Monsters in the Garden Event…. Now exclusively online

Back at the tail end of 2020 we had the very special privilege of hosting an event to celebrate the recent publication of Monsters in the Garden: An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy.

In attendance were four of the most accomplished writers in New Zealand who all contributed works to the anthology: Elizabeth Knox, Tina Makereti, Dylan Horrocks and Craig Gamble.

The ensuing discussions were entertaining, informative, lively and a real insight into the inner workings of these fabulous authors as well as the current status of speculative fiction in Aotearoa.

If you missed the live event or want to re-experience this fascinating conversation you can watch below.

And keep your eyes peeled on our various social media channels for future events coming in 2021. Enjoy!



Monsters in the Garden : An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy / Knox, Elizabeth
“Casting its net widely, this anthology of Aotearoa-New Zealand science fiction and fantasy ranges from the satirical novels of the 19th-century utopians – one of which includes the first description of atmospheric aerobreaking in world literature – to the bleeding edge of now. Spaceships and worried sheep. Dragons and AI. The shopping mall that swallowed the Earth. The deviant, the fishy and the rum, all bioengineered for your reading pleasure. Featuring stories by some of the country’s best known writers as well as work from exciting new talent, Monsters in the Garden invites you for a walk on the wild side. We promise you’ll get back safely. Unchanged? Well, that’s another question.” (Publisher’s description)

Dreamhunter / Knox, Elizabeth
“Set in 1906, Dreamhunter describes a world very similar to ours, except for a special place, known simply as the Place, where only a select group of people can go. these people are called Dreamhunters and they harvest dreams which are then transmitted to the general public for the purposes of entertainment, therapy – or terror and political coercion. Fifteen-year-old cousins Laura Hame and Rose Tiebold both come from famous dreamhunting families, but only Laura proves to be blessed with the gift and once inside the Place she finds out what happened to her missing dreamhunter father .” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina
‘The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But first I must finish my story for you. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ So begins the tale of James Poneke – orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“A burned-out superhero comic artist goes on an adventure that spans time and space–with two female companions. Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. (Adapted from Catalogue)

“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) 

Brooklyn Library temporary closure from 12 Jan

Brooklyn Library will be closed for two weeks to upgrade the lighting and heating. It will be closed from 8pm, Monday 11 January and will reopen at 1pm Wednesday 27 January 2021.

  • You can visit the nearby Arapaki Manners, Te Awe Brandon Street or Newtown branches during this time for all your library services, including returns. Brooklyn Library’s afterhours slot will be closed
  • On shelf reserves will be held over this time, and will be able to be collected when the library reopens
  • If you’re waiting in the reserve queue for an item, and usually collect your reserves at Brooklyn Library, you may wish to change the pickup branch for any reserves that may be filled during the time Brooklyn is closed — here’s a quick tutorial

Happy New Year – Personal Development courses

Happy New Year!! How about learning a new skill this year? Lynda.com (soon to be LinkedIn Learning) offers a huge variety of courses including Ukulele and Piano lessons, Photography 101, Drawing or all the computer based courses that the platform is already so well known for. Have a look on the traillers below and begin your personal development for FREE with your library card and PIN number.

Ukulele Lessons: Fundamentals by Daniel Ho


Drawing Foundations: Fundamentals
by Will Kemp

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)

“Live forever” Our highlighted Crime and mystery titles

Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves.”
— Ray Bradbury.

OR

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
— Joseph Brodsky

Killer, come back to me is one of this month’s newly acquired titles. It is a compendium of crime and mystery stories by one of America’s greatest storywriters of the 20th and early 21st century Ray Bradbury. Bradbury is perhaps best known for his science fiction works such as Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Martian Chronicles. However, as this collection amply shows he was adept at working in any fiction genre he choose. Many of his works have been adapted for television and film. He attributed becoming a writer to being touched on the nose at age 12 by a carnival entertainer with an electrified sword called Mr. Electrico who commanded him to “live forever”.


Killer, come back to me / Bradbury, Ray
“Celebrating Ray Bradbury’s centennial, a deluxe illustrated commemorative collection of his finest crime stories  Is it murder to destroy a robot if it looks and speaks and thinks and feels like a human being? Can a ventriloquist be incriminated by the testimony of his own dummy? Can a time traveler prevent his younger self from killing the woman they both loved? And can the survivor of a pair of Siamese twins investigate his own brother’s murder?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The roots of evil / Jardine, Quintin
When struggling ex-copper Terry Coats was discovered in bed with an air hostess, his excuse that he was ‘going undercover’ cut no ice with the force – or his wife. But now he is brutally killed on Hogmanay night, it seems there may have been more to his plea. Dragged from the new year celebrations, Special Constable Sir Bob Skinner is shocked to find coats’ body alongside that of Griff Montell: his erstwhile protege, and former lover of Skinner’s own daughter, Alex. Could there be some dark truth under Coats’ cock -and -bull story, after all? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder in old Bombay / March, Nev
“In 1892, Bombay is the center of British India. Nearby, Captain Jim Agnihotri lies in Poona military hospital recovering , with little to do but re-read the tales of his idol, Sherlock Holmes. The case that catches Captain Jim’s attention is being called the crime of the century: Two women fell from the busy university’s clock tower in broad daylight. Moved by Adi, the widower of one of the victims — his certainty that his wife and sister did not commit suicide — Captain Jim approaches the Parsee family and is hired to investigate what happened that terrible afternoon. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Murder by milk bottle / Truss, Lynne
“In the wake of two extremely high-profile murder cases, and with the summer of 1957 finally winding down, Constable Twitten is eagerly anticipating a quiet spell at work. But his hoped-for rest is interrupted when he and his colleagues find a trio of bodies, all murdered with the same unusual weapon: a milk bottle. The three victims are seemingly unconnected-a hardworking patrolman, a would-be beauty queen, and a catty BBC radio personality-so Constable Twitten, Sergeant Brunswick, and Inspector Steine are baffled. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Angels weep / Falconer, Colin
“Three can keep a secret. If two of you are dead… Two women are snatched off the streets of London in one weekend. DI Charlie George and his team get to work. The lives of these young women – one of them a mother – are on the line, and the clock is ticking. When they catch a lucky break from a CCTV camera, Charlie is sure they have their man. And that’s when he gets his first surprise. Because nothing about this case is simple and not everyone is quite what they seem. Charlie’s job is to find the missing women and get to the truth. But some people would rather the truth stays hidden – even when the bodies start to pile up…”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Once you go this far : a Roxane Weary mystery / Lepionka, Kristen
 Junior-high school nurse Rebecca Newsome was an experienced hiker–until she plummeted to her death at the bottom of a ravine in a Columbus metro park. Her daughter, Maggie, doesn’t believe it was an accident, and Rebecca’s ex-husband is her prime suspect. But he’s a well-connected ex-cop and Maggie is certain that’s the reason no one will listen to her. PI Roxane Weary quickly uncovers that the dead woman’s ex is definitely a jerk, but is he a murderer? As she pieces together the days before Rebecca died, what Roxane finds doesn’t quite add up.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook .

Fortune favors the dead : a novel / Spotswood, Stephen
“It’s 1942 and Willowjean “Will” Parker is a scrappy circus runaway whose knife-throwing skills have just saved the life of New York’s best, and most unorthodox, private investigator, Lillian Pentecost. When the dapper detective summons Will a few days later, she doesn’t expect to be offered a life-changing proposition: …
Three years later, Will and Lillian are on the Collins case: Abigail Collins was found bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball following a big, boozy Halloween party at her home–her body slumped in the same chair where her steel magnate husband shot himself the year before. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder in the band room / Snelling, Patricia
“After retiring as a Detective Inspector, Ann Grieves enjoys her cottage by the sea in the Auckland Region. When she isn’t sleuthing unfaithful spouses and small-time crooks, she enjoys a laid-back life walking the promenade with Scout, her ex-police Beagle dog or making preserves for the oldies in her street. Until a body turns up in her friend’s band room.”–Publisher.” (Catalogue)

New travel books: piranhas and poisonous spiders

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

So many things fell by the wayside in 2020 and adventures abroad were certainly one of them. As librarians, many of us this year have definitely leaned heavily on reading as an escape, and we wonder if you have too? Books about far-flung places have definitely been one way to broaden our horizons while we daydream about overseas travel.

In this spirit, here are some travel stories you can immerse yourself in while you stay closer to home this year. Read about epic voyages of discovery, travel misadventures (to make you glad to be home – piranhas, shark-infested waters, extreme weather, poisonous spiders and vindictive mosquitoes), as well as exploring the world from a different angle when life makes a change you didn’t expect. You’ll also find a good amount of history and geography to browse here, including An Atlas of Extinct Countries (a tour of places that no longer exist). Have a browse, and we hope you enjoy!

Image from Amazon.co.ukThe great journeys in history
“Marco Polo, Ferdinand Magellan, David Livingstone, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong: these are some of the greatest travellers of all time. This book chronicles their stories and many more, describing epic voyages of discovery from the extraordinary migrations out of Africa by our earliest ancestors to the latest voyages into space. In modern times, the last inhospitable ends of the earth were reached – including both poles and the world’s highest mountain – and new elements were conquered.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blue sky kingdom : an epic family journey to the heart of the Himalayas / Kirkby, Bruce
“A warm and unforgettable portrait of a family letting go of the known world to encounter an unfamiliar one filled with rich possibilities and new understandings. In Blue Sky Kingdom, we follow Bruce and his family’s remarkable three months journey, where they would end up living amongst the Lamas of Zanskar Valley, a forgotten appendage of the ancient Tibetan empire. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover An Atlas of Extinct Countries, Gideon Defoe (ebook)
Prisoners of Geography meets Bill Bryson: a funny, fascinating, beautifully illustrated – and timely – history of countries that, for myriad and often ludicrous reasons, no longer exist. Countries die. Sometimes it’s murder, sometimes it’s by accident, and sometimes it’s because they were so ludicrous they didn’t deserve to exist in the first place.  This is an atlas of nations that fell off the map.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Bad tourist : misadventures in love and travel / Roberts, Suzanne
“Both a memoir in travel essays and an anti-guidebook, Bad Tourist takes us across four continents to fifteen countries, showing us what not to do when traveling. A woman learning to claim her own desires and adventures, Suzanne Roberts encounters lightning and landslides, sharks and piranha-infested waters, burning bodies, and brief affairs as she searches for the love of her life and finally herself. Throughout her travels Roberts tries hard not to be a bad tourist, but owing to her cultural blind spots, things don’t always go as planned. ” (Catalogue)

In praise of paths : walking through time and nature / Ekelund, Torbjørn Lysebo
“Torbj rn Ekelund started to walk everywhere after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. As he walks with shoes on and barefoot, through forest creeks and across urban streets, he contemplates the early tracks made by ancient snails and traces the wanderings of Romantic poets. If we still “understand ourselves in relation to the landscape,” Ekelund asks, then what do we lose in an era of car travel and navigation apps?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Image from fishpond.co.nz
Broken heels and bicycle wheels / Blair, Larry
“As 2018 drew to a close I embarked on what was to be my grand odyssey, a North – South walk of Aotearoa. Following the Te Araroa route, I was to walk 3,000km over the next six months. Spoiler: I didn’t. After some ups and downs, I binned that idea and had a crack at biking it instead. Broken Heels and Bicycle Wheels is my tale from that six month period. It’s a fairly raw retelling of my trip as I lived it, warts and all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Walks on the wild side : exploring an unforgiving land / Pakenham, John
“In the early 1980s, John Pakenham walked a total of 1,500 miles, with a series of companions from the local Turkana and Samburu tribes, in the Great Rift Valley of northern Kenya. Repeatedly beset by extreme thirst and dehydration, bitterly cold torrential rains, poisonous spiders, and vindictive mosquitoes, he was lucky to live to tell his tale. Pakenham’s account provides a rare glimpse of a tough terrain” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lonely Planet’s natural world.
“From Canada’s mysterious and untamed Great Bear Rainforest to the spiritually significant mountain of Kailash in Tibet, unearth 50 destinations all around the world which take you right back to the heart of the natural world. With a combination of beautiful illustration and photography throughout, as well as contributions from award-winning travel writers, this unique coffee table book is the quintessential guide to helping you reconnect with nature.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….Ruby Solly

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.

Our final fabulous poet is Ruby Solly, who will be reading from her forthcoming collection Tōku Pāpā.


Ruby’s first solo collection of poetry, Tōku Pāpā is due to be released in February 2021.

About Ruby

“Ruby Solly (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) is a writer, musician and taonga pūoro practitioner living in Pōneke. She has been published in journals such as Landfall, Starling and Sport, among others. In 2020 she released her debut album, Pōneke, which looks at the soundscapes of Wellington’s past, present and future through the use of taonga pūoro, cello, and environmental sounds. She is currently completing a PhD in public health, focusing on the use of taonga pūoro in hauora Māori. Tōku Pāpā, due to be published in Februrary 2021, [will be] her first book.”

From VUP

More from Ruby

Covid colab : a NZ lockdown music collaboration.
“Created during Alert Levels 4 and 3, Covid Colab is a gender-balanced, seven-track LP teeming with local talent. It features 37 Pōneke-based musicians.” (Description by Museums Wellington)

You can find Ruby’s debut album Pōneke on Bandcamp

During lockdown, Ruby was kind enough to speak to us about her work and her process. Have a listen to Ruby, speaking to our librarians Louise and Paul, below:

Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume 2

This is the next in our Comics in Conversation with Comics series of posts, in which we explore comics and graphic novels that highlight, challenge, and celebrate the works that came before them, or say something about comics as an art form overall.

In this post we’ll be taking a look at the recent DC Comics series Dial H for Hero, by writer Sam Humphries and artist Joe Quinones.

Dial H for Hero is one of DC Comics’ more obscure series, but it’s a title that has a strong following among comic writers for its seemingly infinite potential. First appearing in House of Mystery #156 in January 1966, the premise centres around the H-Dial, a mysterious rotary phone (ask your parents) that, when H-E-R-O is dialled on it, can transform the caller into a random superhero. 

The 2019 Dial H for Hero series finds the Dial in the hands of two teen runaways, Miguel Montez and Summer Pickens, and this time the dial not only changes them into different comic heroes, but different art styles. These moments are the main draw of the series, referencing famous comics outside of the DC universe such as Dragon Ball, Krazy Kat, Peanuts, Tank Girl, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and paying homage to such celebrated artists like Dan Clowes, Mike Allred, Alex Toth, Rob Liefeld, Moebius and more over the course of the series’ twelve issues.

We’ve listed some of the best comic homages from the second volume, with links to the relevant comics that inspired them if you want to check them out from our collection. You can also jump away now and reserve both volumes of Dial H for Hero if you don’t want to be spoiled on the story.

Continue reading “Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume 2”