and demonised, largely through the medium of politics and culture, including in most contemporary literature about terrorism. The danger of dehumanising any group of people – terrorists, murderers, paedophiles, gang members – is that it frequently results in human rights abuses and the erosion of civil liberties more broadly. The consequence of so thoroughly dehumanising ‘terrorists’ in recent years, for example, has been the spread of torture, rendition, targeted killings, mass surveillance, the erosion of habeas corpus, and other insidious illiberal practices. More prosaically, of course, the dehumanisation of ‘terrorists’ is a misrepresentation of reality and factually incorrect. They are not inhuman creatures; they are flesh and blood and completely human in the way you and I are. I know this in part because I’ve talked to people who were convicted of terrorism and have since been released. I’ve even invited them to speak at my conferences. From one perspective then, my novel is an attempt to address this widespread cultural misperception and break down the stereotypes that have arisen about ‘terrorists’ and their motivations. As I argue in the introduction to the book, I believe that this is a necessary first step towards finding a more productive and positive way of responding to acts of politically motivated violence, one that doesn’t involved sacrificing our social and political values in the process.

Had a story been forming in your mind while you went about your academic career?  Were you inspired by the people you encountered through your academic writing?

Actually, it was a very conscious and deliberate decision to write a novel about terrorism at a particular point in my career. I had not considered it before. After publishing eight academic books and dozens of articles, I realised that only a very small academic audience ever read my work and it had very little impact beyond the academy. I also noted that there were too few novels about terrorism that I could honestly recommend to my students as a way of animating them about the subject. I came to believe that writing my own novel might be a more effective way of reaching a wider audience and engaging my students. Once I decided to write the novel, I then had to work out a good story, characters, dialogue and the like. I shared my initial thoughts with people I trusted, and over a number of drafts and a lot of conversations, a story emerged. Of course, I also drew upon my own stories of growing up in Africa, and the stories of people I had met or knew. Novelists are in many ways, story collectors. They pick them up and then try and weave them into a new narrative.

Did you have to do much research?

I’ve been immersed in the subject of terrorism and political violence for more than 15 years, so I had a strong understanding of the subject to begin with. In my role as a lecturer and editor-in-chief of an academic journal on terrorism, I’ve read huge amounts of the academic research on terrorism. In that sense, I believe my novel is rooted in and accurately reflects the current state of terrorism research. I did however, deliberately seek out writings by former militants, as well as articles and interviews where ‘terrorists’ and militants explained their actions in their own words. I wanted to make sure I had the right language and perspective – the nuances of how they speak and think – of individuals who have chosen this path. Many of the words said by The Professor in the novel are actually paraphrased from what I’d heard or read directly from militants themselves.

Did your background in academic writing make the book easier to write?

No, it actually made it more difficult. Academic writing follows a very particular form, which in some ways, is antithetical to writing fiction. At the most basic level, as an academic you’re disciplined into writing in an abstract, authoritative, ‘objective’ manner, bereft of personality or human voice. You’re also taught to employ specialised jargon which fellow scholars in your own field can relate to. I had to leave all these ways of writing behind and try and find a more creative, human voice for the novel. In part, the choice to make the central character a former university professor was a way of trying to bridge these two ways of writing, the academic and the creative. I found it a really challenging and uncomfortable process. I still find the creative voice much harder than the academic voice.

Can you tell us a bit about the unique format of the text?  Why did you decide on that?

I chose to write the novel in the form of a secret, redacted transcript for a number of very specific reasons. The simplest reason was that I felt that this particular format allowed the maximum opportunity for the ‘terrorist’ to speak and explain himself. Allowing the ‘terrorist’ to fully explain himself at length – his motives, his beliefs, his story – was one of the primary aims of the novel. In the real world, we are hardly ever allowed to hear a ‘terrorist’ speak at length about themselves. I also chose this format because I felt that it would be a good vehicle for building tension, leaving clues and creating a series of narrative twists. I also wanted to explore whether it would be possible to construct a sense of character, and of physical and social space, through a very stark and bare transcript. Lastly, I wanted the novel to be rooted in the espionage/thriller genre, and the secret world of spies and security agencies. The transcript, modelled on real secret transcripts I’ve seen, aims to give a sense of the secret world which ‘terrorists’ and spies are seen to inhabit.

In terms of writing, were you inspired by any particular novelists?

My favourite novelist about the world of spies and espionage is John Le Carre. He has an eloquence and incisiveness that lifts him above the usual writers in that genre. I also think his novels about the war on terror and the way governments have cynically used the threat of terrorism to justify a multitude of crimes and wrongs have been searing indictments of Western foreign policy. He was clearly very angry with what was going on, and it came out in the series of brilliant deconstructions of the absurd and savage war on terror. While other novelists in this genre have embraced the logic of the war on terror unquestioningly, John Le Carre tore its inverted morality and counterproductive logic to shreds. I am also a fan of Yasmina Khadra, who writes about the conflicts in Algeria, Palestine and Iraq with an insight and authenticity that many Western authors simply haven’t captured.

You also mention on your blog about being frustrated/disappointed with other fictionalised depictions of terrorists.  Why is that? Are there any writers/movies etc who deal with the topic you would recommend?

I remain puzzled by the failure of novelists to depict ‘terrorists’ in an authentic manner, although it’s not surprising given the cultural taboo against terrorism today. In a sense, ‘terrorists’ are viewed in the same way that paedophiles are – as a kind of pure evil, inhuman and without any redeeming human qualities. This is the result of years of political speechmaking, movies, television shows, novels and the like depicting them mainly as cruel, inhuman fanatics. As a consequence, it now takes a very brave novelist to consider depicting them in any other way, and particularly in a sympathetic manner. The point is, even a most basic level of research would reveal that terrorists are not evil, inhuman, animal-like. I would have thought that some courageous novelists would have by now made a real effort to understand their subjects as real human beings – done some real research – and then narrated them in more authentic, more human terms. Sadly, because of this state of affairs, we still don’t have anything meaningful on ‘terrorists’ in literary terms. On the other hand, film has been much better at depicting ‘terrorists’ in meaningful and insightful ways. Paradise Now, for example, is a brilliant exploration of two Palestinian suicide bombers in the twenty four hours after they receive word that they have been selected for an operation. It draws out their humanity, their politics, their frailties, and never reduces them to stereotypes or caricatures.

Is the aim of your book to inform the readers?  To be thought provoking?

The main aim of the book is to entertain with a thoughtful tale which contains some twists and turns in the plot, and some human observations about two very real characters. At the same time, it is definitely aimed at trying to question and challenge popular understandings of terrorism and counterterrorism. In a sense, I wrote it as a way of communicating through a literary rather than academic form all the knowledge I have gained about terrorism over the years – to a wider audience beyond the university. In my view, most of what the media and society thinks they know about terrorism is incorrect, and not supported by the academic research. The novel, therefore, functions in part as a vehicle for communicating something of what we know academically about terrorism and ‘terrorists’.

Lee Child is incredibly popular author at our library (and everywhere!).  His work falls into the military / action genre that’s growing in popularity.  Did you want to write something to rival these blockbusters?  Or were trying to provide a more thoughtful spin on this genre?

I definitely wanted to write a novel that was broadly in the action/espionage/thriller genre, while at the same time being thoughtful and challenging to the normal format and content of that genre. My initial thought was that I wanted to write something that would appeal to my 18 year old (mostly) male students, so it had to have some action, some twists and a sense of danger. At the same time, I really don’t expect that my novel will rival authors such as Lee Childs, mainly because the novel is intensely political, and very challenging to our dominant cultural understandings. The overall argument it makes is that Western states need to examine their own actions in order to see how and why they provoke people to try and attack them. This is not an easy subject matter; in fact, it is very sensitive. I therefore expect it won’t be that popular in many quarters. A great many politicians will dislike its message, as will some of my fellow terrorism scholars. Certainly, unlike most books in the current action genre, it doesn’t promote the heart-warming message that the strong Western hero always defeats the foreign and traitorous enemies who seek to attack us. From this perspective, my novel is more than a little counter-cultural. I hope it will appeal to people who really want to know what goes through the mind of a terrorist, and who are tired of the war on terror and all the torture, mass surveillance, wars and invasive security measures – and who enjoy a good thriller!

Kerry’s Fiction Picks (a quick one)

Syndetics book coverVeronica Mars : the first book in an original mystery series.
The cult classic TV show Veronica Mars, soon-to-be a movie, soon-to-be returning to TV apparently, is also soon-to-be a book!
Due in March I can tell you nothing about it, such top secret stuff, and that’s not even the real cover.  I just thought I’d give the fans a heads up that it’ll be on its way to us as soon as its published (but you probably knew all that already!)

Top Ten Fiction eBooks for 2013

It’s that time of year again, that is the end of the year, where people start compiling their ‘best ofs’ and ‘top tens’ for 2013.  We thought you might be interested in the library’s top ten fiction eBooks.  These are the most borrowed from our Overdrive eLibrary.
There’s some big names (Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, J K Rowling) and some popular movie adaptions too (‘Life of Pi’, ‘The Help’, ‘Catching Fire’).   Heading the list is blockbuster Lee Child with ‘Without Fail’.  Here they all are!

Overdrive cover
Overdrive cover
1. Without Fail by Lee Child

2. Brazen virtue by Nora Roberts

3. The Duchess of Love by Sally MacKenzie

4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

5. The Help by Katherine Stockett

6. Sing You Home  by Jodi Picoult

7. Ravished by Amanda Quick

8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

9. Addition by Toni Jordan

10. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Aotearoa eNewsletter for September

September is finally here, so technically speaking spring has officially started. I’m not sure if the weather has caught up with the news yet!
While its still cooler outside, take some time out to catch up on the libraries new selection books in the Aotearoa newsletter.  It covers all our favourite things – beer, Piri Weepu, interesting New Zealand histories, Dickens, Austen and golf – so truly something for everyone!

New Zealand Non-Fiction

This months New Zealand recent picks offer a diverse variety of titles, something for everyone!

Syndetics book coverPiri, straight up : cups, downs & keeping calm / with Heather Kidd.
“Piri Weepu’s story is one of the most fascinating New Zealand rugby stories ever told. Born into a strong rugby league family – Piri’s brother Billy actually played for the Kiwis – Piri has risen to the very pinnacle of rugby union, while at the same time never losing his great love of the 13-man code. At 28 and in the year of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Weepu was finally given his opportunity and didn’t he take it well. For years he had been in the shadows of Jimmy Cowan (not to mention a number of other first-choicers) but on the world stage, Piri stepped up to the mark and won the hearts of a nation. He kicked the goals for the All Blacks, he kicked for position and, in the absence of the incomparable Dan Carter, he ran the backline. His man of the match performance for the All Blacks in the quarter-final against Argentina and then another superb display against arch-rivals Australia in the semi-final cemented his place in New Zealand rugby folklore.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverBeer nation : the art & heart of Kiwi beer / Michael Donaldson.
“Pull up a bar stool, and listen to the life story of beer in New Zealand . . .Highly illustrated, meticulously researched and warmly told, Beer Nation recounts the early history of beer, exposes the modern age of commerce and big business, and charts the rise of contemporary boutique breweries – through interviews and first-hand stories from the personalities behind beer and brewing in New Zealand. Michael Donaldson’s rich and engaging narrative is complemented by images from brewers’ private collections as well as quotes and archival photography. Beer Nation will inform, delight and awaken your thirst for New Zealand’s favourite beverage.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverConvicts : New Zealand’s hidden criminal past / Matthew Wright.
“New Zealand’s Pakeha origin as a bolt-hole for convicts escaping Australia, a place where former convicts joined whaling and sealing gangs, and where sea captains thumbed their noses at the law, has been quietly forgotten. It has become a hidden part of our past, buried under the convenient fiction that the Treaty of Waitangi is the sole pivot of New Zealand’s colonial story.In Convicts: New Zealand’s Hidden Criminal Past, noted historian Matthew Wright challenges that notion. Our early nineteenth-century Pakeha past is, at least in part, a story of convicts who had found their way past the edge of the law, an age of heroic tales of survival, scurrilous deeds, cannibalism and piracy.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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This month there’s a strong theme of reo – self-tuition in grammar and greetings for formal occasions, history and more.

Syndetics book coverHuia histories of Māori : ngā Tāhuhu Kōrero / edited by Danny Keenan.
“This comprehensive history of Aotearoa New Zealand is written entirely by Māori scholars actively researching and writing in their respective fields. Huia Histories of Māori takes a fresh look at what Māori history is and how it differs markedly from those histories of Māori formerly portrayed, providing both fresh views on events in the past as well as new insights into customary Māori constructions of ‘history’” – (adapted from Back cover summary)

Syndetics book coverTe wahapū : launch yourself into te reo Māori / Ian Cormack.
“Te Whahapū is the second book in this comprehensive, enjoyable and easily understandable self-tuition course for Māori language… The books offer a reference text, workbook and audio resource all in one. They are structured in units, each opening with a dialogue and followed by explanations of words, experessions and language patterns.” – (adapted from Back cover summary)

Syndetics book coverRangatira : a novel / by Paula Morris.
“This intriguing and engrossing novel vividly brings to life colonial New Zealand and Victorian England through the eyes of a Ngati Wai rangatira. Paula Morris has done an extraordinary job capturing the life of her tupuna, Paratene Te Manu, and gives him a voice that is at once authentic and insightful.” – (Carol Hirschfeld)

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Dickens, Austen, Nixon. Sound like an odd mixture? Well, they’re all in our picks of the recent history books this month.

Syndetics book coverA guide to Dickens’ London / Daniel Tyler.
“To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, a generously illustrated guide to the city that was perhaps the greatest of his characters. From Newgate Prison to Covent Garden and from his childhood home in Camden to his place of burial in Westminster Abbey, this guide traces the influence of the capital on the life and work of one of Britain’s best-loved and well-known authors. Featuring more than 40 sites, places of worship and of business, streets and bridges, this comprehensive companion not only locates and illustrates locations from works such as Great Expectations and Little Dorrit but demonstrates how the architecture and landscape of the city influenced Dickens’ work throughout his life. Each site is illustrated with substantial quotations from Dickens’ own writing about the city he loved.” (Global Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverAll roads lead to Austen : a yearlong journey with Jane / Amy Elizabeth Smith ; illustrations by Lucia Mancilla Prieto.
“In this humorous memoir, devoted Austen fan Smith, a writing and literature teacher, sets out to discover whether Austen’s magic translates for readers in six Latin American countries (Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina), where she organizes book clubs to discuss Spanish translations of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma. Though Smith continuously calls attention to her limited Spanish language skills, she skillfully highlights how and why certain Spanish words are apt for describing Austen’s world and characters. Austen’s work provides a touchstone for surprising discussions about class, gender, and race, as well as history and literature. Smith’s account reads like an educational travel blog, full of colorful characters, overviews of the history and the traditions of each culture, as well as reflections on her own preconceived assumptions and stereotypes. This enjoyable book should appeal to fans of literature and travel, especially those interested in Latin America.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverWatergate : the hidden history : Nixon, the Mafia, and the CIA / Lamar Waldron.
“One vast conspiracy begets another in this meticulous but unconvincing theory of the Watergate scandal. Historian Waldron argues that Vice President Richard Nixon was the “driving force” behind joint CIA-Mafia plots to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1959-1960. Waldrop further says that, as president, Nixon instigated the Watergate break-ins, undertaken by his “Plumbers” unit of old CIA Cuba hands, mainly to find a dossier that he feared could expose those earlier schemes. The author presents an exhaustive, lucid chronicle of Cuba and Watergate machinations and decades of Nixon sleaze: dirty campaign tricks, quid-pro-quo Mafia bribes, burglaries, and other felonies by his White House staff. But Waldron’s central claims about Nixon’s involvement in Castro-assassination plots and his Watergate motives are shaky and based largely on stray, ambiguous comments by marginal figures, “associate”-tracing through degrees of separation, and much rank speculation, all backed by confusing source notes. (Much of the book is a rehash of his similarly massive and implausible Legacy of Fear, which argued that the Mafia assassinated President Kennedy.) Readers will learn a lot from Waldron about America’s Cuba policy and Nixon’s many misdeeds, but the author’s search for a narrow logic behind Nixon’s omnidirectional paranoia and criminality distorts more than it clarifies.” (Publisher Weekly)

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Golfing, shooting, fighting – all sorts of athletic pursuits are highlighted in our sports collection this month.

Syndetics book coverThe Unstoppable Golfer : trusting your mind & your short game to achieve greatness / Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen.
“Dr. Bob Rotella is the pre-eminent golf psychologist to the game’s top players. He has coached stars like Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke-and he has offered his advice to golfers of all skill levels in his bestselling books, including Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect and Golf Is a Game of Confidence. Now, he tackles the mind’s role in the most difficult aspect of golfing …. Bob Rotella was the Director of Sports Psychology for twenty years at the University of Virginia, where his reputation grew as the person champions talked to about the mental aspects of their game.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverThe Power of Shaolin Kung Fu : harness the speed and devastating force of Southern Shaolin jow ga kung fu / Ronald Wheeler.
“From its early beginnings in the ancient Shaolin Buddhist monasteries of China to its depiction in scores of contemporary martial arts films, the classical style of Shaolin Kung Fu continues to reign supreme as the original and most important body of martial arts techniques in the world. This book offers readers a comprehensive course in the fundamental movements that have been practiced and perfected by warrior monks for centuries.” (Syndetics annotation)

Syndetics book coverThe Instinctive Shot : The Practical Guide to Modern Game Shooting / Chris Batha.
“The Instinctive Shot is a practical, straight-forward manual on how to become a better game shooter. The author gives step-by-step explanations of the correct shooting action needed to build a consistent swing and balanced move to the bird, regardless of species or type of shooting – the essential sequence of Eye Brain Hand synchronisation that creates an Instinctive Shot. For Chris Batha, this is a compilation of information and experiences gleaned from his life-long passion for game shooting. His advice is easily understood and alternative suggestions are offered wherever possible. Both clear and concise, The Instinctive Shot emphasises the practical, while not forgetting the theoretical. This book not only describes how to shoot , but it is a reference book covering all aspects of world-wide game shooting from guns, quarry and equipment to etiquette and attire this is a volume for the game wing shooter to refer to time and time again.” (Amazon.com)

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Arts eNewsletter for September

September is finally here, so technically speaking spring has officially started.   I’m not sure if the weather has caught up with the news yet!

While its still cooler outside, take some time out to catch up on the libraries new selection of Arts books.  My picks would be Modern Vintage Illustration and Baby Times – enjoy!

Library News


A new biography of Titian, Lucian Freud portraits & British artists’ studios + surf & vintage graphics and NY street art

Syndetics book coverLucian Freud : portraits / [introduction and essay by] Sarah Howgate ; with [an essay and interviews by] Michael Auping ; and [a memoir by] John Richardson.
“‘Everything is autobiographical and everything is a portrait, even if it’s only a chair.’ Portraits were central to the work of Lucian Freud. Working only from life, the artist claimed ‘I could never put anything into a picture that wasn’t actually there in front of me.’ Lucian Freud Portraits surveys his portraits and figure paintings from across his long career. Drawing together the finest portraits from public and private collections around the world, the book explores Freud’s stylistic development and technical virtuosity. A series of previously unpublished interviews conducted by Michael Auping between May 2009 and January 2011 reveal the artist’s thoughts on the complex relationship between artist and sitter, the particular challenges of painting nudes and self-portraits, and his views on other painters he admired” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverSanctuary : Britain’s artists and their studios / editor/interviews, Hossein Amirsadeghi ; executive editor, Maryam Homayoun Eisler ; contributors, Iwona Blazwick, Richard Cork, Tom Morton ; photography, Robin Friend.
“”Sanctuary: British Artists and their Studios” gives a rare and privileged insight to the studios and inspirations of nearly 120 of Britains greatest living artists working today, both in Britain and abroad. Sanctuary’s stellar cast of artists encompasses many different ways of thinking about and making art. This lavish, large-format book brims with specially commissioned photographs portraits, images at work, places of inspiration and incisive interviews: the artists open their minds as much as their studio doors. The book is full of insights, revelations and thoughts on the modern art world and contemporary art practice, giving a vivid sense of what it means to be an artist at work today.” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverSurf graphics / introduction by Jim Phillips ; compiled by Yahya El-Droubie ; text by Ian C. Parliament.
“From vintage surf art to the latest designs, this collection is filled with brilliant color, energy, and vibe. It features the top 30 artists working on the surf graphic scene, each with a detailed biography, as well as the same eye-popping production values of Kustom Graphics and Kustom Graphics II. Of course, there are plenty of California artists making their marks on the surf art scene, including Shawn Dickinson (Palmdale), Damian Fulton (Los Angeles), Tom “Big Toe” Laura (Irvine), Jim Phillips (Santa Cruz), Rick Rietveld (Newport Beach), and Keith Weesner (Thousand Oaks). Brad Parker lives in Hawaii, while Thor splits his time between California and Hawaii. Pat Grant and Marty Schneider are among Australian artists on the scene, while European artists include PG Artworks (Sweden), Mik Baro (Spain), and Thorsten Hasenkamm (Germany).” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverModern vintage Illustration / Martin Dawber ; [foreword by Stephen Bayley].
“Past is prologue in this stunning survey of vintage-inspired illustrations that employ classic styles of artistic expression for up-to-date effects. Organized by historical or cultural period, the book features hundreds of modern retro images, including pieces that incorporate the geometric beauty of Art Deco, the bold architectural lines of Soviet constructivist posters, and the graphic design of Blue Note’s record sleeves. There are new perspectives on photorealism, comic art, and punk, as well. Hundreds of artists have contributed to this witty, exciting, and international collection.” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

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Welcome to this month’s selection of irresistible knitting, sewing and needle-felting books. Satisfy your creative urge, experiment with new ideas and learn great techniques through the numerous step-by-step instructions and tips. Have Fun!

Syndetics book coverAround the world in knitted socks : 26 inspired designs / Stephanie van der Linden.
“International sock knitting sensation Stephanie van der Linden shares an irresistible collection of 26 original designs inspired by global knitting traditions. In Around the World in Knitted Socks, you’ll travel through world cultures by foot and try your hand at new patterns and techniques. Using stitch motifs and colours, knitting techniques and construction details, the socks blend regional knitting traditions with Stephanie’s unique design flair. Drawing inspiration from signature local textiles such as Turkish kilim carpets, Japanese sashiko embroidery, Belgian lace, American quilts, and Scottish argyle tartan, each pattern is distinctly tied to both country and culture. You’ll also learn traditional knitting techniques including Estonian and Latvian braids, Norwegian stranded knitting, and Austrian twisted-stitch designs.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverKnitting the perfect fit : essential fully fashioned shaping techniques for designer results / Melissa Leapman.
“This is the first book that delves deeply into easily mastered techniques that can be used to adapt and customise any project. Knitting the Perfect Fit is an invaluable guide for anyone interested in learning and perfecting shaping details in their knitting. Acclaimed designer and teacher Melissa Leapman distills one of her most in-demand workshops into an authoritative guide that will help knitters understand how designer details and shaping actually work. From a variety of necklines and arm details to different trompe l’oeil shaping techniques that offer a more slimming and flattering look to any garment no matter your body type. Each technique is thoroughly explained with tips and exercised and then showcased in 21 appealing projects that allow knitters to practise their new skills.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverBaby times : 24 handmade treasures for baby & mom : quilts, soft toys, gifts / Abbey Lane Quilts.
“Everything the modern baby needs (and mommy too) for party time, playtime, quiet time, or go time. Stitch up some of these imaginative and practical designs, and the days will be a little easier for both mom and baby. Marcea Owen and Janice Liljenquist, founders of Abbey Lane Quilts, bring you 24 projects including quilts, bibs, diaper bags, soft toys, and so much more, using fresh, modern fabrics. Choose from a variety of unique colorways, embellishments, and skill levels. Get creative with coordinating projects to make great gift sets—get more “oohs” and “aahs” at every baby shower!.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

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These recent picks focus on the design that literally surrounds us every day. Several of these titles examine the ways architecture has adapted to the current economic and environmentally aware times and show how these restrictions can result in great design.

Syndetics book coverThe architecture electric / Jared Kennard, Tyson Schmidt, Nathan Horne.
“The Architecture Electric records central Wellington electrical substations photographically to highlight and showcase these overlooked utilitarian buildings. Hiding at the end of the street, under office towers, in carparking blocks, or next to your garage at home, these vital links in the electrical infrastructure are often camouflaged and ignored as there is no human occupancy. Architectural styles reflect the era they were built and the attitude of the day with proudly displayed pediments, ornate trimmings or brutalist precast concrete form, yet all tend to be painted green to blend into the background.” – (adapted from Unity Books summary)

Syndetics book coverDid you mean to do that? : Malcolm Walker architectural cartoons / edited by John Walsh ; foreword by Louis Hellman ; afterword by Gerald Melling.
“This long-awaited book covers twenty-five years of cartoons from New Zealand’s leading architectural cartoonist – Malcolm Walker: a chronicle of styles, ambitions and happy collaborations. Follow the career development of those perennial architectural contenders, Turbo Floss and Dollop, watch the Crass Corporation shape a city, and enjoy the vicarious pleasure of dealing with Council planning consent officers. Learn the secrets of design and the truth about clients and builders. See architects at work and play and in the psychiatrist’s chair. Observe the untiring quest for jobs, fame and a refill at the annual awards dinner. Discover what inspires architects, and find out what they’d like for Christmas. All this, and more, in a book for anyone who has ever wanted to ask; ‘Did you mean to do that?’.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverOrigami architecture : papercraft models of the world’s most famous buildings / Yee.
“The incredible splendors of some of the worlds’ most recognized architectural feats are brought to life within the pages of Origami Architecture. With this book, some card stock paper, and a hobby knife, anyone can build spectacular re-creations of the most famous buildings in the world. It gives instructions and templates for 16 buildings, including the Parthenon, the White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Chrysler building, and the Forbidden City. There are over 900 photographs detailing the cutting and assembling of the pieces, most without using glue or tape. Once the structure is attached to the base not only will does it look amazing, but it can be folded up and taken anywhere.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

These Classical music picks highlight one-act operas, some young singing talent, and some Kiwi singing talent. Plenty to read and listen to this month!

Syndetics book coverVerdi and/or Wagner : two men, two worlds, two centuries / Peter Conrad
“This is the first book to compare these two composers and cultural heroes, both of whom were born in 1813 and achieved huge national and international renown in their lifetimes. Yet not only did they never meet, but the differences between them—in music, culture, environment, significance, and legacy—were profound.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverI heard you singing : my life with Ramon Opie / Corinne Bridge-Opie ; foreword by Donald Munro
“I Heard You Singing is the story of two New Zealand singers, Corinne Bridge and Ramon Opie, and their efforts to forge professional careers in a country which generally respects its sports stars far more than anyone in the arts…” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

Image courtesy of AmazonDream with me / Jackie Evancho
“Produced by David Foster, Jackie Evancho’s Dream With Me fulfills the promise of O Holy Night, Jackie’s major label debut, a seasonal collection which became 2010’s #1 best-selling debut recording with sales exceeding 1 million units. Dream with Me features a repertoire of classical arias and pop classics handpicked to suit Jackie’s angelic voice. Her range is so great that she ably shifts from the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon A Star” to Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.” Other highlights include two extraordinary superstar duets showcasing the young vocalist performing with music legend Barbra Streisand and international phenomenon Susan Boyle.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Image courtesy of AmazonDie Walküre [sound recording] / Wagner
“… The recording’s additional dimension is that the music leaps out from the speakers and into your mind’s eye making Wagner’s mythological world of the Valkyrie into something quite tangible. I had goose bumps from the start to the finish, while listening to the recording, especially ends of act 1 and 2. The rapturous applause at the end of each act and at the conclusion of the opera, says it all. People (including myself) were giving standing ovations all around and all levels of the wonderful concert hall, at the end of each of the 3 sections.” – (adapted from Amazon.com review)

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Mind & Body eNewsletter for September

There is such a great selection of new Mind and Body books this month I had a hard time picking them for the newsletter! There’s a really diverse range of cookbooks to cover all dietary requirements, some sports books about the Olympics (if you’re still suffering from Olympic fever!) and some really thoughtful personal development books. Too many for you to choose really – enjoy!

Library News


Try out the Paleo diet, the Raw food diet and some vey tasty looking vegan recipes amongst these new cookbooks.

Syndetics book coverChloe’s Kitchen : 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way / Chloe Coscarelli ; foreword by Neal D. Barnard.
“With the explosion of vegan cookbooks on the scene, there are more meatless Monday options than ever, and this book, from the winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, is an accessible addition to the fold.” (Publishers Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe Intolerant Gourmet / Pippa Kendrick.
“Food writer and cook Pippa Kendrick revolutionises allergy-friendly food with an inspired collection of delicious recipes for everyone to make, share and enjoy — and just happen to be free from wheat, gluten, yeast, egg, dairy and soya.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverPractically Raw : Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make / Amber Shea Crawley ; with a foreword by Matthew Kenney.
Contents include: Milks & smoothies — Breakfast & brunch — Bread & crackers — Cheeses, spreads, & sauces — Kale chips — Hummus — Soups & salads — Entrees — Snacks & sides — Desserts.

Syndetics book coverEveryday Paleo : [embracing a natural diet & lifestyle to increase your family’s health, fitness, and longevity] / Sarah Fragoso.
“Do you want to lose weight, regain your health, and achieve a level of fitness you never thought possible? Are you interested in eating the foods that our bodies are intended to eat?…..In ‘Everyday Paleo’, Sarah Fragoso gives detailed instructions for acquiring a paleo lifestyle….” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSimon Bryant’s Vegies / [Simon Bryant].
“Simon Bryant’s long-awaited debut cookbook is a vibrant, inspiring collection of vegie recipes that will appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Let Simon guide you through the changing seasons, as he shares tales from his vegie patch and brilliant tips for selecting the finest produce.” (Library Catalogue)

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Sports, Fitness & Recreation

We’ve got a double dose of Olympic history to dive into, plus football-y and horse-y items.

Syndetics book coverThe Telegraph Book of the Olympics / edited by Martin Smith.
“From the inception of Baron Pierre de Courbetin’s crusade to revive the Games of the ancient Greeks, in the 1890s, through the triumphs and disasters of twenty-nine Olympiads, The Daily Telegraph has been there to provide eye-witness accounts of the greatest sporting moments in history with characteristic authority.This comprehensive and colourful review of the summer Olympics takes you back to 1908, the first time London held the Games….this is the perfect scene-setter for the Games’ return to London.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverIf Wishes Were Ponies : A Memoir of Equine Obsession / Susanna Forrest.
“Susanna Forrest grew up in the 1980s near Norwich, and like many a girl, she yearned for a pony. She was never to get one, but this didn’t stop her becoming obsessed with all things equine. If Wishes Were Horses is the story of that all-consuming interest, and of the author’s nerve-wracked attempts later in life to ride once again.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC : Athens to London 1894-2012 / David Miller.
“The Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC is a dramatic account of the history of the world’s foremost sporting spectacle….Each chapter begins with a personal reminiscence by either a famous champion or a notable IOC figure….this book gives an unparalleled account of the Olympics story from its beginnings in Athens 1894 to the build-up to the Games in London.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThis Love is Not for Cowards : Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez / Robert Andrew Powell.
“Powell’s account of the Indios’ record-breakingly awful 2009-10 season provides a perfect metaphor for Ciudad Juarez, the team’s hometown: things are very bad there, and it’s going to be a long time before they get better. Powell, drawn to the notorious border town for the adrenaline, provides an edgy, anecdotal view of a place where murder is effectively legal.” (Booklist)

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Religion and beliefs

A varied – as always – mix of new religious items arrived this month. Here are some of the highlights.

Syndetics book coverRoll around heaven : an all-true accidental spiritual adventure, by Jessica Maxwell.
“An all-true accidental spiritual adventure that led one nonbeliever to lunch with Deepak Chopra, dance with Stephen Hawking, heal with Yogananda, banish evil spirits with Buddhist lamas, find true love in a Presbyterian church chair, share Celtic revelations on the isle of Iona, talk all night with the Daughters of Islam, and learn an abiding respect for all paths to God. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSelfless insight : Zen and the meditative transformations of consciousness, by James H. Austin.
When neurology researcher James Austin began Zen training, he found that his medical education was inadequate. During the past three decades, he has been at the cutting edge of both Zen and neuroscience, constantly discovering new examples of how these two large fields each illuminate the other. Now, in Selfless Insight, Austin arrives at a fresh synthesis, one that invokes the latest brain research to explain the basis for meditative states and clarifies what Zen awakening implies for our understanding of consciousness. … His quest has spanned an era of unprecedented progress in brain research and has helped define the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience.

Syndetics book coverConnecting Christ : how to discuss Jesus in a world of diverse paths, by Paul Louis Metzger.
“Metzger explores how the faithful and conservative Christian can engage in open and respectful dialog with those of other faiths without losing sight of the obligation to witness. His work includes brief comments from leaders in other faith traditions. VERDICT Anything that can promote courtesy, across faiths or other lines, is welcome; Metzger’s book should be required reading for evangelical pastors and preachers. (drawn from Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMade for goodness and why this makes all the difference, by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu ; edited by Douglas C. Abrams.
“Desmond Tutu, Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, as well as chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, hardly needs an introduction. …The book is founded on the broad notion that we are created with the freedom to choose good or evil but also incline fundamentally to the good. Abstract theology or spirituality has never been Archbishop Tutu’s way; accordingly, this book flows effortlessly through narratives that illustrate Tutu’s unquenchable hope.” (Drawn from Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics) Another new book by the same author is God is not a Christian.

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Gain a better understanding of your body, and how to keep it in top condition, by trying out some of these new items.

Syndetics book coverNutrient power / William J. Walsh.
“Walsh, an expert in nutritional medicine, has gotten into the heads of thousands of mental health patients and found them lacking-or overloaded with-crucial nutrients like copper, vitamin B-6, zinc, folate, and amino acids, which he attributes to genetic and epigenetic causes. Now Walsh is hoping to catapult biochemical therapy into the mainstream of treatment for a wide range of mental disorders, including autism and Alzheimer’s…” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fix : how addiction is invading our lives and taking over your world / Damian Thompson.
“Drugs, alcohol, food, sex and technology are all addictions that pervade our lives and that are moving beyond our control as they multiply. Damian Thompson, who has himself struggled with a range of addictions, argues that human desire is, in the process, being reshaped. The acceleration of scientific achievement is producing more and more substances, objects and experiences that we learn to like too much for our own good and addictive behaviour is becoming a substitute for family and work bonds that are being swept away by globalisation and urbanisation…” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)

Syndetics book coverThe weight of the nation : surprising lessons about diets, food, and fat from the extraordinary HBO documentary series / Judith Salerno and John Hoffman
“A companion to the HBO documentary of the same title… Hoffman and Salerno argue that there’s no secret to weight loss: eat less and exercise more. They also admit it’s more complicated than that: humans evolved in an environment marked by occasional starvation, not in one where there’s an unhealthy snack waiting around every corner. They examine how many communities have no access to full-service supermarkets that sell fresh foods and, as the food people eat is more and more processed, how few know exactly what they consume.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

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Personal Development

Step forward to success with the ideas and help contained within the highlights of our personal development section.

Syndetics book coverTransforming negative self-talk : practical, effective exercises / Steve Andreas.
“Hearing critical or disapproving internal chatter is a common frustration. It can follow us around daily, calling into question our self-confidence, making us anxious or obsessive, and generally wreaking havoc on our sense of balance and well-being. In this user-friendly guide, an experienced clinician presents an array of original, take-charge exercises, which don’t suggest simply ignoring your ruminations. On the contrary, by learning how to change the way the words are spoken, the location of the voice, its tempo, tone, and volume, and stamp out generalizations, evaluations, and presuppositions, we can gain control of the downbeat voices and use them to our advantage.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)

Syndetics book coverThe guide to compassionate assertiveness : how to express your needs & deal with conflict while keeping a kind heart / Sherrie M. Vavrichek.
“Many people who struggle with assertiveness are paralyzed by worries that they’ll seem mean, petty, or that they will hurt the other person’s feelings. Even though they want to speak up, they may keep their true needs and opinions to themselves because of these fears – eventually building stress, resentment, and alienation. The Guide to Compassionate Assertiveness does not require that readers ignore the needs of others and focus solely on their own desires. Rather, this unique blend of cognitive behavioral therapy-based assertiveness training and Buddhist psychology helps readers practice assertiveness skills while caring deeply about the welfare of others. This book helps readers develop a form of assertiveness that emphasizes collaboration, negotiation, and compromise. It focuses on speaking up for the benefit of others and speaking up for the relationship, not just one’s own needs. In this way, readers learn to assert their needs in ways that match their compassionate value systems. This book is the ideal assertiveness guide for those who are afraid of rejection, have a deep concern for how others perceive them, often feel judged by others, or have difficulty expressing their feelings and needs. Readers learn to apply assertiveness skills in all domains of their lives, including in romantic relationships, as parents, at work, and in social settings.” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)

Syndetics book coverThe diviner : the inspiring true story of a man with uncanny insight and the ability to heal / Joe Cassidy.
“Though many of us suspect that there is more to the physical world than meets the eye, reading diviner Joe Cassidy’s story, simply called The Diviner, is still both amazing and inspiring In The Diviner, Joe explains the ancient art he practices. He describes how he discovered his gift and why he resisted it for many years, suffering the consequences in stress and ill-health. Over a decade ago he realised he had to accept his destiny and despite having a young family, he began working as a diviner. Since then he has worked on over five thousand cases. Joe does not advertise but somehow people find him. Everyone from housewives and lorry drivers, to lawyers and record company executives, turns up at his door. What they each sense is that Joe’s timeless insights can help with a problem that appears insoluble.The Diviner is a story of listening, divining and healing that throws a light on a side of life that is both ancient and still very much part of modern life. And it is a fascinating and uplifting story of a life less ordinary.” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)

Syndetics book coverE is for exceptional : the new science of success / Rob Yeung.
“What qualities raise high achievers in business, sport and entertainment above the crowd? How do exceptional people overcome setbacks and stay confident? Why do successful individuals not only earn and achieve more, but also feel happier and more fulfilled? Psychologist Rob Yeung has interviewed hundreds of remarkable entrepreneurs and leaders from the worlds of advertising, banking, fashion and sport to gain insight into the minds of exceptional people. Combining this knowledge with cutting edge scientific research, he shatters myths and outlines new lessons about how to achieve your goals in both work and life. By uncovering the secrets and science of successful people, E is for Exceptional provides proven techniques and a foolproof route map so you too can learn to come out on top.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)

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Aotearoa Newsletter for August

Some lovely new New Zealand and Maori non-fiction has arrived for you to enjoy this month. Check out the great selection below!

There’s also some good news for those of you who like to be cozy and snuggled inside on cold winter evenings – the library has increased the lending period for boxed set DVDs. You can now have your fave TV series, or catch up on some quality TV viewing, over three weeks instead of one. And there’s no extra cost – boxed set DVDs are still only $8. Read all about these changes HERE.

New Zealand Non-Fiction

This month’s selection includes books on well known topics in New Zealand. Keith Hunter investigates the 40 year old unsolved case of the Crewe murders, John Julian investigates the Rena disaster and twice Olympic gold medal winner Mark Todd publishes his autobiography. There is also a look at fifty years of the work ofIan Athfield – the architect who designed our very own library building, as well as many of Wellington’s other architectual landmarks. In the graphic novel format “Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa” recounts how Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu became the first Māori soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Syndetics book coverBlack tide : the story behind the Rena disaster / John Julian.
“Tells the real story of the Rena. The Rena, a 236-metre-long container ship was making 17 knots when she ploughed into the Astrolabe Reef at 2:20am on Wednesday 5 October 2011. She was on her way from Napier towards Tauranga carrying 1368 containers along with 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 200 tonnes of marine diesel. The scene was set for a major economic and environmental catastrophe; a race against time for salvors working in hideous conditions to stem the black tide.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSecond chance : the autobiography / Mark Todd with Kate Green.
“Mark Todd’s eventing career is the stuff of legend and encompasses one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time. When he ‘retired’ from competing in eventing in 2000, he had already been named ‘Rider of the Century’ for his natural empathy with a horse and his extraordinary success, which included back-to-back Olympic gold medals, five Burghley wins and three Badminton victories. He has also show jumped to Olympic level and trained winners on the racecourse.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAthfield Architects / Julia Gatley.
“Over many years, Ian Athfield and his team at Athfield Architects have reshaped New Zealand architecture – from the Buck House at Te Mata Estate to Wellington’s Civic Square, from Jade Stadium to Athfield’s own sprawling settlement on the Khandallah hills. Reflecting on half a century of work, Julia Gatley’s landmark book introduces a major body of architecture through modernism, postmodernism and beyond.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

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Two links to te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, this month : Alice Te Punga-Somerville’s Once were Pacific, with a lovely front cover by Michel Tuffery, and a very attractive Huia Publishers’ graphic novel of Ngarimu, the VC hero of WWII, with pictures by Andrew Burdan.

Syndetics book coverTe ara : Māori pathways of leadership = Der Weg der Māori / Krzysztof Pfeiffer and Paul Tapsell ; [editor, Peter Dowling ; German translation, Katya Sharpe, Lena Fraser-Landmann ; Māori translation, Hone Sadler].
“Te Ara is a Maori story of tribal leadership from the time our ancestors first ventured into the Pacific over 3000 years ago up to today’s global challenges.” – (adapted from Back cover summary)

Once were Pacific : Māori connections to Oceania / Alice Te Punga Somerville.
“Explores the relationship between indigeneity and migration among Māori and Pacific peoples. Once Were Pacific considers how Māori and other Pacific peoples frame their connection to the ocean, to New Zealand, and to each other through various creative works. In this sustained treatment of the Māori diaspora, Māori scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville provides the first critical analysis of relationships between Indigenous and migrant communities in New Zealand.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverNgārimu : te Tohu Toa / nā Andrew Burdan ngā pikitia.
“Tells the story of Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu, the first Māori soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross, describing the battle on the 26 & 27th of March 1943 in which he fought heroically, but was killed. Suggested level: secondary.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Before Tom Cruise started divorcing wives, Henry VIII had the biggest “celebrity” divorce around! This month’s history books include a new account of this famous divorce. We also have some great new New Zealand histories, along with looks at the Kings of Scotland and the twelve Caesars. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverThe divorce of Henry VIII : the untold story from inside the Vatican / Catherine Fletcher.
“Given the amount of material available on the Tudors, it’s difficult to think that anyone even remotely interested in this era is unfamiliar with the particulars of Henry VIII’s attempts to seek a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the resulting political and religious fallout. Fortunately, in her first book, Fletcher (history, Univ. of Durham, England) has found a new angle by focusing on a little-known figure: Gregorio Casali, England’s Italian-born ambassador to Rome. As one of the diplomats charged with securing the Pope’s approval for the divorce, Casali played a central role in the dealings at the papal court. Though some biographical gaps remain, the information Fletcher has uncovered about Casali’s life-full of clashing politics, professional rivalries, and deep family loyalties-provides a fresh perspective on the proceedings of the divorce attempt as well as an in-depth look at the complex world of 16th-century diplomacy. ” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverThe meeting place : Māori and Pākehā encounters, 1642-1840 / Vincent O’Malley.
“The Meeting Place is an examination of relationships between Maori and Pakeha focusing predominantly on the period between 1814 and 1840 when, O’Malley argues, both peoples lived/inhabited a ‘middle ground’- in the historian’s Richard White’s phrase – in which neither could dictate the political, economic or cultural rules. Vincent O’Malley begins by introducing readers to pre-1814 encounters between Maori and European from, Tasman and Cook to sealers and whalers. He then provides a thematic analysis of the 1814 to 1840 period, looking at economic, religious, political and sexual encounters as Maori and Pakeha sorted through the meanings of land, money, gods, leaders and sex. Finally, O’Malley looks at why and how the middle ground gave way to a world in which Pakeha had enough power to dictate terms. The Meeting Place draws on an impressive range of sources to offer a welcome addition to works concerning Maori-Pakeha interaction in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries including those by Anne Salmond, James Belich, Judith Binney, Hazel Petrie, and others. It will appeal to the every general reader interested in New Zealand history but will also be useful for teaching. Its coverage of several major historical debates is likely to serve existing university courses throughout New Zealand as well as the senior secondary school curriculum.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Syndetics book coverThe grand tour / Agatha Christie ; edited by Mathew Prichard.
“In 1922 Agatha Christie set sail on a 10-month voyage around the British Empire with her husband as part of a trade mission to promote the forthcoming British Empire Exhibition. She kept up a detailed weekly correspondence with her mother, describing in detail the exotic places and people she encountered as the mission travelled through South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Canada. Previously unpublished letters are accompanied by hundreds of photos taken on her portable camera as well as some of the original letters, postcards, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia collected by Agatha on her trip. The Grand Tour is a book steeped in history, sure to fascinate anyone interested in the lost world of the 1920s. Coming from the pen of Britain’s biggest literary export and the world’s most widely translated author, it is also a fitting tribute to Agatha Christie and is sure to fascinate her legions of worldwide fans.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

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Sail, run, cycle and unicycle faster with the help of some of our new books! We’ve also got nuggets of sporting trivia, and a look at the world of sports psychology.

Syndetics book coverCyclosportive+ : Preparing for and Taking Part in Long Distance Cycling Challenges / Chris Sidwells.
“Cyclosportives, or long-distance cycle rides, are growing in popularity all over the world. From the Etape du Tour – where cyclists get to ride a stage of the Tour de France – to the Tour of Flanders or the Etape Caledonia in Scotland, these events are pulling big numbers and attracting a range of cyclists. In this new book, bestselling author Chris Sidwells explains how to choose the right sportive, prepare for it both mentally and physically, and get yourself and your bike to the finish line.” – (adapted from Global Books summary)

Syndetics book coverUnicycling : First Steps, First Tricks / Andreas Anders-Wilkens & Robert Mager ; [translated by Andreas Anders-Wilkens and Mark Berninger].
“Presents information and tips for beginning and advanced uncyclists, along with varieties of unicycle and unicycle team sports.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBe a Better Runner : real-world, scientifically proven training techniques that will dramatically improve your speed, endurance, and injury resistance / Sally Edwards, Carl Foster, Roy M. Wallack.
“Written by marathoner and Triathlon Hall of Fame inductee Sally Edwards, Be A Better Runner addresses every possible concern from posture and form to nutrition, footwear and race strategy.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mind and Body Newsletter for August

There’s some really interesting selections for August’s Mind and Body newsletter. Check them out below!

There’s also some good news for those of you who like to be cozy and snuggled inside on cold winter evenings – the library has increased the lending period for boxed set DVDs. You can now have your fave TV series, or catch up on some quality TV viewing, over three weeks instead of one. And there’s no extra cost – boxed set DVDs are still only $8. Read all about these changes HERE.


From winter classics like soup and the Sunday roast, to explorations of Chinese, French and American cuisine, you couldn’t ask for a more delicious looking set of recipes than those contained within our newest cook books. Bon appetit!

Syndetics book coverGok Cooks Chinese / Gok Wan ; photography by Jemma Watts.
“Not only is Gok Wan one of the UK’s top fashion stylists, but he can cook too! His fantastic new book, Cook Yourself Chinese, contains 80 personal and family recipes, which are not only delicious and healthy but incredibly simple to make. His love and passion for Chinese food and cooking techniques shine through from every page. From his unique perspective he gives us his personal and modern take on the Chinese food that he grew up eating, drawing on his Chinese heritage to give us a different angle on how to eat – for Gok, it’s all about sitting down, tucking into fantastic food that is fuss-free and relaxed….” – (adapted from Global Books summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Preservation Ktchen : The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-Doux / Paul Virant with Kate Leahy.
“Virant, a restaurateur and chef at the Michelin-starred Vie (Western Springs, IL), bases his first cookbook on preserves. Pickles are generally among the least glamorous foods, often taken from dusty jars pulled from the cellar in midwinter to perk up the root vegetables on hand, but Virant brings preserved fruit and vegetables to a new level…” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat to Cook & How to Cook It : Fresh & Easy / Jane Hornby.
“Beautiful watercolor illustrations and step-by-step instructional photographs adorn this follow-up to Hornby’s popular What To Cook & How To Cook It. After explaining the ingredients, techniques, and equipment you’ll need to use the book effectively, she offers dishes for a variety of courses and occasions…” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

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Sports, Fitness & Recreation

Sail, run, cycle and unicycle faster with the help of some of our new books! We’ve also got nuggets of sporting trivia, and a look at the world of sports psychology.

Syndetics book cover100 Essential Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Sport / John D. Barrow.
“Focuses on the mysteries of running, jumping, swimming and points scoring across the whole sporting spectrum. This title lets you find out: Why high-jumpers use the Fosbury Flop? How fast Usain Bolt can ultimately run and how he could break his records without running any faster? And, more.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Art of Running Faster / Julian Goater, Don Melvin.
“The Art of Running Faster provides you with a new approach to running, achieving your goals and setting your personal best. Whether you are old or young, new to the sport or an experienced marathoner, this guide will change how you run and the results you achieve. The Art of Running Faster challenges the stereotypes, removes the doubts and erases the self-imposed limitations by prescribing not only what to do but also how to do it.” – (adapted from Global Books summary)

Syndetics book coverGalloping Ghosts : Australasian 18-footers, 1890-1965 / Robin Elliott.
“With every scrap aloft, carrying more sail than many larger keel yachts, and the crew driving her as fast as possible on the edge of control, no other yacht captures the attention quite like an 18-footer in full flight. This is as true today as it was 100 years ago….Galloping Ghosts in the history of the 18-footer as it has never been told before.” – (adapted from Global Books summary)

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Religion and beliefs

Three different takes on aging head the selections this month, while systematic theology and misused Bible verses complete the list.

Syndetics book coverAging as a spiritual practice : a contemplative guide to growing older and wiser, by Lewis Richmond.
“Although this is a user’s guide to aging well written from the perspective of a Buddhist priest and meditation teacher, you don’t have to be a Buddhist or, for that matter, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or even a believer to appreciate its very helpful reflections. … As Richmond poignantly observes, Everything we love and care about . . . will change, transform, and eventually pass away. … Included are stories of ordinary people, some of whom like growing old and others who do not. In addition, Richmond offers examples of contemplative Buddhist practices.” (drawn from Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHeaven is now : awakening your five spiritual senses to the wonders of grace, by Andrew Farley.
“In his latest book, Farley (God Without Religion) explores ways to live life and love God through the five senses. Each sense is loosely attached to a spiritual idea; for example, the “hear” section is about knowing which voice to listen to in one’s life and the “see” section is about being aware of what Jesus accomplished. … Readers who can get past the standard sermon fodder and take the time to employ the back matter will learn how to refocus their lives on God. (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe novice : a story of true love, by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh transforms an ancient folktale into a timeless parable. Born in rural Vietnam, Kinh Tam’s beauty and intelligence were obvious to all. …. Throughout her marriage, Kinh Tam’s mind was devoted to her husband, but her heart never wavered from her true calling. She wanted to be a monk. Yet Buddhism was still new to Vietnam and temples accepted only men for ordination. So Kinh Tam disguised herself as a man, and joined a monastery as a novice. Years of joy and peace passed until a local woman accused the novice of fathering her unborn child. Torn between two impossible choices, Kinh Tam faced the unbearable with the boundless heart of Buddha, and her choice forever changed her life, her country, and her faith. (From the publisher’s description.)

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Keep your body and mind in peak condition with help from some of our new items this month. Books that focus on healthy eating, anxiety, managing diabetes and more.

Syndetics book coverThe woman who changed her brain : unlocking the extraordinary potential of the human mind / Barbara Arrowsmith-Young ; foreword by Norman Doidge.
“… Barbara Arrowsmith Young was born with severe learning disabilities. Undaunted, she used her strengths to develop brain exercises to overcome her neurological deficits… Young’s work is one of the first examples of the extensive and practical application of “neuroplasticity.” As the individuals described in this book change their brains, readers see how the brain works and what a profound impact improved mental capacity has on how we can participate in the world…” (adapted from Simon and Schuster summary)

Syndetics book coverA calm brain : unlocking your natural relaxation system / Gayatri Devi.
“…With a warm, lucid voice, Dr. Devi shares stories from her medical practice of ordinary people – suffering from migraines, neck pain, gastrointestinal upsets, and sleep deprivation – trying to work through life’s difficulties. With practical advice she shows just how to promote a higher “vagal tone,” and delivers the best news yet, you don’t need more drugs. Here are the keys to more tranquil, productive, and enjoyable life…” – (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverTeaching your child with love and skill : a guide for parents and other educators of children with autism, including moderate to severe autism / Joyce Show.
“Parents of children with autism can often feel out of their depth when it comes to nurturing their child’s learning and development. This book helps parents to make sense of the confusing array of educational interventions available, and shows how to combine and adapt different strategies to meet the specific needs of their child, including those with moderate to severe autism…” – (adapted from Book cover)

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Personal Development

Be inspired by those who have pushed themselves to the limit with their Olympic goals this month and arm yourself with tools to reach the next level in your own life.

Syndetics book coverLife coaching activities and powerful questions : a practical workbook for life coaches and all involved in personal development / Phyllis Reardon.
“Life Coaching Activities and Powerful Questions has been designed for a dual purpose; first and foremost it is a working book for the life coach; it is also designed for the individual who wishes to make changes in their life using the Life Coaching Process. Parents, managers, teachers, career coaches, school counsellors and anyone involved in human or personal development, this book is a great asset. The Life Coaching Activities Exercise Workbook takes you through the Life Coaching process in terms of definitions, quotes, activities or exercises and Coaching Questions as designed by CoachPhyllis.com Inc. Use this book to focus on your life and make it the best it can be.” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)

Syndetics book coverThe thing you think you cannot do : thirty truths about fear and courage / Gordon Livingston.
“What are we afraid of and what can we do about it? Fear – of change, of intimacy, of loss, of the unknown – has become a corrosive influence in modern life, eroding our ability to think clearly. Exploited for power by politicians and for money by the media, it has become embedded in the way we think about our lives. Overcoming our fear, says Gordon Livingston, constitutes the most difficult struggle we face. Dr. Livingston, a psychiatrist, has increasingly found himself prescribing virtues like courage to his patients instead of tranquilizers or antidepressants. Now he tells us all what we need to do to develop personal virtues in the face of societal fear and our own individual fears.” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gifts of imperfection : let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are / by Brené Brown.
“Each day we face a barrage of images and ideas from society and the media telling us who we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only change those flaws by looking perfect and leading a perfect life, then we’d no longer feel inadequate. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, Ph.D., the leading expert on shame, reveals that it is actually our imperfections that connect us to one another as human beings and make us who we are. In this fresh guide, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits in finding the greatness in our flaws and evolving our self-perceptions through fifteen guideposts, from embracing our mistakes to letting go of our fear of rejection to an authentic, WholeHearted life. Each guidepost to live by is illustrated with essays, stories, inspiring quotes, meditations, and dynamic creative exercises designed to help us develop the skills to accept our humanness with compassion and practice empathy with ourselves and others.” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)

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