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 selector ^CO:

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

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: Wunderkammer and Generation Wealth

Generation Wealth

9780714872124Lauren Greenfield began photographing in the early 1990s, capturing an era of conspicuous consumption. She was also there to document this rarefied world as it all cam tumbling down in the financial crash of 2008.  This is a hefty tome filled with brilliant photos and candid stories of wealth and decline.

Paper Time Machine

9781783523733Early photography lacked colour until skilled artisans began hand colouring prints.  In The Paper Time Machine, colouring is taken to a new level with each element in every photograph researched and colour checked for historical accuracy.  The photos are of the ordinary and the extraordinary brought to life and reconstructed with fascinating outcomes.


9781473664340I was in the bathroom shaving. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I saw the bathroom door move. I acted without even thinking – it was my regiment training kicking in – and thumped the door back with my heel as hard as I could.  It was my wife. The sharp end of the door, and the force of my kick split her face right open.  She’s never let me forget it.

Indeed … this rather horrible incident sums up the book, no one – and I mean no one – gets in the way of this guy.

Chris Ryan will show you how to be safe on an aircraft, mass terror incident, in the car, on the street and hopefully in your own house (with sisterly nod to Chris Ryan’s wife).

Wunderkammer: An Exotic Journey Through Time

9789401442725German for A Cabinet of Curiosities, Wunderkammer are showing up everywhere apparently, and could be the “next big thing”. Design workshops, expos, and interior design stores are bringing back the memories of the tradition of exotica –  material brought back by explorers from all over the world.  Think shells, stuffed animals, wild art and exotic varieties of well…everything!

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.


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!


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.


Food, lust, war, art and wonder: Cool new stuff from our selectors

You can’t deny that war is brutal, but the aftereffects are just as profound. Year Zero: a History of 1945 by Ian Burma contains fascinating insight into the aftermath of World War II. It was more morally complicated than previously acknowledged. Burma’s investigations make fascinating reading. Here is a very good review in the New York Times

Cover of On a beam of lightOn a beam of light : a story of Albert Einstein  Jennifer Berne
A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe. Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky invite the reader to travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.

Cover of The Life and art of Lynley DoddLife and Art of Lynley Dodd by Finlay Macdonald.  Hairy MacLary has delighted children since the early 1980s and the popularity of these books is not fading. A timely book therefore about his author, Lynley Dodd filled with pages from the “ideas book” that Dodd used to sketch out her plans for Hairy Maclary and his friends, as well as early drawings from her time at art school and political cartoons. A beautifully produced book.

Generation of artists have been captivated by food – from Roy Lichtenstein’s roast fillet to Frida Kahlo’s red snapper. The Modern Art Cookbook by Mary Ann Caws includes the cuisines artists cooked, ate and depicted in their masterpieces, along with recipes, correspondence and diary entries.

The Mistress ContractCover of The Mistress Contract by She and He could be worth reading, if only to create a stir and spark some discussion. A woman and a married man become lovers. She draws up a contract which states she will provide “mistress services” (all “housekeeping duties” and “sexual acts” he requests, the latter “with suspension of historical, emotional, psychological disclaimers for the duration of time requested”) in return for “adequate accommodation and expenses accrued”. Sounds a tall order but the contact has apparently lasted for 30 years and shortly after the document was signed, she began (rather oddly I think) to tape their conversations which included candid discussions about marriage, inequality between the sexes, and feminism.

Delectable New Zealand – cool new stuff from our selectors

There have been some lovely new New Zealand titles coming through in the last month, here are a few to get your taste buds and artistic juices flowing!

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Kiwiana Cupcakes, Cake Pops and Whoopie Pies
If you are a keen cupcake decorator, this book will give you new ideas and know how to create extraordinary Kiwiana-styled cupcakes to celebrate our own culture.

Flowers at home
Plenty of ideas from Sandra Kaminski for opulent flower arrangements in your home.  Worth getting out just to look at the beautiful photography.

One pot cooking
Right in time for the cold season comes Richard Till’s book with 60 easy-to-make one-pot recipes. So, get cooking and invite friends to share a hearty meal!

His own steam
If you see the pictures in this lavishly produced book about the work of potter extraordinaire Barry Brickell you want to own one of his! The book coincides with an exhibition of Barry’s work at The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt until 11 August 2013.

Computers, fashion and humanism – Our selectors share cool new stuff

CoverComputer book publishers obviously think that so-called seniors need plenty of books to help them with  their computer skills judging by the amount of books that are published for this group. Admittedly older readers have not been brought up with computers in the same way as their children, but I always find myself being slightly offended with the idea that being older means that you are not up to date with technology. Anyone unfamiliar or less confident with computers will find them useful.


If you are a lover of fashion this is the book for you. The Beautifully illustrated Fashion: The definitive history of costume and style by Susan Brown traces the evolution of fashion from Egyptian dress to Space Age and grunge. Published by DK Publishing in consultation with the Smithsonian, it contains a mix of original fashion plates, archive images and commissioned photography of over 1,500 costumes. It focuses mainly on Western dress, and shows changing fashion and style, with features on designers and trendsetters. Simply stunning.

A.C. Grayling is a well known English philosopher and his new book The God argument is due out in a couple of months. It is an intriguing look at the arguments for and against religion. His argument for humanism – a philosophy that has gone out of fashion somewhat – is interesting. His ideas are not in the same camp as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins who have slagged off religion but haven’t looked a lot at an ethical framework which would work for people who don’t accept some of the precepts of religion. Also coming up is the latest book from the Dalai Lama How to be compassionate in which he looks at how compassion for others can make us happy