Update on email notifications

hand showing update sign

Unfortunately, over the past week there was an outage of our email notifications, which meant they failed to send. While this issue is now resolved, this means that if you have reserves available, or items coming due (or overdue) you won’t have been alerted by email.hand showing update sign

If you have active loans or reserves, please check your library card via the online catalogue or via our WCL Mini app, to see their current status.

We apologise if you were affected by this issue. If you would like to contact library staff about your account, please visit your local branch library, or email us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz 

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)

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)

Appy Seniors events for Techweek22 | 16 to 22 May

Techweek is a nationwide series of events, showcasing and celebrating New Zealand innovation providing a platform for everyone to meet, share ideas and create connections to enhance our future world.

Wellington City Libraries’ is taking part on techweek with Appy Seniors events in six of our libraries and one Community Centre. Check the full list, per location, on the document below. Registration is encouraged and the links to each event is also on the document.

Author Interview: Nikky Lee in conversation


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eLibrary spotlight: 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)

 

 

 

Author Interview: Ngaio Marsh winner Brannavan Gnanalingam

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Tā Tipene O’Regan: Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year

E tipu e rea mo ngā rā o tō ao
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau ā te Pakeha Hei ara mō tō tinana
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā tāonga a ō tīpuna Māori
Hei tikitiki mō tō māhuna
Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, Nānā nei ngā mea katoa

It is fitting, following the month of April, to celebrate the goals of, and awards bestowed upon Tā Tīpene O’Regan who relentlessly tackled head on, issues that confronted him and commanded his attention – be it a Tiriti claim, race relations, or other take. As his family said he was a man driven by issues rather than people.

“We must remember to remember – you can never have a vision of what you want to be unless you know where you’re from [to avoid] repeating the mistakes of the past.”

In the area of race relations he believes that Māori are here by right of their indigenous status and that all other peoples are here by right of Te Tiriti. He believes that we must continue to evolve and shape our view of New Zealand as we wish it to be. He is a man who did not fight for full reimbursement for all land lost – he had no wish to bankrupt the country in pursuit of an equitable monetary pay-out. The entire value of Treaty settlements over the past quarter of a century would cover superannuation payments for two months.

“I am concerned that in this great intersection of law and history, to which the Treaty and its outcomes have condemned us, we might begin to so devalue our past, that our history and tradition become mere opinion, blown by political winds and fanned by incessant gusts of media opportunism.’

He sought to invest and grow a putea in a way which would lift his people into an entrepreneurial economic future.

Last month Tā Tipene became the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. His life and achievements are set out in the following online articles and videos:

Tā Tipene O’Regan on Wikipedia

Tā Tipene O’Regan: a life spent building a bicultural nation, via RNZ

Tā Tipene O’Regan on Kā Huru Manu

Tā Tipene O’Regan announced as Companion at 2019 Research Honours Aotearoa, via The Royal Society

Tā Tipene O’Regan on Indigenous 100

‘Tūtae in my letterbox’: The flak Sir Tipene O’Regan got for leading Waitangi settlement, via Te Ao Māori News

In pulling together details of Tā Tipene’s life, I find it distressing that whānau should become unwitting victims of harassment and behaviour by people demanding their right to freedom of speech (and action) in order to “punish” a parent’s determination to hold fast to a line of firm belief. As Tā Tipene says, in his stories, it was this side of his life which was most hurtful to his family.

Kōrero by Tā Tipene is available on our catalogue:

New myths and old politics : the Waitangi Tribunal and the challenge of tradition / O’Regan, Tipene
“Negotiating a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal can involve troubling challenges to an iwi’s legitimacy, sometimes from unexpected places. In this unique behind-the-scenes account of the negotiation of Ngāi Tahu’s Waitangi Tribunal claim, Sir Tipene O’Regan describes what happened when claims of New Age mysticism attempted to undermine traditional whakapapa and academic scholarship”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

New Myths and Old Politics is also available to read for free online via Bridget Williams Books.

 

 

 

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei.
Seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

Author interview: Christine Leunens

When Christine Leunens’s latest novel In Amber’s Wake was released recently, it shot to the top of the bestselling charts and was buoyed by a raft of rave reviews. The narrative, an astute and powerful study of personal relationships, is set in the 1980’s and is interwoven with dramatic New Zealand historical events: including the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, the Springbok Tour and the mass anti-nuclear movement of the time. It’s a page turning story, a display of deep insights into the way in which the human psyche operates.

Christine’s most recent previous novel, Caging Skies, was adapted into the multi-award winning black comedy film JoJo Rabbit directed by Taika Waititi. In Amber’s Wake has already been optioned for movie adaptation by the team that brought us the movie Thelma and Louise, so when the chance to interview Christine Leunens arose we jumped at it.  You can view this specially created interview below.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Alexandre de Maupeou ,who did the filming and editing. We’d also like to thank Nick Young from The Greenpeace Photo Library and New Zealand National Libraries Archives for permission to use the copyrighted images used in the film. A huge thanks to Christine Leunens herself for her valuable time and this insightful and thoughtful interview.


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, an environmental activist, who lives at her family’s seemingly picture-perfect stud farm. 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. As a Korean war veteran, Stuart is mentally prepared for the long, subtle war that begins between his young rival and himself for Amber’s heart. When secrets become exposed and nothing is as it seems, each will be cornered into committing acts they could have never predicted. This powerful, gripping story leaves in its wake lingering themes on the complex nature of love, social fabric, international politics, and fundamental notions of right and wrong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Caging skies / Leunens, Christine
“An avid member of the Hitler Youth in 1940s Vienna, Johannes Betzler discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa behind a false wall in their home. His initial horror turns to interest–then love and obsession. After his parents disappear, Johannes is the only one aware of Elsa’s existence in the house and the only one responsible for her survival. By turns disturbing and blackly comic, haunting and cleverly satirical, Christine Leunens’s captivating and masterful novel–sold in 16 countries and the basis for a major forthcoming film by Taika Waititi ( Thor: Ragnorak, What We Do in the Shadows)–examines this world of truth and lies, laying bare the darkest corners of the human soul.”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Jojo Rabbit
“A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.” (Adapted from 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)

Free Comic Book Day! : Collect a free comic on May 3rd

Free comic book day!

A photo of the free comics we have up for grabs.
Free comics available from all our Branches. ( From Tuesday 3rd  of May onwards)

ComicFest 2022 is just around the corner, which means it’s time for this year’s Free Comic Book Day! To celebrate, we have close to two thousand free comics to give away. All titles are clearly marked as being appropriate for either children or teenagers, and feature some of most popular characters in the comic world universe such as Sonic, Batman and Star Wars. Get a sneak peak via YouTube here!

A photo of our free comicsTo claim your free comic, simply pop into one of our branches from Tuesday the 3rd of May and ask. Supplies are limited and only  available on a first come first basis, so best be quick!

ComicFest will be hosted online on May 7th from 9am-5pm, livestreamed via our YouTube channel. You can bookmark the livestream here.  Our dedicated staff are working flat out to bring you an exciting programme, featuring some of Aotearoa’s finest graphic artists and comic creators. If you would like an email reminder about ComicFest 2022, sign-up for our mailing list here.

View our full programme below: 

 

 

 

He kōtuku rerenga kotahi: remembering Moana Jackson

He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata: of the people, by the people, for the people.
He hōnore, he korōria ki te Atua he maungārongo ki te whenua. He whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa.

As 29 April 2022 approaches, the effects of Covid19 means that once more Wellington City Libraries will not mark the signing of Te Tiriti in Te Whanganui-a-Tara with a three-pronged kōrero –i.e. a mana whenua summary of past actions, informed discussion of present aspects of te tiriti and then future thoughts as in: where to now.

The burning question for today is he kupu – “co-governance”.

How I wish that we could call upon Moana to offer up a wise, quiet, succinct non-inflammatory explanation, but, alas, he is no longer with us. This month we are totally devastated by his passing, and the many pages of social media commentary have highlighted and refreshed for us his many words of wisdom. Here was a man who quietly touched the hearts of so many people, yet remained absolutely centred on his whānau.

In his kōrero for the launch of “Imagining decolonisation” at Unity Books, he told us how he would approach an upcoming kōrero by going for a long walk, in order to think carefully of the words and ideas he wished to impart. And often his delivery would begin (or end) with a quiet little story involving a grandchild, and a vision for us all through a child’s lens.

Please find below he poroporoakī ki tēnei tangata mīharo.

Moana Jackson: His legacy will endure, via E-Tangata

Moana Jackson was the most articulate, original and forceful intellectual of his generation, via The Guardian

Moana Jackson has left us with the drive to keep fighting, via The Spinoff

Annette Sykes’ eulogy at Moana Jackson’s tangi.

Below is a list of books written by Moana Jackson, which are held in the library’s collection:

Imagining decolonisation.
“Seeks to demystify decolonisation using illuminating, real-life examples. By exploring the impact of colonisation on Māori and non-Māori alike, ‘Imagining decolonisation’ presents a transformative vision of a country that is fairer for all”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Imagining Decolonisation is also available to read for free online via Bridget Williams Books.

Like a beached whale : a consideration of proposed Crown actions over Maori foreshore claims / Jackson, Moana

Backgrounding the Paeroa Declaration / Jackson, Moana

The Maori and the criminal justice system : a new perspective = He whaipaanga hou / Jackson, Moana

We will not fill the void left by this unique man who had the ability to speak so softly with such devastatingly uncompromising words in explanation of Te Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti.

Moe mai ra e te Matua i roto i tō moenga roa, Haere ki Hawaiiki nui, Hawaiiki roa, ki Hawaiiki pamamao te huinga o ngā wairua o te pō, moe mai ra.

¡Día del idioma Español! Spanish Language Day

¡Qué bueno! Saturday 23 April is UN Spanish Language Day; a day which is celebrated around the world. There are over 530 million Spanish speakers worldwide and here at WCL, we have a huge collection of books in Spanish; over 700 items across our branches!

To browse our full collection of Spanish language books, go to our catalogue and click ‘Advanced’ at the far right of the search bar. From here, select ‘Call Number’ from the top drop-down menu and enter ‘Spanish’. Hit the ‘Advanced Search’ button and all of our Spanish language items will appear for you to browse, reserve and borrow!

Below is a selection of our newest Spanish language items, as well as some of our librarians’ favourite books by Spanish-speaking writers that have been translated into English. ¡Disfruta leyendo! Happy reading!

Del aire al aire / Guedea, Rogelio
“Meditaciones acerca de los limites entre la realidad y los suenos, estos micro-relatos crean un mundo imaginario que aparenta ser mas autentico que el mundo fisico. Vidas se esfuman en suenos y pensamientos se cristalizan en el curso de una vida a traves de estos cuentos.”” (Catalogue)

 

 

Violeta / Allende, Isabel
“Violeta viene al mundo un tormentoso día de 1920, siendo la primera niña de una familia de cinco bulliciosos hermanos. Desde el principio su vida estará marcada por acontecimientos extraordinarios, pues todavía se sienten las ondas expansivas de la Gran Guerra cuando la gripe española llega a las orillas de su país sudamericano natal, casi en el momento exacto de su nacimiento. En una carta dirigida a una persona a la que ama por encima de todas las demás, Violeta rememora devastadores desengaños amorosos y romances apasionados, momentos de pobreza y también de prosperidad, pérdidas terribles e inmensas alegrías.” (adapted from catalogue)

Habitaciones compartidas / Guedea, Rogelio
“Roque, profesor de literatura hispana en Nueva Zelanda, vive con su mujer e hijos y lejos de su México natal una rutina tranquila, incluso monótona. Un buen día recibe un correo electrónico de Diego Valente, contratado por la misma universidad, quien le pide consejo dada su inminente llegada a la ciudad, a fin de aclimatarse al entorno. Diego es también mexicano y viene acompañado de la encantadora Lía, su mujer, y sus dos hijos menores. Para Roque y los suyos este encuentro se antoja providencial, pues es la primera familia de compatriotas que fijará su residencia en el mismo lugar en el que viven desde hace ya siete años, lo que traerá un renovado aire a sus vidas. Sin embargo, lo que en un principio se adivina un futuro halagüeño, poco a poco se tornará para ambas parejas en un escenario cercano a la pesadilla…” (adapted from catalogue)

Lituma en los Andes / Vargas Llosa, Mario
“Ambientada en un remoto pueblo de montaña, Lituma en los Andes comienza como una novela policíaca sobre la desaparición de tres lugareños. El cabo Lituma y su ayudante Tomás sospechan de Sendero Luminoso, la organización guerrillera que viene sembrando el terror en el Perú. Pero la intriga adquiere visos inesperados cuando se descubren crueles prácticas ancestrales en la zona, y la narración va ganando dimensiones conforme las pesquisas se alternan con los recuerdos íntimos de los protagonistas. Con un virtuoso manejo de la trama, la psicología y los géneros, Mario Vargas Llosa ofrece al cabo una profunda meditación sobre la sociedad peruana y sus males históricos.”–Page [4] of cover.” (Catalogue)

In the time of the butterflies : a novel / Alvarez, Julia
“It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas The Butterflies. In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters Minerva, Patria, Maria Teresa, and the survivor, Dede speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression. ” (Catalogue)

Chronicle of a death foretold / García Márquez, Gabriel
“Santiago Nasar is brutally murdered in a small town by two brothers. All the townspeople knew it was going to happen – including the victim. But nobody did anything to prevent the killing. Twenty seven years later, a man arrives in town to try and piece together the truth from the contradictory testimonies of the townsfolk.” (Catalogue)

 

Like water for chocolate : a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies / Esquivel, Laura
“A #1 bestseller in Mexico in 1990, this charming, imaginative, and just plain fun novel of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico employs a winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The tunnel / Sabato, Ernesto
“Infamous for the murder of Maria Iribarne, the artist Juan Pablo Castel is now writing a detailed account of his relationship with the victim from his prison cell- obsessed from the first moment he saw her examining one of his paintings, Castel had become fixated on her over the next months and fantasized over how they might meet again. When he happened upon her one day, a relationship was formed which swiftly convinced him of their mutual love. But Castel’s growing paranoia would lead him to destroy the one thing he truly cared about . . . ” (adapted from catalogue)

The house on Mango Street / Cisneros, Sandra
“The bestselling coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world–from the winner of the 2019 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros’ masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.” (Catalogue)

The postman : a novel / Skármeta, Antonio
“The unforgettable inspiration for the Academy Award-winning Il Postino, this classic novel established Antonio Skarmeta’s reputation as “one of the most representative authors of the post-boom generation in contemporary Latin American letters”. Boisterously funny and passionate, The Postman tells of young love ignited by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Set in the colourful, ebullient years preceding the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the book has been translated into nearly twenty-five languages around the world.” – Fishpond

Unexpected art and concrete canvases

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parent to parent : sharing stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.