Top Staff Picks - February 2021

Looking for something new to read/watch/listen? Get inspired with our Team Picks!

Each month we choose just six of our many new arrivals to share with you all. We'll let you know what we think is hot across Fiction, Non-Fiction, DVDs and Kids.

Remember, if you can’t regularly make it into the library to take a look around, you can use your library card to reserve items to pick up across our 15 fifteen branches or you can take a look at our online eResources that enable you to read, watch or listen at your leisure. Find out more about our eResources under our Library Online section. 


Non-Fiction Picks


The Restaurant: A History of Eating Out by William Sitwell

This book takes us on a journey through history - from the graffiti covered bars of Pompeii to modern day gastronomy, Michelin stars, the invention of the taco truck, and a smorgasbord of everything in between. Each chapter introduces its own story, a moment in time somewhere across the globe that shaped eating out as we know it. It is written from Sitwell’s Western perspective and there is a slight bias toward the UK’s food history particularly towards the end, but it is still very readable, especially for the chefs and foodies among us. It’s fast paced, well written, and has just the right amount of delicious detail that will leave your mouth watering for more.

Fiction Picks


The Kingdom by Jo Nesbø

Set in a remote Norwegian town, brothers Roy and Carl tragically lose their parents in a car accident as teenagers. When Carl decides that village life is not for him, he travels overseas in the quest for better opportunities. Older brother Roy is satisfied living alone in the remote family home, and successfully operating the town’s only petrol station. 

20 years later and Carl is back, with his new wife and a completely new outlook on life.  They have big plans for the family land, and the village – but will these big city ideas sit well with the town residents, or with Roy, whose desire to be rich is not as strong as his brothers?

A gripping crime thriller from best-selling author of the Harry Hole series – The Kingdom takes you on the journey of the Opgard brothers, a story filled with family legacies and dark secrets.


Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2019, Celestial Bodies is the first novel from the Gulf to be nominated for the award. Written by Omani author Jokha Alharti, the novel is based in Oman and set around the impact of social change and the resulting pressures within society.

The structure of the novel switches between three generations of an Omani family, the family tree depicted at the opening of the book provides little assistance in understanding the complex narrative which alternates from third person to the voice of Abdallah in first person. Slavery was abolished in Oman in 1970 and it is evident that this is a key theme and presents a dark history within the roots of the novel.

Despite the misshapen and challenging narrative, the book provides an interesting insight into a lesser known culture in many other parts of the world.



Bad Blood by E. O. Chirovici

New York psychologist James Cobb agrees to a dying man’s request to use hypnosis in an attempt to unravel the truth behind a murder of a young girl in a Paris hotel forty years ago. He has no inkling of how far this quest will lead him as each layer of the mystery uncovers yet more complications and everyone’s version of the truth seems conflicting. Even his own past is drawn out and confronted as he untangles the web of half-truths and deceptions that are finally exposed.

An intriguing and compelling crime drama where motives and memories will keep you guessing until the final page.


Film Pick

Country Music by Ken Burns

If you like country music or even if you don’t, Ken Burns’s latest documentary is well worth watching. This award winning, 16 hour series spans the decades from the 1930s to the 1990s. Through memorable musical moments and interviews with over 80 artists, Burns chronicles the history of this unique American art form. In it, we not only come to understand the roots and formation of country music but we get a glimpse of American social history, told through music.

From the time-honoured music of the American South to the chart toppers of today, we soon come to appreciate that country music has been a major influence on most of the music we now listen to.


Kids Pick

Ko hea rāua ko Ruru : he takitaro mārire Hare and Ruru, A Quiet Moment by Laura Shallcrass 

Laura Shallcrass takes us along on a beautifully illustrated journey with appropriately named, Hare, in his quest for quiet. Hare searches everywhere but learns with some help, that the quiet he is looking for comes from within. Teaching points in the back of the book offer parents ways to discuss how young ones can find the peace they might need too.