Music & Movies March Newsletter

Are you thinking about getting a tablet this year? With Wellington City Libraries, you can now loan a tablet for three weeks and enjoy all the benefits for just $5. Click on the link below for more details! Also enjoy this month’s pick of music, movies, books and much more.

Library News

DVDs

This month’s new DVDs feature a doco on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history; new comedy with David Brent & Bridget Jones; real life drama with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger; unconventional parenting with Viggo Mortensen; female investment banking with Anna Gunn; a Detective Superintendent’s journey to exact justice for the victims’ families with Gillian Anderson; and Western action with seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns.

MyLibDVDs3 Sully.
“On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.” (Editorial Reviews, amazon.com)
MyLibDVDs4 Bridget Jones’s baby.
“After breaking up with Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)
cover image Equity.
“A female investment banker, Anna Gunn, fighting to rise to the top of the corporate ladder at a competitive Wall Street firm, navigates a controversial tech IPO in the post-financial crisis world, where loyalties are suspect, regulations are tight, but pressure to bring in “big money” remains high. Equity is a unique Wall Street drama about women who thrive on competition and ambition to stay equal in the game.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)
cover image The fall. Series 3.
“At the climax of the last series, audiences were left reeling as Spector, critically injured in a devastating ambush, lay bleeding in the arms of Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. Moments before, the intense and single-minded investigator thought she had her man; now, shocked and desperate, she’s losing him. Bringing a killer to book is going to take much more now than simply catching him. In the emotionally charged aftermath of the shooting, Gibson’s personal journey to exact justice for the victims’ families must begin with the blood-soaked fight to keep Spector alive. As the Fall reaches its inexorable conclusion, it’s clear that the rules of this deadly game of cat and mouse are set to shift once again.” (Syndetics summary)

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Film and television books

New books on movies and TV offer a great summer read in a wide variety of topics. They include the lovely biography about Bill Murray and the official guide book of the much-loved TV series Outlander. A Star is Born and The Fashion of Film can be fantastic coffee table books. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover Last girl before freeway : the life, loves, losses, and liberation of Joan Rivers / Leslie Bennetts.
“Joan Rivers was more than a legendary comedian; she was an icon and a role model to millions, a fearless pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers’ career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life. A juicy, intimate biography of one of the greatest comedians ever-a performer whose sixty year career was borne, simply, out of a desire to make people laugh so she could feel loved-LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world around her.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The making of Outlander : the series : the official guide to seasons one & two / Tara Bennett ; introduction by Diana Gabaldon.
“Get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Outlander with this official, fully illustrated companion to the hit Starz television series based on the bestselling novels. Best of all, The Making of Outlander offers a veritable feast of lavish photographs–including an array of images spotlighting the stars in all their characters’ grandeur and up-close personal portraits. Featuring an introduction by Diana Gabaldon herself, this magnificent insider’s look at the world of the Outlander TV series is the companion all fans will want by their side.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A star is born : the moment an actress becomes an icon / George Tiffin.
“Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve… Feted, adored and desired, successful movie actresses are icons of modern culture. But what was it that made them true stars? Was it looks, talent, drive, personality – or just plain luck? What was the first captivating image or unforgettable line that etched them indelibly on our collective memory – and transformed the screen actress of the passing movie credit into the screen goddess of eternal legend? In a sequence of elegant pen-portraits, George Tiffin takes a microscope to the movies and the moments that established 75 female icons of cinema. These penportraits are supplemented by quotes, notes and anecdotes, including script excerpts from key scenes. A STAR IS BORN is a seductive celebration of the eternal feminine at the heart of the movie business – and an informal and engaging history of cinema itself.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The fashion of film : how cinema has inspired fashion / Amber Butchart.
“The Fashion of Film is the perfect book for the fashion fan. In it, fashion historian Amber Butchart takes a journey through the last 100 years of cinema style and its influence on the catwalks. With beautiful imagery and thoroughly-researched text, she looks at how our most iconic movies have transformed the world of high fashion. Karl Lagerfeld was influenced by the dystopian vision of Metropolis, the picture-perfect world of Wes Anderson’s films are echoed in the collections of Miuccia Prada, and Audrey Hepburn was key to Hubert de Givenchy’s work. Fashion designers have long taken their inspiration from silver screen idols, and continue to do so today.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The real James Dean : intimate memories from those who knew him best / edited by Peter L. Winkler ; foreword by George Stevens.
“In the decades following his death, many of those who knew James Dean best–actors, directors, friends, lovers (both men and women), photographers, and Hollywood columnists–shared stories of their first-person experiences with him in interviews and in the articles and autobiographies they wrote. Their recollections of Dean became lost in fragile back issues of movie magazines and newspapers and in out-of-print books that are extremely hard to find. Until now. The Real James Dean is the first book of its kind: a rich collection spanning six decades of writing in which many of the people whose lives were touched by Dean recall their indelible experiences with him in their own words.” (Syndetics summary)

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Books on popular music

A lot of intriguing books on popular music have been added to our collection. They include Total Records, which is a wonderful art book about album covers, and Uproot: travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture. Fantastic biographies about Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog round out a great reading selection. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover Fashion + music : fashion creatives shaping pop culture / Katie Baron.
“As twin agents of creative expression fashion and music have long shared a powerful mutual attraction: from the Sex Pistols to Madonna, Kylie Minogue to Lady Gaga, fashion has consistently amplified our understanding of the band (and in many cases the brand) – fuelling the fantasy, giving context to the sound and adding depth to artists’ wider agendas. From pop videos to editorial shoots, via the evolution of some of the industry’s most significant and era-defining pairings/collaborations this book will focus on the power of fashion as a make-or-break tool within the music industry’s creative process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Uproot : travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture / Jace Clayton [aka DJ Rupture].
“In 2001 Jace Clayton was an unknown DJ who recorded a three-turntable, sixty-minute mix and put it online to share with friends. Within weeks, Gold Teeth Thief became an international calling card, whisking Clayton away to play a nightclub in Zagreb, a gallery in Osaka, a former brothel in Sao Paolo, and the American Museum of Natural History. Just as the music world made its fitful, uncertain transition from analog to digital, Clayton found himself on the front lines of creative upheavals of art production in the twenty-first century globalized world. Uproot is a guided tour of this newly-opened cultural space. With humor, insight, and expertise, Clayton offers an unparalleled understanding of music in the digital age.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Born to run / Bruce Springsteen.
“In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Agnetha Fältskog : the girl with the golden hair / Daniel Ward.
“Her iconic blonde looks, stunning voice and songs of loneliness and melancholy have endeared her to millions, yet Agnetha Fältskog remains an enigmatic and distant figure. From her success as a teenage singer and songwriter in Sweden in the late 1960’s to her years of global superstardom with pop giants ABBA and beyond, Agnetha has fascinated generations of fans. Agnetha Fältskog–The Girl With The Golden Hair is the first full-length biography dedicated to the life and career of the one of the most beloved and successful performers in music history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Paul McCartney : the biography / Philip Norman.
“The first biography written with McCartney’s approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him. Covers Paul McCartney’s life from his boyhood and the death of his mother – the formation of the Beatles – the creative relationship between Paul and John Lennon resulting in so many of their hit songs – the Band’s success and the resulting fame – the breakup of the Beatles and it’s impact on Paul and his relationship with the other three Beatles – Linda and the formation of Wings – his life with Linda and his family – Linda’s death – through to his romance with Heather Mills and their well publicised divorce.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

This time among the new additions we found these interesting gems.

Rafał Blechacz, Johann Sebastian Bach.
“Rafał Blechacz, ‘a superlative pianist’ (BBC Music Magazine), further demonstrates his versatility in his first album devoted to Bach. Among the highlights of his wide-ranging programme are the Italian Concerto, one of Blechacz’s signature pieces (‘His reading was, above all, a model of textural transparency’ – Portland Press Herald), and the Partita No. 1 (‘It was immediately clear from the first sweet, liquid notes that Blechacz is a musician in service to the music, searching its depths, exploring its meaning and probing its possibilities’ – Washington Post)” (cover).
Voyages: Orgue de la Philharmonie de Paris. Performed by Olivier Latry.
Organ compilations are unique in that they are a recording of a specific instrument installed in a specific space. Olivier Latry says, “A space within a space, bonded for all time with the environment in which it is housed, the inherent rapport between the organ which we are about to hear and its surroundings means that it is without a shadow of doubt the soul of the Philharmonie. May the listener relax and be transported to rediscover universal music illuminated by an instrument with so many attributes” (cover).
Piano Trios Op. 65 & 90, Dvořák. Performed by Trio Wanderer.
“The Trio Wanderer pays tribute to Dvořák and his last two trios, including the rarely played no. 3 in F minor, heartfelt and sombre. The famous Dumky Trio… opens this new recording. Passionate and melancholy by turns, it is also the most innovative and the freest of Dvořák’s trios…” (cover).
ClassicalrecentFeba3 Rostropovich Encores. Performed by Alban Gerhardt and Markus Becker.
“For the young Alban Gerhardt, Rostropovich was ‘a reason to become passionate about the cello.’ In the liner notes he recalls being ‘blown away’ on first hearing Slava play live in Berlin. This splendid follow-up to his program of Casals Encores sees Gerhardt paying homage to his great predecessor with an eclectic program of shorter works, including two by Rostropovich himself” (amazon.com).
ClassicalrecentJanb2 Symphonies 4, 5, 6, Tchaikovsky. Performed by the Arctic Philharmonic.
The final three of Tchaikovsky’s variously-flavoured symphonies together on a 2 CD set, performed by the Arctic Philharmonic, who are indeed based within the Arctic circle (and are in fact the world’s northernmost orchestra).

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Music & Movies May Newsletter

Enjoy New Zealand Music Month this May with our selected CDs, DVDs, and books. Features ‘Adore Life’ by Savages, ‘Bluenote Café’ by Neil Young, ‘Spectre’ the newest Bond film and much more. Also you can listen to the Ruth Gotlieb oral history online. Check them out!

Library News

DVDs

New movies for April include the smash new Bond film ‘Spectre’, popular Spielberg historical drama ‘Bridge Of Spies’, and ‘Queen & country’; while new TV shows include the latest season of  popular period piece ‘The Village’.

cover image Bridge of spies.
“Directed by three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg BRIDGE OF SPIES is the story of James Donovan (Two time Oscar winner Tom Hanks), an insurance claims lawyer from Brooklyn who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War when the CIA enlists his support to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)
cover image Queen & country.
“The sequel to Hope and glory, Bill Rohan is grown up and drafted into the army where he and his best mate battle their snooty superiors on the base and look for love in town.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image The village. Series two.
The Village is a timeless coming-of-age story, told through the nostalgic eyes of one man, Bert Middleton. From lustful first-love and the dramas of war, to a father’s hard lessons and a mother’s love; Bert has seen it all. The Great War is over but what kind of England has won? Now in a world of boom and bust, motor cars and the Charleston, the twenties bring a blast of energy and freedom to the village; as the outside world continues to break down barriers, bringing with it big dramas and change.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Spectre.
“A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

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Film and television books

This month’s picks feature a variety of books on the history of entertainment, including costume, comedy and Coronation Street. Enjoy!

Syndetics book cover The comedians : drunks, thieves, scoundrels, and the history of American comedy / Kliph Nesteroff.
“Based on over two hundred original interviews and extensive archival research, Nesteroff’s groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the way comedians have reflected, shaped, and changed American culture over the past one hundred years. From comedy’s part in the Civil Rights movement and the social upheaval of the late 1960s, to the first comedy clubs of the 1970s and the cocaine-fueled comedy boom of the 1980s, The Comedians culminates with a new era of media-driven celebrity in the twenty-first century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Deirdre : a life on Coronation Street / Glenda Young.
“From her first appearance in 1972, Deirdre Barlow (nee Hunt) went on to become one of the street’s most iconic stars and been at the centre of some of its most explosive storylines; including her affair with Mike Baldwin, her imprisonment for fraud which prompted the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to raise her case in the Commons and her relationship with daughter Tracy, a woman who has literally gotten away with murder. Deirdre: A Life on the Street is a tribute to one of the most recognised and loved characters on television.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover And on that bombshell / Richard Porter.
“I was Top Gear’s script editor for 13 years and all 22 series. I basically used to check spelling and think of stupid gags about The Stig. I also got to hang around with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. It didn’t feel like something you should get paid for. From the disastrous pilot show of 2002 to the sudden and unexpected ending in 2015, working on Top Gear was quite a rollercoaster ride. I realised that I had quite a few stories to tell from behind the scenes on the show. I remembered whose daft idea it was to get a dog. I recalled the wilfully stupid way in which we decorated our horrible office. I had a sudden flashback to the time a Bolivian drug lord threatened to kill us. I decided I should write down some of these stories. So I have. I hope you like them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Strictly Bruce : stories of my life / Bruce Forsyth.
“Bruce Forsyth, the consummate performer and much-loved face of British entertainment, invites you to share with him in a collection of his favourite photographs, which tell the story of a remarkable life lived to the full. Charting his life story from talented young lad growing up in north London to achieving national treasure status, Strictly Bruce is full of dazzling photographs and warm anecdotes spanning eight decades of Bruce’s life, man and boy. It’s a chance to take a trip down memory lane, celebrate the golden age of British showbiz and step behind the scenes of Bruce’s personal life, meeting the people he loves and learning what makes him tick.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Bond vs. Bond : the many faces of 007 / Paul Simpson.
“Who is your favorite Bond? Whether you love Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or even Timothy Dalton, you are going to love Bond vs. Bond . A fully comprehensive guide, Bond vs. Bond compares and contrasts all of the various ways Ian Fleming’s iconic British Secret Service agent, code name 007, has been interpreted through the years, from the books and movies to the guns and gadgets. Spanning from Fleming’s 1953 book Casino Royale to Sam Mendes’ 2012 film Skyfall, Bond vs. Bond features every incarnation of 007. This is definitely a book that no Bond fan should be without!” (Syndetics summary)

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Popular Music

Exciting new CDs feature from the up-and-coming talents Savages as well as the rock legend Neil Young. The Roy Orbison’s 13 CDs-set has been added to our extensive box set collection. Fantastic new music keeps coming. Check them out here, and reserve the items you like.

B016Z8K7US_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_ Savages – Adore life
“Savages’ second album Adore Life was recorded in RAK Studios, London in April 2015. Johnny Hostile was the producer and Richard Woodcraft the engineer. Anders Trentemoller took care of the mixing in Copenhagen. All songs were written and played by Savages – Ayşe Hassan (bass), Fay Milton (drums), Gemma Thompson (guitar), Jehnny Beth (vocals). Lyrics by Jehnny Beth.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
Cover image Neil Young – Bluenote Café
“Neil Young has announced that the latest Performance Series release from the Neil Young Archives is Bluenote Café. The album collects various performances captured during Neil’s 1988 tour. This superb live 2-CD set documents one of Young’s most funky and heartfelt periods and features seven unreleased songs: “Soul of a Woman,” “Bad News Comes to Town,” Ain’t it the Truth,” “I’m Goin’,” “Crime of the Heart,” “Doghouse,” “Fool for Your Love,” and a searing 19+ minute version of the immortal “Tonight’s the Night” from The Pier in New York City.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
cover image Jeremih – Late nights : the album
“The great magnitude of Jeremih’s extracurricular successes, combined with slips the singer pinned on himself and his label, made the five-year separation between All About You and Late Nights: The Album an odd one. It’s apparently truer to Jeremih’s vision than his first two albums, though only the most attentive listening reveals an artist with more dimensions — or more vocal ability — than the one who sang “Birthday Sex” and “Down on Me.”” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)
RecentPicks1 Suede – Night Thoughts
“Night Thoughts is a quintessentially Suede title: specific yet vague, a notion that seems either romantic or sad depending on perspective. Twenty years, a decade of which was spent in a split, certainly has shifted Suede’s perspective, particularly that of leader Brett Anderson. With that past behind them, Suede can still dwell on big issues of love and mortality, but now that the past is in perspective, it all means a little bit more and what lies ahead is a little more precious, and that wide view makes Night Thoughts all the more moving.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)
Cover image Roy Orbison – The M.G.M. years – 1965-1973
“This MGM Years box set is a summation of that marvelous work 13 full-length albums including the long sought-after The Fastest Guitar Alive soundtrack (Roy starred in the film) and a new collection of B-Sides & singles that have never before appeared on a full-length Roy Orbison album. This collection is the largest compilation of Orbison music to date.” (adapted from amazon.com)

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Books on popular music

Another exciting line-up for new books on popular music includes the fantastic biography of Nina Simone and The Faces, Woodstock contains marvellous photographs by Baron Wolman and is simply unmissable. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover What happened, Miss Simone? : a biography / Alan Light.
“Inspired by the Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? , an intimate and vivid look at the legendary life of Nina Simone, the classically trained pianist who evolved into a chart-topping chanteuse and committed civil rights activist. From music journalist and former Spin and Vibe editor-in-chief Alan Light comes a biography of incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. Harnessing the singular voice of Miss Simone herself and incorporating candid reflections from those who knew her best, including her only daughter, Light brings us face to face with a legend, examining the very public persona and very private struggles of one of our greatest artists.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cobain on Cobain : interviews and encounters / edited by Nick Soulsby.
Cobain on Cobain places the reader at the key moments of Kurt Cobain’s roller-coaster career, telling the tale of Nirvana entirely through his words and those of his bandmates. Each interview is another knot in a thread running from just after the recording of their first album, Bleach, to the band’s collapse on the European tour of 1994 and Cobain’s subsequent suicide. Including many interviews that have never before seen print, Cobain on Cobain will long remain the definitive source for anyone searching for Kurt Cobain’s version of his own story.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Had me a real good time : Faces : before, during and after / Andy Neill.
“Forty years ago one of the world’s best-loved rock ‘n’ roll bands, The Faces, formed from the ashes of The Small Faces and the Jeff Beck Group, featuring a charismatic, raspy-voiced frontman in Rod Stewart alongside Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones. They offered a welcome antidote to the more serious excesses of the early seventies, being as devoted to the mayhem as they were to the music. This is their story…” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Woodstock / photographs by Baron Wolman ; with Michael Lang ; foreword by Carlos Santana ; edited by Dagon James.
“Baron Wolman’s evocative and stunning photographs of Woodstock are published here for the first time. Wolman captured the atmosphere of Woodstock like no other photographer. More interested in the crowd than the performers, his photographs are hugely evocative and offer an insight into this legendary event that is rarely seen. Wolman writes, ‘everything was totally different, the behaviour was new and unexpected.’ With interview with Woodstock creator, Michael Lang, and a foreword by musician Carlos Santana, this exceptional volume is not to be missed.” (Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

Here are the highlights of our latest classical CD arrivals!

ClassicalrecentApr16b3 Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel. Performed by Lucas Debargue.
“2015 Tchaikovsky Competition sensation Lucas Debargue gained worldwide attention for his remarkable background and ‘genius-like playing’ (Boris Berezovsky) at one of the world’s foremost piano competitions. He started formal piano training aged 20. Only four years later he won the competition’s fourth prize, was described as its ‘real winner’ and received the Music Critic’s Association award as the pianist ‘whose incredible gift, artistic vision and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience’.” (cover)
Live recording.
ClassicalrecentApr16a2 Bach. Performed by Nelson Freire.
Recorded on his 80th birthday, this compilation is like a world-tour of Bach’s keyboard music and includes some works for organ arranged by Ferdinando Busoni, Alexander Siloti and Dame Myra Hess. “The sheer beauty and elegance of Freire’s playing, his crystalline tone and infinitely subtle range of touch and colour are combined with all the technique needed to cope with whatever challenges these pieces present him” (The Guardian, via amazon.com).
ClassicalrecentMar16b3 Overtures, Dvořák. Performed by the Prague Philharmonia.
“Antonin Dvorak’s overtures are comparable in length and form to the first movement of a symphony. The pieces were written with the intention of preceding a performance of a spoken play or opera. The works on this recording, however, begin to show a transition away from the preceding purpose and toward full independence, each overture expressing a story or scene rather than anticipating what is to follow. The overtures In Natures Realm, Carnival, and Othello, ranging in composition date from 1891-1892, were intended from the beginning to be concert works, with the plot specified by the title or verbal indications written into the manuscript score.” (amazon.com)
ClassicalrecentMar16b4 Journey: Two Hundred Years of Harpsichord Music. Performed by Trevor Pinnock.
“This unique harpsichord recital by Trevor Pinnock charts two incredible musical journeys four hundred years apart. Inspired by the travels of Antonio Cabezón, the sixteenth century organist and composer, Pinnock’s programme weaves a path not only through Cabezón’s life but also through his own enviable career. In celebration of his seventieth birthday, Pinnock has chosen a personal selection of works that evoke vivid memories from different stages of his life.” (amazon.com)

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Music & Movies December Newsletter

There are loads of CDs in our December book sale, come and grab a pre-Christmas bargain! Plus, find loads of new films and music in our selections below.

Library News

DVDs

The highlights of new arrival DVDs include the long-awaited Wolf Hall, Woman in Gold and Jurassic World. Exciting new DVDs keep coming. Check out our new DVDs here and reserve the items you like.

cover image Wolf Hall.
“It is 1529 and Henry has been married to Katherine of Aragon for 20 years without producing a male heir. Requests to the Pope for an annulment have gone unheeded. The King’s link to Rome, Cardinal Wolsey, has failed his sovereign in only this one matter and as a result his life hangs in the balance. Enter Cromwell – a pragmatic and accomplished negotiator, from humble beginnings and with an enigmatic past. As he walks the corridors of power at the Tudor court, Cromwell must navigate deadly political intrigue, the King’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Woman in gold.
“Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg, she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image A royal night out.
A Royal Night Out is a film about one perfect, glorious evening in the lives of two real-life princesses. They are Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor and the night is 8 May 1945, V-E Night. The whole of London is on the streets to celebrate the official end of World War II in Europe. It is known the young princesses, aged 19 and 14, slipped out of the palace to join the communal euphoria and went dancing at the Ritz. They apparently returned to Buckingham Palace just after midnight. Directed by acclaimed UK director Julian Jarrold, A Royal Night Out is an affectionate ‘what-if’ story about the adventures Elizabeth and Margaret might have had on the joyous night that brought the whole of London together.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Jurassic World.
“Twenty-two years following the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now includes a completely functioning dinosaur theme park, as once envisioned by John Hammond. After ten years of operation and decline in visitors, a unique attraction is designed to ignite visitor’s interest, which fails horribly.” (Syndetics summary)

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Film and television books

Explore the TV revolution by reading Taschen’s favorite TV shows. Journey inside North Korea with The director is the commander. Plus, many other great new arrivals!

Syndetics book cover Taschen’s favorite TV shows : the top shows of the last 25 years / Jürgen Müller (ed.).
“In the last decade, shows like Breaking Bad, Borgen and Mad Men have toppled cinema from its leading position in the popular culture universe and ushered in a whole new level of small screen excellence and appreciation. Networks such as HBO, AMC, and ABC have launched a new era of cinematic narrative, while cable TV networks, DVDs, and the Internet have brought about new, flexible ways of watching and engaging. Global fan communities devour episode after episode, independently of programs and broadcasting schedules, and probe the multiple levels of meaning in their favorite series in blogs, fan groups and online forums. Alongside a wealth of stills, this overview of the TV revolution presents the most important and successful series of recent years, from David Lynch’s groundbreaking masterpiece Twin Peaks to current highlights like Game of Thrones, Girls and House of Cards. Learn something new about your favorite shows, and about those you’re still to discover.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The science of TV’s The big bang theory : explanations even Penny would understand / Dave H. Zobel.
“The highest-rated scripted show on TV, The Big Bang Theory (CBS) often features Sheldon, Howard, Leonard and Raj wisecracking about scientific principles as if the rest of us should know exactly what they’re talking about. The Science of TV’S The Big Bang Theory lets all of us in on the punchline by breaking down the show’s scientific conversations. Covering every angle, author Dave Zobel maintains a humorous and informative approach and gives readers enough knowledge to make them welcome on Sheldon’s couch.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The director is the commander / Anna Broinowski.
“Looking for respite from her crumbling marriage and determined to stop a coal seam gas mine near her Sydney home, filmmaker Anna Broinowski finds wisdom and inspiration in the strangest of places: North Korea. Guided by the late Dear Leader Kim Jong Il’s manifesto The Cinema and Directing, Broinowski, in a world first, travels to Pyongyang to collaborate with North Korea’s top directors, composers and movie stars to make a powerful anti-fracking propaganda film. The Director is the Commander centres around the bizarre twenty-one day shoot Broinowski did in North Korea to make her documentary, Aim High in Creation! Funny, multi-layered and utterly compelling, The Director is the Commander is a gripping account of an extraordinary journey inside a nation we can usually only see from the outside looking in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Special effects make-up artist / Jonathan Craig and Bridget Light.
“Movies are full of amazingly odd creatures, from aliens to zombies, but what goes into creating them? Many of these bizarre creatures are brought to life with make-up and prosthetics. Find out what’s involved in being a special effects make-up artist, the tools and skills you need, and the difficulties of bringing imaginary creatures to life.” (Syndetics summary)

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Popular Music

This selection of new CDs includes new music from popular artists such as Don Henley & Lana Del Rey as well as some lavish new multi-disc box sets from old favourites.

Cover image Julia Holter – Have you in my wilderness
Have You In My Wilderness is the fourth full length album by Los Angeles artist Julia Holter and her most intimate album yet. Recorded in her hometown over the last year and once again crafted with Grammy-winning producer and engineer Cole Greif-Neill. Have You in My Wilderness was written from the heart – warm, dark and raw – and explores love, trust, and power in human relationships. While love songs are familiar in pop music, Holter manages to stay fascinatingly oblique and enigmatic, with some of the most sublime and transcendent music she has ever written.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
Cover image Don Henley – Cass County (Deluxe Edition)
“Don Henley will release Cass County, his fifth studio album, and first solo album in 15 years. Cass County was produced by Don Henley and Stan Lynch, who also co-wrote 11 of the songs on the album, and represents both Henley’s roots and the next stop on his creative journey. Recorded primarily in Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas, Texas, the album includes guest appearances from Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Mick Jagger, Martina McBride, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton.” (adapted from amazon.com)
Cover image Mercury Rev – The light in you
The Light In You more than lives up to its billing. The record is filled with wondrous and voluminous kaleidoscopic detail, but also intimate moments of calm, and altogether stands up to the very best that this notable band of maverick explorers has ever created. Its ecstatic highs and shivery comedowns also reflect a particularly turbulent era in the lives of Grasshopper and fellow co-founder Jonathan Donahue, of calamities both personal and physical, but also rebirths and real births (Grasshopper became a father for the first time in 2014). There’s a reason for the seven-year gap since the band’s last album, Snowflake Midnight.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
cover image Lana Del Rey Honeymoon
“The singer revealed the album title to Billboard in January. It’s very different from the last one and similar to the first two, Born to Die and Paradise, she said. Last year, Del Rey released Ultraviolence and contributed 2 songs Big Eyes and I Can Fly to the Tim Burton film Big Eyes as well as songs to the film, Age of Adeline starring Blake Lively.” (adapted from amazon.com)
cover image David Gilmour Rattle that lock
Rattle That Lock is the new solo album by David Gilmour, the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd. This is David’s fourth solo album, and the first since 2006′s # 1 album On An Island. The primary lyricist for Rattle That Lock is Gilmour s long-term writing partner, Polly Samson, and the album is co-produced by David Gilmour and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera. The album’s striking cover has been art directed by Dave Stansbie.” (adapted from amazon.com)

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Books on popular music

A wide variety of new books on popular music feature the marvellous study of Krautrock (Future Days), which our staff member Neil highly recommends, and Republic or Death offers the unique read about national anthems. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover Future days : Krautrock and the building of modern Germany / David Stubbs.
I’m a bit tardy reviewing this and apologies if someone else has beaten me to it, but it takes some time to savour a work like this. A brilliant overview of post-War Germany and its creative evolution, the book shows how the Krautrock cosmic warriors shied away both from the country’s tainted past and the new American cultural imperialism in a determined effort to forge something fresh. The music of the major bands – Can, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül, Faust, Cluster, Neu!, etc. – is discussed in detail, and the author summons up the spirit of an age when radical young Germans were throwing off the past and heading bravely towards a new dawn, the echoes are which are still heard today. (Neil)
Syndetics book cover AC/DC : the story of the original monsters of rock / Jerry Ewing.
AC/DC tells the story of the world’s biggest band. All of its members are analysed and tracked such as the Young brothers and the late, great Bon Scott. This definitive AC/DC experience pores over every album the band ever released, from 1974′s groundbreaking High Voltage through 2008′s monster Black Ice.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Republic or death! : travels in search of national anthems / Alex Marshall.
“There are a couple of hundred songs that are sung by millions across the world each day, that school children know by heart and sports fans belt out perfectly even after eight beers. And they aren’t pop songs – they are national anthems. These are songs which inspire the fiercest of feelings: for some they are a declaration of nationalistic pride; for others a rallying cry for revolution; and for others still they serve as a shameful reminder of past wrongs. And yet, despite the fact that for many of us they form a fundamental part of our national consciousness, the fascinating stories underlying the creation and adoption of each national anthem have rarely, if ever, been told.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover In search of Pharrell Williams / Paul Lester.
“First substantial overview of the life and career of Pharrell Williams, the foremost producer of the modern era, and performer in his own right. It follows him from his days growing up in Virginia, his meeting with musical partner Chad Hugo and formation of The Neptunes, through his collaborations with the great and the good of pop, rap and R&B, including Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Nelly and Kelis. It assesses his ground-breaking work with the radical rap-rock-pop band N*E*R*D, and his emergence as a solo superstar. It delves behind the immaculate facade to find out what makes Williams one of the most driven and inventive musicians of the last 20 years.” (Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

Hot off the mail truck so to speak; Brahms quartets, Bach variations, and a compilation focusing on the remarkable hotbed of composition that was Vienna.

ClassicalrecentNov15b1 String Quartets nos. 1 & 3, Brahms. Performed by the Artemis Quartet.
“Brahms’ first and third string quartets, composed in the 1870s, are two contrasting works that the members of Artemis Quartet describe as ‘remarkable and multi-faceted, tying a Romantic spirit with the structure and forms of Classicism, both imbued with a sense of warmth, immediacy and friendship as well as with a more spiritual, timeless beauty’.” (cover)
ClassicalrecentNov15b2 The Vienna Album. Performed by Lang Lang.
Acclaimed pianist Lang Lang performs a selection of Viennese classics. Works include Haydn and Mozart piano sonatas, a Beethoven duet (with Christoph Eschenbach), two Beethoven piano concertos (number 1 and 4), with a Schubert Fantasia thrown in for good measure. The concertos are performed with the Orchestre de Paris.
ClassicalrecentNov15b3 Goldberg Variations, Bach. Performed by Alexandre Tharaud.
The Goldberg Variations were first published in 1741 as the final part of the Clavier-übung cycle and is one of his most well-known keyboard works. “This release of what is arguably JS Bach’s masterpiece for the keyboard has the potential to be a landmark in [Alexandre Tharaud’s] recording output.” (amazon.com)
ClassicalrecentNov15a2 Four Impromptus, Piano Pieces, Hüttenbrenner Variations, Schubert. Performed by Steven Osborne.
“British pianist Steven Osborne shines in lyrical new performances of seven of Schubert’s greatest late works for piano, Four Impromptus D935 and Three piano pieces D946. Rounding out this program are the extended Huttenbrenner Variations of 1817 named for Schubert’s close friend and fellow pupil of Salieri, Anselm Huttenbrenner.” (amazon.com)

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Music & Movies October Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Music & Movies newsletter! Some selections from the New Zealand International Film Festival have already arrived on our shelves, along with some picks from last year’s festival. There are also plenty of great music picks, plus books on both movies and music so you can read the stories of your favourite actors and musicians. Don’t forget you can also hop over to our Wellington Music blog for news and nostalgia in the Wellington music scene.

Library News

DVDs

Some movies showcased in this year’s international film festival have already arrived at the library. They are A Most Violent Year, Inherent Vice and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. From last year’s festival, two fantastic documentaries (Dior and I, The Salt of the Earth) and the acclaimed Russian film Leviathan are also available now.

cover image Mad Max. Fury road / Village Roadshow Pictures presents in association with Warner Bros. Pictures ; a Kennedy Miller Mitchell production ; a George Miller film.
“A return to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky. Haunted by his turbulent past, he believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord with his gangs pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Dior and I / a film by Frédéric Tcheng.
“A thrilling behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’s highly anticipated first Haute Couture collection as Christian Dior’s new Artistic Director. Beautifully melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with an elegant reverence for the history of Dior, Tcheng’s colorful homage is nothing short of magical.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Leviathan / a film by Andrey Zvyagintsev.
“Kolya lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya and his son Roma. The town’s corrupt mayor is determined to take away his business, his house, and his land.” (Syndetics summary)
film21159 A most violent year.
“The tale of an immigrant and his family trying to live the American Dream and expand their business amidst rampant violence, urban decay, and corrupt city officials during one of the most dangerous years in the city’s history.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image A girl walks home alone at night / a film by Ana Lily Amirpour.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is set in the fictitious locale of Bad City, a stunningly crafted black-and-white world riddled with random events and flawed people that takes its visual cues from Sin City (2005) and the early films of Jim Jarmusch. Sheila Vand stars as The Girl, a sassy loner who roams the streets on a skateboard she stole from a kid. The unsuspecting object of her affections is Arash, a handsome James Dean-type who is dealing with his own family issues. In the off-kilter world they inhabit, a touching and unconventional relationship develops.” (Syndetics summary)

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Film and television books

Here is a great selection covering the history of Hollywood, famous movies and famous people.

Syndetics book cover Hollywood traitors : blacklisted screenwriters : agents of Stalin, allies of Hitler / Allan H. Ryskind.
“Too often, the “Hollywood Ten” brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee are memorialized as victims of an unjust witch-hunt and heroes who stood up for free speech. The truth is shocking: Not only did these supposed liberal paragons adore Josef Stalin and take their orders directly from the Communist Party, but they also sympathized with Adolf Hitler. Ryskind, who grew up in the heart of the Hollywood scene and personally knew many of the key players in this real-life Hollywood drama, has penned a definitive, myth-busting account of the Hollywood Ten and Hollywood Blacklist that will forever change the way you think about the ideological battle waged in the movie capital of the world.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Ultimate Star Wars / written by Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham.
“Become an expert on the Star Wars galaxy! Ultimate Star Wars® is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This is a beautifully illustrated guide that is structured chronologically and packed full of information about key characters and storylines from the Star Wars movie saga, The Clone Wars , and Rebels(tm) . Ultimate Star Wars will get new and old fans caught up and knowledgeable on all things Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A wish your heart makes : from the Grimm brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella / Charles Solomon ; introduction by Kenneth Branagh.
“With its kind heroine who receives her just reward with the help of her Fairy Godmother, ‘Cinderella’ is one the most beloved fairy tales throughout the world. A Wish Your Heart Makes will trace the history and many incarnations of the fairy tale, emphasising its strong ties to Walt Disney and his studio. The book will conclude with the making of the 2015 live-action film Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh, including interviews with Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Derek Jacobi and Lilly James.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Year of the fat knight : the Falstaff diaries / Antony Sher ; with illustrations by the author.
Year of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher’s account–splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches–of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher’s 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, that also stands as a celebration of the craft of character acting.” (Syndetics summary)

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Popular Music

Some new music for August. New CDs from some established artists, some new artists & some re-issue Box Sets round off our selection.

Cover image Progeny : seven shows from seventy-two
“Over 12 hours of epic progressive rock classics from the legendary 70s Yes lineup of Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White. 7 Previously Unheard, Complete Concerts From 1972…” (Product description from Amazon.com)
Cover image The Holy Bible
“The limited edition 12” x 12” box contains the original album on 180gm heavyweight vinyl (on vinyl for the first time since a limited run in 1994), remastered by James Dean Bradfield, plus 4 CDs and a 40 page book. The CD’s contain the remastered full album, the remastered US version, b-sides, mixes, live versions and a previously unreleased version of ‘Revol’. There is also a live CD of the band’s last performances with guitarist Richey Edwards from the Astoria, December 1994…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)
Cover image Coming home
“Leon Bridges is the ‘out of almost nowhere’ story that only comes along once in a while. Awareness of Leon Bidges and his unique craft continues to grow authentically and consistently. It was only last summer that Leon was singing open mics in his hometown Fort Worth, TX. One of those open mics was attended by Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of the notable indie band White Denim who were absolutely floored by Leon’s voice, songs, and creative vision. They soon after set-up shop in a makeshift studio and recorded the album’s opener “Coming Home” completely live to tape. This first take is exactly what you hear opening the album. The remaining 9 songs followed in a burst of creativity and inspiration. Leon was the breakout artist of 2015′s SXSW…” (Product description from Amazon.com)
Cover image Live in Paris
“Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are pleased to announce the release of ‘Live In Paris’. The double album and accompanying DVD was recorded live at Theatre Trianon in Paris on February 24 2014, during the band’s sold out tour of Europe. In addition to the full concert, the DVD also includes the documentary film ’33.3%’ by Yana Amur, which shows fans an intimate side of the band never seen before…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)
cover image Miles Davis at Newport, 1955-1975.
“The newest entry in Columbia/Legacy Recordings’ critically-acclaimed Miles Davis Bootleg Series, NEWPORT 1955-1975 clocks in at 296 minutes, nearly four hours of which is previously unreleased. From Miles’ debut performance at NJF in 1955 (a hastily arranged jam session featuring Thelonious Monk and Gerry Mulligan, that immediately led to the trumpeter’s Columbia signing), to the full-length concert performances alone of Miles’ famed “Kind Of Blue” Sextet (with Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb), and second great quintet in ’66 and ’67 (with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams) also live performances by Miles’ stellar band lineups 1969, 1971, 1973, and 1975, in Newport, Rhode Island, New York City, Berlin, and Switzerland….” (Product description from Amazon.com)

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Books on popular music

From fantastic photography of pre-famous Bob Dylan to fascinating memoirs by Ringo Starr and John Lydon, to handy guitar instruction books, new books on popular music, once again, offer a great read. Have a browse!

Syndetics book cover Bob Dylan : NYC 1961-1964 / photography by Ted Russell with Chris Murray ; foreword by Donovan.
“It was in late 1961, photographer Ted Russell recalls, that he first heard about an “up-and-coming young fellow who was coming out with his first album.” A freelance photographer on the lookout for good subjects, Russell was intrigued by a rave review from The New York Times of the raw-voiced folk singer. Russell’s subject was a twenty-year-old Bob Dylan, a young folk singer whom nobody knew, and Russell photographed Dylan in 1961. The book contains photos of Dylan in his tiny Greenwich Village apartment, writing and practicing; snuggling with girlfriend Suze Rotolo; and performing at celebrated folk club Gerde’s.” (adapted from amazon.com)
Syndetics book cover Ringo : with a little help / Michael Seth Starr.
With a Little Help is the first in-depth biography of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who kept the beat for an entire generation and who remains a rock icon over fifty years since the Beatles took the world by storm. With a Little Help traces the entire arc of Ringo’s remarkable life and career, from his sickly childhood to his life as The World’s Most Famous drummer to his triumphs, addictions, and emotional battles following the breakup of the Beatles as he comes to terms with his legacy.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Your band sucks : what I saw at indie rock’s failed revolution (but can no longer hear) / Jon Fine.
“Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played various forms of aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes in this memoir, at no point were any of those bands “ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame.” In it, Fine tracks how the indie-rock underground emerged and evolved, how it grappled with the mainstream and vice versa, and how it led many bands to an odd rebirth in the 21st Century in which they reunited, briefly and bittersweetly, after being broken up for decades. Like Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Your Band Sucks is a unique evocation of a particular aesthetic moment.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Girl / Pharrell Williams.
“(Piano/Vocal/Guitar Artist Songbook). Grammy Award winning producer and artist Pharrell released this, his second solo album, in 2014. Featuring the mega-hit “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 , the album reached as high as #2 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Our matching folio includes all the tracks from the CD: Brand New (featuring Justin Timberlake) * Come Get It Bae * Gush * Gust of Wind * Happy * Hunter * It Girl * Lost Queen * Marilyn Monroe * Know Who You Are (featuring Alicia Keys).” (Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

This week we have a colourful mixture of mostly late nineteenth and twentieth century compositions, from one up and coming soloist and several seasoned performers.

ClassicalrecentSep15b2 Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 2, Lutoslawski. Performed by Krystian Zimerman (concerto) with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Simon Rattle.
“Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto was completed in 1988 and is dedicated to Krystian Zimerman, who also first introduced it to Salzburg audiences in the same year, in 1992 DG released a first version of the concerto with Lutoslawski as conductor and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The piece features extremely virtuosic demands, its dense pianistic gestures at times recall the piano concertos of Bartók and Prokofiev. Both the Piano Concerto and the Symphony No. 2 are inspired by the music of John Cage. The Symphony No. 2, created with techniques of limited aleatoricism (Lutoslawski) fascinates with its orchestral surfaces that offer an insight into their creators ability to organize sounds in a very precise way and their iridescent and colorful vitality.” (Amazon.com)
ClassicalrecentSep15b3 The Age of Puccini. Performed by Jonas Kaufmann.
“Jonas Kaufmann, ‘the hottest tenor in opera’ (New York Times), presents arias by Puccini and his contemporaries – who developed and embraced the verismo style. This album contains some of Kaufmann’s greatest roles recorded in resplendent Decca sound. He is joined by Renée Fleming for the duet from Puccini’s La rondine.” (Cover)
ClassicalrecentSep15b4 Joyce & Tony, Live at Wigmore Hall. Performed by Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano.
“Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano – at the piano rather than on the conductor’s podium – opened the 2014-15 season at London’s Wigmore Hall with a dazzling programme of song, emphasizing Italy and the USA. Recorded live on this 2-CD set, the two artists were described by The Times as ‘mezzo diva supreme’ and ‘golden maestro and piano accompanist to the stars.’ The first item on the programme was Haydn’s dramatic cantata Arianna a Naxos (which, back in 2003, also launched DiDonato’s debut recital at Wigmore Hall). Then came two songs by a composer who has played a defining role in Joyce DiDonato’s operatic career – Rossini… and four luscious late-Romantic numbers written in 1908 by the little-known Neapolitan composer Francesco Santoliquido.” (Amazon.com)
ClassicalrecentSep15a1 The Piano Concertos, Brahms. Performed by Daniel Barenboim, with the Staatskapelle Berlin, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
“Barenboim has recorded Brahms’s piano concertos on several previous occasions and always with partners who have meant a lot to him… Although performing both concertos on a single evening represents a tour de force, Barenboim has frequently included them in the same programme, most notably with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich in 1991 and with Mehta in Berlin in 2002, when the pianist was marking his sixtieth birthday. For Daniel Barenboim, both concertos are loyal companions that bear witness to his own journey through life, providing a connection with Brahms himself: in the course of his life, Brahms played the First Piano Concerto thirty-five times, the Second Piano Concerto some forty times. And it was as the conductor of both these works with Eugen d’Albert as the soloist that Brahms bade farewell to the stage in Berlin on 10 January 1896.” (from amazon.com)
ClassicalrecentAug15b3 Cello Suites, Bach. Performed by David Watkin.
“Bach’s cello suites are renowned as the pinnacle of the instrument’s repertoire, and are performed here in period performances by internationally acclaimed cellist David Watkin. The Suites are performed on two gut-string cellos: Suites 1-5 on a Francesco Ruggieri from 1660, and Suite No. 6 on the five-stringed Cremona cello by A. & H. Amati from c.1600, both tuned to Baroque pitch. This is thought to be the first time that the five-stringed Amati has been used to record the sixth suite, and is the only original five-string cello in existence in the UK” (amazon.com).

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Movies & Music Newsletter: June 2014

This months new DVDs include summer block-buster film adaptations (and reboots) of Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Markus Zusak, and Martin Sixsmith books. There’s even a crowd-sourced gem for Marshmallows. An ever-eclectic selection of the latest song books and CDs to join the collection are also included. Enjoy!

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs from May include the acclaimed Biography pick Philomena with Dame Judi Dench & Steve Coogan; adaptations of popular YA novels like The Book Thief; new Foreign hits with French romantic-comedy Populaire; and the return of cult-TV favourite Veronica Mars.

Cover imageThe book thief.
“Skillfully pared down from Markus Zusak’s celebrated young adult novel, The Book Thief presents a somewhat sanitized glimpse of Nazi Germany and the war from the uniquely innocent view of an adolescent girl. At first the perspective seems to be from the narrator, a bored, yet amused voice we learn is Death, presumably taking a brief holiday to comment on the experience of young Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) and the evolving disruptions around her. After Liesel is separated from her brother and mother in sharp and unsettling fashion, she lands at the home of protective, penurious foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) in a small village somewhere in the picturesque German countryside. When she’s teased at school for being illiterate, the kindly Hans makes a fun project of teaching her to read. Rosa is a persnickety presence for both of them, but it’s mainly a façade as the couple embrace Liesel tighter even as the situation around them grows more dire. At a Nazi book burning a horrified Liesel surreptitiously snatches a random volume from the flames. The wife of the local Bürgermeister is the only one who notices, and she compassionately allows Liesel to visit her dead son’s library, where she soon earns the movie’s title moniker. Liesel’s newfound love of literature begins informing her actions as more is revealed about the Hubermanns and the toll of wartime village life becomes more desperate.” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imagePopulaire.
“In 1958, the young Rose Pamphyle dreams on leaving the small village in the countryside of France where she lives with her grumpy father Jean Pamphyle, who is a widower that runs a store and wishes that Rose get married to the son of the local mechanic. Rose learns by herself how to type using only two fingers and when she sees an advertisement for a secretary for the insurance agent Louis Échard in Lisieux, Lower Normandy, she immediately travels to city. Rose has a bad interview but she impresses Louis typing at very high speed. Louis decides to hire her for a short period of experience and Rose shows that she is a clumsy secretary. But Louis is a former sportsman and he decides to train Rose how to type correctly to dispute a speed typing competition. He brings Rose to his home and she learns how to play piano to help her typing with Louis’s childhood friend Marie Taylor that is married with the American Bob Taylor. She becomes close to his friends and family. Rose becomes the fastest typist in France and now she needs to train to compete in the world title in USA. But Louis, who has fallen in love with her, believes that he is not enough to help her and decides to sacrifice his love to make Rose’s dream come true.” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageAugust: Osage County.
“Academy Award-nominated drama directed by John Wells. Members of the Weston family reunite at their family home in Osage County, Oklahoma when their troubled poet father Beverly (Sam Shepard) goes missing. It isn’t long before they find that he has commited suicide and the rest of the family then come to pay their last regards at the funeral. Leaving his outspoken and drug-addicted wife Violet (Meryl Streep) behind, the rest of the family feel obligated to stay with her while she grieves for her husband. But living in such close proximity is a test for any grown family, and it isn’t long before cracks in their relationships begin to appear. The ensemble cast includes Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch. Both Streep and Roberts received Oscar nominations for their performances in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively.” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageVeronica Mars.
“On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don’t seem right with how Logan’s case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.” (Publishers description from Syndetics summary)

Cover imagePhilomena.
“Judi Dench stars in the story of Philomena Lee, mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock and given up for adoption. Nearly 50 years later, Philomena meets Martin Sixsmith, a former BBC reporter looking for his next big story. Together, they embark on a journey to locate her long lost son. As the pieces of the puzzle come together, the unlikely travel companions form a comic and heartwarming friendship. Based on the 2009 investigative book by Martin Sixsmith.” (Publishers description from Syndetics summary)

Cover imageCarrie.
“Chloe Grace Moretz and Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore star in this exhilarating reimagining of Stephen King’s iconic best seller. After merciless taunting from classmates and abuse at the hand of her religious fanatic mother (Moore), Carrie’s (Mortez) anger – and her telekinetic powers – are unleashed. And when a prom prank goes horribly wrong, events spiral out of control until the terrifying conclusion of this powerful, pulse-quickening horror story.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageEnder’s game.
“Based on the popular series of books by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is aimed at the same young adult crowd that gobbled up franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games, but it has plenty to satisfy older audiences too. Ender Wiggin is a pubescent genius selected for training in an elite battle school some 70 years after an apocalyptic global attack by the insectlike Formics that killed tens of millions. The Formics were defeated, but the threat of their return remains and it’s up to children like Ender to become strategic commanders who will take up the mantle of defending Earth. The martial sensibility of a child army is crisp and believable in the scenes of boot camp on space stations and distant planet outposts. Asa Butterfield (Hugo) makes Ender the scrawny, brilliant misfit who really may be a savior to end the Formic threat forever. He’s bullied and alienated, a theme that recurs throughout the story in many ways and comes full circle in the brutal, beautiful finale. His mentor and tormentor is Colonel Graff, the grizzled commander who believes Ender is “the one,” but must hide some essential truths as a measure of control. Harrison Ford makes a bang-up return to stardom as Graff with barely dimmed wattage that pays more than a little homage to Han Solo…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

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Popular Music Books

Want to be Lorde? More songbooks have arrived including Lorde’s Pure Heroine. Wonderful instruction books for the ever popular ukulele are included as are classics from Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Alicia Keys. It’s playtime again.

Syndetics book coverPure heroine / Lorde.
“17-year-old New Zealand newcomer Lorde released this, her debut album, in September 2013. It reached the top of the modern rock/alternative and rock albums charts, and the lead single “Royals” won the 2014 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Our folio features this break-out hit plus nine other tunes: Buzzcut Season * 400 Lux * Ribs * Still Sane * Team * Tennis Court * and more.” (Adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverComplete, so far / Joni Mitchell ; transcriptions by Joel Bernstein, Daniel Libertino, and Andrew DuBrock.
“After decades of waiting, the definitive Joni Mitchell guitar songbook is here! Joni Mitchell Complete So Far contains 167 songs spanning her entire career, transcribed accurately and including the authentic tunings Joni explored throughout her artistic development. To make it easier to navigate the tunings—absolutely integral to any student of Joni Mitchell’s guitar work—this book also includes a very clear and easy-to-use tuning index, and an in-depth article on Joni’s evolution as a guitarist. Hardcover and featuring an impressive all-color photo section, the songbook culls the best work from the following albums: Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, For the Roses, Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, Mingus, Wild Things Run Fast, Dog Eat Dog, Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, Night Ride Home, Turbulent Indigo, Hits, Taming the Tiger, and Shine.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe element of freedom / Alicia Keys.
“The 2009 CD by this soulful R&B songstress features 13 songs, including her hit duet with Jay-Z “Empire State of Mind” and another duet with Beyonce, “Put It in a Love Song.” Our matching songbook features these songs, plus: Distance and Time * Doesn’t Mean Anything * How It Feels to Fly * Like the Sea * Love Is Blind * Love Is My Disease * That’s How Strong My Love Is * This Bed * Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart * Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) * Wait Til You See My Smile.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter the gold rush / Neil Young ; music transcriptions by Jeff Jacobson and Kevin Langan.
“Released in 1970, Neil Young’s third CD is hailed as a masterpiece. Here are note-for-note transcriptions with tab for all 11 songs: After the Gold Rush * Birds * Cripple Creek Ferry * Don’t Let It Bring You Down * I Believe in You * Oh, Lonesome Me * Only Love Can Break Your Heart * Southern Man * Tell Me Why * Till the Morning Comes * When You Dance, I Can Really Love.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverUkulele aerobics / by Chad Johnson.
“A 40-week, one-lick-per-day workout program for developing, improving, and maintaining ukulele technique.” (Book Cover)

CDs

A mix of old-faithfuls and a few extras to experiment with in this months newest CDs.

Cover imageThe take off and landing of everything.
“As they release their sixth studio album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, it is fair to say that elbow are in a rare position within the music world. Few bands can lay claim to a career that encompasses over twenty years, even fewer can make that claim without changes to personnel and yet, elbow in 2014 are the same as elbow in 1992, Guy Garvey on vocals, Mark Potter on guitar, Pete Turner on bass, Craig Potter on keyboards and Richard Jupp on drums. That isn’t to suggest elbow are rigid in their musical approach. For The Take Off and Landing of Everything the band subtly changed their previous working practices to great effect. Where previously the vast majority of elbow songs had been the creation of the band in total, a sketch from one member being developed by the band in rehearsal, this time around a conscious decision was made to try a new approach. So, ‘Honey Sun’ is the musical creation of Mark Potter, ‘Colour Fields’ was mostly written by Pete Turner using iPad apps and ‘Fly Boy Blue / Lunette’, the track that unveiled the new album with its accompanying film in January, was initially created by a core group of Pete Turner, Mark Potter and Richard Jupp…” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageOut among the stars.
“Out Among The Stars is a remarkable new album comprised of 12 recently discovered Johnny Cash studio recordings. The tracks were originally recorded in Nashville in 1981 and 1984 and produced by Billy Sherrill. The album features duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings plus songs penned by Cash himself. The recordings, which have never been released in any form, are not demos, outtakes or alternate versions. They remained in the vaults during the years Columbia Records released Johnny Cash’s last albums for the label and were subsequently forgotten. The recordings first surfaced in 2012, when John Carter Cash was cataloging his father’s and mother’s exhaustive archives. “When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material,” he says. “We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s…they were beautiful.” Out Among The Stars is a great lost Johnny Cash album connecting the revolutionary rockabilly of his Sun Records years to the epochal final albums he made for American Recordings. Thirty years in the making, Out Among The Stars is a classic Johnny Cash album, about to be heard for the very first time…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe nihilist.
“Liam Finn returns with his third solo album The Nihilist, recorded in Greenpoint Studios in Brooklyn, New York, where Liam is based. Produced by Liam himself and recorded by Andrew Everding, (Dave Fridmann’s (Tame Impala, MGMT etc.) protégé). Featuring Finn on 67 instruments and collaborations from his bandmates Eliza Jane Barnes (vocals), his brother Elroy (drums), Andrew Keoghan on violin & Jol Mulholland (bass) in sessions entirely between the hours of sunset and sunrise.The album opens with “Ocean Emmanuelle,” a dreamy, collaborative effort with Mulholland that sets a tone of troubled beauty.”Snug As F*ck,” a melodic and fantastical duet with frequent collaborator Barnes, bridges the gap between Finn’s work as a teenager in the acclaimed New Zealand band Betchadupa and his current solo career, while “Burn Up The Road” is an infectious fuzzed up rocker. “4 Track Stomper” builds a distorted beat on an old four-track tape recorder into an off-kilter masterpiece, and the album’s eerie, percussive title track was actually born as an acapella arrangement during a jam with Elroy…” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageThe classic.
“Joan Wasser returns with her fourth album with her Joan As Policewoman project, The Classic following on her from her critically acclaimed album The Deep Field in 2011. The new album showcases her intimate and uplifting brand of soul combined with her unique torch-singing temperament, with a more liberated feel than ever before. Featuring guests artists like comedian & musician Reggie Watts, Joseph Arthur as well as her usual Joan As Police Woman cohorts, Tyler Wood (keyboards), Oren Bloedow (bass and sharing guitar parts with Joan) & Parker Kindred, Jeff Buckley’s former drummer.Trained as a classical violinist, Joan graduated to playing in Antony Hegarty’s Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright’s band, whose combined piano balladry inspired her own music, while infusing it with her individual stripped-down-soul and torch-song approach. This new album features influences from soul, street corner doo-wop, classic fifties & sixties pop while creating its own unique sound…” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageLost in the dream / The War on Drugs.
“The War On Drugs, the Philadelphia-based project of Adam Granduciel, presents their third full-length album, the beautifully sweeping Lost In The Dream, via Secretly Canadian. Written and recorded over two-plus years in Philadelphia, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, following almost two years of nonstop touring in support of 2011′s Slave Ambient, Lost In The Dream is the outstanding presentation of Granduciel’s progression and growth as a songwriter, performer, and producer. It is an immense listen to be absorbed and discovered now and for decades to come…” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

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Buyer’s Choice

Up and comings  our buyer is looking forward to:

Syndetics book coverBest thing that never happened to me
On a competely different note is this lovely new romantic comedy about Holly. She let go of her first love Alex, but now has a second chance of rekindling their relationship when he moves back to her city for a new job. It has been described as similar to Notting Hill and Love Actually. Which may or may not be your thing, but it sounds good nonetheless and has recommendations from fellow chick-lit writer Paige Toon.

Syndetics book coverHen who dreamed she could fly
This is by bestselling and award winning Korean writer Sun-Mi Hwang and is one the few novels of hers translated into English (the only one our library has). It’s a fable about motherhood, morality and life in general. And it is actually about a hen called Sprout (and a collection of other barnyard animals). The hen, described by Publisher’s Weekly as “philosophically restless” (how great is that?!) yearns to be a mother and to hatch one of her eggs which unfortunately are collected each day by the farmer. Eventually she escapes her cage and meets a duck, Straggler, who helps her hatch and nurture an egg they find, both discovering the joys of parenthood. How brilliant!

Syndetics book coverSt Kilda blues
This novel is set in 1967 Melbourne and follows detective Charlie Berlin as he investigates the disappearance of a teenage girl, the daughter of a wealthy and prominent city figure. This is the third installment by Geoffrey McGeachin about detective Berlin, the first two installments won Australia’s Ned Kelly award for crime fiction.

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Music and Movies Newsletter for April

We are sure our selection of the latest music and movies to hit the collection will help keep you entertained over the wet season, enjoy!

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs for April include the acclaimed documentaries Blackfish and The Human Scale, the latest entry in the Hunger Games franchise, White House historical drama The Butler, and a biography of popular singer Jeff Buckley.

Cover imageBlackfish.
“A mesmerising psychological thriller with a killer whale at its centre, Blackfish is the first film since Grizzly Man to show how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limits. Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the mulit-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.” (Publishers Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe hunger games. Catching fire.
“When it comes to blockbuster franchises, the first sequel frequently offers pumped-up versions of the initial thrills–to diminishing results. Catching Fire, however, the second adaptation drawn from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, defies that trend with more finely drawn relationships. Despite her best efforts to feign romance with her co-competitor and to keep posttraumatic stress at bay, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) fears that Katniss’s defiant nature will incite rebellion, so he takes a tip from new gamemaker Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and launches a Quarter Quell in which past champions, such as the hilariously bitter Johanna (Jena Malone) and the deceptively arrogant Finnick (Sam Claflin), will fight to the death. Not all tributes are quite so young, like Mags (Lynn Cohen), a senior citizen who suits up for battle and establishes a touching bond with Finnick (Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer play the craftiest teammates). Until the cliffhanger ending, director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) serves up an array of splendors, from killer baboons to the ever-amazing outfits of Effie and Caesar (Stanley Tucci). Most significantly, the script from cowriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) strengthens the bonds between Katniss and Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who prove themselves more worthy than ever of Katniss’s affections.” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe butler.
The Butler tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and many more. Academy Award® nominated Lee Daniels (Precious) directs and co-wrote the script with Emmy®-award winning Danny Strong (Game Change).” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageGreetings from Tim Buckley.
“In 1991, Jeff Buckley rehearses for his public singing debut at a Brooklyn tribute concert for his father, the late folk singer Tim Buckley. Struggling with the legacy of a man he barely knew, Jeff forms a friendship with an enigmatic young woman and begins to discover the powerful potential of his own musical voice. Filled with stirring musical performances and the memorable songs of a father and son who were each among the most beloved singer/songwriters of their respective generations.” (From Library Catalogue)

Cover imageAlan Partridge: Alpha papa.
“Steve Coogan’s legendary chat show host and broadcaster finally receives the big screen treatment in this comedy directed by Declan Lowney. Occupying a career stasis-defining role as a mid-morning DJ on North Norfolk Digital Radio, Alan Partridge (Coogan)’s hopes for one last shot at the big time suffer a severe setback when it emerges that his employers have been taken over by a giant media conglomerate. Alan soon finds himself back in the spotlight, however, when newly-sacked fellow DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) returns to the studio with a shotgun and begins taking hostages. Called in by the police to act as a hostage negotiator, can Britain’s most famous Toblerone addict turn the tables and finally save the day?” (Library catalogue)

Cover imageDetachment.
“Still best known for American History X, a film he tried to have his name removed from, director Tony Kaye’s work has remained consistent and interesting ever since. It’s been a lot lower profile too. Detachment is a case in point. Whereas American films about teachers taking on an unruly class in a trouble school generally end with either Oscar nominations or a hit single, Detachment is a lot more serious, and consequently more interesting, about its work. It follows a brilliant teacher, played by Adrien Brody, who goes from school to school as a substitute, rather than committing and getting attached to the one place. That inevitably changes, but the film’s viewpoint on life doesn’t. There’s no gloss here, rather a superbly acted, down to earth drama, that has as much to say about the school system it’s portraying as it does its individual characters. It’s a shame that Detachment got such a low-key cinema release, something reflected in the straightforward disc debut too. There are a few extras here, but nothing that adds a great deal to the package. That’s a pity too, as the film is superb, courageous, and quite brilliantly acted. Brody is as good here as he was in his Oscar-winning turn in The Pianist, and Detachment deserves all the exposure it can get.” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageThe human scale.
“50 % of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this will increase to 80%. Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face peak oil, climate change, loneliness and severe health issues due to our way of life. But why? The Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl has studied human behavior in cities through 40 years. He has documented how modern cities repel human interaction, and argues that we can build cities in a way, which takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.The Human Scalemeets thinkers, architects and urban planners across the globe. It questions our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people into the center of our planning.” (From Syndetics summary)

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Film and television books

This month our selection of new books includes how to make and market your own web series, the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies.

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb TV series : how to make and market them / Dan Williams.
“Online distributors – such as YouTube, Hulu, and Funny or Die – are interested in acquiring web series (episodic digital entertainment, like mini-TV shows) that attract audiences and appeal to advertisers. Web TV Series… How to Make and Market Them provides advice and expertise to help readers create their own original, successful online shows – projects that can be profitable, potentially developed into film or television properties, and help to start a career in the industry. Readers will learn how to develop characters and stories designed for new media platforms, and find tips for planning, shooting, and editing that are tailored specifically to web series production. This book also extensively covers the latest distribution platforms and social media marketing strategies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComedy by the numbers : the 169 secrets of humor and popularity / [edited] by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren.
“Being funny is hard work: just ask Gary Rudoren and Eric Hoffman. Like many people, they once believed that comedy was simply a matter of coming up with “zingers” and “jokes.” But after countless hours of painstaking research, they’ve discovered that true creativity is derived from simple formulas and the memorization of data. Their groundbreaking new book makes the secrets of comedy accessible to all, not only to the naturally funny, but to those who lack the ability or talent to be funny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Golden boys. Vol. 1, Sexiest men ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]]
“In this edition (the first of four) we revisit the compelling mystery of the male sex symbol in a lavish fashion. The lives and legends of Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Elvis Presley, Harrison Ford, Clark, Gable Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Rudolph Valentino, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jim Morrison, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Tom Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Mick Jagger.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Sirens. Vol. 2, Sexiest women ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]].
“Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jane Russell, Jayne Mansfield, Ursula Andress, Mata Hari, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Ann-Margaret, Bettie Page, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Mae West, Betty Grable, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Madonna, Lauren Bacall. To be a star you need to rouse the senses, but to be a siren you must touch the heart. The intensity of human beauty concentrated in the most famous female sex symbols of the twentieth century is matched by their vulnerability, their daring and their sheer courage.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverTales from development hell : the greatest movies never made? / David Hughes.
“A compulsively readable journey into the area of movie-making where all writers, directors and stars fear to tread: Development Hell, the place where scripts are written, actors hired and sets designed… but the movies rarely actually get made! Whatever happened to Darren Aronofsky’s Batman movie starring Clint Eastwood? Why were there so many scripts written over the years for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s fourth Indiana Jones movie? Why was Lara Croft’s journey to the big screen so tortuous, and what prevented Paul Verhoeven from filming what he calls “one of the greatest scripts ever written”? Why did Ridley Scott’s Crisis in the Hot Zone collapse days away from filming, and were the Beatles really set to star in Lord of the Rings?” (description from Amazon.com)

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Popular Music

New CDs for March include the critically acclaimed return of Beck; new albums from Rosanne Cash & St. Vincent.

Cover imageThe river & the thread.
“Produced by and co-written with John Leventhal, this album marks Cash’s Decca/Blue Note debut. ‘The River & The Thread’ is Rosanne Cash s first album in more than four years. Cash wrote the album s 11 original songs with her longtime collaborator (and husband) John Leventhal, who also served as producer, arranger and guitarist. With The River & The Thread , Cash turns her attention to American lives and locations. The album richly evokes the Southern landscape physical, musical, emotional and examines the indelible impressions it has made on our own collective culture and on Cash. The River & The Thread is sweeping in its breadth, capturing a unique, multi-generational cast of characters, from a Civil War soldier off to fight in Virginia to a New Deal-era farmer in Arkansas to a contemporary Mobile, AL couple. While Cash and Leventhal found inspiration in the many musical styles associated with the South swampy Delta blues, gospel, Appalachian folk, country and rock, to name a few this is a completely contemporary collection. ‘If I never make another album I will be content, because I made this one’, says Cash of The River & The Thread , which is a marked departure from her earlier works.” (Abridged from publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageSt. Vincent.
“St. Vincent – aka Annie Clark — is releasing her self-titled fourth album which follows her last solo release, 2011’s Strange Mercy. The record’s 11 tracks showcase Clark at her most assured and gripping, as she meshes distorted, aggressive electric guitars and ethereal vocal and synthesizer arrangements on top of an infectious rhythm section and relentless percussion. “I knew the groove needed to be paramount”, Clark says of the album, which she arranged and demoed extensively in Austin before heading into the studio in Dallas to record. She enlisted Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss and frequent collaborator McKenzie Smith of Midlake to share percussion duties, while she returned to producer John Congleton to take the sonic potential they’d only just begun to tap with Strange Mercy into dramatic new territory. “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageMorning phase.
“Morning Phase is true to its title: the beginning of yet another amazing chapter in Beck’s peerless career and catalogue. Featuring musicians who have backed him on many of his most acclaimed albums, as well as the current live shows widely hailed as the best of his career (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Jason Falkner), Morning Phase harkens back to the stunning harmonies, song craft and staggering emotional impact of Beck’s most classic ballads, all the while surging forward with undeniable optimism. “…one of his best: a tenderly stunning song cycle of languid, prairie-dusted psychedelia that recalls Beck’s reflective 2002 classic, Sea Change.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

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Buyer’s Choice

New on the Buyer’s radar this month includes a couple of up-coming kiwi works including Richard Jackson’s (who we recently interviewed) Confessions Of A Terrorist.

Syndetics book cover
Cairo affair
Wow, this one sounds exciting! Espinonage, romance, drama, set in Egypt. With the CIA, assassinations, secrets and love affirs. It’s about the shooting of an American diplomat in Hungary and the repercussions from this, leading all the way to Cairo. And then it starts to get complicated. Described as a ’spy procedural’ and John Le Carre-esque. It was an ‘Amazon Best Book of the Month’ in March.

Syndetics book coverPurgatory
Rosetta Allan is an Auckland based writer, who has already published two books of poetry. This is her first work of fiction and it is a ghost story of sorts. John Finnegan was murdered, along with his brothers and mother, and they were buried in the family’s garden. They are all stuck there to watch life unfold around them, including the life of their murderer James Stack. (The story is based on the gruesome true crime that occured in Otahuhu in 1865). I think it sounds great!

Syndetics book coverConfessions of a terrorist
Richard Jackson is a bit of an expert on terrorism – he’s Deputy Director at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University and has written several academic books about terrorism. This is also his first work of fiction. It’s a gripping psychological thriller centred around a terrorist and his interrorgator, a British intelligence officer. Looks good, and Jackson’s knowledge of the subject lends it a depth and drama.

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Music and Movies Newsletter: February 2014

Welcome to the first installment of Music and Movies Newsletter’s for 2014! Enjoy!

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs for January include the third instalment in Vin Diesel’s Chronicles of Riddick; new Norwegian TV show Hellfjord; the award winning & critically acclaimed Blue Jasmine; and the new documentary on reclusive author J.D Salinger.

Cover imageRiddick.
“Pitch Black, the first collaboration between writer-director David Twohy and Vin Diesel, stands as a model genre movie, presenting an ingeniously taut narrative while also giving Diesel ample room to develop an antihero for the ages. The success of that film led to the unexpectedly baroque The Chronicles of Riddick, which greatly expanded the scope, but to somewhat diminished effect. The duo’s third go-around wisely returns to the roots of the character, delivering a small-scale, gleefully vulgar film that occasionally resembles a berserk sci-fi version of Man vs. Wild. Featuring some way-cool critters and no shortage of gallows humor, it knows exactly what it is: half B-movie, half awesome ’70s van art. Quickly dispensing with the ornate mythology of the last installment (respect to Karl Urban for returning, however briefly), the story finds Riddick left for dead, on a planet where absolutely everything wants to eat him. As he begins his quest to dominate the local flora and fauna, matters are complicated by the appearance of two teams of bounty hunters (including Katee Sackhoff and the gargantuan Dave Bautista) searching for his chromed dome. Twohy keeps things mean and reasonably lean throughout, giving the squabbling mercenaries some enjoyably hissable personality traits while hurtling toward an intense siege finale.” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Syndetics book coverHellfjord.
Hellfjord is the story of urban police officer Salmander, a second generation Pakistani immigrant, who after accidentally killing his police horse in front of thousands of children gets promptly dismissed from the police force. But due to a loophole in his civil service contract, he must serve out a 3-month notice period. His captain banishes him to Hellfjord a tiny fishing community in the far north of Norway. On arrival, things just go from bad to worse for Salmander. Hellfjord is populated by simple-minded people with an average age of 67, only interested in keeping to themselves. But when Salmander scratches the surface, he discovers a secret that will turn Hellfjord upside down. Maybe even inside out.” (From Syndetics summary)

Cover imageBlue Jasmine.
“After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.
Jasmine arrives in San Francisco in a fragile mental state, her head reeling from the cocktail of anti-depressants she’s on. While still able to project her aristocratic bearing, Jasmine is emotionally precarious and lacks any practical ability to support herself. She disapproves of Ginger’s boyfriend Chili (Bobby Cannavale), who she considers another “loser” like Ginger’s ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay). Ginger, recognizing but not fully understanding her sister’s psychological instability, suggests that she pursue interior design, a career she correctly intuits that Jasmine won’t feel is beneath her. In the meantime, Jasmine begrudgingly accepts work as the receptionist in a dentist’s office, where she attracts the unwanted attentions of her boss, Dr. Flicker (Michael Stuhlbarg). Feeling that her sister might be right about her poor taste in men, Ginger starts seeing Al (Louis C.K.), a sound engineer whom she considers as a step up from Chili. Jasmine sees a potential lifeline when she meets Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), a diplomat who is quickly smitten with her beauty, sophistication and style. Jasmine’s flaw is that she derives her worth from the way she’s perceived by others, while she herself is blind to what is going around her. Delicately portrayed by a regal Cate Blanchett, Jasmine earns our compassion because she is the unwitting instrument of her own downfall.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk description)

Cover imageSalinger.
Salinger is a 2013 feature length documentary looking into the private world of J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger features interviews with 150 subjects including Salinger’s friends, colleagues and members of his inner circle who have never spoken on the record before as well as previously unseen film footage, photographs and other material. The film is the first work to get beyond the Catcher in the Rye author’s meti­culously built up wall: his childhood, painstaking work methods, marriages, private world and the secrets he left behind after his death in 2010.” (From Syndetics Summary)

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Film and television books

This month our selection of new books includes the visual companion to Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the official series three tie-in for Downton Abbey, how to make and market your own web series, and the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe chronicles of Downton Abbey / foreword, Julian Fellowes ; text, Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis ; photography, Joss Barratt, Nick Briggs and Giles Keyte.
“The Chronicles of Downton Abbey take you deep into the lives of the Crawleys, their servants, lovers, friends and guests. So wander the crowded servants’ quarters and peek into luxurious bed chambers. This lavish book explores the lives of every important member of the Downton estate. Focusing on each character individually, it examines their motivations, their actions and the inspirations behind them. An evocative source of story and background, it will take you even deeper into the secret, beating heart of the house.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cabin in the woods : the official visual companion / foreword by Drew Goddard ; afterword by Joss Whedon ; screenplay written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard ; interviews by Abbie Bernstein.
“This exclusive companion book to the Cabin in the Woods movie, directed by Joss Whedon, features an extended interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the full script, and over 150 photos and stunning pieces of production art. The details of the plot are a closely guarded secret, though Joss himself has described it as ‘a straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie’, adding, ‘it is not just a slasher in the woods. It’s a little more complicated than that…’” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb TV series : how to make and market them / Dan Williams.
“Online distributors – such as YouTube, Hulu, and Funny or Die – are interested in acquiring web series (episodic digital entertainment, like mini-TV shows) that attract audiences and appeal to advertisers. Web TV Series… How to Make and Market Them provides advice and expertise to help readers create their own original, successful online shows – projects that can be profitable, potentially developed into film or television properties, and help to start a career in the industry. Readers will learn how to develop characters and stories designed for new media platforms, and find tips for planning, shooting, and editing that are tailored specifically to web series production. This book also extensively covers the latest distribution platforms and social media marketing strategies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Popular Music

New books on popular music this month include the joyous looking book of rock music and fashion by the designer John Varvatos, and the biography of infamous punk legend Sid Vicious. In our new CD pile we have a collaboration between Norah Jones and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Arcade Fire’s latest, and Childish Gambino’s Because The Internet.

Syndetics book coverJohn Varvatos : rock in fashion / John Varvatos with Holly George-Warren.
“In John Varvatos, the legendary designer reveals his perspective on how rock & roll music and style have influenced his own designs and fashion worldwide. Varvatos’s personally curated collection of more than 250 images are some of the most provocative ever shot by top rock photographers from the late 1960s to today, from the Rolling Stones to the Kings of Leon. The featured photographers are among the world’s finest, including Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Elliott Landy, Danny Clinch, Lynn Goldsmith, and more. Also included are select images from Varvatos’s own advertising campaigns, featuring artists such as Slash, Iggy Pop, Scott Weiland, and Miles Kane. An extraordinary anthology of some of the finest images in rock & roll and the most influential rock looks in fashion and popular culture, this volume will delete music lovers, and fans of music photography, fashion, and fashion history.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverYour pretty face is going to hell : the dangerous glitter of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed / Dave Thompson.
“When Lou Reed and Iggy Pop first met David Bowie in the fall of 1971, Bowie was just another English musician passing through New York City, Lou was still recovering from the collapse of the Velvet Underground, and Iggy had already been branded a loser.Yet within two years they completely changed the face of popular music with a decadent glamour and street-level vibe that threatend to undermine all that had come before. With Bowie producing, Reed’s Transformer album was a worldwide hit, spinning off the sleazy street anthem ‘Walk on the Wild Side.’ Iggy’s Raw Power, mixed by Bowie, provided the mean-spirited, high-octane blueprint for punk. And Bowie lifted elements from both Iggy and Reed to create his gender-bending rock idol Ziggy Stardust.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVicious : too fast to live / [by Alan Parker].
Vicious: To Fast To Live explodes the public image of punk legend Sid Vicious. Written with the full co-operation of his late mother, the book charts Sids story from his childhood to his final fix in New York, detailing his life before, during and after the Sex Pistols. The book also reveals, for the first time, what really happened in Sid and Nancys Chelsea Hotel room in the early hours of October 12th 1978, when Nancy was found dead from a stab wound and Vicious arrested for murder. Complete with a discography, press cuttings and many rare photographs, Vicious: To Fast To Live is the definitive and authorised biography of a true 20th century icon.” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageReflektor.
“Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Arcade Fire are a six piece band that have won two BRITs, two Grammys, and have released three records over the last ten years. Their highly anticipated fourth album Reflektor is produced by Arcade Fire, James Murphy and Markus Dravs. The album was recorded in Jamaica, Montreal and New York. The title track, Reflektor was released on the 9/9 at 9:00pm, featuring guest vocals from David Bowie and an accompanying video by longtime collaborator Anton Corbijn. Renowned as being one of the best live acts around, Arcade Fire were one of the headline act at the Big Day Out in 2014.” (Description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageForeverly / Billie Joe + Norah.
“Collaboration between Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and Grammy winning Pop songstress Norah Jones. Foreverly is an unforgettable collection inspired by Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, an album of traditional Americana songs reinterpreted, recorded and released by The Everly Brothers in 1958. The album captures the beauty of the Everly’s stunning close harmonies to create a moving and powerful testament to these traditional ballads.” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageBecause the internet.
“2013 sophomore full-length album from writer, actor, standup comedian and rapper Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino. The recording process for the album began in 2012 and continued until October 2013. Because the Internet features guest appearances from Chance The Rapper, Jhene Aiko and Azealia Banks, with production handled by Gambino himself, Christian Rich, Thundercat and Ludwig Goransson among others.” (Description from Amazon.com)

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Classical Music

Here are our latest classical music books and CDs — featuring the correspondance of Leonard Bernstein, as well as performances of works by composers Vaughan Williams and Richard Strauss.

Books:

Syndetics book coverThe Leonard Bernstein letters / edited by Nigel Simeone.
“This book boasts an impressive assortment of 650 letters to and from the maestro, spanning the years 1932, when Bernstein was a precocious teenager studying piano, and 1990, the year of his death…Bernstein was one of the most articulate and witty writers on the contemporary music scene, and his posthumous prose collection Findings contains ample evidence of his literary prowess. This talent is very much on display in this volume. Simeone has chosen letters that highlight Bernstein’s musical activities rather than strictly personal ones, and the list of correspondents forms a who’s who of musical, literary, artistic, and political luminaries in the second half of the 20th century.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

CDs:

vaughnwilliamsSymphony no. 5 ; Symphony no. 8 / Vaughan Williams. (CD)
“[This] release combines two highly contrasting works to provide a disc which is both moving and uplifting. Symphony No.5 is a generally tranquil work with music influenced by Ravel, with whom Vaughan Williams had studied, and is scored for very traditional forces. Symphony No.8 is dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli and was premièred by the Hallé in 1956.” (Summary courtesy of amazon.co.uk)

alsosprachzarathustraAlso sprach Zarathustra / Richard Strauss. (CD)
“This masterful live recording of Strauss’s ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ is sure to please. The Berlin Philharmonic, as always, play to an exceptionally high standard under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel (a young conductor proving he is growing exponentially in his abilities). This popular piece is moody, atmospheric, and rich – well worth a listen.” (Summary by Emily)

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Buyer’s Choice

Hi everyone, I’m one of the fiction selectors for Wellington City Libraries. I spend a lot of time reading about, and choosing, lovely new fiction for you to enjoy. This week I’ve chosen some literary, critically-loved fiction, packed with a punch.
(Remember these books aren’t ’shelf ready’, but they are due to be published in the next six months. And they are on the catalogue, available to reserve).

Syndetics book coverDry Bones
This was recommended by our head cataloguer, who only reads the best, most intelligent, literary fiction. It’s topic is also quite timely too – covering the end of World War II (well, timely in that it’s been 100 years since the start of WWI and 70 years since D-Day). It follows two soldiers on an ill-fated OSS (Office of Strategic Services – US intelligence agency) misson to the Eastern Front. The soldiers uncover a secret and have to deal with the consequences and the developing world of Cold War espionage.

Overdrive cover Ancestry, by Albert Wendt (eBook)
We all read ‘The Luminairies’ over the summer break, right? Now it’s time to discover some more wonderful New Zealand literature. Huia Publishing has joined our ebook supplier Overdrive. This means we’ve been able to add some great new-to-us New Zealand fiction ebooks to our elibrary – such as Albert Wendt’s 2012 short story collection ‘Ancestry’. Check out other Huia titles HERE.

Overdrive cover A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, by Eimear McBride (eBook)
Speaking of award winning fiction, a-la-The Luminairies, ‘A Girl is a Half Formed Thing’ is now available as an ebook in our Overdrive elibrary. Author Eimear McBride is another young woman storming the literary guard (she’s in her 30s). This book won the Goldsmiths Prize and is a bit of a critics fave (’instant classic’ according to The Guardian). Written in a very different style, almost stream of consciousness, and with a simple yet compelling topic (a young woman’s coming of age), it has proven to be very popular.

Syndetics book coverGods of the Steppe
Sticking with the grim theme is this novel by Russian author Andrei Gelasimov. It’s set in post-war Russia 1945, in a small village near the Chinese border. The main protagonist is a 12 year old boy who admires and befriends Soviet soldiers who guard nearby Japanese POWs. The boy’s family is fractured, his mother depressed, his father gone and it’s all rather bleak. But don’t be put off – good reviews and Gelasimov is very successful in Russia.

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Music & Movies Newsletter for February

This month of Music & Movies kicks off with another literary adaptation, Don DeLillo’s ‘Cosmopolis’. Further highlights include Simon Sweetman’s tour through New Zealand’s pop landscape in ‘On Song’; critically acclaimed musical biopic ‘The Sapphires’; and Willie Nelson stakes his claim for autobiography title of the year with ‘Roll me up and smoke me when I die’.

DVDs

New DVDs for February include adaptations of Duncan Sarkies’ ‘Two Little Boys’ & Don DeLillos’ ‘Cosmopolis’; the true stories that inspired Jack Black’s ‘Bernie’ & the feel-good ‘The Sapphires’; & new UK TV shows ‘The Jury’, ‘Pramface’ & ‘Silk’…

Cover imageCosmopolis.
“The union of director David Cronenberg and Twilight star Robert Pattinson is hardly a predictable one, but the pair prove quite the combination with Cosmopolis. A drama set across 24 hours in New York City, the film sees Pattinson as Eric, a rich asset manager on a trip across Manhattan in a luxury limousine. But it’s no ordinary trip: with Manhattan preparing for the visit of the President of the United States, things soon start to go very, very wrong for Eric. Cronenberg wrote the script as well as directing here, and Cosmopolis is a challenging, slow film, that treats its audience with intelligence. Pattinson works hard in the lead role, with considerable success, and the supporting players, including Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton are excellent, too. Cosmopolis may not be as accessible as Cronenberg’s films that more immediately preceded it, but it’s a film with real substance to it, from a genuinely great director…” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageBernie.
“.. “What you’re fixin’ to see is a true story”… sets the perfect down-home tone for the charming, if occasionally gruesome story of an East Texas funeral director named Bernie Tiede, whose sociable selflessness, empathetic demeanor, and guileless personality won him the friendship of the whole town of Carthage, especially the little old ladies. He even captivated the good graces of the meanest and richest old lady of them all, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), eventually becoming her business manager and constant companion. But even with the patience of Job and the compassion of Jesus, eventually Bernie couldn’t take it anymore and in a fit of pique shot her in the back four times then dumped her body in a freezer. That synopsis hardly seems the stuff of a lighthearted comedy that energizes a large ensemble of endearing characters. But in the hands of director Richard Linklater (who cowrote the script with Skip Hollandsworth, who originally reported the story for Texas Monthly magazine), the tale is simultaneously knee-slappingly funny and head-shakingly poignant…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imagePramface.
“Meet Jamie, 16, and Laura, 18. They are two teenagers who after one too many drinks, some deceptive party lighting and an available bedroom find they have one very big complication on their hands. Laura is pregnant. Only problem is, she’s meant to be heading off to university and Jamie is way too young to be considering raising a kid. Prior to this, the extent of his responsibilities was doing his homework and managing his pocket money. Pramface brings humour and heart to a tricky subject, as it follows these two unexpected parents-to-be as they try, and frequently fail, to negotiate family, sex and what happens once nine months is up…” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageThe Sapphires.
“The Sapphires is an inspirational tale set in the heady days of the late 60s when four young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission are discovered and guided by an unlikely manager. Starring AFI award-winner Deborah Mailman (Offspring), platinum selling artist Jessica Mauboy and Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd, this feel-good hit is based on the successful Australian stage musical and inspired by a remarkable true story. Plucked from obscurity and branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes. The Sapphires grasp the opporturnity of a lifetime when invited to entertain American troops in Vietnam. Their journey of discovery offers them not only the chance to show off their musical skills, but find love and togetherness and grow as women…” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageSilk. [Series 1].
“Single, attractive, thirty something Martha Costello is a brilliant, passionate defence barister with the unwavering belief that all are innocent until proven guilty. Martha is about to apply to become Queen’s Counsel; she is applying for ‘Silk’, but she’s not the only one at her chambers– Clive Reader is charming, ruthless and dangerous, and knows how to play the game– Only one of them will be made QC and Senior Clerk, Billy Lamb, is the man with everyone’s lives and careers in his hands. Martha’s conscience and faith in the criminal justice system are tested to breaking point as she deals with clients who are good, bad and downright evil…” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageSleep tight.
“Spanish psychological horror from director Jaume Balagueró. The film follows César (Luis Tosar), the concierge to the residents at a wealthy apartment building. César seems extraordinarily helpful and polite and is consequently adored by the residents, but little do they know that he is in fact a man so incapable of happiness and human feeling that he makes it his goal in life to make others as miserable as he is. He focuses much of his attention on Clara (Martra Etura), a beautiful young woman whose vivacity and spontaneous sense of happiness make her his opposite in almost every way. With his usual blend of underhand tricks, which include sneaking into her apartment to rig unpleasant surprises and even hiding beneath her bed, César begins to unnerve Clara. When her boyfriend Marcos (Alberto San Juan) unexpectedly returns the situation quickly escalates towards a point of no return…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageAfterschool.
“A disturbing and completely compelling story dealing with teen suicide and the fascination we have for voyeurism, at the expense of common decency. Robert is a young student at an elite boarding school on America’s East Coast. Robert is a loner whose world revolves around porn sites and surfing the net. As part of a film study course, Robert accidentally films the deaths of twin sisters, an apparent joint suicide. Robert has every opportunity to help, to intervene, but calmly films on– Everyone is outrages– his scandalous behaviour causes almost as much shock as the girls’ deaths. However, the film strangely immortalizes the girls– as students, teachers and the girls’ parents struggle to come to terms with the tragedy…’ (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageTwo little boys.
“The film follows Nige and his best mate Deano’s riotous misadventures as they struggle with their imploding friendship which has been put under pressure by an unfortunate incident involving a hot meat pie, a ginger cat and the untimely death of a Scandinavian soccer star. Nige chucks the dead body in a nearby roadworks hole and runs to Deano for help. Trouble is, Deano’s not really the guy you should turn to in a crisis…” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageThe jury.
“Written by Peter Morgan (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen), The Jury is a compelling, character based drama series which focuses on the everyday people who find themselves at the centre of one of the most controversial criminal re-trials of their time. Focusing on the retrial of a man sentenced for the murder of three women–all killed following internet dates. A key piece of evidence was deliberately ignored by the CPS, possibly because the police were under pressure for a quick conviction and blackmail was being used over a senior person involved with the investigation who was having an affair. Ultimately, we will see the man acquitted but it will be an “imperfect, messy, human triumph for the jury by acquitting the man”. Gripping, dark and emotionally charged as jurors are forced to face their prejudices as they come to grips with the complexities and unwanted attention of being a key player in such a high profile Old Bailey trial…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe devil’s double.
“Summoned from the frontline to Saddam Hussein’s palace, Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper) is thrust into the highest echelons of the “royal family” when he’s ordered to become the ‘fiday’ – or body double – to Saddam’s son, the notorious “Black Prince” Uday Hussein (also Dominic Cooper), a reckless, sadistic party-boy with a rabid hunger for sex and brutality. With his and his family’s lives at stake, Latif must surrender his former self forever as he learns to walk, talk and act like Uday. But nothing could have prepared him for the horror of the Black Prince’s psychotic, drug-addled life of fast cars, easy women and impulsive violence. With one wrong move costing him his life, Latif forges an intimate bond with Sarrab (Ludivine Sagnier), Uday’s seductive mistress who’s haunted by her own secrets. But as war looms with Kuwait and Uday’s depraved gangster regime threatens to destroy them all, Latif realises that escape from the devil‘s den will only come at the highest possible cost. Featuring a riveting double performance by Dominic Cooper (An Education, Mamma Mia) in the roles of Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein, The Devil’s Double is a dynamic, chilling adaptation of Latif Yahia’s autobiographical novel, charting one man’s defiant struggle to survive a viper’s pit of corruption and brutality…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

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Popular Music

New books on popular music this month include Madonna’s new book which features fantastic photos and the comprehensive biography of Freddie Mercury. Also, we have two new books from very popular Dummies ‘how to play’ series.

Syndetics book coverMadonna style / by Carol Clerk ; with Stacey Appel.
“This updated edition now includes details of Madonna’s new 2012 album and subsequent World Tour, her advertising campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana, her clothing lines for H&M and her own Material Girl label as well as her Hard Candy album and videos for Celebration, Four Minutes and Beat Goes On.Here is a dazzling exploration of a unique pop-culture goddess. How does she do it? The answer comes in the form of this sumptuous collection of Madonna’s style effects. Every visual aspect of Madonna is shown including her wildly inventive catalogue of personae that she and her style army have conjured over the years. The result is an absolutely stunning one-woman fashion show that spans nearly half a century.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverStone alone : the story of a rock ‘n’ roll band / with Ray Coleman.
“YA– Wyman, bass player for the Rolling Stones, leaves no word unturned in this comprehensive, readable, witty account of the group from its beginnings as a struggling rhythm-and-blues band in 1962 to its superstar status and the death of founder and lead guitarist Brian Jones in 1969. With the help of veteran rock journalist Coleman, Wyman turns his exhaustive diary and other files into this well-written tome on the band and the London music scene of the ’60s. While the book contains a wealth of material and information, it offers few startling insights into the Stones as a group or individually. However, Stone Alone will certainly gather no moss on most library shelves”(School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverA light that never goes out : the enduring saga of the Smiths / Tony Fletcher.
“Indie cult heavyweights the Smiths never charted a single higher than number 10, but they are widely considered to be an important musical component of British pop music of the 1980s. Their enigmatic vocalist and lyricist, Morrissey, is a bit of a hero to the disaffected, which only adds to his and the band’s angsty cachet. Of course, they broke up in 1987, but with rumored reunions that never materialized and the individual members’ post-Smiths activities (as a solo), Morrissey has cracked Top 10 lists), their self-conscious legend lives on. In relating the story of the band, Fletcher centers on Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, digging deep in terms of the details of the band’s creative process and progress but with plenty of time for conjecture about the comprehensively enigmatic Morrissey.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFreddie Mercury : the great pretender : a life in pictures / [text, Sean O’Hagan ; captions, Greg Brooks and Phil Symes ; art direction, Richard Gray].
“Iconic Queen front man, Freddie Mercury (1946-91) had always been a flamboyant, larger-than-life figure. This lavish, oversized book of photographs is a fitting tribute to his life and work. The book includes images from every stage of Mercury’s life, from his childhood in Zanzibar and India to his early musical career in England and his rise to international fame fronting Queen. Although filled with many images of Mercury striking his trademark dramatic stage poses, the book also reveals the singer’s more personal, vulnerable side-a distinct and fascinating contrast.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverBlues harmonica for dummies / by Winslow Yerxa.
“Blues harmonica is the most popular and influential style of harmonica playing, and it forms the basis for playing harmonica in other styles such as rock and country. Blues Harmonica for Dummies gives you a wealth of content devoted to the blues approach—specific techniques and applications, including bending and making your notes sound richer and fuller with tongue-blocked enhancements; use of amplification to develop a blues sound; blues licks and riffs; constructing a blues harmonica solo; accompanying singers; historical development of blues styles; and important blues players and recordings.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverGuitar for dummies / by Mark Phillips and Jon Chappell.
“The music guides in the popular “For Dummies” series all follow the same basic format, which includes much of the same information found in the other self-instruction resources reviewed here, but in more detail-getting started with the instrument, chords and melodies, playing technique, stylistic characteristics, and choosing instruments. Unlike most of the other series, the details of some techniques, such as fingerpicking, are covered in the chapters on style instead of getting chapters or sections of their own. These volumes also don’t cover reading music, though scored examples are included: players who don’t read are advised to pick up chords and melodies by ear from the accompanying CD. Best for teens and adults with some musical background, not necessarily with the guitar.”(Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverOnSong : stories behind New Zealand’s pop classics / Simon Sweetman.
“On Song is a lively journey through New Zealand’s diverse pop landscape. Prolific music journalist Simon Sweetman has interviewed the writers and performers of beloved Kiwi classics, presenting ‘in conversation’ text that illuminates the fascinating stories behind the pop songs we all know and love, all complemented with a plethora of artists’ personal imagery and archival photography” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverThe million sellers / contributors, Tim Brock … [et al.].
“Published to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of the Official Singles Charts in 1952, The Million Sellers tells the story of every million-selling single in the history of the UK music industry. An analysis of the 123 singles which have passed the magical million sales threshold in the UK in the past 60 years, from Bill Haley & The Comets very first UK million-seller right through to more recent singles by Lady Gaga, Rihanna and the Black Eyed Peas. Interviews with some of the artists reflecting on their memories of their million sellers and what they remember of the success at the time At a-glance facts and data outlining the songwriters, producers, albums and total sales figures for the million selling track.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverMake up to breakup : my life in and out of Kiss / Peter Criss with Larry “Ratso” Sloman.
“Criss, the original drummer of Kiss and the third member of the band to pen a memoir, delivers an entertaining autobiography written with Sloman, who coauthored Scar Tissue, the memoir by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis. But while bass player Gene Simmons (KISS and Make Up) focused on the sex and lead guitarist Ace Frehley (No Regrets) detailed the drugs, the appealing part of Criss’s account is that he keeps the focus on the rock and roll, which results in the best-and most honest-account of Kiss craziness during the band’s heyday in the 1970s. The book’s most interesting section explores Criss’s early life as a street punk turned hardcore jazz fan in the 1960s; this may be the first time the name Thelonious Monk has appeared in a book on Kiss.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe future is the beginning : the words and wisdom of Bob Marley / Bob Marley ; introduction by Cedella Marley ; edited by Gerald Hausman.
“Taken from interviews and edited by Marley/Rastafarianism expert Gerald Hausman, this book highlights the famed reggae musician’s personal and spiritual beliefs.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverNoel Gallagher : the biography / Lucian Randall.
“Noel Gallagher is a well-known for his singer-songwriter talent as he is for his controversial, outspoken statements and his tempestuous relationships. With the renowned Britpop band, Oasis, Noel found worldwide acclaim and influenced and musical style of a generation. But what is the truth about the boy from Manchester? This book maps out Noel’s story from the beginning. It takes you from his dysfunctional upbringing in Manchester to the man we know now.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverRoll me up and smoke me when I die : musings from the road / Willie Nelson ; foreword by Kinky Friedman ; illustrations by Micah Nelson.
“The latest in a collection of anecdotes and essays from singer-songwriter Nelson (The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes) serves to reinforce his image as a sentimental country veteran who isn’t averse to firing up the occasional joint or two. Peppered with the occasional dirty joke, the book makes for an irreverent, entertaining read. Humble, optimistic, and quick to give credit to those around him for contributing to his success, Nelson is a charming narrator, lurching from subject to subject, but always with a point in mind.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

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Classical Music

The festive season is over, work and school have gone back for another year and its time to put your nose to the grindstone. What better time to take a moment to get inspired and motivated by music! Here are a few selections to help you on your way to musical enlightenment.

Syndetics book coverA parent’s survival guide to music lessons : help your child succeed in music / Elisabeth Lawrence.
“Perhaps you are looking for a way to keep your youngsters occupied during the holidays, or maybe a new violin for Christmas means you need to get them some lessons QUICK! In any case, learning about the ins and outs of music lessons is a good place to start.” (Syndetics summary)

nuinuiTranscriptions [sound recording] / Liszt.
“An album framed around Liszt’s Paraphrases and Transcriptions – this is an impressive and delightful programme which presents Niu Niu as a serious and gifted pianist”. (amazon.co.uk)

brittencarolsA ceremony of carols [sound recording] : op. 28 ; Saint Nicolas : op. 42 / Britten.
“Stephen Layton leads the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge and the Holst Singers in two of Benjamin Britten’s most popular choral works for Christmastide. The cantata Saint Nicolas tells the story of the original Santa Claus, a fourth-century saint whose altruistic acts led to his canonization as patron saint of children and sailors. Britten’s lively setting is distinctly operatic, full of atmosphere and color – with the story brought ‘home’ through the use of congregational hymns.” (Amazon.com Review)

starlight expressThe Starlight Express [sound recording] / Edward Elgar.
“This fairytale melodrama was adapted from a book by Algernon Blackwood A Prisoner in Fairyland for a West End theatre production staged during World War 1 with music by Elgar. Based on a new score which has been adapted by Sir Andrew Davis who also here conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra this is the most comprehensive recorded version to date. The two-disc set includes the incidental music with narrative by Simon Callow and an extended suite of freestanding orchestral movements and songs”. (amazon.com)

coverimage13_1The Piano Guys [sound recording].
“Rather self explanatory, but a wonderful series of pieces that cross genres and bring out the best in this modern ensemble. ‘The Piano Guys’ bring modern works to the table and reinvent them. Anybody else interested to see how they interpret ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and ‘What makes you beautiful’?” (Syndetics summary)

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Music & Movies Newsletter for December

Sorry to disappoint you folks, but this month’s picks has nary a Christmas themed CD or movie in sight. No doubt there’ll be plenty of festive suggestions appearing on our blog/twitter/Facebook in the coming week or two.

What we do have is a couple of literary classics adapted for DVD – Sebastian Faulks’ “Birdsong” and Henning Mankell’s “Wallander; New Zealand’s own Anna Paquin appears in the underrated and decidedly non-vampiric “Margaret” ; also, books that take you behind the scenes of Game of Thrones and Doctor Who along with the best of the rest of in music & movies for December.

Library News

DVDs

Cover imageBirdsong.
“Busy screenwriter Abi Morgan (The Hour, The Iron Lady) adapts Sebastian Faulks’s 1993 bestseller…Costume-drama veteran Eddie Redmayne (The Pillars of the Earth) plays Stephen Wraysford, a British textile man based in Amiens in 1910. While staying with Isabelle (Clémence Poésy, In Bruges) and her controlling husband, Stephen falls in love with his hostess, but her marriage and stepchildren stand in the way. The story continues to proceed along two tracks: Stephen’s time with Isabelle and her sympathetic sister, Jeanne (Marie-Josée Croze), and his time as an imperiled lieutenant in the trenches of World War I…as memories of Amiens spur him on. Flashbacks reveal that Isabelle eventually returned his affection, except the course of their relationship did not run smoothly. By the end, he’s lost most of the things he once desired, but an alternative path lies ahead. In this sense, Birdsong bears some comparison with Atonement and Downton Abbey, though the downbeat nature of the material won’t be to all tastes…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageMargaret.
“A film whose initial release was held up for five years, thanks to a series of legal wrangles, the eventual cinematic debut of Margaret was, perhaps inevitably, strangely muted. Margaret is an ensemble drama, the catalyst for which is a bus crash. The crash is witnessed by Anna Paquin’s Lisa, and it forces her to question whether it was really an accident. Things spiral from there, affecting more than just Lisa herself, and drawing the film’s large cast together. Margaret is an involving, intelligent and absorbing piece of cinema, that if anything feels a little bit short. Running to well over two hours, there’s nonetheless still a sense that one or two of the story fragments are missing. But still, there’s plenty here to feast on. Furthermore, there are interesting themes that Lonergan’s film isn’t shy about exploring, and there’s a good deal to dissect once the credits roll. Don’t be put off by the relatively low-key DVD release, then. Margaret is a gem, the kind of film that’ll be discovered for some time to come…” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageWallander. 3.
“The British television series Wallander boasts eerily beautiful scenery, intricate plotting, and, above all, Branagh, who delivers a masterpiece of interior acting. The less he lets slip, the more fascinating the character somehow becomes. Based on Henning Mankell’s novels, the series follows the downbeat adventures of Kurt Wallander, a world-weary police detective who operates in the Swedish town of Ystad. An Event in Autumn, the first installment in this third collection, finds Wallander attempting to construct something like a normal life, moving in to a cottage in the country with his girlfriend and her son. Fate soon comes knocking, however, as a gruesome discovery in his garden leads to the uncovering of a murderous legacy. Based on the second novel in Mankell’s series, The Dogs of Riga finds the inspector traveling to Latvia, after a murder at sea entraps him in a deadly case of police corruption on unfamiliar ground…This collection finishes up in fine style with Before the Frost, an exploration of belief and religious mania that ranks among the top episodes in the entire series…(Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageTouch. The complete first season.
“At the story’s centre is Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland), a widower and single father, haunted by an inability to connect to his emotionally challenged 11-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz). Caring, intelligent and thoughtful, Martin has tried everything to reach his son. But Jake never speaks, shows little emotion and never allows himself to be touched by anyone, including Martin. Jake is obsessed with numbers–writing long strings of them in his ever-present notebooks–and with discarded cell phones. Social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) believes that Jake’s needs are too serious for Martin to handle…However, everything changes after Martin meets Arthur Teller (Danny Glover), a professor and an expert on children who possess special gifts when it comes to numbers. Martin learns that Jake possesses an extraordinary gift–the ability to perceive the seemingly hidden patterns that connect every life on the planet…As he puts the pieces together, he helps people across the world connect as their lives intersect according to the patterns Jake has foreseen…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk description)

Cover imageRizzoli & Isles. The complete first season.
“Angie Harmon has never been better, as the tough Boston detective Jane Rizzoli. Her partner in crime (solving) is the equally impressive Sasha Alexander as Dr. Maura Isles, the by-the-books medical examiner who always has Rizzoli’s back, but is often appalled at the cop’s hard-charging tough-Boston-girl approach. Rizzoli & Isles is based on the series of popular mysteries by Tess Gerritsen, and adapted faithfully and engagingly for TV viewers. One thing that sets Rizzoli & Isles apart from the average police procedural is its crisp direction and subtle writing; even the most die-hard cop-show viewer will be engaged and surprised by the plots’ twists and turns…The key in any double-starring series is chemistry, and Harmon and Alexander have it in spades–their sparring and intellectual one-upmanship are completely believable. The cases in season one are varied, though focus mostly on serial killers, with one particularly gripping case flashing back to the notorious Boston Strangler case…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imagePerson of interest. The complete first season.
“Series creator Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher) lays out the premise at a furious clip: an eccentric tech genius (Lost’s Michael Emerson) enlists a shadowy soldier-of-fortune (Jim Caviezel) to help with his pet project–a machine with seemingly endless surveillance capabilities. Utilizing the device’s ability to identify threats before they happen, they set out to right future wrongs, attracting the attention of a dogged New York cop (Taraji P. Henson) in the process. Were Person of Interest content to remain at the level of weekly procedural, it would be a very good one, with every installment boasting well-choreographed fight scenes, Emerson’s impeccably weird comedy timing, and a thorny morality that keeps the methods of the protagonists edging into the black…Thankfully, however, Nolan and co. also show an ability to play the long game, cannily inserting flashbacks that hint at a bigger mystery, introducing a strangely empathetic recurring supervillain, and laying out minor plot elements that pay off big further down the line…(Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageFriends with kids.
“It’s a stroke of good fortune that Friends with Kids features a hefty portion of the same cast that made Bridesmaids such a hit. The stars of Friends with Kids are Jennifer Westfeldt (who also wrote and directed) and Adam Scott as Julie and Jason, BFFs who are strictly platonic but decide to have a child together out of mutual need, convenience, and familiarity. Their married friends have all brought kids into the world with mixed results, and they feel a little left out. Neither wants the burden of marriage and both profess to have no romantic inclination toward the other.. Concurrently with their parenting, each one is also playing the same old dating game that ranges from simple hookups to what looks like true love when Julie meets Kurt (Edward Burns) and Jason meets Mary Jane (Megan Fox). That’s when the emotions start getting complicated and both realize that they may not have thought through their child-rearing plan or their honest feelings for each other thoroughly enough…(Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe comeback. The complete first only season.
“How wickedly ironic–and delicious–that Lisa Kudrow’s single season of The Comeback provided the talented actress with enough meat for her to be nominated for an Emmy–after the show was canceled by HBO. Kudrow went for the Anti-Phoebe role after the demise of Friends, demonstrating her spectacular acting chops and range of comic abilities. The show centered on Kudrow’s playing an actress, once the ingénue of the moment, trying ever more desperately to get back into the limelight. The vehicle of choice: a reality “series” that follows Kudrow’s Valerie Cherish into scenarios with the deck more than stacked against her. Kudrow’s acid delivery and willingness to show Valerie’s raw pain, ambition, and obsequiousness make for engrossing and poignant, if squirm-inducing, viewing… The series, though short-lived demonstrates why Kudrow is one of our most talented actresses; here’s hoping for a succession of more Comebacks…” (From Amazon.com review)

Cover imageSyndetics book coverThe amazing Spider-man.
“The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageSnow White & the huntsman.
“Definitely not your average retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, Snow White and the Huntsman is a dark, action-fantasy film that’s based more on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale than the well-known Disney version of the story. It features intriguing concepts, impressive special effects, and some disappointingly lackluster acting. The essence of the “Snow White” story is preserved in this recounting: the queen’s beautiful daughter Snow White, who is heir to the throne, is displaced and persecuted by an evil stepmother after her mother dies. Here, the evil stepmother Ravenna possesses a disturbing power to maintain her own perpetual youth by stealing youthfulness from the hearts of the young and beautiful, but her magic mirror warns that Snow White’s innocence and purity as she comes of age will destroy Ravenna’s chance at immortality. When Snow White escapes from the castle prison, Ravenna hires a downtrodden Huntsman to bring her back so that Ravenna can steal her youth and achieve personal immortality…This film is full of fascinating imagery that’s brought to life through powerful special effects, great costuming, and captivating cinematography…” (From Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageAttack the block.
“Full of gory practical effects and fluent pop-cultural references, Attack the Block–an alien invasion scenario squeezed into a single apartment building–belongs to the same species of British genre comedy as Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Director Joe Cornish takes some clever routes around the limitations of his budget, filming on location in London’s Heygate Estate (itself a once utopian science-fiction experiment) and mining the freshness of his young cast’s authentic street slang. When the aliens arrive (they simply drop, during a frosty Bonfire Night, out of the shining pepper of the stars) ..the block’s defence is up to a group of teenage hoods, lead by the imposing Moses (John Boyega) and reluctantly helped by middle-class neighbour Sam (Jodie Whittaker). Armed with fireworks and mounted on muscle bikes, they launch an entertaining and Spielbergian resistance through the block’s labyrinth of corridors and walkways…More alien to each other than the beasts on their tail, the survival of these divided class members hangs on the recognition that they have a stake in each other…(From Amazon.co.uk)

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Film Books

From HBO’s Game of Thrones to the legendary film stars.

Syndetics book coverInside HBO’s Game of thrones / Bryan Cogman ; preface by George R. R. Martin ; foreword by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss.“HBO’s Game of Thrones reigns as cable’s highest-rated series. This official companion book gives fans new ways to enter this fictional world and discover more about the beloved (and reviled) characters and the electrifying plotlines. Hundreds of set photos, production and costume designs, storyboards, and insider stories reveal how the show’s creators translated George R. R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy series into the world of Westeros. Featuring interviews with key actors and crew members that capture the best scripted and unscripted moments from the first two seasons, as well as a preface by George R. R. Martin, this special volume, bound in a lavishly debossed padded cover, offers exclusive access to this unprecedented television series.”(Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Doctor’s monsters : meanings of the monstrous in Doctor Who / Graham Sleight.
“Doctor Who has been on global television screens for nearly fifty years, and many of its most memorable protagonists have been its monsters, The Daleks, Cybermen, Slitheen, the Sonterans, Ood, Wiirrn, and others. Entertainingly and provocatively written, and introduced by Who scriptwriter Paul Cornell, The Doctor’s Monsters takes a new look at these and many other creatures, and asks what inspired them and what lies behind them.”(Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe science fiction universe– and beyond : Syfy Channel book of sci-fi / introduction by Thomas P Vitale ; text by Michael Mallory.“Travel where no man has gone before with this comprehensive journey through the universe of science fiction film and television! From the wildly imaginative European masterpieces of the silent era to compelling, character-based weekly television series like Twilight Zone, X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica, to the CGI-realized world of Avatar, science fiction film and television has pushed the boundaries of the visually and dramatically fantastic for more than a century. The Science Fiction Universe… and Beyond offers a breadth of knowledge, insight, and passion to the spellbinding and entertaining realm of close encounters, black holes, time travel, distant planets, impossible quests, alternate realities, futuristic technology, spaceships, extraordinary monsters, and incredibly imagined worlds” (adapted from Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverThe Top gear years / Jeremy Clarkson.
“We now know all about — the world according to Clarkson. In a series of bestselling books, Jeremy has revealed it to be a puzzling, frustrating place where all too often the lunatics seem to be running the asylum. But in The Top Gear Years, we get something rather different.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rough guide to 21st century cinema / by Adam Smith.
“Celebrate the centurys’ finest movies in The Rough Guide to 21st Century Cinema, a lavishly illustrated homage to the world’s best movies of this new era of cinema. The best 101 films: a run down of the finest films of the millenium from Hollywood blockbusters to indie gems. The hottest stars: features on the up and coming actors and actresses who have made a mark. The winning genres: best-in-class features on drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi, animation, documentary, superhero movies and all the genre-mash ups in between. The unsung heroes: the finest talent behind the camera, including directors, cinematographers, set designers and special effects specialists. The Rough Guide to 21st Century Cinema is the essential companion to movies of the moment.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverBritish crime film : subverting the social order / Barry Forshaw.“British Crime Film is a celebratory and comprehensive social history of this idiosyncratic genre. Barry Forshaw focuses on the strategies used to address more radical notions than those presented in mainstream product, exploring such themes as the treatment of sex and violence, corporate crime and the maverick criminal. Covering every major – and most minor – British crime films up to and including the twenty-first century, Forshaw contextualises the films within the crime fiction that inspired them. He explores new developments including British urban crime movies and the wave of new crime/horror hybrids such as Kill List, and predicts what the future holds for the genre.”(adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverAudrey : the 60s / David Wills and Stephen Schmidt.“Audrey Hepburn charmed cinema audiences in the 1950s as a new type of screen presence – gamine, doe-eyed and refreshingly casual. By the 1960s she had metamorphosed to become a trendsetting sophisticate, achieving unrivalled status as an actress, model, movie star and champion for underprivileged children worldwide. Curator and archivist David Wills has amassed one of the world’s largest private collections of original Audrey Hepburn photography. Now, in Audrey: The 60s, he has gathered a spectacular selection of work from her key photographers – much of it digitally restored from original negatives and transparencies – to create a truly breath-taking portfolio of images which pays homage to the most beloved and enduring style icon of the decade that changed everything.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverElizabeth Taylor / Susan Smith.
“Elizabeth Taylor was one of the major film stars of the twentieth century, embodying all the glamour and allure of Hollywood stardom. Yet her achievements as an actress have often been overshadowed by her beauty
and tumultuous life off-screen. To redress this imbalance, Susan Smith offers an illuminating study of Elizabeth Taylor’s work in film, exploring her fascinating trajectory from child to adult star. Smith reveals the influence that Taylor’s early work exerted over her later career and the ways in which her on-screen identity is profoundly rooted in her association with animals and nature.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Classical Music

You’ll find below our most recent classical music purchases for this month, enjoy!

Cover ImageThe Chopin album. (CD)
“World-renowned pianist Lang Lang turns to the composer who has accompanied him throughout his career on his latest recording, The Chopin Album. The record is entirely devoted to Chopin’s solo piano pieces and includes well known pieces such as “The Minute Waltz” and the “Grande Valse Brillante op. 18 in E-flat major”. The DVD features ‘My Life With Chopin’ which includes 50 minutes of exclusive footage showing Lang Lang’s career from age 12 to today”. (summary from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover ImageAs it is. (CD)
“A fresh approach to one of contemporary composition’s most iconoclastic and inventive figures, ‘As It Is’ is issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Cage. Early Cage is the subject here, strikingly original songs and piano pieces from the 1930s and 1940s. Songs in which Cage set words by writers whose vision was as independent as his own – James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and e e cummings. They are performed by the Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov – who championed Cage’s work in Russia and later had a close working relationship with him – and his compatriot, vocalist Natalia Pschenitschnikova.
As Paul Griffiths writes, “The music exists in singing that has a raw, living edge, and it exists in piano tone that can be utterly simple and utterly remarkable. There is also a third presence, that of the producer, bringing forward the extraordinary resonances that come from Lubimov’s piano, with preparation or without.” With Manfred Eicher producing, the recording was made in December 2011 in Zürich. Lubimov grasps both the playfulness of the music and its message of freedom.
Lubimov previously included Cage’s In a Landscape on his 2002 debut recording for ECM New Series, Der Bote, a disc of piano elegies. Among his other acclaimed recordings for the label are works by Scriabin, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, and Valentin Silvestrov. Earlier this summer his double album of Debussy’s Preludes and other pieces attracted huge praise and was BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Recording of the Month’ in July. Natalia Pschenitschnikova has appeared on two previous ECM discs of Giya Kancheli as a flautist.
Personnel: Alexei Lubimov (piano, prepared piano), Natalia Pschenitschnikova (voice)”. (summary from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover ImageGiovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Volume 1. (CD)
“2011 sees the first recording by The Sixteen devoted entirely to Palestrina. The disc marks the start of a new project which will result in a series of new recordings exploring a selection of the composer s vast output, and a Choral Pilgrimage tour. Palestrina was born in 1525 not far from Rome, in the town whose name he bore and from which we take the cover images for this new series of discs. Possibly the greatest composer of liturgical music of all time, Palestrina was a towering figure in Renaissance polyphony. Choral singers world-wide will know his Missa Papae Marcelli (recorded by The Sixteen on COR16014) as, without doubt, it is the most renowned of Palestrina s works and possibly the most famous mass of all time. On this new disc The Sixteen has recorded some of the sumptuous music he wrote for the Assumption including his Missa Assumpta est Maria and Salve Regina. Without doubt, Palestrina was the great master of all Papal composers and his spiritual craft and harmonic vitality fulfilled the needs of the Vatican. His Motet and Offertory for the Assumption also entitled Assumpta est Maria, are glorious examples of such work and can be heard in all their splendour on this recording. By his death in 1594, Palestrina had published a huge amount of music including over 100 Masses and over 350 motets.” (summary from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover ImageDuo (CD)
“An inspiring, enjoyable, powerhouse meeting between two award-winning highly-individualistic classical music superstars who consider their initial meeting as fateful, not coincidence. Hélène Grimaud (who is called “the earth” in their interview), one of the greatest interpretative classical pianists who experiences sound as colors, and star cello virtuoso Sol Gabetta (”the air”), famed for the nuanced, singing quality of her instrumental interpretations and her highly emotional playing, meld their ‘earth and air’ talents and personae into a marvelous musical duo. It began in 2011 in a joyful, fateful musical encounter that ‘clicked’ immediately. In a wide spectrum of musical tastes, they cover the duo compositions of Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, and Dmitri Shostakovich, and this diverse program works wonderfully and has toured to great success…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk reviewer)

Cover ImageAdam’s lament (CD)
“Marshalling orchestral and choral forces under the direction of Tonu Kaljuste, this new Arvo Pärt album, produced by Manfred Eicher and realized, like all Pärt’s ECM discs, with the composer’s participation, is a major event. Sacred music predominates, by turns monumentally powerful and tenderly fragile. Adam’s Lament is the main work, but all eight pieces are either premiere recordings or first recordings of new versions reworked by the composer.
The other compositions are: Beatus Petronius for two choirs, eight woodwind instruments, tubular bells and strings; Salve Regina for choir, celesta and string orchestra; Statuit ei Dominus for two choirs, woodwinds and strings; Alleluia-Tropus for choir and string orchestra; L’Abbé Agathon for soprano, baritone, female choir and string orchestra. The album concludes with two beautiful lullabies – Estonian Lullaby and Christmas Lullaby – for female choir and string orchestra.” (summary from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverRobert Schumann : the life and work of a romantic composer / Martin Geck ; translated by Stewart Spencer.
“Robert Schumann (1810-56) is one of the most important and representative composers of the Romantic era. Born in Zwickau, Germany, Schumann began piano instruction at age seven and immediately developed a passion for music. When a permanent injury to his hand prevented him from pursuing a career as a touring concert pianist, he turned his energies and talents to composing, writing hundreds of works for piano and voice, as well as four symphonies and two ballets. Here acclaimed biographer Martin Geck tells the fascinating story of this multifaceted genius, set in the context of the political and social revolutions of his time. The image of Schumann, the man and the artist, that emerges in Geck’s book is complex. Geck shows Schumann to be not only a major composer and music critic-he cofounded and wrote articles for the controversial Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik-but also a political activist, the father of eight children, and an addict of mind-altering drugs. Through hard work and determination bordering on the obsessive, Schumann was able to control his demons and channel the tensions that seethed within him into music that mixes the popular and esoteric, resulting in compositions that require the creative engagement of reader and listener. The more we know about a composer, the more we hear his personality in his music, even if it is above all on the strength of his work that we love and admire him. Martin Geck’s book on Schumann is not just another rehashing of Schumann’s life and works, but an intelligent, personal interpretation of the composer as a musical, literary, and cultural personality.” (summary from Amazon.co.uk)

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Music & Movies Newsletter for November

In this month’s Music & Movies : Prometheus makes it to the small screen; everything you needed to know (and possibly a few things you didn’t) from series 3 of Downton Abbey; Bolan, Bowie and Jagger; and Wellington’s organs get played for posterity.

DVDs

Some new DVDs for October include the family friendly ‘Big Miracle’; ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ from the producers of ‘Bridesmaids’; ‘Dark Shadows’ with Johnny Depp; some spooky horror with ‘The Innkeepers’; and the chocolate themed French rom-com ‘Romantics Anonymous’…

Cover imageDark shadows.
“In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy… until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe five-year engagement.
“Planning a wedding is no easy task, and finding the perfect moment for the big occasion is nothing short of impossible, but Violet (Emily Blunt) and Tom (Jason Segel) have no idea of the challenges ahead of them when they decide to get married. This slapstick comedy plays like the art of awkward: Violet, Tom, their friends, and families all have huge propensities for saying and doing the absolutely worst, most awkward thing in any given situation. From a bungled marriage proposal to a multimedia presentation about Tom’s ex-girlfriends at the couple’s engagement party, and an inappropriate hookup between Violet’s sister Susie (Alison Brie) and Tom’s good friend Alex (Chris Pratt), the impending nuptials promise nothing but trouble for everyone but viewers in the mood to laugh. Rising chef Tom sacrifices a job he loves in San Francisco, along with the promise of swift promotion, to follow academic Violet to a teaching fellowship in Michigan. The only job Tom can find there is in a sandwich shop, and the move puts their wedding plans on hold… Eventually, the strain takes a huge toll on their relationships with one another, their friends, coworkers, and families. But one thing is certain, director Nicholas Stoller makes sure that their journey is just as funny as it is sad…(Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageBig miracle.
“The oil business, politics, Inuit customs, and animal preservation normally don’t mix, especially when the press gets involved. But a funny thing happens when Alaska television reporter Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) discovers a trio of gray whales trapped in the ice near the small town of Point Barrow. Adam’s report gets national exposure, and his ex-girlfriend and Greenpeace worker Rachel (Drew Barrymore) hears the story, begins lobbying politicians to save the whales, and hops a plane for Alaska. The story reaches the local Inupiat people and millions of Americans, including oil tycoon J.W. McGraw (Ted Danson), presidential aide Kelly Meyers (Vinessa Shaw), Marine colonel Scott Boyer (Dermot Mulroney), and Los Angeles reporter Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell). Each gets involved in the fight for their own distinct reason…The group forms an unlikely alliance and pools their resources in an effort to save the three gray whales, but the experience leaves each of them unexpectedly changed…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe innkeepers.
“At a time when the horror genre seems to consist solely of cheap jump scares and MacGyverish torture contraptions, writer-director-editor Ti West’s The House of the Devil proved a pleasant anomaly: a slow-building ’70s throwback which understood that the process of getting spooked is at least half the fun. The Innkeepers, West’s follow-up, winningly continues the retro streak, doling out the murk and gloom by steadily escalating degrees, anchored by Sara Paxton’s wonderfully appealing mope of a lead performance. Kicking off with a knowingly chintzy Internet gag, the story follows a pair of bored clerks (Paxton and Pat Healy) working at a rickety Victorian inn during its last few days of business. Taking advantage of the lack of guests, the not-so-dynamic duo begin investigating the building’s reputation for housing things that go bump in the night. After a boozy psychic (Kelly McGillis) checks in, however, the once-quaint creaks and moans become terrifyingly tangible…(Adapted from Amazon.com)

Cover imageThe Raven.
“Baltimore 1849. While investigating a horrific double murder, police detective Emmett Fields makes a startling discovery: the killer’s methods mirror the twisted writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Suspecting Poe at first, Fields ultimately enlists his help to stop future attacks. But in this deadly game of cat and mouse, the stakes are raised with each gruesome slaying as the pair races to catch a madman before he brings every one of Poe’s shocking stories to chilling life, and death.” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imagePrometheus.
“Yes, folks, Prometheus is a prequel, in a sideways sort of fashion, to Scott’s 1979 Alien original–or at least it’s a long-distant stage setter for that story. This one begins with a space mission that could reveal the extraterrestrial roots of Earth, although what’s buried out on the planet turns out to be much more complicated than expected. In the midst of suspenseful episodes (and a few contrived plot turns), Prometheus reaches for Big Answers to Big Questions, in a grand old sci-fi tradition. This lends the movie a hint of metaphysical energy, even if Scott’s reach extends well, well beyond his grasp. The hokier moments are carried off with brio by Michael Fassbender (the robot on board), Charlize Theron, and Idris Elba, and then you’ve got Noomi Rapace entering the badass hall of fame for a long, oh-no-they-didn’t sequence involving radical surgery, which might just induce the vapours in a few viewers. Even if Prometheus has its holes, the sheer size of the thing is exciting to be around. Because this movie is gigantic…” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageRock of ages.
“Anyone with great affection for ’80s big-hair bands (Journey, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, and the rest) will be doing a lot of head-bopping to Rock of Ages, the film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. Director Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has assembled a winning cast to tell the story of an aging rock legend, Stacee Jaxx (played with deadpan aplomb by Tom Cruise), against the I-wanna-be-a-star yearnings of a newbie, Sherrie (Julianne Hough). There’s not much of a plot, but the music is really the star, as well as the great supporting roles played by Catherine Zeta-Jones (Patricia, a belter with style), Paul Giamatti (Paul, a jaundiced rock promoter apparently intent on quashing everyone’s dreams), Mary J. Blige (Justice, the owner of a strip club), and Alec Baldwin, whose Dennis is a rawk-on club owner and head-banger from way back. Everyone in the cast looks like they’re having a blast, and that feeling is contagious, especially if you love the music. Some parts of Rock of Ages don’t seem to know if they are supposed to be played in earnest or ironically, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. And Cruise, though his part is small, seems to be channeling late-era Axl Rose in a performance that’s a little unnerving, yet hilarious. Rock of Ages appeals to the rocker in us all. Don’t stop believin’…” (From Amazon.com review)

Cover image Vera. Series one.
“Few would suggest that television is crying out for a new detective to solve the crimes of Britain, and thus the original announcement of Vera hardly set tongues wagging. But this is a show that has a special weapon in its midst, namely Brenda Blethyn. Blethyn is a terrific actress, and here, in the title role, she gets to play an obsessive murder detective. Vera is based on the novels of Ann Cleeves, and in truth, the stories themselves are hardly radical additions to the genre. But they are intriguing ones, and the cases in this maiden series are significantly lifted by Blethyn’s investment in the title character. Vera, inevitably, doesn’t have life very easy. And working in tandem with Sergeant Joe Ashworth, she battles not only the crime in front of her, but the challenges in her own life. Boasting good quality production values, a strong cast, and cases that hold the attention, Vera is a fine piece of television drama. But the main reason to watch it? That’d be its exceptional leading lady. Just watching Blethyn take on such a meaty role is worth the time and financial investment in itself…’ (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageRomantics anonymous.
“Jean-Rene is the boss of a chocolate factory and Angelique is a talented chocolate maker. They are both emotionally challenged people. Drawn together through a shared passion for chocolate, Jean-Rene and Angelique fall in love, but neither is able to express how they feel. Sadly, their crippling shyness is driving them apart. But eventually, they manage to overcome their lack of self-confidence, and risk baring their true feelings.” (Syndetics Summary)

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Film and television books

This month our selection of new books includes the visual companion to Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the official series three tie-in for Downton Abbey and the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies. Plus, Nicole Kidman, The Big Lebowski and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe chronicles of Downton Abbey / foreword, Julian Fellowes ; text, Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis ; photography, Joss Barratt, Nick Briggs and Giles Keyte.
“The Chronicles of Downton Abbey take you deep into the lives of the Crawleys, their servants, lovers, friends and guests. So wander the crowded servants’ quarters and peek into luxurious bed chambers. This lavish book explores the lives of every important member of the Downton estate. Focusing on each character individually, it examines their motivations, their actions and the inspirations behind them. An evocative source of story and background, it will take you even deeper into the secret, beating heart of the house.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cabin in the woods : the official visual companion / foreword by Drew Goddard ; afterword by Joss Whedon ; screenplay written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard ; interviews by Abbie Bernstein.
“This exclusive companion book to the Cabin in the Woods movie, directed by Joss Whedon, features an extended interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the full script, and over 150 photos and stunning pieces of production art. The details of the plot are a closely guarded secret, though Joss himself has described it as ‘a straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie’, adding, ‘it is not just a slasher in the woods. It’s a little more complicated than that…’” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe Big Lebowski : an illustrated, annotated history of the greatest cult film of all time / by Jenny M. Jones.
“This is the first comprehensive, highly illustrated analysis of the history, legacy, and cultural significance of the 1998 Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. Author Jenny Jones explores what it is that makes the film so raucous, quotable, memorable, and downright hilarious” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverNicole Kidman / Pam Cook.
“Nicole Kidman is a high-profile, successful exponent of contemporary commodity stardom, and a product of fundamental changes in the media industries over the last two decades. Pam Cook vividly brings to life her journey from Australian actress to global superstar, looking at her work in different contexts from film and television to fashion, commercials, philanthropy and the Internet. This absorbing case study unveils a star narrative as compelling as any that appears in her films.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComedy by the numbers : the 169 secrets of humor and popularity / [edited] by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren.
“Being funny is hard work: just ask Gary Rudoren and Eric Hoffman. Like many people, they once believed that comedy was simply a matter of coming up with “zingers” and “jokes.” But after countless hours of painstaking research, they’ve discovered that true creativity is derived from simple formulas and the memorization of data. Their groundbreaking new book makes the secrets of comedy accessible to all, not only to the naturally funny, but to those who lack the ability or talent to be funny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Popular Music

Our picks of the new music books this month are full of biographies – Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, Rihanna, Henry Mancini… We were also intrigued by The chitlin’ circuit and the road to rock ‘n’ roll, which gives great insight into 20th-century American pop music and is a must read. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe man who sold the world : David Bowie and the 1970s / Peter Doggett.
“Taking for his unabashed model Revolution in the Head, the late Ian MacDonald’s seminal work on the Beatles, Doggett’s meticulous song-by-song analysis of David Bowie’s “long decade” (1969-1980) is a captivating look at an artist who defined an era. Best read while listening to the Bowie songs in question – for appropriate ambience and because Doggett’s analysis gets technical when dissecting the chord structure of favorites such as “Changes” – Doggett’s nontraditional rock biography traces Bowie’s early life and career through the 1980 release of his Scary Monsters LP” (Publishers Weekly)

Syndetics book coverMercury : an intimate biography of Freddie Mercury / Lesley-Ann Jones.Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury
“As lead singer of the band Queen, Freddy Mercury was a pure showman, fusing opera, theater, pop, and rock. Jones presents a candid life story of this rare phenomenon and chronicles Queen’s ascendance to musical superstardom. Though it will appeal to more than just Queen obsessives, Jones’s band history proves to be the ultimate fan’s resource: she thoroughly documents the development of each album’s release, promotion, reviews, and infamous tours-including the background and production of their classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In this exhaustively enjoyable read, Jones combines her own detailed research with the brutal honesty of family and friends, media and music insiders, bandmates and bedmates.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverMick : the wild life and mad genius of Jagger / Christopher Andersen.
“For decades, Mick has jealously guarded his many shocking secrets—until now. As the Rolling Stones mark their 50th anniversary, journalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen tears the mask from rock’s most complex and enigmatic icon in a no-holds-barred biography as impossible to ignore as Jagger himself. Based on interviews with friends, family members, fellow music legends, and industry insiders—as well as wives and legions of lovers— MICK sheds new light on a man whose very name defines an era” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHere comes everybody / James Fearnley.
“October, 1984: Wham!, Culture Club and Status Quo dominate the top ten when The Pogues barrel out from the backstreets of Kings Cross, London, a furious, pioneering mix of punk energy, traditional melodies and the powerfully poetic song-writing of Shane MacGowan. Here, their story is told with beauty, lyricism and great candour by James Fearnley, founding member and accordion player. He brings to life the youthful friendships, the bust-ups, the amazing gigs, the terrible gigs, the fantastic highs and dramatic lows in a hugely compelling, humorous, moving and honest account of life in one of our most treasured and original bands.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRihanna : rebel flower / Chloe Govan. “Here is an in-depth look at the life of one of pop music’s hottest international stars. This book reveals the details of Rihanna’s unhappy childhood, her wild child past that earned her the nickname of Rebel Flower, and how she found it therapeutic after her parents’ troubled marriage to join the army. A fascinating story of her transformation from schoolgirl Robyn Fenty to one of the most successful R&B artists in the world. Explores her turbulent relationship with singer Chris Brown which resulted in a photograph of her battered face making headlines around the globe. Features exclusive interviews with Rihanna’s old schoolfriends, producers, songwriters, video directors, journalists and many more who witnessed her transformation over the years. A must-read for fans new and old.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverCosmic dancer : the life and music of Marc Bolan / Paul Roland.
“Marc Bolan was the biggest pop star in post-Beatles Britain and in 1972 the Beatles acknowledged Bolan and his group T.Rex as their natural successor. His singles outsold the combined sales of Jimi Hendrix and The Who. But just when Bolan was at the summit of his success it all went sour. This is the incredible story of Marc Bolan’s rollercoaster rise to fame and his resurrection as the selfstyled ‘Godfather of Punk’ that promised to put him back on top until the fatal accident in 1977 which cut short his life and hopes of a comeback – an accident mysteriously accurately predicted by Bolan himself.” (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverHenry Mancini : reinventing film music / John Caps.
“Henry Mancini (1924-94) brought film music from the background of the cinema to the foreground of popular culture. The music from the television series Peter Gunn and films including The Pink Panther and Hatari! became popular hits and permanent fixtures in the cultural Zeitgeist. Here, Caps, who hosted NPR’s The Cinema Soundtrack, tells the story of Mancini’s artistic development from big band arranger to Hollywood film score hit maker and beyond. Caps presents in-depth analysis of virtually each one of his scores. This critical biography will satisfy musically experienced readers as well as laypeople. It deserves a place in every film and popular music collection.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe chitlin’ circuit and the road to rock ‘n’ roll / Preston Lauterbach.
“Music journalist Lauterbach has written the definitive history of the musical back roads and back rooms of the southern United States, dubbed the Chitlin’ Circuit. From the 1920s through the 1960s, black musicians and their promoters used the clubs of the South to spread their music and eventually to sell records. Artists such as Walter Barnes, Louis Jordan, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Little Richard, and Al Green all worked the circuit in their time, bringing on the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll. A great read, well written and insightful. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the seedy history of American popular music.” (adapted from Library Journal summary)

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Classical Music

Cover ImageA lesson in love. (CD)
“English lyric soprano Kate Royal devised this stunning collection, which charts the journey of a young girl’s relationship: from the first kiss and thrill of a blossoming love and initial intimacy through to the joy of a love fulfilled, to the disappointment and anger when the relationship breaks down, and ends with the girl’s acceptance and a cheeky sense of optimism about what her future love life might hold. The result is a unique song cycle – a thematic journey through the highs and lows of love, of young naivety lost and emotional maturity gained. Royal leads us through her own personal choice of song, where her innate sense of drama and her passion for musical storytelling brings a fresh and youthful interpretation of the disc repertoire. A Lesson in Love contains a mixture of well-known songs as well as some surprising rarities, with a range of song styles and languages to appeal to a broad audience.” (adapted from amazon.com product description)

Cover imageSinfonie Nr. 1, c-Moll, Urfassung 1865/66 (Linzer Fassung) / Anton Bruckner. (CD)
“With Bruckner’s first four symphonies, Simone Young follows in the footsteps of Georg Tintner in trusting the original text. She has already recorded Sym. 2-4, so this new Sym. #1 completes the mission. In all these early symphonies Young has done well. She has a natural feeling for Bruckner’s long line and doesn’t lapse into episodic music-making even when the work itself tends to be disjointed. Young is so light and fresh in her approach to this formative work, which straddles the worlds of Schubert and mature Bruckner, that even when you recognize the primitive nature of the development sections, listening is pleasurable” (amazon.com review)

Cover imageBachCage (CD)
“A young musician and composer causing a stir, not only on the club scene, but also in classical concert venues is probably a world-first. Tristano’s idiosyncratic and very personal handling of his musical pioneers, Bach and Cage. Perhaps Tristano is one of the first representatives of a new generation of musicians who no longer belong to a specific school. This generation also takes advantage of the fact that practically the whole repertoire of all music ever recorded is available on the Internet. The most diverse kinds of music stand alongside each other, taken out of their typical context and available in some would say, a more democratic form. Tristano makes use of this, stamping his mark on the world of music and providing a fresh and unique sound, unlike anything that has been heard before.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Cover ImageIbérica (CD)
“The highly acclaimed French cellist Anne Gastinel collaborates with virtuoso Argentine guitarist Pablo Márquez in a delightful release exploring the passion and soul of Spanish music. The follow up to her successful Schubert Sonatas and Bach Suites albums sees Gastinel select the pieces and arrange them for cello. The recording includes Spanish Classical music standards by Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla and Gaspar Cassadó. Anne Gastinel records exclusively for Naïve, each new release is hailed by the international press and showered with awards. Achievements include: French Classical Music Awards ‘Most Promising Young Talent 94′ and ‘Best Recording of the Year’; ‘Fnac’ Prize 1995 and 2000; Prix de l’Académie du Disque; RTL Classique d’Or 1996 and 1998; the “Choc” du Monde de la Musique, Télérama (1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002). Pablo Márquez’s recordings for ECM New Series and Kairos have received numerous awards, including the Grand Prix du Disque de l’Acedémie Charles Cros, the Amadeus Prize. Personnel: Anne Gastinel (cello), Pablo Márquez (guitar)” (amazon.co.uk description)

New Zealand organ music (CD)
“This groundbreaking recording features organ music by some of New Zealand’s most talented composers recorded on a variety of significant instruments around Wellington, performed by Richard Apperley, Assistant Director of Music at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul. Apperley says ‘this disc is largely a response to the devastating effect of the Christchurch earthquakes on so many churches and organs in the city. Whilst we can do little to protect the organs of Wellington should we experience a similar tragedy, it seems prudent to make a permanent audio recording of some of our finest instruments. The music of New Zealand composers has long been a passion of mine, and I’m thrilled to be able present a disc of this nature.’ The organs include those at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, Sacred Heart Cathedral, St Peter’s Willis Street, St James’ Presbyterian Newtown, St Paul’s Lutheran Church and the National War Memorial. Of particular significance is the Norman and Beard instrument at St James’ Presbyterian church – the building is due to be demolished later this year due to earthquake risk.” (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Hikoi / Nunns & Dyne. Journey / Nunns, Dyke, Lisik. (CD)
“Two gorgeously textured and sonically stunning works featuring some of New Zealand’s finest jazz musicians and ethnomusicologists. The first work, Hikoi, is a group of improvised dialogues between Richard Nunns playing taonga puoro and Paul Dyne, head of jazz at Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music, on bass. The second work, Journey, which is based upon Hikoi’s improvisations and composed by Dave Lisik, is a work for taonga puoro, bass, piano, tenor sax and electronics. ” (adapted from CD liner notes)

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Music & Movies Newsletter for October

October’s Music & Movies leads with the first series of the excellent Homeland – a tense, political thriller of shifting allegiances and morally ambiguous characters, testing conventional notions of patriotism. The second season is currently showing on TV3, so it could be time for a marathon catch-up session. Luckily we’ve extended our box-set loan period, so you’ll have time for the washing too.

For the best of the rest on DVD, book and CD – scroll on.

DVDs

Some new DVDs to hit our shelves include the latest season of the Private Eye send-up ‘Bored To Death’; Daniel Radcliffe’s first post-Potter role; Lasse Hallström’s adaptation of Paul Torday’s novel, ‘Salmon Fishing in Yemen’; and Joss Whedon’s Marvel super-hero epic

Cover imageHomeland. The complete first season.
“Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a CIA Agent battling her own demons becomes convinced that the intelligence that led to the rescue of Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a US soldier who had been missing and presumed dead for eight years was a set-up, and may be connected to an al-Qaeda plot to be carried out on American soil. Already on thin ice with the CIA, and now assigned to a desk job after an incident in Iraq, Carrie is forced to break protocol in order to prove her theory that Brody was “turned” during his many years in captivity and is now working for al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, Brody receives a hero’s welcome at home, and attempts to reconnect with his family whom he hasn’t seen in eight years…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageBored to death. The complete second season.
“Bored to Death fuses the anxieties of literary life with a pastiche of detective stories in eight tidy episodes. Floundering writer Jonathan Ames (played by Jason Schwartzman and named after series creator and main writer Jonathan Ames) now not only has his sideline as an unlicensed private detective, but also starts teaching a creative writing class (and starts flirting with one of his students). His best friend, frustrated cartoonist Ray (Zach Galifianakis), has a burst of self-esteem when his self-published comic book (about a well-endowed superhero named after himself) grows bizarrely popular, leading him to think he might be able to get back together with his ex (Heather Burns, Miss Congeniality). But this season really takes off when Jonathan’s mentor, magazine editor George (Ted Danson), gets diagnosed with prostate cancer. Somehow, this heavy topic gives the show just the hint of gravity it needs to maintain its balance, and gives Danson the opportunity to take his marvelous portrait of pot-smoking self-absorption in new and delightful directions..” (From Amazon.com)

Cover imageThe Fades. Series one.
“A teenage boy named Paul is haunted by apocalyptic dreams that nobody can explain. As if that weren’t terrifying enough, he begins to see spirits of the dead, known as The Fades, all around him. The Fades can’t be seen, smelt, heard or touched by other humans. When an embittered and vengeful Fade, Polus, finds a way to be human again, it’s up to Paul to stop him – and all of the dead – from breaking back into the world and destroying the human race…” (Syndetics summary)

Cover imageSalmon fishing in The Yemen.
“Lasse Hallström’s breezy adaptation of Paul Torday’s satiric novel, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, features dedicated anglers and arid Middle Eastern vistas, but it’s a screwball comedy at heart (with Morocco standing in for Yemen). Bridget (Kristin Scott Thomas), the prime minister’s steamroller of a press secretary, sets the story in motion when she reads about a fabulously wealthy sheik (Amr Waked) who longs to bring fly-fishing to the desert. She believes that cooperation with his country would be good for Britain’s image, while the sheik has more altruistic goals in mind. This leads her to mild-mannered fisheries expert Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor, effectively cast against type), who feels certain the endeavor is pure fantasy until hyper-efficient Harriet (Emily Blunt), the sheik’s land agent, brings him some surprising data about the region. Though Fred’s marriage has been running on fumes, Harriet has been seeing a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Initially, the two are all business as they devise a plan involving a system of dams, but their feelings for each other gradually rise to the surface…” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Cover imageThe best exotic Marigold Hotel.
“Some of the finest actors in England lend their formidable talents to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a charming fish-out-of-water yarn. The Brits, who include Evelyn (Judi Dench), Muriel (Maggie Smith), Douglas (Bill Nighy), and Graham (Tom Wilkinson), are planning retirement in a less expensive country. After “thorough research on the Internet,” the group chooses what looks to be a grand, peaceful retreat, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It turns out that the bloom is off this marigold–it’s shabby, antiquated, and as chaotic as the city in India, Jaipur, where it is set. Who can adapt to this very different retirement experience, and who founders? That question lies at the heart of the plot of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The cast is uniformly superb, as the retirees bond and bicker and fall out and then try to encourage one another. And Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) shines as Sonny, the barely-holding-it-together Marigold Hotel manager…At its heart, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, deftly directed by John Madden, is an uplifting journey, allowing the viewer to feel what the retirees are discovering on the screen…” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Cover imageThe woman in black.
“Fans of classically structured haunted house/ghost stories will relish the skillfully unnerving chain of events in The Woman in Black, whether or not they’re fans of Harry Potter. The good new is that Daniel Radcliffe leaves Harry behind for good in his first post-Potter role. Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor tasked with resolving the affairs of a recently deceased woman and her brooding estate in the gloom of the remote Victorian England-era village of Crythin Gifford. The mood is melancholic all around, starting with Kipps himself, who lost his wife to childbirth a few years earlier. His employer has had just about enough of his moping about and gives him the assignment as a last resort to save his job. When he arrives in the small village, the icy response he receives does not bode well for successful completion of his mission. All the townspeople want him gone, and possibly for good reason. Many of their children have died mysteriously gruesome deaths that they blame on the titular black-clad woman whose own child was tragically sucked to his death in the muck surrounding her seaside mansion. This new stranger who wants to unearth the deadly secrets trapped in the decrepit old house is a threat they cannot abide, and sure enough the deaths keep on coming as he delves deeper into the dark recesses of the house and the history of its ghostly occupant…” (From Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe duel.
“In Anton Chekhov’s The Duel, escalating animosity between two men with opposing philosophies of life is played out against the backdrop of a decaying seaside resort along the Black Sea coast. Laevsky is a dissaipated romantic given to gambling and flirtation. He has run off to the sea with the beautiful, emotionally empty, Nadya, another man’s wife. Laevsky has now grown tired of her, but two obstacles block his route to escape: he is broke, and he faces the absolute enmity of Von Koren, an arrogant zoologist and former friend who can no longer tolerate Laevsky’s irresponsibility. Soon Laevsky confronts Von Koren, accusing him of meddling in his affairs, but Von Koren maneuvers a criticism Lavesky makes of their mutual friend. Dr. Samoylenko, into a challenge to a duel. Utterly discombobulated and honor bound, Lavesky agrees to this absurdity-a duel it shall be! A duel as comically inadvertent as it is inevitable…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageA dangerous method.
“With a lucid analyst’s eye, director David Cronenberg turns his steady gaze toward a trio of brilliant people in the early, and somehow defining, years of the 20th century. In Zurich, a young psychoanalyst named Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes on an intellectually gifted but deeply neurotic young woman, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), as a patient. Through the course of a lengthy analysis, their relationship takes a turn for intimacy, despite professional policy against such encounters. Meanwhile, Jung is entwined in another important relationship, with psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), whose enthusiasm about Jung being the golden boy of the science will eventually dim. What’s bracing in Cronenberg’s keen reading of this situation, based on Christopher Hampton’s script, is that no aspect of this situation is more important than any other; the sexual tumbling between Jung and Spielrein might provide a few hotsy moments, but the careful lines traced between Freud’s pragmatic wisdom and Jung’s idealistic ventures into the mystic are equally significant…” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Cover imageThe avengers.
“Blasphemy? Perhaps. But the best thing about what may be the most rousing and well-crafted superhero movie since The Dark Knight is not the boffo action scenes that culminate in a New York City-destroying finale that rivals Michael Bay’s obliteration of the Chicago skyline in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. No, the real appeal of The Avengers comes from the quiet moments among a group of decidedly unquiet humans, extra-humans, mutants, and demigods. In no particular order those are Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), S.H.I.E.L.D. world-government commander Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and indispensable functionary Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). That’s a superstar lineup both in and out of character, and The Avengers brilliantly integrates the cast of ensemble egos into a story that snaps and crackles–not to mention smashes, trashes, and destroys–at breakneck pace, never sacrificing visual dazzle or hard-earned story dynamics…Yet it’s the deeply personal conversations and confrontations among the very reluctant team of Avengers that makes the movie pop. Full of humor, snappy dialogue, and little asides that include inside jokes, eye rolls, and personal grudge matches, the script makes these superhumans real beings with sincere passion or feelings of disillusionment…That spirit of fun and pure adventure makes The Avengers the greatest kind of escapist Hollywood fantasy $250 million can buy. A blockbuster in the most literal sense…(Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageSam Hunt: purple balloon and other stories : a film about Sam Hunt.
For forty years Sam Hunt has been a force in New Zealand poetry and culture. He is a storyteller who has spent his life struggling with his, often very public, demons. In that journey he has gone from outcast to icon, he has crossed paths with outlaws, Prime Ministers, literary and artistic giants and the public. This doucmentary explores how Sam reflects the New Zealand landscape – literary and physical. The film examines what has made him a great poet and an enigma. Sam is undoubtedly our best known poet, by far the best exponent of performance poetry and one of the most recognisable Kiwis alive today. In the words of the later Peter Smart: “Sam Hunt is important to us because he is that extraordinary, rare person – someone who is prepared to illustrate with his life the value of poetry and the making of poems…” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverVertigo / Charles Barr.
“Vertigo (1958) is widely regarded as not only one of Hitchcock’s best films, but one of the greatest films of world cinema. Made at the time when the old studio system was breaking up, it functions both as an embodiment of the supremely seductive visual pleasures that ‘classical Hollywood’ could offer and – with the help of an elaborate plot twist – as a laying bare of their dangerous dark side. Although it can be seen as Hitchcock’s most personal film, Charles Barr argues that, like Citizen Kane, Vertigo is at the same time a triumph not so much of individual authorship as of creative collaboration. He highlights the crucial role of screenwriters Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor and, by a combination of textual and contextual analysis, explores the reasons why Vertigo continues to inspire such fascination.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverCitizen Kane / Laura Mulvey.
“Mulvey provides an accessible account of previous scholarship on the 1941 Orson Welles classic, as well as a psychoanalytic reading of the film that sees Kane as “suspended between a pre-Oedipal love for his mother and rivalry with his father and the post-Oedipal world in which he should take his place.” She explores Welles’s anti-fascist politics in terms of the film’s implicit critique of conservative media magnate William Randolph Hearst. The book concludes with a scene-by-scene analysis of the film’s narrative and dramatic structure.” (adapted from CHOICE summary)

Syndetics book coverMetropolis / Thomas Elsaesser.
“Metropolis is a monumental work. On its release in 1925, after sixteen months’ filming, it was Germany’s most expensive feature film, a canvas for director Fritz Lang’s increasingly extravagant ambitions. Lang, inspired by the skyline of New York, created a whole new vision of cities. One of the greatest works of science fiction, the film also tells human stories about love and family. Thomas Elsaesser explores the cultural phenomenon of Metropolis: its different versions (there is no definitive one), its changing meanings, and its role as a database of twentieth-century imagery and ideologies.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

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Popular Music

Popular music books selection for this month includes three new books on Rolling Stones, Nick Drake’s biography that is available in English for the first time, unique insight of Pacific Islands’ music, and a fantastic collection of Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics. Also, a psychologist’s perspective on how your playlist affects your life is a must read.

Syndetics book coverThe true adventures of the Rolling Stones / Stanley Booth ; introduction by Greil Marcus.
“Sounding like one instrument, a wild whirling bagpipe, the Stones chugged to a halt. But the crowd didn’t stop, we could see Hells Angels spinning like madmen, swinging at people.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Rolling Stones : fifty years / Christopher Sandford.
“This is the definitive story of the most controversial and longest surviving bank in music history.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlood, sweat & beers : Oz rock from the Aztecs to Rose Tattoo / Murray Engleheart.
“It all began in the late 1960s when Lobby Loyde was blowing up amplifiers on such a regular basis that equipment had to be specially constructed. King of the Sunbury festivals, former child star Billy Thorpe then took massive amplification to another level, making history along the way when his band the Aztecs pulled as many as 300,000 people to the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPink moon : a story about Nick Drake / Gorm Henrik Rasmussen ; translated by Bent Sørensen. “Originally written in Danish in 1980, Pink Moon was the first biography of Nick Drake, and remains the only one to include exclusive interviews with the singer’s parents, Rodney and Molly Drake. In this new, significantly updated edition, available in English for the first time, author and poet Gorm Henrik Rasmussen reveals more from his visits to the Drakes in their home Far Leys – the first, just five years after the death of their troubled son. A Story about Nick Drake is a personal, original, and moving retelling of the life, death, and posthumous rise of a poet and guitarist who was strangely unsuited for his own time, and is more popular now than he ever was in life.”(adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverMother, brother, lover : selected lyrics / Jarvis Cocker. “Jarvis Cocker is widely regarded as one of the most original and memorable lyricists and performers of the last three decades. Here, for the first time, is a selection of sixty-six lyrics, presented with commentary and an introduction by the man himself. In this volume, readers (and Pulp fans) will find such classic Jarvis lyrics as “Common People”, “Disco 2000″, “Babies”, “This is Hardcore” and “Do You Remember the First Time?” The selection, assembled by the author, reveals a sensibility that is unmistakably Jarvis: a sometimes visceral, sometimes everyday take on love, relationships and the things we do to each other when the lights get low. It is a beautiful collection of lyrics and commentary.” (adapted from amazon.com sumarry)

Syndetics book coverAdele : the biography / Marc Shapiro.Adele: The Biography
“Over the past year, Adele has taken the country by storm, sweeping the 2012 Grammy Awards and taking home six titles, including one for Album of the Year. The British singer-songwriter has been smashing records ever since her 2008 appearance on Saturday Night Live and her 2009 Grammy for Best New Artist. The success of her second album, 21, made her the first living artist since the Beatles to have two top-five hits in both the UK singles and albums charts. The album hit the #1 spot in 18 different countries. This one-of-a-kind book will provide answers to fans’ burning questions. A must-read for every Adele fan.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverNo regrets : a rock ‘n’ roll memoir / Ace Frehley with Joe Layden & John Ostrosky.No Regrets “Bronx, NY, native Frehley wanted to play guitar for a living, and he got his wish in 1972 when, responding to a Village Voice ad, he met Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley. After a slow start, their band, Kiss, exploded and became a brand that appealed to millions of kids and adults. However, Frehley found rock ‘n’ roll stardom inseparable from sex, drugs, brushes with the law, and near-death experiences. Unhappy with the band’s direction and concerned for his well-being, he quit Kiss in the early 1980s. The following years brought him more close calls, a solo career, and a Kiss reunion (and another breakup). Now five years sober, he continues to record and perform for his loyal fans.”(adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverMusic in Pacific Island cultures : experiencing music, expressing culture / Brian Diettrich, Jane Freeman Moulin, Michael Webb. “The islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia are steeped in diverse musical traditions that reach far beyond the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Music in Pacific Island Cultures is the first brief, single-volume text to provide a thematic, succinct introduction to the music of the Pacific Islands–a region of the world that has long been underrepresented in ethnomusicological studies. Based on the authors’ extensive fieldwork and experiences in Pacific Island cultures, the text draws on interviews with performers, eyewitness accounts of performances, vivid illustrations, and insights gained from ongoing participation in Pacific music.” (adapted from Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverYour playlist can change your life : 10 proven ways your favorite music can revolutionize your health, memory, organization, alertness, and more / Galina Mindlin, Don DuRousseau, Joseph Cardillo.Your Playlist Can Change Your Life “This distinctive book comes from the coordinated efforts of Mindlin (psychiatry, Columbia Univ.), Don DuRousseau (executive director, PEAK Neurotraining Solutions), and Joseph Cardillo (Be Like Water: Practical Wisdom from the Martial Arts), who propose that readers can use music to relieve anxiety, increase alertness, feel happier, and sharpen memory. The process involves picking songs you like, taking note of how the songs work, and then using them to create a particular mood or spirit. The authors provide numerous exercises, personal examples, and sample play-lists for specific moods (e.g., getting rid of the blahs, relaxing before tests, and revving up lunch breaks). This title lends a psychologist’s perspective to a common behavior-well worth the purchase.” (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverMorrissey & Marr : the severed alliance / by Johnny Rogan.
“Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance is among the most successful – and controversial – rock biographies ever published. Having denounced the book and called for the death of its author Johnny Rogan, Morrissey later did a U-turn and cited it as evidence in the royalty-related court case brought by Smiths drummer Mike Joyce. Now, 20 years after it was first published, Rogan has returned to his definitive Smiths biography to produce a completely revised edition based on new information and new interviews to add to the almost 100 initially conducted over a four-year period.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

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Classical Music

Syndetics book coverMusic as alchemy / Tom Service.
“An immensely fun and engaging study of the art of orchestral conducting. How are conductors’ silent gestures magicked into sound by a group of more than a hundred brilliant but belligerent musicians? Orchestras can be inspired to the heights of musical and expressive possibility by their maestros, or flabbergasted that someone who doesn’t even make a sound should be elevated to demigod-like status by the public. This is the first book to go inside the rehearsal rooms of some of the most inspirational orchestral partnerships in the world. It’s the first to see how Simon Rattle works with his musicians at the Berlin Philharmonic, how Mariss Jansons deals with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and how Claudio Abbado creates the world’s most luxurious pick-up band every year with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. From London to Budapest, Bamberg to Vienna, great orchestral concerts are recreated as a collection of countless human and musical stories. The book reveals how the catalysts of place, time, and personal history are alchemised into the indelible magic of life-changing performances”. – (Adapted from amazon.com ’s book description.)

Syndetics book coverPiano forte : stories and soundscapes from colonial New Zealand / Kirstine Moffat.
“In 1827 the newly wed Elizabeth Mair arrived in Paihia, on board the mission schooner Herald.Her treasured Broadwood grand square piano accompanied her, almost certainly the first piano to arrive in New Zealand. This instrument and the thousands of other pianos that followed provided European settlers with a reassuring sense of ‘home’ and at the same time introduced Maori to a new sound world…Piano forte … draws on memoirs, diaries, letters, concert programmes, company records, fiction and visual images. The stories end in 1930 when the increasing popularity of the phonograph, the radio and the introduction of the talkie movies were beginning to have a profound impact on people’s leisure activities” – (from cover summary)

Cover ImageSymphonies nos. 2 and 3 [sound recording] / Ross Harris.
“The stunning voice of New Zealand’s Madeleine Pierard shines in the first of these two Ross Harris works. Described as “often beautiful and sometimes frightening” (NZ Listener), Ross Harris’s Symphony No. 2 is a setting of poems on the subject of New Zealand soldiers shot for desertion in World War One. Writer Vincent O’Sullivan’s deeply felt descriptions of violence, love and tragedy are reflected in a moving and dramatic score. Symphony No. 3 is inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall, and develops and transforms klezmer-like tunes as its basic material. These symphonies were composed for the Auckland Philharmonia, and both won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award”- (from CD’s liner notes)

Syndetics book coverVerdi and/or Wagner : two men, two worlds, two centuries / Peter Conrad
“This is the first book to compare these two composers and cultural heroes, both of whom were born in 1813 and achieved huge national and international renown in their lifetimes. Yet not only did they never meet, but the differences between them—in music, culture, environment, significance, and legacy—were profound.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Image courtesy of AmazonDream with me / Jackie Evancho
“Produced by David Foster, Jackie Evancho’s Dream With Me fulfills the promise of O Holy Night, Jackie’s major label debut, a seasonal collection which became 2010’s #1 best-selling debut recording with sales exceeding 1 million units. Dream with Me features a repertoire of classical arias and pop classics handpicked to suit Jackie’s angelic voice. Her range is so great that she ably shifts from the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon A Star” to Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.” Other highlights include two extraordinary superstar duets showcasing the young vocalist performing with music legend Barbra Streisand and international phenomenon Susan Boyle.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Image courtesy of AmazonDie Walküre [sound recording] / Wagner
“… The recording’s additional dimension is that the music leaps out from the speakers and into your mind’s eye making Wagner’s mythological world of the Valkyrie into something quite tangible. I had goose bumps from the start to the finish, while listening to the recording, especially ends of act 1 and 2. The rapturous applause at the end of each act and at the conclusion of the opera, says it all. People (including myself) were giving standing ovations all around and all levels of the wonderful concert hall, at the end of each of the 3 sections.” – (adapted from Amazon.com review)

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Music & Movies eNewsletter for September

We’ve had such a great run of weather leading up to Spring, you could be forgiven for having neglected the DVD player and its indoor friends. Thankfully, September’s Music & Movies eNewsletter coincides with it all turning to custard again. Highlights include novel adaptions We need to talk about Kevin and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; A complete guide to special effects makeup – Halloween forward-planners take note – and all you need to know about philosophy through the lens of The Big Lebowski. “The Dude abides…”

Library News

DVDs

Cover imageWe need to talk about Kevin.
“A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin explores the fractious relationship between a mother and her evil son. Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, We Need To Talk About Kevin explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva’s own culpability is measured against Kevin’s innate evilness. Ramsay’s masterful storytelling simultaneously combines a provocative moral ambiguity with a satisfying and compelling narrative, which builds to a chilling, unforgettable climax.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover imageLike crazy.
“Like Crazy beautifully illustrates how your first real love is as thrilling and blissful as it is fragile. When a British college student falls for her American classmate, they embark on a passionate and life-changing journey–only to be separated by circumstances beyond their control. … Like Crazy explores how a couple faces the real challenges of being together and of being apart.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

MyLibDVDs7Weekend.
“This sensual, remarkably observed, beautifully acted wonder is the breakout feature from British writer-director-editor Andrew Haigh (Greek Pete). Rarely has a film been as honest about sexuality—in both depiction and discussion—as this tale of a one-night-stand that develops into a weekend-long idyll for two very different young men (exciting newcomers Tom Cullen and Chris New) in Midlands England. It’s an emotionally naked film that’s both an invaluable snapshot of the complexities of contemporary gay living and a universally identifiable portrait of a love affair.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover imageIn treatment. The complete first season.
“Adapted from a popular and award-winning Israeli series…each episode eavesdrops on a weekly therapist-patient session. “The magic happens”—as one observer sarcastically remarks—in the home office of Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne in his Golden Globe Award-winning role). Monday’s patient is Laura (Melissa George), a doctor who reveals in a harrowing “about last night” monologue in the first episode that she is in love with Paul (”You’ve become the center of my life”). Tuesdays bring Alex (Blair Underwood), a cocky fighter pilot whose last mission over Iraq went horrifyingly awry, earning him the media tag, “The Madrassa Murderer.” Wednesday’s child, Sophie (Mia Wasikowska in a breakout performance) is a teenage Olympic hopeful in need of an evaluation following a near-fatal bicycle “accident.” On Thursdays, Paul meets with Amy (Embeth Davidtz) and Jake (Josh Charles), whose rocky marriage is further shaken as they wrestle over whether or not she should get an abortion. Fearing he is “losing patience with my patients,” Paul turns to his former mentor, Gina (Dianne Wiest in an Emmy-winning performance), with whom he had a falling out years before, to talk out his own troubles. The therapist whose own personal life is unraveling could have either been bad sitcom or static and stagey talking heads. But with its insightful writing, powerful performances, and deft, unobtrusive direction, In Treatment avoids the pitfalls to become an intensely gripping drama.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover imageExtremely loud & incredibly close.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close touches the viewer to the very core. In the way that Titanic and The Sweet Hereafter depicted tragedy by pulling back at the pivotal moment, only increasing the heartache portrayed, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close shows the massive losses experienced in New York on September 11, 2001, through the lens of one young boy. Thomas Horn plays Oskar, a boy devoted to his dad (played by Tom Hanks, in flashbacks), who is lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The devastation of that day shudders through Oskar’s family, including his mother, Linda (Sandra Bullock, in a subdued and affecting turn). Young Oskar is lost in the broken new world, but suddenly finds a purpose: a key left by his father. As Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close progresses, Oskar focuses on the key as a way to connect to his lost father–but finds, instead, connections in the unlikeliest of places…Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling novel, which was able to depict a bit more wry humor to leaven the heartbreak and history lessons, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close nonetheless faces human tragedy straight on, and shows how a broken family can be rebuilt, one small key, one subway ride, one awkward hug at a time.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover imageFootnote.
“Though it’s packed with subtextual meaning on any number of levels, the title of this Israeli import and 2011 foreign language Oscar nominee is also a reference to the only claim to fame of Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba). The cranky, crotchety, and exceptionally old-fashioned professor of Talmudic studies at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University has all but perished after not having published despite his relentless examination of obscure texts as a fanatical philologist… Yet he clings to his old-school approach to intellectual investigation with greater gusto as his final years tick by. His rival in scholarly pursuit is his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi), an equally serious man who also teaches at the university, but whose flashy, more populous approach to Talmudic study has earned him wide acclaim….When a mix-up occurs over which Shkolnik is to be awarded a prestigious academic prize, father and son exchange more cerebral bites, provoking barks of laughter from the audience as the mistake complicates itself so unpredictably. Writer-director Joseph Cedar navigates the sea of intellectual and family discord with a genuinely droll touch that’s as smart and stinging as it is funny…Footnote is a satire of intellect and domestic friction that cuts deep with dramatic tension and the insight of its often magical realist sense of high farce.” – (adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe decoy bride.
“David Tennant, Kelly MacDonald and Alice Eve star in this romantic comedy set in rural Scotland. When Katie (MacDonald) is jilted at the altar, she returns broken-hearted to her remote Scottish island home. But little does she know that Hollwood superstar Lara Tyler (Eve) has chosen the island as the secret venue for her wedding to her fiance James (Tennant). When the paparazzi gets wind of the location, Lara runs away in exasperation. Her management team decides to stage a fake wedding, hoping the paparazzi will fall for the deception and leave the island, and Katie is asked to don a white dress and walk down the aisle as a ‘decoy’ for the absent Lara. However, the path of true love is further complicated when attraction begins to grow between James and his decoy bride.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Cover imageThe big year.
“Never get between a birder and a Pink-footed Goose. As we learn from The Big Year, the intensity of birders (the term birdwatcher is dismissed here as insufficiently committed) is not to be taken lightly, and their quest of rare species creates the gentle comedy of this film, which is based on a real phenomenon. In the world of birders, there’s a goal set each calendar year, and based on the honor system: who can spot the most varieties of our feathered friends? All-time champ Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) is a legendary name in the birding game, and this year he’s trying to beat his own record–but retired CEO Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) and slovenly upstart Brad Harris (Jack Black) are determined to topple the colorful and ruthless Bostick from his, er, perch. The movie’s at its best when charting the movements of these obsessed enthusiasts in the wild, as they scramble from Alaska to Arizona to New Jersey in pursuit of their goal; it’s less successful at trying to create human interest in the home lives of these guys.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover imageWoody Allen: a documentary.
“Beginning with Allen s childhood, ‘Woody Allen; A Documentary’ chronicles the trajectory and longevity of Allen s career, from his work as a TV scribe, standup comedian and frequent TV talk show guest, to a writer-director averaging one film-per-year for more than 40 years. Director Weide covers Allen s earliest film work in Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Sleeper, and Love and Death; frequent Oscar® favorites such as Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands & Wives, Bullets Over Broadway, and Mighty Aphrodite; and his recent globetrotting phase with Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the recent success Midnight in Paris. Features interviews with: actors Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Penelope Cruz, John Cusack, Larry David, Mariel Hemingway, Scarlett Johansson, Julie Kavner, Diane Keaton, Martin Landau, Louise Lasser, Sean Penn, Tony Roberts, Chris Rock, Mira Sorvino, Naomi Watts, Dianne Wiest and Owen Wilson.” – (adapted from
Amazon.com summary)

Film Books

Syndetics book coverConversations at the American Film Institute with the great moviemakers : the next generation / [edited and with an introduction by] George Stevens, Jr.
“Collects American Film Institute conversations with filmmakers from the 1950s to today, including Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron, and George Lucas.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA complete guide to special effects makeup / [by Tokyo SFX Makeup Workshop ; editor, Yuko Sasaki].
“Acclaimed as the best book ever published on the subject, A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup covers everything from basic facial makeup styles, simple scars and gashes, to masks, molds and cast-making; everything you need to know to create vampires, zombies and other fantastical characters. With clear step by step instructions and hundreds of color photos, it includes stunning conceptual pieces from many of the contributing artists and a section on manga/cosplay hair and makeup. Bound to thrill anyone interested in creating realistic and unique makeup effects!” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverThe slasher movie book / J.A. Kerswell.
“The slasher movie is the most reviled but successful of horror’s subgenres. Taking its cue from Hitchcock, grind-house movies, and the gory Italian giallo thrillers of the 1970s, slasher movies brought a new high in cinematic violence and suspense to mainstream cinema. The Slasher Movie Book details the subgenre’s surprising beginnings, revels in its g(l)ory days, and discusses its recent resurgence. Packed with reviews of the best (and worst) slasher movies and illustrated with an extensive collection of distinctive and often graphic color poster artwork from around the world.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHorror cinema / Jonathan Penner, Steven Jay Schneider, Paul Duncan (ed.).
“Horror is both the most perennially popular and geographically diverse of all film genres; arguably, every country that makes movies makes horror movies of one kind or another. Depicting deep-rooted, even archetypal fears, while at the same time exploiting socially and culturally specific anxieties, cinematic horror is at once timeless and utterly of its time and place. This exciting visual history, which includes unique images from the David Del Valle archive, examines the genre in thematic, historical, and aesthetic terms.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverAuthorship and the films of David Lynch : aesthetic receptions in contemporary Hollywood / Antony Todd.
“This important new contribution to studies on authorship and film explores the ways in which shared and disputed opinions on aesthetic quality, originality, and authorial essence have shaped receptions of Lynch’s films. It is also the first book to approach David Lynch as a figure composed through language, history, and text. Tracing the development of Lynch’s career from cult obscurity with Eraserhead, to star auteur through the release of Blue Velvet, and TV phenomenon Twin Peaks, Antony Todd examines how his idiosyncratic style introduced the term “Lynchian” to the colloquial speech of new Hollywood and helped establish Lynch as the leading light among contemporary American auteurs.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Big Lebowski and philosophy : keeping your mind limber with abiding wisdom / edited by Peter S. Fosl.
“Explores many of The Big Lebowski’s key themes, such as nihilism, war and politics, money and materialism, idealism and morality, history, and more. Gives you new perspective on the movie’s characters–the Dude, the Big Lebowski, Walter Sobchak, Donny, Maude Lebowski, Bunny Lebowski, and others. Helps you appreciate the Coen Brothers classic even more with the insights of Aristotle, Epicurus, Kant, Derrida, and other philosophical heavyweights.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

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Popular Music

It’s all about the big stars in this month’s popular music picks. Biographies on the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, Arethra Franklin, Carole King, Pink Floyd and more …

Syndetics book coverBruce Springsteen and the promise of rock ‘n’ roll / Marc Dolan.
“Dolan is a believer in Springsteen’s metaphysical heft, and he more than adequately explores all aspects of same in this exhaustive chronicle of all things Bruce. The book’s tone is mythic, and the sweep of the accolades recounted and pronouncements made about Springsteen’s oeuvre are carefully detailed and documented. In short, this is not a book for casual fans, tough it is probably indispensable for devotees. Fortunately, it’s also readable and engrossing.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverTreasures of The Who / Chris Welch.
“Treasures of the Who takes you on the journey with the band as they conquered the world: from small London clubs to Madison Square Garden, from seven-inch vinyl releases to multimillion-selling albums, all the way to recognition as global rock gods. The text has been researched and written by Chris Welch, the legendary English journalist who was close to the band, and it is accompanied by images from many of the best contemporary photographers. There are also removable facsimiles of stunning, super-rare memorabilia from one of the biggest collections around. It adds up ta a unique experience: the story of the Who in your hands.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverLove is the cure : on life, loss and the end of AIDS / Elton John.
“The very personal story of Sir Elton’s life during the AIDS epidemic, including his agony at seeing friends perish needlessly. Through his stories of close encounters with people like Ryan White, Freddie Mercury, and many others, he will convey the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life – and his infinite determination to stop its spread.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPink Floyd / edited by Marcus Hearn.
“Featuring over 150 iconic, rare and previously unpublished images of Pink Floyd, this book captures the legendary rock group at every stage of their epic career. From some of their first photo sessions in 1967 to their triumphant reunion at Live 8, this book is a unique chronicle of five enigmatic musicians, and their journey from experimental psychedelia to stadium pageantry.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverMorrissey & Marr : the severed alliance / by Johnny Rogan.
“Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance is among the most successful – and controversial – rock biographies ever published. Having denounced the book and called for the death of its author Johnny Rogan, Morrissey later did a U-turn and cited it as evidence in the royalty-related court case brought by Smiths drummer Mike Joyce. Now, 20 years after it was first published, Rogan has returned to his definitive Smiths biography to produce a completely revised edition based on new information and new interviews to add to the almost 100 initially conducted over a four-year period.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverThe very best of Adele for ukulele / [edited by Adrian Hopkins].
“14 of Adele’s best known songs arranged for Ukulele drawn from both of her massively successful albums 19 and 21 . This exclusive songbook includes chord symbols ukulele chord boxes and complete lyrics for each song. Includes: Chasing Pavements * Crazy for You * He Won’t Go * Lovesong * Many Shades of Black * Rolling in the Deep * Set Fire to the Rain *Â Someone like You * and more.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHeavy metal : from hard rock to extreme metal / [text by Kory Grow ; foreword by Slayer’s Kerry King].
“With its loud, aggressive rhythms; slashing guitar solos, and often-disturbing themes, metal is mesmerizing: it cuts to the bone and takes rock right to the edge. Heavy Metal takes readers on an in-depth musical journey through this testosterone-fueled style, including its origins, development, and subgenres, such as thrash, doom, death, and gothic metal. With exclusive pictures and commentary, it analyzes such groundbreaking bands as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer through their sounds, lyrics, themes, and trend-setting actions.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWill Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy / edited by Alan Licht.
“A collection of conversations between Licht and Will Oldham, aka musician Bonnie Prince Billy, about his 2 personas and his life in music and film. Presenting conversations with longtime friend and associate, the author probes his highly individualistic approach to music making and the music industry, one that cherishes notions of intimacy, community, mystery, and spontaneity.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

These Classical music picks highlight one-act operas, some young singing talent, and some Kiwi singing talent. Plenty to read and listen to this month!

Syndetics book coverVerdi and/or Wagner : two men, two worlds, two centuries / Peter Conrad
“This is the first book to compare these two composers and cultural heroes, both of whom were born in 1813 and achieved huge national and international renown in their lifetimes. Yet not only did they never meet, but the differences between them—in music, culture, environment, significance, and legacy—were profound.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverI heard you singing : my life with Ramon Opie / Corinne Bridge-Opie ; foreword by Donald Munro
“I Heard You Singing is the story of two New Zealand singers, Corinne Bridge and Ramon Opie, and their efforts to forge professional careers in a country which generally respects its sports stars far more than anyone in the arts…” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

Image courtesy of AmazonDream with me / Jackie Evancho
“Produced by David Foster, Jackie Evancho’s Dream With Me fulfills the promise of O Holy Night, Jackie’s major label debut, a seasonal collection which became 2010’s #1 best-selling debut recording with sales exceeding 1 million units. Dream with Me features a repertoire of classical arias and pop classics handpicked to suit Jackie’s angelic voice. Her range is so great that she ably shifts from the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon A Star” to Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.” Other highlights include two extraordinary superstar duets showcasing the young vocalist performing with music legend Barbra Streisand and international phenomenon Susan Boyle.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Image courtesy of AmazonDie Walküre [sound recording] / Wagner
“… The recording’s additional dimension is that the music leaps out from the speakers and into your mind’s eye making Wagner’s mythological world of the Valkyrie into something quite tangible. I had goose bumps from the start to the finish, while listening to the recording, especially ends of act 1 and 2. The rapturous applause at the end of each act and at the conclusion of the opera, says it all. People (including myself) were giving standing ovations all around and all levels of the wonderful concert hall, at the end of each of the 3 sections.” – (adapted from Amazon.com review)

Image courtesy of Amazon11 Kurzopern [sound recording] : the original Electrola one-act operas
“When great masters compose miniature operas, the result is well, masterly. Mozart, Weber, Schubert, Medelssohn, Gluck, Lortzing and D Albert: on-act operas from these famous pens are true gems of music history and of the EMI archives. The Electrola recordings of these 11 short operas (mostly in Singspiel form) were made in the 1970 s, but thanks to their all-star casts, which are nothing short of legendary, they seem as fresh as ever. Now EMI is releasing them in a complete edition for the first time.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover ImageApparent distance / Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet
“A truly transcendent recording, “Apparent Distance is a four-part suite, commissioned through a 2010 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In the liner notes, Bynum writes My goal is not just to blur the lines between composition and improvisation (a long-time pursuit), but to try to upend the listeners expectations in other ways: circular melodies without beginnings or ends, disguised unisons and non-repetitive vamps, transitions that are simultaneously jarring and organic. Most importantly, I want to spotlight the striking individuality and virtuosity of all the players, albeit in a context where the needs of the ensemble reign supreme a concerto for sextet, if you will. Since the composition s premiere in August 2010, the sextet has performed the work on tour and at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival (Austria), the Banlieues Bleues Festival (France), and the Crosscurrents Festival (New York). Jim Macnie of the Village Voice writes ‘Whether they’re lines that swirl upward, chasing their own tail, or lines that spill downward, like a Slinky on a staircase, the elemental motifs of the cornetist/composer’s pieces are full of springy kinetics. But they re more than mere nu-jazz puzzles. Bynum wrings emotion from his crew. His use of texture and trajectory has to do with his appreciation of passion.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

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Music and Movies Newsletter for August

The NZ International Film Festival is here again and not to be outdone, we’ve put together a few choice films for your consideration. All this, plus our picks for the best new music biographies and classical releases.

Speaking of music, be sure to check out our online streaming collections from Naxos and Alexander Music Online. Featuring thousands of classical, jazz and world music albums you’ll never want for sophisticated sound again. The next best thing? You won’t pay a cent.

Do try it.

DVDs

New DVDs include silent epic The Artist; Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe; the new Almodovar with Antonio Banderas and the acclaimed ‘Shame’ with Michael Fassbender & Carey Mulligan

Cover imageShame.
“Firmly planting itself near the top of the memorable performances and films that have been overlooked by the Oscars, Michael Fassbender’s astonishing work in Shame is genuinely something to behold. Stripped bare, both physically and emotionally, he plays Brandon, a man struggling with a sex addiction, whose life gets yet more complex when his sister, played by Carey Mulligan, comes to stay. It’s comfortably one of the least titillating films ever made about sex, and in this case, it’s all the better for it. Directed by Steve McQueen, who also worked with Fassbender on the acclaimed Hunger, Shame is an ambitious, raw drama. As a study of a character in the depths of an addiction, it both breaks a taboo or two, and is unflinching in its portrayal. And while there’s an argument that the film itself isn’t quite the equal of its leading man, Shame is both important and courageous. McQueen, certainly, is a director who very much does things his own way…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Cover imageThe skin I live in.
“From acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar comes The Skin I Live In… Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After 12 years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Cover imageThe promise.
“Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) and Christian Cooke (Cemetery Junction) lead an international cast, including Itay Tiran (Lebanon), Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor), Ali Sulaiman (Paradise Now) and Perdita Weeks (Lost in Austen), in Peter Kosminsky’s new four-part drama serial. Just as 18-year-old Londoner Erin (Foy) sets off to spend summer in Israel with her best friend, Eliza (Weeks), she unearths an old diary belonging to her seriously ill grandfather, Len (Cooke). Intrigued by the life of this old man she barely knows, she takes the diary with her, and is stunned to learn of his part in the post-WWII British peace-keeping force in what was then Palestine. Left to her own devices when Eliza begins National Service in the Israeli army, Erin witnesses the complexities of life–for both Jews and Arabs–in this troubled land. And as Len’s story comes to life from the pages of the diary, Erin discovers the disturbing truths about his time in Palestine and the atrocities he witnessed in the 1940s. Retracing Len’s steps in modern-day Israel, Erin sets out on a heart-breaking journey in an effort to understand and fulfil a promise made by her grandfather over 60 years ago…” – (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Cover imageAlbert Nobbs.
“To his customers, fastidious butler Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close, re-creating her 1982 stage role) is a “kind little man” who works in an upscale Dublin hotel at the turn of the century, prioritizing his position above all other concerns. Little do they know that he isn’t really a man and that he dreams of running a tobacco shop. Until then, he’s quietly biding his time when two new workers arrive: Joe (Nowhere Boy’s Aaron Johnson), a strapping handyman, and Hubert (Oscar nominee Janet McTeer), a swaggering housepainter also passing as a man. After Hubert discovers Albert’s secret, they share their stories, and a friendship ensues. Hubert’s marriage to a spirited seamstress inspires Albert to find a spouse of his own, so he sets his sights on flighty housemaid Helen (Jane Eyre’s Mia Wasikowska). With money in short supply, her erstwhile lover, Joe, encourages her to play along, a move that brings out Albert’s tender side while jeopardizing his security….Though Close gives an admirably controlled performance, Albert’s closed-off character makes him more intriguing than sympathetic…” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Cover image3.
“Hanna and Simon, a couple in their early forties, live together in Berlin. With their 20th anniversary looming, they both become restless despite being truly and deeply in love. Unbeknownst to one another, they separately become acquainted with Adam, a younger man, and fall in love with him. Clearly not your typical 1930’s romp, this reinvention of those classic films … is a playful update: an intellectual study of a modern couple looking for redefinition in a world of absolutes…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The trip: the 6-part series.Syndetics image
“Steve Coogan has been commissioned by a Sunday newspaper to review half a dozen restaurants in the North of England. When his food-loving American girlfriend backs out, Steve is faced with a week of meals for one. Reluctantly, he calls Rob Brydon, the only person he can think of who will be available. Heading north in a stylish black Range Rover, the pair begin a journey of bickering jokes and reflection. Across the dinner tables of the North’s best restaurants the neurotic and sardonic Coogan and the genial eager-to-entertain Brydon spar on everything from Coleridge or career insecurities to which of them does the best Michael Caine impression. This two disc set includes the original six part BAFTA winning comedy series as seen on the BBC.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cover imageThe artist.
“The Artist is a love letter and homage to classic black-and-white silent films. The film is enormously likable and is anchored by a charming performance from Jean Dujardin, as silent movie star George Valentin. In late-1920s Hollywood, as Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he makes an intense connection with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break. As one career declines, another flourishes, and by channeling elements of A Star Is Born and Singing in the Rain, The Artist tells the engaging story with humour, melodrama, romance, and–most importantly–silence. As wonderful as the performances by Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo (Miller) are, the real star of The Artist is cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman. Visually, the film is stunning. Crisp and beautifully contrasted, each frame is so wonderfully constructed that this sweet and unique little movie is transformed from entertaining fluff to a profound cinematic achievement…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Cover imageMy week with Marilyn.
“In My Week with Marilyn Williams takes on the formidable challenge of playing Marilyn Monroe, and does so with depth and assuredness, and without resorting to caricature. Williams’s Marilyn commands the screen with pain and delicacy, and doesn’t let go until the final credits. My Week with Marilyn focuses on a small time frame in Monroe’s life, right after her marriage to Arthur Miller. Monroe, already “the world’s most famous woman,” still feels the need for validation as an actress. What better way to achieve that, she believes, than committing to co-starring with Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl, a film she firmly believed would finally cement her reputation as a serious actress. My Week with Marilyn is based on the short memoir of Colin Clark, a crew member on The Prince and the Showgirl, who quickly became the confidant of the wildly insecure Monroe and watched a train wreck of egos–mostly Olivier’s and Monroe’s–collide in a fiery near-disaster…But it’s Williams who gives the revelatory performance, capturing with painful intensity the insecurity that begins to seep out of Monroe like a fearful sweat…My Week with Marilyn doesn’t attempt to answer the unanswerable, but instead shines a light on the very real woman who became lost in the giant shadow of legend…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

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Popular Music

Syndetics book coverThe boy in the song : the real stories behind 50 classic pop songs / Michael Heatley & Frank Hopkinson.
“The Boy in the Song is a follow up to 2010’s The Girl in the Song. It features the real-life stories that inspired some classic pop songs about the male of the species. While the first book was filled with songs about unrequited love, the follow-up is more varied, with songs written from a number of emotions. There are songs motivated by love and hate, there are tributes and there are biographical tales. Each song is featured on two, four or six pages with a small biography of the artist along with the story of how and why the song was written, and, most intriguingly, what happened after the song became a hit.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHoller if you hear me : searching for Tupac Shakur / Michael Eric Dyson.
“Tupac Shakur enjoys a lively posthumous career that threatens to eclipse what he did before death, and it is only appropriate that so-called hip-hop intellectual Dyson should plumb the depths of Shakur’s cultural significance and how it relates to young blacks today. A hip-hop giant, actor, and poet, Shakur was as legitimate a spokesman for his people as any pop star ever is.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big gig : big-picture thinking for success / by Zoro ; with Amy Hammond Hagberg.
“The Big Gig is much more than just an intriguing and comprehensive insider’s guide to breaking into the music industry as an independent musician. Compelling and thought-provoking, it is an excellent resource for leadership training, networking techniques, and personal development. The Big Gig is the first book that describes the inner workings of the highly competitive music industry as seen through the eyes of a world-renowned and highly successful musician. The Big Gig provides a template for success by covering the vocational, personal, and spiritual aspects of a musician’s life.” – (adapted Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverAn American demon : a memoir / by Jack Grisham.An American Demon: A Memoir
“In this disturbingly profane yet strangely mesmerizing memoir, punk musician and political activist Grisham describes a troubled childhood and adolescence on the streets of Long Beach, California. Curiously, Grisham refers to himself as a demon, thereby intentionally distancing himself and perhaps readers, too, from the rest of humanity. Readers interested in punk music will be fascinated by Grisham’s tale, but be forewarned, it is not for the faint-hearted.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverWho is that man? : in search of the real Bob Dylan / David Dalton.
“Dalton (Living with the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead) is the latest in a series of eminent rock critics (Robert Shelton, Paul Williams, Clinton Heylin, Michael Gray, Greil Marcus, et al.) to take on the enigmatic Bob Dylan. Dalton’s book is a blend of biography and music appreciation. He deftly traces the familiar contours of Dylan’s career and his many shape-shifting personas. The liveliest portion of the book deals with the creative and audacious peak of Dylan’s career in the mid-1960s. Dalton’s insights will be of interest to both die-hard fans and anyone who wants a good introduction to Dylan’s life and art.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

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Classical Music

String quartets / by Dmitri Shostakovich and his contemporaries (volume 1) and String quartets / by Dmitri Shostakovich and his contemporaries (volume 2)
Cover ImageCover Image“[T]he Pacifica Quartet is one of the best chamber ensembles out there…even so, there’s no dearth of fine Shostakovich cycles, from the Borodin Quartet to the Emerson. These performances, every bit as fine as those, would be excellent by themselves, but they do risk getting lost in the discographic shuffle. So it was an inspired idea to pair them in this series with other important works in the same medium by Shostakovich’s contemporaries…. A great start to a very promising series.” – (adapted from ClassicsToday.comreview)

Cover ImageApparent distance / Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet
“A truly transcendent recording, “Apparent Distance is a four-part suite, commissioned through a 2010 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In the liner notes, Bynum writes My goal is not just to blur the lines between composition and improvisation (a long-time pursuit), but to try to upend the listeners expectations in other ways: circular melodies without beginnings or ends, disguised unisons and non-repetitive vamps, transitions that are simultaneously jarring and organic. Most importantly, I want to spotlight the striking individuality and virtuosity of all the players, albeit in a context where the needs of the ensemble reign supreme a concerto for sextet, if you will. Since the composition s premiere in August 2010, the sextet has performed the work on tour and at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival (Austria), the Banlieues Bleues Festival (France), and the Crosscurrents Festival (New York). Jim Macnie of the Village Voice writes ‘Whether they’re lines that swirl upward, chasing their own tail, or lines that spill downward, like a Slinky on a staircase, the elemental motifs of the cornetist/composer’s pieces are full of springy kinetics. But they re more than mere nu-jazz puzzles. Bynum wrings emotion from his crew. His use of texture and trajectory has to do with his appreciation of passion.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Books

Syndetics book coverMozart at the Gateway to His Fortune : Serving the Emperor, 1788-1791
“At the end of 1787, Mozart reported to his sister, Nannerl, that Emperor Joseph II of Austria had appointed him as Imperial-Royal Chamber Composer. As distinguished music historian Wolff points out in this elegant study of the last four years of Mozart’s life, this new appointment provided the great musician with a regular salary and very few obligations. In spite of the great economic and political instability in the empire, Mozart proved to be astonishingly productive. Narrating Mozart’s life and recreating the cultural atmosphere of these years, Wolff focuses on Mozart’s tremendous accomplishments during this time and not on those of his autumnal years, as so many biographers have done. Mozart’s major musical pieces from 1788 to 1791 include the Vienna production of Don Giovanni, with some newly composed material (1788), and the writing and premier of three new operas: CosI fan tutte (1790), La clemenza di Tito (1791), and Die Zauberflote (1791). Wolff demonstrates that Mozart’s tremendous influence on the history of music grows out of this period primarily because of Mozart’s ability to harness an extraordinary diversity of motives, rhythmic textures, and harmonic ideas into a focused, organic whole. Far from a time of resignation and hopelessness, Wolff argues, these years were a new beginning for Mozart, and the music of The Magic Flute and the Requiem represent a point of departure for genuinely new horizons.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

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Buyer’s Choice

Hi everyone, Deborah and I are the fiction selectors for Wellington City Libraries and we spend a lot of time reading about, and choosing, lovely new fiction for the library.

Syndetics book coverDiary of a mad fat girl.
If you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich, you’re going to love getting to know Gracelia “Ace” Jones. Ace is a feisty, sassy Southern lady, a Stephanie Plum-type character who, along with best friends Chloe and Linda, wrecks delicious havoc righting the wrongs in small-town Bugtussle. At the end of all the high jinks – some sleuthing. a little breaking and entering, a spot of dressing up as drag queens – the sisterhood expose the lies, the double-standards and dodgy goings-on in Bugtussle, Lots of fun – let’s hope we hear more of Ace and her friends in the future!

Syndetics book coverArcadia / Lauren Groff.
What happens when the ideal of the rural hippy life, full of warm, hard-working people with similar ideals and living off the land, fails to fulfil its promise? Bill Stone is a little boy, being lovingly raised by Adam and Hannah in Arcadia, a commune in the western reaches of New York State. But ideals are hard to live up to, and nothing lasts forever. As the 1960s progress, Arcadia becomes a magnet for people seeking the hippy experience, inevitably bringing the drugs, political debates and influences of the counter-culture movement that eventually destroy the dream. Core members leave – but adapting to the real world is harder for some than for others. Bill himself must find his place in this changed world. Lovely writing, apparently, and highly recommended by reviewers.

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Music and Movies eNewsletter for July

School holidays are here and they can be an exhausting time for parents. In addition to the holiday activities we’re running (see the Library News section) we’ve got plenty of enterainment to help you unwind at the end of a long day.

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs for June include the adaptation of Andrea Levy’s ‘Small Island’; the return of ‘The Boys’ in ‘Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business’; the second season of ‘Sherlock’; Western-crime series ‘Justified’ based on the work of Elmore Leonard; ‘Call The Midwife’ from the memoirs of Jennifer Worth; & the award winning ‘Tyrannosaur’ and plenty more …

Cover imageSione’s 2: unfinished business.
“Five years ago our heroes the Duckrockers thought they had figured it all out – they had found themselves girlfriends to take to Siones wedding and the future was looking bright…Fast-forward five years and things havent quite gone as the boys might have planned: Albert is now married to Tania and they are living in suburbia, both working in insurance and also trying (unsuccessfully) to have a baby; Sefa and Leilani are still together and now have two kids although despite Sefas proposal, theyre still not married. And while Sefas business is falling apart, Leilani seems to be living life to the full; Stanley is now a trainee Deacon in the Future Church; Michael has moved to Australia but the boys dont hear from him often; and Bolo has thrown in his job with Sefa and taken up work with Sione, Michaels younger brother. Growing up appears to be driving the Duckrockers apart but when theyre confronted with one of lifes unexpected turns and Bolo goes missing, their Minister once again brings them together and sends them on a quest. Their mission: to find Bolo.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cover imageTyrannosaur.
“A powerful award-winning drama written and directed by Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes), Tyrannosaur follows the story of two people brought together by circumstance. Joseph (Peter Mullan, Neds) is an unemployed widower, drinker, and a man stifled by his own volatile temperament and furious anger. Hannah (Olivia Colman, Hot Fuzz) is a Christian worker at a charity shop, a respectable woman who appears wholesome and happy. When the pair are brought together, Hannah appears to be Joseph’s potential saviour, someone who can temper his fury and offer him warmth, kindness and acceptance. As their story develops Hannah’s own secrets are revealed–her relationship with husband James (Eddie Marsan, Sherlock Holmes) is violent and abusive–and as events spiral out of control, Joseph becomes her source of comfort…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Cover imageJustified. The complete first season.
“Prolific and much-respected author Elmore Leonard’s novels have fared poorly when they’ve been adapted to the small screen…but the Western-cum-police-drama Justified breaks the losing streak thanks to the tightly wound performance of star Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) and solid scripting and direction. Olyphant’s Marshal Raylan Givens, whom readers met in the novels Pronto and Riding the Rap (as well as the short “Fire in the Hole,” which serves as the basis for the pilot episode), is a man of few words and deadly aim who is sent back to his hometown of Harlan County, Kentucky, after shooting first and asking questions later with an oily gangster. Once ensconced in the coal belt, Givens runs afoul of childhood friend Boyd Crowder (the terrific Walton Goggins from The Shield), who’s gone from mining to white supremacy and murder. Also competing for Givens’s attention are local girl Ava (Joelle Carter), whose crush on the marshal doesn’t quite obscure the fact that she’s just murdered her husband, and his father, Arlo (the always-solid character actor Raymond J. Barry), whose criminal career is a millstone around Givens’s neck…” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

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Film and television books

The new film & television books this month have a distinctly sci-fi bent — with new titles on Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who. Sandwiched around the sci-fi books this month are several titles on the golden boys of film and sirens of the screen — the the first two volumes in a four volume series entitled “Sexbombs”. Read for profiles of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverA brief guide to Star Trek / Brian J. Robb.
“This essential guide will cover all prominent actors including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Patrick Stewart and will explore the connection between Star Trek and the US cold war foreign policy, why much of the far-out science from the show is now at the forefront of research, why linguists are now studying Klingon, and much more.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverU.S.S. Enterprise owners’ workshop manual : 2151 onwards (NX-01, NCC-1701, NCC-1701-A to NCC-1701-E) / Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley ; technical consultant, Michael Okuda.
“The U.S.S. Enterprise is without doubt the most famous starship in history. The vessels that have carried the name have saved the galaxy countless times and her captains, including Archer, Kirk, and Picard, have been legendary. This Haynes Manual provides in-depth information about these extraordinary ships, from the Enterprise NX-01, to Captain Kirk’s Enterprise NCC-1701 and Captain Picard’s Enterprise NCC-1701-D including histories of each vessel, technical information about their systems, and discussions of key technologies such as transporters and warp-speed travel.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Wars : the essential guide to warfare / Jason Fry with Paul R. Urquhart ; illustrations by Drew Baker … [et. al].
“Like many a great epic, Star Wars is rooted in a rich history of armed conflict. Now, for the first time, the facts, figures, and fascinating backstories of major clashes and combatants in the vast Star Wars universe have been documented in one fully illustrated volume. Encompassing all of the Star Wars media, including the legendary films, the hit TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the bestselling books, comics, and videogames, and packed with original full-color artwork, Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare is a conquering achievement.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWho is the doctor : the unofficial guide to Doctor Who : the new series / Graeme Burk & Robert Smith?.
“Penned by the authors of the famed sci-fi series’ fanzine collections, this entertaining combination of episode guides and essays is a must-have for all Doctor Who aficionados. The handbook explores all facets of the six most recent seasons, providing an essential companion for the show’s avid fans and casual viewers alike. The history of everything related to Doctor Who is touched upon, from Daleks and Cybermen to the eight Classic Series Doctors.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

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Popular Music

Some new CDs at Wellington City Libraries include the new Black Seeds, ‘Dust & Dirt’; the return of Miami soul singer Betty Wright after 10 years; the soundtrack to the popular HBO series ‘Treme’; new indie band ‘Django Django’; & Time to go’ the new Flying Nun compilation on the 80’s Southern psychedelic movement…

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Classical Music

Are you afraid to ask experts questions about Classical Music, despite wanting to know things about it? Save yourself the stress by reading a very handy book that compiles questions asked by Classical FM listeners. Also included this month are a few of the CDs recently added to our ever expanding collection of Classical recordings.

Books

Syndetics book coverEverything you ever wanted to know about classical music but were too afraid to ask / Darren Henley and Sam Jackson.
“Just what exactly is classical music …and why should it be a part of everyone’s life? Who are the big names behind the classical hits …and which are the best recordings of their music? What are you supposed to wear to a classical concert …and when on earth are you supposed to applaud? ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music …But Were Too Afraid to Ask’ answers these questions and much more. In the pages of this book, Darren Henley and Sam Jackson set out to make the classical world not only accessible, but also disarmingly simple and utterly engrossing, as they share their passion for the greatest music ever written. Celebrating 20 years of the world’s most successful classical music radio station, this book lifts the lid on the burning questions that Classic FM’s listeners have most often asked over the past two decades. Three sections steer you through the terminology and etiquette of classical music, open the fascinating history of the genre and its key figures over the last 1,000 years, and provide a detailed reference guide. Since its transmitters were first switched on in 1992, the team behind Classic FM has believed that classical music can and should be a part of everyone’s life, no matter who they are or where they live. So, whether you are a long-time listener or completely new to the genre this book equips you to begin your own personal journey of discovery into the world’s greatest music.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

CDs

Poèmes [sound recording] / Ravel, Messiaen, Dutilleux.
“As the sensual centrepiece of an album of 20th century French vocal masterpieces, Renée Fleming makes her first-ever recording of Ravel’s ravishing Shéhérazade. Complementing Shéhérazade is Olivier Messiaen’s collection of love songs to his young wife, the Poemes pour Mi – a tour de force of voluptuous vocalism. A trio of major works is completed by one written for Renée Fleming by the doyen of French composers, Henri Dutilleux – his dramatic Le Temps l’horloge. The album is completed by two earlier songs by Dutilleux, specially-orchestrated for this album and recorded in the presence of the composer.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cantatas [sound recording] / Bach.
“Andreas Scholl follows up his much-praised Purcell collection, ‘O Solitude’, with a project perfectly matched to his artistry and musical heritage. Andreas Scholl first sang the music of J. S. Bach as a boy chorister. Now the leading countertenor of our time returns to his musical roots with his own selection of arias from Bach’s cantatas – including one of the best-loved of all Bach’s vocal works, “Ich habe genug.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

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Music and Movies Newsletter for June

Hello again – this month we’ve got quite the range of music and movies to warm up and in some cases indulge those winter blues. Highlights include the suitably winter-set Norwegian Wood, based on the Murakami novel of the same name; Melancholia, the controversial, loved and loathed offering from Lars von Trier and Project Nim – a powerful and heartbreaking documentary of the chimpanzee raised as a human child. Those with a bit of extra time on their hands might like to power through HBO’s ten episode fantasy epic Game of Thrones – as the dour Ned Stark says “Winter is coming…” No Ned, it’s already here.

Library News

DVDs

Here’s quick sampling of the new DVDs to hit the shelves here at Wellington City Library.

Cover imageProject Nim.
“Director James Marsh’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Man on Wire is an equally engrossing look at the fault lines and danger zones between man and beast. Using a combination of archival footage, current interviews, and… re-creations, Marsh tells the sad tale of Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee raised as a human child under a Columbia University sign language study led by Professor Herbert S. Terrace. Beginning with his birth in 1973, Nim was shuttled between a variety of tragicomedic environments (including a free-form hippie household, an idyllic mansion in the countryside, and a terrifyingly mundane lab) while growing increasingly powerful and difficult to control. Eschewing the Michael Moore/Morgan Spurlock on-camera method, the director here hangs back from the spotlight, preferring to give his interviewees enough room to damn or praise themselves, a decision that works wonders…While the transitions between reality and re-created footage do feel a bit clunky…,Project Nim is a spellbinding, occasionally outraging documentary that should leave viewers pondering their place in the animal kingdom, as well as the wisdom of tampering in God’s domain. The zoo will never seem the same.” – (adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageHugo.
In resourceful orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield, an Oliver Twist-like charmer), Martin Scorsese finds the perfect vessel for his silver-screen passion: this is a movie about movies (fittingly, the 3-D effects are spectacular). After his clockmaker father (Jude Law) perishes in a museum fire, Hugo goes to live with his Uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), a drunkard who maintains the clocks at a Paris train station. When Claude disappears, Hugo carries on his work and fends for himself by stealing food from area merchants. In his free time, he attempts to repair an automaton his father rescued from the museum, while trying to evade the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), a World War I veteran with no sympathy for lawbreakers. When Georges (Ben Kingsley), a toymaker, catches Hugo stealing parts for his mechanical man, he recruits him as an assistant to repay his debt. If Georges is guarded, his open-hearted ward, Isabelle (Chloë Moretz), introduces Hugo to a kindly bookseller (Christopher Lee), who directs them to a motion-picture museum… helping unlock the secret of the automaton…” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Cover imageNorwegian wood.
“Published in 1987 and since translated into 33 languages, Norwegian Wood is a story of loss and heartbreak in a time of global instability. Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel is brought to the screen by Tran Anh Hung (Golden Lion winner for Cyclo and Academy Award nominee for The Scent of Green Papaya) and features Japanese rising star Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note, Detroit Metal City) and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) alongside newcomer Kiko Mizuhara. Tokyo, the late 1960s… Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe’s personal life is similarly in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bond has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not – outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident – marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his past and his future.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk description)

Cover imageGame of thrones. The complete first season.
Adapted from the first installment of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice & Fire ‘Game Of Thrones’ succeeds on multiple levels. The story begins with Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, who is called upon by his old friend the King to assume the position of the King’s Hand after the mysterious death of the previous Hand. Reluctant to abandon his family & position he nevertheless is drawn into service, but that is just the beginning of his problems as various factions vie for power in the Kings court, and across the sea an exiled Prince trades his sister for an alliance that could help him regain the Throne. The quality of the show’s production values is evident everywhere, as the world of Westeros looks amazing in every detail. Most of the trappings that cause non-fantasy fans to avoid this kind of thing are absent, at least for now, with the characters speaking in fairly modern terms, with mysterious creatures & dragons merely hinted at. More than anything the first season resembles a political drama along the lines of The Tudors, or Rome, but being HBO there is, of course, plenty of violence & sex along the way. The acting is also uniformly good, with Sean Bean a standout as the noble Stark struggling with the double-dealings of Court intrigue. Lena Heady is also excellent as the manipulative Queen Cersei, and Peter Dinklage steels every scene as the droll imp Tyrion. Recommended, even if Fantasy-fiction is not your thing at all. (Mark)

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Film and television books

In our picks of the new film and cinema books this month you’ll find books on a range of topics, including “Development Hell” — a place film directors and producers fear to tread… Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverIs it all about hips? : around the world with Bollywood dance / Sangita Shresthova.
“In this brilliant ethnography, Sangita Sresthova, who has pioneered various dance forms brings alive the world of Bollywood dance. You embark upon this exhilarating journey at a live performance in London, and travel with the author discovering how this unique dance form has united peoples and cultures far and wide. Behind-the-stage preparations and dance classes booming with desi exuberance come to life with a panorama of colorful stills, making this book is the first-of-its-kind account of the Bollywood dance culture flourishing worldwide.” (description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverTales from development hell : the greatest movies never made? / David Hughes.
“A compulsively readable journey into the area of movie-making where all writers, directors and stars fear to tread: Development Hell, the place where scripts are written, actors hired and sets designed… but the movies rarely actually get made! Whatever happened to Darren Aronofsky’s Batman movie starring Clint Eastwood? Why were there so many scripts written over the years for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s fourth Indiana Jones movie? Why was Lara Croft’s journey to the big screen so tortuous, and what prevented Paul Verhoeven from filming what he calls “one of the greatest scripts ever written”? Why did Ridley Scott’s Crisis in the Hot Zone collapse days away from filming, and were the Beatles really set to star in Lord of the Rings?” (description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe Astaires : Fred & Adele / Kathleen Riley.
“In this comprehensive coverage of Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire, Riley (Nigel Hawthorne On Stage) offers a splendiferous glimpse of gaiety, scintillating style, syncopated rhythms; and lost glamour, noting, “The story of the Astaires conjures up a vanished world.” Offering fascinating anecdotes and surprising details, Riley contrasts Fred’s perfectionism with Adele’s alluring impudence: critic Richard Watts found her “funny and bewitching.” Riley writes with zest and authoritative expertise, displaying a grace and elegance equal to her subjects. Her scholarly skills are showcased in this effervescent, spirited history, with a concluding “Chronologies,” an informative 18-page chart, printed sideways, that lists all Astaire shows with their musical numbers, production personnel, and theaters.” (Publisher Weekly)

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Popular Music

Some new CDs at Wellington City Libraries include the new Black Seeds, ‘Dust & Dirt’; the return of Miami soul singer Betty Wright after 10 years; the soundtrack to the popular HBO series ‘Treme’; new indie band ‘Django Django’; & Time to go’ the new Flying Nun compilation on the 80’s Southern psychedelic movement…

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Classical Music

This month’s recent picks for classical music focuses on new works – and features both recent compositions and some interesting interpretations of well-loved material.

A bugle will do [sound recording] / Anthony Richie.
A collection of pieces by New Zealand composer Anthony Richie, performed by the NZSO and conducted by Tecwyn Evans. The title track is a piece commissioned by the NZSO to commemorate the death of New Zealand’s most famous war hero, Sir Charles Upham. The album also contains Symphony No.3 (2010) op.150, French Overture (2008) op.138 and Revelations (1998) op.82.

The excellent art of voluntary [sound recording] : early English organ music from Pembroke College, Cambridge / [performed by] Robert Costin.
Robert Costin, previously organist at St Paul’s Cathedral in Wellington and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland, performs a selection of early English organ works on the organ at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Dancing [sound recording] : the jazz fever of Milhaud, Martinů, Seiber, Burian, Wolpe.
A gorgeous and slick recording of some lesser-known European 20th Century composers who adopted jazz idioms into orchestral art music.

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