Visiting the library in Alert Level 2

covid19 logo

covid19 logo

“Under Alert level 2 all of our libraries will be open from Thursday 9 September, with a few changes to keep everyone safe and able to use our spaces,” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“This includes slightly reduced hours, strongly encouraging everyone to follow the social distancing, use hand sanitiser and wear masks.”

“To help ensure everyone can use our services and find their latest reads, we are asking people to again limit their visit to 30 minutes and come on your own or in small groups, where possible. We have temporarily suspended our events and programmes, such as Baby Rock and Rhyme as well. Please check the website before you visit, as some hours may have changed temporarily.”

“Everyone was amazing in following the hygiene measures and being kind to one another under the previous Covid-19 restrictions, so we hope everyone will be back to our new normal soon.”

When visiting any of our libraries:

  • Wear a mask if you are 12 years and over – unless you hold an exemption from the Ministry of Health Covid-19 website.
  • Most customer facing staff will also be wearing masks unless they are not required to for safety reasons.
  • Scanning or signing in is a condition of entry for all Council facilities and venues. This applies to visitors, contractors and couriers entering our spaces.
  • Limit your visit to 30 mins so we can provide all visitors with 2 metres social distancing – please follow the signs and guidance of our staff.
  • Use EFTPOS or other contactless payments if you can. We will accept cash but prefer not to for hygiene reasons.

You can return items from 10am Wednesday 8 September if your local library has an after-hours slot.

All programmes and events are cancelled for this week, please check back on our blog on Monday for an update.

For more information, please check our COVID-19 FAQs.

COVID-19 FAQs

Vinyl Arrives at Waitohi!

Exciting things have been happening of late at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub, with this week heralding the arrival of part of the libraries’ vinyl collection at their branch. They have been working hard behind the scenes to present this collection, a majority of which has been in storage since the closure of the Central Library.

The idea of having a vinyl collection at Waitohi came about as a result of their recently established Vinyl Club, which meets on the last Saturday of each month. Vinyl Club is a place to share and appreciate music on wax and is open to all. Unfortunately, they have had to postpone meetings for the last few months in light of COVID-19 alert level changes, however they hope to resume meeting when Wellington returns to Level 1.
For further details, keep an eye on our Events Calendar.

The vinyl collection at Waitohi comprises approximately 300 records of varying genres, from Jazz to Hip Hop to local music from Wellington and around New Zealand. The collection is located on the Lower Ground at Waitohi in front of Tūhura HIVE Makerspace, which hosts their Vinyl Club sessions. Records may be taken out for $1 each for a loan period of 7 days and are issued in retro bespoke turquoise sleeves for style and ease of carriage!

Thanks to Sam from Opium Eater who generously agreed to model with one of our Vinyl satchels…

Vote for Bird of the Year 2021

It’s that time of the year again, when we all get the opportunity to vote for our favourite New Zealand Bird of the Year.  Whether you’re a purist who insists that only birds qualify, or one of these new radicals championing a *gasp* mammal (the pekapeka-tou-roa or long-tailed bat), there’s a bird to suit everyone’s tastes.  From cheeky kākā, to those chonky kererū or the tiny tītīpounamu with their bumblebee sized hatchlings, New Zealand birds are fascinating and sadly, all too many of them are at risk of disappearing altogether.

If you’re not sure what birds you might like to vote for, we’re here to help, with plenty of books about the birds of New Zealand, whether you’re backyard bird watcher, a recreational twitcher or a serious ornithologist, we’ve got something for you.  Here are a selection of titles:

A naturalist’s guide to the birds of New Zealand / Thomas, Oscar

“This photographic identification guide to 239 bird species in New Zealand, including the most commonly seen, unique and endemic species, is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High-quality photographs from one of New Zealand’s youngest nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers climate, vegetation, biogeography and the key sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of New Zealand encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, IUCN status.” (Catalogue)

The brilliance of birds : a New Zealand birdventure / Wishart, Skye

“Who knew that the morepork, our forest-dwelling owl, can turn its head 270 degrees? Or that the eastern bar-tailed godwit triples its body weight before undertaking an epic and continuous migration of 11,000 kilometres? Or that the tūī has two voiceboxes – enabling it to duet with itself – one producing sounds too high-frequency for humans to hear?” (Catalogue)

 

Birdstories : a history of the birds of New Zealand / Norman, Geoff

“Norman covers a range of our bird families and individual species, and provides an up-to-date picture of how these birds are regarded by both Māori and Pākehā, the backstory of their discovery, and their current conservation status. Extensively illustrated with historic illustrations and contemporary artwork, this is a beautiful, comprehensive publication that will help New Zealanders realise what a taonga we have in our birds.” (Catalogue)

 

The hunters : the precarious lives of New Zealand’s birds of prey / Stewart, Debbie.

“The majestic New Zealand falcon in flight looks like a sleek killing machine – but it is one of the most endangered and misunderstood birds in our nation today. This landmark book presents all of our amazing birds of prey, from the cute ruru (or morepork) we hear calling in the night, to the hawks that hover over roadkill on our highways. Stunning photographs show the lives of these birds in intimate close-ups, and the stories make a case for their continuing protection as a vital part of our fragile ecosystem.” (Catalogue)

The field guide to the birds of New Zealand / Heather, B. D.

“The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand is the modern classic of the genre – the tried and trusted reference for lovers of New Zealand birds. Comprehensive, reliable and easy to use, this revised edition features: 374 species, including 11 new additions – the book’s biggest revision since first publication ; 85 stunning colour paintings of New Zealand birds, including rare and recently extinct species ; an introduction to key bird-watching sites ; distribution maps and an in-depth guide to field identification ; an additional handbook section that includes information on the distribution, habitat, population, conservation, breeding, behaviour and feeding habits of each species. The only field guide to New Zealand birds officially endorsed by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, this is the most authoritative reference available – a wonderful celebration of our extraordinary and diverse birdlife.” (Catalogue)

Buller’s birds of New Zealand : the complete work of JG Keulemans / Keulemans, J. G.

“Presents the full set of artworks created by JG Keulemans for “A history of the birds of New Zealand” by Walter Buller.” (Catalogue)

 

Land of birds : an illustrated tribute to the birds of New Zealand / Meyer-Westfeld, Niels

“Land of Birds is a stunning new book of New Zealand bird illustrations. Using the structure of a naturalist’s journal, Niels Meyer-Westfeld has created a very personal and sensitive tribute to this country’s remarkable birdlife. The heart of the book is his beautifully detailed illustrations of birds, covering all of our best-loved wetland, sea and forest species. The main illustrations are supported by beautifully rendered sketches and working drawings. Accompanying the illustrations is text from the author, which provides information about the species, and anecdotes about the process of creating his artwork. His text is also an impassioned call for a greater awareness of the wider threats that so much of our endangered birdlife faces in New Zealand. Land of Birds will appeal to anyone with a passion for New Zealand’s flora and fauna, particularly birds, as well as those with an interest in illustration and art.” (Catalogue)

Native birds of New Zealand / Hallett, David

“Native Birds of New Zealand is a photographic book of New Zealand native birds that will appeal to the casual bird-watcher as well as the ornithologist. Many books in the past have been aimed at the serious ornithologist, with illustrations designed to show distinct feather patterns but not to create an image that is also pleasing to the eye. The photographs in this book have been taken by David Hallett, one of New Zealand’s leading wildlife photographers, who captures the beauty of New Zealand’s native birds in their natural environment, from the subtropical north to the Sub-Antarctic Islands, and from the oceans to the alpine meadows of the Southern Alps. The text is kept short and avoids the in-depth academic material found in some of the very good reference books on the market. It does include all the interesting facts that set our native birds apart, presented in a short, concise format that makes the book ideal for browsing. With the advent of digital photography, many more birders are now equipping themselves with cameras as well as binoculars when they go into the field, creating an increasing awareness of wildlife photography. This trend, combined with the affection New Zealanders have for their native birds, makes Native Birds of New Zealand a book that will have widespread appeal.” (Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand : a photographic guide / Scofield, R. Paul

“[An] introduction to the identification and behaviour of this country’s extraordinary avian life. From the Kermadecs to Campbell Island, from beloved endemics to passing vagrants, from albatrosses and shearwaters to kiwi and kākā, the book ranges widely. Key features include: expert and up-to-date information on the 345 bird species found in New Zealand ; almost 1000 new photographs illustrating key identification characteristics and variation by age and sex ; authoritative text covering identification, behaviour, distribution and taxonomy ; Māori, English and scientific names.” (Catalogue)

Shorebirds of New Zealand : sharing the margins / Woodley, Keith

“Shorebirds of New Zealand is a beautiful, informative and lyrical account of the many shorebirds found here – those living and breeding in the same area year after year, those that migrate within New Zealand, and those whose migrations link the hemispheres. It examines the lifecycles, habits and histories of our shorebirds, such as red knots (some 50,000 of which reach New Zealand from Siberia annually), or red-necked stints (birds the size of a sparrow that make a similar journey), and our own shorebirds – stilts and oystercatchers, terns and gulls, dotterels and wrybills, snipes and godwits. Author Keith Woodley connects these shorebirds with everyday people and the environment, looking into our social and cultural values, the work of researchers and community conservation groups, as well as the ways in which our lives impact those of shorebirds – both harmoniously and harmfully. Shorebirds of New Zealand is a significant and thought-provoking book, with many stories to tell and a strong environmental message elegantly stated. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand / Suisted, Rob

“New Zealand boasts exceptional species of birds; a quarter of the birdlife lives nowhere else on the planet. With the concerted focus on bird recovery, through sanctuaries, the Department of Conservation and volunteer groups, native birds are abundant, and those struggling species are continually growing in population. Rob Suisted has captured these beautiful birds in remarkable, vibrant photographs, with individual portraits and habitat shots. The four main habitats – forest, wetlands, sea and coast, and open country are introduced by Alison Dench’s thoroughly researched text. Extended captions accompany each photograph. This attractive, colourful book is a wonderful expression of New Zealand’s most interesting birdlife.” (Catalogue)

Verb Festival: Read before you go!

Verb Wellington, Wellington’s very own readers and writer’s festival, is fast approaching — with events coming up around the city from 3-7 November.

While we wait for its writers panels, workshops and the dynamic fun of LitCrawl, we’re getting ready here at the library by spotlighting eBooks by Verb authors in the lead-up to Verb on our Libby app and website. These are ‘always available’ titles — so you’ll never miss out. Have a browse below and grab a good read!

Every few days, from the 26th of October to the 8th of November we’ll be featuring local eBook titles by authors at Verb as a readers and writers Book Club, and primer for the event to follow. You’ll have the chance to download and read together fantastic 2021 eBooks by Pip Adam, Madison Hamill, and Eamonn Marra — but also anthologies featuring more than one author appearing throughout the event.

Keep checking in with the Libby app or website as we spotlight the our special eBook titles over the coming days, or use the links below to download a copy now in preparation!

Pip Adam

Overdrive cover Nothing to See, Pip Adam (ebook)
“It’s 1994. Peggy and Greta are learning how to live sober. They go to meetings and they ring their support person, Diane. They have just enough money for one Tom Yum between them, but mostly they eat carrot sandwiches. They volunteer at the Salvation Army shop, and sometimes they sleep with men for money. They live with Heidi and Dell, who are also like them. It’s 2006. Peggy and Greta have two jobs: a job at a call centre, and a job as a moderator for a website. They’re teaching themselves how to code. Heidi and Dell don’t live together anymore, and Dell keeps getting into trouble. One day, Peggy and Greta turn around and there’s only one of them. It’s 2018. Margaret lives next door to Heidi and her family. She has a job writing code that analyses data for a political organisation, and she’s good at it. Every day she checks an obsolete cellphone she found under her bed, waiting for messages. She struggles to stay sober. Then, one day, there are two of them again, both trying to figure out where they have come from. Nothing to See is a compelling, brilliantly original novel about life in the era of surveillance capitalism, when society prefers not to see those who are different” (Libby Description)

Verb event:

Unsheltered: author Clare Moleta talking to Pip Adam

Sun 7 Nov at 11:30am.

A Clear Dawn anthology

Overdrive cover A Clear Dawn, edited by Paula Morris and Alison Wong (ebook)
“This landmark collection of poetry, fiction and essays by emerging writers is the first-ever anthology of Asian New Zealand creative writing. A Clear Dawn presents an extraordinary new wave of creative talent. With roots stretching from Indonesia to Japan, from China to the Philippines to the Indian subcontinent, the authors in this anthology range from high school students to retirees, from recent immigrants to writers whose families have lived in New Zealand for generations. Some of the writers, including Gregory Kan, Sharon Lam, Rose Lu and Chris Tse, have published books; some, like Mustaq Missouri, Aiwa Pooamorn and Gemishka Chetty, are better known for their work in theatre and performance. For many, A Clear Dawn is their first-ever print publication. The 75 writers explore the full range of human experience: from the rituals of food and family to sexual politics; from issues around displacement and identity to teen suicide and revenge attacks; from political chicanery to social activism to childhood misadventures. Funerals, affairs, accidents, friendships, crimes, jealousy, small victories, devastating losses, transcendent moments: all are here.” (Libby description)

Verb event:

Join contributors Rupa Maitra, Mikee Sto Domingo and Rose Lu with host Chris Tse for readings from the anthology and conversation about their life and literary stories

Wed 3 Nov, 6 – 7pm

Eamonn Morra

Overdrive cover 2000ft Above Worry Level, Eamonn Marra (ebook)
Everything is sad and funny and nothing is anything else2000ft Above Worry Level begins on the sad part of the internet and ends at the top of a cliff face. This episodic novel is piloted by a young, an hedonic, gentle, slightly disassociated man. He has no money. He has a supportive but disintegrating family. He is trying hard to be better. He is painting a never-ending fence. Eamonn Marra’s debut novel occupies the precarious spaces in which many twenty-somethings find themselves, forced as they are to live in the present moment as late capitalism presses in from all sides. Mortifying subjects – loserdom, depression, unemployment, cam sex – are surveyed with dignity and stoicism. Beneath Marra’s precise, unemotive language and his character’s steadfast grip on the surface of things, something is stirring. (Libby description)

Verb event:

Eamonn Marra attends Verb as part of the Not Your Mad Genius panel, along with Tangata whaiora artists Ruby Solly, Paula Harris and Taranaki Ah Young-Grace

Sun 7 Nov, 3 – 4pm.

Madison Hamill

Overdrive cover Specimen, Madison Hamill (ebook)
A father rollerblading to church in his ministerial robes, a university student in a leotard sprinting through fog, a trespass notice from Pak’nSave, a beautiful unborn goat in a jar . . .In scenarios ranging from the mundane to the surreal, Madison Hamill looks back at her younger selves with a sharp eye. Was she good or evil? Ignorant or enlightened? What parts of herself did she give up in order to forge ahead in school, church, work, and relationships, with a self that made sense to others? With wit and intelligence, these shape-shifting essays probe the ways in which a person’s inner and outer worlds intersect and submit to one another. It is a brilliantly discomfiting, vivid and funny collection in which peace is found in the weirdest moments. ‘I never felt that I was looking at fine writing – only at astonishing writing.’ —Elizabeth Knox (Libby description)

Verb event:

Join Madison Hamill on a Newtown Sunday Stroll

Sun 7 Nov, 1 – 2pm

Elizabeth Knox

Overdrive cover Monsters in the Garden, edited by Elizabeth Knox, David Larsen (ebook)
Too stuffy inside? All those familiar social realist furnishings, all those comfortable literary tropes. Perhaps a stroll out under the trees, where things are breezier, stranger, more liable to break the rules. You may meet monsters out there, true. But that’s the point. Casting its net widely, this anthology of Aotearoa-New Zealand science fiction and fantasy ranges from the satirical novels of the 19th-century utopians one of which includes the first description of atmospheric aerobreaking in world literature to the bleeding edge of now. Spaceships and worried sheep. Dragons and AI. The shopping mall that swallowed the Earth. The deviant, the fishy and the rum, all bioengineered for your reading pleasure. Featuring stories by some of the country’s best known writers as well as work from exciting new talent, Monsters in the Garden invites you for a walk on the wild side. We promise you’ll get back safely. Unchanged? Well, that’s another question. (Libby description)

Verb event:

Elizabeth Knox takes part in several events during Verb 2021 along with many other contributors from Monsters in the Garden.

New Zines!

The most recent Zinefest to be held in Wellington was in July. This time it was a one day event at the Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation. Most of Wellington City Libraries lending zine collection is bought locally at Wellington Zinefests. So here are some selected highlights of zines purchased from the Winter Zinefest. They will be available for borrowing soon from the Arapaki Manners Street, He Matapihi, and Newtown branches.

There were several new zines from Zinefest regular, Jewelia Howard. They include a bright pink zine which reviews some of the Barbie Doll movies, and a zine of comfort movies, which lists Jewelia’s favourite “chick flicks”; and my personal favourite, “Hairy Styles”, an illustrated zine of Harry Styles’ hair styles, from 2011 – 2019.

Sally Bollinger also provided several new zines. “The Flat of Whimsy” is an illustrated collection of scenes from her flatting life. While “Menaces and Maledictions” is a cartoon about a vampire in early colonial New Zealand. Plus Bollinger wrote two zines about role-playing games (RPG), and Dungeons and Dragons: “The Adventure Zine” and “A Basic Handbook of our Players”, respectively.

RPG and Dungeons and Dragons was a theme at this year’s Winter Zinefest. @feydayarts has created an extremely fun “Choose Your Own D & D Character” with 12 possible endings. While well-known cartoonist, Dylan Horrocks, has “Secret Door”, a  whimsical zine about a role-playing game on nostalgia and memory.

Another prominent New Zealand writer and artist, Tara Black, was also there with several zines. There were two collections of live drawings done at the Auckland Writers’ Festival 2021, and Featherston Booktown 2021. Plus Black wrote two volumes of cartoon zines about Ana, who is a teenager who lives with her mother and sister. One day she wakes up to find two “Book Dragons” under her bed. They are obsessed with books, and they are actually badgers!

There were also zines featuring local content. David Tulloch’s zine, “Regurgitated Recipes”, which collects recipes from six old New Zealand cookbooks, going back as far as 1944. And also Andrew McCauley’s volume 1 of the “Wellington Grave Explorer’s Guidebook”. This first volume focuses on Karori Cemetery, and highlights the graves of prominent people in the organised labour movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And finally, @Badbroidery has produced a cute zine for “cat lovers and the zodiac/ horoscope curious” which matches cute line drawings of cats with their zodiac traits.

Visit Te Pātaka’s Virtual Reading Room

Te Pātaka holds Central Library’s huge collection of books, DVDs, CDs and vinyl. Now you can virtually visit the amazing Te Pātaka collection with this panoramic interior view. It even comes with the library sounds that you may miss (or wish to turn off, and now you can!)

Click and drag your mouse to move through the photo and enjoy the added links to parts of our collection via the catalogue.

A new book from the father of Tartan Noir and other Scottish crime treats

“Writing is a way of sharing our humanity.”
― William McIlvanney (1936 –2015)

The much-vaulted sub-genre of Tartan Noir (which is now occasionally humorously and affectionately maligned) has some very strong entries in this month’s recently acquired crime, mystery and thriller selection, including books from several luminaries such as the Modern Queen of Crime Val McDermid. There’s also a new book from Ian Rankin that takes up the reins from the father of “Tartan Noir”, William McIlvanney. In The Dark Remains Ian completes an unfinished manuscript from William McIlvanney’s archives. The resulting novel brings evocatively to life William McIlvanney’s unique writing style and richly evokes the grimy world of Scotland in the 1970’s as, incidentally, does Val McDermid’s superb 1979.

In many ways William McIlvanney was the pioneering author who trailblazed the path for many modern Scottish crime writers to follow. There’s also a new work from the fabulous  Alex Grey called Before the Storm, a truly gripping read that has plot elements that move between both Zimbabwe and Glasgow.

Other title highlights include a wonderful new (already widely acclaimed)  New Zealand  crime voice  Anne Harré and her debut novel The Leaning Man, set in Wellington with  vivid descriptions of the city itself and  includes scenes in our very own Te Awe Library; it is a compulsive and page-turning read. Keep a close eye out for our upcoming exclusive interview with Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman!

You can also watch  Professor Val McDermid talk exclusively to us in the interview at the end of this blog, which includes a section on some of her creative thoughts behind 1979.

The dark remains / McIlvanney, William
“Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter’s left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow? DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

1979 / McDermid, Val
“1979. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom and she needs something explosive for the boys’ club to take her seriously. Soon Allie and fellow journalist Danny Sullivan are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland. They risk making powerful enemies – and Allie won’t stop there. When she discovers a home-grown terrorist threat, Allie comes up with a plan to infiltrate the group and make her name. But she’s a woman in a man’s world… and putting a foot wrong could be fatal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Before the storm / Gray, Alex
“Inspector Daniel Kohi of the Zimbabwean police force returns home one night to find his worst nightmare has been realised. His family dead, his house destroyed, and in fear for his life, he is forced to flee the country he loves. Far away in Glasgow, DSI William Lorimer has his hands full. Christmas is approaching, the city is bustling, and whilst the homicide rate has been relatively low, something much darker is brewing. Counter-Terrorism have got wind of a plot, here in Lorimer’s native city, to carry out an unspeakable atrocity on Christmas Eve. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
 

The Moorland murderers / Jecks, Michael
“July, 1556. En route to France and escape from Queen Mary’s men, Jack Blackjack decides to spend the night at a Devon tavern, agrees to a game of dice – and ends up accused of murder. To make matters worse, the dead man turns out to have been the leader of the all-powerful miners who rule the surrounding moors – and they have no intention of waiting for the official court verdict to determine Jack’s guilt. But who would frame Jack for murder . . . and why?  As Jack’s attempts to find answers stirs up a hornet’s nest of warring factions within the town, events soon start to spiral out of control . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 
The distant dead / Thomson, Lesley
“London, 1940. Several neighbours heard the scream of the woman in the bombed-out house. One told the detective she thought the lady had seen a mouse. Another said it wasn’t his business what went on behind closed doors. None of them imagined that a trusting young woman was being strangled by her lover… Tewkesbury, 2020. Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man lies bleeding, close to death. He is the creator of a true-crime podcast which now will never air. He was investigating the murder of a 1940s police pathologist – had he come closer to the truth than he realised? (Adapted from Catalogue)

The royal secret / Taylor, Andrew
“Two young girls plot a murder by witchcraft. Soon afterwards a government clerk dies painfully in mysterious circumstances. His colleague James Marwood is asked to investigate – but the task brings unexpected dangers. Meanwhile, architect Cat Hakesby is working for a merchant who lives on Slaughter Street, where the air smells of blood and a captive Barbary lion prowls the stables. Then a prestigious new commission arrives. Cat must design a Poultry House for the woman that the King loves most in all the world. Unbeknownst to all, at the heart of this lies a royal secret so explosive that it could not only rip apart England but change the entire face of Europe…”- (Adapted from Catalogue)

 
In the crypt with a candlestick / Waugh, Daisy
“Sir Ecgbert Tode of Tode Hall has survived to a grand old age – much to the despair of his younger wife, Emma. But at ninety-three he has, at last, shuffled off the mortal coil. Emma, Lady Tode, thoroughly fed up with being a dutiful Lady of the Manor, wants to leave the country to spend her remaining years in Capri. Unfortunately her three tiresome children are either unwilling or unable (too mad, too lefty or too happy in Australia) to take on management of their large and important home, so the mantle passes to a distant relative and his glamorous wife. Not long after the new owners take over, Lady Tode is found dead in the mausoleum. Accident? Or is there more going on behind the scenes of Tode Hall…?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. Dig a little deeper and the city is unforgiving and unrepentant. Forget the politicians, they’re poor amateurs in deception and crime. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cop26: The UN Climate Change Conference

In just under two weeks, 30,000 people from across the globe will descend on Glasgow for a meeting that’s been called “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control.” But what exactly is it?

What is Cop26?

Cop26 is the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, with 197 countries coming together to work out how to tackle the climate emergency. These meetings have been happening every year since 1995, with the most well known being the 2015 Cop21 in Paris, which resulted in the landmark Paris Agreement.

Why is the Paris Agreement important?

The key to the Paris Agreement is the commitment to keep global warming below an average of 2C, with efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5C. To reach this goal, each country has decided on its own target of greenhouse gas reduction, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Countries are required to update their NDCs every five years, which is one of the reasons this year’s conference is so significant.

What should I look out for?

The biggest questions at Cop26 will probably revolve around updated NDCs–how much more greenhouse gas reduction will countries commit to? However there are a lot of other vital areas of discussion, including international funding to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions.

The New Zealand delegation to Cop26 will have several areas of focus, but two to watch out for are the amplification of Pacific voices and also discussions around methane.

How do I find out more?

Cop26 will be covered by news outlets around the world, although the only New Zealand journalist going to the conference in person is business and climate reporter Rod Oram. The official Cop26 website is available here and the action can also be followed via Twitter.

Books:


This changes everything : capitalism vs. the climate / Klein, Naomi
“In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All we can save : truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis
“Women are on the front line of the climate-change battle, and are uniquely situated to be agents of change. Today, across the world, from boardrooms and policy positions to local communities, from science to activism, women everywhere are using their voices to take leadership and call for action on climate change. This anthology is a collection and celebration of these diverse voices, asking critical questions and providing invaluable insight and solutions.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drawdown : the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming
“In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here–some are well known; some you may have never heard of.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The uninhabitable Earth : life after warming / Wallace-Wells, David
“It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Doughnut economics : seven ways to think like a 21st century economist / Raworth, Kate
“Kate Raworth sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design. Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.” (Catalogue)

Braiding sweetgrass : indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants / Kimmerer, Robin Wall
“As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The new climate war : the fight to take back our planet / Mann, Michael E.
“Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the tactics that we’ve been told can slow climate change. But most of these recommendations are a result of a multi-pronged marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Fossil fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame or greenwashing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Library Databases:

NZ Geographic: NZ Geographic has been celebrating our people, places, wildlife and environment for two decades. Its archives hold more than 600 in-depth features about our country, natural history and culture.

Gale Environmental Studies in Context: The Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources focuses on the physical, social, and economic aspects of environmental issues.

LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn Learning is a video tutorial service providing access to over 12,000 instructional videos on many topics, including several aspects of the climate emergency.

Food, Glorious Food

Is there anything quite as comforting to read about than food? Be it the biography of a chef or food critic, a history of a particular food, or just a really good cook book, books about food have been a favourite for generations. Here are some books in our collection that you might like to sink your teeth into:

Scoff : a history of food and class in Britain / Vogler, Pen
“Avocado or beans on toast? Gin or claret? Nut roast or game pie? Milk in first or milk in last? And do you have tea, dinner or supper in the evening? In this fascinating social history of food in Britain, Pen Vogler examines the origins of our eating habits and reveals how they are loaded with centuries of class prejudice. Bringing together evidence from cookbooks, literature, artworks and social records from 1066 to the present, Vogler traces the changing fortunes of the food we encounter today, and unpicks the aspirations and prejudices of the people who have shaped our cuisine for better or worse.” (adapted from catalogue)

A cook’s tour : in search of the perfect meal / Bourdain, Anthony
“Inspired by the question, ‘What would be the perfect meal?’, Anthony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail. Our adventurous chef starts out in Japan, where he eats traditional Fugu, a poisonous blowfish which can be prepared only by specially licensed chefs. He then travels to Cambodia, up the mine-studded road to Pailin into autonomous Khmer Rouge territory and to Phnom Penh’s Gun Club, where local fare is served up alongside a menu of available firearms. In Saigon, he’s treated to a sustaining meal of live Cobra heart before moving on to savor a snack with the Viet Cong in the Mecong Delta. A Cook’s Tour recounts, in Bourdain’s inimitable style, the adventures and misadventures of America’s favorite chef.” (adapted from catalogue)

Hungry : a memoir of wanting more / Dent, Grace
“From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better. Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. Warm, funny and joyous, Hungry is also about love and loss, the central role that food plays in all our lives, and how a Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut in a hospital vending machine can brighten the toughest situation.” (adapted from catalogue)

In the devil’s garden : a sinful history of forbidden food / Allen, Stewart Lee
“Among the foods thought to encourage Lust, the love apple (now known as the tomato), has become the world’s most popular vegetable. But until the nineteenth century the love apple was considered Satanic by many because of its similarity to the mandrake, a plant believed to be possessed by demonic spirits. Filled with Incredible history and the author’s travels to many exotic locales, In the Devil’s Garden also features recipes like the Matzoh-ball stews outlawed by the Spanish Inquisition and the forbidden “chocolate champagnes” of the Aztecs. This is truly a delectable book that will be consumed by food lovers, culinary historians, amateur anthropologists, and armchair travellers alike.” (adapted from catalogue)

Toast / Slater, Nigel
“TOAST is top food writer Nigel Slater’s eat-and-tell autobiography. Detailing all the food, recipes and cooking that have marked his passage from greedy schoolboy to great food writer, this is also a catalogue of how the British have eaten over the last three decades.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Ultimate food journeys : the world’s best dishes & where to eat them
“[A] book for food-lovers with an interest in travel–and ardent travelers with a passion for food. … [also] has helpful sightseeing itineraries, hotel recommendations, and hundreds of restaurant choices.” (Catalogue)

 

Plenty : a memoir of food & family / Howard, Hannah
“A moving reflection on motherhood, friendship, and women making their mark on the world of food from the author of Feast” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Chocolate wars : from Cadbury to Kraft : 200 years of sweet success and bitter rivalry / Cadbury, Deborah
“Beginning with an account of John Cadbury, who founded the first Cadbury’s coffee and chocolate shop in Birmingham in 1824, ‘Chocolate Wars’ goes on to chart the astonishing transformation of the company’s fortunes under his grandson George. But while the Cadbury dynasty is the fulcrum of the narrative, this is also the story of their Quaker rivals, the Frys and Rowntrees, and their European competitors, the Nestles, Suchards and Lindts. These rivalries drove the formation of the huge chocolate conglomorates that still straddle the corporate world today, and have first call on our collective sweet tooth.” (adapted from catalogue)

Bread & butter : history, culture, recipes / Snapes, Richard
“A celebration of bread and butter’s divine partnership, covering history, culture and recipes.” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Special bonus read:

Food isn’t medicine : challenge nutribollocks & escape the diet trap / Wolrich, Joshua
“The first NHS doctor to take a public stand against diet culture and empower you to do the same. Losing weight is not your life’s purpose. Do carbs make you fat? Could the keto diet cure mental health disorders? Are eggs as bad for you as smoking? No, no and absolutely not. It’s all what Dr Joshua Wolrich defines as ‘nutribollocks’ and he is on a mission to set the record straight. As an NHS doctor with personal experience of how damaging diets can be, he believes every one of us deserves to have a happy, healthy relationship with food and with our bodies. His message is clear- we need to fight weight stigma, call out the lies of diet culture and give ourselves permission to eat all foods. Food Isn’t Medicine wades through nutritional science (both good and bad) to demystify the common diet myths that many of us believe without questioning. If you have ever wondered whether you should stop eating sugar, try fasting, juicing or ‘alkaline water’, or struggled through diet after diet (none of which seem to work), this book will be a powerful wake-up call. Drawing on the latest research and delivered with a dose of humour, it not only liberates us from the destructive belief that weight defines health but also explains how to spot the misinformation we are bombarded with every day. Dr Joshua Wolrich will empower you to escape the diet trap and call out the bad health advice for what it really is: complete nutribollocks.” (Catalogue)

Free book giveaway! The Empire City: Songs of Wellington by Andrew Laking

Recently author Andrew Laking very generously gifted us some free copies of his wonderful book The Empire City: songs of Wellington.

Andrew’s book traces the history of Wellington from the mid 19th century to the present day and is beautifully illustrated using photographs and specially commissioned paintings by Bob Kerr. It also contains a free C.D. featuring some of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s finest musicians including Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords, Riki Gooch from Crowded House and Toby Laing from Fat Freddy’s Drop.

We only have a few copies for each branch, so this freebie offer is strictly on a first come first served basis. All you need to do to be in with a chance of picking up a free copy of this book is pop into one of our branches on Friday 22nd Oct  and look for the display of free give away copies of this fabulous title left. EASY AS.

(Limited to one copy per patron whilst stocks last. )

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Andrew for his very kind donation.

The empire city : songs of Wellington / Laking, Andrew
“The Empire City traces the history of Wellington, from the middle of the 19th Century till the present day. Stories are told through song, text, paintings and photographs … The book includes a CD with original songs by Andrew Laking … The songs are given context by historical notes and illuminated through a number of previously unseen archival photos, and over 20 new paintings by Bob Kerr” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New CDs for Te Awe

I’m Mark, the Music & Film Specialist at Wellington City Libraries (I also run the Libraries’ Wellington Music Facebook page). Every month my colleague Neil and I cast our eye over the new material we have been buying for the Music collection at our CBD Te Awe library and put our highlights here with some quick reviews of some new titles — our limit is a few lines only to distil down why you might want to listen. Do we actually know anything about new music? Can you encapsulate an entire album in just a couple of lines? Are we just too old to understand what most of this music is on about (see self-image below)? Read on to find out…

via GIPHY

Statler: Well, it was good.
Waldorf: Ah, it was very bad.
Statler: Well, it was average.
Waldorf: Ah, it was in the middle there.
Statler: Ah, it wasn’t that great.
Waldorf: I kind of liked it.”
-‘The Muppet Show’.

Doomin’ sun. / Bachelor (Musical group)
Mark: More 90’s inspired pop/rock from collaborative project Bachelor (Ellen Kempner of Palehound, and Melina Duterte AKA Jay Som). There’s nothing original happening musically but it’s sincere and well crafted, with catchy tunes and fuzzy guitars. Enjoyable.
Neil: Bachelor, named ironically after the American reality show Bachelor nation, is indie rock at its most personal and confessional. The lyrics are a vulnerable concoction of tension and joy, love and insecurity intermingled in tales of real-life queer experience. The albums sound is mostly lo-fi minimalism, with occasional bursts of guitar coming through. It reminded me in parts of early Throwing Muses releases such as the Fat Skier.

Downhill from everywhere. / Browne, Jackson
Mark: Alongside Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, Browne is one of the quintessential singer/songwriters of the ’70s, with his folky, mature take on the lives of the Baby Boomer generation. ‘Downhill from everywhere’, his first album since 2014’s Standing in the Breach, offers up more of the same sensitive, introspective, folk-rock with charismatic easy listening tracks, that tackle the nexus of personal & social struggles that the world still offers up no matter how old you are.
Neil: Jackson Browne is one of those singer signwriting legends; a hugely accomplished and acclaimed artist. This is his first release in six years, and he has dropped hints that it may be his last release, indeed one of the tracks on the album is about his life after and beyond his music career. ‘Downhill from everywhere’ finds him in exceptional vintage form. The lyrics deal in a wide and rich detailed array of subject personal and beyond. They are warm, lyrical, and articulate. His voice is undiminished by range and, unsurprisingly, the musicians backing him are of the finest calibre. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the release date on this album, you could easily mistake this for one of his albums from his golden period of the 70’s and early 80’s. It this is to be his swansong, then it is a very fitting one.

Hotel Surrender. / Faker, Chet
Mark: Australian singer/songwriter Nick Murphy resurrects his Chet Faker moniker for another album of electronica, that segues between smooth grooves and relaxed vibes. Laid back cool that drifts along with no particular destination other than chilling you out.
Neil: Chet Faker is an invented musical space in singer Nicholas Murphy’s aka Chet Fakers head. It might sound a bit pretentious, but the music has a laid back 70’s feel to it. The songs live in the moment and ask the listener to appreciate the moment for what it is. There’s a mellow breezy, sunny warmth to the end results. As if you were floating in Chet’s private pool on a warm summer’s day staring up at a perfect blue sky.

Leave love out of this. / Tonnon, Anthonie
Mark: The Whanganui musician (and also new operator of the famous Durie Hill Elevator) is back with his third album of chamber pop meets synthesized sound. Guitars sit next to synth washes and drum machines, and styles shift from ambient house to intimate ballads and swirling vocals. An ambitious piece of work that aims for epic in scale and often succeeds.
Neil: Aotearoan musician Anthonie Tonnon has been perfecting his musical art over many years. ‘And Leave love out of this’ feels like a culmination and synthesis of all this labour. Crystalline slabs of 80’s synth punctuate stylishly crafted balladeer songs, full of empathy and melodic subtly.

Mammoth WVH. / Mammoth WVH
Mark: WVH is Wolfgang William Van Halen, son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, and the bassist for Van Halen from 2006 to 2020. His debut album ‘Mammoth’, on which he played every instrument, is very much a classic stadium rock album in the vein of classic Foo Fighters or Stone Temple Pilots. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as this album of big fun riff driven songs proves. On the basis of this album Guns N’ Roses picked him as the support act for their recent US Tour.
Neil: Being the son of rock legend Eddie Van Halen and playing bass for your fathers’ band Van Halen for the past 14 years perhaps leads to expectations about what your first solo outing might sound like. However, Wolfgang Van Halen’s Mammoth, in which he incidentally performs all instruments and vocals, is not the cookie cutter album you might have expected. Sure, its mainstream stadium hard rock at its core but there are also elements of grunge, metal, and alternative rock in there too.

Man made. / Greentea Peng
Mark: Greentea Peng is the moniker of Aria Wells, a ‘psychedelic’ R’n’B singer and songwriter from London. On the strength of her 2018 EP she made The Observer newspaper’s 20 for 2020 list of rising stars in music, media and culture. Debut album ‘Man Made’ is Hip-Hop meets dub reggae, with a political stance focusing on the voices of youth, with themes of unity & spirituality. Hazy beats surround positive matra’s and messages.
Neil: Hazy rap with slight nods to the likes of De La Soul or A Tribe Called Quest with distinctive elements of cool Jazz, psychedelia and chilled Reggae thrown in. ‘Man Made’ is still very much Greentea Peng’s unique approach to music and life, with its idiosyncratic and distinctive sound. It makes for a very hip and happening summer soundtrack without being too intense.

Peace or love. / Kings of Convenience
Mark: The indie folk-pop duo from Norway return after 12 years with a new album. A distillation of their previous albums sounds, this is a lovely tranquil acoustic set with touches of bossa-nova. Reflective easy listening of the very best kind. Great to relax to at the end of the day.
Neil: Kings of convenience are regarded as part of the “new acoustic” movement, but the Norwegian duo’s elegant, melodic, carefully constructed songs lift them well above this clumsy and lazy description. Dreamy easy listening that is delicate, relaxed, and beautiful.

Prosthetic boombox. / Cola Boyy
Mark: Cola Boyy is Matthew Urango, who was born with spina bifida, kyphosis and scoliosis, as well as a club foot. His debut album, Prosthetic Boombox, was released by the French label Record Makers & features appearances from Nicolas Godin of Air and Andrew VanWyngarden. Deliriously giddy funky disco anthems reign supreme on this debut album, that’s all about fighting for who you are. The (deliberate I’m sure) cheesiness of some of the music only adds to the fun. Sort of like the soundtrack that your cab driver in ‘Grand Theft Auto: New York in the 70’s’ would be playing as you drive to Studio 54…
Neil: Cola Boyy’s debut album sounds like his own very personal and unique take on 80’s disco funk with a slightly psychedelic twist. A playful, upbeat sugar rush of sound that also embraces elements of house. So far so good but there’s much more to Prosthetic Boombox as the title, album cover and lyrics allude to. His powerful struggle with the discrimination and prejudice associated with his disabilities feature in the lyrics often in an upbeat and factual fashion.

Sharecropper’s son. / Finley, Robert
Mark: Robert Finley is an American blues and soul singer-songwriter who released his debut album at age 63. That led to meeting Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who produced and co-wrote his 2nd album. This follow-up, also produced by Auerbach, is a series of autobiographical tracks based on his upbringing on a crop share in Louisiana. More southern soul than blues, Finley has a fantastically authentic voice, and the tales he tells are of real struggles and hard won successes, the triumph of spirit over circumstances.
Neil: Robert Finley possesses one of those unforgettable husky soul blues voices, that sounds straight out of the classic recordings in that genre from the 50’s or 60’s. But Robert Finlay is not an artist recreating the sound of the past; he is the real deal. He only came to a career in music in his sixties, after a lifetime of experience that included attending a segregated school, having to spend his childhood picking cotton, house fires, car crashes and going blind. He said that going blind lead him to pursue his singing late in life. His previous two albums shot him to almost immediate acclaim. You can hear this lifetime of experience seeping through every aspect of this autobiographical work. The production by Dan Auerbach from The black Keys perfectly complements. A powerful and pitch-perfect, timeless, and instant classic soul blues album.

Thirstier. / Torres
Mark: Fifth full-length album from Mackenzie Scott (Aka Torres) is a slick slice of hooky pop-grunge. She was aiming for a big sound and a larger than life scope, different from the more restrained aesthetic of her previous albums. ‘Thirstier’ delivers that in spades, with a set of uplifting indie rock throwbacks.
Neil: ‘Thirstier’ by Torres is a big sounding, riff heavy, hook laden, euphoric sounding indie rock album, with heavy guitars thrown in. It’s an exuberant upbeat outing, with a grunge rock set free rolling vibe about it. A great happy alternative sing along album for uncertain times.

I be trying. / Burnside, Cedric
Mark: Old school Mississippi country blues, with some modern touches, from the grandson of R.L. Burnside. Perseverance through life’s struggle and your own mistakes, and the power of love are the focus of this update of a storied musical style.
Neil: Cedric Burnside is on a revival and resurrection mission. His album breathes new life and makes fresh the Mississippi blues tradition of giants like John Lee Hooker. The album manages to be reverential to that tradition, whilst not sounding like a museum piece. Indeed the music sounds fresh and vibrant. The lyrics are often of self-discovery, admissions of an imperfect past and the hard lessons learned. A valuable revitalisation of a rich musical tradition that has deep roots into America’s social history.

Gas lit / Divide and Dissolve
Mark: Female Melbourne-based two-piece with Cherokee & Māori ancestry, whose 3rd album is produced Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson. Eight tracks of sludgy doom shift between quiet beauty and cacophonic noise. Dread and unease abound on these heavy tracks, that the band say are an instrumental critique of colonialism and oppression.
Neil: ‘Divide and dissolve’ has a strong dynamic going on, moving as it does from ethereal and haunting melodic moments to intense loud and full-on heavy drone doom metal. It’s quite an achievement mixing political sludge metal with avant-garde classical structured jazz. A ride full of passion and intensity both challenging and rewarding.

Jump for joy. / Louris, Gary
Mark: The 2nd solo album from the ex-Jayhawk arrives 13 years afters 2008’s Vagabonds. Louris plays every instrument on this set of songs, that range through melodic pop tracks, to darker more personal ruminations. Similar in tone to the albums made as Golden Smog, the loose collective featuring Louris and members of Soul Asylum, Wilco, the Replacements, and Big Star. Breezy jangle pop meets Americana reflections. While the Jayhawks continue on as one of the iconic Americana groups, it’s nice to hear him stepping out on his own again.
Neil: Gary Louris from The Jayhawks is very much following the radio friendly singer songwriter path in this album. ‘Jump for Joy’ is his second solo album, and it is a thoughtful and well-crafted outing. The tracks remind me of George Harrison penned Beatles tracks, or songs that would sit well on the first Travelling Wilburys album.

Oil of every pearl’s un-insides. / Sophie [VINYL ONLY]
Mark: There’s no denying the production talent and vision at play here, as Sophie creates her multi-layered tracks without using any samples. Her body of work, though small, erased genre, geographic and emotional boundaries to create a maximalist pop that’s an ongoing influence on young hyperpop Tik-Tokers and Electronic music in general. Her ‘radical futurism’ blended the experimental & the mainstream, and was the direct anthesis of the cultivated nostalgia of so much ‘modern’ music and bands. However if you are unfamiliar with her work, how much you like this album will probably depend on how much helium voices and vocal processing you can stand at one time.
Neil: The death of Sophie Xeon in January this year was a tragedy in so many ways. The personal tragedy of losing someone so young is incalculable, and the loss to music of such a unique hugely gifted pioneering artist is equally immense. We will never know or hear those albums she would have gone on to create. What we do have is Sophie’s only album ‘Oil on every pearl’s un-insides’. This is one of a very few genuine 21st century masterpieces. One of the few albums in recent decades that point to a new musical future, direction, form, and language.

Urban driftwood. / Williams, Yasmin
Mark: Lovely mellow instrumental guitar album. Made a Guardian list of the Best Albums of 2021 so far. Immersive and relaxing.
Neil: Very smooth and immersive instrumental guitar album. Described by Yasmin herself as an abstract diary of 2020. At the albums heart is Yasmin’s virtuosic, serene, and eminently relaxing guitar playing – which is both intimate and immediate. A very soothing listen.

 

Revelation. / Carn, Doug
Mark: Doug Carn was a Jazz multi-instrumentalist whose 4 albums on the short lived but influential Black Jazz label pioneered the ‘Spiritual’ Jazz sound, with its Afro-centric musical aesthetic. ‘Revelation’ was the final collaboration between Carn and his wife Jean on the label. Organ, keys & horns form the basis of modal post bop tunes, including a lovely reading of John Coltrane’s “Naima”, all surrounded and interwoven with Carn’s beautifully soulful five-octave voice. Hugely influential. Carn would later add an extra ‘e’ to her surname and go on to much success as a solo R&B artist on Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International label & beyond.
Neil: Rerelease of the 1973 album out originally on the short lived, but hugely influential, Black Jazz label from Doug and Jean Carn. Doug’s name may have been on the cover, but this is very much a joint effort with his then wife Jean. It is quintessentially a very 70’s Jazz album with elements of spiritual and soul jazz. In many ways the album is a fascinating and perfect time capsule of a piece from that time period. Right from the arrangements, to the selection of instruments used, not to mention the subjects explored. That said, it is rather wonderful in its own unique way, and due to the current music worlds obsession with the music and sound of that time, it is bound to win lots of new fans

Memory lake. / Rivers, Colette
Mark: Classy singer/songwriter-country album similar to the work of Kim Richey or Gretchen Peters. Alt-rock elements take some tracks in a different direction and vary things up. An impressive debut from this Wgtn based artist.
Neil: American born New Zealander Colette River’s debut album has many faces, facets and sides, with Colette using a diverse and multi layered sound palette in a tailored fashion to accompany individual tracks. The whole album is underpinned by an American Indie Folk core. Her willingness to use different instrumentation and sounds gives each track its own individual feel. A very accomplished debut outing.

Run deep. / Mahal, Deva
Mark: Born in Hawaii but raised in NZ, Deva Mahal was part of the Wgtn scene in the 2000’s guesting on albums from Sola Rosa & Rhombus, and cutting a live EP. After living in the US for a while, where she released this 2018 album, she returned to NZ in 2020. Her rich voice is framed within a classicist neo-soul outing that travels a musical path of uplifting R&B, piano ballads, 70s funk & 80s pop elements, based around themes of love, heartbreak & empowerment. ‘Wicked’ & ‘Optimist’ liven things up a bit, and ‘It’s down to you’ has a lovely old-school vibe. But as a whole, the album is perhaps limited by the over familiarity of the ‘Neo-Soul’ template at this point.
Neil: Classical Soul music, enriched and revitalised, in a contemporary and modern setting by Deva Mahal in this heartfelt debut album. Echoes of greats like Aretha Franklin’s work lingers on in this strong and substantial R&B offering that feels both relevant and new, whilst also having deep connections to the rich tradition of this musical form. Deva has placed her own unique interpretation of this musical genre into every aspect of this album, much in the same way as Amy Winehouse managed to do so, integrating both her own vision and at the same time paying her dues to this rich musical heritage.

Obviously. / Lake Street Dive
Mark: 7th album from this Boston indie Music-school band who play bubbly slick pop-soul. The band is built around singer Rachael Price’s voice, which has a distinctly classic tone. I really enjoyed this. All the songs are super catchy and, while this album emulates the same genres as a lot of other albums on this list, the songs are just so much better. The arrangements all have a live uncluttered feel, you can hear each instrument in the mix, and how they work cleverly around Price’s voice. Definitely a winner.
Neil: Obviously, there’s something about the early 70’s music scene that attracts a lot of modern bands to that particular period and music. And there’s more sweet 70’s influenced musical vibes going on here, with Lake Street Dive’s seventh studio album ‘Obviously’. This time it’s the funky, soulful pop of the time that the band are taking their musical queues from. ‘Obviously’ is a good time, slightly chilled, summer concert party of an album. A retro sounding, beautifully produced and well executed album, played by highly talented musicians at the peak of their powers.

Box Set Pick:
Aretha. / Franklin, Aretha
Mark: The first career spanning Box Set for the Queen of Soul. Covers most of her well known tracks, though some are in alternate or demo form, as well as some interesting rarities from TV show appearances and the like. What more can you really say about one of the greatest voices of the 20th Century that hasn’t already been said. It’s Aretha…
Neil: Reviewing this career spanning four-disc box set is just an excuse for me to wax lyrical about how amazingly, phenomenally, wonderful Aretha Franklin was and is. The box set is packed with all the well-known tracks (though usually in alternative versions) and career highlights, as well as lost gems from the vaults. Aretha Franklin is one of the greatest singers of all time with a voice that melts, hearts, souls and reaches out and across time. It goes without saying that the music contained in this box set is unmissable and peerless, and the compilers have taken a lot of care to feature alternative takes mixes and rarities.

Now available to watch: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

For your delight, edification, and enjoyment our very special interview with debut crime novelist and author of The Leaning Man Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman.

Filmed at her publisher’s office by Wellington City Library staff. This wide-ranging interview with Anne covers The Leaning Man’s origins and creation, her love of Wellington and how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel.

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly-released, gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital. And to top it all one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian.

The book has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it.” (Catalogue)

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders.” (Catalogue)

World Menopause Day: 18 October

By Sarah Connor, founder of the grassroots project Menopause Over Martinis.

Every year, World Menopause Day is held on 18 October to raise awareness of menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.

Despite menopause/te ruahinetanga being a natural, normal and inevitable stage of life, it’s a topic that isn’t often talked about – at home, work or in our community. I certainly didn’t grow up knowing what to expect.

In early 2019, I crash landed in perimenopause: the years before periods come to an end. At 46, I experienced a pile up of symptoms without knowing why. Not feeling like my usual happy-and-healthy self was a worrying, confusing and sometimes lonely experience.

I’ve since learned that people experience menopause differently just as they experience puberty or pregnancy differently. The hormonal changes during menopause can result in 30+ symptoms for one to ten years – cognitively, physically, and emotionally – most commonly from the age of 40.

Having the support of my partner, friends, family, colleagues and health professionals made a big difference. Accessing credible information via the many resources available in my local library was hugely useful: books written by medical practitioners and health professionals, and authors of personal essays too.

Booklist:

To celebrate World Menopause Day, our team has put together a sample of the resources, including a book list, to inform and support people going through menopause/te ruahinetanga.

For more books, visit the Book River on our Catalogue. You can also access menopause-related eBooks and eAudiobooks via Overdrive or the Libby app.

Overdrive cover Peppermint Magazine
Peppermint is a green fashion magazine, covering eco and ethical style with a fun, fresh, intelligent and positive spin. Included in the Spring 2021 issue is ‘Pause for Thought: Conversations about Menopause.'” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

What fresh hell is this? : perimenopause, menopause, other indignities, and you / Corinna, Heather
“Perimenopause and menopause experiences are as unique as all of us who move through them. With practical, clear information and support, inclusive of those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, people of colour, working class and others who have long been left out of the discussion, What Fresh Hell Is This? is the cooling pillow and empathetic best friend to help you through the fire.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The new hot : navigating the menopause with attitude and style / Mathews, Meg
“When Meg Mathews hit menopause she was shocked at the lack of awareness, understanding and support shown to women – and also found the information available far too dreary. After getting her symptoms under control she became determined to help other women avoid an experience like hers. The New Hot is her no-holds-barred guide to menopause designed to entertain and empower women in equal measure.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The menopause manifesto : own your health with facts and feminism / Gunter, Jen
“Menopause is not a disease–it’s a planned change, like puberty. And just like puberty, we should be educated on what’s to come years in advance. Knowing what is happening, why, and what to do about it is both empowering and reassuring. Filled with practical, reassuring information, this essential guide will revolutionize how women experience menopause.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Your menopause bible / Phillips, Robin N
“‘The most authoritative and up-to-date sourcebook on menopause, created by a team of experts in gynaecology, psychology, sexuality, nutrition and exercise. Provides practical and reassuring advice on all aspects of menopause, from recognising and easing the symptoms of hormonal insufficiency to maintaining bone health and general well-being.’ — from back cover.” (Catalogue)

Flash count diary : a new story about the menopause / Steinke, Darcey
“By weaving together her personal story with philosophy, science, art, and literature, the author provides an exploration into aspects of menopause that have rarely been written about, including the changing gender landscape that reduced levels of hormones brings, the actualities of transforming desires, and the realities of prejudice against older women.” (Catalogue)

Hot flushes, cold science : the history of the modern menopause / Foxcroft, Louise
“A powerful, taboo-shattering history of the menopause, from wandering wombs to HRT.” (Catalogue)

The complete guide to the menopause : your toolkit to take control and achieve life-long health / Mukherjee, Annice
“Dr Annice Mukherjee went through the menopause at just 41 following a breast cancer diagnosis, and she is also a top UK hormone specialist with nearly 30 years of experience. In this book she combines her medical expertise and personal experience to develop an essential menopause toolkit offering balanced, practical and comprehensive advice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The M word : how to thrive in menopause / Mansberg, Ginni
“A practicing GP and mother who has just turned 50 herself, Dr Mansberg has written a solution-focused book for understanding, embracing and (even) enjoying this stage in a woman’s life. She outlines medical science, explaining what happens at a cellular level in the body once key hormones begin to diminish; she details symptoms and experience; then explores pros and cons of treatment options.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hormone repair manual : every woman’s guide to healthy hormones after 40 / Briden, Lara
“Lara Briden, author of the international bestseller Period Repair Manual, has more than 20 years’ experience in women’s health. Her fresh approach aims to overturn the stigma of perimenopause and menopause and show women that many symptoms are temporary and manageable, emotional challenges can present an opportunity to thrive and a focus on health during this period can bring benefits for years to come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Menopause : women tell their stories
“No one asks a woman: ‘How’s the menopause?’ Unlike pregnancy, it is a private, sometimes lonely time, and often distressing for a woman and her uncomprehending family. Debra Vinecombe has interviewed 20 women whose honesty, warmth and touches of humour take the reader into their homes, doctors’ rooms, and work places.” (Catalogue)

Other Resources:

The good wife of Bath: our selection of new fiction titles

British Library Dragon GIF by GIF IT UP

Written in the late middle ages, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’ by Geoffrey Chaucer is definitely one of the best known of The Canterbury Tales. The tale gives a rare, if skewed, insight into the role of women at that time and illuminates the changing social structure in a society that was very heavily male dominated. At a time when women were defined only by their relations with men, the tale depicted a person who was unashamed of her sexuality, was more than capable of holding her own amongst bickering pilgrims and was living a very unconventional life for the time, though Chaucer’s tone was often mocking. Some critics have speculated that Chaucer may have written the tale in part to ease a guilty conscience and as a partial critique of misogyny in the literature of the time, though the tale still contains elements of that misogyny.

Karen Brooks’ reimagining of the tale takes a very different tack – in The good wife of Bath: a (mostly) true story she puts the narrative very firmly in the lead protagonist’s voice, and in doing so highlights the caustic results of leaving male power to run unchecked on both society and individuals. The resulting book is often ribaldry, funny and picaresque and examines issues that are just as pertinent to the present day as they were to Chaucer’s time. As well as The Good Wife of Bath we have a wide selection of newly acquired fiction titles including two fabulous Aotearoa titles

The good wife of Bath : a (mostly) true story / Brooks, Karen
“In the middle ages, a poet told a story that mocked a strong woman. It became a literary classic. But what if the woman in question had a chance to tell her own version? Who would you believe? England, The Year of Our Lord, 1364. When married off aged 12 to an elderly farmer, Eleanor Cornfed, who’s constantly told to seek redemption for her many sins, quickly realises it won’t matter what she says or does, God is not on her side – or any poor woman’s for that matter. But Eleanor was born under the joint signs of Venus and Mars. Both a lover and a fighter, she will not bow meekly to fate. A recasting of a literary classic that gives a maligned character her own voice, and allows her to tell her own (mostly) true story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crazy love / Allan, Rosetta
“It has been 28 years since Vicki last sent a letter to Robert Muldoon. Last time she wrote, he was Prime Minister, while she was living with her loser-boyfriend and wanting to know why people like her had to exist in such dire straits. Back then, Muldoon sent her a dollar, but it was the irrepressible Billy who turned up and transformed her life. This time Muldoon is dead and it is Billy who has made her so desperate she doesn’t know where to turn. Since running away with Billy, Vicki has barely looked back. Together they have become a family and prospered. They have survived so much, but can they survive Billy’s increasingly erratic behaviour, especially when he seems so set on pulling them apart?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The last guests / Pomare, J. P.
“What do you do when you think no one is watching? Lina and Cain are doing their best to stay afloat. Money has been tight since Cain returned from active duty, and starting a family is proving harder than they thought. Putting Lina’s inherited lakehouse on Airbnb seems like the solution to at least one of their problems. The secluded house is more of a burden than a retreat, anyway, and fixing up the old place makes Cain feel useful for once. But letting strangers stay in their house might not be the best idea. Someone is watching – their most mundane tasks, their most intimate moments – and what they see will change everything.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sistersong / Holland, Lucy
“535 AD. King Cador’s children inherit a land abandoned by the Romans, torn by warring tribes. Riva can cure others, but can’t heal her own scars. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, although born a daughter. And Sinne dreams of love, longing for adventure. All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold, their people’s last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. However, change comes on the day ash falls from the sky – bringing Myrdhin, meddler and magician. The siblings discover the power that lies within them and the land. But fate also brings Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear them apart. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sisters of the resistance : a novel of Catherine Dior’s Paris spy network / Wells, Christine
“Gabby Foucher hates the Nazis who occupy Paris. As the concierge of ten rue Royale, she makes it a point to avoid trouble, unlike her sister Yvette. Both women are recruited into the Resistance by Catherine Dior, sister of fashion designer Christian Dior. Gabby discovers an elderly tenant is hiding a wounded British fugitive, and Yvette becomes a messenger for the Resistance. As Gabby begins to fall in love with her patient and Yvette’s impulsiveness lead her into intrigue at an ever-higher level, both women will discover that their hearts– and their lives– hang in the balance. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also Available as an Audiobook.

Painting time / Kerangal, Maylis de
“An aesthetic and existential coming-of-age novel exploring the apprenticeship of a young female painter, Paula Karst, who is enrolled at the famous Institut de Peinture in Brussels. With the attention of a documentary filmmaker, de Kerangal follows Paula’s apprenticeship, punctuated by brushstrokes, hard work, sleepless nights, sore muscles, and long, festive evenings. After completing her studies at the Institute, Paula continues to practice her art in Paris, in Moscow, then in Italy on the sets of great films, all as if rehearsing for a grand finale: at a job working on Lascaux IV, a facsimile reproduction of the world’s most famous paleolithic cave art and the apotheosis of human cultural expression.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The inheritance of Orquídea Divina : a novel / Córdova, Zoraida
“The Montoyas know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers, even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. When Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers. Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways …….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A slow fire burning / Hawkins, Paula
“Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous. Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

OCD Awareness Week 2021

This week is International OCD Awareness Week. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that affects people of all ethnicities, genders, and age. About one in one hundred adults have OCD, so you most likely know somebody living with it, whether you realise it or not.

Despite how common this debilitating and frustrating disorder is, it remains incredibly misunderstood and misrepresented in media. When we misunderstand mental disorders, those suffering can feel isolated, so it is important to challenge stigma and educate ourselves for our friends and whānau.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined as having obsessive thoughts (obsessions) and performing deliberate repetitive actions (compulsions).

Obsessions are repetitive and anxiety-inducing thoughts, images or impulses that are hard to stop, while compulsions are actions or behaviours that you feel driven to repeat, even though you know they’re unnecessary or don’t make sense. For more on OCD symptoms, visit the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder page.

If you’re concerned you may have OCD, it is important to talk to your GP. The Mental Health Foundation also have a range of helplines–available here.

Continue reading “OCD Awareness Week 2021”

Historical Fantasy and beyond: new Science Fiction and Fantasy

“A library of books is the fairest garden in the world, and to walk there is an ecstasy.”

― E. Powys Mathers, The Arabian Nights

Historical fantasy is a genre of fantasy where fantastic elements such as magic are incorporated into a realistic often historical narrative. The genre is one of the oldest forms of fiction around with many early examples such as One Thousand and One Nights and spans a wide diversity of cultures and time periods. These days the genre itself is split into numerous sub genres from wuxia (a martial arts version of historical fantasy) to gunpowder fantasy (an offshoot of Steampunk), prehistoric fantasy to Celtic fantasy.

If you are unfamiliar with this genre just a few recommended titles are Diana Wynne Jones’ Castle in the Air, Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa and the Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel.

And this month’s newly acquired selection of science fiction and fantasy titles have two very fine examples of this genre – She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, set in China in 1345, and A Radical Act of Free Magic by the fabulous Aotearoa / New Zealand author H.G. Parry, set during the time of the Napoleonic war (you can hear H.G. Parry talk exclusively to us about this novel by clicking the link below.) We also have a very small selection of  non historical fantasy newly-acquired science fiction and fantasy titles as well.

A radical act of free magic : a novel / Parry, H. G.
“The Concord has been broken, and a war of magic engulfs the world. In France, the brilliant young battle-mage Napoleon Bonaparte has summoned a kraken from the depths, and under his command the Army of the Dead have all but conquered Europe. Britain fights back, protected by the gulf of the channel and powerful fire-magic, but Wilberforce’s own battle to bring about free magic and abolition has met a dead end in the face of an increasingly fearful and repressive government. But there is another, even darker war being fought beneath the surface: the first vampire war in hundreds of years…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She who became the sun / Parker-Chan, Shelley
” In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected. When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. …..” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A song of flight / Marillier, Juliet
“After a violent encounter with masked men and the sinister Crow Folk, Prince Aolu of Dalriada disappears without a trace, and his companion Galen is seriously injured. Liobhan and the Swan Island warriors seek answers to the prince’s abduction. For Liobhan this mission is personal, as Galen is her beloved brother. While she and her team investigate, Liobhan’s younger brother Brocc is in serious trouble. Brocc’s secret attempt to communicate with the Crow Folk triggers a shocking incident, and sends him on a path which endangers the one he loves above all else. What brought the Crow Folk to Erin? And who plots to use them in an unscrupulous bid for power? ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Paris by starlight / Dinsdale, Robert
“Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight. And with every story that Levon’s grandmother tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Thread needle / Thomas, Cari
“Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic. Magic is the first sin. It must be bound. Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly. It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. ………..” (Adapted from Catalogue)

In the watchful city / Lu, S. Qiouyi
“The city of Ora is watching. Anima is an extrasensory human tasked with surveilling and protecting Ora’s citizens via a complex living network called the Gleaming. Although ær world is restricted to what æ can see and experience through the Gleaming, Anima takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora safe from harm. When a mysterious outsider enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around with the world with a story attached to each item, Anima’s world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places–and possibilities–æ never before imagined to exist. But such knowledge leaves Anima with a question that throws into doubt ær entire purpose: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The past is red / Valente, Catherynne M.
” The future is blue. Endless blue… except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown. Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she’s the only one who knows it. She’s the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it’s full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time. But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Notes from the burning age / North, Claire
“Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age–a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven’s world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated. But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he’s willing to go to save this new world–and how much he is willing to lose” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Facebook Premiere: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly released, gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital both its light and darker sides.

The main protagonist in the novel is Stella; a complex, engaging, and damaged individual on a mission to get to the bottom of her friends’ mysterious death.

And to top it all one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian.

The book has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ. So, when the opportunity arose for us to interview Anne about The Leaning Man’s origins and creation and  how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel, we jumped at it.

And when it was confirmed that one of the most respected and acclaimed of all our authors, Dame Fiona Kidman was to conduct the interview we were over the moon.

This exclusive interview will be premiered on our Facebook page

Sunday 17th October at 8.30

It will be available on our library social media platforms soon after. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. Dig a little deeper and the city is unforgiving and unrepentant. Forget the politicians, they’re poor amateurs in deception and crime. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. Stella Weston is relentless, foul-mouthed and tenacious. She’s not above taking big risks to find the truth about her friend and the shady world she appears to have been dragged into. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Interview: Both Feet in Paradise author Andy Southall

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson.

New Zealand writer Andy Southall has just released his second novel Both Feet in Paradise.  Andy’s mysterious, compelling, suspenseful thriller is occasionally surreal and chock full of unexpected twists and turns. It is set in Samoa, and along with its other attributes, is also a love letter to the island.

Andy has already published two travelogues: One Hundred Days in Samoa and 28 Days in Sri Lanka. His debut novel Making Meredith was about an amateur genealogist traveling to the north of England hoping to research his mother’s father.

During our interview with Andy we talked about his travel writing, the processes he uses whilst creating his work and how his mentorship with Pip Adam helped him finish the book. The resulting interview is a fascinating insight into Andy’s writing practice and also a great non plot spoiler accompaniment to Both Feet in Paradise. Andy was interviewed in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM.

Overdrive cover Both Feet in Paradise, Andy Southall (ebook)
“After months of researching butterflies in Sāmoa, Adam is looking forward to returning home to his family. Then his transfer to the airport doesn’t arrive. Worse, a hastily arranged taxi takes him not to departures but an empty field in the middle of nowhere, and he misses his flight. As he fails to find alternative ways off the island – other flights, ferries, even seagoing yachts – he grows increasingly frustrated, especially as all overseas phone lines and emails seem to be down as well. In a café, he meets Eve, who offers to help him. Adam decides he has to trust her, for there is no one else. Yet he has a strange feeling he’s met her before …” (Adapted Overdrive description)

Lemonade stands and other things to make and sell

Whether you have a talent to show, baking to share, or just need fill up your kids’ school holidays, these books will help your crafts and produce go further, and even make a profit!

More sewing to sell : take your handmade business to the next level : 16 new projects to make & sell! / Lindsay, Virginia Keleher
“Take your handmade business to a truly professional level with practical advice from industry experts! Best-selling author Virginia Lindsay teaches you how to sell your handmade items for a real profit. This hands-on guide to the sewing business, including sixteen new sewing patterns, all copyright- and royalty-free, ready to customise for craft fairs or online shops. Make the most of your fabric, time, and resources when selling handmade totes, aprons, quilts, and more!” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Traybakes : 40 brilliant one-tin bakes for enjoying, selling and giving / Miles, Hannah
“Traybakes are one of the simplest forms of cakes and are always popular. The joy of a traybake is that it can be prepared in very little time and cut into easy and regular shaped slices or squares to serve or sell – and of course to eat! They transport easily in their tin and are just right for offering up at a bake sale. Every recipe fits the same standard tin size, so there is no hunting for specially sized equipment, and they each make 24 slices. Chocolate brownies and blondies, lemon meringue, red velvet and more.” (Catalogue)

The lemonade stand cookbook : step-by-step recipes and crafts for kids to make–and sell! / Strahs, Kathy
“Kids have been running lemonade stands for decades, whether to raise money for a new bike, for a charitable cause, or simply to conquer boredom. Inspired by dozens of kid experts from all over the country, the author has poured her expertise as a food writer, entrepreneur, and mother into the ultimate guide to setting up your own lemonade stand. Find delicious drinks, such as Classic Lemonade and Cold-Brew Iced Tea, sweet treats such as Polka Dot Blondies and Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallows, grab-and-go snacks such as Owen’s Cheddar Chompers and Sunflower Crunch Balls. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sustainable market farming : intensive vegetable production on a few acres / Dawling, Pam
“Sustainable Market Farming is a comprehensive manual for farmers raising organic crops sustainably on a few acres. Targeted at serious growers, this practical book provides profiles of a full range of crops, information about new, efficient techniques and farm-specific business skills to help ensure a successful, profitable enterprise.” (Catalogue)

 

How to show & sell your crafts : how to build your craft business at home, online, and in the marketplace / Jayne, Torie
“For crafters who want to take their craft to a new entrepreneurial level, this book is the perfect guide. Using highly-visual, step-by-step tutorials, How to Show & Sell Your Crafts is packed with helpful branding, selling, and merchandising tips that no serious crafter should be without. Using the workspaces, shops, salons, and “through-the-keyhole” profiles of some of the world’s most successful crafters, readers will learn the best ways to merchandise and sell their items online, at craft fairs, markets, pop-up events, exhibitions, and in shops. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Paper Christmas : 16 papercrafting projects for the festive season / Dawe, Emily
“Emily Dawe shows you how to create and style your Christmas in paper, from greetings cards and gorgeous gift tags to beautiful bunting and seasonal snowflake table runners. Use wrapping paper, origami paper or card with a hint of glitter and a spark of inspiration to make your Christmas extra special.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

 

Gardening for Profit / Collyns, Kate
“More and more of us are discovering the rewards of growing our own food. But what about producing enough to sell, or even trying to make a living in this way? This book is for anyone who is interested in selling some produce for profit – whether just surplus from a vegetable garden or wholesale from a fully developed professional business. It has everything including: finding land; winning customers and marketing your produce; working out what equipment you’ll need (and how much to budget for); sourcing funding; and deciding which crops to grow.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The big book of kombucha : brewing, flavoring, and enjoying the health benefits of fermented tea / Crum, Hannah
“Presents instructions for brewing and preparing the fermented tea known as kombucha, discussing its long history and health benefits, with recipes for smoothies, cocktails, sauces, salads, and puddings.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Creative calligraphy made easy : a beginner’s guide to crafting stylish cards, event decor and gifts / Lim, Karla
Add a special touch to your next event with an elegant handwritten menu and place cards. Renowned calligraphy designer and instructor Karla Lim breaks down the complex craft into simple steps so you can get amazing professional results in your cards and gifts, while also enjoying this meditative process.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

 

Modern terrarium studio / George, Megan
“Clean lines and bold color: these aren’t your average terrariums. Author Megan George presents 25 easy-to-make terrariums and living landscapes that push the boundaries of traditional terrarium design.  An overview of the author’s favorite popular plants, including tillandsias, cacti, succulents, tropical plants and mosses.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

 

The Only Living Lady Parachutist: interview with author Catherine Clarke

Image of Leila Adair during her tour of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1894,
courtesy of Palmerston North City Library

The Only Living Lady Parachutist is a remarkable novel by Catherine Clarke based in fact about aerial acrobat daredevil, Lillian (aka Leila Adair). Leila was a smoke balloonist who was billed on flyers of the time as ‘The Aerial Queen’; she toured New Zealand in 1894 and her performance included aerial acrobatics followed by death-defying parachute jumps from her balloon.  A risky endeavour at the best of times, and one that was often fraught with danger. Catherine’s book takes much of the historical information available about Leila and turns it into a compelling, fascinating, fictional page-turner of a read.

As well as being a compulsive read, the book is a fascinating insight into New Zealand and the wider world of the time, not to mention society’s perceptions of pioneering daredevil women who pushed the boundaries of what was perceived as acceptable for the time.

So, for your delight and edification, this is our exclusive, in-depth interview with Catherine Clarke, where she talks about her novel in detail, the fascinating historical and societal context behind aerial acrobats of the time, her research methods and a whole host of other topics. For anyone interested in New Zealand history, or how to create captivating historical based fiction, the interview is unmissable.

Continue reading “The Only Living Lady Parachutist: interview with author Catherine Clarke”

Seniors’ Week 1-8 October

For the young at heart, here are some great books that will bring you back to the pre-McDonalds time. From famous Aunt Daisy’s baking book to the early cars with style and speed. Enjoy!

Australia & New Zealand Newsstream
Search back many years of Dominion Post, New Zealand Herald and much more. Click here.

PressReader
Read the current New Zealand and world newspapers and magazines here.

 

Preserving with Aunt Daisy : over 200 trusted recipes for jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys. / Daisy
“A collection of over 200 of Aunt Daisy’s best-loved recipes for jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys … also includes 24 beautiful colour photographs as well as a step-by-step guide to preserving, an equipment list, and a seasonal guide”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

 

The cars we loved : New Zealanders’ love affair with British cars of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s / McCrystal, John
“A Blokes and Shed take on New Zealanders’ love affair with old British cars.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Silver hair : say goodbye to the dye– and let your natural light shine! / Massey, Lorraine
“Whether you’re naturally graying, weaning yourself off the dye, or coveting the chic #grannyhair trend, your hair will shine with this empowering guide. Here are step-by-step tips on letting nature take its course—or using lowlights, highlights, blending, and toning to transition with minimal drama (and avoid a skunk line). Tips on haircuts, tricks for the best care (conditioning is crucial). Products, including the DIY variety. Plus, the most flattering clothing and makeup to accentuate any shade of gray.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Vintage fashion knitwear : collecting and wearing designer classics / Fogg, Marnie
“This fashion book covers 100 years of knitwear fashions, showing iconic and groundbreaking styles that epitomize each decade.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Your shout : a toast to drink and drinking in New Zealand / Hutchins, Graham
“An account of New Zealand’s constant, sometimes troubled, always fascinating and often humorous encounters with alcohol, from the early days of European contact to the present day.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Eat up New Zealand / Brown, Al
“With great stories about New Zealand food as well as more than 150 recipes this is a nostalgic treasure trove that gets to the heart of what New Zealand culture is and the food that reflects that. Eat Up New Zealand honours the past with updated Kiwi classics like roast lamb, pies, flounder, corned beef, pikelets, cheese scones, feijoa and tamarillo desserts, preserves and much more.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

 

Kiwi collectors : curious and unusual Kiwi hobbies / Elliott, Matt
“An interesting collection is as much about the collector as it is the assembled possessions. Join bestselling author Matt Elliott as he tracks down a variety of collectors from around the country. Their beloved items range from firearms to carnivorous plants, Temuka pottery to railway signals. Doors are unlocked, lights switched on and dust is blown off as Matt is welcomed into an array of basements, sheds and garages, and entertained by owners who are serious collectors but don’t take themselves too seriously”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Petrolheads in sheds : unique Kiwi car collections / Holmes, Steve
“A collection of photos and stories of amazing hidden car collections from around New Zealand. From the author of the popular KIWI HOt RODDER’S GUIDE tO LIFE and the KIWI UtE DRIVER’S GUIDE tO LIFE comes a book about the hidden world of New Zealand car collectors. Steve Holmes has collected stories from across New Zealand, from the weird to the wonderful, accompanied by amazing photographs of the sheds, the cars and the petrolheads who inhabit them.” (Catalogue)

Mid-century living : the Butterfly House collection / Fernyhough, Christine
“Christine Fernyhough has built an extraordinary collection of over 4000 everyday objects of mid century New Zealand craft, design and folk art. From furniture to toys and games, tableware to ornamental objects, Royal Family memorabilia to Kiwiana, Crown Lynn to hand-coloured scenic posters, together these objects are a gloriously nostalgic, colourful and tangible record of the way we lived and the things we surrounded ourselves with. Christine has devoted her classic 1960s seaside bach, ‘The Butterfly House’ to housing her collection, transforming it into a beguiling mid-century fantasy.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Antiques in the Antipodes : the story of a shop / Sanders, Yvonne
“Yvonne Sanders Antiques Ltd is an Auckland icon. Yvonne herself has traded as an international antiques dealer for more than 43 years, travelling extensively twice every year to source stock from a dozen different countries … her stock is large and eclectic. Originally trained as a teacher, she has taught antiques at night school … .The collectors, decorators, colleagues and craftsmen who have been associated with the business are described in detail and their story is also the social history of an era”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)