Seaward Stories: New Fiction

The ocean looms large in this month’s new general fiction selection. Lemuel Gulliver seemingly lost at sea in Gulliver’s Wife; Captain Cook’s Endevour wrecked on a coral reef in On a Barbarous Coast; wisdom from octopuses in The Octopus and I; a deadly sea crossing in We are Made of Earth.

Also this month: the French literary sensation All About Sarah by Pauline Delabroy-Allard and Love by Roddy Doyle. Love has been compared to James Joyce’s Dubliners, and has received great reviews from the New York Times, Boston Globe and more. Enjoy!

Gulliver’s Wife / Chater, Lauren
“London, 1702. When her husband is lost at sea, Mary Burton Gulliver is forced to rebuild her life without him. But three years later when Lemuel Gulliver is brought home, fevered and communicating only in riddles, her ordered world is turned upside down. In a climate of suspicion, Mary is caught in a crossfire of superstition and fear driven by her husband’s outlandish claims of the wonders he has seen, and it is up to her to navigate a passage to safety for herself, her daughter and the vulnerable women in her care.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On a Barbarous Coast / Cormick, Craig and Ludwick, Harold
“On a night of raging winds and rain, Captain Cook’s Endeavour lies splintered on a coral reef off the coast of far north Australia. A disparate band of survivors huddle on the shore. Watching these mysterious white beings, the Guugu Yimidhirr people cannot decide if they are ancestor spirits to be welcomed–or hostile spirits to be speared. One headstrong young boy, Garrgiil, determines to find out what exactly they are. On a Barbarous Coast is the story of a past and future that might have been.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All About Sarah / Delabroy-Allard, Pauline
“A thirty-something teacher drifts through her life in Paris, lonely in spite of a new boyfriend. And then one night at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, Sarah enters the scene like a tornado–a talented young violinist, she is loud, vivacious, appealingly unkempt. Thus begins an intense relationship, tender and violent, that will upend both women’s lives. Delabroy-Allard perfectly captures the pull of a desire so strong that it blinds us to everything else.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Love / Doyle, Roddy
“One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant. Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rest and be thankful / Glass, Emma
“Laura is a nurse in a pediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely fragile bodies, calibrating the machines that keep them alive. Laura may be burnt out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn’t love her any more. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Eighth Life (for Brilka) / Haratischwili, Nino
“On the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the center of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Octopus and I / Hortle, Erin
“Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula, where Lucy is recovering from surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses, and in doing so finds herself drawn towards the friendship of an old woman and her son. As the story unfolds, the octopuses come to shape Lucy’s body and her sense of self in ways even she can’t quite understand. The Octopus and I is a stunning debut novel that explores the wild, beating heart at the intersection of human and animal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little Gods: a Novel / Jin, Meng
“Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother Su Lan’s ashes to China. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Liya’s mother before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are Made of Earth / Karnezis, Panos
“When an overcrowded dinghy capsizes at sea, a doctor is among those refugees thrown overboard. The doctor and a boy he has saved eventually reach a tiny Greek island where they are offered shelter by the owner of a travelling circus. Debt-ridden, the circus owner knows that his most valuable asset is an Asian elephant, lovingly tended by the owner’s wife even as she mourns their 10-year old daughter. The doctor is drawn to his host’s wife, all the while keeping his young companion at arm’s length.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Central Library fiction available to reserve

“We are excited to announce our Wellington City Libraries customers can begin reserving fiction books online from the Central Library collection through our new Collection and Distribution Centre (CDC),” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“Once items are reserved through the catalogue they will be delivered to the library branch the customer has chosen. This should take between one to three working days. Our teams will continue to help people find items and place reserves for them where they need it.”

“People can reserve titles from the fiction collection for adult readers at catalogue.wcl.govt.nz. We will add the young adults and children’s fiction over the coming weeks, followed by the non-fiction titles. After that, we’ll work through the reference collections and how we can make these accessible. We’ll keep customers updated as more parts of the collection become available.”

“It’s been mammoth job to find a space with the right climatic conditions and strength to house the more than 350,000 items which remained at the Central Library after taking out the 60,000 items that are available at our three interim CBD libraries. While we opened two of the interim branches last year – Arapaki Manners Library and He Matapihi Library – our plans to open the third library and the CDC in May were delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown. So we are excited the collection is now accessible, and we are opening Te Awe Library at 9:30am, Tuesday 14 July. We’d very much like to thank our customers for their patience and support over the past fifteen months.”

How library customers can reserve items:

In the New Catalogue (catalogue.wcl.govt.nz), look for items held at the “Off-site Storage” location, and select Place Reserve as you do for other items:

The Collection and Distribution Centre in Johnsonville and the library teams based there, manage the distribution of the thousands of new and current library items which are borrowed from, or returned to our 14 library branches every day. The Centre is closed to the public.

Black Lives Matter: Fiction & Film Resources

Omaha, Nebraska, 1915. A young postal worker named George Johnson quits his job to found the Lincoln Motion Picture Company with his brother Noble. Just over a year later the brothers have moved to L.A., where they go on to make six films before winding down in 1923. Today, the Lincoln Motion Picture Company is recognised as not only America’s first all-black movie production unit, but the first to “showcase African-American talent in the full sphere of cinema.

Two years after the closure of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, another series of stories exploring the black experience in America is being assembled, this time in print. They emerge not from the Midwest but New York, in the pages of The New Negro: An Interpretation, under the editorship of Howard University professor Alain Locke. The New Negro will go on to become the key text of the Harlem Renaissance.

Film and fiction have been two particularly powerful mediums for exploring the black experience in America since the work of the Johnson brothers over one hundred years ago. Below you’ll find a selection of contemporary films and novels that continue this exploration, including the award-winning works of Spike Lee, the genre-expanding novels of N.K. Jemisin and the experimental movie-making of Cheryl Dunye. For equally powerful non-fiction examples, visit our Black Lives Matter: Non-Fiction Resources blog.


FICTION

Sing, unburied, sing : a novel / Ward, Jesmyn
“Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nickel boys : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. But one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But fellow inmate Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“Alix is a woman who gets what she wants. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler in their local supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping. Alix resolves to make things right, but both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about each other.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The fifth season / Jemisin, N. K
“This is the way the world ends…for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Red at the bone / Woodson, Jacqueline
Red at the Bone opens with Melody celebrating her 16th birthday at her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Melody’s mother never did get her own 16th birthday party, and therein lies a tale of two families separated by class, ambition, gentrification, sexual desire, and unexpected parenthood.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 


FILMS

The Watermelon Woman
Year: 1996
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here.

“Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian.” (Kanopy)

Fig
Year: 2010
Director: Ryan Coogler

Watch the full film here.

“Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Black Panther), Fig is a this sympathetic look at the life of a working class mother, a prostitute named Candice wants nothing more than to provide a good life for her daughter Kyla. One night that she is unable to find a babysitter for Kyla, Candice takes her to the corner where she picks up johns and leaves her in the car. When Candice is with a john, Kyla is found alone by the police and is taken into emergency foster care. When she finds out, Candice does everything in her power to convince the social worker in charge of Kyla’s case that she really does love her daughter very much.” (Kanopy)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
Year: 2014
Director: Spike Lee

Watch the full film here.

“Spike Lee’s stylized thriller Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is a new kind of love story. Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He, however, is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status in our seemingly sophisticated society.” (Kanopy)

Hugo Awards: Best Novel Shortlist

Like many major cultural events across the globe, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention (aka CoNZealand) has decided to go virtual. The convention was due to be held in Wellington, but this change hasn’t dampened the excitement and buzz around it–or its associated awards, the Hugos. To get you ready for this science fiction bonanza we are doing a series of blogs looking at shortlists from some of the various Hugo Award categories.

For this particular blog we are going to look at the shortlist for this year’s Best Novel category, which excitingly includes New Zealand writer Tamsyn Muir. Enjoy!

Best Novel Award Shortlist:

The city in the middle of the night / Anders, Charlie
“January is a dying planet–divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk. And living inside the cities, one flush with anarchy and the other buckling under the stricture of the ruling body, is increasingly just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Gideon the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn
“Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cutthroat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The light brigade / Hurley, Kameron
The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief–no matter what actually happens during combat.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A memory called empire / Martine, Arkady
“Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels to the Teixcalaanli Empire’s interstellar capital, eager to take up her new post. Yet when she arrives, she discovers her predecessor was murdered. But no one will admit his death wasn’t accidental – and she might be next. Now Mahit must navigate the capital’s enticing yet deadly halls of power, to discover dangerous truths.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Middlegame / McGuire, Seanan
“Meet Roger. Skilled with words, he instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet. Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The ten thousand doors of January / Harrow, Alix E
“In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Discover More:

New to the Hugos–or indeed the wondrous delights of science fiction? Never fear, we have the perfect introduction for you on our free film streaming service, Kanopy. How Great Science Fiction Works is a 24 episode series by twice Hugo-nominated Dr Gary K. Wolfe. This exhaustive overview is both rigorous and deeply informative and covers every aspect of science fiction, from cyberpunk to Mary Shelley and all points in between. And as an added bonus it doesn’t count as one of your monthly borrows!

2020 Ockham NZ Book Awards: Fiction & Poetry Winners!

The results are in: the winner of this year’s Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards is debut author Becky Manawatu with Auē!

Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu) was up against big names, including Elizabeth Knox, Owen Marshall and Carl Shuker, but managed to emerge victorious with a story about the death of an orphaned boy that has been described as an “immense, deep and powerful work” and has been compared to both Once Were Warriors and The Bone People. Check out an exert from the novel here or reserve a copy here!

Also victorious last night was Helen Rickerby with How to Live. Rickerby won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry, beating out Anne Kennedy, Steven Toussaint and Ashleigh Young. How to Live is Rickerby’s third collection, and has been described as “lucid, uplifting, provocative, revealing, acidic, groundbreaking“.  Have a listen to ‘How to Live Through This’ from How to Live here, or reserve a copy of the collection via our catalogue!

Watch Becky Manawatu read from Auē:

Watch Helen Rickerby read from How to Live:

StayAtHomeFest 2020: Day Two

It’s day two of quarantine and you’ve already eaten all the Toffee Pops. And the Squiggles. And the Chocades. (Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.) And besides, you’ve still got StayAtHomeFest 2020 to help you get through!

StayAtHomeFest 2020 combines talks from some of our favourite authors with links to eBooks of their work via Overdrive. We’ve also added links to associated digital resources in case you want to do a bit more exploring. So make yourself a mug of lapsang souchong, dig out that old packet of Chit Chats from the back of the cupboard and settle in for Day Two of this socially-distanced digital event!

(Day One of StayAtHomeFest 2020 can be found here.)


TOMMY ORANGE

The pressure has been on Tommy Orange since the success of There There in 2018. Luckily for readers, he’s not only running 10 kilometres a day, he’s also in the process of finishing the sequel to his debut novel! While you’re waiting, check out this great profile he recently wrote in Esquire.

Overdrive coverThere There, by Tommy Orange
“Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and hoping to reconnect with her estranged family. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle’s death, while Edwin is looking for his true father and Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are here for the celebration that is the Big Oakland Powwow. But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powow with darker intentions.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Lynda.com: Did you know that as well as writing, Tommy Orange also composes music?! Develop your own music composition skills (and more) with Lynda.com.

ProQuest Research Library: Learn more about the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation featured in There There via our in-depth research database.


SELINA TUSITALA MARSH

“What if I forget my lines, trip up the holy steps, or accidentally step back onto the sacred Cosmati Pavement, causing the Abbey ministers to cry out (like I did during rehearsal)?” It’s not easy to perform in Westminster Abbey, but for poet, academic and former New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, it’s just part of life!

(And if you haven’t seen it already, check out Mophead, Tusitala Marsh’s recently-released graphic memoir–featured below.)

Overdrive cover Fast Talking PI, by Selina Tusitala Marsh
Fast Talking PI is the first ‘singular, confident and musical’ collection of poetry by Auckland writer Selina Tusitala Marsh. ‘Tusitala’ means writer of tales in Samoan, and Marsh here lives up to her name with stories of her life, her family, community, ancestry, and history. Her poetry is sensuous and strong, using lush imagery, clear rhythms and repetitions to power it forward. The list poem is a favourite style, but she also writes with a Pacific lyricism entirely her own.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

MasterFILE Complete: Read more about Selina Tusitala Marsh’s work via this collection of full-text magazines, journals and reference books.

DigitalNZ: DigitalNZ has millions of local texts, videos and audio recordings–including fantastic performances from Tusitala Marsh. Check them out via the link.

Story Box Library: “All 11-year-olds should have the opportunity to see and hear poetry in a way that explodes their world.” Discover more poetry and stories for kids via Story Box Library!


KILEY REID

You know you’ve written something interesting when your book causes shoving matches between strangers, but that’s exactly the impact Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age has been having since its release. It’s been called “a bold, urgent, essential exploration of race, class, labor, friendship, identity and self-delusion, both deliciously readable and incredibly complex.” Check it out before the movie arrives!

Overdrive coverSuch a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer, Alix, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, each other, and privilege.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Kanopy: As well as working on her second novel, Reid is also writing the screenplay for Such a Fun Age. Discover more book-to-movie adaptions via Kanopy, our free film streaming service.

BWB Books: Kiley Reid describes her writing as addressing “class, money, and race”. For more works looking at these topics, check out the BWB Books database.


ILIANA REGAN

Did you know that Iliana Regan’s culinary memoir Burn the Place was the first food title to be longlisted for a National Book Award since Julia Child’s nomination in 1980? But then, not every work about food explores such a powerful range of topics (while still having time to take readers foraging for mushrooms in the fairy-tale forests of childhood!).


Overdrive coverBurn the Place, by Iliana Regan
Burn the Place is a galvanizing culinary memoir that chronicles Iliana Regan’s journey from foraging on the family farm to opening her Michelin-starred restaurant, Elizabeth. Her story is alive with startling imagery, raw like that first bite of wild onion, and told with uncommon emotional power. It’s a sure bet to be one of the most important new memoirs of 2019.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Gale Archives of Sexuality & Gender: Burn the Place has been described as a book that combines stories about gender and sexuality with food and cooking. Discover more stories of gender and sexuality via our fantastic new database.

Lynda.com: Did you know that Lynda.com has resources specifically for restaurant owners–as well as for a range of other businesses?!

Gale Health and Wellness Resource Center: Burn the Place has also been described by the New Yorker as a “memoir of addiction”. Investigate more addiction-focussed resources via one of our key health databases.


FRANCISCO CANTÚ

Between 2008 and 2012, Francisco Cantú worked as a US border patrol agent on the US-Mexico border. His book The Line Becomes a River exposes the violence of past immigration policies towards both migrants and refugees, as well as his own psychological well-being. “This is work that endangers the soul…”

Overdrive coverThe Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú
“In this extraordinary account, Francisco Cantú describes his work in the desert along the Mexican border. He tracks humans through blistering days and frigid nights. He detains the exhausted and hauls in the dead. The line he is sworn to defend, however, begins to dissolve. Haunted by nightmares, Cantú abandons the Patrol for civilian life – but he soon faces a final confrontation with the world he believed he had escaped.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Mango Languages: As well as writing and teaching, Francisco Cantú is also a translator. Begin your own language exploration with our free language-learning database.

RBdigital: Francisco Cantú’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays and magazines including Harper’s. Download the latest copy of Harper’s via our free eMagazine resource.

StayAtHomeFest 2020: Day One

It can be tough being stuck at home. You need plenty of food, you need exercise, you need social support (and, it seems, you need a large stockpile of toilet paper). But there’s something else you need, too–the arts! Presenting: StayAtHomeFest 2020!

StayAtHomeFest 2020 combines talks from some of our favourite authors with links to eBooks of their work via Overdrive. We’ve also added links to associated digital resources in case you want to do a bit more exploring. So make yourself a coffee, move the cat from the best spot on the couch and settle back for Day One of this socially-distanced digital event!


ISABEL ALLENDE

What better way to start than with the legendary Isabel Allende? The Chilean-American author has written 24 books, sold more than 74 million copies of her work and won over 60 awards. Her latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, has been described as “a masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging”–perfect for times like these.

Overdrive cover A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over four generations.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Kanopy Films: As well as writing for the page, Allende has authored numerous screenplays, and had several novels adapted for the screen. Discover more via one of our free film streaming services!

Mango Languages: Want to read Allende’s work in the original Spanish? Check out Mango Languages, our free database for learning languages on the go.

Gale World History In Context: Did you know Isabel Allende’s stepfather was one of the first people to meet the SS Winnipeg when it reached Chilean waters? Learn more at one of our premiere historical databases.


MAX PORTER

Next up is UK writer Max Porter. Porter is primarily known for his debut novel Grief is the Thing with Feathers, winning him the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award and a shortlisting for the Guardian First Book Award–but did you know he also edited Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries? His most recent work, Lanny, has been described as “a joyously stirred cauldron of words.”

Overdrive cover Lanny, by Max Porter
“Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here, such as the boy Lanny, and his mum and dad. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Beamafilm: Did you know Lanny is being made into a film starring Rachel Weisz? Discover more book adaptations with the second of our two film streaming services, Beamafilm.

Oxford Art Online: Explore Oxford Art Online’s images, drawings and maps and you’ll be drawing like Lanny and Mad Pete in no time!

Gale Literature Center: Porter’s use of language has been compared to James Joyce’s Ulysses. Discover more about the connection via our comprehensive online literary site.


SUKETU MEHTA

Pulitzer finalist Suketu Mehta burst into Best-of lists last year with his groundbreaking This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, a book laying out a powerful argument for mass migration as a form of global justice. The work has been called “among the most comprehensive, clearest, lucid and persuasive arguments in favour of immigrant rights yet written.”

Overdrive cover This Land Is Our Land, by Suketu Mehta
“Drawing on his family’s own experience, and years of reporting around the world, Suketu Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. The West, he argues, is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. He juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of labourers, nannies and others, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before.”
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

New York Times: Suketu Mehta lives in Manhattan, and luckily we’ve got access to his hometown newspaper and its archives! Explore the New York Times via the link.

RBdigital: Mehta’s work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books and Harper’s. Check out the latest copies via RBdigital, our free eMagazine resource.


VINCENT O’MALLEY

Over the last four years, Vincent O’Malley has helped to fundamentally change how many people view the New Zealand Wars, arguing that the Waikato War should be seen as the defining conflict in New Zealand history. Both The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa have been bestsellers across the country.

Overdrive cover The Treaty of Waitangi Companion, by Vincent O’Malley
“Since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 it has become the defining document in New Zealand history. From the New Zealand Wars to the 1975 Land March, from the Kingitanga to the Waitangi Tribunal, from Captain Cook to Hone Harawira, The Treaty of Waitangi Companion tells the story of the Treaty and Māori and Pākehā relations through the many voices of those who made this country’s history.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

BWB Books: Go deeper into Aotearoa’s history with free access to some of Bridget Williams Books’ most popular titles, including O’Malley’s fantastic The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa.

Raraunga Kōrero–Māori Databases: Browse an index of clippings collected by T.F. Grey, as well as an index to articles from the Dominion and Evening Post dating back to 1930. Rohe/iwi mentioned include Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Mataatua.

Wellington City Recollect: The team at Wellington City Libraries have been digitising historic photos, pamphlets and postcards from the Wellington region–look through them right here!


OLGA TOKARCZUK

Before the US publication of Flights in 2017, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was described as “probably one of the greatest living writers you have never heard of.” Two years and one Nobel Prize later, Tokarczuk has become a powerful literary figure beyond her country of origin, with English language readers waiting eagerly for the translation of The Books of Jacob, due in 2021.

Overdrive cover Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her dogs. When members of a hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals; she’s unconventional, and is fond of the poetry of William Blake…” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Pressreader: Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize win was covered extensively by some of Poland’s media–but not by the newspapers of the country’s nationalist right. Compare the difference via Pressreader, our free full-page newspaper database.

Gale in Context: Environmental Studies: Looking for the most up-to-date environmental info after reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead? Check out Gale in Context: Environmental Studies, including full-text articles from New Zealand and around the world.

Gale LitFinder: Suddenly hooked on William Blake? Read his complete works via Litfinder!

Body Tourists: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

‘We only do one per day,’ says Dr Butler, ‘so we can monitor everything very carefully.’ That made me feel better about it, which–looking back–was bloody stupid. — Body Tourists by Jane Rogers

It’s hard to know where to start with this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles: there’s work from big hitters including William Gibson and Terry Goodkind, the debut novel of The Who’s Pete Townshend and Highfire by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame.

But the novel that’s really caught our attention is Jane Rogers’ Body Tourists, the story of a clinic in London that specialises in bringing the dead back to life for two weeks. The catch? The process requires a robust conduit body, sourced from poor teenagers from the local Estate. Check out the Readings review here!

Body tourists / Rogers, Jane
“In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place on poor, robust teenagers from northern Estates in exchange for thousands of pounds – procedures that will bring the wealthy dead back to life in these young supple bodies for fourteen days. It’s an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, for fathers to meet grandsons, for scientists to see their work completed. Old wine in new bottles. But at what cost?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agency / Gibson, William
“Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. Eunice, the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don’t yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it’s best they don’t…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Highfire / Colfer, Eoin
Squib Moreau’s intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way–like when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him. An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way out. But Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou–and neither of them have taken into account the dragon…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanished birds / Jimenez, Simon
“Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Heart of black ice / Goodkind, Terry
“As emissaries to the Old World, Nicci and her companions have travelled far into uncharted territories. Now in the wake of a brutal war unleashed around the city of Ildakar, they must face a terrible new threat posed by an old foe. The Norukai, barbarian raiders and slavers, have been gathering an immense fleet among the inhospitably rocky islands that make up their home. With numbers greater than anyone could have imagined, the Norukai are poised to launch their final and most deadly war.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The age of anxiety / Townshend, Pete
“A former rock star disappears on the Cumberland moors. An art dealer has drug-induced visions of demonic faces swirling in a bedstead. A beautiful Irish girl who has stabbed her father to death is determined to seduce her best friend’s husband. A young composer begins to experience aural hallucinations, expressions of the fear and anxiety of the people of London. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zed : a novel / Kavenna, Joanna
“Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle’s supposedly omniscient ‘lifechain’ don’t work, or, they’ve been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle’s technotopia and life as we know it. Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The poison song / Williams, Jen
Ebora was once a glorious city, celebrated in song. Now refugees from every corner of Sarn seek shelter within its crumbling walls, and the enemy that has poisoned their land won’t lie dormant for long. The deep-rooted connection that Tormalin, Noon and the scholar Vintage share with their Eboran war-beasts has kept them alive so far. But with Tor distracted, and his sister Hestillion hell-bent on bringing ruthless order to the next Jure’lia attack, the people of Sarn need all the help they can get.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Legacy of ash / Ward, Mat
“A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic. Ruling families – once protectors of justice and democracy – now plot against one another. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise. Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. And Calenne, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy. As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their homeland.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The menace from farside / McDonald, Ian
“Remember: Lady Luna knows a thousand ways to kill you, but family is what you know. Family is what works. Cariad Corcoran has a new sister who is everything she is not: tall, beautiful, confident. They’re unlikely allies and even unlikelier sisters, but they’re determined to find the moon’s first footprint, even if the lunar frontier is doing its best to kill them before they get there.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Poet’s Ship: New General Fiction

With family like mine, you don’t need to invent anything. — Isabel Allende

This month’s new fiction includes Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea, the story of the ship chartered by poet Pablo Neruda to save Spanish Republicans from Franco’s retribution after the Spanish Civil War. As Allende reveals in her interview with Time, one of the people who welcomed the ship to Chile was none other than her stepfather Ramón Huidobro.

Also new this month are two exciting works of New Zealand fiction: Paul Cleave’s Whatever it Takes and A.C. Buchanan’s From a Shallow Grave. From a Shallow Grave tells the story/ies of Phyllis Symons, whose body was found at the construction site of the Mount Victoria Tunnel in 1931. Listen to a reading from it here!

A long petal of the sea / Allende, Isabel
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From a shadow grave / Buchanan, A. C.
“Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons’ body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site. Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Whatever it takes / Cleave, Paul
“When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her–but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honor the promise he made to her all those years earlier–that he would never let anything bad happen to her again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Strangers and cousins / Cohen, Leah Hager
“In the idyllic town of Rundle Junction, Bennie and Walter are preparing to host the wedding of their daughter Clem. A ceremony at their beloved, rambling home should be the happiest of occasions, but Walter and Bennie have a secret. A new community has moved to Rundle Junction, threatening the social order…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hitting a straight lick with a crooked stick : stories from the Harlem Renaissance / Hurston, Zora Neale
“In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston–the sole black student at the college–was living in New York, desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world. During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The forest of enchantments / Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twenty One Truths About Love / Green, Matthew
“1. Dan wants to do something special. 2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 4. He doesn’t want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband. Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with his hilarious sense of humour, unique world-view and thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haven’t they grown / Hannah, Sophie
“All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches as Flora and her children step out of the car. Except there’s something terribly wrong. It’s the children. Twelve years ago they were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They haven’t changed at all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Say say say / Savage, Lila
“Ella is not yet living the life she imagined. Her artistic ambitions have given way to an unintended career as a care worker. One spring, Bryn hires her to help him care for Jill, his wife of many years. A car accident caused a brain injury that has left Jill verbally diminished. As Ella is drawn into the couple’s household, she is profoundly moved by the tenderness Bryn shows toward the wife he still fiercely loves. Ella is startled by the yearning this awakens in her, one that causes her to look at relationships of all kinds in new ways…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hungry and the fat / Vermes, Timur
“Europe’s borders are closed. Beyond the Sahara, huge camps have been built for millions of people who have no choice but to wait. They have been waiting so long that they could have walked to Europe by now… if it didn’t spell certain death. When German model and TV star Nadeche Hackenbusch visits the largest of the camps with a camera crew, young refugee Lionel recognizes a unique opportunity: use the media attention to organize 150,000 refugees to set off on a march to Europe…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sisters of the Vast Black: New Sci-Fi & Fantasy

There are some big names among this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles, including Nora Roberts with the third book in her Chronicles of the One series and Jeff VanderMeer with Dead Astronauts. However the book we’re probably most excited about is by debut author Lina Rather: it’s the fantastic Sisters of the Vast Black.

Sisters of the Vast Black tells the story of a group of space-travelling nuns who must answer a mysterious distress call from a recently-established colony. However this isn’t your usual space opera: Rather’s work investigates everything from theology and faith to governance and bio-engineering–and more!

For more sci-fi and fantasy suggestions, check out Novelist Plus in our eLibrary!

Sisters of the vast black / Rather, Lina
“Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rise of magicks / Roberts, Nora
“After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness–if, indeed, they can be saved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead astronauts / VanderMeer, Jeff
“Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters – Grayson, Morse and Chen – shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

CTRL + S / Briggs, Andy
“Life in the near future’s not all bad. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire. But almost anything isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested–and lives traded–to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted. Now Theo’s mother has disappeared . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The true bastards / French, Jonathan
“French debuted in a big way last year with The Grey Bastards. Here, Fetching now leads her own band of half-orcs, the True Bastards, and she faces famine and desertion from within and contempt from other half-orc leaders from without. Then real problems come from beyond the grave. The sequel to The Grey Bastards, this irresistibly swashbuckling, swaggering, foul-mouthed fantasy is rollicking, cunningly clever swords ‘n’ sorcery storytelling that’s a shot of pure fun for fantasy fans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The warrior moon / Rivera, K Arsenault
“Barsalayaa Shefali, famed Qorin adventurer, and the spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, have survived fights with demon armies, garnered infamy, and ruled an empire. Raised together since birth, then forced into exile after their wedding, and reunited amidst a poisonous invasion–these bold warrior women have faced monumental adventures and catastrophic battles. As they come closest to fulfilling the prophecy of generations–Shefali and Shizuka will face their greatest test yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The beast’s heart / Shallcross, Leife
“I am neither monster nor man – yet I am both. I am the Beast. I know why I was cursed; I know the legacy of evil I carry in my tainted blood. So how could she ever love me? My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart when I was struggling just to be human. And now I might lose her forever. Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)