Launching City Voice: News you can use

One of Wellington’s most significant independent media outlets of the 1990s has been fully digitised and is now available to view on Wellington City Recollect.

City Voice Collection on Recollect

For just over eight years City Voice dominated Wellington’s alternative media scene. More than twenty years after its last issue was printed, the library’s archived collection of the weekly newspaper has been fully digitised and is available to view and search on our heritage platform Wellington City Recollect.

Andy Foster as a young city councillor on the cover of the oldest copy held in the collection

City Voice was founded by its editor Simon Collins and the journalist Jeremy Rose. They were soon joined by journalists Nick Bollinger, Mark Cubey & Rachel Woodley, the photographer David Gurr, the artist Chris Healey as well as a core of advertising, administration and distribution staff. The newspaper soon became the regular outlet for dozens of reviewers, columnists and journalism students and began the concept of a ‘paper within a paper’ where several pages would be regularly handed over to local communities who until then had few opportunities to have their voices heard.

Beginning at a time when access to the internet was still largely confined to universities and government institutions, City Voice distilled the talents of many local writers in a single publication before such output became diluted across a multitude of different online forums and websites.  It also provided a mouthpiece for a new generation of activists before the introduction of social media as well as holding the city council and local body politicians to account. Operating out of offices in Cuba Mall, it was owned by the Te Aro Publishing Cooperative Ltd with shares being held by around 160 people who had invested a total of $165,000 as core capital but the newspaper principally operated on its advertising revenue in an era before the widespread growth of the online advertising absorbed much of this income stream.

‘Humourbeasts’ Jermain Clement and Taika Waititi (aka Taika Cohen) appear on the cover of a 1999 issue

Every Thursday a new edition would hit the streets with 21,000 copies being delivered free to every letterbox in the CBD & the inner-suburbs and another 7000 copies available to be picked up in cafes or from newsstands scattered throughout the city. It soon became the go-to place to find out what was happening in the arts and theatre scene with extensive listings and reviews published every week.

However, it was with its news coverage that City Voice had its biggest impact. It avoided the crime, violence and scandal stories that often dominated main-stream media and instead covered local stories where it felt that the public could make a difference with issues such as the planned development of the waterfront or the inner-city motorway bypass. Controversial neo-liberal reforms which had become common within central-government in the early 1990s were starting to have an impact at a local level with various proposals to introduce user charges for social & community services and the paper helped galvanise opposition to many of these. City Voice became a democratic alternative to commercial media where the perceived need to ‘sell’ news was turning people (particularly youth) away from consuming it.

Later to become a city councillor, Laurie Foon states her views on the proposed ‘bypass’ through Te Aro in 1998

The newspaper became a ‘hot-house’ for young journalism students, many of whom went on to have notable careers in the media and communications industries. Volunteers gained experience in the field, assisting staff writers to research and write stories as well as helping out with page layouts and sub-editing. Regular columns provided an alternative take on main-stream staples such as car, fashion and restaurant reviews, the emphasis being on what most Wellingtonians actually consumed rather than expensive aspirational products and services which were often well beyond what many people could afford. Graphic design was also an important part of the newspaper and improvements in computer & printing technology over its eight-year run can be seen in the manner in which its ‘look’ developed.  Advertising ‘reps’ worked hard to constantly sell space in the paper to bring in the revenue required to pay staff and to keep the presses rolling. However, roles were not siloed and someone employed to sell advertising was welcome to try their hand at writing reviews while a journalist who had written an investigative article was just as likely to be helping with page layouts as print deadlines approached. 

Illustrating how some issues never change, this cover from 2000 details the concern of the city potentially losing ownership of its water assets.

However, despite its editorial success and impact, advertising revenue never fully met its costs, eventually resulting in capital reserves being drained. Investigative articles became too narrowly focussed on a small range of subjects and the arrival of the internet also started to have an impact following the launch of several local ISPs which drew readers away from print media as they discovered new online sources of news and information. In late 2000 the board of directors, aware of the personal liability they would be subject to if accused of ‘reckless trading’, decided to wind up the cooperative. After a brief hiatus, a new company was formed called City Voice Media Ltd which raised new capital and continued to publish the newspaper with a new look. However, it soon became apparent that the newspaper was no longer financially sustainable and its final issue was printed on 5th July 2001.  

City Voice on Recollect

Some of the information in this blog has come from the article “City Voice, an alternative to the corporate model” by Simon Collins & Jeremy Rose, published in Pacific Journalism Review, Vol.  10, No. 2 (2004).

The ninth Rivers of London book available to borrow

“Holy paranormal activity, Nightingale – to the Jag mobile.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, Whispers Under Ground

If you are one of  the legions of Rivers of London fans out there, and we know there are lots of you, then this month’s newly-acquired fantasy and science fiction titles has a real treat in store; the much-anticipated ninth instalment of the worldwide bestselling series is here! It’s called Amongst Our Weapons and is, of course, written by the fabulous Ben Aaronovitch. If you haven’t read the series yet, then we have all the previous books available to borrow. Click here for more details.

The Rivers of London is an urban fantasy series set in London and has apprentice wizard and detective Peter Grant as its eponymous hero. The books in the series are funny, entertaining and original. It is no surprise that they have become such a beloved series. The latest instalment, Amongst Our Weapons, revolves around a murder in the supposedly impenetrable London Silver Vaults – a murder so mysterious that magical involvement is strongly suspected.

We were thrilled that, a little while ago, Ben Aaronovitch agreed to a question-and-answer session with us about the series as well as his other work, such as being a scriptwriter for Doctor Who. Click here to see our very extensive range of Doctor Who items. And if you missed it first time round, we’ve put that Q and A session up below.

There’s also a plethora of other fantastic tiles in this month newly acquired fantasy and science fiction titles, which you can read more about by scrolling down.

Amongst our weapons / Aaronovitch, Ben
“The London Silver Vaults–for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a paparazzi convention. Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace–only that’s what happened. The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light, and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit. Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North!  …” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The carnival of ash / Beckerlegge, Tom
“Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries … Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith, arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil … A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Scorpica / Macallister, G.R.
“Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other, and new threats to each nation rise from within. Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All the horses of Iceland / Tolmie, Sarah
“Filled with the magic and darkened whispers of a people on the cusp of major cultural change, this tale follows a Norse trader on his travels through Central Asia, where he barters for horses and returns with much, much more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

Kairos / Jones, Gwyneth A.
“London. Early 21st Century. A Conservative government is in power in the UK, bringing increased wealth disparity, an ever-more militant police state, and rising civil discontent as the wealthy govern for themselves rather than the people. But BREAKTHRU – a pharmaceutical company turned religious cult – have the answer. They call it Kairos. Kairos allows the user to not just see a different world, but shape the world to their very will. Perfect for a cult of like-minded individuals. Disastrous when it is exposed to the general public. As disparate groups of people try to shape the world into their own image, reality itself is placed under threat. With society so divided, is there any way to pull the world back together? Written in 1988, this remarkably prescient book received great critical acclaim..” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The circus infinite / Wong, Khan
“A mixed-species fugitive, Jes tries to blend in on a pleasure moon, but instead catches the attention of a crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job and is forced to bend to the mobster’s will until he decides to take the big boss down.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

 

Wild and wicked things / May, Francesca
“On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface, but Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbor to be a witch. When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money can not; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She who became the sun / Parker-Chan, Shelley
“To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything. “I refuse to be nothing…” In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness… In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected…..” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Beyond the comfort zone: New non-fiction

May has snuck up on us! We’re mourning the daylight and breaking out the coats and scarves, but the dwindling autumn months come with some benefits too. Just picture it: rain lashing the windows and steam curling from your favourite mug; you’ve got nowhere to be except here, curled up in a cosy spot, a captivating book resting on your knee.

While we’re definitely advocates for comfort when it comes to our favourite reading nooks, we also love what Azar Nafisi has to say in her latest book Read Dangerously. Written as a series of letters to her late father, she uses the lens of literature to make sense of recent world events. Nafisi invites us to challenge ourselves through the books we read, to face our preconceptions head on and to seek out texts that foster connection rather than division. It’s a mix of literary analysis and memoir, in conversation with the work of James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Ta-Nehesi Coates to name just a few. It’s well worth checking out! 

On the theme of literary analysis, local poet Anna Jackson’s has a new book out. It’s called Actions and Travels, and in it she looks at 100 different poems with the goal of showing us how poetry works. It’s perfect for people who are new to poetry but unsure where to begin, while the poetically-confident will enjoy Jackson’s expert analysis.

Other picks for this month include the timely Last Call at the Hotel Imperial, which looks at a group of American reporters whose work in the lead up to WWII has had a huge impact on war journalism, shaping the industry to this day. In The Man Who Tasted Words, neurologist Guy Leschziner explores a selection of unusual sensory experiences through case studies of his patients, introducing us to people who feel no pain, who smell phantom smells, and who are no longer able to hold a picture in their mind’s eye. Then in Sounds Wild and Broken, David Haskell celebrates the sounds of our world – from cicada symphonies to human song – exploring the origins of this sonic diversity and showing us why it must be protected.

Read dangerously : the subversive power of literature in troubled times / Nafisi, Azar
“What is the role of literature in an era when one political party wages continual war on writers and the press? What is the connection between political strife in our daily lives, and the way we meet our enemies on the page in fiction? How can literature, through its free exchange, affect politics? Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, Nafisi crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Last call at the Hotel Imperial : the reporters who took on a world at war / Cohen, Deborah
“They were an astonishing group: glamourous, gutsy, and irreverent to the bone. Last Call at the Hotel Imperial is the extraordinary story of John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean, and Dorothy Thompson: a close-knit band of wildly famous American reporters who, in the run-up to World War II, took on dictators and rewrote the rules of modern journalism. They committed themselves to the cause of freedom: fiercely and with all its hazards. The fault lines that ran through a crumbling world, they would find, ran through their own marriages and friendships too. Told with the immediacy of a conversation overheard, this revelatory book captures how the global upheavals of the twentieth century felt to live through up close.” (Adapted from Amazon UK)

The man who tasted words : a neurologist explores the strange and startling world of our senses / Leschziner, Guy
“Vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch are what we rely on to perceive the reality of our world. But are they really that reliable? Leschziner explores how our nervous systems define our worlds and how we can, in fact, be victims of falsehoods perpetrated by our own brains. In his moving and lyrical chronicles of lives turned upside down by a disruption in one or more of their five senses, he introduces readers to extraordinary individuals he’s worked with in his practice, like one man who actually “tasted” words, and shows us how sensory disruptions like that have played havoc, not only with their view of the world, but with their relationships as well.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Actions & travels : how poetry works / Jackson, Anna
“A brilliant introduction to how poetry works through one hundred poems. Through illuminating readings of one hundred poems – from Catullus to Alice Oswald, Shakespeare to Hera Lindsay Bird – Actions & Travels is an engaging introduction to how poetry works. Ten chapters look at simplicity and resonance, imagery and form, letters and odes, and much more. In Actions & Travels Anna Jackson explains how we can all read (and even write) poetry.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Legacy of violence : a history of the British empire / Elkins, Caroline
“Sprawling across a quarter of the world’s land mass and claiming nearly seven hundred million people, Britain’s twentieth-century empire was the largest empire in human history. For many Britons, it epitomized their nation’s cultural superiority, but what legacy did the island nation deliver to the world? Covering more than two hundred years of history, Caroline Elkins reveals an evolutionary and racialized doctrine that espoused an unrelenting deployment of violence to secure and preserve the nation’s imperial interests. Drawing on more than a decade of research on four continents, Legacy of Violence implicates all sides of Britain’s political divide in the creation, execution, and cover-up of imperial violence, upending long-held myths and shedding new light on empire’s role in shaping the world today.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The status game : on social position and how we use it / Storr, Will
“For centuries, philosophers and scholars have described human behaviour in terms of sex, power and money. Bestselling author Will Storr radically turns this thinking on its head by arguing that it is our irrepressible craving for status that ultimately defines who we are. It’s an unconscious obsession that drives the best and worst of us: our innovation, arts and civilisation as well as our murders, wars and genocides. But why is status such an all-consuming prize? What happens if it’s taken away from us? The Status Game offers a sweeping rethink of human psychology that will change how you see others – and how you see yourself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sounds wild and broken : sonic marvels, evolution’s creativity and the crisis of sensory extinction / Haskell, David George
“The Earth’s sounds are wonderfully diverse, complex and beautiful — but they are under threat. Starting with the origins of animal song and traversing the whole arc of Earth history, Haskell illuminates and celebrates the emergence of the varied sounds of our world. We learn that human music and language belong within this story of ecology and evolution. Yet we are also destroyers, now silencing or smothering many of the sounds of the living Earth. Haskell shows that sonic crises are not mere losses of sensory ornament. Sound is a generative force, and so the erasure of sonic diversity makes the world less creative, just and beautiful. Sounds Wild and Broken is an invitation to listen, wonder, belong and act.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Seven games : a human history / Roeder, Oliver
“A group biography of seven enduring and beloved games, and the story of why – and how – we play them. Checkers, Backgammon, Chess, and Go. Poker, Scrabble, and Bridge. These seven games, ancient and modern, fascinate millions of people worldwide. Roeder charts their origins and historical importance, the delightful arcana of their rules, and the behavioural design that make them pleasurable. He delves into the history and lore of each game, and explores why games, seemingly trivial pastimes, speak so deeply to the human soul. Funny, fascinating and profound, Seven Games is a story of obsession, psychology, history, and how play makes us human.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Computer Books for Professional Development

Read these recently arrived books for upskilling your career in computer programming, website design and information technology. Allied to these titles, head to LinkedIn Learning, our eLibrary database for professional development tutorials, including programming languages, mobile platform development, help desk training, Internet Of Things, data analysis, cloud development, and much more.

Learn Enough Javascript to Be Dangerous : A Tutorial Introduction to Programming With Javascript / Hartl, Michael
“JavaScript is a big language for website development, you can just learn how to use it efficiently to solve real problems. Contents include: creating new objects with both properties and methods; writing tests and improving code with test-driven development (TDD) Developing and using self-contained, modular NPM software packages; adding interactivity with event listeners, dynamic HTML forms, and DOM manipulation.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Fluent Python : Clear, Concise, and Effective Programming / Ramalho, Luciano
“The author guides you through Python’s core language features teaches you how to make your code effective. Contents include: Data structures: Sequences, dicts, sets, Unicode, and data classes; Functions as objects: First-class functions, related design patterns, and type hints in function declarations; Object-oriented idioms: Composition, inheritance, mixins, interfaces, operator overloading, static typing and protocols.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

C# 10.0 all-in-one for dummies / Mueller, John
“Ready to become a C# super-coder? With 6 minibooks inside, you can walk through writing your first console application in C#, learn how to code for Windows and the web, master Visual Studio, bring object-oriented programming into focus, use the new Universal Windows Platform (UWP), and design incredible software with the sharpest language on the block. This version is full of examples and code snippets so you can see C# in action. — adapted from summary on book.” (Catalogue)

The self-taught programmer / Althoff, Cory
“Cory Althoff is a self-taught programmer who land a job as a software engineer II at eBay. But once he got there, he was overwhelmed by the amount of things he needed to learn. His journey learning to program was the inspiration for this book.  Althoff  covers coding and the rest of the things you need to know to program professionally that classes and books don’t teach you. The Self-taught Programmer is a roadmap, a guide to take you from writing your first Python program to passing your first technical interview.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Principles of web design / Miller, Brian D.
“Author Brian D. Miller is a sought-after expert in developing product and digital branding strategies for emerging startups and Fortune 500 organizations. In Principles of Web Design, he will teach the reader the tricks of the trade and everything one should know about web design through easy, step-by-step guides and with full-color illustrations.”–Amazon.com” (Catalogue)

 

 

Biographies Behind the Famous Brands

From Sky TV to Tesla and from Dyson to Cadbury Chocolate; read the legendary stories of the genius brains behind the big brands; their lives, their difficult times and how they thrive on success.

Invention : a life / Dyson, James
“Famously, over a four-year period, James Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of the cyclonic vacuum cleaner that would transform the way houses are cleaned around the world. Dyson reveals how he came to set up his own company and led it to become one of the most inventive technology companies in the world. Dyson has always looked to the future, even setting up his own university to help provide the next generation of engineers and designers. It is a compelling and dramatic tale.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Elon Musk : how the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our future / Vance, Ashlee
“Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, sold one of his internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. The author captures the genius’s life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits. Musk has dedicated his energies and fortune to inventing a future comparable to science-fiction fantasy.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

No limits : how Craig Heatley became a top New Zealand entrepreneur / Black, Joanne
“No Limits describes Craig Heatley’s entrepreneurial life. It charts his philosophies, his approach to currency trading and the significance of joining the world’s most prestigious golf club, Augusta National, home of the Masters. It is Sky Television that was his boldest and most precarious undertaking. The fledgling company teetered in the early nineties as rugby suffered its own crisis, torn between its amateur heritage and the forces of professionalism.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Chocolate wars : from Cadbury to Kraft : 200 years of sweet success and bitter rivalry / Cadbury, Deborah
“Deborah Cadbury takes a journey through this award-winning documentary into her own family history to uncover the 250 years of chocolate empire-building. John Cadbury founded the first Cadbury’s coffee and chocolate shop in Birmingham in 1824; then his grandson George made this company’s fortune. This is also the story of their Quaker rivals, the Frys and Rowntrees, and their European competitors, the Nestles, Suchards and Lindts.” (Adapted from Overdrive)

The contrarian : Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s pursuit of power / Chakin, Max
“A biography of venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the enigmatic, controversial and hugely influential power broker who sits at the dynamic intersection of tech, business and politics. Since the days of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, no industry has made a greater global impact than Silicon Valley.” (Catalogue)

Unleash Your Creative Self: New Arts & Crafts Books

As we embrace the changing foliage of red, orange, and yellow, there is no better way to celebrate the slowing down nature of the season than to nourish your creative soul. From making marbled papers to painting projects, be inspired in this month’s new collection of crafts and hobbies books.

The art of paper marbling dates as far back as 1118 in Japan. Over the centuries, several marbling techniques have been developed, making paper marbling a quintessential craft to try. In the book Making Traditional Marbled Papers, Kate Brett walks us through its history and encourages us to try several techniques that can be practiced and appreciated by anyone.

Why not catch the mood of the changing season with a brush and palette of colours? Watercolor for the Soul: Simple painting projects for beginners, to calm, soothe and inspire and Still Life : Techniques and tutorials for the complete beginner offers tips and easy-to-follow exercises that are friendly enough to match any skill level, which makes approaching a blank page a positive experience.

With the changing season comes the cold snaps of winter weather. What better way to celebrate this time of the year than to show off your newly-made Peruvian ch’ullu hat, fingerless gloves and Bohus-style Peerie socks! Cozy Knits: 30 hat, mitten, scarf, and sock projects from around the world features an assortment of knitting projects inspired by people, places and traditions around the world. Likewise, if you fancy building up your knitted wardrobe collection, A Knitter’s Guide to Shawl Design explores different techniques and tips in creating your very own shawl. With an abundance of projects in Nordic colourwork, the book Traditional Nordic Knits: Over 40 hats, mittens, gloves, and socks is packed with stunning photographs complete with illustrated patterns and informative guides that would definitely inspire you to grab those knitting needles again.

Lastly, in the book Bonnie the Cow & Her Crocheted Friends: 20 loveable animals & birds to crochet using chunky yarn, Claire Gelder reimagines your traditional crochet projects using super chunky yarn! With straightforward instructions, varying difficulty level and easy-to-follow patterns, you may find yourself snuggling up with your own creation of Bonnie the Cow during movie nights.

Making traditional marbled papers / Brett, Kate
“Paper marbling is a beautiful craft with a long history that can be traced back to Japan in the twelfth century. This practical book introduces traditional patterns and explains the techniques that are used creatively today. It covers the history of marbling – from its origins in Japan to Persia, Turkey and then Europe in the seventeenth century. The process from preparing the size, to adding the paints, creating the pattern and then treating the sheets is covered in detail. Creative uses for marbling are given including step-by-step sequences for a range of projects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watercolor for the soul : simple painting projects for beginners, to calm, soothe and inspire / Stevens, Sharone
“Learn to use watercolor to soothe your soul with this beginner’s guide to painting for relaxation. Many watercolor books focus on the result of your painting, but this approach looks at the process of painting as a means to de-stress, with easy exercises for absolute beginners. The aim is to create art that relaxes both the artist and the viewer.” (Catalogue)

Still life : techniques and tutorials for the complete beginner / Johns, Susie
“Learn how to draw and paint sill life with this straightforward, accessible guide. With expert guidance you will discover how to construct simple, appealing still-life arrangements and create beautiful works of art using a range of beginner-friendly materials and techniques. Ten progressive step-by-step tutorials will help you to master this rewarding art form.”–Page 4 of cover” (Catalogue)

 

Cozy knits : 30 hat, mitten, scarf, and sock projects from around the world
“Cozy Knits presents 50 of the coziest, globally-inspired patterns for hats, mittens, and gloves-including stylish traditional projects from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, the British Isles, the Americas, and Asia.” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

 

A knitter’s guide to shawl design / Vining, Emma
“As a desirable item of fashion, a cherished gift or a wardrobe essential, the shawl enjoys enduring popularity among knitters and non-knitters alike. A Knitter’s Guide to Shawl Design will inspire knitters of all levels to personalize their knitting and create original shawl designs. Author Emma Vining describes her own design processes, encouraging readers to explore and experiment with shawl shapes and stitch patterns. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, sketches and explanatory diagrams, this book explores tradition and innovation in shawl design.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Traditional Nordic knits : over 40 hats, mittens, gloves, and socks / Wallin, Johanna
“The classic Nordic knitting tradition is a widely-respected—and increasingly popular—source of exquisite patterns and design inspiration all over the world. 15 time-honoured patterns become over 40 different projects, gracing mittens, gloves, hats, and socks through designs suitable for all levels of experience, and each project is introduced with an example of a historic knitted item and a fascinating explanation of the pattern’s background and origin.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Bonnie the Cow & her friends : 20 loveable animals & birds to crochet using chunky yarn / Gelder, Claire
“Dragon’s Den winner Claire Gelder presents a new collection of crochet animals to crochet in chunky yarn. Bonnie the Highland Cow and Isla her calf, as well as other adorable, crocheted companions will complete your cozy companion set. With soft, chunky yarn and long, floppy limbs, you’ll have no choice but to pick them up, or snuggle on the sofa with them. Oversized, and full of life, these toys are about 28in tall and the babies measure about 14in. The projects are aimed at beginners to improvers, and are suitable for someone who has mastered the basics of crochet. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Join the phenomena – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee


Pachinko is a ‘powerful story about resilience and compassion’ – Barack Obama.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee has become a cultural phenomenon over the last few years, gaining legions of fans and spawning a smash hit television series. Now, thanks to Libby, we are excited to offer this unlimited access to the eBook and audiobook for a limited time!

On its release in 2017, Pachinko gained rave reviews from the likes of from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Reviewers have compared the book to the works of writers like Charles Dickens or John Galsworthy, thanks in part to its epic historical sweep and its emotional resonance.

The plot revolves around four generations of a Korean immigrant family who, after being exiled from Korea, forge a new life in their adopted homeland of Japan. Set between the years of 1910 and 1989, the novel covers a huge sweep of time when the vagrancies of history often played a pivotal role to the fates of all concerned. At the heart of the books, you’ll find an exploration of human relationships and the ups and downs of a family. Many themes are explored in an expressive and emotional style; amongst them themes of discrimination, family and cultural identity,  faith  and exclusion.

The book has been shortlisted for a whole plethora of prizes, including being a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction 2017. Since its release, it has sold over one million copies.

Now is your chance to grab an electronic copy of the book to see what the phenomenon is all about! Simply login to Overdrive or Libby with your library card to access a copy. Join the Pachinko phenomena and read now!

Overdrive cover Pachinko, Min Jin Lee (eBook)
“Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Pachinko,’Min Jin Lee (Audiobook)
“Yeongdo, Korea – 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child: their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then, Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

London’s calling : New travel books

The world is opening up again! Browse our new travel books to find your next overseas adventure. Staying home? We have books to help you discover Aotearoa as well — have a browse below!

The book lover’s guide to London / Milne, Sarah
“Many of the greatest names in literature have visited or made their home in the colourful and diverse metropolis of London. From Charles Dickens to George Orwell, Virginia Woolf to Bernadine Evaristo, London’s writers have bought the city to life through some of the best known and loved stories and characters in fiction.” (Catalogue)

Midsomer murders location guide : discover the villages, pubs and churches behind the hit TV series / Hopkinson, Frank
“Following in the Pitkin ‘Armchair’ Film and TV locations series, Midsomer Murders Location Guide highlights the real-life locations behind the fictional Midsomer county – the pubs, churches and villages that make it such an international success.” (Catalogue)

Camino Ignaciano : walking the Ignatian way in northern Spain / Stewart, Murray
“Camino Ignaciano walking and travel guide – expert advice on walking the Camino Ignaciano in northern Spain, following in the footsteps of Ignatius of Loyola through the Basque mountains and including Arantzazu, Laguardia, Logroño, Alfaro, Zaragoza, Montserrat and Manresa. Also includes practical information and details of the twenty-seven stages.” (Catalogue)

Ultimate road trips : Aotearoa New Zealand / Atkinson, Brett
Ultimate Road Trips: New Zealand is your inspirational and comprehensive touring guide to New Zealand, featuring 36 road trips across the North and South islands. From coastal journeys exploring the country’s beaches and bays, to inland adventures through rugged volcanic and alpine landscapes, Ultimate Road Trips: New Zealand is the ideal companion to discovering Aotearoa.” (Catalogue)

Rosamunde Pilcher’s Cornwall / Knappett, Gill
“Discover the breathtaking locations behind Pilcher’s fiction novels The Shell SeekersComing HomeThe End of Summer and more.” (Catalogue)

101 weekends in Europe / Barton, Robin
101 Weekends in Europe, 2nd Edition is a compact and stylish travel guide that details everything today’s modern travelers will want to know about 101 cities in Europe. From classic cities like Paris and Vienna to emerging destinations like Freiburg and Lecce, learn about the culture, sights, shopping experience, accommodations, and cuisine each city has to offer. ” (Catalogue)

Wanderlust road trips : 40 beautiful drives around the world
“Get inspired with 40 of the world’s most incredible road trips, with bucket-list drives in the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. This stunning, hardcover book is packed with full-color photos, charming illustrations, and fascinating overviews of each route, making it the perfect gift for dreamers and adventurers alike. Cruise along the historic Blues Highway in the American South, drive the epic Ruta 40 to Patagonia, or stop for a hike as you road-trip along the Canadian Rockies. Drive to Namibia’s jaw-dropping Victoria Falls, follow the Alsace Wine Route, or hug the Amalfi Coast and soak up views of the Mediterranean.” (Catalogue)

Run, Rose, Run: Dolly Parton’s first novel

via GIPHY

 I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are and to love who they love. – Dolly Parton

It many come as no great surprise that Dolly Parton is a heroine to many librarians . Not only is she one of the greatest country and Western artists ever, as well as a fine actress with twelve major films under her belt and over 400 television appearances. We particularly like 9 to 5, for which she incidentally did the Oscar nominated theme song for, and her cameo part in Gnomeo & Juliet where she provided the voice for Dolly Gnome. She is also a highly successful businessperson whose ventures are often community focussed with a distinct humanitarian emphasis.

It is, however, her charitable and philanthropic work that draws the most admiration. Since the mid-1980’s she has supported numerous charitable organisations, especially through her Dollywood Foundation. Her charitable work often has a children’s literacy element, indeed in 2018 Dolly Parton was honoured by the Library of Congress after her charity sent out its hundred millionth free book! She also recently financially and vocally supported the development of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

We are pleased to announce that we now have copies of her first foray into fiction, Run, Rose, Run. Run, Rose, Run is a tense thriller about a young rising country singer called AnnieLee who must go on the run. The book is a collaborative effort with the hugely popular  bestselling novelist  James Patterson. Dolly said of the book, “In a sense, the story is a cautionary tale about the industry’. Parton has also created an album to accompany the book! ( see borrowing details below).

It seems that for this superstar nothing is beyond her talents, and it is for very good reasons indeed that Dolly Parton is one of the most-honoured female country performers of all time. Below are details on how to borrow Run, Rose, Run, and also links to some of our other highly recommended newly acquired fiction titles.

Run, Rose, run / Parton, Dolly
“From America’s most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller–a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Every song tells a story. She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her. Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Run Rose run. / Parton, Dolly
“Nearly 50 studio albums into her career, Dolly Parton manages to find a novel hook for Run, Rose, Run, her first record since 2017’s I Believe in You. In this case, her hook is literally a novel — one she co-wrote with James Patterson.  Thankfully, album doesn’t require even passing knowledge of its printed cousin, working quite well as a standalone album in its own right.  Perhaps cloaking her personal experiences in the guise of a fictional narrative allowed Parton to allude to her past in this fashion, but no matter the inspiration, these moments are the grace notes that help make Run, Rose, Run a satisfying listen on its own terms. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

In Amber’s wake / Leunens, Christine
“Set in New Zealand during the fast-changing, tumultuous 1980s era of the anti-nuclear movement, Springbok rugby tour protests, and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, this romantic drama is as unpredictable as it is powerful and heartfelt. Ethan Grieg, a film student, is in love with his close friend Amber Deering. Amber loves Ethan dearly, but not in the way that Ethan longs for. Instead, the man Amber chooses is widower Stuart Reeds, a charming, refined British investor almost two generations older than her.  When secrets become exposed and nothing is as it seems, each will be cornered into committing acts they could have never predicted.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The cancer ladies’ running club / Lloyd, Josie
“When Keira receives her breast cancer diagnosis she doesn’t want to have to tell her children or her husband Tom, and she doesn’t want to step back from work. She doesn’t want to sit in a hospital and stare mortality in the face, nor be part of a group of fellow cancer patients. Cancer is not her club. But, as she is forced to accept everything must change and her health becomes something she can’t rely on, Keira finds herself embracing running. Hot, sweaty running in the company of a group of brilliant, funny women each going through treatment. One step at a time Keira is going to reclaim something. Her family, her business, her life. Moving and uplifting, this is a novel about love, family and the power of finding your tribe.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mary’s boy, Jean-Jacques : and other stories / O’Sullivan, Vincent
“In Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, we last see Dr Frankenstein’s Creature shunned by human society and crossing the Arctic wasteland. What if he were rescued by an eccentric English expedition intent on sailing from pole to pole and back – only to be cast away again in a remote fiord in Aotearoa’s deep south? This intriguing speculation ignites the novella that lies at the heart of Vincent O’Sullivan’s electrifying new story collection Mary’s Boy, Jean-Jacques. Elsewhere, O’Sullivan takes us deep into other times and minds. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Beats of the pa’u / Samuela, Maria
“And in the night time we will dance in the moonlight to the quick, steady beats of the pa’u. The pa’u is the pulse of the Cook Islands, a rhythm carrying narratives of a culture to its people. But beyond the reach of its sound, on another shore, a community is working over the course of decades to build a new life. Kura lands in the footsteps of his father, whose twenty-year estrangement has come to a head. Katerina starts planning for a future, but must bend to the whim of another. Ana is received into a sacred sisterhood. And an Island Mama sets out the rules for love. Beats of the Pa’u is a collection of stories about first- and second-generation Cook Islands New Zealanders living in 1950s to modern-day New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Young Mungo : a novel / Stuart, Douglas
“The story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Born under different stars–Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic–they should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all. Their environment is a hyper-masculine and sectarian one, for gangs of young men and the violence they might dole out dominate the Glaswegian estate where they live. And yet against all odds Mungo and James become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong….” (Catalogue)

French braid / Tyler, Anne
“The Garretts take their first and last family vacation in the summer of 1959. They hardly ever venture beyond Baltimore, but in some ways they have never been farther apart. Mercy has trouble resisting the siren call of her aspirations to be a painter, which means less time keeping house for her husband, Robin. Their teenage daughters, steady Alice and boy-crazy Lily, could not have less in common. Their youngest, David, is already intent on escaping his family’s orbit, for reasons none of them understands. Yet, as these lives advance across decades, the Garretts’ influences on one another ripple ineffably but unmistakably through each generation. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

eLibrary spotlight: Naxos Jazz Library


Have you checked out Naxos Jazz Library? It’s a music streaming service that showcases classic and contemporary jazz albums; as well as pop, rock, electronic, blues and more! Free with your Wellington City Libraries card, sign-in and discover a new favourite album from their selection of over 32,000 artists. With new music being added to the collection weekly, you’ll want to keep checking back for more gems.

Naxos Jazz Library also let’s you create personalised, ad free, playlists! What kind of playlist will you make? Here’s one I’ve put together, stream these tracks for an eclectic start to your week.

Tracks to start your Monday morning the right way:

AXEL FLÓVENT: You Stay by the Sea You Stay By The Sea is from the debut studio album by Icelandic singer-songwriter Axel Flóvent. It’s a soft, sleepy track that perhaps won’t get you out of bed quickly, but pairs perfectly with with snoozing your alarm for an extra few minutes.

ALAYNA: Glowing Next up, we’ve got a homegrown tune for you. Rotorua-born Alayna is an exciting R&B singer making waves and burning bright with their track, Glowing. The vibes are immaculate, it’s a bop guaranteed to perfectly accompany a smooth cup of coffee. 

BANGS AND TALBOT: Sumthin’ Else! OK, time to get ready for the day. It’s a beautiful Wellington morning (hopefully), so open those curtains and great the sunny day with Bangs and Talbot’s shimmy inducing mod jazz track Sumthin’ Else!. The track’s flowing groove and toe-tapping syncopation is sure to be the perfect way to great the day.

ARK PATROL: King Now for something more upbeat. Hawaiian-born, Seattle-based producer Ark Patrol brings us this electronic jam, King, which will absolutely put some pep in your step. This tune, in my opinion, is best blasted from your car on the motorway, or through headphones while navigating the Lambton Quay lunch rush.

BRIAN AUGER: Search Party Now this should sufficiently jump-start you into the rest of your day.  Launch into Monday with jazz prog rock fusion musician Brain Augar’s track Planet Earth Calling. 

 

 

eLibrary spotlight: Bridget Williams Books Text Collection


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

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

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

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


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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

Words and worlds: New non-fiction

New Non Fiction April

A collage of something speaking into a tin phone and speech bubles

Reord-berend, m.n: ‘speech-bearer’, human.
(REH-ord-BEH-rend)

We came across this Old English phrase on the Twitter account of author Hana Videen, where she posts one Old English word. This has become the basis for her book The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English. Videen’s book is a delight for anyone who wants to learn more about the origins of the English we speak today. Inside its pages are words that we still recognise (‘word’, for instance, hasn’t changed in hundreds of years) as well as others that are unfamiliar to us now – like the poignant reord-berend. It makes us wonder: what does it mean to be a speech-bearer? To define ourselves as humans by our ability to communicate, by the stories that we tell?

So, on that note, here are some of the other new books we’ve found this month on language and communication. One that stood out to us is The Babel Message, where author Keith Kahn-Harris uses the warning inside a chocolate egg as a starting point to explore the diversity of language, asking us: what gets lost in translation? And what do we discover? There’s also Index, A History of the (which you’ll find right at the end of this post), a fascinating book that reveals the unexpectedly dramatic past of the index. Then we have journalist Van Badham’s Qanon and On, which is about conspiracy theories in the age of the internet, as online communication becomes rife with disinformation. 

The rest of the books we’ve picked for you this month are about our world, and the stories we tell about this planet as we try to understand our place here. There are the afterworlds in The Devil’s Atlas, an illustrated tour of the heavens, hells and in-betweens found in various cultures and religions. Earth’s own strange history is depicted vividly in Otherlands, where palaeontologist Thomas Halliday takes us on a journey backwards through time, from the recent ice age (geologically speaking) all the way to the era of primordial soup. And lastly, there’s the wonderful Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World which deals with the climate crisis in a way that is both honest and intimate, helping us to come to grips with the way our home is changing.

The babel message : a love letter to language / Kahn-Harris, Keith
“Keith Kahn-Harris is a man obsessed with something seemingly trivial – the warning message found inside Kinder Surprise eggs: WARNING, read and keep: Toy not suitable for children under 3 years. Small parts might be swallowed or inhaled. On a tiny sheet of paper, this message is translated into dozens of languages – the world boiled down to a multilingual essence. Inspired by this, the author asks: what makes ‘a language’? With the help of the international community of language geeks, he shows us what the message looks like in Ancient Sumerian, Zulu, Cornish, Klingon – and many more. Overturning the Babel myth, he argues that the messy diversity of language shouldn’t be a source of conflict, but of collective wonder.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Otherlands : a world in the making / Halliday, Thomas
“What would it be like to experience the ancient landscapes of the past as we experience the reality of nature today? Journeying backwards in time from the most recent Ice Age to the dawn of complex life itself, and across all seven continents, Halliday immerses us in sixteen lost ecosystems, each one rendered with a novelist’s eye for detail and drama. In Otherlands, the multi-talented palaeontologist Thomas Halliday gives us a breath-taking up close encounter with worlds that are normally unimaginably distant. To read this book is to time travel, to see the last 550 million years not as an endless expanse of unfathomable time, but as a series of worlds, simultaneously fantastical and familiar.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wordhord : daily life in Old English / Videen, Hana
“Old English is the language we think we know until we actually see it. Used in England over a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven’t changed (word), others that are unrecognisable (neorxnawang – paradise) and some that are curiously mystifying (gafol-fisc – tax-fish). In this beautiful little book, Hana Videen has gathered these gems together to create a glorious trove and illuminate the lives, beliefs and habits of our linguistic ancestors. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friend-ship, and you might grow up to be a laughter-smith. These are the magical roots of our own language: you’ll never see English in the same way again.” (Catalogue)

Warmth : coming of age at the end of our world / Sherrell, Daniel
Warmth is a new kind of book about climate change – not a prescription or a polemic, but an intensely personal examination of how it feels to imagine a future under its weight, written from inside the youth-led climate movement itself. Weaving sit-ins and snowstorms, synagogues and subway tunnels, Sherrell delves into the questions that feel most urgent to young people at our current crossroads. In seeking new ways to understand and respond to these forces that feel so far out of our control, Warmth lays bare the common stakes we face, and illuminates new sources of faith in our shared humanity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The devil’s atlas : an explorer’s guide to heavens, hells and afterworlds / Brooke-Hitching, Edward
The Devil’s Atlas is an illustrated guide to the heavens, hells and lands of the dead as imagined throughout history by cultures and religions around the world. Whether it’s the thirteen heavens of the Aztecs, the Chinese Taoist netherworld of ‘hungry ghosts’, or the ‘Hell of the Flaming Rooster’ of Japanese Buddhist mythology, The Devil’s Atlas gathers together a wonderful variety of beliefs and representations of life after death. A traveller’s guide to worlds unseen, this book is a fascinating study of the boundless capacity of human invention, and a visual chronicle of human hopes, fears and fantasies of what lies beyond.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Qanon and on : a short and shocking history of internet conspiracy cults / Badham, Van
“In QAnon and On, Guardian columnist Van Badham delves headfirst into the QAnon conspiracy theory, unpicking the why, how and who behind this century’s most dangerous and far-fetched internet cult. Internet manipulation and disinformation campaigns have grown to a geopolitical scale and spilled into real life with devastating consequences. But what would motivate followers to so forcefully avoid the facts and surrender instead to made-up stories designed to influence and control? It’s a question that has haunted Van, herself a veteran of social media’s relentless trolling wars. In this daring investigation, Van exposes some of the internet’s most extreme communities to understand conspiracy cults from the inside.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The world according to colour : a cultural history / Fox, James
“The subject of this book is mankind’s extraordinary relationship with colour. It is composed of a series of voyages, ranging across the world and throughout history, which reveal the meanings that have been attached to the colours we see around us and the ways these have shaped our culture and imagination. It takes seven colours – black, red, yellow, blue, white, purple and green – and uncovers behind each a root idea, based on visual resemblances or properties so rudimentary as to be common to all societies.” (Catalogue)

Index, a history of the : a bookish adventure from medieval manuscripts to the digital age / Duncan, Dennis
“Most of us give little thought to the back of the book – it’s just where you go to look things up. But as Dennis Duncan reveals in this delightful and witty history, hiding in plain sight is an unlikely realm of ambition and obsession, sparring and politicking, pleasure and play. Here, for the first time, is the secret world of the index: an unsung but extraordinary everyday tool, with an illustrious but little-known past. Charting its curious path from the monasteries and universities of thirteenth-century Europe to Silicon Valley in the twenty-first, Duncan uncovers how it has saved heretics from the stake, kept politicians from high office, and made us all into the readers we are today.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flowers, needles, and Nordic knitting: New craft and hobby books

New Craft Books April

Could happiness be just a needle and a skein of yarn away? In today’s age of digital over stimulation and social distancing, this month’s new collection of books is an assortment of unadulterated joy to indulge your creative spirit.

Regardless of one’s sewing ability, anyone can benefit from YouTube star Laura Coia’s second book, Sew Very Easy Patternless Sewing : 23 skill-building projects : bags, accessories, home decor, gifts & more. From simple scrunchies to complex projects like featherweight case cover, this book is a fun and quick way of creating something amazing from scrap fabrics. Likewise, crocheting projects do not need to be a time-consuming endeavour! In Quick Crochet : no-fuss patterns for colourful scarves, blankets, bags and more, Kate Rowell presents 28 colourful projects that are grouped according to their completion time.

Needle Felting Teddy Bears for Beginners is a “must-borrow” book for fellow creatives who would like to learn simpler techniques and seamless process in producing adorable, fuzzy, little teddy bears.

The repetitive and rhythmic flow of knitting can be a delightfully meditative process. Brandi Harper invites readers to venture into her personal knitting journey in her book, Knitting for radical self-care : a modern guide. Readers are encouraged to indulge in gorgeous projects, stunning visuals and honest musings on self-care and creativity. On the topic of knitting, we also suggest The Nordic knitting primer : a step-by-step guide to Scandinavian colorwork. Its wonderful images go hand-in-hand with its straightforward instructions and charts to guide anyone looking to start doing colorwork.

Floral enthusiasts, rejoice! Lucy Hunter’s The Flower Hunter: seasonal flowers inspired by nature and gathered from the garden offers not only inspiration but also practical tips in floral design, flower drying and other creative projects. With the author’s wit and grace in the narration, this enchanting book is a visual feast not to be missed!

Sew very easy patternless sewing : 23 skill-building projects : bags, accessories, home decor, gifts & more / Coia, Laura Ann
“YouTube sew-lebrity Laura Coia returns with 23 projects, now available as printed, step-by-step instructions for the first time. Stitch up beautiful bags, accessories, and home decor with no pattern pieces”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

 

Quick crochet : no-fuss patterns for colorful scarves, blankets, bags and more / Rowell, Kate
“In just a few short hours, you can create vibrant accessories, cheerful home decor items and handmade gifts that are guaranteed to brighten up every space and occasion! Crochet designer Kate Rowell combines simple stitches and smart techniques to bring you this stunning collection of eye-catching projects that work up in next to no time.– Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Needle felting teddy bears for beginners / Balchin, Judy
“Needle-felting is an easy and fun technique, requiring little in the way of expensive materials or equipment. Its accessibility means it’s becoming more and more popular, and award-winning authors Judy Balchin and Roz Dace show how to make 20 wonderful little teddy bears using this tactile technique.” (Catalogue)

 

Knitting for radical self-care : a modern guide / Harper, Brandi Cheyenne
“There is no such thing as being kind-of a knitter. The wobbly scarves and that oversized sweater you tried to shrink all count too. Each contribution that you make to the world through knitting is meaningful, but maybe you’ve slowed your commitment to this craft, or you can’t seem to find the time to be creative. There’s a lot to be distracted by, and the path forward isn’t always clear. Brandi Harper aims to bring those challenges to the forefront and help you unearth the immense benefits that knitting has to offer. In her debut book, Knitting for Radical Self-Care, Harper offers tips and suggestions for carving out time for creativity, alongside beautiful patterns to try yourself.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an ebook.

The Nordic knitting primer : a step-by-step guide to Scandinavian colorwork / Drysdale, Kristin
“Gorgeous Scandinavian knitwear is within reach for knitters of all levels with this collection of timeless patterns and essential techniques… Inspired by Kristin’s Scandinavian heritage, these designs combine traditional patterns and motifs with stylish, easy-to-wear shapes. Knitting with multiple yarns creates a warmer knit fabric for high-quality garments and accessories to gift or wear all year long”–back cover.” (Catalogue) Also available as an ebook.

The flower hunter : seasonal flowers inspired by nature and gathered from the garden / Hunter, Lucy
“Lucy’s evocative, gently humorous words accompany her glorious photographs and exquisite floral arrangements, as she encourages the reader to marvel at the intricate cycles of the natural world, develop their own innate creativity, and to look for beauty in the everyday. Her garden provides the raw materials for Lucy’s floral artistry-breathtaking naturalistic arrangements with all the painterly beauty and flourish of a Dutch still life. Simple projects accompany Lucy’s text, from drying garden flowers for an autumnal wreath to making your own journals and natural dyes to assembling lavish arrangements that showcase the voluptuous beauty of garden roses.  The Flower Hunter will encourage you to find your own creativity and help it to blossom”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creativity, belonging and empathy: New personal development books

Build up your empathy muscle, read about the power of connecting with others and learn how to break away from routine and become the person you want to be — have a browse of recent additions to our personal development books!

Inspired : understanding creativity : a journey through art, science, and the soul / Richtel, Matt
“From the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science reporter acclaimed for “bring[ing] scientific concepts to life” (Bill Gates), a pathbreaking new investigation into the mysteries of human creativity.” (Publisher)

A sense of belonging : how to find your place in a fractured world / Liang, Holan
“A sense of belonging – being liked, understood, accepted for who we are – is vital for our mental health. Whether it is fitting in at school, struggling to connect with colleagues in a new job, or just feeling out of place in our own family, we all, at various stages in our lives, find ourselves questioning our identity. For Dr Holan Liang, one of the UK’s foremost psychiatrists, this crisis of identity cuts right to the heart of the modern epidemic of anxiety and depression. In this ground-breaking book, she draws on her own experience as an immigrant to the UK, and on 20 years of caring for patients suffering from a range of mental health conditions, from depression and anxiety to ADHD and anorexia, to explore a radical new perspective on mental health.” (Catalogue)

Tell me more about that : solving the empathy crisis one conversation at a time / Volpe, Rob
“Empathy is in short supply these days–and it’s hurting us. But all is not lost. Just as physical workouts strengthen your body, there are ways to build up your empathy as well. In Tell Me More About That, brand strategist and thought leader Rob Volpe draws on his years conducting thousands of in-home interviews with everyday people to illustrate the 5 Steps to Empathy–the actions you can take to build a strong and reflexive empathy muscle”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Future you / Valintine, Frances
“What does it take to go from imagining a different life to creating one? Entrepreneur and educator Frances Valintine has spent her life trying to untangle why some people don’t embrace change even when they know their future depends on it. Future You shares insights from Frances’s own extraordinary career to show how breaking away from expectation and routine is integral to living a full and successful life. Frances inspires and empowers readers to make bold self-discoveries: to take risks, step off the conveyor belt, open your heart to chance, overcome self-doubt, foster generosity, pass less judgement, think originally, and lead with possibility. Your brain has an incredible power to get you to where you want to be. Your role is to let your brain know the destination, and to be brave enough to begin your future now.” (Catalogue)

12 notes : on life and creativity / Jones, Quincy
“Wisdom and musings on creativity and life from one of the world’s most beloved musicians, producers, and mentors, Quincy Jones’ 12 Notes is a self-development guide that will affirm that creativity is a calling that can and should be answered, no matter your age or experience. … Weaving his story throughout, Jones lets readers in on his own creative process, as well as the importance of letting honesty, hard work, and good relationships drive your career.” (Catalogue)

Turbulence and upheaval in 1922: New history books

What did the world look like in 1922, one hundred years ago, coming out of a World War and a pandemic? Time and history march on, but upheaval and change is a constant. Have a browse of this month’s new history books.

The 1619 Project : a new origin story
“The animating idea of The 1619 Project is that the US national narrative is more accurately told if we begin not on July 4, 1776, but in late August of 1619, when a ship arrived in Jamestown bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival inaugurated a barbaric and unprecedented system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the country’s very origin. The 1619 Project tells this new origin story, placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country. Orchestrated by the editors of The New York Times Magazine, led by MacArthur “genius” and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.” (Catalogue)

1922 : scenes from a turbulent year / Rennison, Nick
“1922 was a year of great turbulence and upheaval. The world had just emerged from a war that had killed millions of people and a global pandemic that had ended the lives of tens of millions more. Its events reverberated throughout the rest of the twentieth century and still affect us today. Empires fell. The Ottoman Empire collapsed after more than six centuries. The British Empire had reached its zenith but its heyday was over. The Irish Free State was declared and demands for independence in India grew. New nations and new politics came into existence. The Soviet Union was officially created and Mussolini’s Italy became the first Fascist state. In the USA, Prohibition was at its height. The Hollywood film industry, although rocked by a series of scandals, continued to grow. A new mass medium – radio – was making its presence felt and the BBC was founded…” (Catalogue)

The searchers : the quest for the lost of the First World War / Sackville-West, Robert
“By the end of the First World War, the whereabouts of more than half a million British soldiers were unknown. Most were presumed dead, lost forever under the battlefields of northern France and Flanders. In The Searchers, Robert Sackville-West brings together the extraordinary, moving accounts of those who dedicated their lives to the search for the missing. These stories reveal the remarkable lengths to which people will go to give meaning to their loss: Rudyard Kipling’s quest for his son’s grave; E.M. Forster’s conversations with traumatised soldiers in hospital in Alexandria; desperate attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead; the campaign to establish the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior; and the exhumation and reburial in military cemeteries of hundreds of thousands of bodies. It was a search that would span a century: from the department set up to investigate the fate of missing comrades in the war’s aftermath, to the present day, when DNA profiling continues to aid efforts to recover, identify and honour these men.” (Catalogue)

The war of nerves : inside the Cold War mind / Sixsmith, Martin
“More than any other conflict, the Cold War was fought on the battlefield of the human mind. Nearly thirty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, its legacy still endures: not only in our politics, but in our own thoughts and fears. Drawing on a vast array of untapped archives and unseen sources, Martin Sixsmith vividly recreates the tensions and paranoia of the Cold War, framing it for the first time from a psychological perspective. Revisiting towering personalities like Khrushchev, Kennedy and Nixon, as well as the lives of the unknown millions who were caught up in the conflict, this is a gripping account of fear itself – one which is more resonant than ever today.” (Catalogue)

The forty-year war in Afghanistan : a chronicle foretold / Ali, Tariq
“The fall of Kabul to the Taliban on 15 August 2021 is a major political and ideological defeat for the American Empire. History sometimes presses urgent truths on a country through a vivid demonstration of the facts. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is one such moment…” (Catalogue)

Who lived there? : the stories behind historic New Zealand buildings / McCloy, Nicola
“From basic stone cottages in barren-looking countryside to pretty coastal villas, romantic churches and small-town taverns, New Zealand is full of buildings whose back stories have been lost over the generations. Jane King’s photographs and Nicola McCloy’s words weave the facts back together to present gripping stories of these places and their ups and downs over time. The strength of women, often left to fend for their families with little help or support, and the enterprise of early New Zealanders feature in this fascinating book… Find out about places as diverse as the old School of Mines in Thames, Rush Munroe’s Ice Cream Garden in Hastings; Couldrey House at Wenderholm, near Auckland; the National Tobacco Company in Napier; Mt Cook Police Barracks in Wellington; Langlois-Eteveneaux House in Akaroa; Donovan’s General Store in Okarito; and the Empire Tavern in Dunedin.” (Catalogue)

Your Next Niche Read: new non-fiction

There’s truly nothing better than diving headfirst into a new non-fiction book, so if you’re searching for your next niche read – be it a beloved genre or something totally unfamiliar – then look no further! This month’s picks offer a variety of options for you to choose from.

Perhaps you’d like to delve into the intricate relationship between nature and society in On the Necessity of Gardening – a gorgeously produced book that includes its very own garden abecedarium (the fanciest name for the ABCs that we’ve ever heard!) We personally cannot wait to explore the sunken lands that lurk in myths and oral histories in Worlds in Shadow. And for the true crime enthusiasts among us, why not test your knowledge with Neil Bradley’s A Taste for Poison?

Of course, we know how hard it is to restrict yourself to just one subject alone, so if you’re feeling indecisive then Siri Hustvedt’s collection might be the one for you, with masterful essays on topics that range from neuroscience and literary criticism, to families and feminism. And on that note, if you enjoyed the recent Hilma af Klint exhibit, then definitely check out This Dark Country, a genre-defying book that’s both poetic and informative as it brings to light the stories of painters who might have otherwise been forgotten. 

Worlds in shadow : submerged lands in science, memory and myth / Nunn, Patrick D.
“The traces of much of human history – and that which preceded it – lie beneath the ocean surface. This is fertile ground for speculation, even myth-making, but also a topic on which geologists and climatologists have increasingly focused on in recent decades. This is the first book to present the science of submergence in a popular format. Patrick Nunn sifts the fact from the fiction, using the most up-to-date research to work out which submerged places may have actually existed versus those that probably only exist in myth.” (Catalogue)

Mothers, fathers, and others : essays / Hustvedt, Siri
“Siri Hustvedt’s relentlessly curious mind and expansive intellect are on full display in this stunning new collection of essays, whose subjects range from the nature of memory and time to what we inherit from our parents, the power of art during tragedy, misogyny, motherhood, neuroscience, and the books we turn to during a pandemic. Ultimately, Mothers, Fathers, and Others reminds us that the boundaries we take for granted – between ourselves and others, between art and viewer – are far less stable than we imagine.” (Adapted from Amazon UK)

On the necessity of gardening : an ABC of art, botany and cultivation
“Over the centuries, artists, writers, poets and thinkers have each described, depicted and designed the garden in different ways. In medieval art, the garden was a reflection of paradise, a place of harmony and fertility, shielded from worldly problems. In the eighteenth century this image tilted: the garden became a symbol of worldly power and politics. The Anthropocene, the era in which man completely dominates nature with disastrous consequences, is forcing us to radically rethink the role we have given nature in recent decades.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A taste for poison : eleven deadly molecules and the killers who used them / Bradbury, Neil
“As any reader of murder mysteries can tell you, poison is one of the most enduring – and popular – weapons of choice for a scheming murderer. It can be slipped into a drink, smeared onto the tip of an arrow or the handle of a door, even filtered through the air we breathe. But how exactly do these poisons work to break our bodies down, and what can we learn from the damage they inflict? In a fascinating blend of popular science, medical history, and true crime, Dr. Neil Bradbury explores this most morbidly captivating method of murder from a cellular level. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This dark country : women artists, still life and intimacy in the early Twentieth century / Birrell, Rebecca
“Lemons gleam in a bowl. Flowers fan out softly in a vase. What is contained in a still life – and what falls out of the frame? For every artist we remember, there is one we have forgotten; who leaves only elusive traces; whose art was replaced by being a mother or wife; whose remaining artworks lie dusty in archives or attics. In this boldly original blend of group biography and art criticism, Rebecca Birrell brings these shadowy figures into the light and conducts a dazzling investigation into the structures of intimacy that make – and dismantle – our worlds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Conversations on love / Lunn, Natasha
“After years of feeling that love was always out of reach, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work and evolve over a lifetime. She turned to authors and experts to learn about their experiences, as well as drawing on her own, asking: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it? In Conversations on Love she began to find the answers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A wild idea / Franklin, Jonathan
“In 1991, Doug Tompkins abandoned his comfortable life in San Francisco and flew 6,500 miles south to a shack in Patagonia. Shielded by waterfalls and wilderness, the founder of such groundbreaking companies as Esprit and The North Face suddenly regretted the corporate capitalism from which he had profited from years. As a CEO he had caused much pollution and, “made things nobody needed.” Now, he declared, it was time to reverse the damage to the planet, and maybe even himself. In A Wild Idea, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Jonathan Franklin tells the incredible true story of Douglas Tompkins, who became one of the primary founders of our modern conservation and land protection movement.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From quilting to amigurumi: New books on crafts and hobbies

Knitting, weaving, quilting, and pattern making have been called by different names in history, and still we find ourselves in awe at the sublime intricacies of these crafts. These artforms are forever capturing the zeitgeist of the modern world.

The book Te Puna Waiora : the distinguished weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi is a stunning depiction of the great mana of Aotearoa’s senior Māori weavers who not only honour the tradition, but also ensure the survival of the masterful practice today.

Pamela Vanderlinde’s book, Patternmaking for Dress Design: 9 iconic styles from empire to cheongsam, is packed with vivid illustrations and depicts the historical backdrops behind nine iconic dress designs. It showcases a comprehensive, project-based approach to classic cuts for modern-day, fashion pieces that even the present generation would love to wear.

Like weaving and pattern making, the art of crocheting traces its inception to China’s Shang dynasty, but has evolved into numerous cross-cultural forms. Learn by starting off with basic stitches in Crocheted bags : 25 quick and easy projects to make.

Crocheting has found its way, too, into the modern world. With a bale of yarn and hook, crocheting gave birth to amigurumi. Although amigurumi has been a trend for the last ten years, the Japanese form of knitting small stuffed creatures has swept the world’s imagination. Considered as one of the offshoots of the kawaii craze that started in the 1970’s Japan, amigurumi is a cuteness overload for the modern day world. Two new books in our collection: Crochet at work : 20 career dolls to make and customize and Anyone can crochet amigurumi animals : 15 adorable crochet patterns provide whimsical, crocheting journeys for everyone.

Finally, our new book on quilting, Quilt as you go : a practical guide to 14 inspiring techniques & projects, makes a great resource for those who simply don’t have much space or time, or are wanting to start a new fabric project in small manageable sections.

Te Puna Waiora : the distinguished weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi
“The weavers of Te Kahui Whiritoi are the senior Māori weavers of Aotearoa New Zealand. Here, their works and stories reveal the complexity and beauty of raranga, placing te whare pora, the house of weaving, at the centre of Māori life, where it connects the weaver to their whakapapa and whenua, their whānau, iwi and tūpuna”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Patternmaking for dress design : 9 iconic styles from Empire to cheongsam / Vanderlinde, Pamela
“Detailed patterns and step-by-step instructions guide fashion designers through creating 9 iconic dresses. With background on each garment’s historical significance and examples of how they’ve reinvented in contemporary collections”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

 

Crocheted bags : 25 quick and easy projects to make / Osmond, Emma
“Crochet your way from clutch to tote, making a variety of beautiful bags in between, with the latest title in the Weekend Makes series.  Grab your crochet hook and yarn and join the trend by creating a carrier for every outing. Whether you’re a newcomer to this craft or have been hooked for a while, you’ll find a project to kickstart your creativity and learn the skills required to make it. With detailed techniques, tools and materials sections, this book provides everything you need to know to get started.”–Amazon.com.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crochet at work : 20 career dolls to make and customize / McCully, Kate
“Discover 20 adorable amigurumi dolls to crochet, each dressed for a different career. Customize the dolls by choosing the body shape, skin and hair colour, hairstyle, outfit and accessories. There are over 100,000 possible combinations!” (Catalogue)

 

Anyone can crochet amigurumi animals : 15 adorable crochet patterns / Simpson, Kristi
“Whether you’ve been crocheting for years or have never picked up a crochet hook before, this accessible, exciting project guide will show any crafter of any skill level everything you need to know to successfully make adorable amigurumi animals! This crochet project book opens with expert guidance on basic tools and techniques and insightful introductory sections on the basics.  Each project that follows features clear, easy-to-follow instructions, how-to crochet illustrations, photo step-outs for detail work, and additional insider tips and tricks to make the most of your crochet projects. Also included are stitch guides, a comprehensive glossary, a handy abbreviations sheet, and more.” — Amazon.com.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Quilt as you go : a practical guide to 14 inspiring techniques & projects / Forster, Carolyn
“Choose from a variety of hand- and machine-sewn styles including stitch-and-flip, envelope-style, lined circles, Suffolk puffs and cathedral windows. Each technique is photographed step by step, and then each completed, discrete block can be transformed into a stunning quilt project, which comes complete with full instructions. If you like taking your creative work with you when you travel, love the convenience of working in small, manageable blocks, or simply want to try out some different techniques before committing to a full-size quilt, this book will help you achieve remarkable results. All the templates required are included at full size.” (Catalogue)

Comics in Conversation with Literature: The Immortal Hulk – Part 4

The Immortal Hulk was a critically-acclaimed and fan-beloved run of one of Marvel’s most popular and complex heroes, Dr Bruce Banner and his ‘system’ of alter egos: the child-like Savage Hulk, the morally ambiguous Grey Hulk or ‘Joe Fixit’, and the protective and paternalistic Immortal Hulk. Concluding in October 2021, the series was written by Al Ewing and drawn by Joe Bennett, and centres on a new revelation about the character: Bruce Banner can die but the Hulk cannot. Which makes them, as the title suggests, immortal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this undead twist, Ewing and Bennett used the opportunity to turn Hulk into a horror book. The newly-minted Immortal Hulk battled such terrors as radioactive zombies, paranormal possessions, city-destroying kaiju, the Devil, the legions of Hell, and a cyborg yeti alien who can manipulate people’s minds through smartphones. Gradually, the series expanded its scope to ask fundamental questions about the nature of man and our own ‘immortal’ obsessions with death, the afterlife, and the relationships we have to our emotions, our friends, our institutions, our society, and the divine. The final issues of The Immortal Hulk go both deeply personal and expansively cosmic, as Bruce confronts his ex-wife Betty (now a monster of her own called ‘The Red Harpy’), his potential for happiness had he not been turned into a monster, and eventually God Himself to ask “why does Hulk have to be Hulk at all?”

Every issue of The Immortal Hulk opens with a quote from a famous book or writer, chosen by Ewing to give thematic weight to each issue and something for the audience to ponder on a close reading. Below, I’ve picked out some of the best opening quotations from volumes ten, eleven, and the ‘Great Power’ spin-off collection of The Immortal Hulk, and linked them to the works of their respective writers so you can find them in our collection.

If you want to read the comic first, you can order the first volume here or read it on Libby here. Check out the previous editions of this blog (Part One, Two, and Three) to read about all the references in the first nine volumes, and if you’ve read up to volume ten, reserve it here.

“Many times he died, Many times rose again.” – from ‘Death’ by W. B. Yeats : the poems / Yeats, W. B.

The best story of the ‘Great Power’ collection, which collects other writer’s takes on the Immortal Hulk, is Irish writer/artist Declan Shalvey’s ‘Flatline’, set early in the series when Bruce is still grappling the Immortal Hulk persona and his new inability to die. Shalvey opens the issue with a segment of the poem ‘Death’ by one of his homeland’s greats, William Butler Yeats. The poem reminds the reader that while we can personify Death all we like, we can never actually meet it on our terms face-to-face. Throughout the issue, death separates Banner from the Immortal Hulk, as one literally becomes the other upon dying, never to actually meet, and this tension fuels their early animosity.

“If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die” A Christmas Carol / Dickens, Charles

My favourite issue of the ‘Apocrypha’ collection (Volume 11) is ‘Black Christmas’. Stuck in a snowy, vacant New York on Christmas and under attack by symbiotes, Joe Fixit and Savage Hulk take shelter in a department store. When the attack is over, Joe treats the child-minded Savage Hulk to a night in the store’s toy section. On this lovely scene, however, we get the only quote that ends an issue rather than opening it, one from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Addressed to Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Present, the line is a grim portent of Tiny Tim’s death if Scrooge does not end his selfish ways and treat Bob Cratchit to a fair wage to support his family. It’s a great payoff to Joe Fixit’s arc of learning how to be a more considerate person to other people and deepens his relationship between his fellow Hulk personas, particularly as a protector to Savage Hulk in the Immortal Hulk’s absence.

“Vengeance is from the individual — punishment belongs to God.” –  The last day of a condemned man / Hugo, Victor

As a genre, superhero comics are built on the idea that there is clear good and evil, meaning moral ambiguity has to be explored not through justice itself, but through the specific mechanics of justice. In issue 46, the government sends the Avengers to take Hulk out once and for all, with Thor landing the first blow. The issue opens with a line from Victor Hugo’s 1829 preface to his novelette against capital punishment, The Last Day of a Condemned Man, in which he argues that society sits between the individual desire to seek vengeance after a criminal act and the divine act of punishment from above. Hugo concludes that society cannot punish because that choice alone belongs to God. Ewing dramatizes this idea in Immortal Hulk through Thor, who acts as both a state-sanctioned superhero seeking to do right and a god tasking himself with ridding Midgard of the Hulk, as the Hulk fights back, rejecting Thor’s authority on both counts.

“I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me, and finding myself unsympathised with, wished to tear up the tree, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin” –  Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus / Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft

As the Hulk has his rematch with the Avengers, rage seems to flow out of him to infect everyone else, leading to a massive battle in New York. Stan Lee, co-creator of the Hulk, has said that one of his inspirations for the Hulk was Frankenstein’s Monster. Like the Immortal Hulk, the Monster is a brutish creature born of science, grappling with his place in the cosmic order, and capable of both eloquence and savagery. Thor believes Hulk to be Midgard’s ‘god of wrath’ and the blight on the World Tree, further tying him to how the Monster identifies himself in the book by Mary Shelly.

“And I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with iron bars, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more The castle / Kafka, Franz

The Castle is Kafka’s last novel, a paranoid dystopian story about a man, ‘K’, investigating a shadowy bureaucracy operating from the titular castle. The Immortal Hulk quotes a passage where ‘K’ and his fiancée Frieda argue about their relationship. Frieda laments that K is too distracted by his job, and she is so lonely as a result that she finds comfort in her dream of them holding each other close in a grave. Issue 48 focuses on the Hulk and his ex-wife Betty, the Red Harpy, as they reflect on their relationship, most of which was defined by hiding from their own ‘Castle’, be it the authorities hunting them down or Banner’s multiple Hulk alter egos getting in their way. As the series nears its end, we see how Hulk and Betty both had to change and be resurrected (in Hulk’s case, multiple times) to finally be honest about who they are and what they mean to each other. Love expressed through the grave, indeed.

“Through me you pass into the City of Woe: Through me you pass into eternal pain: through me among the people lost for aye. Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d: to rear me was the task of power divine, supremest wisdom, and primeval love. Before me things create were none, save things eternal, and eternal I endure” – Inferno : a verse translation / Dante Alighieri

The penultimate issue of the series sees Hulk mounting a rescue mission to the Below-Place to save Banner from the Leader. Using the Fantastic Four’s ‘Forever Gate’, Hulk sees a vision of a possible Bruce Banner, without the Hulk, truly happy with his family and supporting cast. It’s a life that Banner can never have and never could, because the Hulk isn’t in it, which Hulk has to bear witness to before he sets off to rescue his ‘puny’ human persona. Seeing the Hulk at his most pensive and uneasy, it’s befitting in an issue about standing on a threshold that the chosen quote precedes the most quoted passage of Dante’s Inferno, the phrase above the gateway to Hell; “All hope abandon, ye who enter here”.

“I behold thee Enkidu; like a god thou art. Why with the animals wanderest thou on the plain?” –  Gilgamesh : a new English version

The Apocrypha collects an The Immortal Hulk spinoff called ‘Time of Monsters’ which depicts the first-ever Hulk in ancient Jordan, circa 9500 BCE. The opening quote compares the Hulk to Enkidu, the ‘wild man’ from one of the earliest surviving pieces of literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh. While he is positioned as being from outside civilisation due to his wild status, Enkidu is no less heroic, helping the more traditional hero Gilgamesh in his adventures, despite eventually perishing after being punished by the gods. An unconventional hero seemingly more beast than man, who is positioned against civilisation and the gods and dies tragically? To my mind, it shows that since we first started writing stories, there has always been a Hulk.

A Final Note on Theme: The Left Hand is Strength, but the Right Hand is Mercy – Kabbalah : a very short introduction / Dan, Joseph

So you may be thinking having reached the end of the series, what was the deal with The One-Above-All calling Hulk ‘Geburah’ and ‘Golachab’? And what exactly of ‘Chesed’? These are references to Kabbalah, a practice of mysticism from Judaism. In Kaballah, a mystic traces a path through ‘the Tree of Life’ which contains ten heavenly spheres called the Sephirot, each representing an attribute of God (two of which are Geburah and Chesed), in order to better understand the divine with themselves. The Sephirot also has an inverse tree in the Qlippoth, which have opposing negative qualities to each Sephirot (Golachab as the Qlippoth to Geburah). A running theme of The Immortal Hulk is what the Hulk represents as an entity and what he should choose to do with his immeasurable strength, and tying this to Kaballah allows that idea to be explored within the bounds of morality and obligation, particularly in whether we should act with condemnation or compassion towards others.

eLibrary spotlight: Mango Languages

Is learning a new language one of your goals, but you’re not quite sure where to start? Maybe you’re excited at the prospect of travelling, and would like to be able to navigate other countries with more confidence? If so, you could give Mango Languages a try! Available via our eLibrary page with your Wellington Cities Libraries card, Mango Languages is an online language learning resource that makes committing to learning a new language achievable and fun!

How you take in a new language differs from person to person, so Mango Languages utilises intelligent algorithms to “learn how you learn and adapt accordingly”. As well as this, Mango Languages utilises native speaking audio resources and a conversation based learning methodology to help you jump into a new language quickly, with confidence. 

a screenshot example of Mango Languages lesson interface


Each language is broken down into detailed chapters; Each chapter covers how to converse in all sorts of situations and contexts, including introductions and small talk, university life, travel and food and dining. Each lesson, built around an example conversation, offers opportunities to learn by listening, reading and by recording yourself and listening back to how you sound compared to a native speaker (this can be a little scary, but is super helpful!).

Lessons are also supplemented with other learning tools, for example quizzes. The resource also provides colour mapping onto sentences to reveal relationships between languages and cultural notes that provide extra context to what you’re learning, with the goal of facilitating a deeper understanding of your chosen language.

example of Mango Language's extra context feature
Mango Languages provides lesson on over 70 languages, and it’s free with your library card. Give it a go! Au revoir!

 

 

The books of Jacob : Recently acquired fiction

New Fiction titles


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The investigator Kosuke Kindaichi mysteries

“Why is it that all men like to lie?”

― Seishi Yokomizo, The Village of Eight Graves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Flavours: New Cook Books

We’re celebrating the flavours of the world with this month’s selection of new cook books. We have new cook books on cuisines from Australia, Africa, India, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Venice and Thailand! We also have new keto recipes for kiwis, cheap and easy vegan recipes and a whole book of desserts from MasterChef’s Reynold Poernomo. Many of these books are available in eBook format, so you don’t even need to leave your house to be able to mix it up in the kitchen with some fresh new recipes.

Mabu mabu : an Australian kitchen cookbook / Bero, Nornie
“In Mabu Mabu, charismatic First Nations chef Nornie Bero champions the tastes of native flavours in everyday cooking by unlocking the secrets of Australian herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits. Nornie grew up on the island of Mer in the Torres Strait and while her wanderlust would take her to Italian and Japanese kitchens in Melbourne and London via Townsville, her home now is Mabu Mabu, a restaurant renowned in Melbourne and beyond for its innovative and delicious Australian Indigenous food. This book, also called Mabu Mabu – which means help yourself – reflects Nornie’s approach to cooking: simple, accessible, delicious, and colourful!” (adapted from catalogue)

Saka Saka : adventures in African cooking, south of the Sahara / Cocagne, Anto
“Chef Anto Cocagne and photographer Aline Princet take us on a unique food journey and introduce us to the best recipes from Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and Ethiopia. We will discover the main characteristics of these cuisines, the specialties of each region, the produce, the ideal pantry, the basics, as well as mouthwatering recipes for appetizers, main courses, side dishes, street food, desserts, and drinks. With stunning food and landscape photography, complemented by beautiful and colorful design, this book is an ode to conviviality, generosity, and positivity. It is a love letter to Africa” (adapted from catalogue)

Masala lab : the science of Indian cooking / Ashok, Krish
“Ever wondered why your grandmother threw a teabag into the pressure cooker while boiling chickpeas, or why she measured using the knuckle of her index finger? Masala Lab is a science nerd’s exploration of Indian cooking with the ultimate aim of making the reader a better cook and turning the kitchen into a joyful, creative playground for culinary experimentation. Exhaustively tested and researched, and with a curious and engaging approach to food, Krish Ashok puts together the one book the Indian kitchen definitely needs, proving along the way that your grandmother was right all along.” (adapted from catalogue)

Amber & rye : a Baltic food journey : Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania / Zak, Zuza
“In the Baltics, two worlds meet: the Baltic Sea connects Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, bringing with it cultural exchange and culinary influences. The recipes in this book explore new culinary horizons-grounded in Baltic traditions yet inspired by contemporary trends-making them modern, unique, and easy to recreate at home. In addition to the food and stories of travel, there are snippets of poetry, literature, songs, and proverbs, adding a rich layer of context that makes Amber & Rye a cultural reference point for travelers as well as a showcase for the vibrant new cuisine of the Baltic States.” (adapted from catalogue)

Flavourbomb : fast fresh fun keto for kiwis / MacDonald, Belinda
“Belinda MacDonald loves creating super-fast modern keto dishes with clever twists to make you smile. During Covid lockdown she launched a new website called Flavourbomb to help people with kitchen confidence and clever ingredient swaps to make dishes keto, and which took off like a rocket. Her new book has a wonderful selection of main meals plus a great mix of fat bombs, sweet treats, keto breads, crackers, summer party fare and a particularly vibrant veggie section. There is a section at the back called Flavourbombs, which has essential condiments, sauces, tangy pickles, zingy dressings and luscious dippy things to boost flavour. KAPOW!!” (adapted from catalogue)

Polpo : a Venetian cookbook (of sorts) / Norman, Russell
“Tucked away in a backstreet of London’s edgy Soho district, POLPO is one of the hottest restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bàcaro where Russell Norman serves up dishes from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfussy, innovative and exuberantly delicious. With luminescent photography by Jenny Zarins, which captures the unfrequented corners, the bustling bàcari and the sublime waterways of Venice, POLPO is a dazzling tribute to Italy’s greatest hidden cuisine.” (adapted from catalogue)

The dessert game : simple tricks, skill-builders and show-stoppers to up your game / Poernomo, Reynold
“Got a sweet tooth or someone to impress? Level up your dessert game with tried-and-tested recipes from modern-day MasterChef legend Reynold Poernomo. Perfect your butter cake, curd tart or creme caramel with Level 1. Kick it up a notch with Level 2, for swoon-worthy jar desserts, the perfect oozy lava cake or the ultimate praline tart. Level 3 is an access-all-areas pass to the signature dishes and secret recipes for white noise, onyx, magic mushrooms and more – these creations need to be seen (and tasted) to be believed.” (adapted from catalogue)

Epic vegan quick-and-easy : simple one-pot and one-pan plant based recipes / Harder, Dustin
“Accessible. Affordable. Delicious . These three words are at the heart of Epic Vegan Quick and Easy , a cookbook of simple one-pot and one-pan meals perfect for anyone who wants to dive into plant-based cooking. This book tells you how to create your own masterpieces by adding exciting flavors and textures, stacking layers upon layers of ooey-gooey goodness, and putting variety at your fingertips. You’ll also find great nutrient-rich staples , sheet-pan meals , and meal prep combos that require very little time and, better yet, minimal clean up!” (adapted from catalogue)

Thailand from the source : authentic recipes from the people that know them best / Bush, Austin
“Provides authentic Thai recipes from local chefs and food vendors, including such offerings as chicken green curry, roasted catfish in banana leaf, and slow-cooked beef in herbs.” (Catalogue)

New CDs for Te Awe

New CDs March 2022


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Statler: Well, it was good.
Waldorf: Ah, it was very bad.
Statler: Well, it was average.
Waldorf: Ah, it was in the middle there.
Statler: Ah, it wasn’t that great.
Waldorf: I kind of liked it.”
-‘The Muppet Show’.


I’m Mark, the Music & Film Specialist at Wellington City Libraries (I also run the Libraries’ Wellington Music Facebook page). Every month my colleague Neil and I cast our eye over the new material we have been buying for the Music collection at our CBD Te Awe library, and pick out some interesting titles across a range of music genres to review. Our limit is a few lines only. Do we actually know anything about new music? Can you encapsulate an entire album in just a couple of lines? Or are we just too old to understand what most of this music is banging on about?
Read on to find out…

Fall in love not in line. / Kids on a Crime Spree
Mark: This is the second album from this cult Swedish band, after 2011’s We Love You So Bad. Catchy, cool, jangly guitar-pop that merges Girl-group 60s sounds with reverb laden VU touches and 70s power-pop. Very 80s sounding overall; the whole album could have basically been the Soundtrack to Pretty in Pink.
Neil: One can’t help but feel that 80’s rom com classic movies are popular with Kids on a Crime Spree. So much so that the album is full of upbeat, jingly jangly, tunes that would fit perfectly into that time and those movies. It is all done with lovingly recreated sounds from the time, if this is your type of music it’s spot on.

Magma. / Black Flower
Mark: Black Flower are a Belgian Jazz ensemble, who merge Ethiopian jazz, Afro-centric funk & dub, East Asian and Middle Eastern influences into a post-bop jazz framework. This is their fifth album, and it has been hailed as artistic breakthrough. Sinuous Middle Eastern lines collide with Afrobeat, jazz, psych and prog elements. If you enjoy jazz that has moved outside of the Western styles to incorporate different tunings and improvisational techniques, then this is one to check out.
Neil: The album can be described in one word: Unique. It is a hypnotic, psych prog outing; it has a sound that’s heavily rooted in Afrobeat and Ethiopian jazz. There’s lots of non-western tunings, time signatures and instruments being used. If you are happy to try something approachable, but a little off the beaten track, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Continue reading “New CDs for Te Awe”

Filling Bellies on a Budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urgency and optimism: Sustainability recent picks

Sustainability Recent Picks

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The recent addition of Wellington City Council’s household battery recycling trial has got us thinking about our sustainability goals for 2022. Below, you’ll find a curated reading list covering the environmental crisis (and what we can do about it), theories about creating a post-carbon society, community composting and recycling based family craft activities. Some of these items are on order, so they aren’t on the shelf yet, BUT you can reserve them through the catalogue today and be one of the first to read them!

Earthshot : how to save our planet / Butfield, Colin
“The Earthshot concept is simple: Urgency + Optimism = Action. We have ten years to turn the tide on the environmental crisis, but we need the world’s best solutions and one shared goal – to save our planet. It’s not too late, but we need collective action now. The Earthshots are unifying, ambitious goals for our planet which, if achieved by 2030, will improve life for all of us, for the rest of life on Earth, and for generations to come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Finding sustainability : the personal and professional journey of a plastic bag manufacturer / Romer, Trent A
“What if the foundation of your family business were threatened by something out of your control? What if the livelihood of 70 employees and their families were at stake, as the license to operate your business became called into question? What if 57 years of family history, grown through generations of hard work and sacrifice, were at risk of being lost? What if the reasons were actually one with which you fundamentally agreed? Journey to 8 states, 3 national parks and 3 countries to experience the life-changing education and adventures that led Trent A. Romer to finding sustainability for his plastic bag manufacturing business and himself.”–Page 4 of cover.” (Catalogue)

Sustainable Garden: Projects, tips and advice for the eco-friendly gardener / Boswall, Marian
“A stylish, inspirational and practical guidebook to creating and maintaining a more environmentally friendly outdoor space.” (Catalogue)

Energy transition and economic situation : food, transportation and education in a post-carbon society
“Is this the end of the world as we know it? Will the winding down of fossil-fuel consumption lead to radical changes in our lives? Or can we turn away from the climate crisis cliff while the industrial economy just keeps growing? Renewable energy sources have powered civilizations for nearly all of history and must do so again. But usable energy will become a more precious resource, as it was before our brief, explosive binge on the most easily accessible fossil fuels. In coming years we will have to recognize when “enough is enough.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sustainable Kitchen: Projects, tips and advice to shop, cook and eat in a more eco-conscious way (Sustainable Living Series) / Moore, Sadhbh
“A positive, practical handbook on how to shop, cook and eat in the most important room in the home. Founders of the Sustainable Food Story, Abi and Sadhbh, have put together tips and step-by-step projects on how to adapt your kitchen habits to a more eco-friendly way of life.” (Catalogue)

Cardboard creations for kids : 50 fun and inventive crafts using recycled materials / Ho, Kathryn
“Eco-friendly cardboard crafts to make and play with”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Community-Scale Composting Systems: A Comprehensive Practical Guide For Closing The Food System Loop And Solving Our Waste Crisis / Mcsweeney,James
“Composting at scales large enough to capture and recycle the organic wastes of a given community, whether a school, neighborhood, or even a small city, is coming of age, propelled by a growing awareness not only of our food waste crisis, but also the need to restore natural fertility in our soils.” (Catalogue)

Buy Better Consume Less: Create Real Environmental Change / Conway-Wood, Sian
“How to spot greenwashing, stop consuming and demand a more sustainable future. Climate change is now a mainstream conversation topic, and yet every week our recycling piles are still overflowing and we’re faced with a steady stream of brands trying to persuade us to buy their eco-friendly products in our quest to live sustainably.” (Catalogue)