The Drinking Game: Our April eBook Club pick!

Welcome to the WCL eBook Club, where each month we highlight a popular eBook in our digital collection and give access to an unlimited number of downloads on Libby. That means no waiting in long reserves queues- you’ll get instant access to our monthly popular pick!

Join us between April 10 – 23 as we offer unlimited downloads of the newly released non-fiction eBook The Drinking Game by RNZ investigative journalist Guyon Espiner. Espiner takes a multifaceted deep dive into why and how we drink, exposing in the process a deeply intimate self portrayal alongside a global view of the blurry lines between alcohol enjoyment and dependence. Get your copy of this fascinating read that explores Aotearoa’s intertwined and tricky relationship with alcohol, and the big business, money and power at the root of it all.

Overdrive cover The Drinking Game, Guyon Espiner (eBook)

An incisive analysis of how our drinking culture is influenced by the government, media and big business, by investigative journalist Guyon Espiner.

‘This is real, it is raw, and it lays out the truth about booze.’ – Patrick Gower
‘Thought-provoking but never preachy, Espiner blends personal experience with his formidable journalism talents as he dissects the role of booze in our lives.’ – Jack Tame

Ever wondered why it always seems like a good time for a drink? Four years ago, investigative journalist Guyon Espiner gave up drinking alcohol. He had been a heavy yet controlled drinker since his teens – abstaining three nights a week but making up for it the other four. One morning he woke up after a big night and decided he’d had enough and he quit – no AA, no support groups. Not drinking has given Guyon a new perspective on our relationship with alcohol in Aotearoa, and a lot of it is disturbing.

The Drinking Game investigates the alcohol industry: the power, politics and lobbying behind our most harmful drug. Weaving together personal experience, hard research and interviews, it examines why New Zealand has such a heavy drinking culture, the harm it causes and how our attitudes to alcohol are changing. This is a sobering look into how the way you drink is shaped not only by your individual choice, but also by government, media and big business. (Overdrive description)

Join us again next month for our new eBook Club pick! And if you’re a voracious reader don’t forget that we have an amazing selection of eBooks that are always available to read

The artist, the studio & the myth: New art books

There’s a slew of new books to hit our shelves that explore both art history and the contemporary art world. Begin your reading with Possessions, a book that examines the contentious processes of cultural appropriation through the art-historical lens of settler societies Australia and New Zealand, raising important questions and discussions around decolonising our arts practices, collections and institutions.

The glorified and inaccurate dualities and myths surrounding the artists studio are deconstructed in The Artist’s Studio. This book delves back into the Western art history canon to explore where popular stereotypes such as the ‘starving’ and ‘bohemian’ artist arose, and how these cultural constructions are played out and intensified in the art studio setting.

This Dark Country shines a light on the long list of forgotten female artists working in still life painting, as does the book Adelaide Perry, that focuses on one of Australia’s preeminent Modernist printmakers. Weather Paintings features a new collection of work by Tamaki Makaurau-based painter Ammon Ngakuru. And for a wonderfully odd read, check out The Madman’s Gallery for all things eccentric, strange, and utterly ridiculous in the worlds of painting, sculpture and “other artistic oddities”.

Possessions : indigenous art, colonial culture, decolonization / Thomas, Nicholas
“The arts of Africa, Oceania and Native America famously inspired twentieth-century Western modernist artists. The politics of such stimulus have long been highly contentious: was this a cross-cultural discovery to be celebrated, or just one more example of Western colonial appropriation? This revelatory book explores cross-cultural art through the lens of settler societies. The dynamic of dispossession and resistance, against an Indigenous claim to place, history and sovereignty –asking is cultural exchange a two-way process?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The artist’s studio : a cultural history / Hall, James
“An exciting narrative and visual history of the artist’s studio, examining the myth and reality of the creative space from early times to today. The artist’s workplace has always been an imaginary as well as an actual location, an idealized utopia as well as the domain of dirty, back-breaking work. This pioneering cultural history charts the myth and reality of the creative space from Ancient Greece to the present day, tracing a history that extends far beyond the bohemian, romantic and renaissance cults of the artist.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This dark country : women artists, still life and intimacy in the early twentieth century / Birrell, Rebecca
“For women artists in the early twentieth century Still Life painting was a conduit for their lives, their rebellions, their quiet loves for men and women. But for every artist we remember, there is one we have forgotten; whose remaining artworks lie dusty in archives or attics. In this boldly original blend of group biography and art criticism, Rebecca Birrell brings these shadowy figures into the light and conducts a dazzling investigation into the structures of intimacy that make – and dismantle – our worlds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Make it modern : a history of art in the 20th century / Taylor, Brandon
“Original thought, startling artistic techniques, and new attitudes to experimentation were required to produce exceptional and timely work. ‘Make It Modern’ guides the reader through the art of the modern world. Works of celebrated artists, from Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky to Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, and Yayoi Kusama, alongside a panoply of undervalued or less-known figures, populate this decade-by-decade narrative, telling an unforgettable story of how art was changed forever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Adelaide Perry : artist & teacher / Oliver, J
“Adelaide Perry was part of the Modernist art movement in Australia and one of the innovative women printmakers between the wars. This biography explores her life and work over a period when the lives of women changed radically. The Adelaide Perry Gallery has been named in her honour and holds the prestigious Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing each year, continuing this remarkable Australian woman artist and teacher’s legacy.” (Catalogue)


Exposed : the Greek and Roman body / Vout, Caroline
“The Greek and Roman body is often seen as flawless, but this, of course, is a lie. Here, classicist Caroline Vout reaches beyond texts and galleries to expose Greek and Roman bodies for what they truly were: anxious, ailing, imperfect, diverse, and responsible for a legacy as lasting as their statues. Taking us on a gruesome, thrilling journey, she taps into the questions that those in the Greek and Roman worlds asked about their bodies. You’ve seen the paintings, read the philosophers and heard the myths – now here’s the classical body in all its flesh-and-blood glory.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Get your shit together / Shrigley, David
“Get Your Sh*t Together features recent artwork in colour by beloved British artist David Shrigley. Celebrating Shrigley’s absurd, deadpan sensibility through both his signature drawing style and accompanying text. This collection is sure to delight die-hard Shrigley fans and new ones alike. Featuring not only artwork but also hand-written, humorous essays throughout.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The madman’s gallery : the strangest paintings, sculptures and other curiosities from the history of art / Brooke-Hitching, Edward
“Discover an eccentric exploration through the curious history of art, to find the strangest paintings, sculptures, drawings and other artistic oddities ever made. This unique exhibition gathers more than a hundred magnificent works, each chosen for their striking beauty, weirdness and captivating story behind their creation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Weather paintings / Ngakuru, Ammon
“Featuring a new body of work by Tamaki Makaurau-based painter Ammon Ngakuru. This collection builds less towards a diaristic record than a series of questions about what gets sedimented upon the everyday: about how histories, climatic conditions, systems of naming and structures of power might inform how one looks, and what one sees. Here, as with elsewhere in his practice, Ammon negotiates where and how the artist is positioned within the production of meaning, resisting an easily parsable biographical reading of an artistic output, while asking what facets of an identity might find themselves untranslatable within the context of an exhibition or a book: what, that is, as a matter of subterfuge or reticence, might appear only as a trace or gesture.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Layering pattern, colour & texture: New interiors inspiration

Whether you’re looking for small steps to brighten up a tired, well-loved home, or to start from scratch with a total home overhaul, these new interior design books have your home inspiration covered. Dip your toe into the world of Maximalism with More Is More Is More, and experiment with layering: colours, textures, styles and patterns to create a true ‘wow factor’ home. Or unleash your inner artist with Making Murals, a DIY guide to creating unique wall art that will stand out and set your home apart — bland white walls be gone!

If low-maintenance, cosy interiors are more your style then check out Love Your Home Again and A Home to Share. Both books are filled with family-friendly, practical tips for injecting warmth and spirit into your home without sacrificing on design, function or liveability. 

And for some serious notes of inspiration, take a dreamy tour around Australia’s most stunning country abodes in Country Homes in Australia, compiled by the highly popular Country Style magazine. You’ll find sleepy cottages with quaint period details, restored farmsteads with a new lease on life, and renovated retreats that were once destined for demolition. Dive into our new interior design books for all of your home improvement needs!

Love your home again : organize your space and uncover the home of your dreams / Lightfoot, Ann
“When people first move into their homes, they have clear ideas about what they want from every room. Then time passes and clutter happens, the home they dreamt of is far from the reality. In ‘Love Your Home Again’, mother-daughter organizing duo teach readers how to manage their homes in a way that is modern, kind, effective, and fair through their signature systems of decluttering, organizing, and maintaining. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Country homes in Australia
“Regional Australia is as beautiful as it is diverse, and so are the houses and people that live there. Peek into the most gorgeous homes around the country, from charm-filled cottages and family farmhouses to lovingly restored Queenslanders and homesteads. A collection of the stand-out homes of the past three years featured in the iconic Country Style magazine.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


A home to share : design that welcomes family & friends from the creator of My 100 year old home / Saeta, Leslie
“A Home to Share is all about the spirit of welcome. A guide to giving new life to underused spaces, and to bringing cozy, truly livable decor to every room of the house. Friends and family are Leslie Saeta’s true north, so she has also woven in plenty of signature entertaining ideas for hosting relaxed gatherings large and small.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Create : inspiring homes that value creativity before consumption / Henson, Emily
“Creativity before consumption is about reinvention and sustainability for the sake of the planet, but also for the pure joy and satisfaction of creating a home that is truly unique. Using her experience as a stylist and set designer,  Emily shows how to create homes that meet our needs yet have style, dash and personality aplenty without relying on yet more disposable ‘stuff’ for the next generation to deal with.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creative style : liveable, loveable spaces / McGraw, Lizzie
“When designing a space, one should thoroughly understand the lives of its inhabitants. The creative process is fun and adventurous, though it takes patience, imagination and self-awareness to transform your home into your sanctuary. In ‘Creative Style’, the basics–textiles, furniture, and accessories– are featured in new and exciting ways to create inspiring interiors projects that celebrate creativity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Stephen Sills : a vision for design / Sills, Stephen
“Stephen Sills is a true icon and recognized as a unique artistic voice in the design world. Renowned for his ability not only to design innovative and beautiful rooms but also to establish a pervasive atmosphere of luxury and calm. This book is an in-depth look at several of Sills’s most recent projects as well as Sills’s own residences.  It will serve as an invaluable resource for all design lovers and students.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


More is more is more : today’s maximalist interiors / Dellatore, Carl J.
“Jewel-like colour, glorious pattern, enchanting lacquered ceilings and geometric floors. Although Maximalism has always had a place in interior design today it is bigger than ever. Thanks to its contemporary practitioners, rooms rich with color, pattern, and everything else have exploded onto the design scene. Celebrate the best of this work with vivid inspiration and ideas on color, pattern, surfaces, elements, and layering.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Making murals : a practical handbook for wall painting and mural art to enhance your home / Wilkinson, Clara
“Liven up your home! Mural artists share their techniques for wall art and mural painting, including different methods for scaling up technical painting styles and detailed advice on how to prepare walls and surfaces. There are step-by-step tutorials as well as 10 magnificent murals for you to follow – designs for hallways, bathrooms, bedrooms and more, in a wide range of styles to start ‘unsaming’ your walls.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Soulful organic havens: Summer gardening reads

Making a garden together, in which to live and work, through thick and thin, fair and foul, is what we like to do best. Everything else is a sideshow. – Isabelle Bannerman.

Take a note out of the husband and wife duo’s book Husbandry, that takes a uniquely personal approach to creating meaningful gardens to live a full life within, catering to the equally messy yet joyous moments that a garden can foster and nurture. If you’re more inclined to viewing gardens than in creating them, check out the guide New Zealand Gardens to visit, and make your summer travel is that much more beautiful by dropping into some publicly accessible floral wonderlands.

Dive into 2023 with Organic Gardener’s January’s issue, all about learning organic backyard basics: like composting, growing your own fruit, pickling & preserving, and creating a waste-free household. eBrowse through the countless magazine issues, both current and archived, in our Home Gardening magazine collection, all only a click away on Overdrive. There’s plenty of green inspiration to keep you busy outdoors all summer long.

Overdrive cover ABC Organic Gardener Magazine (eMagazine)
Organic Gardener Magazine is a guide to organic gardening, providing informative and inspirational stories on everything you need to know to grow your own fruit and vegetables- without the use of harmful chemicals. Each issue includes practical tips and advice from leading organic gardening experts. (Adapted from Overdrive)


Husbandry : making gardens with Mr B / Bannerman, Isabel
“These authors are the creators of scores of lauded gardens, both private and personal in nature. This book covers the fundamentals of the key elements that go into making a garden for living in – a jumble of eating, drinking and sitting places, fruit cages, vegetable and cutting gardens, giant pots, rose arches, tools and sheds, fences, formality and topiary, pools and meadows, and not least the importance of one’s peripheral vision of how the garden joins on to the landscape.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


New Zealand gardens to visit / Nicholas, Juliet
“Visiting a beautiful garden feeds your soul and lifts your spirits. Here are more than 50 remarkable New Zealand gardens, all of them open to the public to visit. Travelling from the top of Aotearoa to its southernmost regions, this collection of captivating private and public gardens will appeal to every taste. From gardens that burst with flowers and fragrance, to wilder places that celebrate eco-friendly, naturalistic trends”. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Beyond the garden : designing home landscapes with natural systems / Davidsen, Dana
“Featuring a photographic collection of beautiful, innovative, ecologically friendly gardens that will inspire and inform anyone with a green thumb, from backyard gardeners to accomplished landscape architects. Through twenty distinctive projects set across urban, suburban, and rural spaces, Beyond the Garden explores how thoughtful design and awareness of local ecology can make gardens both beautiful and sustainable.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Garden of your dreams : a practical guide to your best outdoor transformation ever / Albone, Charlie
“An inspirational and practical guide to complete outdoor transformations – from the smallest urban courtyard to a rural paradise. Start by identifying your dream design style, then learn how to make a plan that works for your site, budget and aspirations. Create an entertaining space you are proud of, prepare the soil and then the real fun begins – planting! Start dreaming up your own outdoor transformation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Patios & courtyards : practical ideas for backyards, terraces and small gardens / Clifton, Joan
“An inspiring sourcebook of classic and contemporary garden designs, with ideas and techniques to suit enclosed outdoor spaces of every shape and size.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Overdrive cover Gardening Australia (eMagazine)

Whether you are a novice gardener or have a green thumb and years of experience, you’ll find the advice you need. Australia’s number one monthly gardening resource, ABC Gardening Australia magazine is packed with step-by-step advice and stunning design ideas from its popular team of experts. January’s issue, focused on how to bring sound, scent and sparkle into your backyard! (Adapted from Overdrive)

Into the forest : the secret language of trees / Hitchcock, Susan Tyler
“For millennia, trees have offered renewal and inspiration. In this beautiful and revealing book, legendary photography is combined with cutting-edge science to illuminate exactly how trees influence the life of planet Earth. Beautifully illustrated essays tell the stories of the world’s most remarkable trees, including New Zealand’s Tane Mahura, the ‘lord of the forest’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Native plants of Aotearoa / Lehnebach, Carlos
“Written by Te Papa botanists, Native Plants of Aotearoa describes and beautifully illustrates fifty of our most interesting and commonly encountered species, with insights into the museum’s fieldwork and collections.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The GardenerThe Gardener (Documentary – DVD)

“Shortly before his passing at the age of 86, influential gardener and horticulturalist Frank Cabot recounted his personal quest for perfection at Les Quatre Vents, his twenty-acre English style garden and summer estate that was opened to a film crew for the first time ever in 2009. Nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Charlevoix County in Quebec, Les Quatre Vents has become one of the world’s foremost private gardens. Created over 75 years and three generations, it is an enchanted place of beauty and surprise, a horticultural masterpiece of the 21st century.” (Catalogue)

Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush with author Bee Dawson

We sat down with local author Bee Dawson to discuss the newly released book Ōtari: Two hundred years of Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush. Dawson tells us the story behind writing the book, and explains why Ōtari–Wilton’s Bush is a unique Wellingtonian treasure. We discuss local history, native plant conservation, collaborative research, and the special people who have helped create and celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s only native bush reserve.

The book features an array of botanical drawings and historic photographs, charting Ōtari’s significance to the local community over its history, from the 1820’s to the present day. The contemporary photographs by Chris Coad are particularly striking and beautifully illustrate why Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush is ranked as a six-star garden of significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.

On Wellington City Recollect our Rare Books collection contains a digitsed copy of the 1932 document ‘A Scheme for the Development and Arrangement of the Otari Open-Air Native Plant Museum‘, written by the beloved Dr Leonard Cockayne, Wellington’s ‘honorary botanist’ and champion of Ōtari.

Otari : Two hundred years of Otari-Wilton’s Bush / Dawson, Bee

“The story of Ōtari–Wilton’s Bush, the only botanic garden dedicated solely to the collection and conservation of the plants unique to Aotearoa New Zealand and a native bush reserve with over a hundred hectares of regenerating forest, including some of Wellington’s oldest trees.” (Publisher’s Description)
For more information on the book visit The Cuba Press.

Ōtaki artist Rosemary Mortimer: Q+A for ‘Proof’

In the lead up to our Proof’ Book Launch + Artist Talk, we chatted to some of the artists featured in the book.

At her Ōtaki studio artist Rosemary Mortimer spoke to us about her creative process of finding and printing from found objects.

Join us at 11am this Saturday November 26th at Karori Library, as we celebrate contemporary printmaking with artists featured in the upcoming book ‘Proof: Two Decades of Printmaking‘. Showcasing the exhibitions, techniques and traditions of the Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ), this new publication is the first survey of fine art printmaking to be published in Aotearoa. View artworks and chat to the PCANZ artists about their studio practices, in this collaborative discussion on the incredible diversity of the printmaking medium.

What: ‘Proof’ Printmaking Book Launch + Artist Talk
When: Saturday, 26 November 2022, 11am – 12pm
Where: Karori Library

This event is presented in conjunction with Massey University Press and PCANZ. See more of Rosemary Mortimer’s artworks on her website. Special thanks to Justine Hall – Kāpiti Coast Art Trail for generously supplying the video footage used.

Find all of the details for the ‘Proof’ Book Launch + Artist Talk on our events calendar and on Facebook. For more artist interviews, check out our studio Q+A’s with Wellington-based artists Basia Smolnicki, Kirsty White and Carrie Carey.

Proof: Two Decades of Printmaking

“A superb showcase of some of the best examples of contemporary fine art printmaking in Aotearoa New Zealand today. With 180 works by 127 artists, Proof covers a huge breadth of printmaking processes and display the incredible diversity of this artform, from the more traditional woodcuts and etchings to those pushing the boundaries of print. With a foreword by Susanna Shadbolt, Director of Aratoi, Masterton, brief essays on the history of PCANZ, including significant exhibitions, and a glossary of printmaking terms and techniques this book is a valuable resource for art students and teachers. This first book on fine art printmaking ever to be published in New Zealand is a visual feast for designers, graphic artists, book binders, artists and art lovers.” (Catalogue)