Author Interview: Henrietta Bollinger’s ‘Articulations’

Pōneke-based writer, activist, and disability rights advocate, Henrietta Bollinger’s debut book Articulations is a collection of essays that speak to their experiences as a queer, disabled person in Aotearoa New Zealand. The book journeys through different personal insights; from first crushes and first periods to parliamentary reform and Disability Pride. Bollinger challenges the norms of our ableist society, asking us to consider better ways of being with each other and ourselves. 

Watch our  interview with Henrietta Bollinger where we chat about their advocacy work and the process of writing and publishing their first book with Tender Press.

We extend our thanks and appreciation to Henrietta for taking the time to answer our questions, and for providing insight into their writing and disability advocacy work. You can reserve a copy of Articulations below. 

Articulations / Bollinger, Henrietta

Articulations is a timely, personal, and poignant appraisal of life in Aotearoa. Soundtracked by the Topp Twins, Anika Moa, Woody Guthrie and more, Bollinger’s essays take us on a journey from first crushes and first periods to parliamentary reform and Disability Pride. They challenge the norms of our ableist society, asking us to consider better ways of being with each other and ourselves. (Adapted from Publishers description)

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Labours of Love: New popular non-fic

There’s nothing quite like a super niche non-fiction book written by a passionate author. We love finding them – it might start with a little double-take, a moment spent frowning at the title, thinking there’s no way someone wrote a whole book on this. You might not even be interested in the topic, yet somehow your attention has been snagged by the opening paragraph, and all of a sudden you’re wandering over to a chair so you can set aside whatever armful you’re carrying and properly turn the page…

For every niche book out in the world there is a reader who cannot wait to get into it. Sometimes that’s how those books get written in the first place; that’s what happened to Tove Danovich, in any case. She’s the author of Under the Henfluence, a book all about chickens: chickens in history, chickens as food, chickens as pets, chickens as quirky little beings of their own. It’s the book she wanted to read but couldn’t find, so she wrote it instead – and honestly we love the commitment! Such passion is certainly inviting to prospective readers, so whether it’s chicken lore, literary history, ancient archaeology or personal memoir that catches your attention, we hope you find something special to read from this list today (and perhaps a new obsession or two).

Under the henfluence : the world of chickens and the people who love them / Danovich, Tove
“Since first domesticating the chicken thousands of years ago, humans have become exceptionally adept at raising them for food. Yet most people rarely interact with chickens or know much about them. Tove Danovich explores the lives of these quirky, mysterious birds, revealing their hidden cleverness, quiet sweetness and irresistible personalities, as well as the complex human-chicken relationship that has evolved over centuries. She also casts light back on ourselves and what we’ve ignored throughout the explosive growth of industrial agriculture. Woven with delightful and sometimes heartbreaking anecdotes from Danovich’s own henhouse, Under the Henfluence proves that chickens are so much more than what they bring to the table.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Searching for Juliet : the lives and deaths of Shakespeare’s first tragic heroine / Duncan, Sophie
“Juliet Capulet is the heartbeat of the world’s most famous love story. She is an enduring romantic icon. And she is a captivating, brilliant, passionate teenage girl who is read and interpreted afresh by each new generation. Searching for Juliet takes us from the Renaissance origin stories behind William Shakespeare’s child bride to the boy actor who inspired her creation onstage. Sophie Duncan draws on rich cultural and historical sources and new research to explore the legacy and reach of Romeo and Juliet far beyond the literary sphere. With warmth, wit, and insight, she shows us why Juliet is for now, for ever, for everyone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Strange Weather: Recent climate books

We have a huge number of books on environment and climate in our collection, and new titles are being published at an astounding rate as the science develops and as the reality of climate change sets in. It can be tempting to pass over these books, especially for those of us already experiencing climate grief or anxiety – the content is confronting and frankly scary. But the authors below are not here to bog us down in hopelessness. The facts they present are undeniable and their writing is urgent, but what they are offering us is a deeper understanding, showing how we might face our fears and channel our actions, and reminding us of the other paths that we – as individuals, as communities, as countries – can take.

There are all sorts here: poets and weather experts, gardeners and journalists, and between them all they cover a vast swathe of topics. If you want to understand the nitty-gritty science, then Under the Weather and Heat are the ones for you. To focus in on particular case studies, check out Fire Weather and Wasteland. For practical advice, Milkwood from Tasmanian-based permaculture experts looks fantastic, while Re-Food offers a road forward grounded in the Aotearoa context. Lastly, the philosophically-minded will enjoy the poetic Soil or the determined essays in Not Too Late. 

Under the weather : a future forecast for New Zealand / Renwick, J. A.
“A warmer world will change more than just our weather patterns. It will change the look of the land around us, what grows and lives on it – including us. Drawing on climate models that can travel to ice ages and hothouses of the deep past, Professor James Renwick untangles how we know exactly what the future holds and why it matters to our everyday lives. He looks at New Zealand’s more frequent natural disasters, warming and rising sea levels, and the ways that the changing weather will affect our agriculture, lifestyle, food security and economy. Arresting, galvanizing and clear-sighted, Under the Weather is a picture of a miraculous planet in danger, a stock-take on what it means for this small country, and a reminder that the shape of our future is up to us.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Re-food : exploring the troubled food system of Aotearoa New Zealand / King, Emily
“In “Re-food”, Emily King advocates for a food systems approach to help the troubled food networks of Aotearoa New Zealand. She looks at the best ways forward to address challenges we face with soils, waterways, climate change, food waste, packaging, unhealthy diets, and a lack of access to food. Written in three parts, “Re-food” traverses the full food system and unpacks its issues along the way while providing timely and relevant ideas and inspiration for readers to solve these problems themselves. It offers tools, insights and mindset changes that chart a path towards a healthier, more sustainable food future, one which incorporates Te Ao Maori and our strengths as a top-quality food-producing nation.” (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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Fabric Hoarders and Orchid Outlaws: New popular non-fic

In 1838, Anne Sykes began to collect an array of fabrics in her personal diary, a project she dedicated herself to during her early adulthood. She collected scraps of her own clothes as well as those of her family and friends, just as some in those years might have collected signatures or locks of hair, resulting in a wonderful record of the fabrics and fashions of her youth. By the 1970s, the diary found its way to a market and then eventually into the hands of fashion historian Kate Strasdin. As she pored over its swatch-laden pages, a picture emerged – not just of Anne Sykes herself but a wider tale of the time too. Strasdin explores this unique glimpse into the Victorian era in her own book, which you can find below.

As for the other picks for this month, the theme of adornments continues in Tiny Statements, a book based on Te Papa’s eclectic collection of badges. For the ecologically inclined we have a guide to navigating the climate crisis alongside author Ben Jacob’s record of his efforts to stave off the decline of wild-growing orchids. Lastly, if you don’t mind a bit of a queue, Dr Emma Espiner’s fantastic memoir is well worth the wait. She writes with wit, passion and empathy, touching on numerous subjects including her whānau, working in healthcare in Aotearoa, and so much more – every bit of it powerful.

There’s a cure for this : a memoir / Espiner, Emma
“From award-winning writer Dr Emma Espiner comes this striking and profound debut memoir. Encompassing whānau, love, death, ’90s action movies and scarfie drinking, There’s a cure for this is Espiner’s own story, from a childhood spent shuttling between a ‘purple lesbian state house and a series of man-alone rentals’ to navigating parenthood on her own terms; from the quietly perceived inequities of her early life to hard-won revelations as a Māori medical student and junior doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic. Clear, irreverent and beautiful, this book offers a candid and moving examination of what it means to be human when it seems like nothing less than superhuman will do.” (Catalogue)

The frontier below : the past, present and future of our quest to go deeper underwater / Maynard, Jeff
“We do not see the ocean when we look at the water that blankets more than two thirds of our planet. We only see the entrance to it. The first divers to enter that world held their breath and splashed beneath the surface, often clutching rocks to pull them down. Over centuries, they invented wooden diving bells, clumsy diving suits, and unwieldy contraptions in attempts to go deeper and stay longer. But each advance was fraught with danger, as the intruders had to survive the crushing weight of water, or the deadly physiological effects of breathing compressed air. Today, as nations scramble to exploit the resources of the ocean floor, The Frontier Below recalls a story of human endeavour that took 2,000 years to travel seven miles.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dress diary of Mrs Anne Sykes / Strasdin, Kate
“In 1838, Anne Sykes began collecting snippets of fabric from a range of garments in her diary, carefully annotating each one.  Nearly two hundred years later, the diary fell into the hands of Kate Strasdin, a fashion historian and museum curator. Piece by piece, fragments of cloth become windows into Victorian life: pirates in Borneo, the complicated etiquette of mourning, poisonous dyes, the British Empire in full swing, rioting over working conditions and the terrible human cost of Britain’s cotton industry. This is life writing that celebrates ordinary people: the hidden figures, the participants in everyday life. Strasdin lays bare the whole of human experience in the most intimate of mediums: the clothes we choose to wear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Kristen Phillips’ book ‘Dad, You’ve Got Dementia’

Dad, You’ve Got Dementia: Conversations With My Father is local author Kristen Phillips’ new book that focuses on her experiences with her father Don through his journey with dementia. The book is an intimate look at their relationship, with a focus on the enduring love and connection that remains between them throughout the difficult late-stage years. Kristen writes an endearing and relatable book that is equal parts memoir and poetry. She expresses the moving importance of caring for whānau with dementia using patience and understanding, to help maintain the deep connections that remain throughout the process of memory loss. We sat down with Kristen for an interview and talked about what inspired her to write the book, what it was like sharing intimate moments in the book and her professional work in helping to reduce social stigmas around dementia in NZ.

Dad, You’ve Got Dementia is published by The Cuba Press. You can reserve a library copy here. Kristen also writes short book reviews for the series ‘On The Same Page‘, for New Zealand Dementia Foundation. For more resources for you and your whānau visit Dementia Wellington.

At the library we have also recently introduced He Kete Pupuri Mahara: Memory Bags to our borrowing collection. You can reserve and take home a collection of items aimed at encouraging conversation and reminiscence for people with dementia or memory loss.

Below is a list of some the books on dementia that we hold in our collection, including the books Kristen mentions in her interview:

Contented dementia : 24-hour wraparound care for lifelong well-being / James, Oliver
” A groundbreaking and practical method for managing dementia that will allow both sufferer and carer to maintain the highest possible quality of life. Dementia is a little-understood and currently incurable illness, but this guide shows how much can be done to maximize the quality of life for people with the condition. The SPECAL method (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s) outlined in this book works by creating links between past memories and the routine activities of daily life in the present.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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