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)

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)

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.

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)

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)

New DVDs for Te Awe

Here are some new DVDs added to the catalogue over September that are available at our CBD Te Awe Branch, and selected other locations. Also included are some of our On Order titles to give you a taste of what’s about to be released. Note: All ‘On Order’ titles are able to be reserved via the online catalogue.

New Material:
Dream horse.
Wrath of man
The vault.
June again.
A quiet place. Part II
Fast & furious. 9, The fast saga
The hitman’s wife’s bodyguard
Girls can’t surf.
The dissident
The painter and the thief
Call the midwife. Series ten ; Special delivery ; Christmas special.
Cruella
Peter Rabbit. 2
Yellowstone. Season 3.

On Order:
The sounds. Series one.
James & Isey













 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little lightspeed music and reading for Space Week

Benson, Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair
My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there
Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I.

Chorus to “Benson, Arizona” by John Carpenter, Bill Taylor and Dominik Hauser (from Dark Star)

The 4th to the 10th of October 2021 is World Space Week, where we celebrate the accomplishments humankind has made in exploring and studying the cosmos.

While scientists, engineers, and astronauts work to broaden our understanding of planets and galaxies beyond our own, writers, musicians and artists are already light-years ahead of the curve with imagining life in space; not just from the idealistic view that we’ll find better worlds when we leave our old one behind, but critiquing that idea as well. John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon’s Dark Star, for instance, deflates the idea that life in space will allow us to achieve a new state of cosmic enlightenment and technological efficiency; instead they present it as just another work-a-day job, like trucking or an office job today.

Here’s a list of new and lesser-known music, books and films to explore for Space Week 2021:


Planetarium / Stevens, Sufjan
“Inspired by the Solar System, Planetarium‘s 17 tracks are named after celestial objects and related phenomena. Each piece is a musical mini-drama, with the glistening wash of “Halley’s Comet” lasting about 30 seconds, and “Earth” getting the most attention at around 15 minutes. Keyboard instruments ranging from piano, organ, and celeste to Mellotron, Moog, and other synths blend with Stevens’ airy vocal timbre.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Trilogy; past present and future. / Sinatra, Frank
“One of Frank Sinatra’s final albums, Trilogy is a three-part celebration of his career, covering his classics (Past), some then-new songs (Present), and a finale ‘Future’ that is both baffling and strangely compelling. In Future, Frank imagines a distant age where one can travel the Solar System in an afternoon, and how mankind achieved an era of peace by burning all of Earth’s weapons (‘World War None’). It’s worth listening to just for the sheer dissonance of hearing ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ sing about spaceships.”

Dark star
“Dark Star was a student film expanded to theatrical length, directed by John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape From New York) and written by Carpenter’s UCLA classmate Dan O’Bannon (who later retooled one sequence of the film into the script for a little production you may have heard of called Alien). The film is a pastiche of 2001: A Space Odyssey, following a crew of spaceship workers who have the thankless task of dropping bombs on unstable planets for an interstellar mega-corporation. A deeply underrated and underseen cult-classic that inspired the likes of Red Dwarf and Red vs Blue, Dark Star is essential viewing for any fan of sci-fi comedy.”

Persephone Station / Leicht, Stina
“On the backwater planet of Brynner, a community of android refugees, all female, are hiding since they were able to awaken their AI and escape servitude. But the Serrao-Orlov Corporation is nothing if not tenacious, and it wants their property back. However, Persephone is run by Rosie, and they are in charge of an organized group of beneficent criminals and assassins, along with a bunch of worn mercenaries who have a thing for doing the honorable thing, despite the odds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Will save the galaxy for food / Croshaw, Yahtzee
“Space travel just isn’t what it used to be. With the invention of Quantum Teleportation, space heroes aren’t needed anymore. When one particularly unlucky ex-adventurer masquerades as famous pilot and hate figure Jacques McKeown, he’s sucked into an ever-deepening corporate and political intrigue. Between space pirates, adorable deadly creatures, and a missing fortune in royalties, saving the universe was never this difficult!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The farthest : the story of Voyager : 12 billion miles, and counting
“In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager missions as a way of exploring the solar system’s outermost planets, capturing images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and their moons. “The farthest” documents Voyager’s journey, including first-hand accounts of the men and women who built the ships and guided their missions. Bonus film Second Genesis explores the scientific quest to find life, or evidence of it, beyond Earth.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mooncop / Gauld, Tom
“The lunar colony is slowly winding down, like a small town circumvented by a new super highway. As our hero, the Mooncop, makes his daily rounds, his beat grows ever smaller, the population dwindles. A young girl runs away, a dog breaks off his leash, an automaton wanders off from the Museum. Mooncop is equal parts funny and melancholy, capturing essential truths about humanity and making this a story of the past, present, and future, all in one.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We only find them when they’re dead. Book one, The seeker / Ewing, Al
“Captain Malik and the crew of his spaceship are in search of the only resources that matter – and can only be found by harvesting the giant corpses of alien gods that are found on the edge of human space. And now they see an opportunity to finally break free from this system: by being the first to find a living god.” (Adapted from 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)

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

 

 

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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)

Continue reading “Staff Pick Films – Kanopy & Beamafilm”

Lockdown Distractions: Pressreader

Media Press GIF

A world of free newspapers and magazines awaits you at your fingertips, with our online Pressreader service which gives you same day access to full-page replicas of newspapers & magazines from Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world in 60+ languages, and featuring  more than 7,000 of the world’s best publications.

This amazing free online collection of electronic magazines and newspapers spans the globe. The selection of newspapers goes from our very own Otago Daily Times to The Phnom Penh Post from the Shanghai Daily to Le Figaro .The newspaper selection is staggering and regularly updated.

The range of magazines, in both subject and languages, is equally impressive from the digital art magazine ImagineFX to The New Zealand Listener  from Beyond Gender to the French cat lovers magazine Félins pour l’autre. From magazines about animals & pets, music & cars, crafts & hobbies, boats & aircraft to magazines about cinema, television, computers and all points in-between,  there is something fascinating to read on that subject in Pressreader.

To access this fabulous free Library Lockdown Distraction all you need is a valid library card. Click here to go straight to our Pressreader resource.

Inside story, tales of people’s lives

Truth is stranger than fiction… these tales are shockingly, delightfully and intriguingly true. Access our online resources for your invitation into the lives of people well and lesser known. Accounts of the crew who survived the mutiny on the Bounty are delivered by a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian in Men Without Country. Boy on Fire is Nick Cave’s creation story and here in Aotearoa people look on their place in our community through lives framed by tragedy and courage, discussing the problematic and delightful aspects of life.

These titles are available through Libby/Overdrive and Borrowbox; download the apps to play or read on a compatible device or listen and read online. Enjoy!

cover imageBoy on Fire : The Young Nick Cave / Mark MordueRead by James O’Connell
Boy on Fire is a fascinating social and cultural biography, a vivid and evocative rendering of the people, time and places that went into the making of Nick Cave – from the fast-running dark river and ghost gums of Wangaratta and the punk scene that hit staid 1970s Melbourne like an atom bomb, right through to the torn wallpaper, sticky carpet and manic energy of nights at St Kilda’s Crystal Ballroom.” (BorrowBox)

Overdrive cover Men Without Country, Harrison Christian (ebook)
A mission to collect breadfruit from Tahiti becomes the most famous mutiny in history when the crew rise up against Captain William Bligh. Lives dominated by a punishing regime of hard work and scarce rations, and deeply divided by the hierarchy of class. It is a tale of adventure and exploration punctuated by moments of extreme violence – towards each other and the people of the South Pacific. Christian provides a comprehensive and compelling account of the whole story – from the history of trade and exploration in the South Seas to Pitcairn Island, which provided the mutineers’ salvation, and then became their grave. (Overdrive description)

cover imageHusna’s Story : My wife, the Christchurch Massacre & My Journey to Forgiveness / Farid Ahmed Read by Hazem Shammas
“The couple had been praying when a gunman burst into the mosque. He shot and killed 51 people that day and injured many others. In this audiobook Husna’s husband, Farid Ahmed, tells Husna’s story, including the day of the attack. Farid describes the selflessness and bravery with which Husna lived her life. Husna’s husband, quite remarkably, forgives the alleged killer. Farid’s philosophy of forgiveness, peace and love is an example of how faith and humanity can be tools for navigating even the most horrific of tragedies.” (BorrowBox)

cover imageGotta Get Theroux This : My life and strange times in television / Louis TherouxRead by Louis Theroux
“In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore’s TV Nation. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he’d always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe it wouldn’t . . . Filled with wry observation and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his most insightful and honest best. The audio edition contains an exclusive additional chapter.” (BorrowBox)

Overdrive cover Where We Swim, Ingrid Horrocks (ebook)
Where We Swim ranges from solitary swims in polluted rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand, to dips in pools in Arizona and the Peruvian Amazon, and in the ocean off Western Australia and the south coast of England. Part memoir, part travel and nature writing, this generous and absorbing book is about being a daughter, sister, partner, mother, and above all a human being living among other animals on this watery planet. (Overdrive description)

 

cover imageA Conversation With My Country / Alan DuffRead by Alan Duff
“A fresh, personal account of New Zealand, now, from one of our hardest-hitting writers. Returned from living in France, he views his country with fresh eyes, as it is now: homing in on the crises in parenting, our prisons, education and welfare systems and a growing culture of entitlement that entraps Pakeha and Maori alike. Never one to shy away from being a whetstone on which others can sharpen their own opinions, Alan tells it how he sees it.” (BorrowBox)

Overdrive cover
The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line
, Mari K. Eder (ebook)
The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line are the heroes of the Greatest Generation that you hardly ever hear about. These women who did extraordinary things didn’t expect thanks and shied away from medals and recognition. Despite their amazing accomplishments. Retired U.S. Army Major General Mari K. Eder wrote this book because she knew their stories needed to be told—and the sooner the better. For theirs is a legacy destined to embolden generations of women to come.  (Overdrive description)

cover imageThe Last Days of John Lennon / James PattersonRead by Matthew Wolf, K.C. Clyde
“Enriched by exclusive interviews with Lennon’s friends and associates, including Paul McCartney, The Last Days of John Lennon is a true-crime drama about two men who changed history. One whose indelible songs enliven our world to this day, and the other who ended the music with five pulls of a trigger.” (BorrowBox)

 

 

 

Lockdown Distractions: eLibrary materials

 

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For our latest Library Lockdown Distraction, we are pointing our search light at our most popular, free online lockdown distraction –  Overdrive/ Libby (Libby is Overdrive’s simplified site and app).

We have several other free electronic eBooks, eAudiobook and eMagazine services, including:

PressReader: Same day access to full-page replicas of newspapers & magazines from NZ and around the world in 60+ languages.

BorrowBox: eAudiobooks & eBooks (mainly eAudiobooks) from Australia’s leading provider — over 3500 titles

Bridget Williams Books: Over thirty years of award-winning NZ history and social issues publishing from Bridget Williams Books, in four collections.

However, Overdrive / Libby is our largest free electronic eBook, eComic, eAudiobook and eMagazine collection with over 50,000 titles available. There is a wealth of wonderful content contained within this electronic wonder; it almost goes without saying that there is enough thrills, spills, entertainment, education, and enlightenment contained within this site for years of distraction and it is constantly updated. It also has specially curated lists and easy to follow introductory videos for newbies.

The service is aimed at the very widest possible library audience from pre-schoolers to  adults, from fans of Peppa Pig to scholars of the works of Yuval Noah Harari ( and all points in-between). By design it has something for everyone, and in the widest variety of e-formats. All you need to access this vast free resource is a valid library card. Below is a selection of just eight totally unconnected titles which we hope will illustrate this fabulous service’s diversity and depth.

 

Overdrive cover Peppa Pig’s Family Computer, Peppa Pig (ebook)
“Mummy Pig is working at home on the family computer but Peppa and George want to play ‘Happy Mrs Chicken’. Can Daddy Pig come to the rescue and fix the frozen computer? Read more in this charming piggy tale.” (Overdrive description)

 

 

Overdrive cover Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari (Audiobook)
“Yuval Noah Harari envisions a near future in which we face a new set of challenges. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century and beyond – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: how can we protect this fragile world from our own destructive power? And what does our future hold?”(Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover The Infinity Gauntlet, Jim Starlin (ebook)
“Collects Infinity Gauntlet (1991) #1-6. The Mad Titan Thanos has seized control of Infinity Gauntlet and with it near-omnipotent power! Who can stop this deadly new overlord? All of Marvel’s top heroes star in this epic of cosmic proportions!” (Overdrive description)

 

 

Overdrive cover National Geographic Magazine, undefined (Magazine)
“Amazing discoveries and experiences await you in every issue of National Geographic magazine. The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders.” (Overdrive description)

 

 

Overdrive cover The Fall of Light, Sarah Laing (ebook)
“Rudy is a successful architect, but life is not as happy as it should be. His work leaves him artistically frustrated, his wife and two young daughters have moved out of the house he designed for them, and his pushy young associate is vying for design supremacy. When a Vespa accident puts him into hospital and forces him to recuperate at home, he looks in danger of losing everything, but it is then that his repressed artistic yearnings start to make their presence felt, not just in the glass creations he begins to craft, but also in his strange, vivid dreams.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover North & South, undefined (Magazine)
“North & South is New Zealand’s premier monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine, specialising in long-form investigative journalism, delivered by award-winning writers and photographers. North & South also showcases New Zealand ingenuity and creativity, explores the country and profiles its people. It is a touchstone of New Zealand life.” (Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea, T K Roxborogh (ebook)
“On a beach clean-up, thirteen-year-old one-legged Charlie and his half-brother, Robbie, find a ponaturi – a mermaid – washed up on a beach. An ancient grudge between the Maori gods Tane and Tangaroa has flared up because a port being built in the bay is degrading the ocean and creatures are fleeing the sea. This has reignited anger between the gods, which breaks out in storms, earthquakes and huge seas. The human world and realm of the gods are thrown into chaos.”  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien (Audiobook)
“Dwarves, elves, goblins, trolls, dragons and wizards – these are the ingredients of J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful fantasy. The hero of the tale is Bilbo Baggins, a home-loving unambitious hobbit who is suddenly thrust into what turns out to be the biggest adventure of his life. Guided by Gandalf the wizard, Bilbo and a company of dwarves set out to destroy Smaug the Magnificent, a ferocious dragon who guards a treasure hoard. Their journey contains many dangers, and in facing them the reluctant Bilbo’s great resourcefulness and courage surprises everyone – not least himself!” (adapted from Overdrive description)

“It was a simple plan…” Exciting crime thrillers from our DVD collection.

Here are some old reviews (from 2006!) of classic crime movies from our DVD collection. that we dug up from our old webpages. We still have these titles on DVD because they are not currently available on streaming platforms. And because they’re still awesome!

To live and die in L.A.
Fans of CSI’s William L. Peterson (Grissom) may well be surprised by this 1985 movie, based on the novel, by former Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich. Peterson plays Richard Chance an arrogant & cocky Secret Service agent on the trail of a ruthless counterfeiter (one of Willem Dafoe’s best roles). When Peterson’s mentor, a fellow agent about to retire, is killed by Dafoe, he becomes obsessed with bringing down the clever counterfeiter- and will do anything to do it. Directed by William Friedkin (French Connection) this cynical, yet thoroughly entertaining movie blurs the line between the law enforcement officers & the criminals, as Peterson’s character is prepared to do anything from manipulating his informant (Debra Feuer), corrupting his new rookie partner (John Pankow), stealing, & even murder to get the job done. Features one of the greatest car chases ever filmed – going the wrong way up a freeway in rush hour traffic – and a bleakly cynical ending.

Wild things
Can lurid trash ever be raised to an art form? If so this movie probably comes closer than anything else. Matt Dillon is a high-school guidance-counsellor Sam Lombardo in humid Blue Bay, South Florida. When two students turn up to wash his car for a charity drive things take the first of many turns when one of them, (Denise Richards) accuses him of rape. Soon he’s shunned by the town, fired from his job, sent pacing by his rich fiancé, & harassed by Kevin Bacon – the cop investigating the rape. Soon another girl (Neve Campbell) a white trash swamp dweller comes forward to say he raped her as well. Desperate he hires a shyster lawyer (a scene stealing Bill Murray) and the case heads to trial – where the twists start to begin. What follows is so convoluted that it’s not even worth going into, suffice to say that it involves a series of twists that you really won’t see coming. A weird cross between a soap-opera, a 50’s B-movie Film, it’s filled with amazing over the top performances, catfights and cameos. Somewhat infamous for the ‘three-way’ scene hallway through the movie, it’s actually so entertaining that even without it, it would be a classic. Don’t miss the end credits – which include scenes that cleverly explain all that has gone before. A very guilty pleasure.

Continue reading ““It was a simple plan…” Exciting crime thrillers from our DVD collection.”

New on our shelves: Fashion & beauty

Refresh your wardrobe and get some spring style inspiration with our latest fashion and beauty update. We have new books on mending and upcycling your clothing, to help you make the most out of the clothes you already own, as well as a Breakfast at Tiffany’s style guide to help you channel a little Holly Golightly into your daily life. We also have a brand new style guide especially for men and the 40th anniversary eBook edition of the iconic Cheap Chic, as well as an in-depth look at the style and clothing of well-known artists.

What artists wear / Porter, Charlie
“Most of us live our lives in our clothes without realizing their power. But in the hands of artists, garments reveal themselves. They are pure tools of expression, storytelling, resistance and creativity: canvases on which to show who we really are. In What Artists Wear, style luminary Charlie Porter takes us on an invigorating, eye-opening journey through the iconic outfits worn by artists, in the studio, on stage, at work, at home and at play. What Artists Wear is both a manual and a manifesto, a radical, gleeful, inspiration to see the world anew-and find greater pleasure and possibility in the clothes we all wear.” (adapted from catalogue)

All made up : the power and pitfalls of beauty culture, from Cleopatra to Kim Kardashian / Nudson, Rae
“A fascinating journey through history and culture, examining how makeup affects self-empowerment, how people have used it to define (and defy) their roles in society. There is a history and a cultural significance that comes with wearing cat-eye-inspired liner or a bold red lip even if we don’t realize exactly why. Increasingly, people of all genders are wrestling with what it means to be a woman living in a patriarchy, and part of that is how looking like a woman—whatever that means—affects people’s real lives. This book also holds space for other factors, especially the ways that beauty standards differ across race, class, and culture.” (adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s : the official guide to style : over 100 fashion, decorating, and entertaining tips to bring out your inner Holly Golightly / Jones, Caroline
“In the iconic 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly was the original metropolitan It Girl. Tapping into Holly’s timeless style and effortless sense of cool, this book highlights rules and guidelines for bringing the look, feel, and spirit of Breakfast at Tiffany’s into your everyday life. With chapters on fashion, grooming, décor, entertaining, and more, this book includes curated looks, tips, and advice for all women, providing the tools we need to embrace the Holly Golightly inside us.” –Amazon.com.” (adapted from catalogue)

Make thrift mend : stitch, patch, darn, plant-dye & love your wardrobe / Rodabaugh, Katrina
“Slow fashion influencer Katrina Rodabaugh follows her bestselling book, Mending Matters, with a comprehensive guide to building (and keeping) a wardrobe that matters. Whether you want to repair your go-to jeans, refresh a favorite garment, thrift-shop like a pro, or dye, tailor, and reinvent clothing you already have–this book has all the know-how you’ll need. Woven throughout are stories, essays, and a slow fashion call-to-action, encouraging readers to get involved or deepen their commitment to changing the destructive habit of overconsumption.” (adapted from catalogue)

Vain glorious : a shameless guide for men who want to look their best / Langmead, Jeremy
“Should I tint my eyebrows? How can I get a squarer jawline? Which style of trouser would make my legs look longer? Leading lifestyle columnist and magazine editor, Jeremy Langmead, has men constantly asking him for answers to these questions and more. Here, he teams up with Harley Street aesthetic doctor David Jack to lift the lid on all the anti-ageing and beauty secrets now available for men. Vain Glorious is an honest and practical guide to help men feel comfortable in their own skin”–Publisher’s description.” (adapted from catalogue)

Dressed : fashionable dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840-1910 / Regnault, Claire
“This illustrated social history explores the creation, consumption and spectacle of fashionable dress in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand’s 19th century dress culture was heavily shaped by international trends and interactions with Māori, the demands of settler lifestyle and the country’s geographical and environmental conditions. Dressed shows dresses and fashionable accessories from museums around Aotearoa New Zealand”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Title details for Mend! by Kate Sekules - AvailableMend! A Refashioning Manual and Manifesto, by Kate Sekules
“A hands-on manual and a history and celebration of clothes tending—and its remarkable resurgence as art form, political statement, and path to healing the planet.Kate Sekules introduces the art of visible mending as part of an important movement to give fashion back its soul. Part manifesto, part how-to, MEND! calls for bold new ways of keeping clothes and refreshing your style. Crammed with tips, fun facts, ravishing photography, and illustrated tutorials, MEND! tells you exactly how to rescue and renew your wardrobe with flair and aplomb—and save money along the way.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Title details for Cheap Chic by Caterine Milinaire - Available

Cheap Chic: Hundreds of Money-Saving Hints to Create Your Own Great Look, by Caterine Milinaire & Carol Troy
“Before there were street-style blogs and ‘zines, there was Cheap Chic. Astonishingly relevant forty years later, Cheap Chic provides timeless practical advice for creating an affordable, personal wardrobe strategy: what to buy, where to buy it, and how to put it all together to make your own distinctive fashion statement without going broke. Inspiring decades of fashion lovers and designers, Cheap Chic is the original fashion bible that proves you don’t have to be wealthy to be stylish.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

eBook Temptations

Recently added to our Overdrive collection of eBooks is a selection of well-known prize winning authors and debut novel writers. Lionel Shriver tackles the question of mortality in a carousel of possibilities facing an aging couple. First time novel from Emily Austin utilises warmth and deadpan humour, as her morbid, queer, atheist protagonist stumbles from an advertised church therapy session into unexpected ecclesiastical employment as she searches for answers on how to live with death. Our other first time author, Gustaf Skordeman, introduces a Swedish police detective Sara Nowak. This juggernaut of a thriller calls the reader to question all versions of the truth.

The question of what really matters in life comes to us from Japan 1937, in the first time english translation of How do you live? Author Genzaburo Yoshino takes a young man on a journey of discovery.  Becky Chambers’ new Monk and robot series ventures into this territory asking, “in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?”

And so close to Mary Shelley’s birthday is a rendition of the gruelling eleven days it took to produce her. Told from the perspective of Mary Wollstonecraft’s midwife, Love and Fury, details the constraints and prejudices of the late 18th century.  Explore the renown and newly discovered with your library card. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead, Emily Austin (ebook)
“Meet Gilda. She cannot stop thinking about death. Desperate for relief from her anxious mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local church and finds herself abruptly hired to replace the deceased receptionist Grace. A blend of warmth, deadpan humour, and pitch-perfect observations about the human condition, Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a crackling exploration of what it takes to stay afloat in a world where your expiration – and the expiration of those you love – is the only certainty”.  (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover How Do You Live?, Genzaburo Yoshino (ebook)
“Publishing in English for the very first time, Japan’s beloved coming of age classic on what really matters in life. The streets of Tokyo swarm below fifteen year-old Copper as he gazes out into the city of his childhood. Struck by the thought of the infinite people whose lives play out alongside his own, he begins to wonder, how do you live? Considering life’s biggest questions for the first time, Copper turns to his dear uncle for heart-warming wisdom. As the old man guides the boy on a journey of philosophical discovery, a timeless tale unfolds, offering a poignant reflection on what it means to be human”.  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Becky Chambers (ebook)
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth 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 honour 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.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Should We Stay or Should We Go, Lionel Shriver (ebook)
“Both healthy and vital medical professionals in their early fifties, Kay and her husband Cyril have seen too many of their elderly NHS patients in similar states of decay. Determined to die with dignity, Cyril makes a modest proposal: they should agree to commit suicide together once they’ve both turned eighty. Weaving in a host of contemporary issues – Brexit, mass migration, the coronavirus – Lionel Shriver has pulled off a rollicking page-turner in which we never have to mourn deceased characters, because they’ll be alive and kicking in the very next chapter.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Love and Fury, Samantha Silva (ebook)
“August, 1797. Midwife Parthenia Blenkinsop has delivered countless babies, but nothing prepares her for the experience that unfolds when she arrives at Mary Wollstonecraft’s door. Over the eleven harrowing days that follow, as Mrs. Blenkinsop fights for the survival of both mother and newborn. Wollstonecraft’s urgent story of loss and triumph forms the heartbreakingly brief intersection between the lives of a mother and daughter who will change the arc of history and thought”. (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Yield, Tara June Winch (ebook)
“The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha. Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land.”  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Geiger, Gustaf Skördeman (ebook)
“The landline rings as Agneta is waving off her grandchildren. Just one word comes out of the receiver: ‘Geiger’… For decades, Agneta has always known that this moment would come, but she is shaken. She knows what it means. Retrieving her weapon from its hiding place, she attaches the silencer and creeps up behind her husband before pressing the barrel to his temple. The extraordinary murder is not Sara Nowak’s case. But she was once close to those affected and, defying regulations, she joins the investigation. What Sara doesn’t know is that the mysterious codeword is just the first piece in the puzzle of an intricate and devastating plot fifty years in the making.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Songbirds, Christy Lefteri (ebook)
“Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra’s daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone.
Nisha’s lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.”  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Personal Librarian, Marie Benedict (ebook)
“A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.  The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to—for the protection of her family and her legacy.” (Overdrive description)

 

 

Local Fascinations

While we have time to investigate and contemplate our homes, backyards and local walks, we notice things our eyes and minds may usually gloss over. Our online catalogue has some great aids for this new burst of exploration.

From things that creep to those that take flight, creatures that flash across our sight are beautiful or mundane.  The selections below begin on the subject of the housefly, ubiquitous, annoying and a doorway into the world of small winged insects. Onto a fragile beauty, the mirror image wings that delight to inspiration in encouraging our birdlife. Almost unnoticed, New Zealand reptiles and amphibians might reward some searching a little more deeply into their local environment. Transform your living space at home if it’s all getting a little too familiar, and delve into to some home projects, brewing up a new delight or renew some well-worn favourites.

There’s a bumper store of knowledge available through your online access to our eBook, downloadable Audiobook and eMagazine collection, visit our eLibrary page to discover more.

Overdrive cover Super Fly, Jonathan Balcombe (ebook)
In Super Fly, the myth-busting biologist Jonathan Balcombe shows the order Diptera in all of its diversity, illustrating the essential role that flies play in every ecosystem in the world as pollinators, waste-disposers, predators, and food source; and how flies continue to reshape our understanding of evolution. No matter your outlook on our tiny buzzing neighbors, Super Fly will change the way you look at flies forever. (adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover The Language of Butterflies, Wendy Williams (ebook)
They are smarter than we think – some species have learned to fool ants into taking care of them. What draws us to these creatures so intensely? Science journalist Wendy Williams investigates butterflies across the globe, their habitats and those dedicated to studying them. She examines the ancient partnership between butterflies and humans, and the ways we depend on them today – from a bellwether on climate change to a source of life-saving medical technology. (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand, Dylan van Winkel (ebook)
Illustrated with photography, this is the definitive field guide to all of New Zealand’s tuatara, geckos, skinks, frogs, marine turtles and marine snakes. New Zealand’s list of reptiles and amphibians is growing with new discoveries, even as 80 per cent of species are at risk of extinction. This will be the only field guide to cover all currently recognised reptiles and amphibians and will become a go-to book for anyone interested in New Zealand’s unique wildlife. (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Nature’s Best Hope, Douglas W. Tallamy (ebook)
Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy—you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Design a Healthy Home, Oliver Heath (ebook)
The ideas and solutions included in this book have been devised with easy implementation in mind. Optimise lighting in your home by using reflective surfaces for a brighter space, follow a ventilation checklist to replenish the air in your home and remove pollutants, or unlock the powers of a tech-free bedroom for a better night’s sleep. Introducing colour, pattern and texture to your home, adapting and creating zones, as well as bringing the outdoors in and maintaining your houseplants. (Publisher’s description)

Overdrive cover Loved Clothes Last, Orsola de Castro (ebook)
This book will equip you with a myriad of ways to mend, re-wear and breathe new life into your wardrobe to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. By teaching you to scrutinise your shopping habits and make sustainable purchases, she will inspire you to buy better, care more and reduce your carbon footprint by simply making your loved clothes last longer. Following Orsola’s practical tips to lavish care and attention on the clothes you already own will not only have a positive environmental impact, but will be personally rewarding too. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Kombucha & Co, Felicity Evans (ebook)
Kombucha and other fermented drinks are great for gut health, but they’re expensive to buy and you can’t be sure of the quality. But it’s easy to make your own kombucha when you know how. From kombucha to kefir, ginger beer to honey mead, learn to confidently make your own fermented drinks and transform your health from within. Fermentation guru Felicity Evans has you covered with step-by-step instructions to make a range of 50 delicious flavours of gut-friendly probiotic drinks, including troubleshooting tips and inspiration for alcohol-free happy hour at home.  (Overdrive description)

 

 

 

The Literary Legacy of Max Cryer

Max Cryer was many things in his life: a television personality, a musician, and a notable author. Some of his favourite topics to write about were cats and the history of words and phrases, especially New Zealand words. In honour of Cryer’s recent passing at the age of 86, here is a round-up of some of his most notable books:

The Godzone dictionary of favourite New Zealand words and phrases / Cryer, Max
“The Godzone Dictionary is a concise A – Z of the words and phrases that make our New Zealand language and speech patterns so different. Language expert Max Cryer examines a wide range of words and phrases, shedding light on their origin and offering helpful definitions. Slang words and expressions feature heavily, while one of the unique features of this book is the large number of Māori words that have become part of our common language in recent years.”–Publisher information.” (adapted from catalogue)

 

Curious English words and phrases : the truth behind the expressions we use / Cryer, Max
“‘Cloud nine’, ‘at the drop of a hat’, ‘spitting image’, ‘mollycoddle’, ‘rigmarole’, ’round robin’, ‘spill the beans’, ‘kick the bucket’, ‘balderdash’ and ‘touch wood’. There are so many curious words and phrases that we often use and yet haven’t you ever wondered why we say them, where they come from and what they mean? Written by language expert Max Cryer, Curious Words and Phrases has all the answers behind some of the most interesting and perplexing words and expressions in the English language.” (adapted from catalogue)

 

The cat’s out of the bag : truth and lies about cats / Cryer, Max
“In this book Max Cryer celebrates cats and all they have given to us. He describes the many words and expressions they have inspired, from ‘catnip’ and ‘catwalk’ to ‘the cat’s whiskers’ and ‘raining cats and dogs’, as well as famous cat characters like Garfield, Felix the Cat, The Cat in the Hat and Puss in Boots, songs as varied as ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ and ‘The Cats’ Duet’, and poems like ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ and ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’. In other chapters he explores cats’ attributes, the strength of their night vision and sense of smell, their sleep requirements, life expectancy and much more.”–Publisher information”. (adapted from catalogue)

 

Is it true? : the facts behind the things we have been told / Cryer, Max
“In this revealing book, Max Cryer explores the truth or otherwise of facts and beliefs we may have always been told are true, but which on closer examination may not be. In a wide-ranging book encompassing social history, language, music, politics, food, sport, the natural world and much more, we discover the truth behind some of our most cherished beliefs. For example: Do St Bernard dogs really carry brandy? Does Santa Claus come from the North Pole? Did Winston Churchill coin the term ‘Iron Curtain’? ‘OK’ is an American expression, right? Tulips come from Holland, don’t they?” (adapted from catalogue)

 

Every dog has its day : a thousand things you didn’t know about man’s best friend / Cryer, Max
“Every Dog Has Its Day’ is a unique collection of extraordinary stories, feats and facts that will both inform and entertain. Written with a delightfully light touch, Max Cryer dispels some myths about dogs and confirms why they occupy such a special place in our lives.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Curious English words and phrases : the truth behind the expressions we use / Cryer, Max
“Have you ever wondered where terms like ‘Angostura bitters’ and the ‘green room’ come from? Or why we call some people ‘lounge lizards’ and others ‘sugar daddies’? These are just a few of the words and phrases that language expert Max Cryer examines in this fact-filled new book. He explains where such colourful expressions come from, what they mean and how they are used. Along the way he tells a host of colourful anecdotes and dispels quite a few myths too.” (adapted from catalogue)

 

Preposterous proverbs : why fine words butter no parsnips / Cryer, Max
“Max Cryer looks at a vast array of proverbs from around the world. He has chosen some of the most interesting and perplexing, and with his characteristic wry wit he analyses their meaning and truth. A great book to dip into, Preposterous Proverbs will take you from Greece (‘A thousand men cannot undress a naked man’) and China (‘A dry finger cannot pick up salt’) to Japan (‘Fools and scissors must be carefully handled’) and India (‘A fat spouse is a quilt for the winter’)”–Publisher information.” (adapted from catalogue)

 

Who said that first? : the curious origins of common words and phrases / Cryer, Max
“We might think we know who first said ‘famous for fifteen minutes’, ‘annus horribilis’, ‘the cold war’ and ‘let them eat cake’, but Max Cryer has a surprise or two in store for you. In this very readable book, Max Cryer explores the origins of hundreds of expressions we use and hear every day – and comes up with some surprising findings.” (Catalogue)

 

In praise of cats / Cryer, Max
“Did you know that the Bible does not mention cats at all? Do you know where the word caterpillar comes from? Why do we think cats have nine lives? How much of our great literature refers to cats–and what do authors say? These are the questions that many cat owners have pondered at one time or another. At last, all the cat references in our language have been gathered in one place to provide a informative, fun, and comprehensive resource on the feline species–it’s the cat’s pyjamas.” (Catalogue)

New Music for your Lockdown listening!

I’m Mark, the Customer Specialist for Music & Film at Wellington City Libraries. Luckily for you (or perhaps not) thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the musical bromance my colleague Neil & I share can continue unabated during lockdown. We sifted through some of the new material we have been buying for the Music collection at our CBD Te Awe library to do some reviews for you, so you can now check out some new music during lockdown with the confidence that it won’t all be total rubbish and a complete waste of time…
[Note: With the exception of Disc 2 of the Jimmy London album, all of these titles are on Spotify. However, if you enjoy some of them please take the time to reserve them online, and show our collection some love when the Library reopens.]

via GIPHY

For free. / Crosby, David
Mark: Another strong entry in Crosby’s late career resurgence, with a mellow AOR sheen. Guests Michael MacDonald & Donald Fagan lend further gloss to this smooth album of relaxed harmonies, and 70s vibes. A solid set of songs reflect on growing old, regret, loss and perseverance.
Neil: For an artist totally written off as a drug casualty in the 80’s, David Crosby has in the last twenty years or so staged a truly miraculous revival releasing a series of solo works that rank amongst some of his best work. And considering his output in the late 60s and 70s that is saying a lot. And ‘For Free’ stands as one of these renaissance classics it is a poignant meditation on his own mortality, AND a beautifully constructed and sung album. Songs about life, love, the past and the present, and death. The inner and outer worlds of life as he has experienced them and as he sees them now.

Bridge over troubled waters. / London, Jimmy
Mark: Cheery Red resurrects overlooked Jamaican Reggae crooner Jimmy London with his rare 1972 album reissued with 4 bonus tracks, along with a 2nd compilation disc of tracks from Trojan’s Randy’s subsidiary label. His sweet pure voice lends a wistful romantic tone to these soulful tracks of love & longing.
Neil: Very welcome release of Jimmy London’s classic 1972 album ‘Bridge over troubled waters’. A reggae rock steady masterpiece, the track “A little love” was used by the then major of London Ken Livingston to promote the city.

Quietly blowing it. / Hiss Golden Messenger
Mark: Vocalist/songwriter M.C. Taylor returns with another album under the Hiss Golden Messenger moniker. A melange of Alt-Country, Folk/Pop, and slow 70s grooves provide the backdrop for a melancholic and sometimes angry look at the world of 2021. Rootsy back porch meditations set to upbeat melodies, that aim to provide a sense of optimism going forward.
Neil: A soothing rustic chilled Americana album with country folk stylings recorded, like a lot of recent work, in isolation during the early months of the pandemic in North Carolina. A calming album for troubled times.

Stand for myself. / Yola
Mark: Yolanda Quartey is a UK singer (now based in Nashville) with a love for late 60s/70’s artists who amalgamated R&B, Pop & Country. Producer Dan Auerbach creates a lush layered vintage sound that steeps Yola’s amazing voice in classic style & grooves, built around her strong original songs addressing contemporary themes. Shades of Tina Turner, Minnie Ripperton or Bettye Swann. An impressive follow up to 2019’s acclaimed Walk Through Fire.
Neil: Yola”s sophomore album is another Covid creation in which Yola took the opportunity step away from the star making machine and instead to look deep into who she is and wants to identify herself as, and places this firmly at the core of this album. It is an accomplished and genre jumping work that reminded me in places of some of the great Disco, soul R n B albums of the 70s and 80s, mainly thanks to Yola’s voice, which is set amongst unvarnished, unprocessed musical backings.

Yacht soul : the cover versions.
Mark: This cool compilation turns the tables on white musicians appropriating black music, by gathering together a bunch of Soul artists who interpreted various white MOR 70s FM and 80’s ‘Yacht Rock’ tracks. Unsurprisingly Aretha, Chaka Khan, Billy Paul, Millie Jackson et all add a layer of funky grooves to these white bread staples. Sadly the version of Seals & Crofts ‘Summer Breeze’ is from The Main Ingredient instead of the Isley Brothers version. Still good though…
Neil: Funky, smooth, soulful cover versions of classic AOR, Laurel Canyon Hippie classics with most of the tracks originating in the 70’s and 80’s. It shouldn’t work but it does. Two very different genres looking at each other and bringing out something new and rather wonderful. Imaging sailing on a beautiful summer’s day in 1974 with friends.

Animal. / Lump
Mark: The 2018 album from this side project of Laura Marling and Tunng’s Mike Lindsay seemed a a one-off, but they are back with more weird dynamics. The aim seems to be just to see where their disparate styles take them – through dark lyrics underpinned by meandering folktronica melodies, odd shifts & time signatures. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t seem to go anywhere. Tracy Thorn does this sort of thing far better.
Neil: Mike Lindsay (of Tunng) creates the musical settings whilst Laura Marling supplies the vocals and lyrics, The resulting album is a glittering genre mashing, boundary pushing collection of tracks, the duo are obviously well up some musical explorations, it very occasionally reminded me of Radiohead esp. some of the oblique and odd imagery employed in some of the lyrics, and also some of the angular minimalist musical settings.

Mirror II / Goon Sax
Mark: Goon Sax were still at school when their 2016 debut album Up to Anything came out. Their cute indie-pop garnered natural comparisons to the Go-Betweens, given that frontman Louis Forster is the son of Go-Betweens Robert Forster. ‘Mirror II’ is their 3rd album, following 2018’s We’re not talking, and they eschew the Beat Happening 80s sound of their previous work for a full on dive into the 90s sound with Lemonhead-esque pop, shoegazzy guitars, male/female vocals and new wavey synths. Each member now shares vocal duties and have developed their own particular style as they have grown musically over the course of 3 albums. And ‘growing up’ is really what their song are about – the awkwardness & messy discontent of being young people at this current point in time. Their best album so far.
Neil: The Brisbane dolewave trio’s latest release revels in the complexities, difficulties and embossments associated with being a twenty-something in modern day Australia. Post punk young adult angst for the 21st Century.

Outside child. / Russell, Allison
Mark: Critically lauded solo debut from Montreal native and veteran of the Roots scene with bands Po’ Girl, Birds of Chicago & roots supergroup Our Native Daughters, which also features Rhiannon Giddens. The gentle, enveloping, music with its beautiful layered arrangements frames a haunting ‘musical memoir’, re-telling an upbringing of childhood sexual abuse and street living. It all sounds a pretty heavy listen, but there is a lightness to the melodic, organic, music that enlivens the weighty backstory. Full of powerful odes to her past self and experiences, as well as the city and music that gave her new hope. Sure to be a Grammy nominee and wind up on the Best of 2021 lists at the end of the year.
Neil: French Canadian singer Allison Russell’s impressive debut album is a deep soulful work, hotly tipped by many as one of the albums of the year. It is styled a beautiful classic soul pop album that showcases her gorgeous voice in a series of melodic tracks. Behind the surface production and beauty is an album that is, on occasion, starkly dark and heart rendering. Lyrics about her own childhood abuse and recovery are set in an often-uplifting survivor context.

Exit wounds / Wallflowers
Mark: Jakob Dylan’s band The Wallflowers were essentially a revolving door of different studio & live musicians based around his writing, which led to certain conflicts along the way in terms of the ability to execute his songs. With his return after a 9 year break, Dylan sounds much more comfortable with the bands classic roots-rock sound than on previous album, 2012’s Glad All Over, which never really gelled. A nice set of solid melodic songs about life’s struggles are a reminder of why they were such a consistently good band. Shelby Lynne provides nice harmony vocals on 4 tracks.
Neil: Considering the fact that his father is Bob Dylan and his upbringing was steeped in music it is no surprise that Jakob Dylan, the self-styled cowboy troubadour, is such a gifted and highly literate musician. However, Jacob brings more than his background to the Wallflowers outfit, he also brings passion and personal reflection to his work, perhaps even most pointedly in this his latest outing ‘Exit Wounds’. If you’re a fan of classic 70’s American folk rock or highway ballads, then this album should be right up your street.

Pale horse rider. / Hanson, Cory
Mark: Melancholic folky meditations from the frontman of LA art-rockers Wand. His second solo album, after 2016’s The Unborn Capitalist from Limbo, is pure Americana. Waves of lush lilting arrangements wrap around his mellow gentle vocals. The musical equivalent of a calming walk through a meditative landscape whilst staring up at the stars.
Neil: Another isolation album this time recorded in the Mojave Desert whilst surrounded by cacti and majestic desolate nature. The resulting work is a kind of psychedelic cowboy fantasy, all plaintive steel guitars, drifting sands and sun lazy weirdness, but infused with a gentle vibe throughout.

Love drips and gathers. / Piroshka
Mark: Piroshka is an English Indie-pop supergroup with Lush’s Miki Berenyi, Elastica’s Justin Welch, Moose’s K.J. McKillop, and Modern English’s Mick Conroy, that emerged from the Lush 2015-6 reunion line-up. Following on from their 2019 debut Brickbat, their new album focuses more on their dreamy shoegaze style, rather than some of the New Wave elements introduced on their debut, with strings swirling around layered instruments and vocals. Well worth checking out of you were a Lush fan. And who wasn’t, really?
Neil: A subtle rather surreal and ethereal album, all wrapped up in warm idyllic soundscapes that evoke both beauty, and a kind off early 70’s Roxy music nostalgia.

Mood valiant. / Hiatus Kouyate
Mark: 3rd album from Australian ‘Future-soul’ Grammy-nominated alternative R&B band. Skittery beats that have a Dubstep/D&B feel, underpin neo-soul vocalising reminiscent of Eryakh Badu & Corinne Bailey Rae. The frenetic key & tempo changes, rapid fire vocals, and jittery rhythms occasionally give it too much of a ‘Music School graduates’ feel, but their third album sees them establishing a uniquely individual sound.
Neil: The Australian future soul super group’s latest release is another slick and ultra-smooth release, mixing in their own inimitable way cool jazz, neo soul and R&B. Hugely popular in hip and trendy bars and clubs globally, but perhaps just a little slightly too slick and controlled in all areas for my tastes.

Mother Nature. / Kidjo, Angélique
Mark: Beninese singer, songwriter, and activist Angélique Kidjo returns with her first album of original material since 2014’s Eve, collaborating with a younger generation of musicians like Burna Boy, and Sampa the Great, crossing continents & generations. She uses this fusion of percussive pan-African traditional styles with modern dance, Hip-Hop & trap grooves with her Fon, Yoruba, French, and English vocals, to comment on various current issues around political resistance & female empowerment. Strong messages surround by catchy funky danceable beats.
Neil:Kidjo, Angélique has been described by some reviewers as Africa’s premiere diva and now recognised across the World, thanks in part to singing at the recent Tokyo Olympics. This multi guest album expounds her vision of pan African unity. Infectious rhythms and her love of Zimbabwean township music all play a role in this potent mix. Her fabulous reimagining of the Talking Heads Remain In Light album is well worth checking out too!

Welcome 2 America. / Prince
Mark: Unreleased album from the Prince vaults recorded & mixed in 2010, but then set aside for unknown reasons. None of the songs were ever played live, so its existence & unearthing was big news for Prince fans this year. Prince created so much music in the later phase of his career, so how much you enjoy this will probably depend on how devoted you are to the independent phase of his career, with its shifting styles, and touches of genius buried within lots of filler. ‘Welcome 2 America’ has some great, catchy, tracks on social empowerment (that seem even more relevant today) and some soulful ballads, but also some of the jazz-funk filler that typified his albums from that era. Overall though it’s probably more consistently enjoyable than a lot of his albums from the 2010’s, so its good that it has finally seen the light of day at last.
Neil: Whilst there is no argument that Prince created some of the greatest albums of the 80’s it is also true that the release of material since his death has been patchy in quality. Sadly, this album of totally unreleased tracks falls into this category. It’s is a ‘state of the nation’ album originally scheduled for a 2010 release, intended as a kind of updated version of the brilliant Sign ‘O’ The Times, but it lacks that albums originality, bite and passion. Prince is always worth listening to and there are one or two good tracks on the album, but it is also clear from listening to the final overall work why he choose to leave it unrealised.

The blue elephant. / Berry, Matt
Mark: Actor-Musician Matt Berry (The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd) likes to deliver albums re-creating particular styles of music he is a fan of. Pastoral folk-rock for 2013’s ‘Kill the Wolf’, new age synthesizer music for 2014’s Music for Insomniacs, and country-rock (2020’s Phantom Birds). He is back with a new album square the the psychedelic realm with new album ‘The blue elephant’. All the faders are set to reverb, splashy snares hit every few seconds, chorale voices back meandering tunes as his actor-ish tones and song arrangements hit all the psych buttons you could push. One for fans of the genre. Anyone else might feel like they’ve dialled in a lost pirate radio station from the 60s…
Neil: You might be more familiar with Matt Berry’s as the award-winning actor, comedian in outings such as ‘The Mighty Boosh’ or the 2015 SpongeBob movie. However, he has always run his music career in parallel with his acting one. A prolific musician with nine studio albums to his name. In ‘The Blue Elephant’ he has made a work that is a huge homage to the music of the late 60’s. Let’s be clear this isn’t a comedy album in any sense of the word, instead it’s a serious recreation of the music of flower-power age. And if you enjoy music from this time, then I think you are onto a real winner.

Drama. / Amarante, Rodrigo
Mark: A Rio de Janeiro native who now calls Los Angeles home. Known for the rock quartet Los Hermanos (who were huge in Brazil) and his track Tuyo which is the theme song on the popular Netflix series Narcos. ‘Drama’ is his second solo outing, following 2014’s Cavalo. Lovely atmospheric laid back Brazilian samba/tango rhythms, with 4 tracks in English, shifting from the upbeat to the romantic. A perfectly relaxed, soothing album for the times we find ourselves in. Amarante apparently recorded most of the album himself, and plays no less than 10 of its instruments.
Neil: Born in Rio De Janeiro, Rodrigo Amarante uses his rich cultural heritage to fullest advantage, whilst bringing a large dollop of his own creativity to the party. It is a laid-back party, but no worse for that. It is the kind of music you can imagine taking it easy to on a long hot summer’s day. Another blissful, gentle album, this time Samba inspired with acoustic singer-songwriter elements woven in.

KG0516. / Karol G
Mark: Colombian pop singer who mixes reggaeton, hip-hop, & modern R&B. She spent a decade as a guest and backing vocalist before Ahora Me Llama with Bad Bunny in 2017 launched her solo career. KG0516 is her 3rd album and is a catchy mix of pop-reggaetón, urbano & Latin trap. The US is supposedly in the midst of a second wave of Latin crossover success after the 2000’s and this album, which has already made a Guardian list of the Best albums of 2021 so far, will no doubt place her as one of the key female artists currently in Latin music.
Neil: Colombian singer Karol G’s latest album takes its title from the format of a flight number representing her name. It’s a clever idea and well named, as each track in this album in the artists own words “is a connecting flight that takes you to a new place”. It’s Karol’s own version of a musical journey, the tango tinged modern urban sound and production overlays a versatile range of tracks, each with a slightly different emotional emphasis.

Reason to live. / Barlow, Lou
Mark: 6th solo album from this iconic indie music figure, who has been a member of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and the Folk Implosion. A homage to his early lo-fi aesthetic (but with better modern gear) he recorded this album at his home, and played everything himself except for drums on one track. Folky, introspective, searching songs that confront anxieties both personal and political. Mature and thoughtful, proof that domestic happiness hasn’t dulled his song-writing skills.
Neil: A million miles away from his Dinosaur Jnr output, Lou Barlow’s downbeat vocals and acoustic guitar driven lo fi production are in places reminiscent of Nick Drake. The lyrics mine a rich vein of heartbreak and critical self-introspection. That all said, there is undoubtedly a warmth and optimism woven through the tracks too. The result is delicate, beautiful, and slightly melancholic and well worth a listen.

After robots. / BLK JKS
Mark: We just purchased the new sophomore 2021 album ‘Abantu/Before Humans’ from BLK JKS, so we thought we would also track down their critically lauded debut from 2009. This will end up in the world section, but it is just as much an alternative rock album, as turning the tables, the South African musicians take on Western music traditions, instead of the other way round. A dense hybrid of 60’s hard rock, proggy rhythms, jazz, afrobeat, reggae and much more. Repeated listens are needed to make headway into this album, which still sounds ahead of its time 12 years on. Challenging but rewarding.
Neil: After Robots is a hugely ambitious project, with the band trying to fuse elements of prog rock, ska, jazz kwaito and reggae (and those were just the genres I spotted) into a cohesive whole. In places it is great, and their ambition pays off. In other places the weight of this ambition pulls it down, and the album loses focus and clarity, but the big sound they strive for is powerful throughout.

Get out of your own way. / Sands, Evie
Mark: Much like Jackie DeShannon, Evie Sands is a pioneering 1960’s singer, who had the bad luck of being the first artist to record a number of well know songs that went onto become big hits for others. She was the first singer to record “Angel of the Morning” for example, weeks before her label went bankrupt & the song became an massive hit for another singer. She spent most of the 70s focusing on songwriting, only releasing 2 albums before retiring completely. After a comeback album in 1999, ‘Get out of your own way’ is her first solo recording in 22 years, and it’s just great. A super catchy set of melodic country-tinged pop songs that sound timeless.
Neil: American singer songwriter Evie Sands began her career in the 60’s when she was just a teenager. Possessing a distinctive powerful and unique blue-eyed soul voice no less than Dusty Springfield described her as her favourite singer. She’s weathered the highs and lows of the music industry for the best part of 60 years. This new collection sounds like it could have been recorded at any point in career, from the mid seventies onwards. Accompanied by a strong band and her undiminished vocals, basically it is a collection of American classic pop-rock ballad songs that have soulful elements.

I know I’m funny haha. / Webster, Faye
Mark: The music photographer/indie-singer returns with a new album after the breakout success of 2019’s Atlanta Millionaires Club. She has a lovely voice, and the album is full of lovelorn ballads and sad moods, delivered in laid back washes of country-ish pedal steel and strings. Her tart lyrics often uncut the sweetness of her drowsy meditations on love & loneliness. Lead off song, the 2020 single ‘Better Distractions’ landed on Barack Obama’s annual year-end playlist. Really enjoyed this one.
Neil: The sad, plaintive and beautiful voice of Faye Webster is put to excellent use in ‘I know I’m funny ha-ha’. A lonesome, indie country, haunting, steel guitar heavy album of songs about the emotional emptiness of life’s sadder moments. It is a testament to the albums musical balance that it never sounds like a dirge, or lacking in emotional conviction.

Home video. / Dacus, Lucy
Mark: The solo artist (and member of ‘Boygenius’, a trio with fellow breakout 20-something singer/songwriters Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers) returns with her 3rd solo album, which looks back on coming of age in her hometown. Her warm emotive voice looks back on her childhood & adolescence with vignettes on relationships, the influence of the Church on young women, and sexuality. These poignant reflections would seem to lend themselves to a folky acoustic mileau, but Dacus rocks out with a power-pop feel to the most traks, leavened with some guitar & keys based ballads. The perspective of her 20s provides a more mature & defined worldview, that pierces the mists of nostalgic memories with sharply pointed observations. Really good.
Neil: As a young person Lucy Dacus was heavily immersed in American Christian youth culture, but as her sexuality emerged this started to raise problems in her life and faith. ‘Home Video’ is her autobiographical exploration of her younger self’s world and her subsequent growth. The songs are catchy, finely crafted and, in a deliberately post adolescent way, address young love, nostalgia, spirituality and emerging sexuality. The lyrics are direct and sharply focussed.

Blue weekend. / Wolf Alice
Mark: 3rd album from this North London band that merge vintage ’90s rock and 4AD styled dream-pop. Previous albums were all a commercially & critical success, garnering a Grammy nomination in 2015 and a Mercury prize for Visions Of a Life, and each release seems to get huger in sound & ambition, navigating multiple genres with ease. This album is even more ambitious, with the music polished to a sheen, and singer Ellie Rowsell’s voice in front, every track seems to be aiming for ‘Soaring anthem’. Already the 4th highest scored album of 2021 on Metacritic. It all sounds amazing, but I’m still not convinced they are anything more than the sum of their influences.
Neil: Back in the day some bands deliberately wrote albums designed to be played in big stadium tours or festivals. Wolf Alice’s latest outing sounds like that was their intention on ‘Blue Weekend’. This isn’t a criticism, as it’s a pristine, extravagant alt-rock/shoegaze work of big performances and sound. I think when they can get back on the road, the music encapsulated in this album will make for a showstopper stadium tour.

Tezeta /
Mark: This long-lost recording captures Ethiopian organist Hailu Mergia and the Walias Band at the Hilton Addis Ababa in 1975. The American owned Hilton was an upscale cosmopolitan refuge from the political turmoil of Ethiopia, following the mid-70s take over of the erg military regime. The Walias band held a residency at the Hilton for almost a decade and, as this rediscovered performance shows, merged traditional Ethiopian popular songs and standards with American funk, soul & Jazz grooves to great effect. Simple chord vamps form the backbone of these endlessly funky tunes that are perfect for background listening, but when you pay closer attention the complexities of his playing reveals itself.
Neil: Ethiopian keyboardist Hailu is best known for his work in the Walia’s Band that regularly played the Hilton hotel in Addis Ababa in the 1970’s, during what is often referred to as Ethiopia’s “Golden age of music”. These long-lost recordings are finally seeing the light of day. Imagine, if you can, Ethiopian cocktail lounge music that also encompasses traditional and modern aspects. Music that is simultaneously fabulous background music, and also innovative in its own way. It’s a really mesmerising mix.

Utopian ashes / Gillespie, Bobby
Mark: The Primal Scream frontman teams up with former Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth for some duets in the vein of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. Apparently the album tells the tale of a doomed marriage. Grievances are aired and regret & blame intermingle, as the fictional couple sift through the ashes of their failed relationship. These narratives are set to a moody, lush stringed, country-southern soul sound, and they give the indie-rocker & the post punk icon a chance to showcase a hither-to unknown vulnerability within their respective musical personas. An unlikely pairing that results in a surprisingly effective album.
Neil: Primal Scream and Jesus and the Mary Chain legend Bobby Gillespie teams up with Jehnny Beth, and they go all dark country on us. On paper it sounds like a startling change of direction for both artists, and in less experienced & talented hands it could have gone badly astray. However, both Bobby’s and Jehnny’s instantly recognisable and distinctive voices anchor the piece, and the album does contain some low-key stylistic elements of their previous work. Dramatic and understated, in places tragedy and pain, melodrama and dark tales, are all imbedded in these songs. A highly successful collaboration & an unexpected change for all parties concerned that really delivers the goods.

Box Set Reissue Picks:
The Reprise albums (1968-1971). / Mitchell, Joni
Neil: A collection of Joni’s reprise albums. The pinnacle of her career, flawless, creatively unbounded by convention or commercial considerations, unmatched in their brilliance. The finest songwriter of our time on creative fire.

Everybody still digs Bill Evans. / Evans, Bill
Mark: Lavish & stylish box set from Concord Records speciality Craft imprint. The first detailed career retrospective from 1956—1980, through multiple labels, for the iconic Jazz pianist divides its 5 discs into themes that follow his career: 2 disc of Piano Trio performances, one of Solo performances, another of co-headlining and side-person work, and for the final disc a previously unreleased, live recording form the mid 70’s. Encased in a lovely hardbound book, with photos and a lengthy essay & session notes, the tracks have all been newly remastered. A fitting tribute to perhaps one of the most influential & pivotal figures of modern Jazz.