Queens of the Abyss: Lost Stories from the Women of the Weird – new Sci-Fi and Fantasy

The task of the right eye is to peer into the telescope, while the left eye peers into the microscope.” ― Leonora Carrington (Down Below)

One of our new and recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles is Queens of the Abyss: Lost Stories from the Women of the Weird. There is a mistaken perception that in the 19th and early 20th centuries, weird and wonderful fiction, was the exclusive domain of male writers but, as this fabulous new anthology shows, this view is far from the truth.

The fundamental contributions made by women authors to the birth of this genre is celebrated in this anthology from overlooked pulp magazine contributors to more established authors such as Frances Hodgson Burnett, Marie Corelli, Margaret St Clair and Leonora Carrington. Many of these tales have never been reprinted since their first publication so why not delve into the abyssal depths of surreal darkness in this entertaining and important work? There’s lots of other wonderful new Science Fiction and Fantasy titles recently acquired by us, this short list is only our picks. Enjoy!

Queens of the abyss : lost stories from the women of the weird
” Contents include  A revelation by Mary E. Braddon,  The sculptor’s angel by Marie Corelli, From the dead by Edith Nesbit, The Christmas in the fog by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The haunted flat by  Marie Belloc Lowndes, A modern circle by Alicia Ramsey, The nature of the evidence by May Sinclair,   The Bishop of hell by Marjorie Bowen,  The antimacassar by Greye La Spina, White lady by Sophie Wenzel Ellis,  The laughing thing by  G.G. Pendarves ,  Candlelight by Lady Eleanor Smith,  The wonderful tune by Jessie Douglas Kerruish, Island of the hands by Margaret St Clare, The unwanted by Mary Elizabeth Counselman and The seventh horse by the exceptional genius Leonora Carrington.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tomorrow The World / Joseph, M. K.
“A dying Hitler dictates his memoirs to a personal aide whilst his top commanders plot against each other to see who will become the next Fuhrer. Meanwhile a small resistance group from England tries to smuggle a package across Europe that will help to smash the fascist rule, but are they in reality the pawns of one of the German Generals? … Now a new novel has been discovered that imagines Britain and Europe as ruled by the Nazis after they won WWII.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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

Archangel’s sun / Singh, Nalini
“The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on – especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence. It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires. There is no one left . . . but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death, upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A girl from nowhere / Maxwell, James
“Life in the wasteland is a constant struggle. No one knows it better than Taimin. Crippled, and with only his indomitable aunt to protect him, Taimin must learn to survive in a world scorched by two suns and frequented by raiders. But when Taimin discovers his homestead ransacked and his aunt killed, he sets off with one mission: to seek revenge against those who stole everything. With nowhere to call home, his hunt soon takes a turn when he meets a mystic, Selena, who convinces him to join her search for the fabled white city. Taimin and Selena both need refuge, and the white city is a place where Taimin may find someone to heal his childhood injury. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ambergris / VanderMeer, Jeff
 Before Area X, there was Ambergris. Jeff VanderMeer conceived what would become his first cult classic series of speculative works: the Ambergris Trilogy. Now, for the first time ever, the story of the sprawling metropolis of Ambergris is collected into a single volume, including City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Finch.” (Catalogue)

Piranesi / Clarke, Susanna
“Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house. There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The blue eye / Khan, Ausma Zehanat
“The Companions of Hira used their wits and magic to battle against the Talisman, an organization whose hyper conservative agenda limits free thinking and subjugates women. They were defeated. But Arian continues to lead a disparate group of Companions in pursuit of the mystical artifact that could end the Talisman’s rule: The Bloodprint. For the arcane tome slipped out of their reach once more in the heat of battle. Through all they have endured, Arian’s band of allies has always remained united in the face of their enemy. ” (Catalogue)

Master of poisons : a novel / Hairston, Andrea
“The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find. Djola, righthand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile. Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men. ” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi – 6th February event

Here in Wellington we’re far away from Waitangi where the official Waitangi Day commemorations happen every year. But did you know that we’re lucky enough to be able to visit the Treaty itself locally at the He Tohu exhibition at the National Library?

He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of three Aotearoa New Zealand constitutional documents, and preserves these powerful taonga for future generations. The three documents are:

  • He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (1835)
    Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840)
    Treaty of Waitangi
  • The Women’s Suffrage Petition (1893)
    Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine

On Waitangi Day this year you can visit the National Library for a 30-minute guided tour exploring this multi-award winning exhibition. Tours begin on the hour and half hour between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm, and there’s much more happening besides.

As part of the commemorations, our own He Matapihi Library (housed on-site at the National Library), will be open for the day for browsing, and will host a children’s puppet show by String Bean Puppets.

Please note that He Matapihi will be the only Wellington branch library open on Waitangi Day, and will open from 9:30am – 4:30pm.

What?
Nan and Tuna — a bilingual puppet show, presented by Stringbean Puppets.

Where?
He Matapihi Molesworth Library, 70 Molesworth St, Thorndon.

When?
Saturday 6th Feb at 10:30am

“Nan and Tuna have been friends for 70 years and now it is time for one last adventure together. But before they leave they need to find someone to care for the river. A bilingual puppet show about eels, rivers and friendship.”

The National Library have a full day of activities planned so there will be lots more to see and do, including:

  • Arts and crafts activities for the whole whānau
  • Historical footage of Waitangi Day commemorations curated by Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision
  • A Māori pronunciation workshop to learn more about the Māori words used in Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • An installation of giant banners featuring four Treaty signatories, including local rangatira Te Wharepōuri

Waitangi Day at the National Library

He Matapihi will also have a display of books about the Treaty of Waitangi, including some of these:

The Treaty of Waitangi / Calman, Ross
“The best basic introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document; it summarizes the history of the Treaty and race relations in New Zealand/ Aotearoa How well do any of us know what the Treaty document means? In this easy-to-follow book, Ross Calman looks at what New Zealand was like before the Treaty and how this important document has effected the way we live now.” (Catalogue)

The Treaty of Waitangi / Orange, Claudia
“Today the Treaty has come to signify what both joins and divides the people of this country. It had different meanings also to those present at the 1840 signing -the new arrivals and the tangatawhenuathen occupying the land. To the British, it was the means by which they gained sovereignty over the country; for Maori, it represented something closer to partnership. That these distinct meanings were conveyed in texts written in different languages only added to the complexities now woven around this crucial agreement.Claudia Orange’s remarkable history was first published in 1987. ” (Catalogue)

Treaty of Waitangi : questions and answers
” Covering many historical and contemporary issues, it is for people who want to gain a basic knowledge about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications, as well as for those who want to refresh and update their understanding. It includes a summary of legislation and events since 1840 which have breached the Treaty, and a comprehensive reading list for further information. ” (Catalogue)

Treaty of Waitangi settlements
“The settlement of iwi claims under the Treaty of Waitangi has been a prominent feature of New Zealand’s political landscape over the last thirty years. In this timely book, leading scholars offer the first analysis of the economic and social impact of the settlement process.” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Ground-breaking full-colour graphic novel about Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi. Accessible, engaging, image-rich design. Dual-language flip book with Maori and Pakeha authors Ross Calman and Mark Derby. Text in te reo Maori version developed by Maori Language Commission-registered translator Piripi Walker. Reviewed by some of Aotearoas foremost Te Tiriti o Waitangi experts to reflect current scholarship. Includes a link to both versions of the treaty translated into thirty other languages and New Zealand Sign Language.” (Catalogue)

Treaty to Treaty : a history of early New Zealand from the Treaty of Tordesillas 1494 to the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 / Bennett, R. S.
“This book is a large & detailed history of early NZ and includes events elsewhere in the world that have had an effect on this country. The size of this project and the author’s wish to bring to the fore interesting and important material not covered in other historical work has necessitated the production of three volumes rather than the one as originally intended. Volume One contains essays on background topics.” (Catalogue)

Four Writers writing about Newtown….Now exclusively online

We recently had the great pleasure  of staging an event with Rachel Kerr author of Victory Park, Carl Shuker author of A Mistake, Michalia Arathimos author of Aukati and poet  Jackson Nieuwland reading their poem from their collection I am a human being in conversation with Mary McCallum at our  Newtown library.

These four esteemed authors all shared their experiences  about setting their works in Newtown. Each writer having a distinctly different take on  Newtown, with very different voices and all with very different things to say.

If you missed the live event we recorded it live and it’s now available for everyone. Enjoy!

The authors involved were…

Rachel Kerr has exploded onto the New Zealand literary scene with her debut novel Victory Park. About a single mother living on a block of flats in a fictionalised Newtown. Her life is humdrum until the mysterious Bridget moves into the flats, bringing with her unexpected friendship, glamour and wild dreams.

Carl Shuker’s A Mistake. When an operation what goes wrong, in a hospital based on Wellington Regional Hospital in Newtown a young woman dies, who is culpable and who is to blame. The moral and ethical repercussions of this tragic event are explored in this masterful work which was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2020.

Michalia Arathimos’s Aukati begins with two people arriving at a marae to protest fracking at a nearby farm. Family, political protest and culture intersect in this thoughtful, elegant, moving, and economically written novel. Michalia Arathimos describes herself as a Greek-New Zealander she currently is the Writer in Residence at Randell Cottage and will hold the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship in 2021.

Poet Jackson Nieuwland has been a busy person not only releasing their first beautiful, complex and surreal collection of poetry I am a Human Being, but also opening Food Court Books in Newtown and is also in the process of launching their own publishing house. This promises to be an unmissable event and all are very welcome.


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

A mistake / Shuker, R. Carl
“Elizabeth Taylor is a surgeon at a city hospital, a gifted, driven and rare woman excelling in a male-dominated culture. One day, while operating on a young woman in a critical condition, something goes gravely wrong. A Mistake is a compelling story of human fallibility, and the dangerous hunger for black and white answers in a world of exponential complication and nuance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The method actors : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
“The disappearance of a young military historian leads his sister to Japan, where, among the hedonistic expatriate set of which he was a part, she uncovers evidence that her brother may have discovered evidence of war crimes committed by the Japanese during World War II. A first novel. Original. The Method Actors traces the disappearance of a young, gifted military historian named Michael Edwards from his desk in Tokyo and his sister Meredith’s return to the city in search of him. Michael’s research into international war crimes trials will take his sister through four hundred years of history, myth and propaganda, love and infidelity, religious transport and hallucination.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lazy boys : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
“Carl Shuker’s protagonist, Richard Sauer, heads off to college for no reason other than to escape the stultifying normalcy of his middle-class family in Timaru, New Zealand. He may appear ordinary in his aimlessness, mangling his way through his first year in college, but his bonging and banging, his anger and rage, take a brutal turn at an out-of-control dorm party which lands Richey in front of the disciplinary committee with a sexual harassment charge. Dropping out of school before he’s thrown out, Richey and his housemates Matt, Nick, and Ursula begin a freefall that forces Richey to face his most destructive desires.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Anti Lebanon, Carl Shuker (ebook)
“It is Arab Spring and the fate of the Christians of the Middle East is uncertain. The many Christians of Lebanon are walking a knife-edge, their very survival in their ancestral refuge in doubt, as the Lebanese government becomes Hezbollah-dominated, while Syria convulses with warring religious factions. Anti Lebanon is a cross-genre political thriller and horror story embedded within these recent events, featuring a multiethnic Christian family living out the lingering after-effects of Lebanon’s civil war as it struggles to deal with its phantoms, its ghosts, and its vampires. (Adapted fromOverdrive description)

Aukati / Arathimos, Michalia
“Alexia is a law student escaping the Greek family that stifles her, and Isaiah is a young Maori returning home to find the family he’s lost. Cut loose from their own cultures, they have volunteered to help Isaiah’s Taranaki iwi get rid of the fracking that’s devastating their land and water. The deeper Alexia and Isaiah go into the fight, the closer they get to understanding the different worlds they inhabit. But when a protest march becomes violent a boundary is crossed, and they need to decide where they stand and fast. It’s clear the police have been tipped off, and the activists gathered at the marae suspect they’re being watched or, worse, there is an informant in the group. Can Alexia and Isaiah be trusted? And more – can they trust themselves?” (Catalogue)

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

Rest in peace Neville Gilmore, January 2021

With sadness Wellington City Libraries pays tribute to Neville Gilmore, Te Matehou, Te Atiawa, who, during his research for Wellington Tenths Trust (2001-2009), also gave so kindly and generously of his time and knowledge to our project, Ngā Tūpuna o te Whanganui-a-Tara (2001-2007).

Research team: Ngā Tūpuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Lotofoa Fiu, Sandra Clarke, Neville, Ann)
Research team: Ngā Tūpuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Lotofoa Fiu, Sandra Clarke, Neville, Ann Reweti)

It was a project that evolved from a kaupapa of breathing life into the written accounts of our Taranaki Whānui who migrated to this rohe from 1820s onward.

Tribunal research for Wai 145 was the basis for much of the 1840 colonisation and stories of the whenua, but a burning question for our library was, “Who were the people behind the names attached to this land?” On our approach to Wellington Tenths for assistance, Neville became “ the man” – who made clear to us, the myriad of whānau links interlocking and criss-crossing the landscape of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. As we became aware of the immensity of the work we’d undertaken we realised how vital was the input from Neville and the Wellington Tenths office to the production of our four books.

Several mana whanua at blessing of Nga Tupuna 2, including Mr Neville Gilmore
Wellington City Libraries : At the blessing of vol. 2

Through conversation with Neville, I came to realise the importance of not just the Minute Book succession records of the Māori Land Court but also the underlying “whakapapa” of the land as set out in the Land Block files, held also at the District Land Court offices.

There was a wealth of knowledge in Neville’s memory bank which he always delivered with enthusiasm and generosity and wisdom. In our later volumes we finally saw a light and asked Neville to contribute his own special stories – (see vol. 4) – Mata Pekainu Tumatuhiata, Komene Paipa, Te Kere Ngataierua, Hare Parata. There is his story of Te Rei Pukekura, husband of Mihi Korama Te Toru – Te Rei was related by marriage to Ngake and Patukawenga, Ropiha Moturoa and Hohepa Kopiri. He was the son of Te Moana Pounamu (Martina Ruta) and Tawhirikura who in turn was the daughter of Waireinga and Wahanga. Te Rei was also the brother of Haneta Toea.

Then there’s the description of Rawiri Motutere/Koheta : Rawiri was tall, athletic and ‘straight as a spear’ – He had a beautiful tāmoko which had a particular blue texture. He was very fair, that is, as white in the face as a Pakeha with red hair. When he went out he always wore a mata-huna (mask) to protect his fair skin from the sun. The tāmoko of the mask was an exact replica of that upon his face.

Wellington City Libraries : launch of vol. 3
Wellington City Libraries : launch of vol. 3

But Neville was also a huge influence in the wider published history of the rohe, including Pipitea. His own thesis: (MA – La Trobe, 1986) was ground-breaking : Kei Pipitea taku kainga : ko te Matehou te ingoa o taku iwi : The New Zealand Company Native Reserve Scheme and Pipitea, 1839-1888.

Some books are listed below, but he would also have contributed to many more as a researcher.

Ngā tūpuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Volume 4 by Sandra Clarke
“This book, produced by Wellington City Libraries profiles another 29 Tupuna who migrated to Te Whanganui-a-Tara (the Great Harbour of Tara), or Port Nicholson, in a series of Heke during the 1820’s and 1830’s. These iwi were mainly Te Ati Awa, Ngati Tama and Ngati Ruanui. Tupuna featured include Ihikaera te Waikapoariki; Taare Tahua; Mata Pekainu Tumatuhiata; Hori Ngapaka; Hori Pipi; Te Teira Whatakore; Ihaka Te Rou; Te Poho-o-te-rangi; Arapera Rongouaroa; Teretiu Tuwhare; Karena Waitere; Ingo Takata; Hare Parata; Kereopa te Wharepouri; Mere Pararaki; Mohi Puketapu; and several more.”
Other volumes : vol 1, vol 2, vol 3.

Gilmore, Neville. The myth of the overlords : tenure in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 1819-1847. [Wai 145, G3]

Gilmore, Neville and Liz Mellish. Cultural Report Lambton Harbour (held by the National Library).

Hailwood, Ritihia and Neville Gilmore, Wellington Tenths Trust. Wellington Tenths Trust GIS map book 2004

Johnston, Warwick (in collaboration with Neville Gilmore) detailing the history of the Hutt Valley, e.g. The history of Petone foreshore.

Moe mai ra e te rangatira
Moe mai ra I roto I te ngakau o te kaihanga
E kore rawa koe e warewaretia
Moe mai, moe mai ra

E te hunga mate, te hunga kua whetūrangitia
moe mai, moe mai, moe mai rā,
haere ki te huinga o te kahurangi,
ki Hawaiki nui, ki Hawaiki roa, ki Hawaiki pamamao,
haere, haere haere atu ra.

“It’s only forever, not long at all.” The films of David Bowie

The truth is, of course, that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”
― David Bowie

Its been five years since David Bowie passed on the 10th of Jan 2016. Commonly regarded as one of the most important musicians of the 20th century his albums gaining ten platinum certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and sold in excess of 100 million albums. Following his death Rolling stone declared him the “Greatest Rock Star Ever”.

We have a very substantial collection of Bowie CD’s in our collection click here for the full list.

However, Bowie was much more than just a rock star his interests were rich and varied and covered just about every cultural field imaginable including books, he was a voracious reader (click here to see the blog we did about Bowie’s love of books); art he collected; he wrote about and exhibited art; theatre both as an actor in productions such as Elephant man and as a playwright in one of his last creative endeavours Lazarus, and also, of course, film.

And it is his career in film we are going to briefly look at in this blog.

All the films below are in our catalogue and available to borrow. Enjoy!


The prestige
“Still arguably Christopher Nolan’s best film. The prestige is set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London. Two magicians share an intense rivalry with each other and leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy. The rivalry is so intense that is will be full of obsession, deceit and jealousy, with both dangerous and deadly consequences. From the time that Robert angier and Alfred Bordon first met, the two were competitors. However, their once friendly competition evolves into battle for each other’s trade secrets.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Basquiat
“Bowie plays Andy Warhol to a tee (who famously hated the song Bowie wrote about him) in this film based on the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a young American unknown graffiti artist who lived on the streets of New York City in a cardboard box. Jean-Michel was “discovered” by Andy Warhol’s art world and became a star. Basquiat is a brilliant artist whose success came at a high price.”(Adapted from Catalogue) 

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
“Bowie plays Major Jack Celliers (alongside fellow musician Ryuichi Sakamoto as his Japanese counterpart) in this powerful wartime drama where the story focuses on a battle of wills and philosophies fought between Major Celliers as the prisoner of war, and the camp commander, Captain Yonnoi. Captain Yonnoi is mystified by the new prisoner that he fails to intimidate and believes he is evil spirit. In a desperate attempt to restore his sense of power, he provokes Celliers into a final act of defiance which seals both their fates.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twin Peaks : Fire walk with me
“Bowie plays the Hawian shirted enigmatic agent Phillip Jeffries in Fire walk with me and used unused footage of Bowie from the film in the 2017 Television series Twin Peaks: the return. The film traces the week leading up to Laura’s death, Fire Walk With Me explores the darkness engulfing her soul and lays bare her downward spiral into drug abuse and sexual depravity. It’s a journey filled with symbolism, dream imagery, bizarre characters and a startling new interpretation of the Red Room. “(Adapted from Catalogue) 

Zoolander
“Bowies brief but memorable role in Zoolander is really just a cameo where he plays himself judging a fashion runway ‘walk-off’ in the zany fun and outrageous fashion comedy starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Director Ben Stiller later admitted he was ‘in shock’ when Bowie agreed saying that it was ‘the high point of his career’.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Labyrinth
“Bowie plays the creepy and sexy evil Jareth king of the goblins in this Muppetastic 80’s Family favourite, which was met with mixed reviews on its release and is now regarded as a firm family favourite. When young Sarah cavalierly wishes that goblins would take her crying baby brother away, she gets her wish. Now, she must confront Gareth – ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality, master of the goblins who abducted her brother… and creator of the treacherous labyrinth that Sarah must solve in order to make things right.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

The man who fell to Earth
“In many peoples opinion including Bowie himself his was his best film. He liked it so much he bought the rights to the book and co wrote the play Lazurus as a sequel not to mention using elements from his abandoned soundtrack in Low . The Polymesmeric, non linear plot added to the films unique strangeness. The film loosely revolves around Thomas Jerome Newton a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. But director Nicolas Roeg’s aims for the film are far loftier and highbrow than any basic plot creating a labyrinthian maze of interlocking visuals, concepts and ideas. A truly stunning film in many ways way ahead of its time and also strangely slightly dated ” . (Adapted from Catalogue) 

A cornucopia of books. Our latest selection of recently acquired fiction

Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you are two steps ahead.”
― Fannie Flagg, from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

This month’s newly acquired fiction titles feature a plethora of fantastic new books including a sequel to Fannie Flagg’s much loved Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Café a keenly anticipated new book from author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernières. Mikaela Nyman’s community centred, mysterious, natural disaster novel set in Vanuatu Sado. And a Scottish family tragi-saga by Sarah Moss set in a faded cabin park called Summerwater. Enjoy!

A bookshop in Algiers / Adimi, Kaouther
A Bookshop in Algiers celebrates quixotic devotion and the love of books in the person of Edmond Charlot, who at the age of twenty founded Les Vraies Richesses , the famous Algerian bookstore/publishing house/lending library. He more than fulfilled its motto ‘by the young, for the young’, discovering the twenty-four-year-old Albert Camus in 1937. A Bookshop in Algiers interweaves Charlot’s story with that of another twenty-year-old, Ryad.  ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The autumn of the ace / De Bernières, Louis
“Daniel Pitt has seen a lot of action. He was an RAF fighter in the First World War and an espionage agent for the SOE in the Second. Now the conflicts he faces are closer to home. Daniel and Rosie’s marriage has fractured beyond repair and Daniel’s relationship with their son, Bertie, has been a failure since Bertie was a small boy. But after his brother Archie’s death, Daniel is keen for new perspectives. He first travels to Peshawar to bury Archie in the place he loved best, and then finds himself in Canada, avoiding his family and friends back in England. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Actress / Enright, Anne
“This is the story of Irish theatre legend Katherine O’Dell, as told by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs and lows on the stages of Dublin and London’s West End. Katherine’s life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings. But this romance between mother and daughter cannot survive Katherine’s past, or the world’s damage. As Norah uncovers her mother’s secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Then, fame turns to infamy when Katherine decides to commit a bizarre crime.” (Catalogue)

The wonder boy of Whistle Stop : a novel / Flagg, Fannie
 Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop with his mother, Ruth, church-going and proper, and his Aunt Idgie, the fun-loving hell-raiser. Together they ran the town’s popular Whistle Stop Cafe, known far and wide for its fun and famous fried green tomatoes. And as Bud often said of his childhood to his daughter Ruthie, “How lucky can you get?” But sadly, as the railroad yards shut down and Whistle Stop became a ghost town, nothing was left but boarded-up buildings and memories of a happier time. Then one day, Bud decides to take one last trip, just to see what has become of his beloved Whistle Stop. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A lover’s discourse / Guo, Xiaolu
“A Chinese woman comes to London to start a new life, away from her old world. She knew she would be lonely, adrift in the city, but will her new relationship bring her closer to this land she has chosen, will their love give her a home? A Lover’s Discourse is an exploration of romantic love told through fragments of conversations between the two lovers. How can a man and woman be together? And how best to find solid ground in a world of uncertainty?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Summerwater / Moss, Sarah
“On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.” (Catalogue)

A saint from Texas / White, Edmund
“Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far grander fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy’s land, both girls harbour their own secrets and dreams oones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jeric , Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.” (Catalogue)

Sado / Nyman, Mikaela
” Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam makes landfall with devastating consequences. Vanuatu is bruised but not broken. Reeling from the loss of livelihood and struggling to meet basic human needs, people start to reassemble their lives. Cathryn is an NGO worker from New Zealand who has a ruined home, a teenage son and a Ni-Vanuatu boyfriend she hasn’t heard from since the phone lines went dead. Faia is a community organiser, a radio journalist and a survivor who fights for women to be heard.  ” (Catalogue)

Our latest highlighted Science Fiction, Fantasy and speculative fiction selection

I had always wanted to be a writer who confused genre boundaries and who was read in multiple contexts”  Jonathan Lethem

A nuclear powered supercar that can tunnel through the earth, a progressive pulp tome in which a band of Mercenary librarians set out to save a crumbling America, an enthralling fantasy epic from a New Zealand author,  a world where men have become a prized commodity and a very welcome return of Elizabeth Bear in a star spanning space opera with ex crime lords and mega intelligent AI systems. All are to be found in Decembers recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles. Enjoy.

The tower of fools / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Reinmar of Bielawa, sometimes known as Reynevan, is a healer, a magician, and according to some, a charlatan. When a thoughtless indiscretion forces him to flee his home, he finds himself pursued not only by brothers bent on vengeance but by the Holy Inquisition. In a time when tensions between Hussite and Catholic countries are threatening to turn into war and mystical forces are gathering in the shadows, Reynevan’s journey will lead him to the Narrenturm — the Tower of Fools.  And escaping it, avoiding the conflict around him, and keeping his own sanity will prove more difficult than he ever imagined” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook 

Afterland / Beukes, Lauren
“All Cole has left in the world is her boy, Miles. With men now a prized commodity, keeping him safe means breaking hastily written new rules – and leaving her own sister for dead. All Miles has left in the world is his mother.But is one person enough to save him from the many who would kill to get their hands on a living boy? Together, Cole and Miles embark on a journey across a changed, hostile country, towards a freedom they may never reach. And when Cole’s sister tracks them down, they’ll need to decide who to trust – and what loyalty really means in this unimaginable new world.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Deal with the Devil : a Mercenary Librarians novel / Rocha, Kit
” Nina is an information broker with a mission–she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America. Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive. They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process… Or they could do the impossible: team up. This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Providence / Barry, Max
” We thought the universe was a twinkling ocean of opportunity, waiting to be explored. Afterward, we knew better. Seven years after first contact, Providence Five launches. It is an enormous and deadly warship, built to protect humanity from its greatest ever threat. On board is a crew of just four–tasked with monitoring the ship and reporting the war’s progress to a mesmerized global audience by way of social media. But while pursuing the enemy across space, Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson confront the unthinkable: their communications are cut, their ship decreasingly trustworthy and effective. To survive, they must win a fight that is suddenly and terrifyingly real.” (Catalogue)

Scardown / Bear, Elizabeth
“Jenny Casey was not born for this mission. She was modified for it.  Those who were once her enemies are now her allies, and at fifty, she’s been handpicked for the most important mission of her life – a mission for which her artificially reconstructed body is perfectly suited. With the earth capable of sustaining life for just another century, Jenny – as pilot of the starship Montreal – must discover brave new worlds. And with time running out, she must succeed where others have failed.  With the help of a brilliant AI, an ex-crime lord, and the man she loves, Jenny may just get her chance to save the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The saints of salvation / Hamilton, Peter F
” Humanity is struggling to hold out against a hostile takeover by an alien race that claims to be on a religious mission to bring all sentient life to its God at the End of Time. But while billions of cocooned humans fill the holds of the Olyix’s deadly arkships, humankind is playing an even longer game than the aliens may have anticipated. From an ultra-secret spy mission to one of the grandest battles ever seen, no strategy is off the table. Will a plan millennia in the making finally be enough to defeat this seemingly unstoppable enemy? ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The arrest : a novel / Lethem, Jonathan
“Before the Arrest, Sandy Duplessis had a reasonably good life as a screenwriter in L.A. An old college friend and writing partner, the charismatic and malicious Peter Todbaum, had become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. That didn’t hurt. Now, post-Arrest, nothing is what it was. Sandy, who calls himself Journeyman, has landed in rural Maine. There he assists the butcher and delivers the food grown by his sister, Maddy, at her organic farm. But then Todbaum shows up in an extraordinary vehicle: a retrofitted tunnel-digger powered by a nuclear reactor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mother of daemons / Hair, David
Lyra, Queen of Rondelmar, has fought enemies without and within, dealt with grief and loss, embraced forbidden magic, found her father and borne a child – and still it isn’t enough. Her enemies are on the march and the Rondian Empire is collapsing. But a more dangerous adversary is out there . . . and he is winning. Ervyn Naxius, amoral genius, has unleashed war on two continents and is now laughing kings and priests dance to his tune and his daemonic followers are spreading through the lands, but still he isn’t satisfied. His ultimate goal – absolute control of all life – is finally within his reach . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere, of Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Kahungunu, on Sunday, December 13th at home in Waikaremoana, New Zealand. Dr Rose Pere, also known by many as Whaea Rose, was renowned for her spiritual teachings and ancient wisdom. “She was different and she dared to be different and she dared everyone around her to be different.”

Her spirituality, and mātauranga stretched the boundaries of Te Ao Marama. Her colourful turban-clad head would be seen weaving its way across many an academic campus or marae as she began yet another spellbinding session on the practical applications of her beliefs and peace-making, mind-blowing wisdom.

She was the Young Maori Woman of the Year in 1972, awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration medal C.M. and became a Commander of the British Empire receiving her C.B.E. in 1996. She worked within education across all age groups from pre-school to tertiary level, focusing on building the strength and identity of indigenous learners. In a statement, her whānau said she was loved across Aotearoa and the globe. “Her life was distinguished by extraordinary service to many people in both Aotearoa, New Zealand and the many corners of the world. She touched many lives and hearts.”

Read more about her life and teachings:

Te wheke : a celebration of infinite wisdom, by Rangimarie Pere

Vision Aotearoa = Kaupapa New Zealand : Marie Bell, Vicki Buck, Eddie Durie, Mason Durie, Michael Fay, … Tipene O’Regan, Rangimarie Rose Pere, Ken Piddington, Irihapeti
“Twenty New Zealanders talk to Roslie Capper and Amy Brown about their vision for Aotearoa New Zealand. They are Maori and Pakeha; some are business people, public servants, writers, clergy; all are change-seekers. The interviews are edited by Witi Ihimaera.” (Book Jacket)

Women and education in Aotearoa.
“This collection of essays on the contemporary educational experience of girls and women has been welcomed by teachers and students.” Includes Te wheke: whaia te maātauranga me te aroha, by Rangimarie Rose Pere.

He Matapuna = A source : some Maori perspectives. Includes “Taku taha Māori : my Māoriness, by Rangimarie Rose

Also : Te tohuna kura waka : shares the source of ancient Māori healing wisdom in Aotearoa, New Zealand, by Charlotte Mildon. (2017)

Mātauranga wahine, by Charlotte Mildon (Tōku Anō Ao Māori My Very Own World, Occasional paper Series no. 2).

Puna wairere : essays, by the New Zealand Planning Council. [1990] Includes Tangata whenua, by Rangimarie Rose Pere.

The sacred plant medicine of Aotearoa. Volume 1, by Franchelle Ofsoske-Wyber. (2019)

Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere’s presentation at IDEC 2015 about Education from a Maori perspective.

Dr Rose Pere, spiritual leader and academic dies (Radio NZ obituary)

Me te aroha tino nui atu ki te whānau pani
Nā mātou, ngā kaimahi whare pukapuka ki Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….. Michael Fitzsimons

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have Michael Fitzsimons, reading an exclusive new poem.

About Michael

“Michael Fitzsimons is a writer and co-founder of Wellington communications and publishing company, Fitzbeck Creative. He’s a proud member of the three- person South Wellington Poetry Society and his first collection, Now You Know, combined poems with photography and was recommended in Radio New Zealand’s annual poetry highlights. Michael’s latest publishing project is Joy Cowley’s Veil Over Light. He lives in Seatoun with his wife, Rose, in a hillside house overlooking Wellington Harbour.”

Sourced from Cuba Press

More from Michael

Michael, I thought you were dead / Fitzsimons, Michael
“My favourite poet with a ponytail greets me warmly at the launch of his latest book of poems. Michael, he says, I thought you were dead. A pragmatic, intelligent, irreverent, and searching collection.” (Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Maggie Rainey-Smith,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)