“Whenever someone creates something with all of their heart, then that creation is given a soul:” our selection of Studio Ghibli films.

Studio Ghibli Flowers GIF
“Whenever someone creates something with all of their heart, then that creation is given a soul.”

The Baron, ‘The Cat Returns’ Studio Ghibli (2002).

Occasionally a film will lift itself from being a cinematic experience to being a work of art.
Studio Ghibli however has established itself as a studio that creates exquisite cinematic artworks time after time, whilst also making sure that the films are hugely enjoyable, entertaining and, when required, profound.

Founded in 1985 Studio Ghibli is widely recognised as one of the finest animation studios on the planet. Nominated for Academy awards for best animated feature on no less than five occasions and winner in 2001 for Spirited Away. The studio’s stylistic influences range from romantic Victorian steam punk, Ukiyo-e woodblock printing to traditional Japanese brush work and fantasy art. Likewise the subjects and themes range from adaptations of literary works, traditional mythology to studio penned original works and historical inspired works.

After their 1986 film Valley of the Wind was cut to ribbons in the U.S., Studio Ghibli refused to release their works in the West. And it was only after a no-edit distribution deal with Disney that this changed. Indeed, when one studio executive suggested edits the studio reportedly sent them a Samurai sword with a note that only said ‘no cuts’.

We have all the beautiful, lyrical, exciting, funny, and mysterious Studio Ghibli films in our collections.
Below is just a small selection.

Howl’s moving castle
“Sophie, an average teenage girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. After this chance meeting she is turned into a 90-year old woman by the vain and conniving Witch of the Waste. Embarking on an incredible adventure to lift the curse, she finds refuge in Howl’s magical moving castle where she becomes acquainted with Markl, Howl’s apprentice, and a hot-headed fire demon named Calcifer. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

My neighbor Totoro
“Deep inside a tree trunk, two children discover a fascinating new world inhabited by Totoros, amazing, charming creatures who become their friends.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



“A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship before Ponyo’s father forces her to return to the sea. Ponyo’s desire to be human upsets the balance of nature and only Ponyo’s mother, a beautiful sea goddess, can restore nature’s balance and make Ponyo’s dreams come true.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Spirited away
“Spirited away is a wondrous fantasy about a young girl named Chihiro who discovers a secret world of strange spirits, creatures and sorcery. When her parents are mysteriously transformed, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


“In a secret world hidden beneath the floorboards, little people called Borrowers live quietly among us. But when tenacious and tiny Arrietty is discovered by Shawn, a human boy, their secret and forbidden friendship blossoms into an extraordinary adventure.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Porco Rosso
“Slouching towards middle age, Porco Rosso makes his living by flying about in his red bi-plane and fighting sky bandits who prey on cruise ships sailing the Adriatic. When he’s not engaging in dog fights, this pilot lives on a deserted island retreat. Porco was once a strappling young man, but after his entire squardron was wiped out, he is mysteriously transformed into a pig. Then he is defeated in a dogfight against a dashing American rival, who has been hired by the dastardly bandits. With his plane damaged, he finds a repair hanger near Milan where a local woman fixes his plane.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Grave of the fireflies
“Orphaned Seita and his four-year-old sister struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside after a World War II bombing; the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is more painful than the enemy raids.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



The collected works of Hayao Miyazaki.
“Featuring the collected works of legendary director Hayao Miyazaki. One of the founding members of Studio Ghibli, this limited edition box set collect’s all of Miyazaki’s full length feature films. Includes Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), Porco Rosso (1992), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2008) and The Wind Rises (2013). ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Studio Ghibli : the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata / Odell, Colin
“The animations of Japan’s Studio Ghibli are amongst the highest regarded in the movie industry. This book examines all their major works and explores the cultural and thematic threads that bind these films together.” (Catalogue)

Oscar nominees 2015

This year’s Academy Award nominee list includes a generous proportion of films based on books – hooray! We’ve collected them  here for you – how many have you read? Check out the full list of film nominees in all categories on the official Oscar website.

Syndetics book coverTravelling to infinity : my life with Stephen / Jane Hawking.
“Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous and remarkable scientists of our age and author of the scientific bestseller A Brief History of Time, which sold more than 25 million. In this compelling memoir, his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease. Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family reveals the inner-strength of the author, while the self-evident character and achievements of her husband make for an incredible tale presented with unflinching honesty.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail / Cheryl Strayed.
“At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State–and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStill Alice / by Lisa Genova.
“Fifty-year-old Alice Howland, a Harvard professor of cognitive psychology, is at the top of her game. Her children are grown, her marriage secure, her career on fire when suddenly, after mere months of forgetfulness, she finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. With no cure or treatment, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self gradually slips away, leaving her unable to work, read, take care of herself, recognize her loved ones — even understand that she is unwell. Without memory or hope, she is forced to live in the moment, which is in turns beautiful, terrifying, and surprisingly uplifting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGone girl / Gillian Flynn.
‘What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’
Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war…” (Syndetics summary)

Gone Girl is also available to borrow on audio CD.

Syndetics book coverAlan Turing : the enigma / Andrew Hodges.
“Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverAmerican sniper : the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history / Chris Kyle ; with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice.
“From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyles kills (the previous American record was 109). Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.” (Syndetics summary)

American Sniper is also available to download from our Overdrive collection – there are two different records to download the ebook from (here and here) and we also have the downloadable audio version.

Oscar’s Books

The movie industry has a long history of turning to the publishing world for creative inspiration and storylines (for example, see this post here for some great book to movie translations, and this from last year’s film festival). This year’s Oscar nominations are no exception*. These are just from the Best Film category!

The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich (The Social Network) “The high-energy tale of how two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers, trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex, ended up creating Facebook.” (Book jacket)

True Grit, Charles Portis (True Grit) – First published in 1968 in serial form. Fourteen year old Mattie sets out to find her father’s murderer, with the help of U S Marshal Rooster Cogburn (is there a better Western name than Rooster Cogburn?).

Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston (127 Hours) – more copies of the Film-tie in version are being ordered (you can reserve this version here, or you can take out a bestseller copy). The autobiography of mountaineer and public speaker Aron Ralston, which includes the hiking accident which became the subject of the film 127 Hours.

Winter’s Bone, Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone) – note: this is the large print version of the book. “Amid the harsh landscape of the Ozark Hills, sixteen-year-old Ree is taking care of her mother and two brothers. Her father has put their house up as bail and if he doesn’t show up at court it’ll be sold from under them. To save her family she needs to track him down but in a community riven with long-running feuds getting answers isn’t easy.” (Summary from fishpond.co.nz)

The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, Mark Logue and Peter Conradi (The King’s Speech) – “The King’s Speech is the previously untold story of the extraordinary relationship between Logue and the haunted young man who became King George VI, drawn from Logue’s unpublished personal diaries.” (Taken from the fishpond.co.nz summary)

For a full list of films and people nominated for Academy Awards this year (and to trawl around the Award database) visit the official site here.

As an aside and basically, obscurely, related for fans of Sigur Rós, you can view (in HD) the How To Train Your Dragon version of the video for ‘Sticks and Stones’ by Jónsi here. How to Train Your Dragon is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature** and is based on the children’s novel by Cressida Cowell.

* We humbly acknowledge Tara_Librarian of Denver Public Library for her inspiration (and background digging) in an extensive post here (note the links point to the Denver catalogue).

** Plus the Boneknapper Dragon short on the DVD is ace.