See H. G. Parry and celebrate the launch of ‘A Radical Act of Free Magic’, 22nd July

Catalogue link: Hannah Parry's A Radical Act of Free Magic

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we will be hosting an event with Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid, to celebrate the launch of her latest novel A Radical Act of Free Magic.

Facebook event for Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid

Where? Te Awe Library, 29 Brandon Street

When? Thursday 22nd July at 6pm

Event on Facebook

Hannah's website
Hannah Parry

The internationally acclaimed and hugely popular H. G. Parry is truly a star of the New Zealand speculative fiction scene. Her first novel, The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep, quickly gained her a devoted fan base with its Wellington setting and magical host of characters. She has since followed up with A declaration of the rights of magicians, and we’re looking forward to the forthcoming A radical act of free magic — which advanced reviews have already described as “absolutely superb”.

Hannah holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University and currently lives in a book-infested flat on the Kapiti Coast, which she shares with her sister and an increasing menagerie of small animals. She lists her hobbies as: books, travelling, history, rabbits, tea, windy days, and Oxford commas (hooray!).

Casey Lucas-Quaid
Casey Lucas-Quaid

H.G. Parry will be in conversation with fellow science fiction and fantasy author, Casey Lucas-Quaid, winner of the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story (as well as ice hockey reporter, games writer and NaNoWriMo devotee).

It promises to be an entertaining, enlightening, enthralling, and unmissable event, so put it in your calendar and come along!

Browse Hannah’s books:

The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep / Parry, H. G.
“For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A declaration of the rights of magicians / Parry, H. G.
“A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own. It is the Age of Enlightenment — of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas. But amidst all of the upheaval of the early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A radical act of free magic : a novel / Parry, H. G.
“The Concord has been broken, and a war of magic engulfs the world. In France, the brilliant young battle-mage Napoleon Bonaparte has summoned a kraken from the depths, and under his command, the Army of the Dead have all but conquered Europe.  In Saint Domingue, Fina watches as Toussaint Louverture navigates these opposing forces to liberate the country.But there is another, even darker war being fought beneath the surface: the first vampire war in hundreds of years. The enemy blood magician who orchestrated Robespierre’s downfall  to bring about a return to dark magic to claim all of Europe. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find Casey’s work in…

Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. V2
“Ancient myths go high-tech a decade after the New New Zealand Wars. Safe homes and harbours turn to strangeness within and without.Splintered selves come together again – or not. Twelve authors. Thirteen stories. The best short science fiction and fantasy from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. With works by: Juliet Marillier, Nic Low, Rem Wigmore, Andi C Buchanan, Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Nicole Tan, Melanie Harding-Shaw, Alisha Tyson, James Rowland, Zoë Meager, and Casey Lucas.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

NZ author Lee Murray picks up two Bram Stoker Awards®

A huge congratulations to the fabulous Lee Murray for her double win at the recent Bram Stoker Awards®  — the Oscars for dark writing and the world’s premier literary horror awards!

Catalogue link for Black CranesLee won in the category Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Grotesque: Monster Stories (link goes to Lee’s website, look for our copy on the catalogue soon); and for Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (reserve your copy now) in the category of Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

Lee’s works and exploits in speculative fiction in New Zealand are numerous and wide-ranging. She has previously received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel (Into the sounds) as well as Best Collected Work as one of three editors on Te Korero Ahi Kā collection, but Murray’s work isn’t just limited to the page. She has also helped establish key writing communities in New Zealand and been involved with events such as GeyserCon. In 2020, she was made an Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors’ annual Waitangi Day Honours. Her other works include the Taine McKenna military thrillers, and supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra, co-written with Dan Rabarts, as well as several books for children.

Find out more about Murray’s work on her website:

Visit Lee Murray’s website

Below we’ve included our exclusive video featuring Lee Murray and her The Path of Ra co author Dan Rabarts reading their work in our Home With Ghosts series.

Browse Lee’s work:

Black cranes : Tales of unquiet women.
“Almond-eyed celestial, the filial daughter, the perfect wife. Quiet, submissive, demure. In Black Cranes, Southeast Asian writers of horror both embrace and reject these traditional roles in a unique collection of stories which dissect their experiences of ‘otherness’, be it in the colour of their skin, the angle of their cheekbones, the things they dare to write, or the places they have made for themselves in the world.Black Cranes is a dark and intimate exploration of what it is to be a perpetual outsider.” (Catalogue)


Into the ashes / Murray, Lee
” The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring, ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the sounds / Murray, Lee
“On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?​”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the mist / Murray, Lee
“When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom as he becomes desperate to bring his charges out alive. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning
“Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs. Tales of gatekeepers, cloak wearers, and secrets. Of pigs with AK-47s or ruby-hued eyes, of love-struck moa, and unruly reflections. Stark truths and beautiful possibilities. Te Korero Ahi Kā-to speak of the home fires burning-is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from award-winning and emerging members of SpecFicNZ (New Zealand authors, poets, artists of speculative fiction. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

At the edge
“Step up, as close as you dare… …to a place at the edge of sanity, where cicadas scritch across balmy summer nights, at the edge of town, where the cellphone coverage is decidedly dodgy, at the edge of space, where a Mimbinus argut bounds among snowy rocks, at the edge of the page, where demon princes prance in the shadows, at the edge of despair, where 10 darushas will get you a vodka lime and a ring side seat, at the edge of the universe, where time stops but space goes on… From the brink of civilisation, the fringe of reason, and the border of reality, come 23 stories infused with the bloody-minded spirit of the Antipodes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood of the sun / Rabarts, Dan
“There’s been a gang massacre on Auckland’s Freyberg Wharf. Body parts everywhere. And with the police’s go-to laboratory out of action, it’s up to scientific consult Pandora (Penny) Yee to sort through the mess. It’s a hellish task, made worse by the earthquake swarms, the insufferable heat, and Cerberus’ infernal barking. And what’s got into her brother Matiu? Does it have something to do with the ship’s consignment? Or is Matiu running with the gangs again? Join Penny and Matiu Yee for the family reunion to end all family reunions, as the struggle between light and dark erupts across Auckland’s volcanic skyline.”–Publisher description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Teeth of the wolf / Rabarts, Dan
“Scientific consultant Penny Yee has barely drawn breath before Detective Inspector Tanner assigns her another suspicious death, with Matiu tagging along for the ride. That’s fine as long as he stays outside the crime scene tape, but when one of Matiu’s former cronies turns up dead, Penny wonders if her brother might be more than just an innocent bystander. While she’s figuring that out, the entire universe conspires against her, with a cadaver going AWOL, her DNA sequencer spitting the dummy, and the rent due any day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hounds of the underworld / Rabarts, Dan
“On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving.  Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.” (Catalogue)

A foreign country : New Zealand speculative fiction
“Strange creatures are loose in Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, humanity’s descendants seek to regain what they’ve lost, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters. The visions of New Zealand – and beyond – painted in this collection of short stories are both instantly recognisable, and nothing like the place we know. A FOREIGN COUNTRY brings together the work of established authors and fresh voices to showcase the range of stories produced by New Zealand’s growing community of speculative fiction writers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Regeneration : New Zealand speculative fiction II
“Some things are gone forever; but that is not the end. There are new lives to be lived, new discoveries to be made, changes to be fought for, enjoyed, or feared. Experience worlds where existence continues beyond death and much-wanted babies become something else entirely. Where humanity endures in hostile environments, societies adapt to new challenges and inventions, and strange creatures live secretly among us. Travel from a curiously altered Second World War to other universes at the end of time, taking in diverse visions of New Zealand and worlds beyond along the way. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mātauranga, foraging and the whenua: recent New Zealand non-fiction

Kia ora e te whānau, the arrival of the colder weather makes it a good time to snuggle up with some pukapuka.

This selection of recent releases includes four anthologies which between them cover the experiences and insights of Māori academics, Indigenous relationships with the whenua / land, climate change, and art publishing in Aotearoa. Mīharo! We love collections of writing like these, which you can dip in and out of like a kererū in a birdbath (probably with less splashing though).

Other recent releases are Danny Keenan’s incisive account of the New Zealand wars – the first such book to be written from a Māori perspective, and Linda Waters’ investigation into the details and detective work of art conservation. If you’re already missing summer and long days in the māra / garden, Niva Kay’s guide to organic home gardening might be just what you need. We’re also smitten with Johanna Knox’s classic, The Forager’s Treasury, now in its fully revised second edition.

Climate Aotearoa, Wars without End and The Abundant Garden are also available as eBooks on Overdrive, our most popular source of eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Happy reading!

Ngā kete mātauranga : Māori scholars at the research interface /
ed. Professors Jacinta Ruru and Linda Waimarie Nikora

“In this transformative book, 24 Maori academics share their personal journeys, revealing what being Māori has meant for them in their work. Their perspectives show how mātauranga is positively influencing the Western-dominated disciplines of knowledge in the research sector. It is a shameful fact, says co-editor Jacinta Ruru, that only about 5 percent of academic staff at universities in Aotearoa are Māori.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Cover image from Mighty ApeKia Whakanuia te Whenua : People Place Landscape / ed. Hill, Carolyn
“Confronting the pain of alienation and whenua loss for all Indigenous peoples, Kia Whakanuia te Whenua offers an alternative world view. It also seeks to stimulate interdisciplinary thinking, share and integrate knowledge, and create positive change for all who reside in Aotearoa New Zealand. Fourty-four writers share their perspectives and expertise across a range of disciplines.” (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Wars without end : ngā pakanga whenua o mua, New Zealand’s land wars : a Māori perspective / Keenan, Danny
“From the earliest days of European settlement in New Zealand, Māori have struggled to hold on to their land. When open conflict between Māori and Imperial forces broke out in the 1840s and 1860s, the struggles only intensified. Wars without end is the first book to approach this contentious subject from a Māori point of view, focusing on the Māori resolve to maintain possession.” (Adapted from catalogue, eBook available here).

The Forager’s Treasury : the essential guide to finding and using wild plants in Aotearoa / Knox, Johanna (Revised edition, first published in 2013)
In the urban and rural wildernesses, there is an abundance of food just waiting to be discovered. Johanna Knox (Ngāti Tukorehe / Ngāti Kahu ki Tauranga) makes you look at the plants around you in a different light. She provides advice on finding and harvesting edible plants, as well as recipes for food, medicine, perfume and more. (Adapted from publisher’s description).

The Abundant Garden : a practical guide to growing a regenerative home garden / Kay, Niva
“Niva and Yotam Kay of Pakaraka Permaculture, on the Coromandel Peninsula, share their long experience in organic gardening in this comprehensive book on how to create and maintain a productive and regenerative vegetable garden. This is grounded in the latest scientific research on soil health, ecological and regenerative practices.” (Adapted from catalogue, eBook available here).

Climate Aotearoa / ed. Clark, Helen
“Climate Aotearoa includes contributions from a range of scientists, and outlines the climate situation as it is now and in the years to come. It suggests the changes you can make for maximum impact, what we should be asking of our government and what we should be asking of our business community. In doing so, this is a hopeful book: actions can make a difference.”(Adapted from Overdrive description, eBook available here)

Cover image from FishpondDwelling in the Margins : art publishing in Aotearoa / ed. Kerr, Katie
“On the periphery of Aotearoa New Zealand’s publishing scene, there is a rich and varied cottage industry of small press publishers that are pushing the boundaries of book-making. Dwelling in the Margins introduces the leading figures of independent publishing in their own words. Through a curated collection of stories and essays, thirty practitioners reflect on their craft, speculate on the changing landscape of book-making, and imagine alternative frameworks for the future of publishing.” (Adapted from publisher’s description)

The back of the painting : secrets and stories from art conservation / Waters, Linda
“The seal of the Prince of Yugoslavia, the icon that protected persecuted Russians, Monet’s repurposed canvas: all these stories can be found on the backs of paintings in New Zealand art museums. This book explores the backs of thirty-three paintings held in the collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.” (Adapted from publisher’s description”)

Astonishing journeys and bookish broads: recent biographies of note

Astonishing journeys, a pioneering feminist, bookish broads, an Ockham Award winning book and a funny but thoughtful reflection on turning 50, all feature in these latest biographies.

Nuestra América : my family in the vertigo of translation / Lomnitz-Adler, Claudio
“A riveting exploration of the intersecting lines of Jewish and indigenous Latin American thought and culture, by way of a family memoir. In Our America, eminent anthropologist and historian Claudio Lomnitz traces his grandparents’ exile from Eastern Europe to South America. His grandparents stories intersect with leftist political movements in 1920s Peru, the Holocaust, Colombia’s political unrest and Israel’s beginnings. This immigrant family memoir recounts history with psychological insight and the immediacy of a thriller.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Floating in a most peculiar way / Chude-Sokei, Louis Onuorah
“The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is ‘first son of the first son’ of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Daddy and Big Auntie’s strict religious household in Jamaica, where he lives with other abandoned children. Then his mother, the onetime “Jackie O of Biafra,” sends for him to come live with her in Inglewood, Los Angeles. In this world, anything alien– such as Chude-Sykes’s secret obsession with science fiction and David Bowie– is a danger. His yearning to become a Black American gets deeply, sometimes absurdly, complicated. This is his memoir of the redemptive skill of navigating not just Blackness, but Blacknesses, in his America. — adapted from jacket” (Catalogue)

Kate Edger : the life of a pioneering feminist / Morrow, Diana
“In 1877, Kate Edger became the first woman to graduate from a New Zealand university. Edger went on to become a pioneer of women’s education in New Zealand. She also worked tirelessly to mitigate violence against women and children and to fortify their rights through progressive legislation. She campaigned for women’s suffrage and played a prominent role in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and in Wellington’s Society for the Protection of Women and Children. Diana Morrow tells the story of this remarkable New Zealand woman’s life in a very readable book which provides valuable insights into the role of women social reformers in our history.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Bookish broads : women who wrote themselves into history / Marino, Lauren
“Women have written some of our most extraordinary literary works while living in societies and cultures that tried to silence them. In Bookish Broads, Lauren Marino celebrates fierce, trailblazing female writers, reworking the literary canon that has long failed to recognize the immense contributions of women. Featuring more than 50 brilliant bookish broads, Marino cleverly illuminates the lives of the greats as well as the literary talents history has wrongfully overlooked. Each intimate portrait delves into one woman’s works and is accompanied by vibrant illustrations depicting each literary legend in her element and time.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Of the winner of the General Non Fiction category at the 2021 Ockham Book Awards (Vincent O’Sullivan’s biography of Ralph Hotere), category convenor Dr Sarah Shieff said that as a biographer, O’Sullivan displayed masterly skill:

This is a sensitive, detailed portrait of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important modern artists, shaped around the four pou of Hotere’s identity: his Māoritanga, his faith, his whenua, and his whānau. The judges would like to commend Vincent O’Sullivan for an extraordinary achievement in biography.” (NZ Book Awards Trust)

Ralph Hotere : the dark is light enough : a biographical portrait / O’Sullivan, Vincent
“Ralph Hotere (Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa; 1931-2013) was one of Aotearoa’s most significant modern artists. Hotere invited the poet, novelist and biographer Vincent O’Sullivan to write his life story in 2005. Now, this book – the result of years of research and many conversations with Hotere and his fellow artists, collaborators, friends and family – provides a nuanced, compelling portrait of Hotere: the man, and the artist.” (Publisher information)

Turns out, I’m fine / Lucy, Judith
“Judith Lucy was just Great! Sure, the last remaining member of her immediate family had died, she was menopausal, she suspected her career was in the shitter and it seemed like the world was going to hell in a handbasket – but everything would work out because SHE HAD A MAN. Then, in the space of twenty-four hours, her relationship came apart and so did she. A broken heart became the catalyst for a complete existential melt down. She was nearly fifty, suddenly alone and unsure about every aspect of her life. How had this happened? She tries everything from dating a tree to getting a portrait of her vulva done to swimming with a whale shark. Thanks to a series of revelations and a slight drowning experience, Judith slowly starts to realise that her life is still full of possibilities and despite death, heartache and a dry vagina it turns out … she’s fine.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Staff Picks CDs

Staff Picks are back, with a completely random selection of new & old music that Library Staff have been listening to recently!

Invisible cities = Le città invisibili / Winged Victory for the Sullen
New music from this great ambient duo is a collaboration with the theatre production directed by London Olympics ceremony video designer Leo Warner. It’s based on the Italo Calvino’s classic novel ‘Invisible Cities’ which is a series of conversations between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. For this project the duo, once again, creates the stunning, sophisticated score; the medieval feelings are blended masterly in their well-established ethereal, ambient musical world. Sublime. (Shinji)

The pearl / Budd, Harold
I’ve been loving Harold Budd and Brian Eno’s The Pearl- it’s a piece I always return to when I’m doing creative work. It’s a mysterious and beautiful piece of music, that creates an atmosphere of potential. I first discovered it after listening through all of Brian Eno’s Ambient series, and it was also a very wonderful introduction to Harold Budd’s work. (Alex)

Be for real: the P.I.R. recordings (1972-1975) / Melvin, Harold
Nice collection rounds up all the Philadelphia International Records albums from one of the legendary Philly Soul groups, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Melvin’s group had been around as far back as the 1950’s, scuffling through a variety of labels and members, but it wasn’t until Melvin recruited new drummer Teddy Pendergrass in 1970 that their fortunes took a turn. When Melvin heard Pendergrass singing along during a performance, he realised what a fantastic voice he had and promoted him to lead singer. They soon grew popular on the local club circuit and when Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff saw them performing, they convinced them to sign with their new Philadelphia International label in 1972. What followed was a period of hits that melded Pendergrass’ gruff voice with a string of scorching ballads and socially conscious songs, including the iconic tracks ‘If You Don’t Know Me by Now’ & ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, which would become hits again when covered by Simply Red & The Communards in the late 80s. Nice liner notes cover the bands history with PIR and the legacy of their music. (Mark)

Californian soil. / London Grammar
With only two albums under their belt, the art-pop trio London Grammar became a hugely successful band. However, the lead singer Hannah Reid was frustrated with the male-dominant music industry and it led to the creation of this new music. The new album, which Reid calls ‘a feminist record’, finds them in a more edgy mood; melancholic but dynamic. Showing their mutuality and confidence, they seem to be heading toward a supergroup state. (Shinji)

Traveller. / Stapleton, Chris
This singer/songwriter is in Outlaw country with more of a soulful, bluesy sound. There seems to be an underlying theme of alcohol here – ‘Whiskey and You’, ‘Might as well get Stoned’ and ‘Tennessee Whiskey’. “As smooth as Tennessee Whisky, Sweet as Strawberry Wine, Warm as a glass of Brandy, Honey I stay stoned on you all the time”. Parachute is more up-tempo and passionate. I liked it a lot. (Greg)

Small moments. / Kye, Dan [VINYL ONLY]
‘Small Moments’ by Dan Kye [Ed. Dancefloor moniker of London-based NZ artist Jordan Rakei] is a really cool album! It’s funky, it’s fresh, and upbeat. Bound to get your head bopping. Great for a roadie, or when you need some tunes to blast while you do all your Sunday chores. (Emma)

 

Don’t shy away. / Loma
This project band by indie musicians such as Shearweter’s Jonathan Meiburg, Loma’s first album earned critical acclaim, partly thanks to Brian Eno who complimented their music. Intriguingly Eno Joins in on one track for this sophomore effort which is more expanded and experimental. In the vein of early Portishead or But For Lashes, it features a gloomy yet beautifully crafted ambient soundscape which perfectly goes with Emily Cross’ meditative voice. Marvellous. (Shinji)

Wildflowers & all the rest. / Petty, Tom
Finding Wildflowers (alternate versions). / Petty, Tom
In depth look at Tom Petty’s best solo outing from a prolific, creative & emotional period in his career, a ‘Pre-Divorce’ album, recorded amidst the collapse of his 20 year marriage. Petty always wanted ‘Wildflowers’ to be a double album, but the record company baulked. Some of the extra tracks surfaced in slightly different versions on the She’s The One Soundtrack, but the rest remained unreleased until now, and they’re every bit as good as the original tracks. The nicely constructed set lets you follow the evolution of the songs, from demos through to different takes, completed masters, and live versions. (Mark)

Collapsed in sunbeams. / Parks, Arlo
Growing up in West London and part Nigerian, Chadian and French; singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks shows a lot of potential and promise in this her debut album. It sounds like a soothing neo-soul infused bedroom-pop but the influences by Frank Ocean and her love of Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg seem to give more radicalness and the depth to the sound creation and the lyrics. One to watch. (Shinji)

CD cataloguer Neil’s Recent Picks:
Flock. / Weaver, Jane
All bets are off. / Aphek, Tamar
Invisible cities = Le città invisibili / Winged Victory for the Sullen
Morricone segreto / Morricone, Ennio
As the love continues. / Mogwai
Glowing in the dark. / Django Django
On all fours. / Goat Girl
The future bites. / Wilson, Steven
Oh! Pardon tu dormais… / Birkin, Jane
Super blood wolf moon. / Brix & the Extricated
Introducing… Aaron Frazer. / Frazer, Aaron
Spare ribs. / Sleaford Mods
Lemon law. / Mousey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Steinbeck’s lost Werewolf novel discovered!

“Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
And the moon is full and bright.”
― Curt Siodmak

The discovery of a complete John Steinbeck novel would always be big news, but the fact that it is a werewolf novel from the time before he was famous makes it a ‘Wow’ find. Called Murder at Full Moon, despite the author’s best efforts, it failed to find a publisher when he wrote the book back in 1930.

The story is a pulp detective work set in a Californian coastal town beset by a series of gruesome murders. And is very different in style, tone and content from the works that would eventually win the Nobel prize for Steinbeck. Sadly, as yet, there is no planned publication date for the work.

Werewolves as a concept were widespread in European folklore from medieval times onwards, indeed at the same time as the notorious witch trials there were werewolf hunts. Indeed werewolves as supernatural creatures date from much earlier times and feature in many world cultures; there are a few references to men changing into wolves in ancient Greek literature. There is even reference to a potential lover jilted because she had turned her previous mate into a wolf in The Epic of Gilgamesh (the oldest known work of Western prose circa  2100 BC). They feature in several gothic horror works from the 19th century and, of course, werewolves have taken on a romantic mantle in many recent novels, inspired in part by Stephenie Meyer’s  hugely popular Twilight series of books and films.

Just remember, as they say in the fabulous What We Do in the Shadows, they are “werewolves, not swearwolves.” Below are just a few werewolf related picks from our collections.

The buried book : the loss and rediscovery of the great Epic of Gilgamesh / Damrosch, David
“Composed in Babylonia more than three thousand years ago, The Epic of Gilgamesh is the story of one hero’s travels in search of immortality, of a vengeful goddess, a cunning serpent, and a devastating flood. It was the world’s first great epic, which would later be echoed in The Odyssey, the Bible, and The Thousand and One Nights. But in 612 B.C., the clay tablets that bore the story were lost – buried in the burning ruins of the palace of Ashurbanipal, the last great king of Assyria, as his enemies laid his kingdom to waste.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

What we do in the shadows
“A comedy Horror Mocumentary by Taika Waititi set in Wellington and revolving round a group of flat sharing vampires and their adventures with amongst others Wellington based Werewolves. The film boasts great well timed humour throughout, and went on to spawn not one but two,  television series:-   one a reimaging of the movie itself the other the  Wonderful Wellington Paranormal. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Mongrels / Jones, Stephen Graham
“Set in the deep South, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly, and surprisingly funny novel that follows an unnamed narrator as he comes of age under the care of his aunt and uncle — who are werewolves.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Weird women : classic supernatural fiction by groundbreaking female writers: 1852-1923
“As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-nineteenth century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird westerns. Two acclaimed experts in the genre  Lisa Morton and Leslie S Klinger  compile this  brand-new volume of supernatural stories showcasing  female horror writers from 1852-1923.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood bound / Briggs, Patricia
“Jalopy mechanic and were-creature Mercedes Thompson can change into a coyote whenever she wants to. As a favor, she agrees to back up vampire friend Stefan when he confronts another of his kind. But, being demon-possessed, that vampire proves deadlier than most and before she can do anything to help, Mercedes is in the middle of a war with vampires and werewolves.” (Catalogue)

 

The bloody chamber and other stories / Carter, Angela
“The bloody chamber — The courtship of Mr. Lyon — The tiger’s bride — Puss-in-Boots — The Erl-King — The snow child — The lady of the house of love — The worewolf — The company of wolves — Wolf-Alice.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Shiver / Stiefvater, Maggie
“In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The last werewolf / Duncan, Glen
“Jake Marlowe has been alive too long. For two hundred years he has roamed the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites, tormented by his first and most monstrous crime. But as Jake counts down to suicide, a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him back into the desperate pursuit of life, and the dangerous possibility of love.” (Catalogue)

 

Wolf rain / Singh, Nalini
“Kidnapped as a young girl, her psychic powers harnessed by a madman, Memory lives a caged and isolated existence . . . until she comes face-to-face with a wolf. Labelled an empath by her bad-tempered rescuer, Memory knows that her ‘gift’ is nothing so bright. It is a terrible darkness that means she will always be hunted. But Memory is free now and she intends to live. A certain growly wolf can just deal with it. Alexei prefers to keep his packmates at bay, the bleak history of his family a constant reminder that mating, love, hope is not for him, but soon, he must make a choice: risk everything or lose Memory to a murderous darkness that wants to annihilate her from existence .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twilight / Meyer, Stephenie
“In spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away – until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires – and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.” (Catalogue)
Click here for the availability of the film on DVD.

“Mine is a gruesome job, but for a scientist with a love for the mechanics of the human body, a great one.” – Judy Melinek

“Mine is a gruesome job, but for a scientist with a love for the mechanics of the human body, a great one.”

― Judy Melinek, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

Recently we had the great pleasure of hosting a crime writers’ panel event at our Newtown branch (if you missed it, have no fear – you can watch it below). Amongst our fabulous panel we had husband and wife crime-writing duo T. J. Mitchell and Judy Melinek. So it is fabulous to see in this month’s selection of newly-acquired crime fiction Aftershock, the latest book from the couple which features their forensic sleuth Dr. Jessie Teska.

We have a whole selection of other detective and mystery novels, including the wonderful Paul Cleave, Anna Bailey (a chilling new voice who is gathering rave reviews and definitely an author to check out), and Jane Adam’s historical whodunnit Old Sins, set in the 1920’s and featuring Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone (if you are a fan of the golden age of crime writers this will definitely be of interest).

Below are these and a few other picks from our recently acquired titles.

Aftershock / Melinek, Judy
“There’s a body crushed under a load of pipes on a San Francisco construction site, and medical examiner Dr. Jessie Teska is on call. Her autopsy reveals that the death is a homicide staged as an accident. When an earthquake sends the city reeling, her case falls apart and an innocent man is being framed. Jessie is the only one who can prove it– if she can piece together the truth before it gets buried in the rubble.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The quiet people / Cleave, Paul
“Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime-writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, joking that no-one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living. So when their 7 year old son Zach goes missing, naturally the police and the public wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time – are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Old sins / Adams, Jane
“1929. The discovery of the bodies of two retired policemen, Walter Cole and Hayden Paul, sounds warning bells to DCI Henry Johnstone. Both men were experiencing financial difficulties, and their deaths were staged to look like suicides. Hayden left a note containing two words: old sins. And when Henry attends his sister’s Halloween party, he is approached by a flamenco dancer who leaves a note with the name of another man. Could this be a grim warning?Henry is forced on a painful journey back to an old case he worked on with Cole and Paul.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tall bones / Bailey, Anna
“When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again. Abi’s disappearance cracks open the facade of the small town of Whistling Ridge. Even within Abi’s family, there are questions to be asked.  Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark – the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder ink / Hechtman, Betty
“Veronica Blackstone is a writer for hire. Be it love letters, biographies, resumes or wedding vows, Veronica has you covered. Her latest assignment is writing a celebration of life book for the funeral of one-time client Rachel Ross who tragically died one year after her wedding. While researching Rachel’s life, Veronica finds the information surrounding the circumstances of her death to be shrouded in mystery. No one quite knows what happened and her prominent family are more concerned with their image than the truth. Was her fall an accident, deliberate or something else? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Becoming Inspector Chen / Qiu, Xiaolong
“After a number of grueling cases Chief Inspector Chen is facing mounting pressure from his superiors, many of whom are concerned with where his loyalties lie. What’s more, he is excluded from an investigation into an incendiary poem posted on an online forum. Wracked with self-doubt and facing an anxious wait to discover the fate of his career, Chen is left to reflect on the events that have led to where he is now – from his amateur investigations as a child during the Cultural Revolution, to his very first case on the Shanghai Police Force. Has fighting for the Chinese people and the morals he believes in put him in conflict with the Party? Why is he being kept away from the new case? As well as his career, is his life now also at risk?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On an outgoing tide / Ramsay, Caro
“The body is found in the early hours of the morning, drifting lifelessly on the outgoing tide. Twenty-three-year-old medical student Aasha Ariti had been enjoying a night out to celebrate the end of lockdown. Anthony Poole, the last person to have seen her alive, is the prime suspect. Before detectives Anderson and Costello can make further headway, they are pulled off the case to investigate the murder of a pensioner in his own home. As they dig deeper however, the two detectives uncover a number of secrets in the dead man’s past. Secrets that link to another murder more than forty years before. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood grove / Mosley, Walter
“After being approached by a shell-shocked Vietnam War veteran who claims to have gotten into a fight protecting a white woman from a black man, Easy embarks on an investigation that takes him from mountaintops to the desert, through South Central and into sex clubs and the homes of the fabulously wealthy, facing hippies, the mob, and old friends perhaps more dangerous than anyone else.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New CDs for Te Awe

I’m Mark, the Customer Specialist for Music & Film at Wellington City Libraries. Here is some of the new material we have been buying for the Music collection at our CBD Te Awe library. My colleague Neil & I decided to do some quick reviews of some new titles. Our limit was a few lines only. Do we actually carefully appraise & select the latest new music releases for your listening pleasure? Or do we just buy every third item on the list and hope it works out? Do we actually know anything about new music? Can you encapsulate an entire album in just a couple of lines? Read on to find out…

Californian soil. / London Grammar
Mark: Shades of Beth Orton, Dido, Dot Allison, Jessie Ware. A bit too tasteful maybe, but if you liked their previous albums you’ll enjoy this one.
Neil: Lush strings wash over Massive Attack inspired electro-pop. Sumptuously done and well worth a listen, but perhaps they wear their influences too close to the surface in places.

Scatterbrain / Chills
Mark: Another album of Martin Phillipps’ melodic charm. Reflections on mortality and staying true to yourself.
Neil: The Chills have now existed in one form or another for over 40 years. Their habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is well known and documented in the fabulous documentary The Chills : the triumph & tragedy of Martin Phillipps. And ‘Scatterbrain’ is definitely one of their triumphs. Whilst keeping their core root sound they have expanded it out, and ditto the lyrics which often revolve round the subjects of mysticism and Magic. If you are a long-time fan or a newbie to The Chills, I suspect you won’t be disappointed.

They’re calling me home / Giddens, Rhiannon
Mark: Lockdown album from Giddens and Turrisi, who found themselves stranded in Ireland. Authentic ruminations on homesickness and uncertainty.
Neil: Rhiannon Giddens latest album comprises of Folk songs old and new, with a good few covers thrown it. It glitters with passion and emotion, as her partner the Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, is a perfect musical foil. Giddens puts her operatic training to excellent use (though it isn’t sung in an operatic style) and she is very careful to not let this training swamp, overpower or stylise the pieces. A powerful and beautiful album.

Strum & thrum : the American jangle underground 1983-1987.
Mark: Bands like R.E.M & the dB’s heralded a new strand of jangly guitar-pop in the early 80s, but lots of other followed this early template of chiming guitars with strong regional success. This compilation captures a hitherto undocumented scene in the evolution of popular music that paved the way for many future bands.
Neil: Unsurprisingly this compilation heavily bears the indelible marks of the founding fathers of the genre The Byrds. A few of the bands associated with the movement would go on to do bigger things, notably R.E.M. It’s a fascinating snapshot of the scene at the time and features a whole host of bands, most of whom didn’t stick around for very long and released only a few pieces of music.

Start walkin’ 1965-1976 / Sinatra, Nancy
Mark: Newly remastered collection from her most prolific years. Focuses more on her left field pop than the big hits. Housed in a deluxe 7″ x 7″ hardcover book, with a lavish 64-page booklet. Timeless pop music, with plenty of Lee Hazlewood duets.
Neil: Frank’s daughter was also one of the most recognisable voices and talents of the 60’s and 70’s. This compilation features all of her big hits such as ‘These boots were made for walking’, as well as some of her stranger and more offbeat tracks often done in conjunction with Lee Hazelwood such as ‘Some velvet morning’. A journey back to the late 60’s early 70’s.

Sweep it into space. / Dinosaur Jr
Mark: Another solid album from the original lineup’s reunion. Nothing really new, but their 90s College Rock sound never goes out of style…
Neil: Their distinctive distorted guitars roar to the fore in this classic Dinosaur Jnr album. Anyone with a familiarity of the band’s history will know this is basically a renaissance album from a band whose resurrection looked highly unlikely when the split up in 1995.

Till another time : 1988-1996. / Smith, Linda
Mark: Fascinating collection from an unsung Lo-fi pioneer. The influence of Marine Girls hovers over catchy melodic cassette recordings, paired with some later day tracks that incorporate a cleaner sound.
Neil: One of the most talented, leading lights of the lo fi bedroom pop movement Linda Smith gets a modern digital rerelease. These tracks were all originally recorded at her home on her trusty four track machine and largely, released and distributed by herself. But please don’t let the lo-fi bedroom production put you off, these are great, carefully crafted, jangle pop songs. The output of a highly talented and singular songwriter, and basically an essential listen if you are into lo fi music.

100 years of theremin : the dub chapter. / Gaudi
Mark: If you create a world where it’s totally legitimate to fuse any 2 musical genre’s together, this is what happens. Like the inside of Brian Wilson’s mind during a band acid trip…
Neil: An unlikely collision of the spaced out 50’s Sci-Fi sounds of the Theremin and dub Reggae. Boasting a roster of guest list of Dub producers that could easily rank amongst the finest in the world. Whether this strange mix works is largely down to the listeners musical sensibilities.

Rootz reggae dub. / Perry, Lee
Mark: More dub from Lee Scratch Perry. If you like his template of sunny good times mixed with social/political commentary you won’t be disappointed with his new album. I’m not sure I’m getting paid enough to listen to this much dub though….
Neil: Another impeccable album from one of the greatest and most eccentric artists of the modern music world. Recorded in Jamaica and the U.S.A.

Beware of the dogs. / Donnelly, Stella
Mark: Debut album from Australian songwriter that is getting a lot of critical attention. Sweet voiced, sunny, catchy, indie pop with lovely soaring harmonies, that hide some savagely biting lyrics. Critic Robert Christgau praised it as a “musical encyclopedia of [male] assholes” which pretty much sums up this set of songs, which takes on sexual harassment, rape culture and other toxic norms.
Neil: Stella Donnelly’s debut album sounds at first listen sugary sweet, but once you listen closely to the lyrical content you realise it has teeth. Stella’s precise lyrics focus their vitriol for abusive men, sexual violence, and personal abuses of power. Big topics and issues explored in a very intimate and personally musical way.


Infinite youth. / Merk
Mark: Woozy, hazy lo-fi bedroom pop. Tracks that drift through memories of slacker days and teen dreams. The musical diversity & minimal instrumentation makes the album feel like the soundtrack to a film in a lot of ways.
Neil: Merk aka New Zealander Mark Perkin’s new album ‘Infinite Youth’ almost defies definition. My best shot would be sparse pop with substance? His wistful, innocent, and intimate vocals are coupled with 80’s pop tinged minimalist synths, percussion, and other minimal orchestration.

Loleatta ; Cry to me. / Holloway, Loleatta
Mark: Her great southern soul albums for the Atlanta Aware label in the early 70’s. The 2nd album ‘Cry To Me’ features a slew of top compositions from the pen of revered soul man Sam Dees. Her fantastic voice would find fame greater fame with the Salsoul Records label in the Disco era, as well as being sampled prodigiously in various successful 80s & 90s club hits like ‘Ride on Time’ by Black Box & ‘Good Vibrations’ by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
Neil: Before her transformation into a Disco diva Loleatta Holloway released two gospel inspired southern soul albums, resplendent with swirling strings and songs written by people such as the legendary Curtis Mayfield. This long unavailable album is a reissue worth hearing. Fabulous melodramatic stuff.

The moon and stars : prescriptions for dreamers. / Valerie June
Mark: Americana with tinges of modern Country, R&B & strings that still retains a timeless feel. Her beguiling twangy voice floats over everything, offering up meditations on longing and loss. Stax legend Carla Thomas features on a couple of tracks.
Neil: Multi-talented Memphis based guitarist, singer songwriter and owner of a mesmerising gospel soul voice with just a hint of gravel voice. An adventurous genre spanning album, interspersed with atmospheric tone setting ambient interludes.

The new blue : Pixie Williams reimagined.
Mark: NZ’s first number one pop song vocalist and wāhine Māori artist gets a musical tribute from contemporary NZ artists, most of them Wgtn based. Lovely faithful renditions from locals like Louis Baker, Lisa Tomlins, Kirsten Te Rito, Amba Holly etc.
Neil: Pixie William’s was one of the first ever superstars of the New Zealand music scene. She was a trailblazing pioneer, her song ‘Blue smoke’ a huge international hit in 1951 covered by many artists, including Dean Martin. A compilation of her work was recently rescued from oblivion called For the record : the Pixie Williams collection, 1949-1951 and rereleased in 2011. ‘The New Blue’ is a collection of modern NZ artists paying tribute to her and her art, and covering her best known pieces fabulously well with style and panache, faithfully recreating the feeling and mood of her music as well, as the time it was created. A perfectly executed modern nostalgic time machine of an album.

Ignorance / Weather Station
Mark: The Weather Station is the project of singer/songwriter Tamara Lindeman, who has been compared to Joni Mitchell among others. Her critically acclaimed latest album is a song cycle based around the impact of climate change. All of which sounds very po-faced, but the ‘Climate grief’ is framed alongside relationship heartbreak, and the tracks are all super catchy. Burbling synths and Jazzy Electronica surround her voice, which sounds a bit like 80s Fleetwood Mac, or 90s Sarah McLachlan in places. Destined to be on many Album of the Year lists.
Neil: This collection of heartbroken break up song’s steers well clear of the ever-present danger of falling into Cliché or self-indulgent pity. Instead Tamsara Lindeman skilfully overlays her own personal experiences, with the deep sadness at seeing our natural environment so wantonly destroyed in the name of corporate greed. Her approach makes me think of Talk Talk or some of the more melancholic Joni Mitchell albums.

The queen of Italian pop : classic Ri-Fi recordings 1963-1967. / Mina
Mark: Mina was the dominant chart figure in Italian pop for a run of nearly 15 years, and still continues to release albums with an enshrined place in the Italian music spectrum. A huge voice that can sing anything, and an enigmatic and fascinating personality. A great primer compilation that is only the tip of the iceberg that is her massive discography of music.
Neil: In Italy Mina is one of the biggest pop stars ever. Italy’s answer to Shirley Bassey or Dusty Springfield. She was a staple of Italian television variety shows and was that country’s dominant force in pop music from the 1960’s till the mid 70’s when she stopped giving public performances, though she has continued to record to this day. This a compilation of hits from the early part of her career and an excellent introduction to her work.

Chemtrails over the country club. / Del Rey, Lana
Mark: I’ve never understood why people rate her. Take 1 part Nancy Sinatra, 1 part Hooverphonic, 1 part Mazzy Star, add a dash of Julee Cruise & every James Bond theme. Shake and stir over some minimal piano, circa 2000’s Trip-hop & soaring strings. I’ll admit that her tracks are super catchy and melodic, but there is so much artifice in the lyrics and the ‘characters’ in the songs. Neil, please explain why I should listen to her…
Neil: Lana Del Rey is one of those artists who polarise opinion. ‘Chemtrails over the country club’ is her seventh studio album. It is less slick pop, and in many ways an extension of her last release Norman F******** Rockwell. In it she continues to create her own unique version of modern American of fame and fortune & torch song gothic with, of course, a veneer of 50’s Americana washed over it all. Any objective review of her output shows that, fan or not, she is clearly and undeniably one of Americas most important musical artists at the moment. The album has already been a huge critical and commercial success.

The Kugels at Breaker Bay. / Kugels
Mark: More Klezmer music from the lauded local quintet. Amazing musicianship as the Classical chamber players cut loose for these rollicking pieces.
Neil: This is the second release from the fabulous Wellington based Kugels the five-piece outfit which specialises in Klezmer and features some of New Zealand’ s finest classical musicians in their line-up. For a long time, they have been a bit of a hidden gem in the NZ music scene, but that changed recently when they did a sofa session with Bryan Crump. This latest release really shows how good they are, and includes emotive and atmospheric renditions of both traditional and original Klezmer pieces composed by arts laureate, and renown classical composer, Ross Harris. A highly recommended listen.

Something to feel. / Teeks
Mark: Debut album from the award-winning New Zealand-Māori singer-songwriter, following on from a 2017 EP. With an amazingly distinctive and arresting voice that jumps out and envelopes you immediately, this is a fantastic modern soul album. Funky and propulsive grooves, that flow into soulful meditations on how to forge a path as a man amongst a culture of toxic masculinity. Having just signed with Beyonce’s publicist this seems just the beginning of global success.
Neil: The warm, mellow, and soulful voice of New Zealander Teeks has rightfully gained him legions of fans in this country. He describes ‘Something to feel’ as the album where he opens up and shows his emotional vulnerability and self-awareness, and seeks to free and heal himself from colonised ideas of masculinity, replacing them with te ao Māori ideas, and surrendering to his emotions. As such it is obviously a very personal, introspective, album where he connects with his inner self. There is a lot of love and care put into the resulting album on all fronts, impeccably constructed and produced, and is likely to gain him a global audience.

Shore. / Fleet Foxes
Mark: Their amalgamation of previous SoCal/Folky 60’s/70’s bands was a taste I never really acquired at the time. The vocal harmonising was pleasant, it was all very beautiful sounding, and you couldn’t fault the musicianship. But it all seemed too much of a pastiche at a certain point, and Robin Pecknold’s voice never really grabbed me enough to make me get past that. The new album has a bit more sunny-pop elements to it, but the whole pastoral folk-men with beards-singing ballads about mountains was an entire genre I could never get into, so I’ll leave this one up to Neil to guide your listening.
Neil: ‘Shore’ bears all the hallmarks of the Fleet Foxes previous releases, but it also feels different. The sun kissed Californian folk dream is still there, both the light and dark side, but the music and lyrics feel more nuanced and focussed. The glorious interwoven harmonies are also still there, and just as infused with warm grace. The fact that this album was deliberately released to coincide with the autumnal equinox definitely says something about its creators’ intentions.

Kologo. / Alostmen
Mark: Ghanaian band Alostmen’s music is based around the Frafra traditions of the kologo, a stringed lute, and using traditional instrumentation in entirely new ways. Rhythmic beats weave in and out of plucked instruments, Stax styled horns, and rap interludes. Apparently more than half of Ghana’s population is under 25, and this generation is re-shaping traditional music, melding all sorts of outside influences to create something new and exciting.
Neil: An infectiously, trance rhythmic, get up and move-your-body-and-dance album from the Ghanaian outfit. Overlaid with rap and occasional strings, supplied by the bandleader Stevo Atambire’s. Kologo (his hand made two-stringed lute) is a raw, gritty, and irresistible release.

Optimisme. / Songhoy Blues
Mark: Amazingly propulsive guitar rock from this exiled Northern Mali band, who featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year. Full of politically charged lyrics, incendiary solos, and anthemic tracks. Definitely worth a listen if you’re an old school rocker into Led Zeppelin or Jethro Tull.
Neil: An album that crosses musical and cultural boundaries at will. ‘Optimisme’ is a joyous explosion of an album. Driving percussion, scorching guitar riffs, political, social and personal lyrics, sung in several languages that fit in perfectly with the music, and never sound laboured or preachy. The music is exhilarating and unstoppable, and you cannot but help feel that many huge stadium acts would be jealous and in awe of the energy pouring out of this release.

Best First Book Awards: The Winners!

Congratulations to all the recently announced MitoQ Best First Book Awards winners at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. They show what a vibrant and thriving literary scene we have at the moment–one we should be proud of. Surprisingly all the winners this year were Wellington based. The winners were:

Fiction: Victory Park by Rachel  Kerr

Poetry: I Am A Human Being by Jackson Nieuwland​

General Non-Fiction: Specimen: Personal Essays by Madison Hamill

Illustrated Non-Fiction: Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso


We have recently had the great pleasure of hosting events on and offline for three of the winners!

Jackson Nieuwland

I am a human being / Nieuwland, Jackson
“Poet Jackson Nieuwland’s first published collection is a beautiful, complex and surreal body of work. The poems within are very intimate and display vulnerability, and fragility. Working with the concept that no single word can adequately defines us and the multiplicity of who we are and what we have, the potential to become is explored in a sequence of poems such as I am an egg, I am a tree, I am a beaver, I am a bear, I am a bottomless pit, etc. The works within are delicately accompanied by Steph Maree’s line drawings.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Madison Hamill

Specimen : personal essays / Hamill, Madison
“A father rollerblading to church in his ministerial robes, a university student in a leotard sprinting through fog, a trespass notice from Pak’nSave, a beautiful unborn goat in a jar … In scenarios ranging from the mundane to the surreal, Madison Hamill looks back at her younger selves with a sharp eye. Was she good or evil? Ignorant or enlightened? What parts of herself did she give up in order to forge ahead in school, church, work, and relationships, with a self that made sense to others?” (Catalogue)


Rachel Kerr

Victory Park / Kerr, Rachel
“Kara lives in Victory Park council flats with her young son, just making a living by minding other people’s kids – her nightly smoke on the fire escape the only time she can drop her guard and imagine something better. But the truth is life is threadbare and unpromising until the mysterious Bridget moves in to the flats. The wife of a disgraced Ponzi schemer she brings with her glamour and wild dreams and an unexpected friendship.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Learn to sketch and stitch: new craft books

There are lots of projects to entice in our picks this month – from beautiful blue and white embroidery, to pottery and Star Wars craft ideas that would make wonderful gifts or jealously guarded possessions. Have a browse and enjoy!

Knitting the galaxy : the official Star Wars knitting pattern book / Gray, Tanis
“The ultimate guide to creating stunning projects inspired by Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Rey, and a whole host of droids, ships, and aliens from a galaxy far, far away. It includes patterns for toys, apparel, and home decor inspired by your favorite movie moments, characters (both human and alien), droids, ships, and more.” (Catalogue)

Pottery : 20 mindful makes to reconnect head, heart & hands / Davidson, Lucy
“Learn how to create simple, modern makes — all without the need for a wheel or kiln. Featuring basic techniques and simple clay recipes, Lucy Davidson provides ideas for making and decorating 20 playful pottery pieces with clear step-by-step instructions and life-affirming mindful quotes, accompanied by clean photography and contemporary illustrations. From plant hanger pots to tealight holders, festive decorations to serving dishes — there’s plenty to enhance your home and your wellbeing.” (Catalogue)

Empowered embroidery / Frazer, Amy L
“Learn to sketch and stitch strong, recognizable women from all walks of life. Featuring sketching and illustration instructions, basic stitches, embroidery techniques, and projects with portraits of famous women, this book is a must-have tool for hands-on artists and crafters.” (Catalogue)

Texture / Knight, Erika
“Join fiber artist Erika Knight as she takes you on a personal journey through the urban and natural environments that have inspired her designs.” (Catalogue)

Block by block crochet : quilt-inspired patchwork blocks to mix and match / Morgan, Leonie
“With 49 fabulous blocks to make this all-skill-level book will be adored equally by yarn lovers who are interested in pattern and by quilters who are drawn to yarn. Using patchwork as her inspiration, this is a brand new, specially designed crochet block collection from the wonderfully talented Leonie Morgan.” (Catalogue)

Blue & white embroidery : elegant projects using classic motifs and colors / Yazawa, Kozue
“Simple stitches, elegant and quirky motifs and a classic colour scheme combine to create 30 fun embroidery projects for all skill levels! Calming blues from a day at the beach, the soft white tones of clouds and seashells – we never tire of pairing shades of blue with white. In this book, author Kozue Yazawa draws inspiration from the natural world and her own surroundings, using an array of classic nautical motifs to evoke a sense of elegance and nostalgia.” (Catalogue)


And for something a little different — the history of a needlework masterpiece:

The story of the Bayeux tapestry : unraveling the Norman conquest / Musgrove, David
“Political intrigue and treachery, heroism and brutal violence, victory and defeat – all this is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, an epic account of one of the pivotal episodes in English history embroidered on a strip of linen. […] Many mysteries and questions still surround this unique embroidery and not all is as it might appear at first glance. Who made it, when, why, where and what for? David Musgrove and Michael Lewis skilfully lead us through the full story of the Tapestry.” (Catalogue)

“Pure psychic automatism” – Surrealist masterpieces coming soon to Te Papa

Coming to Te Papa on the 12th of June there will be the ultra-rare chance to see 180 surrealist masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

The Te Papa Surrealist exhibition runs until 31 October in Te Papa’s gallery, Toi Art. Te Papa is the only venue in the Asia Pacific region to host the exhibition, and as a city we’re incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to view these artworks — which include sculpture, furniture, paintings, graphic design, prints, and photography.

Surrealist Art at Te Papa Exhibition

This exhibition features major works by all key surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Leonora Carrington, and Man Ray.

Salvador Dalí, Couple with their heads in the clouds, oil on panel, 1936. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Purchase with the support of: the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Foundation, the Rembrandt Association, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Erasmusstichting and Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht. Photo: Studio Tromp. © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/VEGAP. Copyright Agency, 2020.

About Surrealism

Pure psychic automatism, is how co-founder of André Robert Breton French writer and poet and author of the First Manifesto of Surrealism (Manifeste du Surréalisme) defined Surrealism:

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

Surrealism was birthed from the fiery remnants of the Dada movement, which was a direct reaction to the propaganda and mechanised slaughter of the First World War. Dada was a mirror to the insanity of the world at the time: the Dadaists saw society’s embrace of progress and rationalism as the problem, and so the movement was anti-idealistic, anti-rational and anti-aesthetic.

Both Surrealism and Dada shared a lot in common — they both incorporated a condemnation of Western logic and reason. However, whilst the Dadaists were unfocused and often nonsensical with a deep suspicion of meaning, the Surrealists were linked to the works of Freud and Jung and were often attempting to tap into the unconscious subliminal world; trying to create images that represented the dream world’s mysteries and secrets and finding powerful motivation for looking for meaning in those subconscious worlds. Both movements served as core precursors to today’s art world, and many modern art movements such as performance art and post modernism originated in these movements.

To get you fully informed before you go along to the exhibition, Wellington City Libraries has an extensive collection of Surrealist books. We’ve highlighted a few below, but you can also browse them on our catalogue:

Surrealism on our Catalogue


Salvador Dali : 1904-1989 / Descharnes, Robert
“Picasso called Dali “”an outboard motor that’s always running.”” Dali thought himself a genius with a right to indulge in whatever lunacy popped into his head. Painter, sculptor, writer, and filmmaker, Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was one of the century’s greatest exhibitionists and eccentrics. He was one of the first to apply the insights of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis to the art of painting, approaching the subconscious with extraordinary sensitivity and imagination. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

René Magritte, 1898-1967 / Meuris, Jacques
“The works of Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967) and the ideas that underlie them are a special case both in the history of modern art and in surrealist painting. In the search for the “”mystery”” in which things and organisms are enveloped, Magritte created pictures which, taking everyday reality as their starting point, were to follow a different logic from that to which we are accustomed. Magritte depicts the world of reality in such unsecretive superficiality that the beholder of his pictures is forced to reflect that the mystery of it is not evoked by some sentimental transfiguration, but rather by the logic of his thoughts and associations. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Duchamp book / Parkinson, Gavin
“Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was, without doubt, one of the most influential and controversial artists of the twentieth century. No other figure has attracted such a wealth of often contradictory interpretation and commentary. Associated with Cubism, Dada and Surrealism and widely seen as a forerunner of conceptual art, he avoided being too closely allied with any one movement. Credited with the invention of the ‘readymade’ and a champion of what he termed ‘non-retinal art,’ he was responsible for some of the most iconic works of his era.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Leonora Carrington : surrealism, alchemy and art / Aberth, Susan
“This, the first book on Leonora Carrington (b. 1917), provides a fascinating overview of this intriguing artist’s life and rich body of work. Carrington’s preoccupation with alchemy and the occult, and the influence of indigenous Mexican culture and beliefs on her production are all explored.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Man Ray : photography and its double
“Man Ray delighted the avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s with daring, creative experimentation. He was the first Surrealist photographer, a gifted rebel with an incisive eye and a passion for freedom and pleasure.This outstanding monograph sheds new light on Man Ray’s photographic genius — incredibly, around one third of these images have never before been published. Visually spectacular and intellectually stimulating it shatters the myth — cultivated by Man Ray himself — that his photographic creativity resulted from timely mistakes and chance occurrences.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The age of light / Scharer, Whitney
“A novel inspired by the life of the Vogue model-turned-renowned photographer finds Lee Miller relocating to 1929 Paris, where she becomes the muse and colleague of the mercurial surrealist, Man Ray.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hearing trumpet / Carrington, Leonora
“The Hearing Trumpet is the story of 92-year-old Marian Leatherby, who is given the gift of a hearing trumpet only to discover that what her family is saying is that she is to be committed to an institution. But this is an institution where the buildings are shaped like birthday cakes and igloos, where the Winking Abbess and the Queen Bee reign, and where the gateway to the underworld is open. It is also the scene of a mysterious murder. Occult twin to Alice in Wonderland, The Hearing Trumpet is a classic of fantastic literature that has been translated and celebrated throughout the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Exploring True Crime

Do you love to read true crime? Kath, one of our lovely librarians, has put together this round-up of her true crime picks. Have a read and let us know your favourites in the comments!

It’s no secret that the true crime genre has exploded over the past few years, particularly thanks to a number of podcasts that have not only taken deep dives into significant crime stories, but have even managed to solve a few incredibly intense ones.  Now more than ever, there are many new true crime books to delve into if you’re a fan of the genre.

That said, the genre has been around as long as crime and books have existed, so there are plenty of good books to work your way back through if you’ve caught up with all the recent best sellers.

I’ve selected some that I’ve enjoyed over the years, many of them from my country of origin, Australia.

Murder in Mississippi / Safran, John

This is one of the best true crime books I have ever read.   John Safran, an Australian satirist and documentary maker, played a prank on a white supremacist in Mississippi as part of his TV series John Safran vs God. The footage was canned for legal reasons and he thought that was the last he’d have to do with Richard Barrett.  It came as a shock then to find out a while later that Barrett had been stabbed to death by a black man, one that he owed money to and had allegedly propositioned.  Not content with just researching the story of Barrett’s murder, Safran headed to Mississippi to interview all involved, including the killer… and managed to get himself tangled even further into the story while he was there.  What follows is a riveting exploration into what happened, why it happened and why on earth Safran found himself in the situation he had got into.  An absolute page turner!

A scandal in Bohemia / Haigh, Gideon

In the 1920s Mollie Dean was a young, independent woman, a poet and aspiring novelist who was the lover and muse of acclaimed artist Colin Colahan.  And then one night in 1930 she was brutally murdered by an unknown killer.  When police investigated, they found a tangle of bohemian lifestyles, abusive family and sexual freedom that was to shake Melbourne to the core and inspire music, literature and theatre long into the future.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil / Berendt, John (Audiobook)

A delicious, steamy melange of high society, rednecks, con artists, voodoo, antiques and a stunning black drag queen who metaphorically slays all in her path.  This New York Times bestseller was made into a film starring John Cusack and the Lady Chablis, the actual drag queen featured in the book.  This book reads like fiction, but it’s all true, and like the aforementioned Safran book, the author John Berendt manages to get himself embroiled in the story.  Another riveting story.

His bloody project : documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae, a historical thriller / Burnet, Graeme Macrae

His Bloody Project is technically fiction, but it has been created from extensive research into a true crime case and the community around it.  A fantastic historical thriller explores a triple murder in a small Scottish farming community around the time of the highland clearances.  There is no question that 17 year old Roderick Macrae committed these brutal murders, but what led him to do so? What secrets were being kept by the villagers of Culdie?  Graeme Macrae Burnet has used the historical documents of the time to piece together the story and speculate on the reasons behind this dramatic occurrence in a tiny village community.

Tamam Shud : the Somerton man mystery / Greenwood, Kerry

Written by Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman novels, this is the story of the most mysterious unsolved murder in Australian history.  In 1948 a body was found on a beach in Adelaide, and even now, it is not known who he was.  But around him, were so many bizarre details.  A tiny scrap of paper with the words “Tamum Shud” sewn into the lining of his suit.  A code written in a book of Persian poetry… the same book that the piece of paper in his suit had been torn from.  All the labels had been cut from his clothing.  Kerry Greenwood delves into this story to try to solve it after all these years, and leaves us with almost as many questions as we have answers!

The tall man / Hooper, Chloe

Chloe Hooper takes a close look at the case of Cameron Doomadgee, the Palm Island man who was found dead in a watch house cell after swearing at a white police officer, Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurly, and the long and difficult efforts to bring him to trial.  Indigenous deaths in custody have long been a contentious issue in Australia and the Palm Island case was a flashpoint in Indigenous rights.  This would have been a very complex case to research and even more difficult to write as sensitively as Chloe Hooper has. A totally engrossing read that literally made me hold my breath in parts.

In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences / Capote, Truman

Let’s face it, In Cold Blood is the OG of the true crime genre as we know it today.  Truman Capote took crime reporting and turned it into literature.  Investigating the 1959 murder of the Clutter family and the men who carried out that murder, Capote himself got embroiled in the community of Holcomb, Kansas and the lives of the two murderers, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.  There is an intimacy to the way that Capote writes about those involved in this case that set the tone for crime writing well into the future.  As well as a captivating tale, it’s a fantastic way to look at the way the true crime genre was born.

For more great true crime reads, click here.

Landscapes and places that inspired great art: new art books in May

Need some visual inspiration? The topics of this month’s new art books include: 25 famous and forgotten artistic destinations around the world, contextualised by art historian Susie Hodge, the history of graffiti and street art movements internationally, a guide to block printing, and more. Have a browse and enjoy!

Artistic places / Hodge, Susie
“Explore the landscapes and places that inspired great art: find peace in Monet’s lily-filled garden oasis, climb Mount Fuji on a printmaker’s pilgrimage, sail with Gauguin to the South Pacific to stretch your imagination, or contemplate light and the changing seasons on Chelsea Embankment. Artistic Places is a stunningly illustrated, visionary guide for seekers of beauty, rare tales and cultural riches. Find yourself instantly transported to the places where great artists have sought refuge, found their inspiration and changed the course of art history forever.” (Catalogue)

Art in the streets
“The most comprehensive book to survey the colorful history of graffiti and street art movements internationally. Forty years ago, graffiti in New York evolved from elementary mark-making into an important art form. By the end of the 1980s, it had been documented in books and films that were seen around the world, sparking an international graffiti movement. This original edition, now back in print after several years, considers the rise of New York graffiti and the international scenes it inspired–from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo to Paris to Tokyo.” (Catalogue)

Art sleeves : album covers by artists / Burkeman, DB
“Art Sleeves is a time capsule of visual art and music culture as shown through the most important record covers designed by visual artists and graphic designers in the past forty years. This tightly curated collection of covers chosen includes works with significant cultural impact as well as collaborations that themselves created cultural fascination. The eclectic roster of visual artist-musician collaborations presented spans art and musical genres as well as generations, including Ryan McGinley for Sigur Rós, Kara Walker for Arto Lindsay, Peter Saville for Joy Division, Barbara Kruger for Growing Up Skipper, Jeff Koons for Lady Gaga, Tauba Auerbach for Glasser, and Stanley Donwood for Radiohead, to name a few. From postmodernist paintings and minimalism to collage and photography, as well as New Wave, emo, pop, and punk, the albums chosen present a bright and rich visual and cultural history.” (Catalogue)

House of print : a modern block printer’s take on design, colour and pattern / Mahon, Molly
“The ancient art of block printing has stood the test of time. From the first bolt of inspiration, to the thrilling reveal of the pattern, printmaker Molly Mahon shows you how to develop your own style and turn unique designs into beautiful pieces for the home.” (Catalogue)

Pottery : 20 mindful makes to reconnect head, heart & hands / Davidson, Lucy
“Learn how to create simple, modern makes — all without the need for a wheel or kiln. Featuring basic techniques and simple clay recipes, Lucy Davidson provides ideas for making and decorating 20 playful pottery pieces with clear step-by-step instructions and life-affirming mindful quotes, accompanied by clean photography and contemporary illustrations. From plant hanger pots to tealight holders, festive decorations to serving dishes — there’s plenty to enhance your home and your wellbeing.” (Catalogue)

Ken Done : art, design, life / Bell, Amber Creswell
“At once ad man and artist, designer and entrepreneur, Ken Done has achieved what few others have. His signature style has graced ad campaigns and art cars, magazine covers and doona covers, public spaces and landmark cultural events, but it is his unabating passion for painting that sustains him. For more than forty years, Done has chronicled the Australian way, documenting how it feels to be Australian with an exuberance that is immediately recognisable. Ken Done: Art Design Life documents Done’s expansive art and design practice over four decades and provides a fascinating insight into the artist and his oeuvre.” (Catalogue)

World War II, and NZ literature: New biographies in May

In this month’s new biographies, read about: a World War II codebreaker at Bletchley Park, a celebrated New Zealand plastic surgeon of the same era, and a renowned literary publisher who fled the Nazis and his storied family history.

Also included this month are a biography of Robin Hyde, as well as Gabriel Byrne’s autobiography, and essayist Fiona Murphy’s memoir which explores her experience of being deaf. Have a browse!

Mavis Batey : Bletchley codebreaker, writer, garden historian, conservationist / Stone, Jean
“When World War II was declared, Mavis Batey, previously studying German Romanticism, abandoned her studies to do her duty for her country. At Bletchley Park, Britain’s best kept secret, she became one of the first women codebreakers, a pioneer and a star, breaking codes vital to bringing peace. Mavis Batey, a unique biography, delves into the life of one of Britain’s best female codebreakers.” (Catalogue)

The shape of sound : a memoir / Murphy, Fiona
“Fiona Murphy is an award winning poet and essayist whose new memoir The Shape of Sound explores her experience of being deaf. She was in her first year of school when a hearing test confirmed she was profoundly deaf in her left ear. She has limited hearing in her other ear and has recently learned she will eventually lose her hearing completely.” (Summary drawn from Radio NZ’s article and interview with Fiona Murphy about The Shape of Sound)

Walking with ghosts : a memoir / Byrne, Gabriel
“In vivid, melodic prose, Gabriel revisits his childhood in Ireland, a world that has long since been renovated by time, and juxtaposes these memories with scenes from later years, in which he develops and occupies that strange identity of movie star. Impressionistic and sensual, Byrne’s visions of home, of boyhood and adolescence, are gracefully interspersed with jump-cuts to pointedly unglamorous scenes from his life as he becomes an actor, as he becomes celebrated, as he becomes forever recognizable. Byrne is interested in exploring the pathos in what it means to be famous, in what it means to be praised when everything you’ve learned tells you that are not worthy of praise.” (Publisher description) Also available as an eBook

Shining land : looking for Robin Hyde / Morris, Paula
“Looking for Robin Hyde brings together award-winning novelist Paula Morris and distinguished photographer Haru Sameshima. It is the second in the korero series of picture books edited by Lloyd Jones, written and made for grown-ups, and designed to showcase leading New Zealand writers and artists working together in a collaborative and dynamic way. In Shining Land Morris and Sameshima focus on the New Zealand journalist, poet, fiction writer and war correspondent Robin Hyde, exploring three locations important to her difficult life and ground-breaking work. This beautifully considered small book richly rewards the reader and stretches the notion of what the book can do.”–Publishers’ website.” (Catalogue)

Perfection : the life and times of Sir William Manchester / Brown, Earle
“Hailing from small beginnings in rural Waimate, Sir William Manchester became a battalion medical officer with the New Zealand Army in the United Kingdom during World War II. Selected in 1941 to train as a plastic surgeon, serendipitously under the supervision of the great pioneers Gillies, McIndoe, Mowlem and Barron – all New Zealanders – he excelled in this evolving surgical craft…This biography is based on the extensive archives left by Sir William, the authors’ research into his achievements and their personal knowledge of him, working with his as a trainee and colleague.” (Catalogue) Listen to an interview on Radio NZ with the authors

Endpapers : a family story of books, war, escape, and home / Wolff, Alexander
Endpapers excavates the extraordinary histories of the author’s grandfather and father: the renowned publisher Kurt Wolff, and his son Niko, who fought in the Wehrmacht during World War II before coming to America. Kurt Wolff was born in Bonn into a highly cultured German-Jewish family. Always bookish, Kurt became a publisher at twenty-three, setting up his own firm and publishing Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Karl Kraus, and many other authors whose books would soon be burned by the Nazis. Fleeing Germany in 1933, a day after the Reichstag fire, Kurt and his second wife, Helen, sought refuge in France, Italy, and ultimately New York, where in a small Greenwich Village apartment they founded Pantheon Books. Pantheon would soon take its own place in literary history with the publication of Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago, and as the conduit that brought major European works to the States. But Kurt’s taciturn son Niko, offspring of his first marriage to Elisabeth Merck, was left behind in Germany, where despite his Jewish heritage he served the Nazis on two fronts. As Alexander Wolff visits dusty archives and meets distant relatives, he discovers secrets that never made it to the land of fresh starts, including the connection between Hitler and the family pharmaceutical firm E. Merck, and the story of a half-brother Niko never knew. ” (Catalogue)

Please, sir, I want some more? New fiction additions in May

Please, sir, I want some more

Charles Dickens from Oliver Twist

Below you’ll find some of our picks of the newly added fiction titles, including a timely modern-day reimagining by Keisha Bush of Charles Dickens’ Oliver TwistNo heaven for Good Boys, set in Senegal. Drawn from real life events, the novel, like its inspiration, explores the links between extreme poverty, cruelty and exploitation and the power of small, tender acts of kindness. It’s all very unsurprisingly Dickensian and sadly shows that whilst time moves on, in many ways human cruelty will always be there — a poignant and moving work.

Other highlights this month include The Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc‘s debut novel — The best things — about a family who lose everything financially only in turn to find themselves. The book is  loosely based on Mel’s own personal experiences. Also this month on our list is bestselling author Mike Gayle’s latest outing — All the lonely people — which looks set to be another very popular book from  the author of Turning forty.

Brother sister mother explorer : a novel / Figueroa, Jamie
“In the tourist town of Ciudad de Tres Hermanas, in the aftermath of their mother’s passing, two siblings spend a final weekend together in their childhood home. Seeing her brother, Rafa, careening toward a place of no return, Rufina devises a bet: if they can make enough money performing for privileged tourists in the plaza over the course of the weekend to afford a plane ticket out, Rafa must commit to living. If not, Rufina will make her peace with Rafa’s own plan for the future, however terrifying it may be. As the siblings reckon with generational and ancestral trauma, set against the indignities of present-day prejudice, other strange hauntings begin to stalk these pages: their mother’s ghost kicks her heels against the walls; Rufina’s vanished child creeps into her arms at night; and above all this, watching over the siblings, a genderless, flea-bitten angel remains hell-bent on saving what can be saved.” (Catalogue)

The best things / Giedroyc, Mel
“Sally Parker is struggling to find the hero inside herself. All she wants to do is lie down. Her husband Frank has lost his business, their home and their savings, in one fell swoop. Their bank cards are being declined. The children have gone feral. And now the bailiffs are at the door. What does an ordinary woman do when the bottom falls out? Sally Parker is about to surprise everybody, most of all herself.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

All the lonely people / Gayle, Mike
“In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert Bird is lying. The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanishing half / Bennett, Brit
“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No heaven for good boys : a novel / Bush, Keisha
“Six-year-old Ibrahimah loves snatching pastries from his mother’s kitchen, harvesting string beans with his father, and searching for sea glass with his sisters. But when he is approached in his rural village one day by Marabout Ahmed, a seemingly kind stranger and highly regarded teacher, the tides of his life turn forever. Ibrahimah is sent to the capital city of Dakar to join his cousin Tienne in studying the Koran under Marabout Ahmed for a year, but instead of the days of learning that Ibrahimah’s parents imagine, the young boys, called Talib, are forced to beg in the streets in order to line their teacher’s pockets. To make it back home, Tienne and Ibrahimah must help each other survive both the dangers posed by their Marabout, and the darker sides of Dakar: threats of black-market organ traders, rival packs of Talib, and mounting student protest on the streets. Drawn from real incidents and transporting readers between rural and urban Senegal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Continue reading “Please, sir, I want some more? New fiction additions in May”

New DVDs for Te Awe

Here are some new DVDs added to the catalogue over April that are available at our CBD Te Awe Branch, and selected other locations. Also included are some of our On Order titles to give you a taste of what’s about to be released. Note: All ‘On Order’ titles are able to be reserved via the online catalogue.

New Material:
Archenemy.
Misbehaviour
Happiest season
The deceived.

On Order:
Secret Impressionists.
Days Of The Bagnold Summer.
Agatha And The Curse Of Ishtar.
Bloodlands.
The Little Things.
The Pembrokeshire Murders (TV Mini-series)
A Friendly Tale.
Blackbird.
Life (TV Mini-Series).
Minari.
Don’t Look Back.
The Sinners.












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New science fiction and fantasy titles

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

This month’s science fiction and fantasy showcase features five-time Nebula award-winner Greg Bear‘s latest epic historical fantasy novel, The unfinished land, which evokes the seafaring spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work. Also included this month is The burning god — the fantastic finale to R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed Poppy war trilogy, partly inspired by 20th century Chinese history. On a much stranger and weirder note, Nino Cipri’s Finna sees carnivorous furniture running amok and elderly customers slipping through portals in a box furniture store to find themselves ending up in other dimensions. And if Finna is your cup of tea, you should also try Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör. Have a browse of these and other exciting new titles below!

The unfinished land / Bear, Greg
“Reynard, a young apprentice, seeks release from drudgery in the English village of Southwold. His rare days off lead him to strange encounters — not just with press gangs hoping to fill English ships to fight the coming Spanish Armada, but strangers who seem to know him — one of whom casts a white shadow. And after a fierce battle at sea, Reynard finds himself the sole survivor. For days he drifts, until he is rescued by a galleon, also lost– both are propelled by a strange current to the unknown northern island of Thule. Here Reynard must meet his destiny in a violent clash between humans and gods.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The burning god / Kuang, R. F.
“After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much – the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges – and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Finna / Cipri, Nino
“When an elderly customer at a Swedish big box furniture store — but not that one — slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but those two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago. To find the missing granny, Ava and Jules will brave carnivorous furniture, swarms of identical furniture spokespeople, and the deep resentment simmering between them. Can friendship blossom from the ashes of their relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Horrorstor, Grady Hendrix (ebook)
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The mask of mirrors / Carrick, M. A.
“Renata Virdaux is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.But as she’s drawn into the aristocratic world of House Traementis, she realises her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupted magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bone maker : a novel / Durst, Sarah Beth
“Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor — a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband.  Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all. Five warriors — one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Remote control / Okorafor, Nnedi
“The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa—-a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The swimmers / Womack, Marian
“After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl’s stepfather promises her to a starborn called Arlo, and the world Pearl thought she knew will never be the same again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Upright women wanted / Gailey, Sarah
“Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her — a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Women of influence: recent beliefs arrivals

One of the strengths of the modern era is the celebration of diverse voices. These voices have always been present, but may have been lost in the crowd, or over-looked for a variety of reasons. This list contains several additions to our collection which begin to explore these different perspectives – from the first biography of the woman who raised Buddha, to the Muslim Princess who became a British spy during World War Two.

Te Hāhi Mihinare = the Māori Anglican Church, by Hirini Kaa.
Anglicanism arrived in New Zealand with the first English missionaries in 1814 but was spread widely by Māori evangelists. They profoundly influenced some key iwi, who adapted and made it their own. The ways in which Mihinare (Māori Anglicans) engaged with the settler Church in New Zealand and created their own unique church is an important narrative in NZ church history. This ground-breaking addition explores the birth, development and challenges in the ongoing life of Te Hāhi Mihinare.

The woman who raised the Buddha : the extraordinary life of Mahāprajāpatī, by Wendy Garling
“In this first full biography of Mahaprajapati, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha presents her life story, with attention to her early years as sister, queen, matriarch, and mother, as well as her later years as a nun. Drawing from story fragments and canonical records, Wendy Garling reveals just how exceptional Mahaprajapati’s role was as leader of the first generation of Buddhist women, helping the Buddha establish an equal community of lay and monastic women and men.” (Catalogue)

Warriors, witches, women : mythology’s fiercest females, by Kate Hodges.
Explore 50 of mythology’s fiercest females in this modern retelling of great legends – from feminist fairies to bloodsucking temptresses, half-human harpies and protective Vodou goddesses. Meet Circe, The righteous Furies, fun-loving Ame-no-Uzume, the fateful Morai sisters. Fire your imagination and be empowered by this great anthology of notorious, demonised and overlooked women.(drawn from the Catalogue)

Women of the Vatican : female power in a male world, by Lynda Telford.
Telford explores the lives of women who have had personal and unofficial influence at the Vatican over the centuries. The women discussed in this book include mistresses as well leaders such as Catherine de Medici, Empresses Maria Teresa of Austria and Catherine of Russia. This makes some controversial claims, but it explores the Catholic Church’s sometimes overlooked different power bases.

Affirming : a memoir of faith, sexuality, and staying in the church, by Sally Gary.
“In this deeply personal memoir, Sally traces the experiences, conversations, and scriptural reading that culminated in her seeing her sexuality as something that made sense within the context of her faith–not outside of it or in opposition to it. … Sally’s story–one of heritage, learning, courage, and love–is written especially for the generations of LGBTQ Christians after her who are questioning whether they can stay part of the church they call home.” (Catalogue)

Amazing Muslims who changed the world, by Burhana.
Meet just some of the amazing Muslim men and women who have changed our world – from pirate queens, nurses, warriors, scientists, actors, and mathematicians, to courageous ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things. Who was the first scientist to prove theories about how light travels, hundreds of years before Isaac Newton? Who was the Indian Princess who became a British spy during WWII? (drawn from the Catalogue)

Faith after doubt : why your beliefs stopped working and what to do about it, by Brian D. McLaren.
McLaren, a former pastor and now an author, speaker, and activist shows how old assumptions are being challenged in nearly every area of human life, not just theology and spirituality. He proposes a four-stage model of faith development – Simplicity, Complexity, Perplexity, and Harmony – and offers a path forward that can help sincere and thoughtful people leave behind unnecessary baggage and intensify their commitment to what matters most.” (drawn from the Catalogue)

The book of queer prophets : 24 writers on sexuality and religion
As the title suggests, this is a thoughtful exploration of faith in the modern era: How does it feel to be excluded from a religious community because of your sexuality? Why do some people still believe being LGBT is a sin? Jeanette Winterson tackles religious dogma, Amrou Al-Kadhi writes about trying to make it as a Muslim drag queen in London, John Bell writes about his decision to come out later in life, and Kate Bottley explains her journey to becoming an LGBT ally.

Hope in times of fear : the resurrection and the meaning of Easter, by Timothy Keller
The different Resurrection accounts of Jesus in the Gospels agree that Jesus’ female followers were the first to visit the empty tomb. Yet none of his most loyal and steadfast followers recognised him at first. Nothing had prepared even his disciples for that moment when they met the resurrected Jesus. All physically saw him and yet did not truly see him. It was only when Jesus invited them to see who he truly was that their eyes were open. Read about the meaning of Easter as the central message of the Christian faith.

Dyslexia-friendly books for young people

Wellington City Libraries actively collects dyslexia-friendly books for young people. Many of our branches maintain special displays to make them as easy as possible to find.

We asked our Children & Youth Services Coordinator, Stephen Clothier, for information on this collection — read on for dyslexia-friendly book information from Stephen…

Stephen Clothier There is a rapidly-growing publishing scene internationally for books published in formats friendlier to young people with dyslexia, with publishers like Barrington Stoke and DB Australia publishing exclusively in this area.

What is a dyslexia-friendly book? Dyslexia-friendly books typically have some or all of the following features:

  • Non-white paper
  • Sans-serif font (some books use specially-designed dyslexia-friendly fonts that work by reducing the symmetry between commonly mistaken letter pairs: b/d, p/q, n/u)
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • Variable line lengths
  • Uncluttered page design for maximum clarity

Many of our branches maintain special displays of dyslexia-friendly books to make them as easy as possible to find, but you can also find them for yourself on our catalogue.

Try the following searches — and remember that you can reserve these books to be collected at the library branch of your choice:

For Kids:

For Teens:

Some recent titles

Here is a selection of great dyslexia-friendly titles recently added to our collection:

A bad day for Jayden / Bradman, Tony
“Mum won’t get out of bed. His best friend has dumped him. And school work is just too difficult. Jayden wants to do the right thing – but how can he when it feels like the world is conspiring against him? Everything is going wrong, and when a supply teacher turns up to take his class, Jayden’s sure things will keep on getting worse. But Mrs Wilson is not quite the teacher Jayden expected … can she help turn his bad day around?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Anna Gain and the same sixty seconds / Bass, Guy
“Ever-punctual Anna Gain is never late, and she’s certainly never late for the school bus. Every day she catches it in perfect time. But not today. After a series of absurd events cause Anna to miss the bus, she’s transported one minute back in time – only to be stuck re-living the same sixty seconds again … and again … and again … Is fate trying to teach Anna a lesson? And will she ever escape?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Clever cakes / Rosen, Michael
“It pays to be able to think on your feet, especially if you’re about to be eaten alive or cheated out of a valuable prize! And in these hilarious comical adventures by storytelling legend Michael Rosen, two clever kids are more than a match for a hungry grizzly bear and a bored and arrogant king! Read along as two super-smart kids triumph in these perfectly packaged fairy tales with a twist…” (Catalogue)

The slippery schemes of Sushi Man / Barlow, Steve
“Take on the role of a shape-shifting MEGAHERO in this fully interactive, wacky, choose-your-own-destiny adventure story. You and your mega-computer sidekick, PAL, must save the world from Sushi Man and his own sidekick, Wasabi Boy. This evil duo has started poisoning and controlling the population. Can you possibly morph into the right shapes to take down this out-of-control pair of baddies? (Adapted from Catalogue)

Animal farm / Orwell, George
“Orwell’s powerful, unnerving and timeless allegory of oppression and rebellion, brought to life for a new age of readers in a stunning dyslexia-friendly edition.” (Catalogue)

Is it afternoon tea time yet? New cookbooks this month

There’s lots to whet your appetite in the new cookbooks this month — from tea and cake combinations, to how to cook everything gluten-free, to homemade Italian sweets. Have a browse and enjoy!

For more of the latest cookbooks and other new non-fiction (and more), visit our What’s New page.


Tea & cake : perfect pairings for brews and bakes / Franklin, Liz
“A celebration of teas – black, white, green, flowering and more – and the perfect cakes to pair with them. What better way to make the best of your fine tea than to pair it with the perfect cake, designed both to complement and enhance the experience and enjoyment? Pairings such as Japan’s Gyokuro tea with Fudgy Dark Chocolate and Almond Cakes or White Tea with Buttery Carrot and Orange Cake are just an example of the myriad combinations that prove to be a match made in heaven.” (Catalogue)

How to make anything gluten free : over 100 recipes for everything from home comforts to fakeaways, cakes to dessert, brunch to bread / Excell, Becky
“Are you avoiding gluten but yearn for fresh bread, all your favourite takeaways or a naan bread with your curry? And for your sweet tooth do you crave jam doughnuts, bakery-style cookies and classic cakes? How to Make Anything Gluten-Free is the first cookbook that shows you how to unlock all the food you truly miss eating – but nothing tastes or looks gluten-free. Becky Excell has spent years developing delicious dishes and sharing them with her followers on Instagram. She is here to show you that a gluten-free life can be exciting and easy, without having to miss out on your favorite foods ever again.” (Catalogue)

Vegan boards : 50 gorgeous plant-based snack, meal, and dessert boards for all occasions / Kasbee, Kate
“The 50 plant-based boards and platters in Vegan Boards are incredibly beautiful to the eye and deliciously tempting to the palate. Finally, a book of beautiful food board ideas for snacks, parties, and family meals that fit your plant-based diet. Serving artfully arranged foods on boards or platters is extremely popular, but until now, all the books on the subject have been full of meats, cheeses, and other animal products. Vegan Boards is the first book to make this trend accessible to people who follow an entirely plant-based diet. The results are delectable-and gorgeous to behold.” (Publisher description)

Torta della nonna : a collection of the best homemade Italian sweets / Davies, Emiko
“Take your sweet tooth on a tour of Italy with this collection of sixty much-loved sweets recipes. Recipes include sweet Italian breakfasts (including Lemon and ricotta cake, Italian brioche croissants, and Little custard and quince jam pies); classic treats from nonna’s oven (Hazelnut cake, Chocolate and amaretti flan, Stuffed peaches); snacks (Rosemary and sultana buns, Sweet breadsticks, Strawberries and wine); biscuits (Red crown biscuits, Almond biscotti, Polenta biscuits); and more.” (Catalogue)

Chinese takeaway in 5 : 80 of your favourite dishes using only five ingredients / Wan, Kwoklyn
“Kwoklyn Wan’s mega-popular Chinese Takeaway is back, but this time using only five ingredients! Alongside a basic store cupboard of five essentials – salt, pepper, soy sauce, sugar and oil – you can make a feast of easy dishes using the bare minimum. All your favourites are here – from Tom Yum Soup to Prawn Toast, Sweet Chilli Salmon and Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork Balls or Beef in Oyster Sauce, Aubergine Fritters and Chilli Ginger Crispy Tofun.” (Catalogue)