New Titles, tweeted: Chris picks some top new books

Our selectors spot plenty of new and interesting titles as part of their work. Here are some titles that took the fancy of tweeting selector Chris:

Unruly enclaves and Ruly dogs: Cool stuff from the selectors

Beyond the Map: Unruly Enclaves, Ghostly Places, Emerging Lands and Our Search for New Utopias

9781781316382Places that maps can’t confine or identify, Utopias, pieces of land in the middle of a highway, political places and cyberplaces. Written by the author of Off the Map, this book is hard to define but easy to read.  Each chapter is short, creative writing about places that defy definition in the normal scheme of things. Makes you look at the notion of Place in an entirely different way.

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating book

9781328944986Perhaps you are a child of the 50s and 60s, or you just love the design from this era? Better Homes and Gardens presents the new decorating bible for those favouring that wonderful mid-century design sensibility.  Crammed full of original designs, plans, colours, design and advertising. Great for ideas but also wonderful just to ponder times past.

 

Really Good Dog Photography

9781846149429I love cute dog photos, (I blame Facebook for this), and luckily Really Good Dog photography has plenty of them, but what has been surprising (and in a good way) is the depth of the photos and the accompanying essays.  These are no ordinary pictures, they tell a story both about the dog and the photographers. Many are startlingly beautiful, some fit the cute variety and others are just wonderful photographs with a dog almost there by chance. All tell a story and this is a great book for those who love dogs but also for those who are interested in photography.

Ten Titles, tweeted: Our selectors pick some top new books

Our selectors spot plenty of new and interesting titles as part of their work. Here are some titles that took the fancy of our tweeting selectors:

Follow Christchurch City Libraries on Twitter for selector picks and more.

Cool stuff from the Selectors – Nature

9781472152244As 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.

CoverBritain’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.

9781473651975Basic 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.

9780714873527Honar: 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.

9781783963508What’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!

Cool Stuff from the Selectors

9781770858084The Secret Life of Equations: The 50 greatest equations and how they work.

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.

Real Raw and Relatable: A Collection of Stories from the people of South Auckland.

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.’

Hacksaw Ridge9781629131559

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…

9781784297268The 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.

Cool stuff from the Selectors

Remarkable Birds Mark Avery
We share the earth with more than 10,000 species of birds, so here is your chance to find out everything you didn’t know about the avian world: a fascinating compendium showcasing the extraordinary wonders of birds, illuminated with exquisite ornithological illustrations, prints, and drawings.

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I am Brian Wilson : a memoir Brian Wilson
Good Vibrations : My Life as a Beach Boy Mike Love
I’m showing my age by vividly remember going to the Beach Boys at QEII.  These two excellent memoirs tell the story of the Beach Boys from opposite perspective.  According to the Rolling Stone, both of these books are a must and sure to be good argument-starters.

Footnotes trom the world’s greatest bookstores Bob Eckstein
A collection of seventy-five of the most cherished bookstores from around the world featuring evocative paintings by Eckstein and paired with colourful anecdotes about each shop.  Each store has is quirks, charms and legendary stories with legendary patrons.

Celebrate Everything Darcy Miller
Just in time for the Christmas bash, Celebrate Everything is bursting with advice, inspiration, ideas, crafty projects, and recipes.  Darcy Miller, the founder and editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings—and one of the world’s most influential celebrations experts—provides the ultimate compilation of party ideas and resource lists to help people plan their parties from beginning to end.  Personally it all looks a bit much for me, but I enjoy looking at the pictures and fantasizing that I could ever find the energy to create such gatherings!

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The Secret Lives of Colour Kassia St Clair
If you love colour and you love history then this could be the ideal book.  Take the colour Dutch Orange for example…

The House of Orange are proof that personal branding isn’t new.  In portrait after portrait, its members are gilded in shades of orange.

Then there is shocking pink as described by Elsa Schiaparelli

The colour flashed in front of my eyes … Bright, impossible, impudent, becoming, life giving, like all the lights and the birds and the fish in the world together, a colour of China and Peru but not the West – a shocking colour, pure and undiluted.

 

Cool stuff from the Selectors: Children’s and adult fiction

CoverWild animals of the North by Dieter Braun
A children’s book about the animals who live across the 3 regions of North America, Europe and Asia. This book has been getting a lot of good reviews. The illustrations are stars. They are bright, stunning and show the animals as full of life and personality. This is the first in a series that will cover the animals of the world.

The Guardian has great examples of the illustrations.

CoverAnother animal book, this time from the always superb husband and wife team of Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. (They have produced 16 books together): Flying Frogs and Walking Fish : Leaping Lemurs, Tumbling Toads, Jet-propelled Jellyfish, and More Surprising Ways That Animals Move. 46 creatures in the typical paper collages against crisp white background style, showing  how they might march, stroll, tiptoe or perhaps glide soar or coast.

Fiction

On the fiction front there are promising titles such Days Without End by the Irish writer Sebastian Barry, which is a kind of literary western along the lines of that terrific novel The Sisters Brothers. Barry’s earlier novel  The Secret Scripture has been filmed (with Rooney Mara, Vanessa Redgrave and Eric Bana) and is expected to bring more publicity to this very talented writer.

Other titles coming up from first rate novelists include Michael Chabon Moonglow, Alice Hoffman Faithful,  Alan Moore Jerusalem,  Ron Rash The Risen,  Zadie Smith Swing Time Stephenie Meyer The Chemist.

So … something for everyone

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Cool stuff from the Selectors: Art, Science, and a bit of literarty

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The art of typewriting
Our Selector has always found creating a picture using type to be rather appealing so has enjoyed the 570 illustrations ordered into letters and numbers, punctuation pictures, interlocking words, animals, household objects, maps and texts.

An Astronomers Tale: A Life Under the Stars
Gary Fildes, Bricklayer and average guy,  had a secret.  Eventually he came out – and followed his passion to become an astronomer.

The Fall of the House of Wilde
A new and interesting slant on the many times subject of biography Oscar Wilde which puts him as a member of one of the most dazzling Anglo-Irish families of Victorian times, and also how the family were involved in the broader social, political and religious context of the times.

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Hankie Couture: Handcrafted Fashions From Vintage Hankerchiefs
Designs for that special doll in your life, or perhaps you will just enjoy browsing the pictures, I know I did!

Black Dolls From the Collection of Deborah Neff
Keeping with the doll theme, but from a totally differnt angle this book presents over 100 unique handmade African American dolls made between 1850 and 1930 from the collection of Deborah Neff, a Connecticut-based collector and champion of vernacular art. It is believed that African Americans created these dolls for the children in their lives, including members of their own families and respective communities as well as white children in their charge.  Stunning photography.

Outlander Kitchen
You’ve read the books, watched the TV series, now it’s time to cook Mrs. FitGibbon’s Overnight Parritch; Geilli’s Cullen Skink; Murtagh’s Gift to Ellen; Sarah Woolam’s Scotch Pies and Atholl Brose for the Bonnie Prince.

Cool stuff from the selectors: Cars, recipes, and science

9781613252024Exotic Barn Finds: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and More by Matthew Stone.

It seems everywhere you turn, on TV, at your library or favorite bookstore, Internet forums, and even social media, people are discovering and documenting the resurrection of old cars stored in barns, garages, and forgotten resting places.

Really?  I must be out of the loop –  but if you enjoy the idea of a rusted 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Bresia, found at the bottom of a lake that sold for $360,000 (US) even before any restoration was started – then this is the book for you.

Lab Girl9780349006192 by Hope Jahren

We don’t always equate being a scientist with being a great writer, however Hope Jahren manages to combine both skills to produce a book that has become a surprise bestseller. Lab Girl is a book about work and about love.

In Lab Girl, we see anew the complicated power of the natural world, and the power that can come from facing with bravery and conviction the challenge of discovering who you are.

Life Without a Recipe9780393249095 by Diana Abu-Jaber

I remember reading The Language of Baklava and feeling it was a nonfiction book written like a novel, and not being a big nonfiction reader this was perfect for me, and a few added recipes made it even better.  I am hoping for big things from Diana Abu-Jaber’s new book which promises:

struggles with cross-cultural values and how they shaped her coming of age and her culinary life, tracing her three marriages, her literary ambitions, and her midlife decision to become a parent.

Shells, books and Lego: cool stuff from the Selectors

No matter where you are the world, you will never be far from a mollusc.

cover of Spirals in TimeHelen Scales hasn’t met a mollusc she didn’t like. Her book Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells is a passionate ode to shellfish, part travelogue, part natural science with plenty of story telling to make the humble mollusc a thing of wonder.

Inspiration of bookIntent on pushing the boundaries of book publishing, Inspiration of Book showcases 150 of the most imaginative and innovative books ever made, including a corset book, pop up books, books made of seeds, books within books, books made from shells, fabric… the list goes on. Don’t be put off by the cover; it’s rather dull considering the joys that await inside! Our selector had this to say:

I wanted to personally own every book they showed.

Beautiful LegoBeautiful Lego 2: Dark is just that – beautiful! This book showcases an array of pieces ranging from lifelike replicas of everyday objects and famous monuments to imaginative renderings of spaceships, mansions, and mythical creatures. A great companion for those of you who managed to attend the Kidsfest event Brickshow.