New literature titles to dip into

Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day of the week that is devoted exclusively to reading — Lena Dunham

Take a peek at some of our latest books in literature! Our favourites include ‘Ex Libris’ from Michiko Kakutani and Madison Hamill’s ‘Specimen’, both containing collections of intelligent and exciting essays. Happy reading!

Let me tell you what I mean / Didion, Joan
“Twelve early pieces never before collected that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of Joan Didion. From her admiration for Hemingway’s sentences to her acknowledgment that Martha Stewart’s story is one that has historically encouraged women in this country, even as it has threatened men, these essays are acutely and brilliantly observed. Each piece is classic Didion: incisive, bemused, and stunningly prescient.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive coverBlueberries, Ellena Savage (ebook)
Blueberries could be described as a collection of essays, the closest term available for a book that resists classification; a blend of personal essay, polemic, prose poetry, true-crime journalism and confession that considers a fragmented life, reflecting on what it means to be a woman, a body, an artist. In crystalline prose, Savage explores the essential questions of the examined life: what is it to desire? What is it to accommodate oneself to the world? And at what cost? (Overdrive description)

Just as I am : a memoir / Tyson, Cicely
“At last, the Academy, Tony, and three-time Emmy Award-winning actor and trailblazer, Cicely Tyson, tells her stunning story, looking back at her six-decade career and life.” (Catalogue)

Ex libris / Kakutani, Michiko
“From ‘the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world’ (Vanity Fair) comes an inspiring and beautifully illustrated selection of the life-changing books that none of us should miss.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Specimen : personal essays / Hamill, Madison
“In scenarios ranging from the mundane to the surreal, Madison Hamill looks back at her younger selves with a sharp eye. Was she good or evil? Ignorant or enlightened? What parts of herself did she give up in order to forge ahead in school, church, work, and relationships, with a self that made sense to others? With wit and intelligence, these shape-shifting essays probe the ways in which a person’s inner and outer worlds intersect and submit to one another.” (Catalogue)

We want it all : an anthology of radical trans poetics
“An anthology of formally inventive writing by trans poets against capital and empire. Writing in dialogue with emancipatory political movements, the intergenerational writers assembled here imagine an altogether overturned world in poems that pursue the particular and multiple trans relationships to desire, embodiment, housing, sex, ecology, history, pop culture, and the working day.” (Catalogue)

Red comet : the short life and blazing art of Sylvia Plath / Clark, Heather L.
“The highly anticipated new biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman behind the long-held myths about her life and art. Along with illuminating readings of the poems themselves, Clark’s meticulous, compassionate research brings us closer than ever to the spirited woman and visionary artist who blazed a trail that still lights the way for women poets the world over.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

In the land of the cyclops : essays / Knausgård, Karl Ove
In the Land of the Cyclops is Karl Ove Knausgaard’s first collection of essays to be published in English. These essays capture Knausgaard’s remarkable ability to mediate between the personal and the universal, between life and art. Each piece glimmers with Knausgaard’s candor and his longing to authentically see, understand, and experience the world.” (Catalogue)

Latest in literature

Some of our most recent literature additions feature poetry, essays, and short stories that celebrate togetherness. New and established authors have managed to expertly weave together optimism and reflection in order to create stunning collections of literature that encompass what it means to be connected in today’s world.

Ko Aotearoa tātou, we are New Zealand : an anthology
“What is New Zealand now, in all its rich variety and contradiction, darkness and light? Who are New Zealanders? In a society where the arts, especially marginalised arts, are under threat, this anthology shows that creative work can explore, document, interrogate, re-imagine – and celebrate – who we are as citizens of this diverse country, in a diverse world” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover A Measure of Belonging, Cinelle Barnes (ebook)
America in 2020 is at a crossroads. We are searching for home in places where belonging and identity are often contested. Urgent, necessary, funny, and poignant, these essays from new and established voices confront the complexities of the South’s relationship with race, uncovering the particular difficulties and profound joys of being a southerner in the 21st century. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Broken lines : in charcoal
This anthology represents the work of 37 Canterbury poets, some new, some emerging and others who have become well-established over the last ten years, the time period sampled here. One of the things these poets have in common is the shared experience of attending poetry classes held by Joanna Preston. Some have become regular participants, as a community of poets has become established, a safe place in which to expose and share tentative beginnings. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Resistencia : poems of protest and revolution
“With a powerful and poignant introduction from Julia Alvarez, Resistencia is an extraordinary collection, rooted in a strong tradition of protest poetry and voiced by icons of the movement and some of the most exciting writers today. Within this momentous collection, poets representing every Latin American country grapple with identity, place, and belonging… Included in English translation alongside their original language.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Best American Essays 2020, André Aciman (ebook)
A collection of the year’s best essays selected by André Aciman, author of the worldwide bestseller Call Me by Your Name. (Overdrive description)

Biopsies : stories of struggle and hope in South Auckland / Judkins, Greg
“A medical centre provides a hub to these loosely inter-connected fictional stories, the scope of which pans across a slew of people living and dying with disability, social isolation, humour, conflict, hope and uncertainty” (Catalogue)

Fire front : First Nations poetry and power today
“This important anthology, curated by Gomeroi poet and academic Alison Whittaker, showcases Australia’s most-respected First Nations poets alongside some of the rising stars. Divided into five thematic sections, each one is introduced by an essay from a leading Aboriginal writer and thinker… This incredible book is a testament to the renaissance of First Nations poetry happening in Australia right now.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Together in a sudden strangeness : America’s poets respond to the pandemic
“As the novel coronavirus and its devastating effects began to spread in the United States and around the world, Alice Quinn reached out to poets across the country to see if, and what, they were writing under quarantine. In these pages, we find poets grieving for relatives they are separated from or recovering from illness themselves, attending to suddenly complicated household tasks or turning to literature for strength.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Tūhono 2020, Wellington City Libraries (ebook)
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. Taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

New travel books: piranhas and poisonous spiders

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

So many things fell by the wayside in 2020 and adventures abroad were certainly one of them. As librarians, many of us this year have definitely leaned heavily on reading as an escape, and we wonder if you have too? Books about far-flung places have definitely been one way to broaden our horizons while we daydream about overseas travel.

In this spirit, here are some travel stories you can immerse yourself in while you stay closer to home this year. Read about epic voyages of discovery, travel misadventures (to make you glad to be home – piranhas, shark-infested waters, extreme weather, poisonous spiders and vindictive mosquitoes), as well as exploring the world from a different angle when life makes a change you didn’t expect. You’ll also find a good amount of history and geography to browse here, including An Atlas of Extinct Countries (a tour of places that no longer exist). Have a browse, and we hope you enjoy!

Image from Amazon.co.ukThe great journeys in history
“Marco Polo, Ferdinand Magellan, David Livingstone, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong: these are some of the greatest travellers of all time. This book chronicles their stories and many more, describing epic voyages of discovery from the extraordinary migrations out of Africa by our earliest ancestors to the latest voyages into space. In modern times, the last inhospitable ends of the earth were reached – including both poles and the world’s highest mountain – and new elements were conquered.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blue sky kingdom : an epic family journey to the heart of the Himalayas / Kirkby, Bruce
“A warm and unforgettable portrait of a family letting go of the known world to encounter an unfamiliar one filled with rich possibilities and new understandings. In Blue Sky Kingdom, we follow Bruce and his family’s remarkable three months journey, where they would end up living amongst the Lamas of Zanskar Valley, a forgotten appendage of the ancient Tibetan empire. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover An Atlas of Extinct Countries, Gideon Defoe (ebook)
Prisoners of Geography meets Bill Bryson: a funny, fascinating, beautifully illustrated – and timely – history of countries that, for myriad and often ludicrous reasons, no longer exist. Countries die. Sometimes it’s murder, sometimes it’s by accident, and sometimes it’s because they were so ludicrous they didn’t deserve to exist in the first place.  This is an atlas of nations that fell off the map.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Bad tourist : misadventures in love and travel / Roberts, Suzanne
“Both a memoir in travel essays and an anti-guidebook, Bad Tourist takes us across four continents to fifteen countries, showing us what not to do when traveling. A woman learning to claim her own desires and adventures, Suzanne Roberts encounters lightning and landslides, sharks and piranha-infested waters, burning bodies, and brief affairs as she searches for the love of her life and finally herself. Throughout her travels Roberts tries hard not to be a bad tourist, but owing to her cultural blind spots, things don’t always go as planned. ” (Catalogue)

In praise of paths : walking through time and nature / Ekelund, Torbjørn Lysebo
“Torbj rn Ekelund started to walk everywhere after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. As he walks with shoes on and barefoot, through forest creeks and across urban streets, he contemplates the early tracks made by ancient snails and traces the wanderings of Romantic poets. If we still “understand ourselves in relation to the landscape,” Ekelund asks, then what do we lose in an era of car travel and navigation apps?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Image from fishpond.co.nz
Broken heels and bicycle wheels / Blair, Larry
“As 2018 drew to a close I embarked on what was to be my grand odyssey, a North – South walk of Aotearoa. Following the Te Araroa route, I was to walk 3,000km over the next six months. Spoiler: I didn’t. After some ups and downs, I binned that idea and had a crack at biking it instead. Broken Heels and Bicycle Wheels is my tale from that six month period. It’s a fairly raw retelling of my trip as I lived it, warts and all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Walks on the wild side : exploring an unforgiving land / Pakenham, John
“In the early 1980s, John Pakenham walked a total of 1,500 miles, with a series of companions from the local Turkana and Samburu tribes, in the Great Rift Valley of northern Kenya. Repeatedly beset by extreme thirst and dehydration, bitterly cold torrential rains, poisonous spiders, and vindictive mosquitoes, he was lucky to live to tell his tale. Pakenham’s account provides a rare glimpse of a tough terrain” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lonely Planet’s natural world.
“From Canada’s mysterious and untamed Great Bear Rainforest to the spiritually significant mountain of Kailash in Tibet, unearth 50 destinations all around the world which take you right back to the heart of the natural world. With a combination of beautiful illustration and photography throughout, as well as contributions from award-winning travel writers, this unique coffee table book is the quintessential guide to helping you reconnect with nature.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How we write: New literature titles

Reading gives us an insight into the minds of the authors – what’s on their minds, and what they might be feeling. Delve a little deeper with These Fevered Days, which looks into key points of Emily Dickinson’s life, or You Have a Lot to Lose, in which C.K. Stead talks about his writing career. Personal poetry and essays also feature, with authors such as Joy Harjo and Charly Cox opening conversations around identity and making connections in our modern world.

Image from fishpond.co.nz AUP new poets. 6
“Post-it notes and shopping lists, Japanese monks and children’s lungs: AUP New Poets 6 is a deep dive into the rich diversity of New Zealand poetry today. Relaunched under the editorship of Anna Jackson in 2019, AUP New Poets 6 includes substantial selections from the poetry of Ben Kemp, Vanessa Crofskey and Chris Stewart.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover These Fevered Days, Martha Ackmann (ebook)
“On August 3, 1845, young Emily Dickinson declared, “All things are ready” and with this resolute statement, her life as a poet began. Despite spending her days almost entirely “at home” (the occupation listed on her death certificate), Dickinson’s interior world was extraordinary. Utilizing thousands of archival letters and poems as well as never-before-seen photos, These Fevered Days constructs a remarkable map of Emily Dickinson’s inner life. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover An American Sunrise, Joy Harjo (ebook)
In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover How to Be a Heroine, Samantha Ellis (ebook)
On a pilgrimage to Wuthering Heights, Samantha Ellis found herself arguing with her best friend about which heroine was best: Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw. She was all for wild, passionate Cathy; but her friend found Cathy silly, a snob, while courageous Jane makes her own way. How To Be A Heroine is Samantha’s funny, touching, inspiring exploration of the role of heroines, and our favourite books, in all our lives – and how they change over time, for better or worse, just as we do. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Lost Transmissions, Desirina Boskovich (ebook)
Science fiction and fantasy reign over popular culture now. Lost Transmissions is a rich trove of forgotten and unknown, imagined-but-never-finished, and under-appreciated-but-influential works from those imaginative genres, as well as little-known information about well-known properties. The book examines Jules Verne’s lost novel; AfroFuturism and Space Disco; E.T.’s scary beginnings; Weezer’s never-made space opera; and the 8,000-page metaphysical diary of Philip K. Dick. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover You have a Lot to Lose, C. K. Stead (ebook)
New Zealand’s most extraordinary literary everyman – poet, novelist, critic, activist – C. K. Stead told the story of his first twenty-three years.. In this second volume of his memoirs, Stead takes us from the moment he left New Zealand for a job in rural Australia, through study abroad, writing and a university career. It is a tumultuous tale of literary friends and foes and of navigating a personal and political life through the social change of the 1960s and 70s. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Validate me / Cox, Charly
“From the bestselling author of She Must Be Mad comes Charly Cox’s second collection of poetry and prose. This is an account of a life lived online. Swiping for approval. Scrolling for gratification. Searching for connection. From the glow of a screen in the middle of the night, to the harsh glare of the hospital waiting room, Validate Me is a raw and honest look at the highs and the lows of a digital life. The new voice of a generation, Charly’s words have the power to make us all feel less alone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Storyville!, John Dufresne (ebook)
In Storyville!, seasoned guide John Dufresne provides practical insight into the building blocks of fiction, including how to make the reader see your characters, create a suspenseful plot, and revise, revise, revise. Storyville! is a combination handbook and notebook, with original prompts and exercises crafted with Dufresne’s singular dry wit and Evan Wondolowski’s playful and illuminating graphics on every page. (Overdrive description)

Habitat threshold / Santos Perez, Craig
“With Habitat Threshold, Craig Santos Perez has crafted a timely collection of eco-poetry that explores his ancestry as a native Pacific Islander, the ecological plight of his homeland, and his fears for the future. Through experimental forms, free verse, prose, haiku, sonnets, satire, and a method he calls “recycling,” Perez has created a diverse collection filled with passion.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Details, Tegan Bennett Daylight (Audiobook)
Tegan Bennett Daylight has led a life in books – as a writer, a teacher and a critic, but first and foremost as a reader. In this deeply insightful and intimate work, Daylight describes how her reading has nourished her life, and how life has informed her reading. Each chapter is a revelation, and a celebration of how books offer not an escape from ‘real life’ but a richer engagement with the business of living. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Exploring new destinations from home: Latest travelogues

While we reminisce of a time of overseas holidays and easier international travel, we’re lucky to have such a range of travel stories at our fingertips. Placate yourself with our latest travel titles, this time focussing on ‘armchair travel’ – all of the excitement, but none of the practicality issues. Immerse yourself in stories told from some of the world’s most remote locations as well as travelogues from South America, Europe, and Asia.

Overdrive cover Mountain Lines, Jonathan Arlan (ebook)
In the summer of 2015, Jonathan Arlan was nearing thirty. Restless, bored, and daydreaming of adventure, he comes across an image on the Internet one day: a map of the southeast corner of France with a single red line snaking south from Lake Geneva, through the jagged brown and white peaks of the Alps to the Mediterranean sea—a route more than four hundred miles long. He decides then and there to walk the whole trail solo. (Overdrive description)

Couchsurfing in China : encounters and escapades beyond the Great Wall / Orth, Stephan
“When Stephan Orth lands in China, he knows it’s his last visit, having lied about his job as a journalist to get into the country. Self-deprecatingly funny, compassionate and observant, Couchsurfing in China is a formidable addition to a well-loved series, and offers a timely travelogue of an enigmatic country poised to become the world’s next superpower.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For the love of Europe : my favorite places, people and stories / Steves, Rick
“Stow away with America’s favorite travel writer as he relives his favorite European experiences. These are stories only Rick Steves could tell. Wry, insightful, and inspiring, these are the experiences that changed the way Rick thinks about his place in the world … and, consequently, helped change the way Americans travel. Reading this book, you’ll find yourself falling in love with Europe, too.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Secret city : the insider’s guide to the world’s coolest neighbourhoods.
“Ditch the tourist crowds and get to the real heart of a place with Secret City; an essential guide to getting to know the most interesting, rewarding, a cool neighborhoods in cities around the world. Readers will discover the best little-known sights and things to do, plus the coolest places to eat, drink, and shop to create unforgettable trips. ” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Delhi, Elizabeth Chatterjee (ebook)
When Elizabeth Chatterjee makes her way from the cool hum of Oxford to the demented June heat of heat of Delhi to research her PhD, she find herself both baffled and curious about the je ne sais quoi of this city of ‘graveyards and tombstones’. Liz takes us through the serpentine power structures, the idyll, the bullshit —peeling layer after layer of the city’s skin to reveal its aspirations, its insecurity, its charm and finally its urban dissonance. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

In the land of good living : a journey to the heart of Florida / Russell, Kent
In the summer of 2016, Kent Russell set off to walk across Florida. Mythic, superficial, soaked in contradictions, maligned by cultural elites, segregated from the South, and literally vanishing into the sea, Florida seemed to Russell to embody America’s divided soul. Russell has taken it all in with his incomparably focused lens and delivered a book that is both an inspired travelogue and a profound rumination on the nation’s soul–and his own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Magdalena : river of dreams / Davis, Wade
“Travellers often become enchanted with the first country that captures their hearts and gives them license to be free. For Wade Davis, it was Colombia. In this masterful new book, he revisits the mighty Magdalena, the river that made possible the nation. Braiding together memoir, history, and journalism, Wade Davis tells the story of the country’s most magnificent river, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New eBooks – Poetry and Prose

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be missing the ‘new books’ displays in our libraries, and the feeling of picking up a glossy new title and deciding to take it home. While eBooks don’t provide that amazing new-book-smell, we’re still excited to introduce you to fresh content and help you find your next great read.

These literary picks cover a range of formats: poetry, author biographies, journalism, and even comics. Get amongst, pick something you like, and read it wherever you happen to be today.

Overdrive cover The Literature Book, DK (Audiobook)
Exploring more than 100 of the world’s most important literary works and the literary geniuses that created them, this book is the perfect introduction to the subject of literature and writing. The audiobook also offers a deeper look into the famed fiction of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and more, as in-depth literary criticism and interesting authorial biographies give each work of literature a new meaning. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Little History of Poetry, John Carey (ebook)
John Carey tells the stories behind the world’s greatest poems, from the oldest surviving one written nearly four thousand years ago to those being written today. Carey looks at poets whose works shape our views of the world, such as Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Whitman, and Yeats. He also looks at more recent poets, like Derek Walcott, and Maya Angelou, who have started to question what makes a poem “great” in the first place. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Recollections of My Non-Existence, Rebecca Solnit (Audiobook)
In 1981, Rebecca Solnit rented a studio apartment in San Francisco. There, she began to come to terms with the epidemic of violence against women around her, and the authority figures that routinely disbelieved her. Place and the growing culture of activism liberated her, as did the magical world of literature and books. Here is an electric account of the pauses and gains of feminism in the past forty years; and an extraordinary portrait of an artist, by a seminal American writer. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Unfinished Business, Vivian Gornick (ebook)
In nine stunning essays, the inimitable Vivian Gornick returns to the books that have shaped her. From a reporter in 1970s New York, to a feminist negotiating love and independence, to a writer in the jubilant sanctity of older age: Gornick’s life is compelling, and in the characters of literature she finds versions of herself through the years, each time she opens the page. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Spinoff Book, Toby Manhire (ebook)
Five years ago, The Spinoff burst onto New Zealand’s media scene with smart, screamingly funny and seriously relevant writing. Since then, it has enraged and inspired, respectably won Website of the Year at the 2019 Voyager Media Awards, and expanded into television, podcasts and now – shockingly – a book. Edited by Toby Manhire, it’s jam-packed with The Spinoff’s best work, along with artwork by Toby Morris, photography, collage, poetry and a clutch of new and exclusive essays. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Monster, She Wrote, Lisa Kröger (ebook)
From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Part biography, part reader’s guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Long Story Short, Lisa Brown (ebook)
Long Story Short offers 100 pithy and skewering three-panel literary summaries, from curriculum classics like Don Quixote, Lord of the Flies, and Jane Eyre to modern favorites like Beloved and Atonement. Lisa Brown’s Long Story Short is the perfect way to turn a traipse through what your English teacher called “the canon” into a frolic—or to happily cram for the next occasion that requires you to appear bookish and well-read. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Storyville!, John Dufresne (ebook)
Whether you are daunted by a blinking cursor or frustrated trying to get the people in your head onto the page, writing stories can be intimidating. A do-it-yourself manual for the apprentice fiction writer, Storyville! demystifies that process; its bold graphics take you inside the writer’s comfortingly chaotic mind and show you how stories are made. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong (ebook)
Steeped in war and cultural upheaval and wielding a fresh new language, Vuong writes about the most profound subjects – love and loss, conflict, grief, memory and desire – and attends to them all with lines that feel newly-minted, graceful in their cadences, passionate and hungry in their tender, close attention. This is an unusual, important book… its blend of humanity and power make it one of the best first collections of poetry to come out of America in years. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Recent Literature for International Women’s Day

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

To celebrate International Women’s Day for 2020, our recent literature picks for this month feature a wealth of outstanding female writers. We take a look at seasoned favourites such as Elena Ferrante and Louisa May Alcott, as well as fresh voices in poetry and biographical literature.

This year the theme for IWD is ‘Each for Equal’ – how we can use our individuality as part of a bigger whole to stand up for gender equality. In this booklist, we’ve focused on the shared experience of womanhood, as well as coming-of-age in a time where women’s voices have never been louder or more important. There’s heaps to pick from for your next read, and we guarantee you’ll find inspiration, empathy, joy and sorrow, and perhaps even a deeper understanding of what it means to be female in today’s world.

Overdrive cover She Speaks, Yvette Cooper (ebook)
“In this timely and personal selection of exceptional speeches, Yvette Cooper MP tells the rousing story of female oratory. From Boudica to Greta Thunberg and Margaret Thatcher to Malala, Yvette introduces each speech and demonstrates how powerful and persuasive oratory can be decidedly female. Written by one of our leading public voices, this is an inspirational call for women to be heard across the globe.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Incidental inventions / Ferrante, Elena
“‘This is my last column, after a year that has scared and inspired me.’ With these words, Elena Ferrante bid farewell to her year-long collaboration with the Guardian. For a full year she penned short pieces; the subjects ranged from first love to climate change, from enmity among women to the adaptation of her novels to film and TV. Gathered here  and accompanied by… Andrea Ucini’s intelligent, witty, and beautiful illustrations, this is a must for all Ferrante fans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Vanity Fair’s women on women
“Vanity Fair’s Women on Women features thirty of the best profiles, essays, and columns on female subjects written by female contributors to the magazine over the past thirty-five years. Many of these pieces constitute the first draft of a larger cultural narrative. They tell a singular story about female icons and identity over the last four decades—and about the magazine as it has evolved under the editorial direction of Tina Brown, Graydon Carter, and now Radhika Jones, who has written a compelling introduction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Crazy Brave, Joy Harjo (ebook)
“In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Anne Boyd Rioux (ebook)
In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Anne Boyd Rioux brings a fresh and engaging looks at the circumstances leading Louisa May Alcott to write Little Women and why this beloved story of family and community ties set in the Civil War has resonated with audiences across time. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Naked in the Promised Land, Lillian Faderman (ebook)
“Born in 1940, Lillian Faderman is the only child of an uneducated and unmarried Jewish woman who left Latvia to seek a better life in America. Desperately seeking to make her life meaningful, she studied at Berkeley; paying her way by working as a pin-up model and burlesque dancer… she became a brilliant student and the woman who becomes a loving partner, a devoted mother, an acclaimed writer and ground-breaking pioneer of gay and lesbian scholarship. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Make it scream, make it burn : essays / Jamison, Leslie
“The author of New York Times best sellers like The Empathy Exams, Jamison returns with 14 fresh essays blending memoir, criticism, and journalism. Among her subjects: 52 Blue, the world’s loneliest whale; the awful yet somehow remote Sri Lankan civil war; and a museum exhibiting relics of broken relationships. With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which she has become known, Jamison offers 14 new essays that are by turns ecstatic, searching, staggering, and wise.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover I Hope We Choose Love, Kai Cheng Thom (ebook)
“A heartbreaking yet hopeful collection of personal essays and prose poems, blending the confessional, political, and literary, Kai Cheng Thom dives deep into the questions that haunt social movements today. With the author’s characteristic eloquence and honesty, I Hope We Choose Love proposes heartfelt solutions on the topics of violence, complicity, family, vengeance, and forgiveness. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Ordinary Girls, Jaquira Díaz (ebook)
In this searing memoir, Jaquira Díaz writes fiercely and eloquently of her challenging girlhood and triumphant coming of age. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz’s memoir provides a vivid portrait of a life lived in (and beyond) the borders of Puerto Rico and its complicated history—and reads as electrically as a novel.
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Constellations : reflections from life / Gleeson, Sinéad
“How do you tell the story of life that is no one thing? How do you tell the story of a life in a body, as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood? And how do you tell that story when you are not just a woman but a woman in Ireland? In this powerful and daring memoir in essays Sinéad Gleeson does that very thing. In writing that is in tradition of some of our finest writers and yet still in her own spirited, warm voice, Sinéad takes on journey that is both personal and yet universal in its resonance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drawing and Painting Guides: New Art Books

If your new year’s resolution was to pick up some artistic skills, you’re in luck! This month we’ve got an influx of great arty how-to, including drawing, sketching, and painting. Maybe even branch out further and try paint pouring with The Paint Pouring Workshop, or get into comics and animation with Draw Great Characters and Creatures.

Overdrive cover Botanical Line Drawing, Peggy Dean (ebook)
Botanical Line Drawing teaches you how to start with the simplest doodles, building into more elaborate, delicate illustrations. These simple line drawings will allow you to branch out and have fun with your own personal style, as well as inspire you to add flourishes to other projects.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Draw great characters and creatures : 75 art exercises for comics and animation / Johnson, Beverly
“Learn to make your characters unique, compelling and lifelike with these 75 exercises for all skill levels, including beginners. Topics include tools and materials; shapes; personalities; facial expressions; body language; character interaction; and costuming. Character types featured include more than just humans; learn how to draw animals, plants, creatures and more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The 15-minute artist : the quick and easy way to draw almost anything / Holmes, Catherine V.
“If you want to draw but think you don’t have the time to learn -or feel too intimidated to start- 15-Minute Artist invites you to jump in. Bestselling author Catherine Holmes provides more than 60 step-by-step projects for depicting animals, food, plants, household items, and more–and you can complete each one in just 15 minutes. Her tutorials break the process down so you can achieve quick, satisfying results.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The paint pouring workshop : learn to create dazzling abstract art with acrylic pouring / Ferro, Marcy
“Jump into the exciting world of paint pouring — and instantly create dazzling, abstract art — with this comprehensive how-to guide by the popular founder of the Mixed Media Girl YouTube channel. In this fun, colorful guide, Marcy Ferro explains everything about working in this popular form.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ink : do more art / Davies, Bridget
Ink is the first in an exciting new practical-art series on popular mediums, including acrylic, oil, pencil and gouache. The books will cover painting techniques, creative ideas and applications, and the fun of mixing with other mediums. Many of the techniques and ideas will be demonstrated through the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and illustrators. With its contemporary aesthetic and accessible content, the series will appeal to artists of all abilities.” (Catalogue)

Urban sketching step by step / Meier-Pauken, Klaus
“The next inspiring instalment by artist and architect Klau Meir-Pauken, showing you how to sketch our industrial, hustling, urban world – and discover your inner artist. Reawaken the art of our ancestors and join the growing movement of reactionary artists, and learn how to capture our fast-paced world in this inspiring book by popular artist and author, Klaus Meier-Pauken.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Painting masterclass : creative techniques of 100 great artists / Hodge, Susie
“The book is organized into seven chapters covering important genres: nudes, figures, landscapes, still life, heads, fantasy and abstraction. Each chapter selects a cross section of artists and examines their practice in detail, using key paintings. Light and shade, rhythm, form, space, contour and composition are all covered in detail.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The field guide to drawing & sketching animals / Pond, Tim
“Artist Tim Pond’s lively and engaging book fuses science with art, providing the reader with the skills, techniques and knowledge they need to create sketches of animals filled with life and movement. Combining scientific knowledge with expert practical guidance is key to creating successful drawings of animals, and Tim’s ability to convey this in a way that is both accessible and engaging makes this a unique and inspiring guide suitable for artists of all levels.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Local Literature: New Books

We’re reading a lot of local fiction and non-fiction lately, because it’s so good! Stories from New Zealanders make us feel reminiscent and connected, as well as providing the satisfaction that comes from supporting local writers. Some of these voices are new, some of them have been around for a while but still have new perspectives to share.

This month, notable titles include the swirling poetry of Between You and these Bones; and The Braided River, an anthology of migrant essays compiled by Diane Comer, who draws on how essays continue to be an expression of oneself and migration in a shifting world. We finish off with a current Librarian’s Choice, All Who Live on Islands, which perhaps proves Comer’s hypothesis true.

The paper nautilus : a trilogy / Jackson, Michael
The Paper Nautilus is about loss – the forms it takes, how we go on living in the face of it, and the mysterious ways that new life and new beginnings are born of brokenness. The paper nautilus provides a vivid image of this interplay of death and rebirth since, for new life to begin, the angelically beautiful but fragile shell that sustained a former life must be shattered. This book crosses and blends genres most engagingly.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haare Williams : words of a kaumātua / Williams, Haare
“A kaumātua – an elder of the Māori people – reflects in poetry and prose on his journey from te ao Maori on the East Coast to contemporary Auckland, New Zealand. And in his poetry and prose, in te reo Maori and English, Haare has a unique ability to capture both the wisdom of te ao Maori and the transformation of that world. This book, edited and introduced by acclaimed author Witi Ihimaera, brings together the poetry and prose of Haare Williams to produce a work that is a biography of the man and his times, a celebration of a kaumatua and an exemplar of his wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The braided river : migration and the personal essay / Comer, Diane
“This book explores contemporary migration to New Zealand through an examination of 200 personal essays written by 37 migrants from 20 different countries, spanning all ages and life stages. Throughout, Diane Comer, both migrant and essayist herself, demonstrates the versatility of the personal essay as a means to analyze and understand migration, an issue with increasing relevance worldwide.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Black and the White / Cochrane, Geoff
“The Black and the White is a new work – witty, fearless, formidably concise – from one of the most distinctive voices in New Zealand Poetry.” (Source: Victoria University Press)

All the juicy pastures : Greville Texidor and New Zealand / Schwass, Margot
“Greville Texidor – one-time Bloomsbury insider, globetrotting chorus-line dancer, former heroin addict, anarchist militia-woman and recent inmate of Holloway Prison – became a writer only after arriving in New Zealand as a refugee in 1940. All the Juicy Pastures tells the story of Greville Texidor’s extraordinary life in full for the first time, and puts her small but essential body of work in vivid context. Illustrated with many never-before-seen photographs, it restores an essential New Zealand writer to new generations of readers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Between you and these bones / Soul, F. D.
“Acclaimed Instagram poet F.D. Soul (@featherdownsoul) debuts a new poetry collection, telling her own invigorating, unapologetic narrative of love, loss, and adversity. Soul’s words pulse, they are alive on the page, attesting to the significance of Between You and These Bones in the modern world. From celebrated New Zealand poetess F.D. Soul comes her highly anticipated second collection of poetry, prose, illustrations, and wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All who live on islands / Lu, Rose
All Who Live on Islands introduces a bold new voice in New Zealand literature. In these intimate and entertaining essays, Rose Lu takes us through personal history to explore friendship, the weight of stories told and not told about diverse cultures, and the reverberations of our parents’ and grandparents’ choices. Frank and compassionate, Rose Lu’s stories illuminate the cultural and linguistic questions that migrants face, as well as what it is to be a young person living in 21st-century Aotearoa New Zealand.” (Adapteed from Catalogue)

The secret lives of designers: new books

Ever wanted to design your own home? Be a fashion director, or a product engineer? Welcome to our latest design booklist, where designers of all industries reveal their successes and share some of their most impressive projects. Along the way, learn some of the hidden stories and elements to the gadgets, structures, and even fonts that we use in our daily lives.

Australian designers at home / Rose-Innes, Jenny
Australian Designers at Home invites readers into the homes of 20 of the country’s leading names in interior design. With unfettered access to their most private retreats, we see where the best of the industry express their true, unfiltered selves. Find out what home means from the people who create them for a living.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creative pep talk : inspiration from 50 artists / Miller, Andy J
“Every artist needs a little pep talk now and then. An inspiring tool and beautiful art book in one, Creative Pep Talk offers illustrated words of wisdom from 50 of today’s leading creative professionals. With full-color, typographic prints and explanatory statements from a host of creative luminaries–including Aaron James Draplin, Oliver Jeffers, Lisa Congdon, Mike Perry, and many others–this volume encourages artists to stay excited, experiment boldly, and conquer fear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Defined by Design, Kathryn H. Anthony (ebook)
“This wide-ranging overview of design in everyday life demonstrates how design shapes our lives in ways most of us would never imagine. The author uncovers the gender, age, and body biases inherent in the designs of common products and living spaces that we all routinely use. This fascinating book—full of aha moments—will teach readers to recognize the hidden biases in certain products and places and to work for more intelligent and healthy design in all areas of life.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The future of design : global product innovation for a complex world / Justice, Lorraine
“Design expert Lorraine Justice fully explores the factors that will determine your success and provides a unique framework for navigating the industry into the future. The Future of Design is practical, concise and includes guidelines for building and supporting creative teams, advice and strategies for evaluating product concepts, and interviews with product designers, inventors, and innovators from around the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Point of view : four decades of defining style / Goodman, Tonne
“Throughout her illustrious career, Tonne Goodman has made the famous stylish and the stylish famous. The Vogue fashion director has not only shaped the way women dress and see themselves, but she has also created a nexus in which the worlds of celebrity and style continually collide. Now, in Point of View, Goodman’s life and career are explored for the first time.” (Catalogue)

Built : the hidden stories behind our structures / Agrawal, Roma
“In Built, structural engineer Roma Agrawal takes a unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to skyscrapers of steel that reach hundreds of metres into the sky. With colourful stories of her life-long fascination with buildings – and her own hand-drawn illustrations – Roma reveals the extraordinary secret lives of structures.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

ABC of typography / Rault, David
The ABC of Typography traces 3,500 years of type from Sumerian pictographs through Roman calligraphy to Gutenberg, the Bauhaus, and beyond. Brimming with insight and anecdote, this witty and well-informed graphic guide explores the historical, technological, and cultural shifts that have defined the look of the words we read.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Architects at home
“This stunning book takes you on a thrilling tour through the fascinating, eclectic and stylish abodes of some of the world’s best-known architects. Not only do these pages offer a rare glimpse into each architect’s personal, private environment, but each uniquely designed project provides insight into how each architect marries trends with their own personal philosophy, and how they inject interior design flair into their own contemporary domain.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Atlas of mid-century modern houses / Bradbury, Dominic
“A fascinating collection of more than 400 of the world’s most glamorous homes from more than 290 architects, the Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses showcases work by such icons as Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, Alvar Aalto, and Oscar Niemeyer alongside extraordinary but virtually unknown houses in Australia, Africa, and Asia.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Goals, resolutions, and learning at Arapaki in 2020

2019 has been a year of big changes for us here at Wellington City Libraries. Our first library in the CBD network following Central’s closure opened up in Manners Street in June and it’s been all a-go. The team here at Arapaki Manners Library thought the best way to reflect on our crazy year would be to get excited and set some goals for 2020.

We’ve asked our team to share some of their New Year’s resolutions and highlight their go-to resources in our collection that will help them make their 2020 dreams come true! Maybe you have some resolutions in mind already or maybe you can take some inspiration from the team.


Will:
“My resolution for the new year is to learn more about our history prior to the 1950’s – as a history student, it’s pretty imperative! Specifically, I want to engage more with the history of our colonisation and with how that history is being represented today. With that in mind, my 2020 resolutions book is Tina Ngata’s crucial work critiquing Tuia 250, Kia Mau: Resisting Colonial Fictions. In it, she analyses the government’s decision to ‘commemorate’ the ‘encounter’ that was the arrival of Captain Cook on these shores, exposing perpetuated falsehoods around our history and encouraging all of us to commit to the ongoing work of coming to terms with colonisation – both in our history, and in our present.”

Kia mau : resisting colonial fictions / Ngata, Tina
“This book is a compilation of essays written by Tina Ngata about New Zealand’s TUIA250 Commemorations of James Cook’s voyages to New Zealand and the Pacific. She discusses Cook’s voyage as a military deployment, the influence of the Doctrine of Discovery, the specific spots of Cook’s crimes in NZ, the participation of Māori in the commemorations and the inappropriateness of a settler government centring the story of invasion and colonisation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Joseph:
“2020 is destined to be my year of textures. Despite issuing this book previously, and it sitting unopened in my staff-room locker, this year I am knuckling down and escalating my dreams of becoming embroiled in embroidery. Flowers, bees, paisley & patterns!”

Boho embroidery : modern projects from traditional stitches / Vogelsinger, Nichole
“Hello, embroidery. Meet textile art. Let’s talk about the time when embroidery and textile art met… they formed a unique pairing of modern, chic design using traditional methods. Author Nichole Vogelsinger introduced these two mediums to each other, creating an entirely new way to play with needle, thread and fabric.” (Catalogue)

Tessa:
“In 2020 my resolution is to eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. I know that reducing my intake of dairy and meat is a positive way to help reduce carbon emissions, and while i’m not ready to completely commit to becoming fully vegetarian or vegan, I do want to start thinking of meat as a sometimes food rather than the main event at every dinner. One quick search through the cookbooks at Arapaki and I’ve found piles of delicious, colourful vegetarian and vegan recipes to try throughout the year, as excellent sign that this might be a resolution that I can actually stick to!”

The flexible vegetarian / Pratt, Jo
Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, you’ll find this book filled with delicious and practical flexitarian recipes for every lifestyle.” (Catalogue)

Jo:
“My 2020 resolution is simple – pat more dogs. This is a beautiful book which has trapped many a librarian at Arapaki – whenever it gets returned it always manages to linger in our workroom longer than strictly necessary. ‘From a Labrador that likes opera to a kleptomaniac miniature groodle, and a loveable one eyed Jack Russel to a farting bulldog…’ What’s not to love?”

The year of the dogs / Musi, Vincent J
“As a National Geographic photographer, Vince Musi travelled the world to photograph lions, tigers and bears. All that changed when he decided to open a hometown studio to photograph dogs. His stunning portraits are matched with witty ‘dogographies’ and a comic blend of Vince’s own personal stories. Now, for the first time, The Year of the Dogs brings together this eccentric cast of characters in one volume, doggone guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who loves animals.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Petra:
“2020 will be the year I travel the world, experiencing different cultures, customs, and perspectives through books. I want to make my way through the library’s wide and varied collection of translated fiction, starting in Japan. I am particularly intrigued by Hiro Arikawa’s novel, The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

Who knows where my armchair travels will take me next?
Wherever it is, I hope there are more cats.”

The travelling cat chronicles / Arikawa, Hiro
“With simple yet descriptive prose, this novel gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru’s longtime friends. Or so Nana is led to believe . . . With his crooked tail–a sign of good fortune–and adventurous spirit, Nana is the perfect companion for the man who took him in as a stray. And as they travel in a silver van across Japan, with its ever-changing scenery and seasons, they will learn the true meaning of courage and gratitude, of loyalty and love.” (Catalogue)

Moshi Moshi / Yoshimoto, Banana
“In Moshi-Moshi, Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gus:
“For Christmas, my mum’s partner bought the whole family a ukelele each. I’m a music fan, but I’ve never had any real aspiration to learn how to play music. Now that I’ve had an instrument thrust upon me, I’ve decided to make my New Year’s resolution to learn to play the ukelele and to have at least three songs down perfectly by the end of the year. So far i’m only up to the first two notes of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but hey, it’s a start!”

Learn to play the ukulele : a simple and fun guide for complete beginners / Plant, Bill
“This book will teach you basic playing techniques for the ukulele. No prior musical experience is assumed. You will learn how to hold the instrument, position the hands, strumming techniques, basic chords and beyond. Music theory is included, but the emphasis is on getting up to speed and on with the fun of playing quickly.” (Catalogue)

Amelia:
I te tau 2020, kei te pīrangi au ki whakapai i tāku reo Māori. In 2018 and 2019 I took a few Māori classes but, of course, with learning a language lots of practise is key and sometimes life can get in the way. My goal for 2020 is to continue my reo journey and improve my ability to read, write, and speak our indigenous language.

Māori made easy : for everyday learners of the Māori language. Workbook/Kete 1 / Morrison, Scotty
“Fun, user-friendly and relevant to modern readers, Scotty Morrison’s Maori Made Easy workbook series is the ultimate resource for anyone wanting to learn the basics of the Maori language. By committing just 30 minutes a day for 30 weeks, learners will adopt the language easily and as best suits their busy lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te anuhe tino hiakai / Carle, Eric
“With the same beautiful illustrations and dye cut pages as the original book, the te reo Maori translation retains the humour and quirky character of the little caterpillar and simplicity of the story.” (Catalogue)

Global Adventures: New Travel Books

This month’s line-up of travel writing showcases an extensive look at destinations around the globe. A new year calls for a new Best in Travel from Lonely Planet, as well as a couple of other awe-inspiring travel guides.

We also go back to the classic travelogue, this time with a fast-paced twist featuring almost every country and destination there is. Whirlwind journeys like these aren’t for the faint of heart, proven by some of the most notable travellers of our time such as Nuseir Yassin and Mark Beaumont with their record breaking itineraries. Their new releases, together with other tales of adventure, are bound to leave you feeling at least a little bit wanderlust.

Best in travel 2020 / Bindloss, Joseph
“Drawing on the knowledge and passion of Lonely Planet’s staff, we present a year’s worth of inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into the unforgettable. We reveal how well-planned, sustainable travel can be a force for good: for the environment, for local people and for yourself – and include ways to help lower your carbon footprint and protect the areas you visit on your travels.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Around the World in 60 Seconds, Nuseir Yassin (ebook)
In 2016, Nuseir Yassin quit his job to travel for 1,000 consecutive days.  While he journeyed from country to country, Nas uploaded a 60-second video per day to highlight the amazing, terrifying, inspiring and downright surprising… Thirteen million followers later, Nas Daily has become the most immersive travel experience ever captured, and finally shows us what we’ve all been looking for: each other. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Passages / Trubridge, Linda
“When Linda and David sold the house they had built to last a lifetime and abandoned a thriving career for a nomadic life, they discovered more about the world and themselves than they ever imagined. Voyaging halfway around the world with their two young sons, this is a story about the challenges of maintaining a relationship and nurturing children in extreme circumstances.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Epic journeys : 245 life-changing adventures
“This large-format, comprehensive book offers the itineraries of a lifetime for explorers and adrenaline junkies alike. You’ll also find everything you need to know for the ultimate epic journey: what to see, when to go, and what to do. This collection, complemented by top ten lists and adventurer essays covering everything from the best hiking trails to the top wildlife parks, will lead you to new heights of exploration.” (Catalogue)

Around the world in 80 days : my world record breaking adventure / Beaumont, Mark
“On Monday 18th September 2017, Mark Beaumont pedalled through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes earlier he set off from the same point, beginning his attempt to circumnavigate the world in record time. Covering more than 18,000 miles and cycling through some of the harshest conditions one man and his bicycle can endure, Mark made history.” (Catalogue)

How to be a family : the year I dragged my kids around the world to find a new way to be together / Kois, Dan
“What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids’ lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family? In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the Kois … land in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. Will this trip change the Kois family’s lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The world’s great rail journeys : 50 of the most spectacular, luxurious, unusual and exhilarating routes across the globe / Solomon, Brian
“A portrait in words and photographs of over 50 of the world’s most exciting, unusual and exotic railway journeys, including North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The World’s Great Rail Journeys is perfect for all railway enthusiasts, whether actual or armchair travellers.” (Catalogue)

Ten years a nomad : a traveler’s journey home / Kepnes, Matt
“After quitting his 9-5 job more than ten years ago, Matt realized that living life meant more for him than simply meeting traditional milestones like buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. With almost nothing tangible to show for it after traveling over 500,000 miles and staying in 90 different countries, Matt has compiled his favorite stories and experiences in this travel manifesto to show a different side of life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elsewhere : one woman, one rucksack, one lifetime of travel / Boland, Rosita
“From her first life-changing solo trip to Australia, Rosita Boland was enthralled by travel. In the last thirty years she has visited some of the most remote parts of the globe carrying little more than a battered rucksack and a diary. In a series of jaw-dropping, illuminating and sometimes heart-breaking essays, Elsewhere is a book that celebrates the life well-travelled in all its messy and wondrous glory.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perceptions of Art: New Books

Check out some of the recent additions to our art sections – this time with a focus on how we look at and appreciate different works of art. These books span from classical paintings, all the way through to modern design and the creativity of artificial intelligence.

Look again : how to experience the Old Masters / Ward, Ossian
“An approachable guide to Old Masterpaintings from a newperspective that offers a simple aid to looking at and demystifying the often obscure strategies of the greatest painters of all time. Look Again does not deny the specific complexities and barriers associated with looking at art from other eras, instead it offers methods that not only provide the viewer with the tools to interpret the art, but also assumes that we intuitively hold some of this knowledge within ourselves already.” (adapted from Catalogue)

From A to Eames : a visual guide to mid-century modern design / Whybrow, Lauren
“This sophisticated A to Z picture book for adults is an illustrated journey through midcentury modern design, perfect for any reader with a keen eye for style. With eighty tales of design, laid out in a fun and easy-to-read A to Z format, design lovers will be reading this book to each other before bed. If you didn’t know that E stands for Eames, Egg Chair, and Elrod House (or don’t know what any of those words actually mean) then this book belongs on your coffee table. And if you can’t afford an Eames coffee table, then rejoice in knowing that From A to Eames makes an inexpensive and equally satisfying alternative.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Old in Art School, Nell Painter (Audiobook)
Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school-in her sixties-to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Great women artists
“Five centuries of fascinating female creativity presented in more than 400 compelling artworks and one comprehensive volume. In museums, galleries, and the art market, previously overlooked female artists, past and present, are now gaining recognition and value. This essential volume reveals a parallel yet equally engaging history of art for an age that champions a greater diversity of voices.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Colin McCahon : there is only one direction. Vol. I 1919-1959 / Simpson, Peter
“The first of an extraordinary two-volume work chronicling forty-five years of painting by New Zealand’s most important artist, Colin McCahon. This material enables us to begin to understand McCahon’s work as the artist himself conceived it. This will be the definitive work on New Zealand’s leading artist for many years to come.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The creativity code : how AI is learning to write, paint and think / Du Sautoy, Marcus
“As humans, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be alive. But can machines be creative? Marcus finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative, and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Almost lost arts : traditional crafts and the artisans keeping them alive / Freidenrich, Emily
“The perfect antidote to the digital age. This book celebrates twenty artisans around the world who are breathing new life into traditional crafts. Gorgeous photographs reveal these craftspeople’s studios, from Oaxaca to Kyoto and from Milan to Tennessee. Two essays explore the challenges and rewards of engaging deeply with the past. With an elegant three-piece case and foil stamping, this rich volume will be an inspiration to makers, collectors, and history lovers.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The story of painting : how art was made.
“A fascinating new history of art, this gloriously illustrated book reveals how materials, techniques, and ideas have evolved over the centuries, inspiring artists and giving them the means to create their most celebrated works. Covering a comprehensive array of topics. The Story of Painting follows each step in the evolution of painting over the last 25,000 years, from the first cave paintings to the abstract works of the last 150 years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rick Steves Europe’s top 100 masterpieces : art for the traveler / Steves, Rick
“This essay collection features Rick’s unique take on Europe’s best-known works of art, from the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa to Picasso’s Guernica, providing historical context as well as a personal examination of the pieces. The book also covers Europe’s most striking architecture… sure to inspire both history buffs and novice travelers alike.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New in Literature

New literature has arrived! Spanning local and international writers, this month we’ve got an abundance of fresh poetry, essays, and short story anthologies. Find out who’s writing what in New Zealand in Fresh Ink, or perhaps delve deep into the intricacies and ambiguities of Shakespeare’s works with This is Shakespeare. 

I’m telling the truth, but I’m lying : essays / Ikpi, Bassey
“Having emigrated from Nigeria to America at age four, Ikpi assimilated uneasily but became a spoken word artist with HBO’s Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. Strong on the outside but crumbling on the inside, she was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar II. Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are–and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Labels and Other Stories, Louis de Bernières (ebook)
Full of wit, warmth and charm, Louis de Bernières’ Labels and Other Stories features tales from throughout his career as a masterful storyteller and transports us around the globe, from the London Underground to Turkish ruins to the banks of the Amazon. In this worldly and entertaining collection of stories, we are equally enchanted by familiar and fantastical occurrences, by de Bernières’ wry sense of humour and powerful imagination. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Coventry : essays / Cusk, Rachel
“Lauded for the precision of her prose and the quality of her insight, Cusk is a writer of uncommon brilliance. Coventry encompasses memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about literature, with pieces on family life, gender, and politics. Named for an essay in Granta, this collection is pure Cusk and essential reading for our age: fearless, unrepentantly erudite, and dazzling to behold.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fresh ink : a collection of voices from Aotearoa New Zealand, 2019.
“An anthology of short stories, extracts from novels, poetry and artwork, from established and respected New Zealand writers as well as some lively ‘fresh ink’ from previously unpublished literary voices.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Counting backwards : poems, 1975-2017 / Dunmore, Helen
“Winner of the Costa Book of the Year for her final collection, Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore was as spellbinding storyteller in her poetry and in her prose.  Counting Backwards is a retrospective covering ten collections written over four decades, bringing together all the poems she included in her earlier selection, Out of the Blue (2001), with all those from her three later collections, Glad of These Times (2007), The Malarkey (2012) and Inside the Wave (2017), along with a number of earlier or previously uncollected poems.” (Catalogue)

This is Shakespeare / Smith, Emma
“This electrifying new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays and their changing topicality. It introduces an intellectually, theatrically and ethically exciting writer who engages with intersectionality…  The Shakespeare in this book poses awkward questions rather than offering bland answers, always implicating us in working out what it might mean. This is Shakespeare. And he needs your attention.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover joinedupwriting, Roger McGough (ebook)
For fifty years, Roger McGough has delighted readers with poetry that is at once playful and poignant, intimate and universal. In his latest collection, he explores the whole gamut of the human experience, from forgotten friendships and family life, to the trauma of war and contemporary politics, wittily showing us who we are in all our shades of light and dark. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Mouth Full of Blood, Toni Morrison (Audiobook)
Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. A Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Tales and Travelogues in Unexpected Places

This month we’ve got a lot of new travel writing hitting our shelves, featuring both some tourist favourites and remote destinations. We whirl from the Arctic to the Antarctic with some of the best travel writers of our time, stopping along the way in places such as Spain and Pakistan. Whether you are interested in culture, science, or just the human experience of travelling to new places, this booklist has you covered.

Overdrive cover My Midsummer Morning, Alastair Humphreys (ebook)
Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits – busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day, and finding himself truly vulnerable to the rhythms of the road and of his own life. But along the way, he found humility, redemption and triumph. It was a very good adventure. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Sun Is a Compass, Caroline Van Hemert (Audiobook)
In March of 2012 [Caroline Van Hemert] and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe.  A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, the book explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of creatures whose daily survival is nothing short of miraculous. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Bowing to Elephants, Mag Dimond (ebook)
In Bowing to Elephants, a woman gazes into the feathery eyes of a 14,000-pound African elephant and looks for answers to old questions in Vietnam and the tragically ravaged landscape of Cambodia. Dimond journeys to far-flung places―into the perfumed chaos of India, the nostalgic, damp streets of Paris, the gray, the reverent and silent mountains of Bhutan, and the gold temples of Burma. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Fifteen million years in Antarctica / Priestley, Rebecca
“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica offers a deeply personal tour of a place in which a person can feel like an outsider in more ways than one. With generosity and candour, Priestley reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Couchsurfing in Russia, Stephen Orth (ebook)
In this humorous and thought-provoking book, Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious land to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Orth follows the bestselling Couchsurfing in Iran with another complex, funny, and personal travelogue – a colourful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The crow eaters : a journey through south Australia / Stubbs, Ben
“Outsiders think of South Australia as being different, without really knowing much about it. Combining his own travel across the state with an investigation of its history, Ben Stubbs seeks to find out what South Australia is really like. In the spirit of the best travel writing and literary non-fiction, he lingers in places of quiet beauty and meets some memorable people… Stubbs brings this diverse state to life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From the lion’s mouth : a journey along the Indus / Campbell, Iain
“An insightful portrait of Pakistan with themes of religion, culture and hospitality in an account of travelling… Engrossing and eye-opening, Iain Campbell’s account of his travels through this mesmerising land will appeal to travellers, mountaineers, trekkers, wilderness enthusiasts, anyone interested in the culture and history of the subcontinent, and fans of quality travel writing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

North Korea journal / Palin, Michael
“In May 2018, Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal… Written with Palin’s trademark warmth and wit, and illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout, the journal offers a rare insight into the North Korea behind the headlines.” (Catalogue)

What happens when travel and history intersect: Latest travel titles

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

Part travelogue and part social commentary, this month’s recent picks go beyond whirlwind sightseeing tours and deep into often less-explored regions. Uncovering national histories and culture as they go, authors such as Ben Aitken and David Eimer delve further than most in their travels. The Frayed Atlantic Edge provides new perspectives on old coastlines by kayak, while Out of Istanbul takes readers on a historical journey of the Silk Road by foot.

If you’re after the thrill of travel writing that brings you to new places and people, this booklist is for you.

Overdrive cover The Frayed Atlantic Edge, David Gange (ebook)
“Over the course of a year, leading historian and nature writer David Gange kayaked the weather-ravaged coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland from north to south: every cove, sound, inlet, island. Drawing on the archives of islands and coastal towns, as well as their vast poetic literatures in many languages, he shows that the neglected histories of these stunning regions are of real importance in understanding both the past and future of the whole archipelago.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Savage Dreamland, David Eimer (ebook)
“For almost fifty years Burma was ruled by a paranoid military dictatorship and isolated from the outside world. David Eimer travels throughout this enigmatic nation, from the tropical south to the Burmese Himalayas in the far north, via the Buddhist-centric heartland and the jungles and mountains where rebel armies fight. In his vivid and revelatory account of life, history, culture and politics, Eimer chronicles the awakening of a country as it returns to the global fold.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman (ebook)
“In The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman explores Japan and revels in all its wonderful particularity. Following her search for the lost bells of the city – the bells by which its inhabitants kept time before the Jesuits introduced them to clocks – to her personal friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, here is Tokyo in its bewildering variety.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

China tripping : encountering the everyday in the People’s Republic
“This unique book is the first to bring together a group of influential China experts to reflect on their cultural and social encounters while travelling and living in the People’s Republic. Filling an important gap, it allows scholars, journalists, and businesspeople to reflect on their personal memories of China. Covering nearly a half-century from 1971 to the present, these stories open a vivid window on a rapidly evolving China and on the zigzag learning curve of the China trippers themselves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Around the World in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh (ebook)
“Packing up her rucksack—and her fiancé, Jem—Monisha embarks on an unforgettable adventure that will take her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. Monisha offers a wonderfully vivid account of life, history and culture in a book that will make you laugh out loud—and reflect on what it means to be a global citizen—as you whirl around the world in its pages.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Out of Istanbul : a journey of discovery along the Silk Road / Ollivier, Bernard
“Heading east out of Istanbul, Ollivier takes readers step by step across Anatolia and Kurdistan, bound for Tehran. We accompany Ollivier as he explores bazaars, mosques, and caravansaries–true vestiges of the Silk Road itself–and through these encounters and experiences, gains insight into the complex political and social issues facing modern-day Turkey.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Behind Putin’s curtain : friendships and misadventures inside Russia / Orth, Stephan
 “Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious territory to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Weaving everything together with thoughtfulness and warmth, Orth follows the acclaimed Couchsurfing in Iran with yet another complex, funny, and personal travelogue–a colorful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A chip Shop in Poznań : my unlikely year in Poland / Aitken, Ben
“Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament. Travel writer Ben Aitken moved to Poland in 2016… This candid, funny and off-beat book is the account of his year in Poland, as an unlikely immigrant. This is a bittersweet portrait of an unsung country, challenging stereotypes that Poland is a grey, ex-soviet land, and revealing a diverse country, rightfully proud of its colourful identity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A booklist on books about books – recent literature titles

With an influx of new content coming in, we thought this month’s recent literature picks had a recurring theme. They discuss what makes a great story, how to write one, and perhaps most importantly, how to appreciate one. From libraries to publishers, from authors to classic novels, these titles give an insight into how we can write for an audience as well as truly enjoy literacy in our lives.

We’re mostly intrigued by the titles For the Love of Books and Faber & Faber, which give a new insight into the often-overlooked histories of writing and publishing.

Overdrive cover Words Fail Me, Patricia T. O’Conner (ebook)
“Whether you need to improve your skills for work or school, or aspire to the Great American Novel, a grounding in grammar, spelling, and punctuation is essential—not just to make you look like a professional but to communicate effectively in emails, essays, or anything you need to write. With these simple, straightforward tips, you can learn how to sort your thoughts and make sentences that make sense.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Faber & Faber, Toby Faber (ebook)
“Published to celebrate Faber’s 90th anniversary, this is the story of one of the world’s greatest publishing houses – a delight for all readers who are curious about the business of writing. The result is both a vibrant history and a hymn to the role of literature in all our lives.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Plotted, Daniel Harmon (ebook)
“This incredibly wide-ranging collection of maps—all inspired by literary classics—offers readers a new way of looking at their favorite fictional worlds.  Sure to reignite a love for old favorites and spark fresh interest in more recent works as well, Plotted provides a unique new way of appreciating the lands of the human imagination.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Anatomy of Story, John Truby (ebook)
“John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby’s own unique approach for how to build an effective, multifaceted narrative.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Library Book, Susan Orlean (ebook)
“After moving to Los Angeles, Susan Orlean became fascinated by a mysterious local crime that has gone unsolved since it was carried out on the morning of 29 April 1986: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying more than 400,000 books, and perhaps even more perplexing, why? Orlean uses this… as a lens through which to tell the story of all libraries – their history, their meaning and their uncertain future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The making of Jane Austen / Looser, Devoney
“Just how did Jane Austen become the celebrity author and the inspiration for generations of loyal fans she is today?  The Making of Jane Austen turns to the people, performances, activism, and images that fostered Austen’s early fame, laying the groundwork for the beloved author we think we know. Drawing from unexplored material, Looser examines how echoes of that work reverberate in our explanations of Austen’s literary and cultural power.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Finding true connections : how to learn and write about a family member’s history / Thomas, Gareth St. John
“The Emotional Inheritance division of Exisle Publishing works… to capture the life stories of elderly family members. This approach is intended to help these generations capture their stories so that they can leave a lasting, meaningful legacy. Now, Finding True Connections clearly and simply sets out the steps necessary for you to undertake this process yourself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For the love of books : stories of literary lives, banned books, author feuds, extraordinary characters, and more / Tarrant, Graham
“A light-hearted book about books and the people who write them for all lovers of literature. A treasure trove of compelling facts, riveting anecdotes, and extraordinary characters, For the Love of Books is a book about books–and the inside stories about the people who write them. Learn how books evolved, what lies behind some of the greatest tales ever told, and who’s really who in the world of fiction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Why we travel: latest additions in travel writing

This month’s latest travel titles ask: Why do we travel? What are we searching for? From pilgrimages to culinary explorations, from adrenaline seeking to peaceful wanderings, these books tell the stories of people who have sought something from their travels, and were quite often surprised at the results.

Overdrive cover Through the Embers of Chaos, Dervla Murphy (ebook)
As Dervla Murphy crisscrossed the Balkans in a series of bicycle journeys, she recorded the griefs and confusions of the ordinary people, many of whom had showed extraordinary courage and resilience during that terrible ‘decade of decay’ and whose voices were so little heard during the conflict.   (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Stranger Country, Monica Tan (ebook)
What happens when a 32-year-old first-generation Australian woman decides to chuck in a dream job, pack a sleeping bag and tent, and hit the long, dusty road for six months? In mid-2016, Monica left Sydney, unsure of her place in Australia. Stranger Country is the riveting account of the six months Monica drove and camped her way through some of Australia’s most beautiful and remote landscapes. ( Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Alice to Prague, Tanya Heaslip (ebook)
In 1994, Tanya Heaslip left her safe life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic. Dismissing concerns from family and friends that her safety and career were at risk, she arrived with no teaching experience whatsoever, to work at a high school in a town she’d never heard of, where the winters are frigid and plunge to sub-zero temperatures. (Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Fiva, Gordon Stainforth (ebook)
In 1969, teenage twin brothers Gordon and John Stainforth set out… to climb the highest rock face in Europe — Norway’s Troll Wall. Poor judges of their own abilities, experience, and gear, they began the climb convinced they would return to their tent in time for afternoon tea. Within hours of starting the route, things went terribly wrong. Fiva is the story that Gordon Stainforth lived to tell, 40 years later. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Walking to Jerusalem : blisters, hope and other facts on the ground : sacred and profane reflections on the Just Walk to Jerusalem 10 June – 2 November 2017 / Butcher, Justin
2017 marked three anniversaries for the Palestinian people: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 50 years since the Six-day War; and ten years since the Blockade of Gaza. As an act of penance, solidarity and hope, actor and musician Justin Butcher – along with ten other companions for the full route – walked from London to Jerusalem. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Cafe de Move-on Blues, Christopher Hope (ebook)
In White Boy Running, Christopher Hope explored how it felt and looked to grow up in a country gripped by an ‘absurd, racist insanity’. On a road trip thirty years later, Christopher goes in search of today’s South Africa; post-apartheid… of a future when race and colour would not count. Framed as a travelogue, this is a darkly comic, powerful and moving portrait of South Africa – an elegy to a living nation. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover One More Croissant for the Road, Felicity Cloake (ebook)
The nation’s ‘taster in chief’ cycles across France in search of the definitive versions of classic French dishes. A land of glorious landscapes – a country large enough to give any journey an epic quality, but with a bakery on every corner. Each of the 21 ‘stages’ concludes with Felicity putting this new found knowledge to good use in a fresh and definitive recipe for each dish. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Outpost, Dan Richards (ebook)
There are still wild places out there on our crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores the appeal of far-flung outposts. Their untamed nature is part of their beauty and such places have long drawn the adventurous, the spiritual and the artistic. Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Literary memoirs – new stories through essays and poetry

Our latest picks bring together a huge range of authors; some who are new to the game as well as some award-winning writers. Their stories bind together to show what it means to face adversity with resilience. These books, all of which are accessible digitally, bring humour and honesty, as well as an appreciation of what it means to share our stories.

Overdrive cover Common People, Kit de Waal (ebook)
Common People is a collection of essays, poems and memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth and texture of working-class life, the joy and sorrow, the solidarity and the differences.. Here, Kit de Waal brings together thirty-three established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde (ebook)
Winner of the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award, this path-breaking collection of essays is a clarion call to build communities that nurture our spirit. “This was my first time reading Audre Lorde (finally!) and now I can’t wait to devour everything she ever wrote. This was the kind of book that you end up highlighting so many great quotes, words you want to memorize, apply, breathe. Empowering read.” — Litsy
(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee (ebook)
In Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee plots a decade of her life in New York City… Weaving together her joys and sorrows, expectations and uncertainties, aspirations and realities, the result is an exhilarating collection of essays about love and friendship, failure and suffering, and above all hope. Join Meg on her heart-wrenching journey, as she cuts the difficult path to finding herself and finding home. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Certain Loneliness, Sandra Gail Lambert (ebook)
After contracting polio as a child, Sandra Gail Lambert progressed from braces and crutches to a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair—but loneliness has remained a constant, from the wild claustrophobia of a child in body casts to just yesterday, trapped at home, gasping from pain. A Certain Loneliness is a meditative and engaging memoir-in-essays that explores the intersection of disability, queerness, and female desire with frankness and humor.  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Show Them a Good Time, Nicole Flattery (ebook)
An urgent and unforgettable collection of stories, Show Them a Good Time explores types – men and women, their assigned roles and meanings – in modern society. The characters in these magnificently accomplished stories are haunted as much by the future as they are by their pasts. Exuberant, irreverent and loaded with dark humour, Show Them a Good Time marks the arrival of a strikingly original new Irish voice in fiction. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Science of Storytelling, Will Storr (ebook)
Stories mould who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. In this scalpel-sharp, thought-provoking book, Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us… Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, Michele Filgate (ebook)
Fifteen brilliant writers explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse. While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover White, Bret Easton Ellis (ebook)
Bret Easton Ellis has wrestled with the double-edged sword of fame and notoriety for more than thirty years now, since Less Than Zero catapulted him into the limelight in 1985, earning him devoted fans and, perhaps, even fiercer enemies. He encounters various positions and voices controversial opinions, more often than not fighting the status quo. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault, Cathy Guisewite (ebook)
From the creator of the iconic “Cathy” comic strip comes her first collection of funny, wise, poignant, and incredibly honest essays about being a woman in what she lovingly calls “the panini generation.” Now Guisewite returns with her signature wit and warmth with this debut essay collection about another time of big transition, when everything starts changing and disappearing without permission: aging parents, aging children, aging self stuck in the middle. (Overdrive description)

Visit us at the library on the 29th May – Teacher’s Strike Day

On Wednesday 29th May most schools will be affected by the Teacher’s Strike, so we have put together some events and activities to help keep kids entertained! All our branch libraries will be open (including the brand-new Arapaki!) so come along for some games, storytimes, and of course, lots of books!

Branch Libraries which are hosting activities are:


Cummings Park Library

Pre-school storytime 10:30-11am
Come play chess all day! 10:00 am – 5:00 pm


Johnsonville and Tawa Libraries

Will be showing family movies all day, contact Johnsonville or Tawa library staff for viewing times.


Karori Library

Pre-school storytime 10:30 – 11:00 am
Big Lego blocks out for play 12:00 – 2:00 pm
Fun with Robots 2:00 – 3:00 pm


Miramar Library

Crafterschool session 3:00 – 4:30 pm


Newtown Library

Let’s Go Lego 3:30 – 4:30 pm


Kilbirnie Library

Pre-school storytime 10:30 – 11:00 am
Board game fun 3:30 – 5pm


All of these are free with no bookings required, just come on in!