Top Staff Picks - September 2021

Non-Fiction Picks

Two Shakes of a Lambs Tail: The Diary of a Country Vet by Danielle Hawkins

A charming, sometimes heart-breaking, oftentimes laugh-out-loud journey through the seasons with a New Zealand country animal vet. Danielle Hawkins is a farm vet, mother, sheep farmer's wife and author. From calving cows to literary lunches, pet lambs to parenting, occasionally overwhelmed but almost always sure she wouldn't want it any other way, her diary celebrates the joys of rural living.

Climate Aotearoa : what's happening & what we can do about it? edited by Helen Clark

The science on climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand now and in the future, and what changes we all need to make. Contributions from a range of climate scientists and commentators Rob Bell, Jason Boberg, Adelia Hallett, Sophie Handford, Rhys Jones, Haylee Koroi, Matt McGlone, Jamie Morton, Rod Oram, Jim Salinger, Kera Sherwood-O'Regan, Simon Thrush and Andrew Jeffs. Climate Aotearoa outlines the climate situation as it is now, and as it will be in the years to come. It describes the likely impact on the environment and on our day-to-day living situation. It suggests the changes you can make for maximum impact, what we should be asking of our government and what we should be asking of our business community. In doing so, this is a hopeful book - actions can make a difference.

Bill Bailey’s remarkable guide to happiness by Bill Bailey

During Covid-19 lockdown, well known English comedian Bill Bailey explores the nature of happiness. He reveals his findings with the help of funny, witty and sometimes crazy little anecdotes. While the illustrations leave room for improvement, this book offers entertainment, wisdom, food for thought and it will make you smile.

The Book Collectors of Daraya by Delphine Minoui
An emotional read, celebrating human resilience. War Journalist Delphine Minogue records the true stories of a group of men that endured a four-year siege in the Syrian City of Daraya. While bombs fall around them, they retrieve books from the rubble, start a secret underground library and create a sanctuary.

Fiction Picks

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

When she arrived in New York on her eighteenth birthday, carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start.  Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe, an unidentified murder victim.  Ruby Jones is also trying to start over; she travelled halfway around the world only to find herself lonelier than ever.  Until she finds Alice’s body by the Hudson River.  From this first, devastating encounter, the two women form an unbreakable bond.  Alice is sure that Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her life – and death.

Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks coming soon

1914: Aspiring journalist Anton arrives in Vienna where he meets Delphine, a woman of experience and deep secrets. Entranced by the light of first love, Anton comes to life. Until his country declares war on hers. 1927: For Lena, life with her mother in a small town has been cosseted and cold. After a few years of schooling, she encounters a young lawyer who spirits her away to Vienna. However, what she imagines to be love soon crumbles, and she leaves the city behind to take a post at the snow-capped sanatorium, the Schloss Seeblick. 1933: Having lost many friends on the Eastern Front, Anton is sent to write about the mysterious Schloss Seeblick. In this place, on the banks of a silvery lake where the roots of human suffering are laid bare, two people will see each other as if for the first time.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Delightfully light, but not without depth. January and Augustus are acclaimed authors, living in neighbouring beach houses. Their writing styles could not be more different, but both are facing the same obstacle; writers-block. Will they overcome their dislike for each other and find a way out of their creative rut?

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Captivating and atmospheric. Elin Warner accepts an invitation to an edgy five-star hotel in the Swiss Alps. On arrival, Elin instantly feels the hotel’s crushing starkness, unsettling remoteness, and haunted past. When staff members go missing, Elin must confront her daemons, and draw on her experience as a criminal investigator.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Set primarily in London and told in the second person, this novel follows a young unnamed Black photographer as he forges an artistic working relationship with a friend's ex. She is a university student and dancer, and the two are inseparable as they work together on a photography project to document the city's Black residents. Over time, the platonic relationship turns romantic, yet he keeps a distance from her while processing memories of racist encounters with police and witnessing those of others. A stunning first novel by a new literary virtuoso, this was a finalist for the BBC Short Story Award. This book asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it.

Childrens' Pick

Frostheart: Escape from Aurora by Jamie Littler

Nevermoor meets How to Train Your Dragon in this thrilling sequel to Frostheart! Ash and his ragtag crew of misfits aboard the Frostheart sleigh have just pulled into Aurora: the most dazzling city Ash has ever seen. Icy skyscrapers, wondrous new foods, and bustling city folk who barely have the time of day for a smalltown kid like him. That is, until he masters the art of songweaving--the ability to control the giant monsters that lurk in the snow beyond city limits. But the real reason Ash came to Aurora is to find his long lost parents. The only token they left him before their disappearance was a lullaby; a map disguised as a song that has led him from landmark to landmark, all in the hopes of finding them at the end of it. With the help of his friends, Ash is one step closer to finding the family he's always longed for. He may find, though, that getting what you wish for is more complicated than he imagines, and Ash's world is about to expand in ways he never thought possible. With lovable characters, an action-filled plot and stunning illustrations, this is a great series that you don’t want to miss!