Visiting the library in Alert Level 2

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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.


Biopics: an international feast online at Kanopy and Beamafilm

Have you run out of books? We can help with a fabulous selection of biopics to entertain and educate. You can access these films through our online movie streaming platforms Kanopy and Beamafilm. Just sign in with your Wellington City Libraries card and PIN.

The Oxford English Dictionary (which incidentally is also available through our online e-resources here) define biopic as “a biographical film, esp. one dramatizing the life of a public or historical figure”. Check our selection of fabulous international biopics below:

“It’s 1948, and the Cold War has reached Chile. Following a ban on communism, Chilean poet-diplomat Pablo Neruda is forced into hiding. Beloved by the populace, he slips underground and is pursued by incompetent, vainglorious police inspector Oscar Peluchonneau, hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the country’s most infamous fugitive.

Blending visual grandeur and literary wit, Neruda is a beguiling reinvention of the ‘standard’ cinematic biography. Playfully confounding expectations at every turn, the film offers a startling rumination on the split between the person and persona, the man and the artist. 2017 Golden Globe nominee, Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language. Winner of the next bill of Best Actor and the Cine Latino Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.” ( Adapted from Beamafilm)

A Royal Affair
“Denmark, 1766, Caroline Mathilde is married to the mad and politically ineffectual King Christian VII. When the King returns from a tour of Europe accompanied by Struensee, his new personal physician, Queen Caroline finds an unexpected ally within the kingdom. The attraction between the two is initially one of shared ideals and philosophy, but it soon turns into a passionate and clandestine affair.

Committed to the ideals of the Enlightenment that are banned in Denmark, Struensee convinces the King to assert his previously untapped power to remove the conservative political council and implement drastic changes to Danish society. As the Court plot their return to power and the downfall of the Queen and Struensee, the consequences of their affair are made clear and the entire nation will be changed forever.” (Adapted from Kanopy)  A Royal Affair is also available as a DVD from our collection.

Maya Angelou: And still I rise
“Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Dr. Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014) led a prolific life. As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries.

With unprecedented access, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack trace Dr. Angelou’s incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life through never-before-seen footage, rare archival photographs and videos and her own words.” (Kanopy)

Southside with You
“On a summer’s day in 1989, a young law associate named Barack Obama used all his charms to woo attorney Michelle Robinson. From executive producer John Legend comes this uplifting romantic movie based on the real-life first date between the future First Couple.” (Kanopy)

Southside with You is also available as a DVD to borrow from our collection.

Yellow is Forbidden
“A modern-day Cinderella story where the brave, diminutive and daring heroine’s dream doesn’t end at the ball. Guo Pei is chasing every designer’s fantasy to become part of the exclusive yet savage world of Haute Couture.

It’s an unprecedented story, taking the viewer inside the world where Guo Pei creates magic: a 50kg dress so heavy Guo Pei has to consider a gymnast not a model to walk the runway, a gown spun by 300 embroiderers, precious gold material printed with centuries-old Swiss fresco. All from a woman who learnt her craft at Number 2 Light Industrial School after the reign of Mao Tse Tung.” (Beamafilm)

Yellow is Forbidden is also available as a DVD to borrow from our collection.

The Motorcycle Diaries
“In 1952, two young Argentines, Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado, set out on a road trip to discover the real Latin America. Ernesto is a 23-year-old medical student specializing in leprology, and Alberto, 29, is a biochemist. The film follows the young men as they unveil the rich and complex human and social topography of the Latin American continent.” (Kanopy)

The Motorcycle Diaries is also available as a DVD to borrow from our collection.

A Fortunate Life
“At eight years old, an impoverished Bert Facey was forced to start the backbreaking, dawn-to-dusk life of a farm labourer. Unschooled, his father dead, abandoned by his mother, by the age of twenty he had survived the rigours of pioneering the harsh Australian bush and the slaughter of the bloody WWI campaign at Gallipoli. Adapted from A.B. Facey’s best-selling autobiographical novel, this is the extraordinary tale of an ordinary Aussie battler, and remains one of the great Australian miniseries.” (Beamafim)

You can also read the original book the DVD mini series was adapted from, or listen the original book as a Book on CD.

The Enduring Popularity, and Many Faces and Films, of Agatha Christie

“Everything must be taken into account. If the fact will not fit the theory—let the theory go.”
― Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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Agatha Christie’s books have for a long time been amongst the most popular books borrowed in libraries throughout the world and continue to be so even to this day, with book sales to match. She is the best-selling novelist of all time, selling a staggering 300 million books during her lifetime and a mind boggling estimated two billion to date. With such huge popularity it is no surprise that film makers rushed to her door looking for novels to adapt into scripts, though Agatha Christie herself famously said “My chief dislikes are crowds, loud noises, gramophones and cinemas.”

She grew up in an upper middle-class family in Torquay, a quiet, self-contained but happy child. Her first attempts at getting published were initially unsuccessful, however her luck changed in 1920 with the publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first book to feature one of her most successful detective creations Hercule Poirot. And from that point on her books just grew and grew in popularity.

The first film adaptation of her work was The Passing of Mr. Quinn in 1928 and many film adaptations throughout the years followed, with a new version of Death on the Nile scheduled to be released in 2022.

Most of the films feature one or other of Christie’s two big name detectives, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple who have both been played by a wide variety of actors and actresses who have of course all brought their own style and approach to the characters. And it goes almost without saying that these films and television programmes have all reflected the times they were made (even if they had a historical backdrop).  From the cosy black and white, very British comic Miss Marple films of the 1960’s, starring Dame Margaret Rutherford, to the star-studded mega block buster Peter Ustinov films of the late 70’s and early 80’s. And then there is the highly unlikely (you have to see it to believe it) Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller Sabotage, based on her And Then There Were None novel.  Not to mention the recent slickly-produced modern movies by Kenneth Branagh and the often more nuanced and measured television adaptations, such as the superb Joan Bogle Hickson BBC series.

Below is just a small selection of the Agatha Christie books, films and television series we have on offer.

Death on the Nile / Christie, Agatha
” The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seems…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click  here for the 1978 star studded  Peter Ustinov film.

Murder on the Orient Express / Christie, Agatha
” Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the 1976 version starring Albert Finney and here for the 2017 Kenneth Branagh version.

And then there were none / Christie, Agatha
” Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…” (Adapted from Catalogue). Click here for the availability of Sabotage, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller based on And Then There Were None.

Evil under the sun / Christie, Agatha
” It was not unusual to find the beautiful bronzed body of the sun-loving Arlena Stuart stretched out on a beach, face down. Only, on this occasion, there was no sun… she had been strangled. Ever since Arlena’s arrival at the resort, Hercule Poirot had detected sexual tension in the seaside air. But could this apparent ‘crime of passion’ have been something more evil and premeditated altogether?” (Adapted from Catalogue). Click here forthe film starring Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Jane Birkin, James Mason and Diana Rigg amongst others.

Why didn’t they ask Evans? / Christie, Agatha
“During a round of golf on a cliff-top course in Wales, Bobby Jones discovers a man lying gravely injured on the rocks below. His last words, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?,” two adventurous friends decide to find his killer…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the availability of the 1980 film which coincidently has Joan Hickson as  Mrs. Rivington before her time playing Miss Marple.


The body in the library / Christie, Agatha
“When the Bantrys wake to find the body of a beautiful young stranger in their library, Dolly Bantry knows there’s only one person to call: her old friend Miss Marple.” (Catalogue) Click here for the first series of Miss Marple Starring Joan Hickson, here for the second, here for the third  and here for the fourth.


The adventure of the Christmas pudding : and a selection of entrees / Christie, Agatha
“First came a sinister warning to Poirot not to eat any plum pudding … then the discovery of a corpse in a chest … next, an overheard quarrel that led to murder … the strange case of the dead man who altered his eating habits … and the puzzle of the victim who dreamt his own suicide. What links these five baffling cases? The little grey cells of Monsieur Hercule Poirot!” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the availability of  first series of Hercule Poirot starring David Suchet, here for the second, here for the third and here for all our other numerous David Suchet,  Hercule Poirot items.

An autobiography / Christie, Agatha
“Agatha Christie’s ‘most absorbing mystery’ – her own autobiography, with new exclusive CD containing newly discovered priceless recordings of Agatha dictating excerpts from more than 40 years ago.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the availability of Agatha Christie’s garden : murder & mystery in Devon. A fascinating documentary about Agatha Christie’s personal Devon retreat Greenway which she described as   “the loveliest place in the world”

The 2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards Shortlist

“Above all things — read. Read the great stylists who cannot be copied rather than the successful writers who must not be copied.”
― Ngaio Marsh, Death on the Air and Other Stories

The shortlist for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards has just been announced and what a powerful and diverse shortlist it is.  Included amongst its illustrious ranks we have Brannavan Gnanalingam’s Sprigs, the debut novel sensation The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle, which already has its film rights snapped up by Hollywood, and a whole host of other stunning works.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards began in 2010 with an aim to recognise and proclaim excellence in New Zealand mystery, crime, and thriller writing. It is presented to the best novel, best first novel, best nonfiction work, and this year a whole new category has been launched for novels for younger readers. Each of the books in all the categories need to have been published the preceding year.

We wish to extend our congratulations to all this year’s nominees and we don’t envy the judges’ task in selecting the final winners.

Best Nonfiction (biennial):

Weed: A New Zealand story (James Borrowdale)

Rock College: An unofficial history of Mount Eden Prison (Mark Derby)

From Dog Collar to Dog Collar (Bruce Howat)

Gangland (Jared Savage)

Black Hands: Inside the Bain family murders (Martin Van Beynen)


Inaugural Prize for Novel for Younger Readers:

Katipo Joe (Brian Falkner)

Red Edge (Des Hunt)

A Trio of Sophies (Eileen Merriman)

Deadhead (Glenn Wood)


Best Novel:

The murder club / Crutchley, Nikki
“When the first letter arrives saying that ‘tonight it begins’, journalist Miller Hatcher ignores it. But then the body of a murdered woman is discovered, strangled, a scarf around her neck. Cassie Hughes has always vowed to find the man who murdered her mother. Cassie knows he’s out there and wants him to pay, and Miller agrees to bring the cold case back into the public’s eye. Logan Dodds has been obsessed with true crime ever since his sister was murdered thirty years ago. He has turned his obsession into a career and has created the True Crime Enthusiasts Club and his newest venture, True Crime Tours.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya – a fifteen year old who barely belongs – watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya’s friends have evaporated and she isn’t sure what to do. In the weeks after ‘the incident’ life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

The tally stick / Nixon, Carl
“Up on the highway, the only evidence that the Chamberlains had ever been there was two smeared tyre tracks in the mud leading into the almost undamaged screen of bushes and trees. No other cars passed that way until after dawn. By that time the tracks had been washed away by the heavy rain . . . It was a magic trick. After being in the country for only five days, the Chamberlain family had vanished into the air. The date was 4 April 1978. In 2010 the remains of the eldest Chamberlain child have been discovered in a remote part of the West Coast, showing he lived for four years after the family disappeared. Found alongside him are his father’s watch and what turns out to be a tally stick, a piece of wood scored across, marking items of debt. How had he survived and then died? Where was the rest of his family? And what is the meaning of the tally stick?”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The secrets of strangers / Norman, Charity
“Five strangers, one cafe – and the day that everything changed. A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Tell me lies / Pomare, J. P.
“Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children and a successful career. On a warm spring morning Margot approaches one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That’s when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train. Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie cost her family and freedom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Best First Novel:

The girl in the mirror / Carlyle, Rose
“Identical twins only look the same … Beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of open-hearted Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. Called to Thailand to help sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. Now is her chance to take what she’s always wanted – the idyllic life she’s always coveted. But just how far will she go to get the life she’s dreamed about? And how will she make sure no one discovers the truth?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Where the truth lies / Kilmore, Karina
“When investigative journalist Chrissie O’Brian lands a senior job at The Argus, she is desperate to escape the nightmares of her past. Her life has become a daily battle to resist numbing the pain. But her job is something she can do better than anyone else – and the only thing that keeps the memories at bay. A face-off on the waterfront between the unions and big business is just the kind of story to get her career back on track. But after a dockworker who confided in her turns up dead, Chrissie becomes obsessed with unravelling the truth. When a gruesome threat lands on her desk, it’s clear someone is prepared to do anything to stop her.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook

For reasons of their own / Stuart, Chris
“Robbie Gray, a talented but troubled Detective Inspector stationed in Melbourne, who has fallen foul of police bureaucracy, is called to a investigate a dead body found in a rural wetland swamp. Under-resourced, with a corpse that cannot be identified and no apparent motive for the murder, she fails to make headway. The Federal Police take over the investigation and ASIO becomes involved, focusing on a terrorism angle. Convinced they are misinterpreting the evidence, or worse, DI Gray begins her own investigation assisted by a young Aboriginal policeman….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also on the list is  The Beautiful Dead by Kim Hunt and While the Fantail Lives by Alan Titchall.

Chinese Language Week in Chinese


Click here for English version


惠灵顿中文学校 在表演中注入了中国语言,古典和现代的元素,演出富有能量和创造力。欢迎您和全家网上共赏!


您领取了免费的图书馆卡了吗? 请先填写注册表格;来馆时出示一次身份证名, 就可领取免费的惠灵顿图书馆卡,阅读上万本书籍杂志和电子读物。详情请点击这里



想要阅读更多中文书籍, 使用免费预留服务, 欢迎点击这里


领英学习 (LinkedIn Learning)

领英学习(LinkedIn Learning) 由Lynda.com更名,现为著名职场社交平台领英旗下的学习平台。几千门在线课程任您挑选,由业界名师亲自教授热门技能。英文课程包含:数据分析,销售,面试技巧,设计,软件开发等。

现在更推出了领英中文。包含500多个中文课程。中文课程内容包含,数据分析,Python, 演讲知识,项目经理,管理,销售,面试技巧等实用课程。使用图书馆卡登录,课程全部免费参加。 领英学习库帐号登录 | 原 Lynda 课程库 (



OverDrive Chinese Reading Room 拥有过千本中文电子书籍,电子有声读物,和电子杂志。您可以直接输入简体或繁体中文查找。

Chinese Language Week 26 September – 2 October

We hope you had a good Mid-Autumn festival and this week we are looking forward to Chinese Language Week. Due to the alert levels, we are going to have the events online, so stay tuned in and enjoy!

Click here for Chinese Version 点击这里查看中文版

Chinese dance and cultural performance

Wellington Chinese Language School has infused Chinese language, classic and contemporary elements in their performance, and the show is full of energy and creativity. Watch online with your family!

Learn Chinese
Learning Chinese phrases has been made easy and fun. A Wellington mother and her child teach you these simple Chinese phrases, we hope you enjoy this fun video and try to learn a phrase or two as you watch!

If you’d like to learn more Chinese phrases and take advantage of the free reserve service, browse the large learning Chinese collection.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a professional training platform contains 12,000 videos and free unlimited access. Now you can access 500 Chinese courses for upskilling on business analysis, data science, customer service, accounting, management and much more.


Chinese eBooks and eMagazines

OverDrive Chinese Reading Room has 1,000 Chinese eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines.  You can also search in Chinese (simplified or traditional).






The long shadow of Frank Herbert’s Dune

Oscar Isaac Dune GIF by

“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense, But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.”
– Frank Herbert, Dune.

On its first publication in 1965, Dune was originally released as two separate serials in the legendary ‘Analog’ magazine. And even more strangely, the novel’s first combined print publication was by Chilton publishing, a publishing house that up to that point had only published automobile repair manuals. However, the remarkable nature of the novel was quickly recognised and the following year the book won both the Hugo and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. And since its publication it has gone on to become the world’s bestselling science fiction book, as well as being regarded by some critics as the best science fiction book ever written.

Dune fever has reignited recently with the forthcoming release of the much delayed, much anticipated and already critically acclaimed Denis Villeneuve movie.

Continue reading “The long shadow of Frank Herbert’s Dune”

Packing up Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui (Wellington Central Library)

We are excited to have started carefully packing up Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui – Wellington Central Library. Behind the hoardings, the experienced Crown Relocations team has begun the eight-week process of moving the historic fittings into storage for the next four years. This involves carefully removing, labelling, itemising, and wrapping the fixtures following the guidance of our heritage expert. They will also upcycle or recycle standard office furniture, or library equipment that is not going into storage or being used elsewhere within Council.


They will work during the working week (Monday to Friday) and expect to finish by November, unless we experience a delay, such as an increase in Alert level.


The team at Crown Relocation are working to lessen any noise for the neighbouring residents and businesses as much as they can by using the basement to move items out of the library. So please be aware of trucks entering and leaving the basement entrance on Harris Street.

If you’re walking into Te Ngākau Civic Precinct from Victoria Street you’ll see a small hoarding has been put up next to Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui. Behind it is a temporary skip bin where any rubbish or broken equipment is being put. If you happen to be in the Precinct when the bin is being replaced, please follow the signage and instructions of the Crown Relocations staff to keep everyone safe.

What’s next?

Over the coming four years we’re strengthening and modernising Te Matapihi. This includes installing base isolators; expanding levels three and four; designing spaces for our Libraries, City Archives, Council Service Centre, and Capital E to bring back Wellington’s much-loved community living room in the CBD.

From October, we will share regular updates on how the design for Te Matapihi is progressing through our Wellington City Libraries and Council newsletters, social media and websites. So sign up or follow the latest news at

Council News and Information

Internet of Things and other new technology

So everyone is talking about the Internet of Things, but do we know what it’s about? We’ve delivered the future technology through the traditional method of hand-picked books. And we hope you enjoy them now and into the future!

The Internet of things : do-it-yourself projects with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Beaglebone Black / Norris, Donald
“The Internet of Things gets you started working with the most popular processing platforms and wireless communication technologies to connect devices and systems to the Internet using sensors. You’ll learn the basics of object-oriented programming and relational databases so you can complete your projects with ease. Each project features a list of required tools and components, how-to explanations with photos and illustrations, and complete programming code. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Pax technica : how the internet of things may set us free or lock us up / Howard, Philip N
“Should we fear or welcome the internet’s evolution? The “internet of things” is the rapidly growing network of everyday objects–eyeglasses, cars, thermostats–made smart with sensors and internet addresses. Soon we will live in a pervasive yet invisible network of everyday objects that communicate with one another. Philip N. Howard discussed the empowerment, privacy, political manuipulation around the new era, Pax Technica.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)


Designing the Internet of things / McEwen, Adrian
“Take your idea from concept to production with this unique guide: how to successfully combine hardware, embedded software, web services, electronics, and cool design to create cutting-edge devices that are fun, interactive, and practical. If you’d like to create the next must-have product, this unique book is the perfect place to start. Both a creative and practical primer, it explores the platforms you can use to develop hardware or software, discusses design concepts that will make your products eye-catching and appealing, and shows you ways to scale up from a single prototype to mass production.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Smart homes and communities : fostering sustainable architecture / Friedman, Avi
“The term “smart” in reference to homes and communities describes places whose function is related to or affected by information technology.  Designers and planners are paying significant attention to the design of dwellings and neighborhoods and are considering new economic realities, by integrating innovative digital appliances, which are also helping to foster economic sustainability for future generations.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sustainable luxury : the new Singapore house : solutions for a livable future / McGillick, Paul
“Singapore is celebrated as one of the most livable cities in Asia, and Sustainable Luxury shows how the prosperous, forward-looking nation is pioneering innovative solutions for environmental, economic, social, and cultural issues faced the world over.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)


Wireless-wise families : what every parent needs to know about wireless technologies / McLean, Lyn
“How much do you know about mobile phones and other wireless devices and the radiation they emit?’Smart’ families are exposed to wireless radiation from ‘smart’ devices. ‘Wise’ families make informed decisions about using wireless technologies safely. This book, by consumer advocate and educator Lyn McLean, shows you in simple, practical terms what you need know to live wisely in our ever more connected world.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

What to think about machines that think : today’s leading thinkers on the age of machine intelligence
“Stephen Hawking recently made headlines by noting, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Others, conversely, have trumpeted a new age of “superintelligence” in which smart devices will exponentially extend human capacities. No longer just a matter of science-fiction fantasy (2001, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Her, etc.), it is time to serious consider the reality of intelligent technology, many forms of which are already being integrated into our daily lives. World’s most influential scientists, philosophers, and artists answered one of today’s most consequential questions: What do you think about machines that think? ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

“Here lies Arthur:” New Science Fiction & Fantasy

Sword In The Stone Disney GIF

Here lies Arthur, King that was, King that will be.”

― Thomas Malory

The myths legends and mysteries surrounding King Arthur and the knights of the round table have for a very long time held a particular fascination on the imagination of writers, artists and film makers.

The Arthurian legend has inspired films as varied as Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King , Monty Python and the Holy Grail,   King Arthur Legend of the sword starring Charlie Hunnam there is even a Scooby Doo adventure about the legend called Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob. And authors as diverse as Kazuo Ishiguro, Stephen King, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Bernard Cornwell, C. S. Lewis, T.H. White and John Steinbeck have all tied to pull out their own literary works from the fabled stone (to name but a few).

So, it is fabulous to see in this month’s list of recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles another author joining these illustrious ranks. Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian brings a fresh and new feminist reimagining of the Arthurian tale, whilst retaining much of the original source material such Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur at its core, pleasing both newbies and Arthurian buffs alike. For details of Half Sick of Shadows and our other selected recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles, please see below.

Half sick of shadows / Sebastian, Laura
” Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come — for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future. On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends — countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The stranding / Sawyer, Kate
“Ruth lives in the heart of the city. When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand. But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The crow folk / Stay, Mark
“As Spitfires roar overhead and a dark figure stalks the village of Woodville, a young woman will discover her destiny…Faye Bright always felt a little bit different. And today she’s found out why. She’s just stumbled across her late mother’s diary which includes not only a spiffing recipe for jam roly-poly, but spells, incantations, runes and recitations… a witch’s notebook. And Faye has inherited her mother’s abilities. Just in time, too. The Crow Folk are coming. Led by the charismatic Pumpkinhead, their strange magic threatens Faye and the villagers. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The weight of a thousand oceans / Webster, Jillian
“In a world where cities sprawl like half-submerged skeletons, Maia has spent her entire life hidden within the mountains of New Zealand. Her only companions being her ailing grandfather and a nomadic dog named Huck, Maia resents being alone. She spends her days wandering the ruins of a population long-gone, dreaming of a place where the few humans left behind can start again-a place her grandfather insists is a myth. But Maia cannot escape a strong and mysterious force calling her out into the world, as well as bizarre events following her around the island. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This fragile earth / Wise, Susannah
“Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working.  Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world. But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Appleseed : a novel / Bell, Matt
“Eighteenth-century Ohio: two brothers travel into the wooded frontier, planting apple orchards from which they plan to profit in the years to come. As they plan for a future of settlement and civilization. In the second half of the twenty-first century: climate change has ravaged the Earth. Having invested early in genetic engineering and food science, one company now owns all the world’s resources. In a pivotal moment for the future of humanity, one of the company’s original founders returns to headquarters, intending to destroy what he helped build. A thousand years in the future: North America is covered by a massive sheet of ice. One lonely sentient being inhabits a tech station on top of the glacier, and sets out to follow a homing beacon across the continent in the hopes of discovering the last remnant of civilization.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A psalm for the wild-built / Chambers, Becky
“It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend. One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They’re going to need to ask it a lot. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Strange beasts of China / Yan, Ge
“In the fictional Chinese city of Yong’an, an amateur cryptozoologist is tasked with uncovering the stories of its fabled beasts, which draws her deep within a mystery that threatens her very sense of self.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Great Kererū Count: Finale!


The Great Kererū Count kicks off this Friday and runs until 26 September. Read on for more about how you can be involved!

Kererū: they’re the drunken, fame-hogging rock stars of the avian world–and we love them for it!

So what better way to celebrate kererū awesomeness than by joining in the final Great Kererū Count, one of Aotearoa’s most popular and successful citizen science projects. If you haven’t been involved in the Great Kererū Count before, don’t worry–the team at GKC have put together a FAQ to help you get started. And if you’re already a kererū counting expert, just grab your phone–and your mask–and prepare to count those kererū one last time!

Did you know that last year over 10,000 people were involved in the GKC, and they counted over 21,000 kererū. The kererū’s favourite tree to feed on is the kōwhai and over 60% of kererū sightings were in urban areas. If you want to know more, check out these fantastic interactive maps!

Bonus Citizen Science Resources:

Citizen science : how ordinary people are changing the face of discovery / Cooper, Caren B.
“Think you need a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries? Think again. All around the world, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of everyday people are choosing to participate in the scientific process. Working in cooperation with scientists in pursuit of information, innovation, and discovery, these volunteers are following protocols, collecting and reviewing data, and sharing their observations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Smitten by giraffe : my life as a citizen scientist / Dagg, Anne Innis
“When Anne Innis saw her first giraffe at the age of three, she was smitten. She knew she had to learn more about this marvellous animal. Twenty years later, now a trained zoologist, she set off alone to Africa to study the behaviour of giraffe in the wild. Years later, Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey would be driven by a similar devotion to study the behaviour of wild apes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The drama of conservation : the history of Pureora Forest, New Zealand
“This book offers a sweeping history of Pureora Forest Park, one of the most significant sites of natural and cultural history interest in New Zealand. The authors review the geological history of the volcanic zone, its flora and fauna, and the history of Maori and European utilization of forest resources.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ngā uruora = the groves of life : ecology & history in a New Zealand landscape / Park, Geoff
“First published in 1995, Ngā Uruora took the study of New Zealand’s natural environment in radical new directions. Geoff Park’s research focuses on New Zealand’s fertile coastal plains, country of rich opportunity for both Maori and European inhabitants, but a country whose natural character has vanished from the experience of New Zealanders today.” (Adapted from 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)

Ko Aotearoa tēnei : te taumata tuatahi : a report into claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity. / New Zealand.
“This report comes in the form of two steps: this first step tells the story – in abridged form – of Wai 262. The second step is Te Taumata Tuarua, in two volumes. The Wai 262 Claim on indigenous flora and fauna and Māori cultural and intellectual property rights covers issues around Māori science, legal, political, cultural and economic issues.” (Catalogue)

“It was as if the sun had come out”: pukapuka paki hou

Ngā kaiporotēhie mautohe ana ki te haerenga whutupōro o Āwherika ki te Tonga, Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Evening post (Niupepa. 1865-2002): Ngā whakaahua me ngā tānga tōraro o te niupepa o te Evening Post. Tohutoro: 35mm-01392-11a-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa. /records/22543224

“It was as if the sun had come out” — Nelson Mandela, i tana rongo kua whakakorehia te kēmu ka tū ki Kirikiriroa.

Read this post in English

I roto i ā mātou kōwhiringa o ngā whiwhinga pukapuka paki hou i tēnei marama, he pakimaero e pā ana ki tētahi o ngā taiopenga whakaweherua i te tangata, nui rawa i te hītori moroki o Aotearoa.

E whā tekau tau ki muri, i taiāwhiotia a Aotearoa e te tīma whutupōro o Āwherika ki te Tonga. Ko te hua o taua haerenga, me te kaupapa tōrangapū i Āwherika ki te Tonga i taua wā, ko te weheruatanga pāpori nui, nāna te porihanga o Aotearoa i haurua, i hika ai ngā mautohe mātinitini, ngā mahi mokorea a ngā pirihimana, me te torenga mai o tētahi whāruarua puta noa i te motu. I noho te Haerenga Springbok hei tautute ā-tōrangapū nui rawa i Aotearoa i te rautau 20. Ko te pūtake o te ripi i te porihanga, ko te mahi tonu o Āwherika ki te Tonga i raro i te pūnaha whakarihariha o te whakatāuke tangata, arā te apartheid, ā, mēnā ka whai pānga tēnei ki ngā kaupapa hākinakina.

He nui ngā kōrero kua tuhia mō te haerenga nei mai i ngā taha katoa o te tohe.

Ā, mēnā e hiahia ana koe i ētahi atu mōhiohio mō te hītori o te Haerenga, kua hono tahi Ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara me Te Kano Kohinga Kupu o Pōneke i tēnei tau hei tohu i ngā taiopenga o te tau 1981 i te wā i hua mai.

E tīhau mataora ana te pūkete Twitter o Tweet the Tour i ngā āhuatanga i te wā i tatū ai.

I tēnei marama, i te kōwhiringa pukapuka paki hou, kei ā mātou a Hold the line: The Springbok tour of ‘81: a family, a love affair, a nation at war: a novel nā Kerry Harrison. He kōrero paki o tēnei wā hiranga nui, e hanga whakaari ana i ngā whakatete o te haerenga.

Tērā anō ētahi atu pukapuka tino rerekē o Aotearoa i ngā kōwhiringa o tēnei marama. Ko The Piano Girls he kōrero paki hou e tino mihia ana, nā Elizabeth Smither. Ā, ko The Only Living Lady Parachutist nā Catehrina Clarke, he pakimaero i poua i runga i te pono, e hāngai ana ki te ao o Lillian, he tuawahine whakahaere poihau hauwera toremutu ākina ā-mate, nāna te iwi i whakaohooho i Aotearoa me Ahitereiria i ngā tau o te 1890.

A darker reality / Perry, Anne
“E tohu ana ngā tīpuna o Elena ki te whakanui i tētahi huringatau mā te whakarite i tētahi pāti mīharo mā rātou ko ngā hoa mananui o tōna koroua. Engari ka mutu wawe, pouri hoki ngā whakariterite i te wā ka tukia tētahi o ngā manuhiri a Lila Worth, e te motukā i te huanui i waho. E whakapono ana a Elena, i whakamātau ana a Lila ki te whāki i tētahi kaupapa ki a ia i mua i tōna matenga, ā, nō te waeatanga mai o tana rangatira mahi i te kāinga, a MI6, i whakaū he tūtei o Piritana a Lila, kātahi ka hono atu a Elene ki tētahi atu tūtei ki te rapu he aha ngā mōhiohio waiwai e puritia ana e taua wahine rā.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Hard like water / Yan, Lianke
“Nō te hokinga o Gao Aijun ki tōna pā kāinga me te hīkaka i ngā mahi angitu i roto i a Tūmatauenga, ka kite ia i te wāhine ātaahua nei a Xia Hongmei e hīkoi kore hū ana i te taha o te rerewē i te ahiahi ruhi o te rā, ā, hinga tonu atu i te aroha. I a rāua e huna ana i tā rāua hononga i ō rāua makau ake, ka kuhu mārika rāua ki ngā taukumekume ki te whakaara i te pāhoro i tō rāua pā kāinga taiwhenua. Ka tatari rāua ki te kaikaiātara i tō rāua hononga, kia oti rā anō i a Aijun te kari i tētahi anapoka o te aroha, i waenga i ō rāua kāinga, otirā ka eke tō rāua pāhoro, aroha whiwhita hoki ki tōna taioreoretanga.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The hummingbird / Veronesi, Sandro
“Ko Marco Carrera ‘te hummingbird,’ he tangata āhua tipua nei e taea e ia te nohotū i te wā e neke haere tonu ana te ao. I a ia e urungi haere ana i ngā wero o te oranga – e whakaanga ana i te matenga o tōna tuahine, me te korenga o tōna tuakana; te tiaki i ōna mātua i te wā e tata ana ki te mate; e whakatipu ana i tana mokopuna i te wā kāore e tāea e tōna whaea ake, te tamāhine a Marco, te tiaki i a tana tamaiti ake; te whakatau i tana aroha mō Luisa, he wahine manganga – ka noho a Marco Carrera hei tohu mō te toa wairua whakaiti e rauroha ana i te nui o tō tātou oranga o ia rā” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The piano girls / Smither, Elizabeth
“Tokotoru tūāhine puorooro ka whakamānawa i tō rātou ia tau mā tētahi takinga piana, hei whakamaharatanga ki a ia. Ka whakataetae tētahi ki tētahi, ka whakangungu huna ki te kite ko wai te toa o rātou. I ētahi atu kōrero, ko te waiata, te kai, me ngā wharekai ngā ariā. Tērā tētahi wahine e pana ana i tētahi kaiwhakawai mā te tunu kai nui; Ka whakarite a Fire Lady i ngā kai tahu waiwaihā i tētahi wharekai. He poti e karangahia ana ko Min; He wehenga tokorua whakamamae i tētahi hōtēra hāneanea; he wahine taiohi e whakamaimoa ana ki ōna ū. Ka kapi i ngā kōrero te whānuitanga o ngā kaupapa mai i ngā rā i te kura me ngā whakangungu ori hīteki ki te taipakeketanga.”(He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The vixen : a novel / Prose, Francine
“1953. Kātahi anō a Simon Putnam kia whiwhi mahi i tētahi umanga whakaputa whakahirahira o New York, ā, kua whai i tana kaupapa mahi tuatahi: te whakatika i The Vixen, the Patriot and the Fanatic, he kaitīhae pari mōrihariha, i poua pea i runga i te whakawātanga paetata, whakamatenga hoki o Ethel rāua ko Julius Rosenberg. He mahi auaha e takune ana ki te whakapakari i ngā ahumoni o te umanga e hinga haere ana. He hoa i te tamarikitanga te māmā o Simon nō Ethel Rosenberg; ka tangihia te matenga o Ethel e ōna mātua. Ka tūtaki a Simon ki te kaituhi o The Vixen, i a Anya Partridge he wahine pokerenoa, whakakonuka hoki, e noho tau ana i tōna rūma kakara-opiuma nei, i tētahi whare wairangi hāneanea i Hudson River. Ka tau te māramatanga ki a Simon, e whakataruna ana te katoa, e pupuri kōrero muna ana, ā, ko ngā taiopenga māori e huna ana i tētahi tāhū weriweri.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Breathe : a novel / Oates, Joyce Carol
“I waenga i tētahi horanuku tino ātaahua engari he whanokē, i New Mexico, ka noho tūturu tētahi tokorua mārena o Cambridge, MA, i tētahi whare wānanga whakahirahira. Nō te pānga o te tāne i te mate porehu, i hē te tohu i te tuatahi, ka takahurihia ō rāua ao, ā, ka takatū rāua tahi i tētahi haerenga moepapa. I te toru tekau mā whitu tau, e aro ana a Michaela ki te whakaaro whakawehi o te pouarutanga – me te ngaronga o Gerard, otirā ko tōna tuakiri tērā i tino waihanga i tōna.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Hold the line : the Springbok tour of ’81 : a family, a love affair, a nation at war : a novel / Harrison, Kerry
“Ko te tau 1981 te tau, ā, e takatū ana a Aotearoa ki te hautū i te kapa Springboks o Āwherika ki te Tonga, he whenua tāuke, mō tētahi haerenga ā-motu mō te whutupōro. E hia mano ngā kaiporotēhi i uru ki tētahi kaupapa mautohe tautoko nui, e tuki tahi ana ki tētah iwi pōrangi ki te tautoko i te whutupōro. Ahakoa te tipunga o te mautohe tūmatanui, e mārō tonu ana te kāwanatanga me te Ūniana Whutupōro ka haere tonu te haerenga. Ka hoki mai a Beth i Rānana. He kaitautoko tōna matua, he mōrehu o Te Pakanga Tuarua, o te whutupōro, ka huri tōna tungāne hei kaiporotēhi i ngā riri ā-tiriti. E ako ana ia i te ture, ā, ka tūtaki ki a Viktor, engari kāore ia i mōhio, he mema ia o rōpū rongowehi nei, te Police Red Squad. Ka ahatia tō rāua hononga tauaro i tētahi whenua e mōrearea nui ana te oranga o te nono a te tangata?” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The only living lady parachutist / Clarke, Catherine
“Hei whakamātau i tōna manawanui, ka mōreareatia e te wahine manawa kai tūtae nei a Lillian tōna ake oranga, mō te rongotoa me te whairawa, mā te hekerangi i tētahi poihau hauwera i Ahitereiria me Aotearoa. Engari i te ao tauwhāinga o ngā tau 1890 o ngā tāngata tinihanga, ngā tāngata whakahīhī, me ngā tāngata totohe ā-whakaari nei, he māia anō ia ki te whakaanga i ngā kōrero pono o tōna onamata?” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

“It was as if the sun had come out”: new general fiction

Demonstrators protesting against a South African rugby tour, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 35mm-01392-11a-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22543224

“It was as if the sun had come out” — Nelson Mandela, after hearing that the Hamilton match had been cancelled.

Read this post in Te Reo

In our selection of newly acquired general fiction titles this month we have a novel that centres around one of the most divisive events of modern Aotearoa / New Zealand history.

Forty years ago, the South African rugby team (the Springboks) toured the country. The tour and the attendant political situation in South Africa caused a huge social schism that split New Zealand society in half, triggering mass demonstrations, unprecedented police actions and creating a for or against divide across the whole country. The 1981 Springbok Tour became one of its biggest political conflicts in New Zealand of the 20th century. The issue at the heart of this rip in society was the fact that South Africa was still operating under the abhorrent apartheid system of racial segregation and whether this should have any bearing on sporting events.

Much has been written about the tour from all sides of the argument.

And if you want more information on the history of the Tour Wellington City Libraries and Wellington Archives have joined forces this year to mark the events of 1981 as they happened.

The Twitter account Tweet the Tour is live tweeting things as they happened.

In this month newly acquired general fiction selection we have Hold the line: The Springbok tour of ’81: a family, a love affair, a nation at war: a novel by Kerry Harrison. A fictionalised recreation of this momentous time that dramatically recreates the tensions of the tour.

We also have two other very different Aotearoa / New Zealand titles in this month’s selection. The Piano Girls is a very welcome new fiction work from Elizabeth Smither. And The Only Living Lady Parachutist by Catherine Clarke is a novel based on fact, centring on the life of Lillian a death defying daredevil hot air balloon acrobat who thrilled crowds in New Zealand and Australia in the 1890s.

A darker reality / Perry, Anne
“Elena’s grandparents are marking a milestone anniversary by throwing an elaborate party with the influential friends of her grandfather. But the festivities come to a sudden and tragic end when one of the guests, Lila Worth, is run over by a car in the driveway outside. Elena believes Lila was trying to tell her something before her death, and when a call from her employer back home, MI6, confirms that Lila was a British spy, Elena pairs with a fellow agent to find out what vital information the young woman had in her possession.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hard like water / Yan, Lianke
“Returning to his village invigorated by success in the army, Gao Aijun sees the beautiful Xia Hongmei walking barefoot alongside the railway track in the warm afternoon sun, and is instantly smitten. Hiding their relationship from their spouses, the pair hurl themselves into the struggle to bring revolution to their backwater village. They wait to consummate their relationship until Aijun has managed to dig a literal tunnel of love between their homes, where underneath the village their revolutionary and sexual fervor reaches a boiling point.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hummingbird / Veronesi, Sandro
“Marco Carrera is ‘the hummingbird,’ a man with the almost supernatural ability to stay still as the world around him continues to change. As he navigates the challenges of life – confronting the death of his sister and the absence of his brother; taking care of his parents as they approach the end of their lives; raising his granddaughter when her mother, Marco’s own child, can no longer be there for her; coming to terms with his love for the enigmatic Luisa – Marco Carrera comes to represent the quiet heroism that pervades so much of our everyday existence. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The piano girls / Smither, Elizabeth
“Three musical sisters honour their mother with a piano recital every year in her memory. They compete with one another, practising in secret to see who can be the best. In other stories, music, food, and restaurants are themes. There is a woman who fends off a seducer by cooking up a storm; Fire Lady prepares flambe dishes in a restaurant. There is a cat called Min; an agonising breakup in a luxury hotel; a young woman obsessed with her breasts. The stories cover a wide range from schooldays and ballet lessons to advanced age.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vixen : a novel / Prose, Francine
“1953. Simon Putnam, newly hired by a distinguished New York publishing firm, gets his first assignment: editing The Vixen, the Patriot and the Fanatic, a lurid bodice-ripper improbably based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. It is a potboiler intended to shore up the firm’s failing finances. Simon’s mother was a childhood friend of Ethel Rosenberg’s; his parents mourn Ethel’s death. Simon meets The Vixen author, reckless, seductive Anya Partridge, ensconced in her opium-scented boudoir in a luxury Hudson River mental asylum. Simon comes to realize that everyone is not what they seem, that everyone is keeping secrets, and that ordinary events may conceal a diabolical plot.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Breathe : a novel / Oates, Joyce Carol
“Amid a starkly beautiful but uncanny landscape in New Mexico, a married couple from Cambridge, MA takes residency at a distinguished academic institute. When the husband is stricken with a mysterious illness, misdiagnosed at first, their lives are uprooted and husband and wife each embarks upon a nightmare journey. At thirty-seven, Michaela faces the terrifying prospect of widowhood – and the loss of Gerard, whose identity has greatly shaped her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Hold the line : the Springbok tour of ’81 : a family, a love affair, a nation at war : a novel / Harrison, Kerry
“It’s 1981 and New Zealand is about to host the Springboks from apartheid South Africa for a national rugby tour. Thousands, in a well-supported protest movement, pitch against a nation of die-hard rugby supporters. Despite growing public protest, the Government and Rugby Union are adamant the tour will proceed. Beth returns from London. Her World War 2 veteran father is a rugby fanatic, her brother becomes a protestor embroiled in street violence. She studies law and meets Viktor who, unknown to her, is a member of the notorious Police Red Squad. What will happen to their polarised relationship in a country where the very survival of civil order is at risk? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The only living lady parachutist / Clarke, Catherine
“To test her courage, daredevil Lillian risks her life for fame and fortune by parachuting from a hot air balloon throughout Australia and New Zealand. But in the competitive 1890s era of charlatans, showmen, and theatrical hucksters, is she brave enough to confront the truth about her past?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Demon dog of American crime fiction”: New Crime and Mystery



Music Video Art GIF

In this month’s recently acquired crime, mystery, and detective novels we have a new work from James Ellroy, nicknamed the “Demon dog of American crime fiction.”

James Ellroy is one of the most accomplished, celebrated, and acclaimed modern crime writers around, known for his moral but often relentlessly pessimistic and complex style, which recently has incorporated his own tele grammatic prose, where he often omits connecting words leaving only short, staccato sentences, incorporating in the process his own version of drug vernacular, profanity, cop talk and jazz slang.

His own dark and very troubled past has definitely had a huge influence on Ellroy himself, both as an individual and his writing. His mother was brutally murdered when he was only ten and Ellroy struggled to come to terms with this immense tragedy (which he would eventually write about in his memoir My Dark Places). Dropping out of school, he abused both alcohol and drugs and suffered from intense clinical depression. Often homeless, he turned to petty crime, including shoplifting and housebreaking, eventually spending time in prison. After suffering from pneumonia which caused an abscess on his lung, he quit drinking. He then took up golf caddying which allowed him the time to pursue writing. His first detective book Brown’s Requiem is based partially around his caddying experiences. He quickly became a cult favourite and later with L.A. Quartet series of books both critical and commercial success would follow.  Widespread Panic is his most recent work. You can read further details of Widespread Panic along with our other selected Crime and Mystery titles below:

Widespread panic : a novel / Ellroy, James
“Freddy Otash is the man in the know and the man to know in Tinseltown. He operates with two simple rules–he’ll do anything but murder, and he’ll never work with commies. Freddy is a corrupt L.A. cop on the skids. He executed a cop killer named Horvath and it gores him. So Captain “Whiskey” Bill Parker cans him. Now, Freddy dons an array of new hats–sleazoid private eye, shakedown artist, matchmaker for Rock Hudson, pimp for President John F. Kennedy–and, most notably–the lead tipster and head strongarm goon for Confidential magazine.  In Widespread Panic we traverse the depths of ’50s L.A. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The second woman / Philby, Charlotte
“Artemis leaves the remote Greek island she grew up on to start a shiny new life in 1990s London with her British husband, a successful entrepreneur. Finally, she has escaped the ghosts of her past. Until she is found hanging from the stairs of her beautiful family home. Two decades later, the apparent suicide of an heiress uncannily mirrors Artemis’ mysterious death. And when the ensuing investigation uncovers links to a criminal cartel, National Crime Agency officer Madeleine Farrow begins to pull apart the web of deceit surrounding the two women.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The doll / Yrsa Sigurdardottir
“It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever. They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll is a terrifying sight and the mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Farewell my herring / Tyler, L. C
“Ethelred Tressider and his agent Elsie Thirkettle have been invited to lecture on a creative writing course at Fell Hall, a remote location in the heart of ragged countryside that even sheep are keen to shun. While Ethelred’s success as a writer is distinctly average, Elsie sees this as an opportunity to scout for new, hopefully more lucrative, talent. But heavy snow falls overnight, trapping those early arrivals inside, and tensions are quick to emerge between the assembled group. When one of their number goes missing, Ethelred leads a search party and makes a gruesome discovery. With no phone signal and no hope of summoning the police, can Ethelred and Elsie identify the killer among them before one of them is next?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The truth-seeker’s wife / Granger, Ann
“It is spring 1871 when Lizzie Ross accompanies her formidable Aunt Parry on a restorative trip to the south coast. Lizzie’s husband, Ben, is kept busy at Scotland Yard and urges his wife to stay out of harm’s way. But when Lizzie and her aunt are invited to dine with other guests at the home of wealthy landowner Sir Henry Meager, and he is found shot dead in his bed the next morning, no one feels safe. On Lizzie’s last visit to the New Forest, another gruesome murder took place, and the superstitious locals now see her as a bad omen. And once Ben arrives to help with the investigation, he and Lizzie must work together to expose  dark secrets and a ruthless killer intent on revenge.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sleepless / Hausmann, Romy
“It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven–free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss–kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to refuse. The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer..”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Shadow over Edmund Street / Frankham, Suzanne
“Raised in a poverty-scarred part of Auckland, Edwina is a battler. Life revolves around the church and her mundane job unpacking vegetables. Meanwhile, a new generation has gentrified her suburb. After winning a gym membership, she loses weight, gets a new hairstyle, clothes, job – and makes a new friend, Rose. Edwina’s life is brutally taken, a swift and silent killer leaving no clues. Her murder seems unsolvable until a casual comment sends Inspector Alex Cameron and his seasoned team trawling through Edwina’s childhood. Can they uncover the link in time to save the next victim? Alex Cameron must unravel the shadow hanging over Edmund Street. Everyone and no one is a suspect, until…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dying day / Khan, Vaseem
“For over a century, one of the world’s great treasures, a six-hundred-year-old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, has been safely housed at Bombay’s Asiatic Society. But when it vanishes, together with the man charged with its care, British scholar and war hero, John Healy, the case lands on Inspector Persis Wadia’s desk. Uncovering a series of complex riddles written in verse, Persis – together with English forensic scientist Archie Blackfinch – is soon on the trail. But then they discover the first body. As the death toll mounts it becomes evident that someone else is also pursuing this priceless artefact and will stop at nothing to possess it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te Reo, tikanga, bees and mountains: recent New Zealand non-fiction (the eBook edition)

This book is about walking as a form of knowing. Armed with Ngāi Tahu’s traditional oral maps and modern satellite atlas, I crossed the Southern Alps more than a dozen times, trying to understand how our forebears saw the land. What did it mean to define your identity by sacred mountains, or actually see them as ancestors, turned to stone?

― Nic Low, Uprising: walking the Southern Alps of New Zealand

Kia ora e te whānau, we hope that you’re all doing well – especially as we start to open up our mirumiru (bubbles) again. Although our whare pukapuka (libraries) are open at Level 2, we’re taking precautions, and we still have heaps of eBooks (and audiobooks) that you can access through Overdrive and Borrowbox; today we have a selection of eBooks for you.

We’re sneakily including the revised fourth edition of Māori Place Names (added to our eBook collection at the end of last year and published in paperback in 2016), because Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is starting on Monday the 13th! Learning the ingoa (name) for where you live and how to pronounce it properly is a great way to build confidence in speaking Te Reo ― as well as for learning about the history of a place. Languages are always entwined with culture, and if you’d like to learn about Māori values and how to incorporate them into daily life, we reckon a great place to start will be with Tikanga: living with the traditions of te ao Māori, by Francis and Kaiora Tipene.

As well as heralding the start of Mahuru Māori (on the 7th i tēnei tau), September is also Bee Aware Month ― a time for raising awareness about Aotearoa’s ngaro huruhuru (native bees) and pī mīere (honey bees), and the critical roles they play in the ecosystem. The pukapuka Healthy bee, sick bee focuses on the introduced honey bee and their wellbeing, including sections on viruses, pesticides, pathogens and the future of bee health.

We’re really excited to read Nic Low’s beautiful pukapuka, Uprising: walking the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Low’s journeys across Kā Tiritiri o te Moana (the Southern Alps) brings him closer to both his Ngāi Tahu and Pākehā heritage, and he wonders what if “New Zealand’s walking culture had developed with Māori still owning the land? What kind of hybrid traditions might have emerged if Kemp’s Deed had been honoured, the mahika kai preserved?” If you’re stuck on the waitlist for this one, you can always read an extract from Uprising over on E-Tangata.

Some other pukapuka to check out are Tūrangawaewae: identity & belonging in Aotearoa New Zealand, an award winning collection of essays that is now available as an eBook; and Te Papa to Berlin: the making of two museums ― for all you wonderful GLAM sector nerds out there (GLAM = galleries, libraries, archives and museums).

Māori place names : their meanings and origins / Reed, A. W. (eBook)
“Pronounce and understand Maori place names with the new fourth edition of A.W. Reed’s classic guide to meanings and origins of names across New Zealand. From Ahaura to Whitianga, this handily sized book is the definitive guide to the most common and notable Maori names on our land. Why do Whangarei, Tauranga, Motueka and Timaru have the names they do? Why all the fuss about the spelling of Whanganui and Rimutaka? What are the original names for Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin?” (Catalogue)

Tikanga : living with the traditions of te ao Māori / Tipene, Francis and Kaiora (eBook)
“Following on from their bestseller, Life as a Casketeer, Francis and Kaiora Tipene share how they bring the values of tikanga Māori into day-to-day living, what they know about whānau, mahi and manaakitanga, and how they live a life rich with the concepts of te ao Māori. Known for their warm hearts, grace and humour, the stars of the wildly popular series The Casketeers show how tikanga shapes their lives as they juggle five sons, three businesses and a television show.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Healthy bee, sick bee : the influence of parasites, pathogens, predators and pesticides on honey bees / Lester, Phil (eBook)
“Entomologist Phil Lester explores the wonderfully complex and sometimes brutally efficient life history of honey bees, and the problems they face in New Zealand and around the globe. What causes a beehive to collapse? Are pesticides as big a problem as they appear? What can we do to improve the health of our honey bees? With intelligence, insight and jokes, Healthy Bee, Sick Bee tells the story of this much-loved little insect and offers new ways of thinking about their future survival.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Uprising : walking the Southern Alps of New Zealand / Low, Nic (eBook)
“Raised in the shadow of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Nic Low grew up on mountain stories from his family’s European side. Years later, a vision of the Alps in a bank of storm clouds sparked a decade-long obsession with comprehending how his Māori ancestors knew that same terrain. Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana, the Alps, form the backbone of Ngāi Tahu’s territory; far from being virgin wilderness, the area was named and owned long before Europeans arrived and the struggle for control of the land began.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tūrangawaewae : identity & belonging in Aotearoa New Zealand / ed. Cain, Trudie and Ella Kahu (eBook)
“What is a New Zealander? What does it mean to be a citizen of or a resident in this country? How do we understand what makes New Zealand complex, and unique? And what creates a sense of belonging and identity, both here and in the world? Written for university students, this book will appeal to anyone interested in where we have come from and where we are headed. It’s a book for active participants in Aotearoa New Zealand and in global society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te Papa to Berlin : the making of two museums / Gorbey, Ken (eBook)
“For 15 years Ken Gorbey was involved with developing and realising the revolutionary cultural concept that became Te Papa Tongarewa. Then in 1999 he was headhunted by W. Michael Blumenthal to salvage the Jewish Museum Berlin. This book is a lively insider perspective about cultural identity and nation building, about how museums can act as healing social instruments by reconciling dark and difficult histories, and about major shifts in museum thinking and practice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Staff Pick Films – Kanopy & Beamafilm

A selection of Staff Picks movies and documentaries from our website’s DVD pages; these films are all now available on the library’s two online streaming platforms, Beamafilm & Kanopy.

Herb & Dorothy – Beamafilm
You cannot dislike this. Herb is a postal worker, Dorothy is a librarian in New York City and they are art collectors – very serious contemporary art collectors. Who would think that this ordinary (and not cool) looking couple owned more than 4000 pieces of art works mostly minimal or conceptual arts? Amazingly these variable works are somehow stored in their cramped one room apartment where they live with turtles, goldfish and a cat. They have no proper ‘Art’ education, but when this couple face art works, their eyes start glowing and get very serious as if they are hunting dogs. Their collection became so significant it was gifted to the national Gallery of Art (so they are not for money). It is an obsessive passion but utterly charming. Above all, this is the story of this extraordinary couple who complement each other. (Shinji)

The white ribbon – Beamafilm
‘The White Ribbon’ is another subversive jewel in the aloof crown of Michael Haneke, disturbed creator of other choice picks Hidden, The piano teacher and the nicely bleak The seventh Continent. It’s shot beautifully in black and white, the acting is unobtrusively spot-on and the narrative offers gradual hints that build real force and tension. To complete the compellingly grim picture I must list the themes that make one squirm – the destruction of innocence, the abuse of parental power, fascism in its many forms, violence and death. ‘The White Ribbon’ creeps its way into your subconscious and despite your best mental efforts, lingers. Scene by scene, I had the strong sense that I was involved in something significant. You may want to watch this film again. (Monty)

Scott Walker: 30 century man – Beamafilm
I enjoy music docos and have recently found a new stash of them at the end of the CD aisles under ‘Music Biographies’. There are some goodies there, one of which is this excellent film about Scott Walker. The penny finally dropped for me as to why he is considered by so many to be a living legend. His journey from 60’s pop icon, as one of the Walker Brothers, to reclusive avant-garde sound sculptor is explored and held together with excerpts from Walker’s first agreed to interview in thirty years. This is a peek inside the creative mind and it is fascinating to glimpse, amongst other things, the humour that accompanies the creation of such intense songwriting – that is if you happen to agree with Walker that his creations can actually be called songs. (John)

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