It would seem there is a daughter for every occupation, including a blind astronomer and a Can Opener.
You can usually rely on children’s books to have interesting inviting covers. This month’s selection do not disappoint. Designed for children – but equally enjoyed by adults – there should be something here that appeals to all ages.
The World of Moominvalley by Philip Ardagh
The ultimate guide for any Moomin fan, old and new. A 350 page introduction to the unique hippo-esque shaped world where the best use for gold nuggets is as flowerbed borders, and a lending paw is more important the even the largest of large rubies.
Filled with illustrated maps and family trees, facts about Moomintroll behaviour and habits, this gorgeous book contains all you could wish to know about the beloved characters from the original Moomin stories and the world in which they live.
The Ways of the Wolf by Smriti Prasadam-Hall
Wildlife illustrator Jonathan Woodward brings these animals to life with breath-taking papercut collage artwork.
We travel so far by Laura Knowles
Small stories of incredibly giant journeys. From the epic migration of the huge humpback to the unbelievable determination of the tiny hummingbird. Each tale is told by the migrating animal and is wonderfully brought to life by the glorious illustrations of Chris Madden.
Book of Bones : 10 record-breaking animals by Gabrielle Balkan
There’s a lot going on in this book. First you examine animal skeletons and guess who they belong to. The answers are revealed in vibrant, full-colour scenic habitats, with easily understood and humorous explanations. For example a reticulated python would need a row of 5 king-sized beds to stretch out on. (What a dreadful thought!)
This entertaining introduction to the connection between animal bones (anatomy) and behaviour is playful, relatable, and includes touch-and-feel finishes that bring the bones to life!
Nadiya’s Bake me a story by Nadiya Hussain
Winner of the 2015 Great British Bake Off combines traditional tales and recipes for all the family. She also has a new Christmas title Bake me a Festive Story arriving in October.
Fish girl by Donna Jo Napoli
Napoli teams with Caldecott winner David Wiesner in this Graphic Novel about a young mermaid who is the main attraction in an aquarium. She can’t talk and she can’t walk but she can make friends with a girl named Livia. Can she find a new life on land? Like all David Wiesner’s books the pictures in this book are outstanding.
Celebration of Beatrix Potter : art and letters by more than 30 of today’s book illustrators
Wonderful re-imaginations of some of Beatrix Potter’s famous tales by artists like Jon Agee, Tommie dePaola, Brian Pinkney and Rosemary Wells, the fabulous David Wiesner makes another appearance here also. Each illustration is accompanied by text from the artist explaining what that character means to them, making this a true celebration of Beatrix Potter.
Christchurch – Our Underground Story by Phil Wilkins
If you have a child who has been fascinated by all the trucks, bulldozers, diggers and construction going on around Christchurch then this rather quirky book could be a hit. Designed as a large board book with lift the flaps it contains everything you did (or perhaps didn’t want to know) about what has been going on under our feet.
Read our post on Christchurch – Our underground story
A look inside Christchurch: Our underground story by Phil Wilkins and Martin Coates
As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and books by Alex Preston
Having kept notebooks over many, many years, Preston has collected the words of dozens of writers. Each chapter is arranged around a bird, each bird illustrated by Neil Gower. The Guardian gives this book a rave review:
Memoir, or rather memory, gilds the narrative. The most moving chapter describes Preston’s father, bedbound with lymphoma, as he watches a family of collared doves on the rooftop opposite his window. He is woken by a fledgling dove on the windowsill inside the bedroom and tries to rescue the bird. Describing himself in the third person, Preston’s father writes: “Placid and accepting, she allows his right hand to embrace her body… while he emanates all he can in telepathic sedation. It, or something like it, must be working, for her wings remain static and spread, her breast neither heaving nor fluttering … How warm to the touch. He wants to stretch the moment to eternity.” This, perhaps, is the essence of the book, this longing for communion, for connection with things other than ourselves.
Britain’s Wild Flowers: A Treasury of traditions, superstitions, remedies and literature by Rosamond Richardson
Keeping with the literary/nature bent, Richardson traces the history of wild flowers and celebrates the important role they have played in literature as well as their uses in food, medicine and their place in history and myth. A very beautiful book that is ideal to dip into.
Basic Mathematics: An Introduction by Alan Graham
I reserved this book on a whim…I am not known for my mathematical ability and thought that it was about time I tackled what could almost be called a phobia. I must confess to scanning this book and promptly returned it, obviously I will need some more indepth counselling before I can tackle my “issues”. However, in the brief time that this book held my attention I did think it was very user-friendly, tackled basic concepts, and would be especially useful if you were struggling with keeping up with your school age children’s maths.
Honar: The Arkhami Collection of Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art
A very disappointing cover hides a luscious book documenting the Afkhami collection of Iranian art. The art in the collection is incredibly varied and at times surprising. Each artist has their own essay, plus there are well written and interesting chapters devoted to the collection itself and to Iranian art history.
What’s Your Bias? The Surprising science of why we vote the way we do by Lee De-Wit
We may think that we make rational decisions when it comes to voting but apparently we are just as much affected by our personality traits and unconscious biases as we are by what the news media and political debates are telling us. Perhaps you want to know more about why you think Jacinda is just the ticket or what it is about Bill that makes him irresistible? Apparently you will get to know more about yourself and the bigger political picture!
Who isn’t writing crime and mystery novels these days? If Dickens, Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope were around now, they’d be making sure that murder and detection was the place to be.
Interesting authors in this field doing the murder route include Jessica Fellowes, (niece of the man who gave the world Downton Abbey), with The Mitford murders, John Gordon Sinclair (the actor from the much loved comedy Gregory’s girl), has a mystery coming up called Walk in silence and Lottie Moggach, daughter of Deborah, has Under the sun.
Aside from promising crime there is a new novel by Salman Rushdie, The golden house, which deals with Obama and Trump America.
A former Booker winner Roddy Doyle has a new novel called Smile.
And don’t forget the Film Festival coming up. One of the most interesting films is an adaptation of the Thomas Cullinan novel The beguiled. Originally made as a vehicle for Clint Eastwood, the novel now gets a feminist makeover by Sofia Coppola with Nicole Kidman leading the cast. We have the reprint of the novel on order.
Caves : exploring New Zealand’s subterranean wilderness by Marcus Thomas
The idea of venturing into a cave leaves me with clammy hands, thankfully I can now enjoy the beauty and danger of caving without having to get my feet wet.
This book takes readers on a journey into New Zealand’s longest and deepest caves, through one of the world’s most dangerous cave dives, and prospecting for a totally new kind of cave on a South Island glacier
I’m just here for the dessert by Caroline Khoo
If you love pink and love food then you will love this book! Any food that is not naturally pink — i.e. chocolate — is bound to be decorated with a pink flower, at the very least.
Australian Caroline Khoo, of Nectar and Stone, has a large Instagram following. She recently posted a photo after coming home to a birthday cake made for her by her husband (only his 2nd cake ever) using this cookbook.
A piece of cake for me and a piece of cake for you 🍰. My hubby baked this for my birthday ( such a sweetheart ). To further celebrate – the WINNER of the CALLIGRAPHY workshop being run by @maybelleimasa hosted by @megan_morton @theschoolinstagram is @helenbeautybook ( please DM me ) and thank you to everyone who entered as well. 🖋💕❤️🌸
Charm of goldfinches by Matt Sewell
A Lounge of Lizards, a Parliament of Owls, A Gaze of Raccoons…we may well have heard of these collective nouns before but Matt Sewell’s beautifully rendered drawings bring the animals and their nouns alive. The author is an avid ornithologist and best-selling author so his words add a richness to the pictures. This is a book that would also work well with animal loving children.
Summer of Love: Art, Fashion and Rock and Roll by Jill D’Alessandro
The book that chronicles an exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco that in turn chronicles the 1960s counterculture. Summer of Love covers all aspects of this heady time in a beautifully exuberant book, full of colour, fashion, politics, music and psychedelia. Not just for children of the 60s, this will appeal to a wide range of ages and interests.
The Photo Ark: One man’s quest to document the world’s animals by Joel Sartore
Joel Sartore had worked for 25 years as a photographer for National Geographic, leaving home for months at a time and becoming increasingly aware of the plight of species around the world. When his wife became ill he knew he had to stay closer to home, yet his desire to photograph and somehow make a difference to these endangered animals compelled him to seek out animals in captivity, starting at his local zoo.
His goal is to document every one of the world’s 12,000 plus captive species. All the animals have been photographed in front of a black or white background. The images are beautiful, uncluttered and affecting. The story behind the project and the people involved is fascinating and I look forward to hearing more from this author.
In theory I like the idea of eating insects, it makes sense in a world where food could become scarce – it would seem that we are unlikely to run out of insects or plagues of locusts, but what about putting this into practice? “Bee Lave Taco or Moth Mousse” anyone?
On Eating Insects is not just about exotic sounding recipes, it gives us a holistic view of the subject with thought-provoking essays and fascinating stories of field trips into the world of the people who have eaten insects for centuries. The political, cultural and ecological aspect of eating insects is also examined, creating a book that will leave you thinking, and perhaps looking at that ant nest in your garden in a slightly different light.
Style icon Tziporah Salamon profiles the chicest and most celebrated older women of today, while imparting practical tips on how to put together beautiful outfits
With headings such as “Good shoes and a good handbag are a must”, “Consider the whole effect: you are creating a work of art, a painting”, and “Enlist the services of a good seamstress and tailor” you would be forgiven for thinking that this book is not for the average middle-aged woman – and you would probably be right. However if you love to pore over books that include colour, style and a touch of whimsy then this is definitely the one for you.
As an aside, what is it with older women and hats?
Another book to peruse, salivate over, and wonder how some people have all the luck. I have been obsessed with the Hamptons and their general surrounds since I started reading fiction set in this location. The Hamptons are always depicted as full of beautiful but comfortable homes nestled near the beach, eccentric but lovable families, arty types, romantics….wealthy but not pushy. This book does not disappoint. It’s big and it’s full of photos.
There’s a reason why artists and writers, movie stars and moguls, musicians and composers, fashion designers and decorators, architects and craftsmen, fisherman and farmers have flocked to the Hamptons for all these years. They are drawn by the glorious landscape, the extraordinary light, and the promise of pleasure.
The Camper Kart – a pop top in a shopping cart, the QTvan, a camper for mobilty scooters or the A47 mobile library – all the buildings in this book are designed to move. Some are practical and actually work, some are purely experimental, and others are art installations. There is sure to be plenty of inspiration for anyone interested in the idea of small houses, camping ideas or houses of the future.
Before we go any further I need to come clean. I have no interest in equations and I have no mathematical ability, but even I could appreciate this book!
l=Iω: Apparently this is useful for iceskaters and explains why when an iceskater pulls their arms in, they decrease “moments of inertia,” and the velocity or speed automatically increases. Who would have thought there was actually an equation for this? It would seem that there is an equation for everything. How to choose your next secretary? Try p( χ) = – χln(χ) . Filled with pictures and set out in a way that you can dip into this could well be a good introduction to viewing the world from a different perspective.
This is a lovely book. Humans of South Auckland was created out of the tragedy of suicide, and from that came this book, a gentle reminder of humanity and the power of story.
These are usually the words that follow when I tell someone I’m from South Auckland…
“So do you carry a knife with you, you know like…just in case?”
My answer is generally “yes, I do, but I carry a fork too, ’cause I never know who’s going to invite me to dinner.’
The book that inspired the movie. This is the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who served in the American Army’s 77th Infantry Division in World War II. Desmond was a medic who refused to carry a weapon and, for this, was often insulted by his fellow soldiers. However, during the battle for Okinawa he rescued 75 soldiers and became the first and only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of honour. The DVD is on due for release in March and is on order for the library.
And from the Fiction Selector…
The mystery and thriller genre leads the fiction and it shows little evidence of it tailing off. For a start, vast numbers of readers will be waiting for the new Paula Hawkins novel Into the water. For those who like the historical mystery, Lindsey Davis is back in Ancient Rome with The third Nero. Two men on the trail of a woman on the run is the focus of the latest Mason Cross novel Don’t look for me. William Shaw is described as a crime writer with a social conscience and his latest, Sympathy for the devil is worth waiting for.
Bestselling French writer Delphine de Vigan has an intriguing story of what happens when a close friend tries to steal her friend’s life. If the dark Scandinavian thriller is to your liking, there’s an interesting one, Quicksand, by Malin Persson Giolito. And if all these thrillers keep you up at night, why not try one of the many British Library Crime Classics which give you light thrills but not shudders.
Located near Palm Springs, Sunnylands was the palatial home of philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Created out of barren desert, Sunnylands is now a huge, palatial masterpiece of over the top opulence. No detail was too small – carpets, furniture, and china were all specially made, luscious gardens formed, and a golf course created.
Luckily for us all, aspects of the house and grounds are beautifully represented in this sumptuous book. But along with the fabulousness of the place was also the fabulousness of the people who visited. Guests were carefully chosen for each weekend. Once they arrived and were housed in the various rooms in the guest wing, where they would be provided with a written potted history of the other guests’ achievements and interests. Seating arrangements for the lavish dinners were carefully chosen so that conversation would flow smoothly. Activities for the weekend were outlined and a jolly time was had by all.
A magnificent book if you like to delve into life as you will never know it, beautifully photographed and enough written material and social history to make you feel a little less voyeuristic.
Scrapbooks – by the delightfully named Peyton Skipwith – is a compendium of ephemera that Bawden has collected for more than 55 years. There seems little rhyme or reason to most of it, drawings of stage design are interspersed with Christmas cards, newpaper cuttings, invitations and cigarette cards. The colour reproductions are quite beautiful, especially the drawings and graphic works of Bawden, and most pages have interesting notes about where the particular pieces may have originated and some background information to try and make sense of the seeming randomness of it all. The is a lovely book to dip into and gives you a great insight into the life and times of a prolific and talented artist.
When selecting stock for the library it is always important to think about trends and what might be the next ‘big thing’, and one area that always garners interest is health and wellbeing – that elusive food/exercise/natural remedy/mindset that will provide the magic elixir of anti aging/weight loss/fitness and a long life.
Is Algae the new Kale? Turmeric latte anyone? I was unfortunate enough to read that some are suggesting beetroot, charcoal or mushroom becoming your coffee substitute! Forget nose to tail eating, now it’s about root to stem.
If you have been struggling with Mindfulness then you can now rest easy with Mindset – the belief that basic abilities can be developed through hard work, a love and learning, and dare I say it – ‘resilience’. Breathing is also big – not surprising given we all need to do it, but are we doing in the right way? And last but not least, Neuroslimming, giving you a “mind plan, not a meal plan”.
Tiny houses are still wildly popular, at least the pictures of them in the books are, but I do wonder how many people actually bite the bullet and live in the small but perfectly formed shed in the back yard? Travel stories are still very popular and I have it on good authority that Iceland is the next big thing (and I just happen to be going there in the middle of the year!)
Need some cheering up, then these two titles might help the optimism quotent.