Flying solo: New travel books

Traveling is an incredible experience, being able to see other parts of the world and to learn about different cultures. While it’s great to travel with loved ones, there are benefits to travelling alone as well. You can have complete control over the itinerary, meet new people and it can really help build your confidence. It can sound intimidating at first, but it can be a positive experience that will create many memories. Check out these new travel books for inspiration:

Solo travel / Mylne, Lee | ebook available
“A friendly resource to help you prepare for exciting domestic or international travel — on your own. Solo Travel For Dummies teaches you how to plan the solo trip of a lifetime with must-know info, insider tricks, safety essentials, and more. Get expert tips on safety, budgeting, and so much more! Solo Travel For Dummies is for anyone who needs a trusted, comprehensive source of information as they prepare to travel independently.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Amazing train journeys
“Discover 60 of the world’s greatest and most memorable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips, such as Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide’s The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines. Each profile features a detailed description of the whole experience, with practical information such as ticket recommendations, key stops and the best time to travel. Inspiring photographs and an illustrated route map bring every train journey to life.” (Catalogue)

The man who loved Siberia / Jacobsen, Roy
“Siberia, to me, is a fairy-tale land. Fritz Dorries set out on his first trip to Eastern Siberia in 1877, when there were still blank spaces on maps of the world. Through his twenty-two years in Siberia, Dorries collected a wealth of essential material for scientific institutions, fundamental to our understanding of fauna and flora. This account of his adventures, set down for his daughters in his ninetieth year, and adapted for publication by Roy Jacobsen and Anneliese Pitz, is his second great legacy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Fully-illustrated, The Passenger collects the best new writing, photography, art and reportage from around the world. Mexico: once synonymous with escape and freedom, better known nowadays for widespread violence, narcotraffic, and migration. The ocean, the beaches, the ancient ruins, the tequila: under the patina of mass tourism there’s a complex, neurotic country trying to carve out a place for itself in the shadow of its hulky neighbor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Epic : adventures across Aotearoa / Salisbury, Ray
“Over the years, countless sea kayakers, climbers and alpine trampers have attempted journeys across New Zealand’s incredible landscape. In Epic, the stories of a dozen memorable Kiwi explorers are brought together, with detailed maps, backstories and stunning images. From the first traverse of the Southern Alps, to the nineteen-year-old who travelled 8000km of coastline, Epic is a testament to endurance, and a reminder to get out there and experience the wild, stunning places of our planet.” (Catalogue)

Wavewalker : breaking free / Heywood, Suzanne | ebook available of Wavewalker
“Aged just seven, Suzanne Heywood set sail with her parents and brother on a three-year voyage around the world. What followed turned instead into a decade. Suzanne fought her parents, longing to return to England and to education and stability. From the bestselling author of What Does Jeremy Think?, Wavewalker is the incredible true story of how the adventure of a lifetime became one child’s worst nightmare – and how her determination to educate herself enabled her to escape.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Best beaches : 100 of the world’s most incredible beaches
“Discover the world’s most extraordinary shorelines inside this dazzling display of diverse beaches. Featuring transporting photography, tips for how to reach each beach, and reasons why Lonely Planet selected these as the 100 best, this is the ultimate collection of the sand, stone and sea the world has to offer. Whether you’re looking to be inspired for your next trip or simply desire some beach-chair travel, experience the world’s best beaches in this book.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Edgeland : a slow walk west / Swire, Sasha
“In Edgeland, the political diarist Sasha Swire escapes the confines of Westminster to walk the northern stretch of the South West Coast Path. She discovers that the path is not only a walk-through Britain’s windswept and wave-battered western fringes but a tale about how we and nature have, through extraordinary resilience and relentless spirit, learnt to tame the various forces that are stacked against us. That we live at the edge of the possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gardening around the globe: new books

Discover the iconic English gardens of Pemberley and the secret gardens hidden in all corners of Cornwall.  For the literature-loving gardeners out there, check out the lush surrounds of iconic writers’ homes including Edith Wharton, Louisa May Alcott and Agatha Christie. Or be inspired by the natural and self sufficient gardens right here in Aotearoa New Zealand. You can take a gardening tour around the world with these recent green-fingered reads!

The natural garden : landscape ideas for New Zealand gardens / White, Xanthe
The Natural Garden builds on Xanthe White’s signature landscape design with contemporary updates. Xanthe shares her design philosophy of nurturing a respectful and sustainable relationship with the natural world, and how her signature style can be applied to flower, native, rural, dry, inner city, productive, subtropical and coastal gardens.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


What makes a garden / Blom, Jinny
“This fascinating and insightful book looks at how a garden should please all five senses; how it is an alchemical mix of the inanimate and the living; and also how it has to accommodate both the effects of time and the influences of culture. This is not intended as a book of rules but rather a way of thinking about garden design and making sure it responds to the particularities of place, the culture and the demands of the client.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The writer’s garden : how gardens inspired the world’s great authors / Bennett, Jackie
“Discover the flower gardens, vegetable plots, landscapes and writing hideaways of 30 great authors – from Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Orchard House’ where she wrote Little Women and Agatha Christie at Greenway, to Virginia Woolf at Monk’s House and the Massachusetts home of Edith Wharton. This book visits the homes and gardens that inspired novelists, poets and playwrights.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Level up your home: New interior design books

Gush over the stunningly curated homes from the world’s best designers, architects and influencers.  For the maximalists there’s wallpaper laden, textured, clashing-print wonderlands. Or if you’re after neutral, refined and chic there are inspiring homes from beachside shacks to country classics. Check out these recent reads for all your home and interiors inspiration!

Beachside modern / Li, Lauren
“Modern beachside style is more than shells and surfboards. Whether the inspiration comes from nautical themes, natural elements, winter moods or the charm of the Mediterranean, the priority is always comfort and tranquility. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live near the beach – the spirit can be captured anywhere.” (Catalogue)


Organized living : solutions and inspiration for your home / Gill, Shira
“Get inspired to level up your home organization with tips, worksheets, Q&As, and photos of the living spaces of twenty-five international home organizers, from the author of Minimalista.” (Catalogue)



Country homes in Australia. Volume II
“Take a journey with Country Style through the beautiful country homes that dot our landscapes, from an historic sandstone cottage to a classic Queenslander and everything in between.” (Catalogue)



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Lived-in & Luxe: new books on home interiors

A lived-in style need not mean sacrificing luxury in and around your home. Create equally cosy, functional and eye-catching interior spaces with these beautiful and informative new books on home interiors. Transform an overlooked nook into an appealing and tranquil hideaway. Nurture your family in spaces that are flexible to your daily needs, whilst also embracing new and exciting design choices. There’s classic French inspiration, home retreats to nourish the soul, and even a guide to floating homes!

French home : decorating in the French style / Ryan, Josephine
“Dealer in French antiques Josephine Ryan explores the elements that combine to create elegant yet comfortable spaces with a distinctly French feel. She points out the architectural details that enhance the framework of a room, explores the textures and the color palette that flatter various styles of furniture, and shows us options for lighting, mirrors, decorative objects, and paintings. French Home examines the sophisticated alchemy of an enduringly popular look.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lived-in style : the art of creating a feel-good home / Nassauer, Ki
“What is lived-in style? It’s laid-back, comfortable, no-fuss and uniquely you. It could bring to mind the comfy chair you curl up in beside the window. Maybe it will get you thinking about your freshly made bed, topped with a vintage blanket or quilt. Or perhaps it will elicit a smile over the collection of mementos and found treasures displayed on your mantel.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sacred spaces : everyday people and the beautiful homes created out of their trials, healing and victories / Summers, Carley
“A gorgeous photography collection featuring home interiors and profiles of the people who have transformed these spaces into sanctuaries, calling you to create your own sacred space. Sacred Spaces takes readers on a beautifully photographed journey inside fourteen homes, from Connecticut and California to Canada, France, and Morocco, as Summers uncovers the vulnerable stories behind each one. Sacred Spaces invites readers to dream of the home that will set them free.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Laughing at the dark: New biographies and memoirs

Winter is well and truly here! The long dark nights and chilly days call for a good book, a cosy corner and a cuppa. This month’s crop of biographies and memoirs new to the collection will surely create that cosy environment we’re all looking for at this time of year.

Laughing at the dark : a memoir / Else, Barbara
“By the time she was in her forties, Barbara was married to a globally recognised academic physician and had two beautiful teenage daughters. As her writing career developed, her husband became angry at the prospect of her being anything but a housewife. In a moment of madness — or realisation — she packed her car and took off to live with the man who would become her second husband. With her trademark wit and humour, Barbara poignantly describes her transformation from a shy but stubborn child into a fulfilled and successful adult.” (Catalogue)

True west : Sam Shepard’s life, work, and times / Greenfield, Robert
“True West is the story of an American icon, a lasting portrait of Sam Shepard as he really was, revealed by those who knew him best. This sweeping biography charts Shepard’s long and complicated journey from a small town in southern California to his standing as an internationally known playwright and movie star. While exploring his relationships with Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Jessica Lange across the long arc of his brilliant career, Greenfield makes the case for Shepard not just as a great American writer but a unique figure who first brought the sensibility of rock ‘n’ roll to serious theater.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The real Enid Blyton / Cohen, Nadia
“She is the most prolific children’s author in history, but Enid Blyton is also the most controversial. A remarkable woman who wrote hundreds of books in a career spanning forty years, even her razor sharp mind could never have predicted her enormous global audience.  She was prone to bursts of furious temper, yet was a shrewd businesswoman years ahead of her time. She may not have been particularly likeable, and her stories infuriatingly unimaginative, but she left a vast literary legacy to generations of children.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Takeaway : stories from a childhood behind the counter / Hui, Angela
“Growing up in a Chinese takeaway in rural Wales, Angela Hui was made aware at a very young age of just how different she and her family were seen by her local community. From attacks on the shopfront (in other words, their home), to verbal abuse from customers, and confrontations that ended with her dad wielding the meat cleaver; life growing up in a takeaway was far from peaceful. But alongside the strife, there was also beauty and joy in the rhythm of life in the takeaway and in being surrounded by the food of her home culture. Family dinners before service, research trips to Hong Kong, preparing for the weekend rush with her brothers – the takeaway is a hive of activity before a customer even places their order of ‘egg-fried rice and chop suey’.” (Catalogue)

Rock n roll nanny : a memoir / Arnold, Sally
“What’s it like to prepare Christmas lunch with Mick Jagger? To go clubbing with The Who’s crazy drummer Keith Moon? Or to deal with the WAGs in a band’s entourage? In 1971, Sally Arnold takes a nannying job in Paris that will transform her life. Her charge is Mick Jagger’s daughter Jade and she is soon running more than bath-time… she is working for the giants of rock as the first woman tour manager in the business. When Sally moves on to organising charity events, she has to manage other larger-than-life personalities such as Billy Connolly and Rowan Atkinson.  How did Sally survive in this world of rock and roll” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bruno Schulz : an artist, a murder, and the hijacking of history / Balint, Benjamin
“A biography of the Polish-Jewish writer and artist includes an account of the discovery of his last artworks–murals painted on the walls of a villa occuppied by a Nazi officer–sixty years after his death and the complicated political dispute over the ownership of the murals.” (Catalogue)


You could make this place beautiful : a memoir / Smith, Maggie
“Life, like a poem, is a series of choices.” In her memoir You Could Make This Place Beautiful, poet Maggie Smith explores the disintegration of her marriage and her renewed commitment to herself in lyrical vignettes that shine, hard and clear as jewels. The book begins with one woman’s personal, particular heartbreak, but its circles widen into a reckoning with contemporary womanhood, traditional gender roles, and the power dynamics that persist even in many progressive homes. With a poet’s attention to language and an innovative approach to the genre, Smith reveals how, in the aftermath of loss, we can discover our power and make something new. Something beautiful.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ten : the decade that changed my future / Clark-Neal, Rylan
“Funny and outspoken, Rylan is one of the UK’s most-loved presenters and a true household name. In this brand-new memoir, Rylan invites us deeper into his world to reflect on all the things he’s learnt from a decade in the limelight, whilst also pulling back the curtain on his personal journey. Covering everything from fame and celebrity to his mental health and identity, family and relationships to his love of reality TV, he recounts his life lessons with humour, candour and a huge amount of heart. This is Rylan as you’ve never seen him before – an intimate, fascinating and joyful insight into an extraordinary ten years on the telly and in our hearts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Island girl to airplane pilot : a story of love, sacrifice and taking flight / McLeod, Silva
“This is the life story of Silva Mcleod, the first Tongan woman to become an airline pilot. She’s still one of only a handful. Told by Silva with frankness and wit, it’s quite a story. Silva takes us on a journey of cultural change from her beginnings as a poor island girl to her marriage to an Australian. The challenges of pursuing a flying career and its impact on her family are set against the backdrop of the love story of her life with her husband and his battle with cancer.” (Catalogue)

A forager’s life : finding my heart and home in nature / Lehndorf, Helen
“When Helen Lehndorf moves to the city after a childhood living off the land in rural Taranaki, she can’t help but feel different from her peers and professors. She finds solace in long walks foraging weeds and plants along the river, but something inside her still longs for home. Chasing a feeling of ancestral belonging, she travels to England with her new husband. There they learn about nature as the commons, shared between all who encounter it – a source of delight, food, medicine. Weaving memoir with foraging recipes, principles and practices, A Forager’s Life is an intimate story and a promise that, with the right frame of mind, much can be made of the world around us.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more new items in the collection, take a look at What’s new & Popular / June 2023 (

Our exclusive author interview: Carol Markwell on Edwardian and Victorian Renaissance woman Blanche Edith Baughan (1870–1958)

New Zealand biographer Carol Markwell has just published her latest book – a brilliant and fascinating account of the life of Edwardian and Victorian Renaissance woman Blanche Edith Baughan (1870-1958), called Enough Horizon: the life and work of Blanche Baughan.

Blanche Edith Baughan was remarkable in many ways: she one of New Zealand’s first poets, a Victorian feminist, an active social reformer, one of the very first travel writers in New Zealand and an early environmentalist. She was, in all senses of the word, a true pioneer and a social visionary.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Carol about Blanche in conjunction with the Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. And below is the podcast of that interview for your enjoyment:

In the podcast Carol also mentions her first biography Alice, what have you done! about NZ waitress Alice May Parkinson, who shot her lover in 1915.  Carol’s work also includes poetry and fiction.

Enough Horizon : The Life And Work Of Blanche Baughan / Markwell, Carol
“Blanche Edith Baughan (1870–1958) was one of New Zealand’s first poets and travel writers –  her travel writing introduced people here and overseas to our walks and wilderness areas. Born in England, Blanche emigrated to New Zealand in 1900, settling in Sumner and Banks Peninsula, where she embraced the freedom to write and think, and formed friendships with poets Jessie Mackay and Ursula Bethell. It was here that Blanche’s interest in the environment and her advocacy for the vulnerable in society flourished. She became a botanist, conservationist and prison reformer, known for her fierce correspondence in defence of her causes. ” (from publisher)

Alice, what have you done! : the case of Alice May Parkinson / Markwell, Carol
“Napier, 1915: Alice May Parkinson shoots and kills her lover. Her trial and its aftermath cause controversy throughout New Zealand. Is she a feminist heroine or a callous killer ? Or simply a desperate woman who ran out of choices? This is her story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)