New Books – 23 June

Hi there, some great looking titles in the box this week.

CoverKatey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy, Futurama, Married with Children) has written an autobiography! Grace Notes tells the story of Sagal’s amazing and challenging life (not the least having a baby, told as a series of essays. Christina Applegate hails the memoir as “a beautiful poem…you will be transported…and healed.” Follow Katey Sagal on Twitter @KateySagal

CoverWildlife enthusiasts will love this biography The Durrells of Corfu. Those who loved reading Gerald Durrell’s stories of the exotic island and equally exotic pets will enjoy this. The author, Michael Haag, was family friend of Lawrence Durrell, Gerald’s father. The book includes photographs, excerpts from stories and an epilogue on Lawrence Durrell’s writing.

CoverClive Cussler’s new book Nighthawk is the 14th installment of the Numa Files (National Underwater and Marine Agency Foundation). A highly advanced spaceship disappears over the South Pacific. Kurt Austin and NUMA scramble to find it, and its unstable cargo before other nations can discover it. Great reviews. Keep track of his series with Fantastic Fiction.

CoverThe Other Hoffmann Sister by Ben Fergusson, is an Historic novel about a German family, set in Southwest Africa. When her sister Marguerite later goes missing after their return to Berlin, the mystery haunts Ingrid, but her search is interrupted by the onset of World
War I. His second novel, the story is described at atmospheric, accurate, elegant and engrossing.

CoverA Dog’s Way Home is another novel from W. Bruce Cameron, author of A Dog’s Purpose (recently on film). There are many wonderful tales of great animal journeys. In this story, Lucas has to give the dog he found as a puppy, as pitbulls are banned in Denver. Yet the bond between Bella and Lucas is so strong that Bella attempts a journey of 400 miles across Colorado wilderness.

CoverFamiliar Things is a bit of a gem. South-Korean writer Hwang Sok-Yong, is being hailed as ‘the most powerful voice in Asia’ (Kenzaburo Oe), this book as a ‘great political book’ (Critiques Libres).  Flower Island is a landfill, home to the poor who have been driven out of the city. Yet against the stark backdrop of reality, Ancient Spirits are about to reveal themselves…

New books for June

I love unpacking the new books from their boxes. These are my picks from the new book box:

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Dead Writers in Rehab is the second novel by British author Paul Basset Davies; also a writer for stage, radio, television and film. Protagonist Foster James wakes up in what he thinks is rehab. After a therapy session with several writers who are dead (Hunter S. Thompson, for example), he’s not so sure…

Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman, is the story of Maggie, a maid in New York, who is left a house by one of her clients. She also inherits Edith, her former employer’s eighty-two year old mother. Erin Duffy recommends this as a book “you’ll want to devour in one sitting.”

John Grisham’s new offering Camino Island features the daring theft of five manuscripts belonging to F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novels. If you were a struggling writer, could you resist the offer to work with a historic manuscript, even if its origins are murky?

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Spaceman of Bohemia is the first novel by Jaroslav Kalfar. Highly recommended by Darin Strauss and Lisa McInerney, this is the story of Bohemian astronaut Jakub Prochazka’s ascent and personal journey through Space. With only an Arachnoid for company Jakub comes to terms with his relationships while he tries to find a way back home to his loved ones.

Tengoku, by Rae D. Magdon, is the story of a Japanese girl, Aozora Kaede, who runs away from her noble family, with only her wolf, Rin, for company. She is hired as a Yojimbo (bodyguard) for a young female Samurai, Homura Imari. The two share an adventure to replace Imari’s missing hand, confront Aozura’s past, and save the Empire of Akatsuki Teikoku from evil.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a prequel to Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. It’s set a century-ish before Game of Thrones, when the Targaryens are still in power… Featuring Ser Duncan the Tall, and his young Squire, Egg – who is really Aegon Targaryen. With illustrations!

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The Walworth Beauty is a new release from Man Booker Prize shortlisted Michele Roberts. The Independent newspaper is hailing her as “one of Britain’s best novelists.” The Times goes further to describe her as descended from Monet, Debussy and Woolf. The novel follows two characters linked by the search for human connection, but separated by time.

I love the title of this one. (The Last Person to Call Me) Sweet Pea (Ended Up Dead) is a first adult novel by C.J Skuse, known for her writing for children and young adults. Rhiannon appears to be normal, living a normal life. She lives with her boyfriend and her dog, normal. She hates her job, normal. She is making a kill list, normal. Wait what?! The driver who cuts her off every morning. The guy who bruises her apples at the supermarket. Is this underestimated girl going to get away with murder?

Lumber on an epic scale

cover of BarkskinsI discovered at the weekend with a rapidly beating heart, that one of my all time favourite writers,  Annie Proulx, has released a new novel.

Thirteen years since her last novel, Barkskins is, by all accounts, a rip snorter. According to what I can glean from good old Mr Google, it is 736 pages long, spanning 3 centuries, and tells the story of two French immigrants in the new land of America. They are bound to a feudal lord for three years and are sent to work in the dense and remote forests of the New World in exchange for a promise of land. The book follows them and their descendants from 1693 through to the 21st century and various family members travel all over the world, including to little old New Zealand.

Annie Proulx first caught my eye when I read The Shipping News, another great story of families, set in Newfoundland. I have never forgotten the ways she described snow and ice and barren landscapes and the families and eccentrics who lived amongst it.

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Accordion Crimes was also a favourite, charting the lives of immigrants settling in America through the life of an accordion that is handed down through families; Jewish, Irish, Italian and many others.

Both The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain (a short story originally), were also made into movies, both well worth watching.

Ms Proulx, now in her eighties, was a bit of a late bloomer, with her first short stories published in her 50s and her first novel in 1992. She has gone onto to publish 13 works and win over twenty literary prizes, including a Pulitzer prize for The Shipping News.

Her novels and short storys are filled with hard bitten complex characters and landscapes that are wonderful described, I find I get immersed in her stories and I think this is because she herself has led a full and intense life, always on her own terms. She has been married and divorced three times and has raised three sons alone. She worked as postal worker and a waitress, and early on a writer of magazine articles on everything from chilli growers to canoeing.

She has two history degrees, drifted the countryside in her pickup truck, can fly fish, fiddle, and hunt game birds. But for all her life experience, she has said that she likes to write about what she doesn’t know, rather than draw on what she has already experienced. If you haven’t read her books, I strongly recommend them.

So, I’m on the library waiting list, hoping the book arrives quickly so I can again revel in her wondrous prose!

A Murder in Time – Join OverDrive’s latest global eBook club – 23 June to 7 July

{C04E4869-9DB3-4EF4-B0C1-544EF1AD7EF8}Img400Big Library Read is back in town. This time the title is a little less controversial than American Sniper. OverDrive’s latest for you eBook lovers is A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain. It involves time travel, murder, a clever FBI agent, and the quest for justice and truth.  Sounds brilliant, and a bit exhausting! Luckily you will have from 23 June to 7 July to access this eBook. Borrow now!

If you are not sure of what the Big Library Read is then it is basically OverDrive, one of our eBook providers, making an eBook title available (without limitations) globally on its platform. So people in Dublin, New York and Brisbane are participating in this global eBook club at the same time as you are!

Big Library Read

Here’s a more complete summary of this Big Library Read title:

Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact. Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

If this eBook sounds like you, then pull up a comfy chair and download away – let yourself be filled with the joy of participating in the latest literary love-in.

New Zealand Geographic Archive says my brain is safe!

NZ-geo-web1 (300x212)So apparently earwigs cannot actually eat your brain as your brain is protected by bone that it can’t get through, actually it won’t even get past your eardrum. This cheers me up no end as I have a hysterical reaction when things with wings go anywhere near my ears. Earwigs actually get their name from the shape of their wings which look like our ears. So all those B grade horror movies are purely fantastical.

Unfortunately grounded in the harsh reality of nature are the tongue biters that enter the mouths of snapper fish, suck their tongues dry of blood and then replace it. They then happily chew on parts of what the fish eats. So how did I know this? Well I heard all about this from a couple of short videos from the New Zealand Geographic Archive The archive gives you access to award-winning local content covering New Zealand’s places, people, wildlife and environment. The searchable content comes in the form of stories and images from 25 years of New Zealand Geographic and video ranging from 2 minute short films to multi-part one hour series. You can access all this content through the New Zealand Geographic Archive or through NZGeo TV which lets you search videos first. This is a proud New Zealand eResource which allows you to be entertained and increase your knowledge all at the same time in a package that is visually gorgeous. Have a peruse today!

Ways to think about the bottom line

db-EconomistArchive-CKEY897144There are people with money, who know what to do with money and think about money. I am not one of them. My foolishness started early. “I will go to university and get a degree in history not accounting”, I said at 18. My student loan will have 9% interest from the minute I borrow, but I was not concerned as they told me that with my degree I would be making more money. Did I think to query this advice? No. At 28 I was still poor despite my education but was told what you need is a post graduate qualification to get ahead in your career. Did I think to query this advice? No. Two and a half years later I completed by distance my Masters. The investment in my education came to $55,000 according to IRD which took over 20 years to pay back and I am still no richer. So where did it all go wrong? Did I invest badly? Did I heed the wrong advice? So far yes on both counts. My own advice? Never doubt it is all about the bottom line. Being broke all the times loses its charm quickly. To learn about this bottom line we have:

colored backgroundBoth these eResources are available from home or in libraries for you to learn about money, business, finance and investment. The Financial Times (sober reporting) will tell you of events and the Economist (loud opinions) will help you interpret and learn from that event. The two archives are cross searchable via Gale NewsVault making comparisons and carrying out research easier. Delve into these two and learn from my mistakes!

Literature, culture, economics, and history anyone?

KTT Four into the eResource foldWho doesn’t like something new? These four wee beauties are online portals to authoritative information about a huge range of subjects. They were on trial and were popular enough to be made permanent residents of our collection. So from now on, you can access:

The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2012The Economist has been highly regarded for providing independent global, economic and political analysis since its first publication in 1843. More content will continue to be added;

Listener Historical Archive, 1929-1991The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC to reproduce and expand on the content of its broadcast and television talks. It is regarded as the premier cultural studies magazine of the mid-20th century;

TLS_Cover_Septembe_1074419a (194x250).jpgThe Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive, 1902-2010 – (TLS) is the world’s leading newspaper for cultural studies. It offers comprehensive coverage of the most important publications as well as reviewing theatre, cinema, music and exhibitions;

19th Century UK Periodicals – a collection of often rare online British magazines, journals and specialty newspapers that aim to provide an in-depth view of life in the Victorian age.

All of these eResources are accessible from home or in libraries and can be searched individually or as part of the wider content included in Gale NewsVault.

So if you are looking for a answer to a query or feel like reading something informative and interesting then these newbies are a great place to start.

Read all about it – The Independent comes to eResources!

KTT Read all about itOnline newspapers are popular at the library and come in a variety of forms. There is the instant appeal of today’s news with PressDisplay or there are newspaper archives, such as our latest arrival to eResources – The Independent Digital Archive 1986-2012.

We have a number of these newspaper archives. Our customers like their historical, genealogical, political and social coverage. So why add The Independent? As per per its name, it aims to be a broadly centrist publication. It offers an alternative voice to the centre-right and right-wing views of The Times and the Daily Mail which we also provide access to. With no affiliations to any major political party or corporation it has taken some controversial stands including opposing the 2003 Iraq war and criticising the UK and US governments policies in regards to the War on Terror.

In short, it offers balance to the collection we already have. You can cross search this newspaper with numerous others using Gale NewsVault to help formulate your own balanced opinion or just browse through its issues and contemplate the fashion, gossip and news of the day. If it is news you are after – from today’s headlines or the headlines of 400 years ago we have online newspapers for you!

Welcome Access Video!

ckey923530-AVOD-250wIf you are like me and only have poor person’s TV (not SKY) then you are constantly channel surfing and finding yourself stuck with cooking, renovation and dating shows. Well, surf no more – the library can now connect you to a new eResource – Access Video. It has over 10,000 world-class documentaries, award-winning educational films, and helpful instructional videos on every known subject.

Personally I am in heaven, as though I may not have access to the History Channel I can now watch a number of history documentaries from a variety of sources including the BBC. I have even set up my own account so I can save videos I want to watch in future. Now don’t roll your eyes at the thought of “educational” films as they can be entertaining too. I defy you to open this eResource and not find something that takes your fancy. I had a wee look at a documentary on “Animals in Love” and went all gooey over the Orangutan kissing his partner’s eyes and the capuchin monkeys that throw rocks at the boys to get their attention … is that what I have been doing wrong?

This eResource will be a source of information, entertainment and mirth for all. What else can I say but lights, camera and action!

Access Video

Cool stuff from the selectors – from Patti Smith to Star Wars

Cover of M TrainOur Music Selector has been seeing lots of great music biographies lately, she said that this will be one of her highlights: M Train by Patti Smith

Reviews have been ecstatic, I particularly like this one by Nick Hornby

The most beautiful, incredible autobiography – it will make you ache for a time and a place that you probably never knew, New York in the 1970s.

Cover of The Ultimate guide to Vintage Star WarsGetting ready for the new Star Wars Movie? There have been a few adults and children’s books ordered including The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985. Unparalleled coverage of Star Wars action figures. Organized by film or television show, and by release date, the book is divided into two parts: action figures and accessories.

Cover of CosmosCosmos: The Infographic book of space
Using Infographics – the latest and increasingly popular method of explaining tricky subjects, the authors have laid bare modern science and the cosmos. Will appeal to stargazers and space enthusiasts of all ages.

…. And something for the children

Cover of A great big cuddleA Great Big Cuddle : Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen
Sometimes children’s poetry can be ignored in favour of a picture book but you will not be disappointed with the latest offering from the two biggest names in children’s publishing, Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell.  Rosen’s poems fizz off the page with sound and rhythm, energy and laughter, as he captures in the most remarkable way what it means to be very, very young. Chris Riddell has produced some his most extraordinary pictures ever to bring this world to life. It’s a book that will be enjoyed by the oldest grown-up and the youngest child and a future classic.

Cover of Over the hills and far awayOver the hills and far away : a treasury of nursery rhymes by Elizabeth Hammill
A collection of 150 rhymes from across the globe, beautifully illustrated by 77 world-renowned artists.