From royalty to rugby, to teletubbies: New biographies

It’s November and we’ve got another bumper crop of biographies hitting the shelves for you all to enjoy.  From royalty to rugby, teenagers to Tellytubbies, saints to sinners, there’s something for everyone.

To see what else is new in our collection, go to what’s new & popular (wcl.govt.nz)

Women like us : a memoir / Prowse, Amanda
“Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side. One of the most candid memoirs you’re ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible–against the odds–to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success, from a woman who’s done it all, and then some.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Napoleon : the decline and fall of an empire : 1811-1821 / Broers, Michael
“In 1811, Napoleon stood at his zenith: he had defeated all of his continental rivals, had an heir on the way with his new wife, and his personal life was calm and secure. Within two years all of this was in peril. Broers delivers a dynamic new history covering the last chapter of the emperor’s life. Drawing on Napoleon’s personal correspondence, his history follows Napoleon’s thoughts and feelings as he fought to preserve the world he had created. The sheer determination of Tsar Alexander and the British to bring Napoleon down is a story of compromise and sacrifice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Acne : a memoir / Chinn, Laura
“Laura Chinn tells her by turns horrifying and hilarious story of growing up with non-conformist, irresponsible parents and countless family tragedies (and really bad, chronic acne) and how she found happiness despite everything.” (Catalogue)

To love and be loved : a personal portrait of Mother Teresa / Towey, Jim
“Author Jim Towey had been a high-flying Congressional staffer and lawyer in the 1980s until a brief meeting with Mother Teresa illuminated the emptiness of his life. He began volunteering at one of her soup kitchens and using his legal skills and political connections to help the Missionaries of Charity. When Mother Teresa suggested he take shifts at her AIDS hospice, Towey realized he was all in. Soon, he gave up his job and possessions and became a full-time volunteer for Mother Teresa. To Love and Be Loved is a firsthand account of Mother Teresa’s last years, and the first book ever to detail her dealings with worldly matters. We see her gracefully navigate the opportunities and challenges of leadership, the perils of celebrity, and the humiliations and triumphs of aging. We also catch her indulging in chocolate ice cream, making jokes about mini-skirts, and telling the President of the United States he’s wrong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Diana : remembering the Princess : reflections on her life twenty-five years on / Wharfe, Ken
“On the twenty-fifth anniversary of her death, this intimate and enlightening book explores the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her influence on the monarchy, on her sons and on wider social attitudes. An authoritative book, written with two close friends of Diana: Inspector Ken Wharfe was Diana’s police protection officer for six years during the most turbulent period of her marriage to Prince Charles. Ros Coward was chosen as author of the official book by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Trust.” (Catalogue)

Over the hills and far away : my life as a Teletubby / Smedley, Nikky
“Say ‘Eh-Oh’ to the performer behind the beloved Teletubby Laa-Laa … When children’s TV programme Teletubbies first aired in 1997, no one expected the cult status it would achieve. Propelled by a unique blend of educational theory, child psychology and linguistics, the show went on to air in 45 languages in 120 countries, win multiple BAFTA Awards, and achieve viewing figures of three billion a year. In a memoir as lively and funny as the programme itself, Nikky Smedley lifts the curtain on what it was like to be a Teletubby and takes us behind the magical scenes of a global phenomenon.” (Catalogue)

Billy Wallace : a true rugby legend / Dwyer, Denis
“In 1905 Billy Wallace was selected to represent New Zealand, touring the British Isles, France and North America, as part of a rugby team that became known as The Original All Blacks. It was during this landmark tour that Billy Wallace showed the rest of the world how the game should be played. Wallace’s rugby career highlights include: scoring the first points for New Zealand in an international test match; being the first Kiwi to score 500 points in first-class rugby; holding the New Zealand record for the most points scored in a single All Blacks match for 46 years. To this day Wallace holds the world record for the most points scored on a rugby tour by any player. Including previous unseen rugby archive and family photographs, this fascinating biography tells the complete story of the life and career of Billy Wallace, a true rugby legend.” (Catalogue)

Zelensky : a biography / Rudenko, Serhiĭ
“Three years after the political novice Volodymyr Zelensky was elected to Ukraine’s highest office, he found himself catapulted into the role of war-time leader. The former comedian has become the public face of his country’s courageous and bloody struggle against a brutal invasion. Born to Jewish parents in central Ukraine, Zelensky campaigned for the presidency in the 2019 election on the promise to restore trust in politics. After his landslide victory, he told jubilant supporters ‘I will never let you down.’ Little did he know that he would be called upon to serve his people in the most demanding circumstances imaginable, fighting for the very survival of his country in the worst war on European soil since 1945. Zelensky’s leadership in the face of Russia’s aggression is an inspiration to everyone who stands opposed to the appalling violence being unleashed on Ukraine. This book tells his astonishing story.” (Catalogue)

Jersey breaks : becoming an American poet / Pinsky, Robert
“In late-1940s Long Branch, an historic but run-down Jersey Shore resort town, in a neighborhood of Italian, Black, and Jewish families, Robert Pinsky began his unlikely journey to becoming a poet. Descended from a bootlegger grandfather, an athletic father, and a rebellious tomboy mother, Pinsky was an unruly but articulate high-school C-student whose obsession with the rhythms and melodies of speech inspired him to write. Pinsky traces the roots of his poetry, with its wide and fearless range, back to the voices of his neighborhood, to music and a distinctly American tradition of improvisation, with influences including Mark Twain and Ray Charles, Marianne Moore and Mel Brooks, Emily Dickinson and Sid Caesar, Dante Alighieri and the Orthodox Jewish liturgy. Jersey Breaks offers a candid self-portrait and, underlying Pinsky’s notable public presence and unprecedented three terms as poet laureate of the United States, a unique poetic understanding of American culture.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dinners with Ruth : a memoir on the power of friendships / Totenberg, Nina
“Dinners with Ruth is an extraordinary account of two women who paved the way for future generations by tearing down professional and legal barriers. It is also an intimate memoir of the power of friendships as women began to pry open career doors and transform the workplace. At the story’s heart is one, special relationship: Ruth and Nina saw each other not only through personal joys, but also illness, loss, and widowhood. Ruth drew Nina out of grief during the devastating illness and eventual death of Nina’s first husband; twelve years later, Nina would reciprocate when Ruth’s beloved husband died. They shared a love of opera and shopping, as they instinctively understood that clothes were armor for women who wanted to be taken seriously in a workplace dominated by men. During Ruth’s last year, they shared so many small dinners that Saturdays were “reserved for Ruth” in Nina’s house.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All signs point to Paris : a memoir of love, loss and destiny / Sizlo, Natasha
“Divorced, broke, and heartsick, it seems like things can’t get worse for Natasha Barrett-then she learns her beloved father is dying. So when she’s gifted a session with LA’s most sought-after astrologist, Natasha has nothing to lose. She doesn’t believe in astrology, but the reading is eerily, impossibly accurate. As her misgivings give way, Natasha asks about her emotionally unavailable, yet terribly handsome ex-boyfriend, the one she can’t seem to get over. To Natasha’s surprise, the astrologist tells her he is The One. His birthdate and birthplace-November 2, 1968 in Paris, France-line up with Natasha’s astrological point of destiny. The word husband comes up in the reading. Natasha feels faint. Was her ex really the big soul love she was destined for? Then, she has a lightning bolt of an idea: he couldn’t possibly be the only available man born on November 2, 1968 in Paris. Her soulmate is still out there-she just has to find him.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Life’s work : a memoir / Milch, David
“From the start, Milch’s life seems destined to echo that of his father, a successful if drug-addicted surgeon. Almost every achievement is accompanied by an act of self-immolation, but the deepest sadnesses also contain moments of grace. Betting on race horses and stealing booze at eight years old, mentored by Robert Penn Warren and excoriated by Richard Yates at twenty-one, Milch never did anything by half. He got into Yale Law only to be expelled for shooting out street lights with a shotgun. He paused his studies at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to manufacture acid in Cuernavaca. He created and wrote some of the biggest, most lauded television series of all time, made a family and pursued sobriety, and then lost his fortune betting horses just as his father had taught him.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

An accidental icon : how I dodged a bullet, spoke truth to power and lived to tell the tale / Scott, Norman
“In October 1975 an assassin tried to murder Norman Scott on Exmoor but the trigger failed and he only succeeded in shooting Scott’s beloved dog, Rinka. Scott subsequently found himself at the centre of a major political scandal and became an unlikely queer icon. But this was never his intention… He was born in 1940 into a poor, dysfunctional and abusive family. Aged sixteen he began an equestrian career, animals having been the one source of comfort in his childhood. By the age of twenty he had run into debts and had suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1960 Scott began a sexual affair with Jeremy Thorpe. By the time of the attempted assassination of Scott, Thorpe was married, leader of the Liberal Party and a figure at the heart of the establishment. He was embarrassed by their former relationship and wanted to cover it up. But he failed. The assassination attempt culminated in a sensational trial in 1979, where Thorpe was tried for conspiracy to murder. The press labelled Scott a madman and the establishment protected Thorpe, who was acquitted. Only recently has Scott’s version of events been vindicated. An Accidental Icon tells a story that is inspiring and jaw droppingly unbelievable: it is the tale of the courage and survival of one man who took on the establishment” (Catalogue)

Caught Up in Cults – Histories and Experiences of Cult Groups

The history of cults in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world is a fascinating one.  How do people get caught up in cults?  What triggers a cult to form?  When is an organisation or religion categorised as a cult?  If the topic interests you, we have several excellent books for you to read.

Uncultured : a memoir / Mestyanek Young, Daniella
“Behind the tall, foreboding gates of a commune in Brazil, Daniella Mestyanek Young was raised in the religious cult The Children of God, also known as The Family, as the daughter of high-ranking members. Beholden to The Family’s strict rules, Daniella suffers physical, emotional, and sexual abuse-masked as godly discipline and divine love-and is forbidden from getting a traditional education. At fifteen years old, fed up with The Family and determined to build a better and freer life for herself, Daniella escapes to Texas.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cultish : the language of fanaticism / Montell, Amanda
“What causes people to join– and more importantly, stay in– extreme groups? The answer, Montell believes, has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. She argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear– and are influenced by– every single day. Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish.” In doing so, she reveals how they even pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds.” (Catalogue)

Cults uncovered : true stories of mind control and murder / Thompson, Emily G.
“Discover the shocking truth about some of the most disturbing cults that have ever existed–cults led by psychopaths such as Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Jim Jones that have exploded into acts of appalling savagery and evil. Explores these and many more bizarre and frightening cases to reveal terrifying stories of manipulation, coercion, abuse, and murder.” (Catalogue)

Doomsday cults : death, destruction and despair : inside the world’s most dangerous cults / Moore, Jonathan J
“Doomsday Cults: death, destruction and despair shows how different people throughout the ages used the Biblical texts as the fount of their philosophy. Rather than leading to peace and redemption, their interpretations led to death, destruction and despair.” (Catalogue)

Zealot : a book about cults / Thornely, Jo
“People are drawn to cults for a number of reasons, but commonly they attract people whose current religion or lifestyle is lacking — it’s too restrictive, it’s not restrictive and holy enough; it doesn’t seem to offer solutions for a chaotic and dangerous world… Whatever the drawcard, once people are in, it’s usually very difficult for them to leave. From the Jonestown cult Kool-Aid drinkers to the Australian cult The Family to The Branch Davidians, this is book is a wide-sweeping look at cults around the world based on the popular podcast Zealot.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Daughter of Gloriavale : my life in a religious cult / Tarawa, Lilia
“When Lilia’s parents fled the cult and its dreadful secrets, Lilia and her many siblings were wrenched away from the only life they knew. Lilia struggled to adapt to life on the outside. Would she be damned to Hell for leaving? How could she learn to navigate this strange place called ‘the world’? And would she ever find out the truth about her grandfather and the cult that had shaped her life?” (Catalogue)

Sins of the father : the long shadow of a religious cult : a New Zealand story / Beale, Fleur
“The disturbing story of the ruthless exercise of power in a New Zealand religious cult. Charismatic, driven and self-righteous, Neville Cooper set up his own brand of Christian utopia on earth- a reclusive community on the West Coast of New Zealand. For the 400 inhabitants of Gloriavale, his word is law – despite his 1995 conviction for sexual abuse. His son Phil Cooper, as headstrong as his father, had to escape. This is a true story of power and control, of abductions and night raids, of hearts broken and those trying to mend.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Going clear : Scientology, Hollywood, and the prison of belief / Wright, Lawrence
“Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists–both famous and less well known–and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative skills to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Girl at the end of the world : my escape from fundamentalism in search of faith with a future / Esther, Elizabeth
“I was raised in a homegrown, fundamentalist Christian group–which is just a shorthand way of saying I’m classically trained in apocalyptic stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. In her memoir, readers will recognize questions every believer faces: When is spiritual zeal a gift, and when is it a trap? What happens when a pastor holds unchecked sway over his followers? And how can we leave behind the harm inflicted in the name of God without losing God in the process?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The cult files : true stories from the extreme edges of religious belief / Mikul, Chris
“Explores the history, features and beliefs of thirty cults through the ages. Riveting, sometimes amusing, often horrifying stories show the inside workings of these groups, and trace their history and often their demise. The book includes the Aum Shinrikyo followers, who killed twelve people in a poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway; Scientology (now known for its celebrity followers), which was established in the 1950’s by a science fiction writer; and the Peoples Temple, in which Jim Jones convinced hundreds of followers to commit suicide en masse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ask the Experts – Librarians Recommend

Recently I took a poll of our library staff asking what books they absolutely loved, whether they were recent reads or long term favourites.  As you can imagine, the responses were quite broad; after all, librarians are the experts in readers’ advisory.  Here are some of the books our team recommend…

Where the crawdads sing / Owens, Delia
“One of the best, well written, books I’ve read recently. The story is so compelling and involving that it just immerses you in Kaya’s world. I really recommend the book as a whole but the audiobook is a work of art. (Ligia)

Embroidering her truth : Mary, Queen of Scots and the language of power / Hunter, Clare
“Fabrics and embroidery as historical social media! This is a well-researched nonfiction cultural biography which explores the role of textiles as a tool for women to tell their story. In 16th Century Europe even high-status women’s voices were suppressed and silenced and when textiles represented power, Mary, Queen of Scots (and other women) skilfully used them to promote and defend female agency. Textile Curator Clare Hunter’s book blends history, politics and memoir to tell Mary’s story in her own voice.  If you think embroidery was only a genteel hobby this will encourage you to see it in a new light.

This has been a recent favourite read because of its fascinating evidence showing how textiles and embroidery were used by Mary Queen of Scots to promote her status, her political agenda and, during her captivity, her emotions, frustrations and regrets. (David P)

Loop tracks / Orr, Sue
“I loved everything about this book – the characters, especially Tom, the Wellington setting, and the addressing of issues both political and family-related.  Realistic and absorbing.” (Sandy)

All of you every single one / Hitchman, Beatrice
“Set in Vienna and spanning 35 years between 1911 and 1946, Hitchman’s extraordinary second novel is a vivid and sometimes unexpected story. The main characters –  Julia, Eve, and Rolf – are recognisably human and complex, while the historical setting is beautifully rendered and yet contemporary in tone. All of You Every Single One is not a short book, but I still didn’t want it to end. ” (Corinna)

Afterparties : stories / So, Anthony Veasna
Afterparties is a collection of stories set mostly in Central Valley, California, where a sizable community of Cambodian refugees settled after the genocide. It features a wide array of subjects – badminton, monks, weddings, reincarnation, absent fathers, family businesses – and is written with love and a good sense of humour. There’s also a clear-eyed awareness of social issues, such as poverty or the lingering effects of trauma, and how they’re felt in people’s day to day lives. It’s a community I didn’t know existed before, but now feels familiar thanks to the vibrance and specificity of the writing.” (Charlotte)

Riddley Walker / Hoban, Russell
“A post-apocalyptic novel unlike any other, Riddley Walker is set many centuries from now, in an England that has reverted to Iron Age levels. It is written in an extraordinary, debased version of English, and is funny, brutal and incredibly moving.” (Martin)

Crying in H Mart : a memoir / Zauner, Michelle
“This memoir is heart-breakingly raw, as Michelle navigates pain, grief, childhood, and the intricacies of navigating ethnic identity. It is a book that will linger in your mind you even after you have finished it.” (Yani)

The devil’s atlas : an explorer’s guide to heavens, hells and afterworlds / Brooke-Hitching, Edward
“Edward Brooke-Hitching, a writer for QI, has compiled a visual history of every map of Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory that’s ever been recorded in cultures across the world. From Valhalla to Xilbalba, this book is a fascinating glance into how our shared obsessions with life after death, our place in the universe, and mapping the unknown intersect.” (Gus)

Let my people go surfing : the education of a reluctant businessman / Chouinard, Yvon
“It’s the story of the founding of the outdoor company Patagonia and the philosophies and values they have developed around business.  How it started off as a couple of guys making their own climbing equipment to improve on what was on the market.  That was the basis of a multi-national company who were ahead of the field in so many ways. Based in the US they implemented paid parental leave, on-site child care, sustainability policies and the like long before other companies.  It gives a fascinating insight into a company that swam against the flow but has still been extremely successful ” (Linda S)

Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“In my opinion, a recent masterpiece, about some of the most difficult topics, yet done with an entertaining and comedic voice. For me every one of his new books from now on are a must read.” (Kyan)

Americanah / Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
“I don’t know how to say how amazing it is: As someone who was married to a former refugee from West Africa this book articulated experiences of the African diaspora in America and the UK that I really heard and saw in my husband and his family.  She describes the often heart wrenchingly difficult, diverse and multi-layered experiences of first, second and third generation African migrants; young, middle-aged and older.  I think the beauty of novels like this one is that readers not only learn about the nuances and complexity of racism but are also able to develop empathy towards characters whose experiences that maybe vastly different from their own.” (Zoe)

We’d love to hear your recent reads and favourites, and don’t forget you can review your Wellington City Libraries’ reads both in the library catalogue and in the Beanstack app.

International Chocolate Day: 13th of September

It’s International Chocolate Day and if there’s one thing that rates high amongst librarians, other than books and cats, it’s chocolate!  We’ll find any excuse to have some celebratory choccies around, and you’ll seldom hear more oohs and ahhs than when a really delicious looking chocolate recipe book comes into the collection.  In celebration of this most special day of the year, we’ve put together a list of chocolatey items from our collection that you can dig into while you enjoy some of the sweet stuff.

Chocolate : a global history / Moss, Sarah
“Chocolate is synonymous with our cultural sweet tooth, our restaurant dessert menus, and our idea of indulgence. It is seen as magical, addictive, and powerful beyond anything that can be explained by its ingredients, and in Chocolate Sarah Moss and Alec Badenoch explore the origins and growth of this almost universal obsession. Moss and Badenoch recount the history of chocolate, which from ancient times has been associated with sexuality, sin, blood, and sacrifice. Chocolate also looks at today’s mass-production of chocolate, with brands such as Hershey’s, Lindt, and Cadbury dominating our supermarket shelves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chocolate / Hay, Donna
“Featuring 60 simply beautiful recipes for all our favourites, this is the only chocolate cookbook you’ll ever need. Give yourself and your family a sweet treat! Covering the basics, biscuits and slices, small cakes, cakes and desserts, Simple Essentials: Chocolate is a celebration of everyone’s favourite ingredient.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Chocolate alchemy : a bean to bar primer : creating your own truffles, candies, cakes, fudge and sipping chocolates / Hard, Kristen
“Finally, the first book to reveal the complete bean-to-bar process of creating chocolate from scratch in your own kitchen, plus over 100 recipes for delectable cacao treats. Through easy-to-understand recipes, Chocolate Alchemy makes creating your own chocolate at home accessible to everyone, whether you are an avid cook or simply a chocolate lover.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chocolat : a novel / Harris, Joanne
“When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?” (Catalogue)

The little book of Chocolat / Harris, Joanne
“Try me… test me… taste me… Joanne Harris’ Chocolat trilogy has tantalized readers with its sensuous descriptions of chocolate since it was first published. Now, to celebrate the much-loved story of Vianne Rocher’s deliciously decadent chocolaterie, Joanne Harris and Fran Warde have created the ultimate book of chocolate lore and recipes from around the world, bringing a touch of magic to your kitchen.” (Catalogue)

The secrets of chocolate : a gourmand’s trip through a top chef’s atelier / Alarcon, Franckie
“Following Jacques Genin for a year, Franckie Alarcon hobnobbed with one of the biggest chefs of Chocolate. Former chef and pastry chef for prestigious restaurants, this super-talented autodidact shares all his passion and knowledge of chocolate and his process for creating recipes. In this docu-comic, we travel with the starry-eyed author, satisfying many a craving from the chef’s amazing atelier above his store, trying his hand as an apprentice, all the way to the Peruvian cocoa plantations where another chef shows how one carefully chooses the beans.” (Catalogue)

Charlie and the chocolate factory / Dahl, Roald
“Charlie Bucket loves chocolate. And Mr Willy Wonka, the most wonderous inventor in the world, is opening the gates of his amazing chocolate factory to five lucky children. It’s the prize of a lifetime! Gobstoppers, wriggle sweets and a river of melted chocolate await – Charlie needs just one Golden Ticket and these delicious treats could all be his.” (Catalogue)

 

The ultimate book of chocolate : make your chocolate dreams come true / Dupuis, Melanie
“In The Ultimate Book of Chocolate trained pastry chef Melanie Dupuis will teach you how to make your chocolate dreams become a reality. Learn how to temper, mould and decorate like a pro with the complete guide to everything chocolate. Melanie guides the reader with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions on all the essential techniques, from tempering to making ganache, chocolate mousse, creme anglaise, biscuit bases, meringue and more . This is a masterclass in making chocolate desserts from an expert pastry chef, and is truly a chocoaholic’s dream book!” (Catalogue)

Lonely Planet’s global chocolate tour
“Explore the delicious world of chocolate with Lonely Planet. Packed with find chocolate makers across six continents, and with tips on everything from where to get Germany’s best black forest cake to the hotspots for hot chocolate, our experts show you where to treat your sweet tooth. Includes Tokyo, Brussels, London, Sydney, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Oaxaca, Toronto and more.” (Catalogue)

The big block of chocolate / Bottin, Janet
“Miss Jenny bought some chocolate, a great big block of chocolate. She said, ‘This block of chocolate is mine and all for me'”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

 

 

For more delicious books about chocolate, click here.

Read More: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II

With the news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain we thought it timely to share some of our collection for those of you who wish to read more about her long and eventful life and reign.

Queen Elizabeth II : a celebration of her life and reign / Ewart, Tim

“Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She is the figurehead of the Commonwealth – a total of 53 countries, head of state for 16 countires, manages 1,200 members of staff and hosts on average 30,000 people a year at garden parties or investitures. Throughout her 64-year rule she has made more than 250 official visits to over 100 countries in what has been an exhauting, relentless and demanding career. Each decade has presented her with new challenges as society and perceptions of the monarchy have changed.” (Catalogue)

Elizabeth : a diamond jubilee portrait / Bond, Jennie

“Constantly under scrutiny ever since she took the throne, this title presents a balanced and absorbing account of the Queen’s life and of her role as the head of state in a country and a world that have changed almost beyond recognition in the 60 years since she inherited the throne.” (Catalogue)

 

Her Majesty

“Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Queen: The extraordinary public and private life of the world’s most famous monarch.  The book tells her remarkable royal story through hundreds of stunning photographs, many previously unseen and sourced from multiple archives in the United Kingdom (including the Royal Collection), Continental Europe, and the United States. These images have it all: history, politics, glamour, fashion, culture, travel, and, of course, hats. These photographs cover every aspect of her reign: the early years, coming of age during World War II, becoming a wife, Queen and mother, the Royal Tours, the palaces, the crowds, the weddings, the Royal Family, the Silver Jubilee in 1977, and the later years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Queen Elizabeth II

“More than 80 years of the monarch’s life, captured in stirring and triumphant photos. Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, at the age of 27, the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror and the great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She celebrated her Silver and Golden Jubilees in 1977 and 2002 respectively, her 80th birthday in 2006, and 60 years on the throne in 2012, an achievement that equals only Queen Victoria. During Elizabeth’s long reign the world has witnessed sweeping changes, not least of which was the dissolution of the British Empire. Queen Elizabeth II: Diamond Jubilee records the major events of her reign, during which she has carried out her duties with a huge program of visits in the UK as well as many foreign tours, her world travel being unprecedented by any previous monarch.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Queen : secrets & celebrations of Her Majesty / Kerr, Gordon

“Queen Elizabeth II has seen the country through the upheavals of over half a century and, despite peaks and troughs, her popularity is greater than ever. A timely celebration of the nation’s treasured monarch, whose Diamond Jubilee takes place in June, this lavishly illustrated guide takes you through the decades.” (Catalogue)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II : Diamond Jubilee souvenir / Bullen, Annie

“This special souvenir guide, illustrated with over 80 photographs, looks at every aspect of the life of one of our most beloved monarchs: her childhood and teenage years; her role as Heir Presumptive; her engagement and marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh and as mother to her young family; her accession and coronation.    ” (Catalogue)

Queen of our times : the life of Elizabeth II / Hardman, Robert

“The definitive new biography of Her Majesty The Queen by one of Britain’s leading royal authorities. With original insights from those who know her best, unseen papers, new interviews with world leaders and a fresh perspective on the longest reign in British history, Robert Hardman tells the full life story of the most famous woman in the world. Like her father and grandfather before her, Elizabeth II was not born to be monarch. Yet she has reigned through more change than any sovereign since 1066. From her accession as a young mother of two in 1952 to the age of Covid-19, she has become a global phenomenon commanding unrivalled respect and affection. Elizabeth II: Her Life. Her Reign. Her Story follows the astonishing journey of the quietly determined young woman who has gone on to lead her family and her people through good times and bad for longer than most people have been alive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elizabeth & Margaret : the intimate world of the Windsor sisters / Morton, Andrew

“They were the closest of sisters until their uncle Edward Vlll decided to abdicate the throne. Then the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more Margaret would have to curtsy to her sister and bow to her wishes. Margaret’s struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system was often a source of tension. When the Church and government would not allow her to marry a divorcé, Group Captain Peter Townsend, Margaret had to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her lover. Morton explores their relationship, offering unique insight into a woman resigned to duty and responsibility, and a sister resistant to it.” (Catalogue)

The last queen : Elizabeth II’s seventy-year battle to save the House of Windsor / Irving, Clive

“In 2020, the Queen finally appeared to be at ease in the modern world, helped by the new generation of Windsors. But then Harry and Meghan announced that they were leaving ‘The Firm’, and Prince Andrew was relieved of his duties following revelations of his involvement with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, inflamed by a car-crash TV interview. Suddenly, the Faustian bargain the royal family had struck with the media to ensure their survival had never seemed so close to breaking point. Here, through Clive Irving’s unique insight, we look behind the facade to find a fragile institution which owes its continued existence to one extraordinarily dutiful matriarch.” (Catalogue)

Young Elizabeth : the making of our queen / Williams, Kate

“We can hardly imagine a Britain without Elizabeth II on the throne. It seems to be the job she was born for. And yet, for much of her early life, the young princess did not know the role that her future would hold.” (Catalogue)

 

My husband and I : the inside story of the royal marriage / Seward, Ingrid

“When a young Princess Elizabeth met and fell in love with the dashing Naval Lieutenant Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, it wasn’t without its problems. The romance between the sailor prince and the young princess brought a splash of colour to a nation still in the grip of post-war austerity. When they married in Westminster Abbey in November 1947, there were 3000 guests, including six kings and seven queens. Within five years, as Queen Elizabeth II, she would ascend to the throne and later be crowned in front of millions watching through the new medium of television. Throughout her record-breaking reign, she relied on the formidable partnership she had made with her consort. Now, after 70 years of their marriage, acclaimed royal biographer Ingrid Seward sheds new light on their relationship and its impact on their family and on the nation. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

There are many more books on the topic of  Queen Elizabeth II, the British Monarchy and Royal Family available in our collection.

From Wild to Manicured: new gardening books

Take a visual journey around the world- from England, to Japan, to Australia -where the latest contemporary gardening trends are being experimented with, and pushed to their limits, producing awe-inspiring and abundant results. You’ll find a big focus on sustainable, eco-friendly planting, where your local environment can help lead the way in creating a perfectly designed, harmonious outdoor space. There’s even a gardening guide for renters with budget friendly and time conscious options, for those whose greenspaces may have been long neglected and sparsely cared for. You needn’t be limited by lease lengths or lack of inspiration, this array of new non-fiction books have all your gardening needs covered.

Wild : the naturalistic garden / Kingsbury, Noël
“A stunning exploration of one of the hottest trends in garden design: nature-based planting with an eco-aware approach. Forget the mild, manicured gardens of the past: planting today is undergoing a revolution in taste and aesthetics. This is the first comprehensive overview of a new planting approach that is wild and natural by nature, reflecting the global turn towards sustainability and the current zeitgeist in garden design. Featuring over 40 gardens this stunning book is brought to life with beautiful photography and insightful text.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Adelaide Hills Gardens / McCabe, Christine
Adelaide Hills Gardens charts the evolution of gardening in Australia, that is anchored deeply in history, yet with sights set firmly on the future. Old oak, elm and ash trees, planted after memories of English gardens, live alongside stringybark eucalypts and native bush gullies, fruit-bearing orchards and wineries. Encompassing twenty gardens, taking in grand Victorian estates and repurposed municipal water tanks alike,  this book is a testament to the power of gardens to adapt, delight and restore.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gardens for the soul : sustainable and stylish outdoor spaces / Bird, Sara
Gardens for the Soul shows how a sustainable and eco-friendly ethos can be at the heart of creating a beautiful garden, whatever its location or size. There are a multitude of different ways in which we use our outside spaces, Gardens for the Soul explores ways to create and style a haven that will suit your lifestyle. Visit real-life gardens of all sizes, to glean ideas, tips and inspiration, with a focus on sustainability and reclaimed materials.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Inside your Japanese garden / Yasumoro, Sadao
Inside Your Japanese Garden walks you through designing and creating your very own Japanese garden. From small projects like benches and gates, to larger undertakings like bridges and mud walls, this book provides a wide variety of ways to enhance the space around your home, no matter the size. This book features 20 gardens that author Sadao Yasumoro designed and built in Japan. From small tsuboniwa courtyard gardens to a large backyard stroll garden with water features, stairs and walls, these real-life inspirations will help spark your own garden plan.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flea market garden style / McKenzie, Caroline
“With small space inspiration, details that wow, budget-friendly solutions, magical makeovers, or fresh ideas for old homes, you can bring new life to your yard! Welcome to Flea Market Garden Style, where a well-rooted, decidedly unstuffy approach to landscapes is taken. Firm believers that gardens look best when they are lush and layered–if not a smidge unkempt– where the more varied and abundant the flora and fauna, the better! Discover outdoor spaces brimming with old pieces that have been given new life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)