Author Interview: Nikky Lee in conversation


How long can it take to write an epic young adult fantasy novel ?
How do you go about creating an immersive and detailed fantasy world ?
How do you go about writing believable and compelling fantasy creatures ?
What does it take as a writer to bring such a huge project to a successful fruition ?
What is it like to win a PitDark publishing competition ?
And indeed what is a PitDark publishing competition ?

Well, our interview with debut fantasy novelist Nikky Lee reveals the answers to all these questions.

Fantasy novelist Nikky Lee has just released her first full length novel, The Rarkyn’s Familiar. The book  is a thrilling, young adult high fantasy epic tale (the first in a series), set in a wonderfully imagined and detailed fantasy universe.  The tale revolves round a young girl, Lyss, who accidently gets magically bonded to a half bird half  person creature called a Rarkyn; A bond that threatens to drive her mad. The book is a quest tale that features various forms of magic, and a narrative where different types of worlds intersect . At its core, the novel explores themes of acceptance, revenge, redemption and how to deal with anxiety.

Lee grew up in Western Australia and now lives in Aotearoa New Zealand with a husband, a dog and a couch potato cat. Whilst The Rarkyn’s Familiar is Nikky’s first novel, it is far away from her first published work. Nikky has already won a whole host of awards for her short stories, as well as being published in numerous magazines, anthologies. Nikky has also had works broadcasted on the radio.

We are thrilled that Nikky Lee took time out from her very busy schedule to discuss her new book, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to her. For more information visit www.nikkythewriter.com.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the interview below. You can also place a reserve for The Rarkyn’s Familiar which is due into the library soon, for details see below.

Rarkyn’s Familiar. / Lee, Nikky
“A perfect story for fans of Sarah J. Maas’ THRONE OF GLASS. An orphan bent on revenge. A monster searching for freedom. A forbidden pact that binds their fates. Lyss had heard her father’s screams, smelled the iron-tang of his blood. She witnessed his execution. And plotted her revenge. Then, a violent encounter traps Lyss in a blood-pact with a Rarkyn from the otherworld, imbuing her with the monster’s forbidden magic-a magic that will erode her sanity. To break the pact, she and the Rarkyn must journey to the heart of the Empire. All that stands in their way are the mountains, the Empire’s soldiers, and Lyss’ uneasy alliance with the Rarkyn. But horrors await them on the road-horrors even Rarkyns fear. The most terrifying monster isn’t the one Lyss travels with. It’s the one that’s awoken inside her. Monsters of a feather flock together.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

eLibrary spotlight: Bridget Williams Books Text Collection


What a nation or society chooses to remember and forget speaks to its contemporary priorities and sense of identity. Understanding how that process works enables us to better imagine a future with a different, or wider, set of priorities. – from BWB Books 

Bridget Williams Books has  just added the brand new publication, Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and New Zealand HistoryAn investigation into how we as a country remember – or forget – difficult events from Aotearoa’s history, this publication documents the work of a team of five researchers as they explore how we remember our histories in Aotearoa. Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and New Zealand History combines the first-hand field notes, archival and oral research to examine how we as New Zealanders engage with the history of Aotearoa.

If you’re interested in this text, you might also like the related talk below (hosted by Bridget Williams Books and City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi). In this video, Professor Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) of Victoria University of Wellington and historian Dr Vincent O’Malley examine the role of memory and forgetting in the context of nineteenth-century New Zealand conflicts.

Our Bridget Williams Books Text Collection holds a diverse group of short eBooks on the big issues facing New Zealand. Discover stories, insights and critical analyses by some of Aotearoa’s best writers and commentators. This collection is free with your Wellington City Libraries card. Access the Bridget Williams Books Text Collection here.


Below we’ve listed some other recent additions to the Bridget Williams Books Text Collection, which are also available in print at a selection of our library branches.

Kārearea / Stephens, Mamari
“Writings on life, law and culture”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Kāinga : people, land, belonging / Tapsell, Paul
“Through his own experience and the stories of his tīpuna, Paul Tapsell (Te Arawa, Tainui) charts the impact of colonisation on his people. Alienation from kāinga and whenua becomes a wider story of environmental degradation and system collapse. This book is an impassioned plea to step back from the edge. It is now up to the Crown, Tapsell writes, to accept the need for radical change.”–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

He pou hiringa : grounding science and technology in Te Ao Māori
“‘The creation of new science requires moving beyond simply understanding one another’s perspectives. We need to find transformative spaces for knowledge exchange and progress.’ Māori have a long history of innovation based on mātauranga and tikanga, the knowledge and values passed down from ancestors. Yet Western science has routinely failed to acknowledge the contribution of Indigenous peoples and their vital worldviews.”–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The history of a riot / Davidson, Jared
“In 1843, the New Zealand Company settlement of Nelson was rocked by the revolt of its emigrant labourers. Over 70 gang-men and their wives collectively resisted their poor working conditions through petitions, strikes and, ultimately, violence. Yet this pivotal struggle went on to be obscured by stories of pioneering men and women ‘made good’. The History of a Riot uncovers those at the heart of the revolt for the first time. Who were they? Where were they from? And how did their experience of protest before arriving in Nelson influence their struggle? By putting violence and class conflict at the centre, this fascinating microhistory upends the familiar image of colonial New Zealand”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Author Interview: Ngaio Marsh winner Brannavan Gnanalingam

Brannavan Gnanalingam is one of the most accomplished authors working in New Zealand/Aotearoa today. A Wellington lawyer as well as a writer, his past three novels have all been listed for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. His novel, Sprigs, won the 2021 Ngaio Marsh award and was described by Kim Hill as “scarily contemporary and realistic story…an extraordinary piece of writing”.

Gnanalingam’s latest book, Slow Down, You’re Here, is fresh off the press and has already gathered glowing reviews. In brief, the novel revolves around the arrival of an old flame into a dead-end marriage. Filled with unexpected twists and turns which propel the plot forwards; this book is a fast paced, page turning domestic thriller. It’s funny, smart and touching with truly relatable characters. As well as this, the novel is also an exploration of serious moral questions, including issues racism and class. In short, it is a fantastic engaging read.

We are thrilled that Brannavan Gnanalingam took time out from his very busy schedule to discuss his new book, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to him. For more information visit http://www.lawrenceandgibson.co.nz/

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirinthe arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. It was conducted by host Tanya Ashcroft. You can hear the interview, as well as find a selection of Brannavan Gnanalingam’s work that is available to borrow, below.

 


Slow down you’re here. / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Kavita is stuck in a dead-end marriage. A parent of two small kids, she is the family’s main breadwinner. An old flame unexpectedly offers her a week away in Waiheke. If she were to go, she’s not sure when – or if – she’d come back.”
( Adapted from catalogue)

 

You should have come here when you were not here / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“The intriguing title of this novel by Wellington writer Brannavan Gnanalingam derives from a statement made by Parisians to their Nazi occupiers in World War II when the Germans expressed being underwhelmed by the attractions of the French capital. This postmodern travelogue tells the lonely tale of Veronica, a thirty-something asexual female journalist from New Zealand who travels to Paris late as a freelance journalist only to find the city indifferent to and from her.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya – a fifteen year old who barely belongs – watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya’s friends have evaporated and she isn’t sure what to do. In the weeks after ‘the incident’ life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.” ( Adapted from Catalogue )

Sodden downstream / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Thousands flee central Wellington as a far too common ‘once in a century’ storm descends. For their own safety, city workers are told that they must go home early. Sita is a Tamil Sri Lankan refugee living in the Hutt Valley. She’s just had a call from her boss – if she doesn’t get to her cleaning job in the city she’ll lose her contract.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Credit in the straight world / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“‘Credit in the straight world’ charts the fortunes of Frank Tolland as he casts off an ignoble birth to become the singular leader of business and community in small-town New Zealand. Told through the eyes of his mute brother, George, this novel is a sharp and satirical account of a small-town finance company, and sweeps through the dramatic economic changes of the 20th and the 21st centuries.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A briefcase, two pies and a penthouse : a novel / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Rachel McManus has just started at the New Zealand Alarm and Response Ministry. One of the few females working there, she is forced to traverse the peculiarities of Wellington bureaucracy, lascivious colleages, and decades of sedimented hierarchy. She has the chance to prove herself by investigating a suspected terrorist, who they fear is radicalising impressionable youth and may carry out an attack on the nation’s capital.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Getting under sail / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Morocco to Ghana. Overland. Three New Zealanders. Armed with a guide book and stereotypes. They go being warned of danger, poverty and war by people who had never been there. They end up embroiled in a civil war – but it wasn’t really anything to do with Africa.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Unexpected art and concrete canvases

A couple cover images from this featured booklist on a cityscape background

It’s never the object I make that has been of interest, but how it taps into the things that flow through a place and change a place. It’s a window into the processes that make that place what it is. – Andy Goldsmith, via The Scotsman


We love it when a piece of art is truly jaw-dropping. These creative and unexpected ideas include a luminous moon resting on water, sculpture that can be repurposed for sheep farming, artwork on concrete, postal art and more. Read on!

Unexpected art : serendipitous installations, site-specific works, and surprising interventions / Spring, Jenny Moussa
“Collected here are dozens of jaw-dropping artworks – site-specific installations, extraordinary sculptures, and ground-breaking interventions in public spaces – that reveal the exciting things that happen when contemporary artists play with the idea of place. Unexpected Art showcases the wonderfully experimental work of more than 50 innovative artists from around the world in galleries of their most astonishing artworks.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Enclosure / Goldsworthy, Andy
“In the early 1990s Andy Goldsworthy was invited to propose a project for Cumbria, where the beautiful landscape has been moulded by sheep-farming. He reconstructed a swathe of sheepfolds containing artworks, with the intention that the folds would still be accessible to sheep. This book also contains: graceful serpentines of frozen wool reach up from a rock in a gorge; lengths of wall are painstakingly edged with bright white lines of wool or frozen snow. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Concrete canvas : how street art is changing the way our cities look / Bofkin, Lee
“Concrete Canvas does just that; investigating the media the artists work with, the canvases they work on, the themes that arise through their work, and the way their art redefines the spaces in which it is set. Concrete Canvas is filled with stunning photos of works, including Ron English, Phlegm, Daim and more. It examines how the curation of public space is affecting our cities and moving art into the future. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Global model village : the international street art of Slinkachu. / Slinkachu
“A tiny mother and child bustle through a dusty township in Cape Town, or a miniature informant whispers in a telephone booth in Beijing. Thumb-size riot police climb the Acropolis in Athens. These little dramas somehow express the melancholy and magic of  life in the big city amongst millions of others. ” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Mail me art : going postal with the world’s best illustrators and designers / Di Lieto, Darren
“Showcases the 200 best illustrations from the Mail Me Art project, a popular online designer challenge to create a piece of art on the outside of an envelope or package and send it through the mail. You’ll enjoy the variety of unique art produced by artists around the world and will be inspired by the challenge of shipping art through the mail.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Scratching the surface : art and content in contemporary wood / Hosaluk, Michael
“From 1940, studio wood has been about design of elegant form and balance. The best of these designs are perfection; they may never be surpassed. This book showcases exceptional examples of surface design and narrative content in the studio wood movement. It is the fifth title in GUILD Publishing’s craft showcase series, and features works by more than 40 acclaimed artists in vibrant full-colour photographs.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Art & textiles : fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present
“Thread, weave, network, and pattern are simultaneously foundation, result, and inspiration and spill over into the areas painting, sculpture, installation, and media art. This opulently designed volume presents both an artistic and an intercultural dialogue, comparing works by Gustav Klimt, Edgar Degas, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, Chiharu Shiota, and Sergei Jensen. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Parent to parent : sharing stories

It’s tough being a care-giver at the best of times, yet this special role can provide one of life’s greatest rewards. This inspiring selection comes from the pens of parents themselves, reflecting on their own highlights and lowlights as they encourage and support their children and families to be the best they can be.

Stepmother love : ten inspiring stories about the toughest gig in the world / Collins, Sally Katherine
“Ten inspiring stories from the frontline of parenting. Stepmother Love tells the stories of ten women who have chosen to take on the challenge of making a positive contribution to the lives of their stepchildren. There are no rose-coloured glasses, but there are many enriching insights into these families’ journeys to find happiness. This reveals how these women overcame grief, hostility and even disinterest to build loving, long-term, trusting relationships with their stepchildren. An inspiring collection of stories that will uplift, help and support any woman who is doing the toughest parenting gig of all – as well as acknowledge their tough role and the courage it takes to make it work. ” (drawn from the Catalogue)

Life, animated : a story of sidekicks, heroes, and autism / Suskind, Ron
“A New York Times Bestselling Author and A Pulitzer Prize’ winning Author. This is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, as told by his dad. Owen, an autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, he memorized dozens of Disney movies, turning them into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood. His mom, dad and brother communicated with Owen in Disney dialogue and song until they all emerged together, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Bringing up bébé : one American mother discovers the wisdom of French parenting / Druckerman, Pamela
“When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn’t aspire to become a “French parent.” …With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman (a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal) sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don’t just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.” (drawn from the publisher)

An Uncomplicated Life : A Father’s Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter / Daugherty, Paul
“Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day her parents, Paul and Kerry, brought her home from the hospital, they were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also with overwhelming love, which they channelled to “the job of building the better Jillian”. They knew their daughter had special needs, but they refused to have her grow up needy. Paul tells stories about Jillian which inspired others to live better and more fully.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Raising the perfectly imperfect child / Vujicic, Boris
“Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms or legs, has overcome steep challenges, and now Nick travels worldwide and inspires millions via speaking and media appearances, is married and a father himself. He acknowledges that overcoming his physical challenges would have been impossible without the wise and effective efforts of his parents and family. Nick’s father speaks about what it took to parent such a unique child, with practical advice for raising a child with special needs. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Mamas in lockdown : personal stories of becoming a parent during Covid-19 lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand
“Mamas in Lockdown is an emotional and inspiring collection of personal stories from 77 parents who were pregnant or gave birth during lockdown in New Zealand”. (publisher’s information)

Finding Ben : a mother’s journey through the maze of Asperger’s / LaSalle, Barbara
“Barbara LaSalle’s first son, Ben, was an extraordinarily gifted child. For the first few years of his life, he amazed his mother with his brilliance and creativity, speaking in full sentences before age one and reading competently by age two. … In this frank account, Barbara LaSalle reveals what it’s really like to parent a child with a neurological disorder, communicating her son’s unique perception of the world while describing her own struggle to love an “unpresentable” son. Burdened for many years with the fear that the world might look at Ben and somehow see her own failure, LaSalle is now able to delve deep into her own story, and Ben’s, to tell the unvarnished truth. She paints a powerfully honest portrait of how a mother’s love can turn into bitterness at having to raise a special-needs child and how, by opening herself to the wisdom of others, she can at last learn to love her child – and herself – once again.” (drawn from the book jacket).

The books of Jacob : Recently acquired fiction

New Fiction titles


Sometimes when books are released, you just know from the flurry of publicity surrounding them that they are going to create a big impact. So it is with the much-anticipated latest work from the Polish Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk’s The books of Jacob : or: A fantastic journey across seven borders, five languages, and three major religions, not counting the minor sects, to give it its full title.

For a long time, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was described as “probably one of the greatest living writers you have never heard of.”. One Nobel Prize and two hugely acclaimed books later, all that has all changed.

Tokarczuk studied clinical psychology and considers herself a disciple of Carl Jung, which she cites as one of her inspirations for her literary work. This influence gives her writing a mythical tone, and many deep insights into human psyche.

Flights, the work that really brought her to international attention, is a patchwork of fiction and essays. A playful and haunting work that explores aspects surrounding being a traveller in a multitude of contexts, such as being a body moving through space and time. It is enchanting, unsettling and also a work from a master storyteller.

Her next book, Drive your plow over the bones of the dead, a noir thriller novel with numerous unexpected delights, for example a a fondness for the poetry of William Blake, is also fantastic.

Tokarczuk’s latest book and magnum opus, The books of Jacob, is not a book for the faint hearted. A deep and intense work running to an epic 912 pages, this historical fiction is about a controversial 18th century polish Jew who claimed to be the messiah. A long time in the making, this novel is the product of extensive research and took seven years just to be translated into English. If you are prepared to put the time into it, it is perhaps one of the most important works of fiction to be published in recent years.

Below is a link to The books of Jacob, along with a selection of other recently acquired fiction titles we are excited by.

The books of Jacob : or: A fantastic journey across seven borders, five languages, and three major religions, not counting the minor sects / Tokarczuk, Olga
“As new ideas – and a new unrest – begin to sweep the Continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences, Jacob Frank casts a spell that attracts a fervent following. He reinvents himself again and again, converts to Islam, then Catholicism, is pilloried as a heretic, revered as the Messiah, and wreaks havoc on the conventional order, Jewish and Christian alike, with scandalous rumours of his sect’s secret rituals and the spread of his iconoclastic beliefs.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook

The postmistress of Paris : a novel / Clayton, Meg Waite
“Wealthy, beautiful Naneé was born with a spirit of adventure that transcends her Midwestern roots. When German tanks roll across the border and into Paris, Nanée joins the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé uses her charms and skill to house the hunted and deliver them to safety. Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Beautiful little fools / Cantor, Jillian
“A powerful reimagining of The Great Gatsby from the perspective of the three women whose lives are unravelled by one man’s romantic obsession. On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby. Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chai time at Cinnamon Gardens / Chandran, Shankari 
“Welcome to Cinnamon Gardens, a home for those who are lost and the stories they treasure. Cinnamon Gardens Nursing Home is nestled in the quiet suburb of Westgrove, Sydney – populated with residents with colourful histories, each with their own secrets, triumphs and failings. This is their safe place, an oasis of familiar delights – a beautiful garden, a busy kitchen and a bountiful recreation schedule. But this ordinary neighbourhood is not without its prejudices. The serenity of Cinnamon Gardens is threatened by malignant forces more interested in what makes this refuge different rather than embracing the calm companionship that makes this place home to so many. “( Adapted from Catalogue)

The paper palace / Cowley Heller, Miranda 
“A story of summer, secrets, love and lies: in the course of a singular day on Cape Cod, one woman must make a life-changing decision that has been brewing for decades. Set against the summer backwoods and beaches of Cape Cod, The Paper Palace unfolds over 24 hours and across 50 years, as decades of family legacy, love, lies, secrets, and one unspeakable childhood tragedy lead wife and mother Elle Bishop to the precipice of a life-changing decision. With its transporting setting and propulsive pace, the story draws on the sweet promise of young love, as well as the heartbreaking damage incurred by too many secrets.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Build your house around my body : a novel / Kupersmith, Violet
“In 1986, the teenage daughter of a wealthy family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father and is forever changed by the experience. In 2009, pressed into a dangerous scheme by a former lover, a woman captures a rare two-headed cobra. And in 2011, a young, unhappy American living in Saigon with her sort-of boyfriend, disappears without a trace. Over the course of the novel, the fates of these three women will lock together in an exhilarating series of nested narratives. Spanning over fifty years and barreling toward an unforgettable conclusion, this is a fever dream about possessed bodies and possessed lands, a time-traveling, heart-pounding, border-crossing  novel” (Adapted from Catalogue)  Also Available as an eBook.

Cloud cuckoo land : a novel / Doerr, Anthony
“Constantinople, 1453: Anna lives in a convent where women toil all day embroidering the robes of priests. She learns the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to the paradise of Cloud Cuckoo Land, a better world, and reads it to her sister as the walls of Constantinople are bombarded by armies of Saracens. Lakeport, Idaho, 2020: Seymour, an activist bent on saving the earth, sits in the public library with two homemade bombs in pressure cookers… ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Bring sunshine to the grey sky

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how we juggle working or studying from home, meeting with friends, and many other aspects of our lives, adding stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for fresh ideas to rebalance, the library has a wealth of resources to support your well-being.


Steady : a guide to better mental health through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic / Johal, S. S.
“How do you deal with uncertainty and anxiety when your world is upended by the coronavirus pandemic? Dr Sarb Johal, an expert in emergency management and disaster psychology wrote this book for anyone wanting to strengthen their capacity to ride the possible coming waves of Covid-19 as well as life’s general stress – with more calm, ease and a sense of groundedness. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Type R : transformative resilience for thriving in a turbulent world / Marston, Ama
“Forget Type As and Bs. The future lies with Type Rs– the individuals, leaders, businesses, families and communities that turn challenges into opportunity in times of upheaval, crisis and change. .. The authors look at the mindset, skills and strategies of Type Rs who are finding ways to turn some of the most challenging of circumstances into opportunity– …They share inspiring stories that highlight the complexity of the times we live in — unprecedented world events, environmental crises and businesses facing increasing global competition as well the individual and collective triumphs of Type Rs coping with these as well as the stress of daily life, unstable careers, and the challenges and disruptions that will inevitably rattle our lives at some point”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Chasing the sun : how the science of sunlight shapes our bodies and minds / Geddes, Linda
“For most of mankind’s history, the sun has dictated our daily patterns of eating, sleeping and activity. The sun has also shaped human culture and biology. Bursting with original and cutting edge research, this book tells the story of our history with the sun, and explores what it means to lose our connection with it. This book asks us to rethink the significance of the sun in our lives and to exploit our relationship to improve our health, sleep and efficiency.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

8 keys to mental health through exercise / Hibbert, Christina G.
“Inspiring strategies from a wellness expert for keeping fit, relieving stress, and strengthening emotional well-being. Part 1. Understand — Key 1: Heal your mind and body with exercise — Key 2: Improve your self-esteem with exercise — Key 3: Exercise with your family — Part 2. Prepare — Key 4: Get motivated — Key 5: Change how you think about exercise — Key 6: Overcome roadblocks — Part 3. Exercise for life — Key 7: Get fitt; physically and mentally — Key 8: Implement your vision and flourish.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Resilience : the science of mastering life’s greatest challenges / Southwick, Steven M.
This identifies ways to weather and bounce back from stress. Incorporating scientific research and dozens of interviews, it provides a practical guide to building emotional, mental and physical resilience. It provides a roadmap for overcoming the adversities we all face at some point in our lives. (drawn from the publisher’s notes)

Psycho-logical : why mental health goes wrong – and how to make sense of It / Burnett, Dean
“An expertly written, extremely accessible primer on mental health from the bestselling author of The Idiot Brain. Why are mental health conditions so widespread? What is it about modern life that has such an impact on our mental health? The author answer these questions and more. This book is an expertly written and extremely accessible primer on how and why these problems arise, and what we can do to tackle them.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Anxiety : expert advice from a neurotic shrink who’s lived with it all his life / Cross, Mark
“Consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross helps many of his patients who are sufferers of anxiety, Mark too has suffered from it all his life. In this book he demystifies anxiety in his trademark warm and friendly style. For sufferers, their families and friends, the book explores: types of anxiety; causes and common triggers; and treatments. Mark also shares his own experiences as well as stories from other sufferers who have not only survived but thrived.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The NZ government has also put together a list of tools and contacts to follow up and support your well-being.

The investigator Kosuke Kindaichi mysteries

“Why is it that all men like to lie?”

― Seishi Yokomizo, The Village of Eight Graves

It is widely said in the book world that one of the genres of translated fiction that gains a wide and popular readership worldwide is that of crime and mystery detective novels. It seems that crime novels have a universal appeal.

And in this month’s newly acquired crime and mystery novels we have an excellent example of this, in the form of the The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo. The Village of Eight Graves is the first English translation of the third instalment of the most popular murder mystery series ever in Japan. Originally published in 1949, the investigator Kosuke Kindaichi books were a Japanese smash hit phenomenon and eventually ran to seventy-six titles, spawned numerous television, film and theatre adaptations and sold five million copies of the series in Japan alone. Indeed, many people regard the first book in the series, The Honjin Murders, as the finest Japanese detective novel ever written and now, thanks to its much-delayed translated release, we can find out for ourselves what the excitement was all about. We’ve also included a few other recently acquired crime and mystery novels that caught our attention; for more details read on below.

The village of eight graves / Yokomizo, Seishi
“Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the Sixteenth Century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village. Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. The inimitably scruffy and brilliant Kosuke Kindaichi investigates.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder most fancy / McCourt, Kellie
“Home for just 48 hours, billion-heiress Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg has already committed two  felonies, reignited a childhood feud, been (possibly) humiliated (again) by her first love, and fallen over a nameless homeless dead man.  Grandmother’s kindly neighbour, Dame Elizabeth Holly, wants to spring the anonymous corpse from the coroner’s freezer. She’s convinced Indigo and her parolee personal assistant Esmerelda can unearth the man’s identity, thus allowing his burial. Meanwhile Grandmother wants the unlikely duo to locate Dame Holly’s possibly missing gentleman friend… ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Disappearance of a scribe / Stabenow, Dana
“After two Alexandrian fishermen discover a skeleton anchored by a cement weight, Queen Cleopatra charges Tetisheri, her new Eye of Isis, to uncover the identities of the victim and the killers.47 B.C. Two Alexandrian fishermen come across the body of a skeleton floating upright at the bottom of the sea, anchored in place by a cement weight around his feet. In Alexandria’s rough-and-tumble construction trade they call that ‘being fitted with a pair of Rhakotis sandals’ and what’s worse, he is the second such victim in two years. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Darkness falls : a Kate Marshall thriller / Bryndza, Robert
“Kate Marshall’s investigation into a journalist’s disappearance sends her down an unexpectedly twisted path in a riveting thriller by the author of Shadow Sands. Kate Marshall’s fledgling PI agency takes off when she and her partner, Tristan Harper, are hired for their first big case. It’s a cold one. Twelve years before, journalist Joanna Duncan disappeared after exposing a political scandal. Most people have moved on. Joanna’s mother refuses to let go. When Kate and Tristan gain access to the original case files, they revisit the same suspects and follow the same leads–but not to the same dead ends. Among Joanna’s personal effects, Kate discovers the names of two young men who also vanished without a trace.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s lost letters / Cleland, Jane K
“Antiques appraiser Josie Prescott is in the midst of filming a segment for her new television show. Josie’s Antiques, when the assistant director interrupts to let her know she has a visitor. Veronica Sutton introduces herself as an old friend of Josie’s father, who had died twenty years earlier. Veronica hands Josie a brown paper-wrapped package. Mystified, Josie opens the package, and gasps when she sees what’s inside: a notecard bearing her name–in her father’s handwriting–and a green leather box. Inside the box are two letters in transparent plastic sleeves. The first bears the salutation, “My dear Cassandra,” the latter, “Dearest Fanny.” Both are signed “Jane Austen.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Silent parade / Higashino, Keigo
“A popular young girl disappears without a trace, her skeletal remains discovered three years later in the ashes of a burnt-out house. And this isn’t the first time he’s been suspected of the murder of a young girl: nearly twenty years ago he was tried and released due to lack of evidence. Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police worked both cases.  Chief Inspector Kusanagi turns once again to his college friend, Physics professor and occasional police consultant Manabu Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, to help solve the string of seemingly impossible murders.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Family business / Rozan, S. J
“The death of Chinatown’s most powerful mogul, a powerful Chinatown crime boss, thrusts private eye Lydia Chin and her partner Bill Smith into a world of double-dealing, murder, and real estate scandal . Choi has left the Tong headquarters building to his niece, who hires Lydia and her partner, Bill Smith, to accompany her to inspect it. The building is at the center of a tug-of-war between Chinatown preservation interests–including Lydia’s brother Tim–and a real estate developer who’s desperate to get his hands on it. Entering Choi’s private living quarters they find the murdered body of Choi’s chief lieutenant.  Can Lydia and Bill escape being caught in the crossfire?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Easter bonnet murder / Meier, Leslie
“Known for its cheerful staff and elaborate annual Easter Bonnet Contest, the Heritage House senior center regularly attracts new residents and positive press. But once the town’s retired librarian, Miss Julia Tilley, checks in to recover from an illness, Lucy sees a side of the facility that isn’t quite so perfect and pristine. And the place may soon be making headlines for different reasons following an unexplained disappearance . Gathering clues as flimsy as a half-eaten milk chocolate bunny, Lucy must discover what happened to Agnes–before her own story becomes another springtime tragedy left unsolved .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Filling Bellies on a Budget

It’s no secret that food costs are rising in Aotearoa and budgets are tightening for many people.  Whether you’re a traditional family household, a single person on your own, a house full of flatties, or any other configuration, keeping the food bills down while also feeding everyone nutritious and delicious meals is hard work.  The good news is, we have plenty of resources to help you find ways to fill bellies on a budget.

Destitute gourmet : over 80 affordable and tasty new recipes plus fan favourites / Gray, Sophie
“Packed with tips and tricks, this new book from Sophie includes 20 fan favourites from her earlier books, voted for by her loyal followers, plus over 80 new recipes. One-pan dinners, vegetarian recipes, meaty meals, salads and snacks plus baking and desserts -there’s something for everyone. Stick within your budget, but eat well and enjoy!”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eat well for less New Zealand / Van de Elzen, Michael
“The New Zealand version of Eat Well for Less was a big hit and had a huge impact on the families involved. This book gives all the recipes from series 1 and series 2, plus tips and tricks on tasty, easy and economical cooking from the hosts Michael Van de Elzen and Ganesh Raj. With nearly 70 recipes from light meals and snacks, to main meals and sweet treats…Includes ideas on smart shopping, nutrition, kitchen tips, and a peek at the participants from series 1 and how they fared after the cameras stopped rolling. Did the lessons they learned stick?!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The thrifty pantry : budget-saver family favourites from under $2.50 per serve
“With 100 recipes using cupboard and freezer staples and each recipe costed, this will be your go-to cookbook for cooking on a budget. Chapters are organised into cost per serve, starting from just $2, plus there’s a handy recipe key for gluten free, vegetarian and freeze-ahead meals. Festive recipes get a budget overhaul as well, with recipes for Christmas on a shoestring. We also list our top 50 healthy pantry foods and include insider tips on how to organise your pantry. Triple tested, easy and delicious, this is budget family cooking at its best.” (Catalogue)

A girl called Jack : 100 delicious budget recipes / Monroe, Jack
“Jack is a woman of our times, facing head-on the realities of recession-hit Britain and responding with a ‘make do and mend’ way of thinking that we should all consider. When she found herself unemployed and with a food budget of just 10 pounds a week, she decided to address the situation by adapting her weekly shop and embracing the value range of her local supermarket. Keeping to her budget, she created recipe after recipe of nutritious food for herself and her son, which she then posted on her blog, A Girl Called Jack. In her first cookbook, Jack shows you how to adapt the way you shop to be less wasteful, and to value the techniques of inexpensive but good cooking.” (adapted from catalogue)

The thrifty veggie : economical, sustainable meals from store-cupboard ingredients / Graimes, Nicola
“Harness every season’s flavours with recipes combining fresh produce with lasting staples – clever and delectable vegetarian recipes that can make a real difference to your household budget. Seasonal eating – when done right – is wonderful for your tastebuds, your mind, and your bank account.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Weekly provisions : how to eat seasonally and love what’s left over / Duke, Kim “Weekly Provisions is packed with recipes for 12 complete menus – each with a starter, main, side dish and dessert – followed by more than 60 creative ideas for turning what’s left into new meals and snacks during the week. In today’s world, where money is tight and people are busy, taking some time at the weekend to cook and share a truly delicious meal that’s full of comforting goodness can help you to forget your worries, restore balance, and reconnect with loved ones. Best of all, it won’t fill you up for just one day, but leave enough for quick and cheap platefuls later in the week, with zero food waste.  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Broke vegan : over 100 plant-based recipes that don’t cost the earth / Sidey, Saskia
“Easy, affordable vegan recipes everyone will enjoy.  We all want to help do our bit to save the planet by moving towards a plant-based diet, but let’s face it: eating vegan can be expensive. With over 100 plant-based recipes using supermarket staples along with hints and tips for making your food go further, Broke Vegan will have you cooking meals time after time that save money and save the planet. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fakeaway : healthy home-cooked takeaway meals / Bavin, Chris
“Join TV’s Chris Bavin for a fakeaway feast in over 120 simple recipes! Treat yourself and put takeaway food back on the menu with low-calorie curries, stir-fries, pasta dishes, pizzas, as well as good-old fish and chips. If you are vegan, vegetarian, dairy or gluten-free there are plenty of choices for you here. In this book, he shares his healthy ingredient swaps and savvy shopping ideas to buy everything you’ll need for a fakeaway feast.  Refreshingly practical, Fakeaway contains all the inspiration you need to make delicious meals for your family from scratch and on a budget. So put away the takeaway menus and recreate the meals you love but make them better for you.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

These are just some of the recent titles we have in our collection.  To browse some more, click here.  Bon apetit!

Endometriosis Awareness Month: Resources from the catalogue

Fine line illustration of bodies


It’s March and that means it’s Endometriosis Awareness Month.  Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition where endometrial tissue (the type of tissue in the lining of the uterus) grows elsewhere in the body. Even though 1 in 10 people with a uterus suffer endometriosis, very little is known about it and many cases go undiagnosed. It can be extremely painful, even debilitating, and a lot of sufferers find themselves struggling to find information on the condition.

If you are looking for information on endometriosis, we can help!  We have several resources in our collection, here are some you could give a try:

For more help with information and resources on endometriosis, go to Endometriosis New Zealand.


Endometriosis : natural and medical solutions / Cooke, Kaz

“Endometriosis a fun to read yet sensible explanation of the self-care, natural therapies and medical solutions for managing endometriosis.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Endometriosis : the complete reference for taking charge of your health / Ballweg, Mary Lou

“Bestselling health authors present must-have information for managing endometriosis. Endometriosis is a serious disease associated with pain, immune dysfunction, infertility, cancer, and autoimmune diseases that can be managed only through active, informed decision making. Developed by the Endometriosis Association, Endometriosis provides new information on treatments and lifestyle changes that gives people with endometriosis and their families the tools they need to successfully manage the disease. This authoritative guide contains groundbreaking new discoveries on endometriosis and its relationship to autoimmune problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other poorly understood diseases. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to endo : a guide to surviving and thriving with endometriosis / Hustwaite, Bridget

“After years of dismissive doctors and misinformation, Bridget Hustwaite finally received a diagnosis for her intensely heavy periods, pulsing headaches and the excruciating abdominal pain that makes her ovaries feel like they are on fire. She has endometriosis – hard to pronounce, hard to diagnose and even harder to live with. Two excision surgeries and one thriving endo Instagram community later, Bridget knows firsthand how much personal research and self-advocating endo sufferers have to do just to have their pain acknowledged. With her trademark enthusiasm, Bridget has blended her own experience with a raft of tips and strategies from health experts and endo warriors to help you thrive whenever you can, and survive on days when you just can’t.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Explaining endometriosis / Henderson, Lorraine

“The most comprehensive handbook of up-to-date advice and information for sufferers of Endometriosis, a debilitating disease which affects approximately one in ten people with a uterus.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Private parts : how to really live with endometriosis / Thom, Eleanor

“Like 1 in 10 people with a uterus in the UK, Eleanor Thom has endometriosis and she thinks that it’s time to talk a bit more about our private parts. Part memoir, part guide book and part survival guide, Private Parts retraces Eleanor’s own journey with endometriosis, offering readers practical, down-to-earth and friendly advice covering everything from what actually happens in an internal exam, to finding the right specialist for you, the perfect post-op wardrobe and to why you should look to Frida Kahlo for inspiration in your darkest moments. Written for those looking to live well with their endometriosis and for those looking for help to understand the disease, this is a call to action for people to speak up about an illness which is still so misunderstood. Features exclusive interviews with Hilary Mantel, Paulette Edwards, Lena Dunham as well as insights from experts in the field.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Beating endo : a patient’s treatment plan for endometriosis / Orbuch, Iris

“Endometriosisis an inflammatory response that results when tissue is found outside the uterus, thereby initiating a disease process and an array of maladies accrue. Dr Iris Orbuch. is a surgeon and Amy Stein,a physical therapist, have seen endo’s harm and agony up close and personal and they have created this self-care guide for people with endometriosis about how to deal with their endometriosis in order to: 1) Avoid surgery (if at all possible), 2) What to do before surgery (should they absolutely need it); and how 3) To live and what to do post-surgery – so that the women afflicted by this disease, can reclaim their lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Vagina problems : endometriosis, painful sex, and other taboo topics / Parker, Lara

“In April 2014, Deputy Editorial Director at BuzzFeed Lara Parker opened up to the world in an article on the website: she suffers from endometriosis. And beyond that? She let the whole world know that she wasn’t having any sex, as sex was excruciatingly painful. Less than a year before, she received not only the diagnosis of endometriosis, but also a diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, vaginismus, and vulvar vestibulitis. Combined, these debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on her life, causing excruciating pain throughout her body since she was fourteen years old. These are her Vagina Problems. It was five years before Lara learned what was happening to her body. Five years of doctors insisting she just had ‘bad period cramps,’ or implying her pain was psychological[…]With candid revelations about her vaginal physical therapy, dating as a straight woman without penetrative sex, coping with painful seizures while at the office, diet and wardrobe malfunctions when your vagina hurts all the time, and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved, Lara tackles it all in Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics with courage, wit, love, and a determination to live her best life” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Endo Unfiltered: How to take charge of your endometriosis and PCOS / Barnett, Erin

“The real life guide to endometriosis and PCOS (from someone who’s living it) from international reality TV star and health advocate Erin Barnett.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

It’s St Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in primarily in Ireland, but also in New Zealand and many other countries. This blog has a range of books about Irish culture, places, food, and St Patrick Day’s traditions, as well as a selection of library databases for learning the Irish language and listening to Irish music.

Ireland : top sights, authentic experiences / Wilson, Neil
“Lonely Planet Best of Ireland is filled with inspiring photos, and focuses on Ireland’s most popular attractions for those wanting to experience the best of the best. It’s your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Wander from village to village along Connemara’s coast, discover music-filled pubs in Galway, or sample the best pint of Guinness you’ve ever had in Dublin. Get to the heart of Ireland and begin your journey now!” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The Penguin book of Irish verse
“The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry features the work of three Nobel laureates – W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney – as well as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Moore, Patrick Kavanagh, Louis MacNeice, Eavan Boland and James Joyce. It also includes epigrams, traditional verses and Old Irish songs, with 250 new English translations by the greatest poets currently working, including Seamus Heaney and Ciarán Carson. This book is an indispensable guide to unparalleled literary culture.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Rachel’s Irish family food : a collection of Rachel’s best-loved family recipes / Allen, Rachel
“Bring loved ones together with this collection of delicious and simple recipes that highlight the best of authentic Irish cooking. Over 100 recipes that offer the best in traditional and modern Irish cooking, from new twists on old classics to tried and tested recipes which have delighted many generations in Ireland and are sure to be favourites. Recipes include pork sausages with colcannon, Irish stew, fish pie, and porter cake.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Collins Irish dictionary.
“This dictionary includes all the latest words reflecting changes in modern lifestyle, as well as all the features you would expect from a Collins dictionary: an easy-to-read layout, special treatment of key words and useful examples. In-depth and up-to-date supplements help you to develop your knowledge of Irish and your confidence in the language, with information on pronunciation and grammar, as well as the words and phrases you will need in writing letters and sending emails.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

In search of the craic : a pub crawl through Irish music / Irwin, Colin
“Hearing Irish music in Ireland is not through big concert halls or grand arenas, but in the small pubs in remote areas where the locals habitually gravitate for those informal sessions that invariably develop into a serious social occasion, known as the craic. The author talks to some of the leading Irish musicians like Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Paddy Moloney, Martin Hayes, Andy Irvine, Cara Dillon, Paul Brady and Frankie Gavin about their experiences and they direct him to places where the craic is mightiest.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

St. Patrick of Ireland : a biography / Freeman, Philip
“The most authoritative modern biography of the patron saint of Ireland, focusing on the historical Patrick and his times. The true story of St. Patrick is far more inspiring than the myths. In St. Patrick of Ireland, Philip Freeman brings the historic Patrick and his world vividly to life. Patrick speaks in his own voice in two remarkable letters he wrote about himself and his beliefs, new translations of which are included here and which are still astonishing for their passion and eloquence.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Ireland : flying high / McCloskey, Erin
“Photographs over a sea of gentle hills and green meadows, desolate moors dotted with heather and gorse, and a jagged coastline tormented unceasingly by the ocean. It also reveals stone-built castles and fortresses, small towns clustering around their churches, turf-roofed farmhouses and whitewashed cottages, great country houses and monastic ruins. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Start painting and explore your creativity

One way to relax and find normality in the current situation is through creating artworks. We’ve selected a range of techniques and materials to help you explore your creativity: watercolour, acrylic, sketch and digital drawing.

  • LinkedIn Learning has resources for artistic-minded people, include photography, 3D rendering, graphic design, animation and more. Click here.

5-minute watercolor : super-quick techniques for amazing paintings / Nielsen, Samantha
“A comprehensive guide to quick sketching in watercolor and a new addition to a successful series. 5-Minute Watercolor is the perfect way to focus your energies on producing a great painting. This bite-sized approach will help readers to make watercolor painting a part of their everyday lives. Every spread in the book features five expert tips and ideas, as well as examples of amazing 5-minute watercolor sketches to inspire readers.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Stitch, fibre, metal & mixed media / Midgelow-Marsden, Alysn
“Author shows how to use both textile-based and mixed media techniques to create beautiful artworks using metal in the forms of shim, foil and woven fabric alongside many other materials. Inspiring techniques include machine stitching, gilding, embossing, needle felting, beading, printing, appliqué, making stitched foil fabric and using dry decal transfer images. Eight beautiful projects include lampshade, bauble pods, a memory lampshade, decorative panels and a tablet cover. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sketch! / Belleville-Van Stone, France
“An inspirational manual for integrating sketching into daily life for artists and non-artists alike with instruction on turning rough sketches into finished work. By sharing her own creative process, which includes sketching by hand and digitally, Author emboldens readers to craft a method of their own and devote more time to art, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. Sketch Your World will inspire artists both established and aspiring to rethink their daily practice, sketch for the pure joy .” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The elements of landscape oil painting : techniques for rendering sky, terrain, trees, and water / Brooker, Suzanne
“Landscape painting is one of the most popular subjects for painters working in the medium of oils. Author presents the fundamentals for mastering landscape oil painting. With additional lessons on the latest brushes, paints, and other tools. Key methods like observation, rendering, and color mixing are supported by demonstration paintings and samples from a variety of the best landscape oil painters. (Adapted from the 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. Paint pouring involves using a free-flowing acrylic paint mixture created with a pouring medium, such as glue and water. Author demonstrates a range of skills and techniques, from setting up paint-proof workspace and control your pours; the dirty pour and flip cup; and manipulating paint with a hair dryer or string. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

How to paint living portraits / Clark, Roberta Carter
“Back in print by popular demand, How to Paint Living Portraits has been updated to help today’s artists discover the joys of this time-honored tradition. Hands-on instruction offering a practical approach to creating successful, spirited portraits in charcoal, oils and watercolor. Offers instruction on painting the figure, hands and clothing. Addresses common stumbling blocks of skin and hair. Illustrates simple and complex lighting set-ups for achieving multiple moods and effect. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sketch your world : essential techniques for drawing on location / Hobbs, James
“Packed with accessible tutorials and inside tips and advice from contemporary artists, Sketch your World is the ultimate handbook for anyone seeking to explore the exciting creative possibilities afforded by sketching on location. Includes tips for digital sketching with tablets and phones.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Recipes for Local Food Week 25 Feb to 6 March

Local Food Week is an annual event that celebrates Wellington’s local food and food producers. Eating from resources that are around to keep you healthy and strong: kiwifruit and wild berries, pies and cakes, backyard treasures and fresh produce markets, kitchen and local restaurants, and much more.

The organic guide to edible gardens / Stackhouse, Jennifer
“Growing fruit and vegetables in your own backyard, and feeding your family with food freshly harvested can be extremely rewarding, and even better to grow naturally without chemicals. This fully illustrated guide to growing authentic produce at home from purchasing your first seedlings, understanding the growth cycle, sourcing biological fertilisers, controlling pests and diseases and ultimately sustaining healthy, organic edible plants.”  (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

A treasury of New Zealand baking
“One hundred recipes for cakes, slices, loaves, scones, tarts, muffins and friandes from a star-studded list of New Zealand food writers. The recipes include everything from glamour special-occasion cakes to every day fill-the-tins reliables. Every recipe was tested and baked especially for this project by well-known international baker and author Dean Brettschneider, and photographed by Aaron Maclean, and edited by New Zealand food ambassador extraordinaire, Lauraine Jacobs.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Eating clean, living paleo : New Zealand paleo cookbook / Devcich, Rachael
“New Zealand’s favourite cafes open their recipe books to share popular dishes from their menus. You will spot some familiar places from the 50 cafes up and down the country, and be shown how to recreate their signature breakfasts, brunches, lunches and baked treats. The perfect road trip companion book to flick through over a flat white; a celebration of our thriving cafe culture and the places, people and food that make it special”. (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Forager’s cocktails : botanical mixology with fresh ingredients / Zavatto, Amy
“From fresh produce markets to speakeasies, delectable drinks made from foraged and grown ingredients are trendy to hit mixology. Full of mouth-watering colour photos, this handy guide offers 40 inspiring recipes, tips for foraging and preserving seasonal berries, herbs, flowers, and more. It’s a luscious toolkit for crafting tasty and unique cocktails from backyards and woodlands. Raise your glass to making the most of nature’s bounty!” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

My family table : simple wholefood recipes from ‘Petite Kitchen’ / Ozich, Eleanor
“Eleanor’s unique approach to food styling and photography showcases the simplicity of her food in a natural, down-to-earth style that is fresh and inspiring. Eleanor presents over 100 wonderfully simple, nourishing and wholesome recipes. She takes some classic family favourites and adds her own wholesome, creative twist, and using plenty of herbs and aromatic flavours for scrumptious taste combinations.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The complete New Zealand seafood cookbook
“From smoked fish pie and whitebait fritters to fish burgers, gumbo and paella, all of your favourite seafood dishes are here in this cookbook. This book also has tips on catching, handling, purchasing and storing fish; preparing fish at home, including scaling, gutting, filleting, boning and skinning, as well as cleaning and preparing shellfish; cooking seafood, including pan-frying, barbecuing, steaming, poaching and baking; and how to choose the ideal seafood option for a meal. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Tahua-roa, korare = Food for your visitors, Māori green vegetables : their history and tips on their use / Roskruge, Nick
“Nick Roskruge, Massey University horticulture and Maori resource development lecturer, introduces over 30 korare, or Maori green vegetables sourced from freshwater or coastal areas, the forest or bush, as crops, or as weeds. eg: kokihi, puha, porporo, kopakopa, rerewai and many others. This illustrated book aims to increase knowledge of korare by histories and practical everyday recipes, whakapapa and nutritional values.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

New Zealand café cookbook : recipes you love from your favourite cafés
“New Zealand’s favourite cafes open their recipe books to share best-loved quintessential kiwi dishes from their menus. As you discover recipes from 50 cafes, you’ll spot some familiar places, and their signature breakfasts, brunches, lunches and baked treats. The perfect road trip companion book to flick through over a flat white; a celebration of our thriving cafe culture, places, and people. (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Attenborough nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Sir David Attenborough is one of the nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Attenborough has been most famous for his wildlife TV series. He also wrote many books and won numerous awards include BAFTA and Emmy awards, and he was knighted in 1985. Let’s dive through the library books into Attenborough’s world.

David Attenborough : the early years / Attenborough, David
“David Attenborough’s books and broadcasts have opened up the incredible world of natural history to millions of viewers and listeners. Specially recorded for audio, David Attenborough’s earliest adventures are sometimes life-threatening, often hilarious and always totally absorbing. Also included is David Attenborough In His Own Words, a collection of interviews taken from the BBC radio and TV archives.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Life in the undergrowth / Attenborough, David
“This illustrated book by veteran naturalist Sir David Attenborough offers a rare glimpse into the secret life of invertebrates, “Small by virtue of their lack of backbones, this group of living things plays a surprisingly large role in the evolutionary cycle.” Life in the Undergrowth, part of his innovative series on natural history topics, looks at invertebrates the world over: their arrival on land and mastery of every habitat, and their fantastic variety of hunting and highly organized social behaviors.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Journeys to the other side of the world : further adventures of a young naturalist / Attenborough, David
“The further adventures of a young David Attenborough – from Madagascar and New Guinea to the Pacific Islands and the Northern Territory of Australia. Following the success of the original Zoo Quest expeditions, in the late 1950s onwards the young David Attenborough embarked on further travels to encounter world’s remarkable cultures, and animals such as paradise birds, chameleons, sifakas and many more animals.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Living planet : the web of life on earth / Attenborough, David”
“A new, fully updated narrative edition of David Attenborough’s seminal biography of our world, The Living Planet. Single species, and often whole communities adapt to extreme living conditions. These adaptations can be truly extraordinary: fish that walk or lay eggs on leaves in mid-air; snakes that fly; flightless birds that graze like deer; and bears that grow hair on the soles of their feet He also addresses the urgent issues facing our living planet: climate change, pollution and mass extinction of species.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Drawn from paradise : the discovery, art and natural history of the birds of paradise / Attenborough, David
“‘David Attenborough’s journey through the cultural history of the most exquisite and extravagant, colourful and intriguing families of birds. David Attenborough and Errol Fuller trace the natural history of these enigmatic birds depicted in western art throughout the centuries, featuring beautiful illustrations by such luminary artists as Jacques Barraband, William Hart, John Gould, Rubens and Breughel, to name but a few. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

 

Still and untroubled: New crime and mystery titles

A selection of book covers from our recent booklist

A selection from our new mystery picks

I am, as it is bliss to be, Still and untroubled.

― Charlotte Brontë,


There’s a whole sub-genre of crime and detective fiction which stars real life historical characters as the investigating detectives. Just a few of these historical characters, turned fictional detectives, include Oscar Wilde, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and Agatha Christie.  There’s even a Barrack Obama and Joe Biden mystery series, where the current and former American presidents form the sleuthing duo. One particularly unlikely, fictionalised team that I particularly like is the Raymond Chandler and Boris Karloff team up, found in Kim Newman’s Something More than Night. In this month’s newly acquired crime and mystery titles, we can add The Bronte sisters to these illustrious ranks.

In The Red Monarch, literature’s most famous siblings are also amateur detectives. The tale is set around the time of their self-published collection Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, where the sisters adopted male names as they thought it would help sales and avoid gender prejudice. The collection was published at their own expense, and sadly sold exactly two copies. In The Red Monarch, the sisters are also battling against a slum dwelling criminal gang.

Other highlights from the below list include a tale that takes us on the Trans-Siberian Express, a police transcriber and a mystery set on a cocoa plantation in Ecuador.

The red monarch / Ellis, Bella
“The Bronte sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her friend Lydia Robinson. Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. . She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Death on the Trans-Siberian Express / Farrington, C. J.
“Olga Pushkin, Railway Engineer (Third Class) and would-be bestselling author, spends her days in a little rail-side hut with only Dmitri the hedgehog for company.  And one day Olga arrives at her hut only to be knocked unconscious by a man falling from the Trans-Siberian, an American tourist with his throat cut from ear to ear and his mouth stuffed with 10-ruble coins. Another death soon follows. But with no leads to follow and time running out, has Olga bitten off more than she can chew?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bryant & May : London Bridge is falling down / Fowler, Christopher
“When 91-year-old Amelia Hoffman died in her top-floor flat on a busy London road, : she slipped through the cracks in a failing system. But detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit have their doubts. Bryant is convinced that other forgotten women with hidden talents are also in danger. And, curiously, they all own models of London Bridge. With the help of some of their more certifiable informants, the detectives follow the strangest of clues in an investigation that will lead them through forgotten alleyways to the city’s oldest bridge in search of a desperate killer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A question of guilt / Horst, Jørn Lier
“In 1999, seventeen-year-old Tone Vaterland was killed on her way home from work. Desperate for a conviction the police deemed the investigation an open-and-shut case and sent her spurned boyfriend, Danny Momrak, down for murder. But twenty years later William Wisting receives a puzzling letter. It suggests the wrong man was convicted for Tone’s death and the real murderer is still out there. Wisting is quickly thrown into a terrifying race against time where he must find the sender, decipher this mysterious letter and catch the real killer before they strike again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Spanish daughter / Hughes, Lorena
“Inheriting a cocoa plantation in Vinces, Ecuador, that someone will kill for, Puri, after her husband is murdered, assumes his identity to search for the truth of her father’s legacy and learn the identity of the enemy who stands in her way of claiming her birthright.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Mrs. Rochester’s ghost : a thriller / Marcott, Lindsay
“Jane has lost everything: job, mother, relationships, even her home. A friend calls to offer an unusual deal–a cottage above the crashing surf of Big Sur on the estate of his employer, Evan Rochester. In return, Jane will tutor his teenage daughter. She accepts. But nothing is quite as it seems at the Rochester estate. Though he’s been accused of murdering his glamorous and troubled wife, Evan Rochester insists she drowned herself. Jane is skeptical, but she still finds herself falling for the brilliant and secretive entrepreneur and growing close to his daughter…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The shadows of men : a novel / Mukherjee, Abir
“Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can the officers of the Imperial Police Force–Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant “Surrender-Not” Banerjee–track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath? Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this remarkable series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?” (Catalogue)

Hello, transcriber / Morrissey, Hannah
“Every night, while the street lamps shed the only light on Wisconsin’s most crime-ridden city, police transcriber Hazel Greenlee listens as detectives divulge Black Harbor’s gruesome secrets. As an aspiring writer, Hazel believes that writing a novel could be her only ticket out of this frozen hellscape. And then her neighbor confesses to hiding the body of an overdose victim in a dumpster. The suspicious death is linked to Candy Man, a notorious drug dealer. Now Hazel has a first row seat to the investigation and becomes captivated by the lead detective…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

“I didn’t have time to be anyone’s muse… Our New Fiction Titles

“I didn’t have time to be anyone’s muse… I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.” – Leonora Carrington.

If you were lucky enough to go to the recent exceptional Surrealist exhibition at Te Papa, you may well have looked in wonder at Again the Gemini are in the Orchard, a painting by Leonora Carrington. In our recently acquired fiction titles we have a fictionalised account of one of the periods of her life called Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter.
Leonora Carrington was one of the leading lights of the surrealist movement, whose contribution and involvement until recently was largely ignored. She led an extraordinary, remarkable, and fascinating life. (View all our  books by or about Leonora Carrington here).

Born into a rich but constricted English family, against which she rebelled at every chance, after being expelled from various schools, she attended art school before eventually fleeing the country to go to Paris to join the Surrealists. She subsequently formed an artistic and personal relationship with the artist Max Ernst. This period was interrupted by World War Two; Ernst was arrested by the Nazis from which Leonora fled, ending up in a Spanish asylum. She was rescued from this asylum by her former nanny. Entering a marriage of convenience with the Mexican Ambassador allowed her to emigrate to Mexico. In Mexico City she when on to forge a career as one of the most important, innovative, and personally unique of all the Surrealists. She was also a highly accomplished writer of fiction, short fiction and autobiography.

Another title we were excited to see in the newly acquired recent fiction titles is the hugely recommended Huia short stories 14: Contemporary Māori fiction.

Leonora in the morning light / Carter, Michaela
“1937. British socialite and painter Leonora Carrington meets Max Ernst, an older, married artist whose work has captivated Europe. She follows him to Paris, and gains recognition under her own name. When Max and his circle are denounced as “degenerates” and arrested, Leonora battles terrifying circumstances to survive. 1940. A train carrying exiled German prisoners from a labor camp arrives in southern France, but face capture by the Nazis. Only one man does not flee, determined to ride the train until he reaches home, to find a woman he refers to simply as “her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The echo chamber / Boyne, John
“What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds – and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept. The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a ‘national treasure’ (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

What storm, what thunder / Chancy, Myriam J. A.
“At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. Richard, an expat and wealthy water-bottling executive with a secret daughter; the daughter, Anne, an architect , Leopold, who pines for a beautiful call girl; Sonia and Ma Lou, the old woman selling produce in the market who remembers them all. Artfully weaving together these lives, witness is given to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man. ” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The sentence / Erdrich, Louise
“A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hana Khan carries on / Jalaluddin, Uzma
“Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood of Toronto. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast. Soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening her mother’s restaurant. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The cat who saved books : a novel / Natsukawa, Sōsuke
“Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the second hand bookstore he has inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. However, one day, a talking cat named Tiger appears and asks Rintaro to save books with him. Of course, “ask” is putting it politely — Tiger is demanding Rintaro’s help. The world is full of lonely books, left unread and unloved, and only Tiger and Rintaro can liberate them from their neglectful owners. And so, the odd couple begin an amazing journey, entering different mazes to set books free.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dog park / Oksanen, Sofi 
“Helsinki, 2016. Olenka sits on a bench, watching a family play in a dog park. A stranger sits down beside her. Olenka startles; she would recognize this other woman anywhere. After all, Olenka was the one who ruined her life. And this woman may be about to do the same to Olenka. Yet, for a fragile moment, here they are, together–looking at their own children being raised by other people. Moving seamlessly between modern-day Finland and Ukraine in the early days of its post-Soviet independence.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Comfort me with apples / Valente, Catherynne M.
“A woman who believes she is living a perfect life begins to wonder why her husband is away at work so much, and also what is in the locked basement she is not permitted to enter.Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect. It’s just that he is away so much, so often. He says he misses her, so it must be true. But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook .

Huia short stories. 14, Contemporary Māori fiction.
“These stories present the best writing from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers 2021. The authors are a mix of new writers and known authors. The stories they tell have characters that will stay with you, descriptions that evoke strong sense of time and place, and situations that are funny, tense, sad and wistful.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Announced: the longlist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

The longlist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction (the fiction element of The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards)  has just been announced.  And as always it reflects the rich, diverse, and vibrant literary scene in New Zealand. In this blog we are going to take a very quick look at the ten fiction contenders, but we strongly recommend a close look at the equally excellent Non-Fiction categories.

In the longlist this year we have…

Gigi Fenster’s A Good Winter; a gripping dark and, in some respects, demanding thriller set in an apartment block among a group of women. The novel was initially abandoned by the author who said “The lead character took over the work in not-so-good ways.’ Gigi eventually submitted it to and won the Michael Gifkins prize. Aljce in Therapy Land by Alice Tawhai is the debut novel from the acclaimed short story writer. Online relationships, stoned characters and logic, workplace bullying, quantum physics all overlayed with aspects of Alice in Wonderland in this smart, funny, and complex work.  Entanglement by Bryan Walpert is a multi-layered, multi-faceted work that weaves big ideas about the nature of existence and time into the integral fabric of the plot, whilst also being very personal about the characters’ inner lives. In Stephanie Johnson’s Everything Changes the central characters buy a rundown motel as a way of restarting their lives in this moving and funny work. A brother and sister from a Māori-Russian-Catalonian family negotiate the stormy waters of modern romance, largely from the Auckland apartment they share, in Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly, described by one reviewer as “part Shakespeare, part Wes Anderson”.

In Whiti Hereaka’s Kurangaituku a part bird, part woman central character “the Kurangaituku” retells her life from her inception till her death and beyond. This mythological tale is about love, in both its destructive and creative aspects. Sue Orr’s Loop Tracks is set in two time periods; the late 1970’s in Auckland and 2019 in Wellington, and centres around young sixteen-year-old Charlie’s choices and decisions in 1978, and how they flow into her 2019 future.  She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall is set in the very near future in New Zealand where the effects of climate change are really beginning to bite and affect both our physical world but also our society in this sharp and darkly funny work. Confidence tricksters, compulsive liars and jumbled up childhood memories all feature in Emma Neale’s excellent first collection of short stories Pink Jumpsuit: short fictions, tall truths. And to round up the list is Clare Moleta’s Unsheltered; a powerful tale of a woman’s search for her daughter set against a background of destructive weather and social disintegration.

As always there are several novels that might have made the cut but didn’t,  the most notable being  Jacqueline Bublitz’s wonderful Before You Knew My Name.

We have also had the recent pleasure of having Kirsten McDougall in conversation with Rajorshi Chakraborti and interviewing Bryan Walpert  about their nominated books; you can watch these interviews at the end of this blog.

A good winter. / Fenster, Gigi
“I looked after Lara. We both looked after Sophie and her baby. We had to. It’s not like Sophie was going to look after that baby herself. All she was interested in was weeping and wailing for her dead husband. She was so busy weeping and wailing for her dead husband that she rejected his baby who was right in front of her. When Olga’s friend Lara becomes a grandmother, Olga helps out whenever she can. After all, it’s a big imposition on Lara, looking after her bereaved daughter and the baby. And the new mother is not exactly considerate. But smoldering beneath Olga’s sensible support and loving generosity is a deep jealous need to be the centre of Lara’s attention and affection—a need that soon becomes a consuming, dangerous and ultimately tragic obsession.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Aljce in therapy land / Tawhai, Alice
“On her first day the sky had a salmon tint to it; after the rain, and before the cloud entirely cleared, as if it had been put into a washing machine with roses. Someone was probably really annoyed at the way they had run. Aljce parked in the asphalt car park outside the Therapy Hub. She was looking forward to her new job. It would be an exciting adventure with new challenges.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Entanglement / Walpert, Bryan
“A memory-impaired time traveller attempts to correct a tragic mistake he made in 1977 when, panicked, he abandoned his brother on a frozen lake in Baltimore. Decades later, in 2011, a novelist researching at the Centre for Time in Sydney becomes romantically involved with a philosopher from New Zealand. Another eight years on, and a writer at a lake retreat in New Zealand in 2019 obsesses over the disintegration of his marriage following another tragedy. Are these separate stories, or are they one? Is the time traveller actually travelling? Can the past be changed? As the answers to these questions slowly emerge, the three tales become entangled, along with the usual abstractions: love, desperation and physics.” (Catalogue)

Everything changes / Johnson, Stephanie
Buying a rundown motel to start a new life — what could possibly go wrong? In this funny and moving novel, prize-winning author Stephanie Johnson turns her wry eye on us. ‘What a fabulous read. Stephanie Johnson’s characters choose an old motel with little to offer except an amazing view in order to start a ‘new life’. Their first guests are a classic cast of the sorrowful and dysfunctional that every-day life throws at us these days.  This is her best book ever, and I loved every page of it.’ – Fiona Kidman” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Greta & Valdin / Reilly, Rebecca K
“Valdin is still in love with his ex-boyfriend Xabi, who used to drive around Auckland in a ute but now drives around Buenos Aires in one. Greta is in love with her fellow English tutor Holly, who doesn’t know how to pronounce Greta’s surname, Vladislavljevic, properly. From their Auckland apartment, brother and sister must navigate the intricate paths of modern romance as well as weather the small storms of their eccentric Māori-Russian-Catalonian family” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Kurangaituku / Hereaka, Whiti
“In the void of time, Kurangaituku, the bird-woman, tells the story of her extraordinary Life – the birds who first sang her into being, the arrival of the Song Makers and the change they brought to her world, her life with the young man Hatupatu, and her death. But death does not end a creature of imagination like Kurangaituku. In the underworlds of Rarohenga, she continues to live in the many stories she collects as she pursues what eluded her in life. This is a story of love – but is this love something that creates or destroys?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Loop tracks / Orr, Sue
“It’s 1978: the Auckland abortion clinic has been forced to close and sixteen-year-old Charlie has to fly to Sydney, but the plane is delayed on the tarmac. It’s 2019: Charlie’s tightly contained Wellington life with her grandson Tommy is interrupted by the unexpected intrusions of Tommy’s first girlfriend, Jenna, and the father he has never known, Jim. The year turns, and everything changes again… written in real time against the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic and the New Zealand General Election and euthanasia referendum” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She’s a killer / McDougall, Kirsten
“The world’s climate is in crisis and New Zealand is being divided and reshaped by privileged immigrant wealthugees. Thirty-something Alice has a near-genius IQ and lives at home with her mother with whom she communicates by Morse code. Alice’s imaginary friend, Simp, has shown up, with a running commentary on her failings. ‘I mean, can you even calculate the square root of 762 anymore?’ The last time Simp was here was when Alice was seven, on the night a fire burned down the family home. Now Simp seems to be plotting something. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pink jumpsuit : short fictions, tall truths / Neale, Emma
“In Emma Neale’s first collection of short fiction, the tales range from the surreal to the real; from the true to the tall. This collection includes some of her internationally recognised flash fiction and more extended examinations of the eerie gaps and odd swerves in intimate relationships. There are confidence tricksters, compulsive liars, emotional turn-coats, the pulse of jumbled childhood memory still felt in adult life, the weird metamorphosis of fantasy hardening into reality…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Unsheltered / Moleta, Clare
“Against a background of social breakdown and destructive weather, Unsheltered tells the story of a woman’s search for her daughter. Li never wanted to bring a child into a world like this but now that eight-year-old Matti is missing, she will stop at nothing to find her. As she crosses the great barren country alone and on foot, living on what she can find and fuelled by visions of her daughter just out of sight ahead, Li will have every instinct tested. She knows the odds against her: an uncompromising landscape, an uncaring system, time running out, and the risks of any encounters on the road. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Happy Lunar New Year: Stories of Chinese New Zealanders

Image saying Happy Lunar New Year

via GIPHY


The Lunar New Year is a great time to learn more about the history of Chinese culture in Aotearoa. To start your journey, we’ve selected a few popular books about the lives of Chinese New Zealanders. The below booklist includes the legendary story of New Zealand’s largest Chinese art collection, the fascinating history of Chinese greengrocers in Aotearoa and work from Wellington’s local Chinese cartoonist, Ant Sang.

You can head to He Matapihi Molesworth Library (located within the National Library) to find these amazing books, and other fascinating reads from our New Zealand collection!

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!


The fruits of our labours : Chinese fruit shops in New Zealand / Lam, Ruth
“Before supermarkets, local fruit and vegetable stores run by Chinese families were a pillar of our communities. The greengrocers’ personal anecdotes, historical documents and photos weaved into the country’s rich social and cultural tapestry. This book was written and researched by Ruth Lam, Beverly Lowe, Helen Wong, Michael Wong, and Carolyn King. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Turning stone into jade : the history of the New Zealand Chinese Association = Diao shi cheng bi / Fung, David
“The story of New Zealand Chinese Association, the oldest Chinese organisation in New Zealand. In its early incarnations, the association offered kinship and a united voice for an often marginalised and fragile minority. The work it has performed and its own struggles to maintain a relevant identity as political change ebbed and flowed in both Asia and New Zealand. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Looking for a better life … : the Chinese poll tax certificate records in Auckland / Wong Hop, David V.
“This book records the Chinese people who arrived in Auckland between 1882 and 1928; Chinese who came from different parts of China and travelled east to the Americas, or south to the Phillipines, Java and Australia. This book is published with support from Chinese New Zealand Oral History Foundation and many Chinese families. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Being Chinese : a New Zealander’s story / Wong, Helene
“Born in New Zealand in 1949, author travelled to southern China where her father was born, then she came face to face with ‘being Chinese’. Drawing on her experience of writing for New Zealand films, she takes the narrative forward through the places of her family’s history – the ancestral village in Zengcheng county, the rural town of Utiku where the Wongs ran a thriving business, and the Lower Hutt suburbs of her childhood.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

New China eye witness: Roger Duff, Rewi Alley and the art of museum diplomacy = Xin zhongguo de mu ji zhe: luojie · dafu, luyi · aili yu bo wu guan wai jiao / edited by James Beattie and Richard Bullen ; Chinese translation by Xiongbo Shi.
“In 1956, Through Alley’s contacts with premier Zhou Enlai and Duff’s diplomatic skills they shipped Chinese art to Canterbury Museum which made the largest Chinese art collection in New Zealand. (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The dharma punks / Sang, Anthony
“Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day. Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb before the opening, but the night takes the first of many unexpected turns when he is separated from his accomplice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

Fiction predictions: Novels to watch for in 2022 Part Two

“We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.”

― Alan Moore, Watchmen

And so once again we peer into the tea leaves of the future, stranded at the bottom of the cracked bone china teacup, from the Sunday best tea set, and put our powers of divination to use, to divine what literary gems have coalesced from the collective imaginations of the global literary community for the second half of 2022.

Scheduled to be released in July is The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton, the sequel to bestselling The Miniaturist, set again in Amsterdam in the 17th-century Amsterdam.

In August we have Amit Chaudhuri’s Sojourn, which explores Berlin’s legacy of division.

We loved Mordew, which introduced us to Alex Pheby’s weird and wonderful Mervyn Peake inspired fantasy world, so we are thrilled to see the announcement of Malarkoi, the second instalment of the series.

We also enjoy a tale with a dramatic shipwreck, so another novel slated for release in August that immediately caught our attention was The Night Ship by Jess Kidd; a tale of imagination, shipwrecks and mutiny that connects two children living two centuries apart.

Unsurprisingly one theme that many authors have explored in recent years is the ongoing environmental collapse that we are currently experiencing. Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman is one such work; it’s from the author of Boxer, Beetle so is bound to be an interesting and unusual read,  and finally for August we have another instalment of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh’s crime series titled The Long Knives.

Robert Harris is acclaimed worldwide for his immersive historical fiction novels such as Enigma and Pompeii to name but two, so his latest novel Act of Oblivion about events in the wake of the execution of Charles I is highly anticipated.  Also due in October winner of the Women’s prize for Literature Kamila Shamsie releases her latest book about power and friendship and it is titled Best of Friends.

In September Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk releases Nights of Plague, a historical novel set during the tail end of the Ottoman empire.

In graphic novel circles Alan Moore is a legend with works like the classic Watchmen, V For Vendetta and The Saga Of Swamp Thing in his portfolio. Alan announced he was retiring from writing graphic novels in 2016 to concentrate on fiction writing.  His two novels so far are Voice of the Fire and Jerusalem, so it is with some excitement we look forward to reading his new collection of short fiction called Illuminations. One debut we await with much interest is from actor Paterson Joseph; his novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho revolves around the real-life story of Charles Ignatius Sancho the British abolitionist, writer and composer who was born on a slave ship and eventually became one of the leading lights of Regency London. And to round off our advanced peek of what’s to come in 2022, we have a gothic father and son road trip set in the era of Argentina’s military junta from international Booker shortlisted Mariana Enriquez; that book is titled Our Share of Night.
The miniaturist / Burton, Jessie
“On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Friend of my youth / Chaudhuri, Amit
“A novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay. The city, reeling from the memory of the 2008 terrorist attacks, weighs heavily on Amit’s mind, as does the unexpected absence of his childhood friend Ramu, a drifting, opaque figure who is Amit’s last remaining connection to the city he once called home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Mordew / Pheby, Alex
” God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the sea-battered city, a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meager existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew. The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength–” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The hoarder / Kidd, Jess
“Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her. With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Madness is better than defeat / Beauman, Ned
“In 1938, two rival expeditions set off for a lost Mayan temple in the jungles of Honduras. One intends to shoot a comedy on location while the other plans to disassemble the temple and ship it back to New York. A stalemate ensues. Twenty years later a rogue CIA agent sets out to exploit it as a geopolitical pawn – unaware that the temple is the locus of grander conspiracies. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Crime / Welsh, Irvine
“Now bereft of both youth and ambition, Detective Inspector Ray Lennox is recovering from a mental breakdown induced by occupational stress and cocaine abuse, and a particularly horrifying child sex murder case back in Edinburgh. On vacation in Florida, his fiancee, Trudi, is only interested in planning their forthcoming wedding, and a bitter argument sees a deranged Lennox cast adrift in strip-mall Florida. He meets two women in a seedy bar, ending up at their apartment for a coke binge interrupted by two menacing strangers…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pompeii / Harris, Robert
“A sweltering week in late August. Where better to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples? But even as Rome’s richest citizens relax in their villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are ominous warnings that something is going wrong.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

 

Home fire / Shamsie, Kamila
“Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London worlds away from theirs. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The red-haired woman / Pamuk, Orhan
“On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul a master well digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, excavating without luck meter by meter, the two will develop a filial bond neither has known before. The pair will come to depend on each other, and exchange stories reflecting disparate views of the world. But in the nearby town, where they buy provisions and take their evening break, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red Haired women…” (Catalogue)

Jerusalem : a novel / Moore, Alan
“In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England’s Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district’s narrative among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrol colored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them.  An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in, through the labyrinthine streets and pages of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth and poverty…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Things we lost in the fire : stories / Enriquez, Mariana
“A haunting collection of short stories all set in Argentina reminiscent of Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortazar, by an exciting new international talent. Stories include The dirty kid, The inn, The intoxicated years,  Adela’s house, Spider web, End of term,  No flesh over our bones, The neighbor’s courtyard, Under the black water and Green red orange.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

Edible cities: Books on foraging

A selection of our books on foraging

via GIPHY

So far, raumati (summer) in Wellington has been pretty idyllic. Hopefully, you’ve been able to get out and enjoy the outdoors, maybe by taking a dip in the surprisingly welcoming ocean or enjoying time in the garden with a good book. If you’re looking for a new outdoor activity, and are keen to explore around Wellington a bit more, foraging could be an ideal new hobby for you! Wellington has an array of forgeable foods growing all around the city, including mushrooms, koromiko flowers and dandelion!

Of course there are risks with foraging, you need to be confident in identifying plants before you eat them! We suggest first connecting with Wellington’s vibrant foraging community. There are plenty of supportive online communities, and professionally led courses you can attend to gain this required knowledge.

Our libraries also have a wealth of resources to help you in your foraging adventures! Below is a booklist to get you started. Happy foraging!

A forager’s treasury / Knox, Johanna
“Features profiles of many edible plants commonly found in New Zealand, including advice on where to find them, how to harvest them and how best to use them”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Find it, eat it : cooking foraged food gathered around New Zealand / Daly, Michael
“Divided according to edible weeds, food foraged from the fields, forest and seashore and a pantry section, Michael Daly provides recipes that demonstrate the use of wild foods in everyday cooking.”–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A field guide to the native edible plants of New Zealand / Crowe, Andrew
“Over 190 trees, shrubs, herbs, ferns, mushrooms, lichens and seaweeds are described in detail in this useful and attractive book, with information on which part is edible and when, how plants have been utilised, particularly by Maori, their nutritional value, and where they can be found. In a separate section, Andrew Crowe also describes important poisonous plants that are native to New Zealand or are likely to be confused with the edible plants.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Seaweed and eat it : a family foraging and cooking adventure / Houston, Fiona
“Part cookbook, part natural history guide, with tasty recipes, fascinating folklore and inspiring ideas for seasonal feasts, this book leads the reader through the process of identifying, learning about and cooking unusual and wild native foods.” (Catalogue)

The edible city : a year of wild food / Rensten, John
”  In The Edible City, urban forager John Rensten gives us the tools to identify, source and cook delicious food from the year-long bounty around us, whether that’s winter cress and wild garlic soup, nettle and three-cornered leek gnocchi or stinging nettle tempura. This account of a year of urban foraging is perfect for the armchair enthusiast or home cook looking for exciting new ingredients to experiment with.” (Catalogue)

The thrifty forager / Fowler, Alys
“Fowler takes a fresh look at foraging, encouraging you to look closer to home, from the weeds in your garden to the trees in your street…Alys showcases her favourite edibles with a plant directory packed with useful information – photographic identification, plant description and tips on how to grow and how to eat it (including recipes such as fruit leathers and chutney) – that will give you the confidence to identify plants yourself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Food you can forage : edible plants to harvest, cook and enjoy / Francis, Tiffany
“An accessible and engaging guide to foraging for families and amateur naturalists.” (Catalogue)

More than meets the eye: Fascinating biographies

Image featuring some of our Biography pics

It can be fascinating to learn unexpected facts about celebrities. Did you know that Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize? How about that Sonny Bill Williams is not just a rugby player, but also a boxer? Discover more interesting stories of famous people in these biography books.

The world of The Rock / Pantaleo, Steve
“Celebrate the impressive career of  “The Rock” Johnson from his explosive WWE debut match to his full-blown Superstar status. Dubbed “The Great One,” The Rock has delighted millions of fans with his charisma, catch phrases and championship wins. Discover The Rock’s fascinating family history as the first third-generation WWE Superstar; his epic wins and greatest moments as The People’s Champion; and his impressive movie career including Fast and Furious franchise. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The princess diarist / Fisher, Carrie
“When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she had kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved–plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1976, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her co-star. Read what’s behind the scene from Carrie’s handwritten notebook.”  (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The world of Bob Dylan
“Is there any writer or performer more haunting-and more haunted-than Bob Dylan? Like the members of the Nobel committee that awarded him the world’s most important cultural prize, we know he is one of the world’s most influential artists. But which Dylan is it? Is it the country boy who went Nashville and befriended Johnny Cash? Or the Beat-inspired hipster who took to the road with a ramshackle medicine show?  The Sinatra-inspired crooner? ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

C. S. Lewis : a life : eccentric genius, reluctant prophet / McGrath, Alister E.
“In honor of the 50th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ death, celebrated Oxford don Dr. Alister McGrath uses his research of Lewis’ correspondence and archival materials, presents us with a compelling portrait of the life of C. S. Lewis, the author of the well-known Narnia series who taught literature at Oxford University. This definitive biography paints a portrait of an eccentric thinker who became a compelling, prophet for our times. (Adapted from the catalogue)

You can’t stop the sun from shining / Williams, Sonny Bill
“Sonny Bill Williams (SBW) is a once in a hundred-year athlete with immense sporting talent in Rugby League, Rugby Union and Boxing. Sonny Bill has built an incredible career and sporting reputation across the globe. His athleticism has taken him from inner-city Auckland, where he grew up, to the highest sporting moments in Twickenham, Eden Park and Sydney’s Olympic Stadium. Working with Alan Duff, award-winning author of Once Were Warriors, this will be the must-read autobiography of the year.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Perspective / Perry, Ellyse
“Ellyse Perry is among the all-time greatest cricket and football players in Australia, making her international debut in cricket and football World Cup at the age of 16. From the lessons of a high-performance athlete’s career to appreciating the small things in life, this inspiring illustrated book features themes of dreaming, belief, work, resilience, appreciation, opportunity, balance and perseverance. This empowering book is about what it is to be an elite athlete and trying to be the best person possible.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Fiction predictions: Novels to watch for in 2022

If I’m remembered 100 years from now, I hope it will be not for looks but for books. – Dolly Parton

So, with 2022 now well and truly started, we find ourselves at the perfect juncture in time to dust off our crystal ball to ascertain what fictional treasures may be in store for 2022. To get you in the mood for these titles, we have listed some of the previous works by the authors discussed at the end of this piece. Of course, there are many titles to be published that aren’t yet announced or on publisher’s schedules. Our crystal ball advises that you should check our fiction blog regularly for more fantastic fiction predictions.

To kick off January, we have The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, a story of bookshops and ghosts from the Pulitzer-winning author. For February, we have a new novel from author Monica Ali; Love Marriage, billed as a study of contemporary society, follows a wedding that brings together two families and their cultures.

Marian Keyes’ new book  Again, Rachel is a sequel to Rachel’s Holiday, set twenty-five years after the first book. Also in February, the pleasures of beauty and the senses are celebrated by a writer in Christos Tsiolkas’ 7 ½

March sees the release of one of the books we are very excited by (which incidentally is accompanied by its own tie-in album). The wonderful iconic, immortal of country music Dolly Parton releases her first ever novel called Run, Rose, Run in conjunction with James Patterson, who recently also teamed up with US ex-president Bill Clinton to release a joint novel; the  thriller is reportedly about a young singer-songwriter. On a slightly different vein we have Marlon James’ second book that celebrates African mythology called Moon Witch, Spider King and the purchase of the Holy Grail by an elderly woman is the premise of the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran called Chivalry.

April sees the follow up to the Booker prize winning Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart called Young Mungo, about the dangerous love between two Glaswegian men. Also, in April we have Companion Piece by Ali Smith and a new novel from the Station Eleven author Emily St John Mandel called Sea of Tranquility a tale of parallel worlds, time travel and pandemics.

In May we have a darkly humorous novel of revenge, murder and love set in pandemic Australia from Steve Toltz called Here Goes Nothing.

And finally, for the end of this first instalment for 2022 in June we have the following  Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo, Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh about medieval fiefdom, occult forces, and cannibalism, Sandra Newman’s The Men (about a parallel world where every male person suddenly vanishes) and Fight Night by Canadian writer Miriam Toews, about an eccentric and fierce household of women.

Keep your eyes peeled on our social media for part two coming soon.

The night watchman : a novel / Erdrich, Louise
“It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an ’emancipation’ bill; but it isn’t about freedom – it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie – ‘Patrice’ – Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father. But Patrice needs every penny if she’s ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Brick lane : a novel / Ali, Monica
“Nanzeen, married off to an older man, moves from her Bangladeshi village to live with him in London in the 1980s and 1990s, where she raises a family, learns to love her husband, and comes to a realization that she has a voice in her own life.” ( atalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

Rachel’s holiday / Keyes, Marian
“The fast lane is too slow for twenty-seven-year-old Rachel Walsh, who has a fondness for recreational drugs and good-looking men. And New York City is the perfect place for a young Irish female to overdo…everything! But then the merry-go-round stops short. In quick succession, Rachel loses her job, her best friend, and the boyfriend she adores…and wakes up in a hospital emergency room, having overindulged…” (Adapted from  atalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

 

Damascus / Tsiolkas, Christos
“‘They kill us, they crucify us, they throw us to beasts in the arena, they sew our lips together and watch us starve. They bugger children in front of fathers and violate men before the eyes of their wives. The temple priests flay us openly in the streets and the Judeans stone us. We are hunted everywhere and we are hunted by everyone. We are despised, yet we grow. We are tortured and crucified and yet we flourish. We are hated and still we multiply. Why is that? You must wonder, how is it we survive?’ ” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The president is missing / Clinton, Bill
“The White House is the home of the President of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a U.S. President vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so? An unprecedented collaboration between President Bill Clinton and the world’s bestselling novelist, James Patterson, The President Is Missing is a breathtaking story from the pinnacle of power.” (catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

Black leopard, red wolf / James, Marlon
“Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter – and he always works alone. But when he is engaged to find a child who disappeared three years ago, he must break his own rules, joining a group of eight very different mercenaries working together to find the boy. Following the lost boy’s scent from one ancient city to another, into dense forests and across deep rivers, Tracker starts to wonder: Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying?” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

American gods / Gaiman, Neil
“Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Shuggie Bain / Stuart, Douglas
“Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie’s guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good-but under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away all the family has to live on–on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes’s older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Shuggie is meanwhile struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be.” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook

Summer / Smith, Ali
“In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile, the world’s in meltdown–and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time. This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: Where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common? Summer.” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Station eleven / Mandel, Emily St. John
“One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Quicksand : a novel / Toltz, Steve
“Liam, a policeman and aspiring author, looks for inspiration to his best friend, Aldo, a hapless criminal with a knack for misfortunes who is trying to win back his ex-wife.” (Adapted from catalogue)

 

 

Animal / Taddeo, Lisa
‘”I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That’s a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going?” At thirty-six, Joan knows more than most of the price of pleasure, the quotidian horror of being a woman at the mercy of a man. She knows men, too – their penchant for cruelty, the violence she has absorbed over decades that now threatens to burst from her own hands.” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Death in her hands / Moshfegh, Ottessa
” While on her normal daily walk with her dog, our protagonist comes across a note. Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken. She is new to this area, and she knows very few people. Her brooding about this note quickly grows into a full-blown obsession, and she begins to devote herself to exploring the possibilities of her conjectures about who this woman was and how she met her fate.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The heavens / Newman, Sandra
“A young man, Ben, meets a young woman, Kate — and they begin to fall in love. From their first meeting, Ben knows Kate is unworldly and fanciful, so at first he isn’t that concerned when she tells him about the recurring dream she’s had since childhood. In the dream, she’s transported to the past, where she lives a second life as Emilia, the mistress of a nobleman in Elizabethan England. But for Kate, the dream becomes increasingly real and compelling until it threatens to overwhelm her life.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Women talking / Toews, Miriam
“Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote religious Mennonite colony, over a hundred girls and women were knocked unconscious and raped, by what many thought were ghosts or demons, as a punishment for their sins. As the women tentatively began to share the details of the attacks-waking up sore and bleeding and not understanding why-their stories were chalked up to ‘wild female imagination.’ Women Talking is an imagined response to these real events. Eight women, all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their colony and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in, meet secretly in a hayloft with the intention of making a decision about how to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Painted diaries: The lives of influential artists

Image featuring some art book picks

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. – Pablo Picasso

Did you know that Wellington City Libraries has a large collection of fine arts books? Feast your eyes on artworks that continue to inspire generations, while also learning about the artists behind them. From Renaissance master Michelangelo, to painting icon Frida Kahlo, the below booklist features a treasure trove of art history.

Michelangelo, God’s architect : the story of his final years and greatest masterpiece / Wallace, William E
“The great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo entered his seventies, despaired that his productive years were past. Anguished by the death of friends and discouraged by the loss of commissions to younger artists, he began carving his own tomb. It was at this unlikely moment Michelangelo build St Peter’s Basilica. This skilled engineer, creative genius, faithful to god, was destined to build the most magnificent church. (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Jackson Pollock : blind spots
“Jackson Pollock was one of the most influential American artists of the twentieth century. This fully illustrated publication accompanies the first exhibition in over three decades of a crucial phase of his work, referred to as the Black Pourings. This controversial body of black enamel and oil paintings, which were exceptional in their absolute merging of colour and surface, are accompanied here by drawings that are regarded as his most important as a draughtsman.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Picasso : ceramics
“In 1946, Pablo Picasso visited an exhibition of ceramics in Vallauris in France, known for potteries. It was a watershed moment for Picasso who was always looking for new materials. Through Picasso’s whimsical, elegant handling of shape and line, he produced 4,000 ceramic objects. This book presents more than 150 of Picasso’s most important ceramic works reproduced in beautiful four-colour printing, as well as new texts about the artist’s pieces in this medium. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Young Rembrandt : a biography / Blom, Onno
“Rembrandt’s life has always been an enigma. How did a miller’s son from a provincial Dutch town become the greatest artist in the world? The only remaining evidence of Rembrandt’s life as a young man is his work, Rembrandt’s early paintings tell a fascinating story of artistic evolution against the backdrop of the widening horizons of Leiden’s cultural and commercial life during the Dutch Golden Age. This book portraits fascinating details of young Rembrandt and how he became who he was. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Frida Kahlo : the brush of anguish / Zamora, Martha
“Mexican author Martha Zamora captures the essence of one of Mexico’s most prolific and talented painters in a single comprehensive volume. Seventy-five of Frida Kahlo’s paintings, reproduced here in lavish color, accompany numerous historical photographs and the author’s descriptive text, chronicling the significant episodes in Kahlo’s life. For Kahlo’s many admirers, as well as for those new to her work this authoritative and richly illustrated volume will be both an excellent reference and a compelling look at her passionate and often disturbing art.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Michelangelo, 1475-1564 / Néret, Gilles
“The great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo funnelled his God-fearing passion into the creation of some of the most revered and celebrated works in the history of art. Attempting to reconcile the apparently conflicting forces that inhabited him: earthly passions and fear of God. The edifice devoted to beauty, celestial and infernal alike, that Michelangelo raised to the glory of God has no equivalent.  And they did so even on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Van Gogh / Spires, Hattie
“Vincent van Gogh is without a doubt one of the greatest and most influential artists of all time. Born in 1853, this Dutch Postimpressionist painter was hugely prolific, creating more than 2,000 works including more than 800 oil paintings, most of them within the last two years of his life. This generously illustrated and accessibly written publication is a must-have for anyone wanting to learn more about one of the great masters and his enormously popular art.” (Catalogue)

“I am sometimes bored by people, but never by life”: Our new crime & mystery titles for January

“I am sometimes bored by people, but never by life.”
— Nancy Mitford

Welcome to our first newly acquired Crime and Mystery titles roundup of 2022.
One of the titles we have selected for inclusion in this month’s list is The Mitford Vanishing, the fifth instalment of Jessica Fellowes’ Mitford Murders Mystery series, which skilfully and compellingly weaves fact and fiction into mystery stories revolving round the glamorous and eventful world of the Mitford sisters.

The Mitford family were amongst the most colourful and talked about aristocratic families in Britain of the 20th century; especially their six daughters, due in part to their controversial, stylish and privileged younger days, which were often lived out in the public eye. Times journalist Ben Macintyre once succinctly summarised the sisters up in this way “Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur.”

Three of the sisters became acclaimed writers. Perhaps the best known and most famous of which was Nancy, whose novels include The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate,. Her novels are still regarded as sharply observed and wittily written stories about upper class lives in England and Europe at that point in time, though Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death is also regarded as a classic of its type.

The Mitford Vanishing revolves around the disappearance of the communist Mitford sister Jessica in Spain during the Spanish civil war. Other titles that caught our attention were the Neo Noir Shoot the Moonlight Out by William Boyle and not one but two new crime outings set in the world of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes & the three winter terrors by James Lovegrove and Miss Moriarty, I presume? by Sherry Thomas.

The Mitford vanishing / Fellowes, Jessica
“War with Germany is looming, and a civil war already raging in Spain. Split across political lines, the six Mitford sisters are more divided than ever. Meanwhile their former maid Louisa Cannon is now a private detective, working with her ex-policeman husband Guy Sullivan. Louisa and Guy are surprised when a call comes in from novelist Nancy Mitford requesting that they look into the disappearance of her Communist sister Jessica, nicknamed Decca. It quickly becomes clear that Decca may have made for the war in Spain – and not alone…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bloodless boy / Lloyd, Robert J
“The City of London, New Year’s Day, 1678. Eleven years have passed since the Great Fire ripped through the City. Twenty since the death of Cromwell and the restoration of a king. London is gripped by hysteria, where rumours of Catholic plots and sinister foreign assassins abound. When the body of a young boy drained of his blood is discovered on the snowy bank of the Fleet River, Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society for the Improving of Natural Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are called in to explain such a ghastly finding — and whether it’s part of a plot against the king. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Shoot the moonlight out / Boyle, William
“Southern Brooklyn, July 1996. Punk kids have to make their own fun. Bobby Santovasco and his pal Zeke like to throw rocks at cars getting off the Belt Parkway.  Fast forward five years: June 2001. Charlie French is a low-level gangster-wannabe trying to make a name for himself. When he stumbles onto a bowling alley locker stuffed with a bag full of cash, he brings it to his only pal, Max Berry, for safekeeping while he cleans up the mess surrounding it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Double take : a Madison Kelly mystery / Breck, Elizabeth
” San Diego journalist Barrett Brown has been missing for a week, and her boyfriend hires private investigator Madison Kelly to find her. Barrett reminds Madison of a younger version of herself: smart, ambitious, and a loner. As she investigates, Madison realizes that Barrett’s disappearance is connected to a big story she was chasing. She sets out to walk in Barrett’s footsteps– and as the trail grows colder, things begin to heat up between Madison and Barrett’s boyfriend. But he doesn’t seem to be telling everything he knows.. What dirty secrets lie at the heart of Barrett’s big lead? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lemon / Kwŏn, Yŏ-sŏn
“In the summer of 2002, when Korea is abuzz over hosting the FIFA World Cup, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on is killed in what becomes known as the High School Beauty Murder. Two suspects quickly emerge: rich kid Shin Jeongjun, whose car Hae-on was last seen in, and delivery boy Han Manu, who witnesses Hae-on in the passenger seat of Jeongjun’s car just a few hours before her death. But when Jeongjun’s alibi turns out to be solid, and no evidence can be pinned on Manu, the case goes cold. Seventeen years pass without any resolution Unable to move on with her life, Da-on sets out to find the truth of what happened. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Under color of law / Clark, Aaron Philip
“Black rookie cop Trevor “Finn” Finnegan aspires to become a top-ranking officer in the Los Angeles Police Department and fix a broken department. A fast-track promotion to detective in the coveted Robbery-Homicide Division puts him closer to achieving his goal. Four years later, calls for police accountability rule the headlines. The city is teeming with protests for racial justice. When the body of a murdered Black academy recruit is found in the Angeles National Forest, Finn is tasked to investigate. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The savage kind / Copenhaver, John
“Philippa Watson, a good-natured yet troubled seventeen-year-old, has just moved to Washington, DC. She’s lonely until she meets Judy Peabody. The girls become unlikely friends and fashion themselves as intellectuals, drawing the notice of Christine Martins, their dazzling English teacher. When Philippa returns a novel Miss Martins has lent her, she interrupts a man grappling with her in the shadows of the school. Days later, her teacher returns to school altered: a dark shell of herself. And a classmate is found dead in the Anacostia River–murdered…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dolphin Junction / Herron, Mick
“When a man’s wife leaves him under suspicious circumstances, he sets off in search for her, unprepared for the guilty secrets he’s about to drag back into the light. A man is tempted by a luxury apartment with a top-of-the-range kitchen. But there is a heavy price to pay for this glamorous new life. And a couple with their marriage on the rocks go on a hike through the Derbyshire countryside as another way to avoid their real problems. Mick Herron’s skill for tension, humour, and memorable twists are captured in his short stories, collected here for the first time.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sherlock Holmes & the three winter terrors / Lovegrove, James
“1889. The First Terror. At a boys? prep school in the Kent marshes, a pupil is found drowned in a pond. Could this be the fulfilment of a witch’s curse from over two hundred years earlier? 1890. The Second Terror. A wealthy man dies of a heart attack at his London townhouse. Was he really frightened to death by ghosts? 1894. The Third Terror. A body is discovered in the dark woods near a Surrey country manor, hideously ravaged. Is the culprit a cannibal, as the evidence suggests? These three chilling and strangely linked crimes test Sherlock Holmes?s deductive powers, and his scepticism about the supernatural, to the limit.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Miss Moriarty, I presume? / Thomas, Sherry
“Charlotte Holmes comes face-to-face with her enemy when Moriarty turns to her in his hour of need in the USA Today bestselling series set in Victorian England. A most unexpected client shows up at Charlotte Holmes’s doorstep: Moriarty himself. Moriarty fears that tragedy has befallen his daughter and wants Charlotte to find out the truth. Charlotte and Mrs. Watson travel to a remote community of occult practitioners where Moriarty’s daughter was last seen, a place full of lies and liars. Is it merely to test Charlotte’s skills as an investigator, or has the man of shadows trapped her in a nest of vipers?”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Work life balance: Design your home office in 2022

via GIPHY


Are you planning on working from home in 2022? Many people are thinking of ways to improve their home office workspace. From re-arranging tips to interior design inspiration, these books are filled with advice for navigating the tricky situation of living and working in the same place.


Your Creative Work Space : The Sweet Spot Style Guide to Home Office + Studio Decor / Peacock, Desha
“We are all born with an innate desire to creatively express the essence of who we are. Your physical setting can either hamper or inspire this creative calling. Known for her eclectic style and helping others see the possibility within themselves, their homes, and personal style, Desha Peacock offers you tips on designing a creative work space that will also inspire you to do the work you are meant to do.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Where We Work : Home Offices / Bogaerts, An
“Where We Work highlights the many options that come into play when designing a home office. It brings together a wealth of inspiring visuals and design ideas from home offices around the world, along with practical guidance and the latest trends. The author introduces a variety of designs and styles – from London to Tokyo, from country-style to industrial – that might inspire us to turn our home offices into more than just a place to work.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Your creative work space : the sweet spot style guide to home office + studio decor / Peacock, Desha
“Peacock’s design tips cover how to use your work space to inspire your best work; choose the right color to enhance your mood; create a cozy virtual office no matter where you live; work with a tiny space in a closet or other nook; mix vintage, modern, and thrift store finds so you can create the style you crave, no matter your budget; and gain more clarity so you can focus on what’s most important to your business or creative life. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Homework : design solutions for working from home / Yudina, Anna
“Explore the exciting variety of ways that the workplace can be integrated into the domestic environment without overwhelming it. From stand- alone multifunctional furniture to mobile room dividers and dynamic solutions that pop up to create new work areas, each design addresses the unique needs of the space, and tackles the challenges of the rapidly evolving work and domestic life.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Work rooms : planning your space and working in style / Sweet, Fay
“With increasing numbers of people turning their backs on the traditional office job and choosing to work from home, the creation of a practical, efficient and comfortable home-working environment is essential. This home offices design and construction amateurs’ manuals suits all skill levels.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)