Top Staff Picks - December 2022
We hope you enjoy this month's selection of books that our librarians have been reading lately.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory--known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ( meaning )--holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, 'Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.' That journey starts right here ... Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book's ten chapters are organised to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life's detours are there to teach us. Oprah opens each chapter by sharing her own key lessons and the personal stories that helped set the course for her best life. She then brings together wisdom and insights from luminaries in a wide array of fields, inspiring readers to consider what they're meant to do in the world and how to pursue it with passion and focus. These renowned figures share the greatest lessons from their own journeys towards a life filled with purpose.
With the imagery of a poet and the reflection of a philosopher, David Whyte turns his attention to 52 ordinary words, each its own particular doorway into the underlying currents of human life. Beginning with Alone and closing with Work, each chapter is a meditation on meaning and context, an invitation to shift and broaden our perspectives on the inevitable vicissitudes of life: pain and joy, honesty and anger, confession and vulnerability, the experience of feeling besieged and the desire to run away from it all.
Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, refuses to abandon the research center in the Arctic when he receives news of a catastrophic event. Soon after, he discovers a mysterious child and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone. Meanwhile, Mission Specialist Sullivan and her crew, the first astronauts to delve into deep space, discover that Mission Control is no longer on the air. Sullivan's career has cost her her marriage, and she has left her daughter behind. Will she ever get home? As Augustine and Sully face the uncertain future, their stories gradually intertwine towards a profound and unexpected conclusion, which raises questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? A captivating meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.
Dr. Cliff Miyashiro arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue his recently deceased daughter's research, only to discover a virus, newly unearthed from melting permafrost. The plague unleashed reshapes life on earth for generations. Yet even while struggling to counter this destructive force, humanity stubbornly persists in myriad moving and ever inventive ways. Among those adjusting to this new normal are an aspiring comedian, employed by a theme park designed for terminally ill children, who falls in love with a mother trying desperately to keep her son alive; a scientist who, having failed to save his own son from the plague, gets a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects--a pig--develops human speech; a man who, after recovering from his own coma, plans a block party for his neighbours who have also woken up to find that they alone have survived their families; and a widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter who must set off on cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead, How High We Go in the Dark follows a cast of intricately linked characters spanning hundreds of years as humanity endeavours to restore the delicate balance of the world. This is a story of unshakable hope that crosses literary lines to give us a world rebuilding itself through an endless capacity for love, resilience and reinvention.
We can survive the climate crisis. This book shows us how. We have two choices for our future, which is still unwritten. It will be shaped by who we choose to be right now. So, how can we change the story of the world? The Future We Choose is a passionate call to arms from former UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, and Tom Rivett-Carnac, senior political strategist for the Paris Agreement. We are still able to stave off the worst and manage the long-term effects of climate change, but we have to act now. We know what we need to do, and we have everything we need to do it. Practical, optimistic and empowering, The Future We Choose is a book for every generation, for all of us who feel powerless in the face of the climate crisis. This is the final hour: it can be our finest. But we must act now.
Presents a collection of essays about humanity's relationship with nature, exploring subjects ranging from captivity and immigration to ostrich farming and the migrations of songbirds from the Empire State Building.
Valdin is still in love with his ex-boyfriend Xabi, who used to drive around Auckland in a ute but now drives around Buenos Aires in one. Greta is in love with her fellow English tutor Holly, who doesn't know how to pronounce Greta's surname, Vladislavljevic, properly. From their Auckland apartment, brother and sister must navigate the intricate paths of modern romance as well as weather the small storms of their eccentric Māori-Russian-Catalonian family.
Blends storytelling, memoir and non-fiction to map the experience of being Muslim in the twenty-first century ... He weaves memories of being an Egyptian immigrant fighting childhood bullies, listening to life-saving '90s grunge and auditioning for vaguely-ethnic roles in a certain pirate movie franchise.
Winner of the 2022 Stella Prize. Though poetry and short essays, Araluen unsettles nationhood, sovereignty, and enduring colonial histories, and teases out the deeply personal. A fascinating and urgent read!
A spooky Halloween pick! Jennings acclimates European fairy and folk tale traditions in a hard, Australian landscape. Bettina is troubled by family mysteries and small-town accusations, when a note from her long-lost brother thrusts her into a world of gothic hauntings.
Death is not the end. For Grace McGill, it's only the beginning. When people die alone and undiscovered, it's her job to clean up what's left behind - whether it's clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets. When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.