Top Staff Picks - February 2023
We hope you enjoy this month's selection of books that our librarians have been reading lately.
The book of overthinking : how to stop the cycle of worry by Gwendoline Smith
The word overthinking is often used these days instead of 'worrying'. It's also known as ruminating and it's a form of anxiety - statistics show that about one in five people suffer from it. Psychologist Gwendoline Smith uses her broad scientific knowledge and experience to explain in clear and simple language the concepts of positive and negative overthinking, the myths of worry and the What If Cycle. She helps you understand what's going on in your head, using lots of examples and anecdotes, and she offers powerful strategies to help you overcome these issues. Based on Cognitive Behavioural Theory, this book will help you in all the key areas of relationships, work and money.
The Tao of Pooh ; and, The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff
Pooh has a certain way of doing things which, as Benjamin Hoff brilliantly demonstrates, seems strangely close to the ancient principles of Taoist philosophy. Taoism emphasises living in harmony with the Tao, the way of the universe, just as Pooh lives in harmony with his surroundings in the Hundred Acre Wood. As for Piglet, the Te (a Chinese word meaning virtue_ of the Small, is a principle perfectly embodied in this Very Small Animal. This volume brings together two of the most influential and bestselling Mind, Body and Spirit books of all time.
The biggest bluff : how I learned to pay attention, master myself, and win by Maria Konnikova
Maria Konnikova had never actually played poker before and didn't even know the rules when she approached Erik Seidel - Poker Hall of Fame inductee, winner of tens of millions of dollars in earnings - and asked him to be her mentor. She had faced a stretch of personal bad luck, and her reflections on the role of chance in her life had pointed her to poker as the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish what can be controlled and what can't. Seidel was in, and soon Konnikova was down the rabbit hole with him, a journey that would lead her to the following year's World Series of Poker. Then something extraordinary happened. Under Seidel's guidance, Konnikova began to have many epiphanies about life that derived from her new pursuit, including how to better read not just her opponents but far more importantly herself. She found her way to making better decisions and to a place where she could accept luck for what it is, and what it isn't. But she also began to win. She even learned to like Las Vegas. In the end, Konnikova is a student of human behaviour, and ultimately the point of her incredible adventure was to render it into a container for its invaluable lessons. The biggest bluff of all, she learned is that skill is enough. This is a book that will focus your mind and strengthen your hand.
Tree sense : ways of thinking about trees by Susette Goldsmith
At a moment when the planet is so clearly in peril, the trees stand as both guardians and messengers. They have words for us - if only we would listen. As climate change imposes significant challenges on the natural world we are being encouraged to plant trees. At the same time, urban intensification and expansion threatens our existing arboreal resources and leads to disputes among communities, councils and developers over the fate of mature trees. To find our way through this confusion, we need to build our respect for trees and to recognise their essential role in our environment, our heritage, our well-being and our future. We need to build a robust 'tree sense'. This collection of essays, art and poetry by artists, activists, ecologists and advocates discusses the many ways in which humans need trees, and how our future is laced into their roots and their branches.
Whose high country? : a history of the South Island high country of New Zealand by Roberta McIntyre
All the lovers in the night by Mieko Kawakami
Shy, lonely and introverted Fuyuko lives alone and fills her days with her job as a freelance proofreader. About to turn thirty-five, she cannot imagine ever having any emotional or successful relationship in her life as it currently stands. She is regularly haunted by encounters of the past. But Fuyuko loves the light and goes out on the night of her birthday, Christmas Eve, to count the lights. Her only friend, Hijiri, offers some light in her life, but it is a chance encounter with another man, Mr. Mitsutsuka, a physics teacher, who offers her access from another dimension to light.
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?
The contortionist's handbook by Craig Clevenger
Following a near fatal overdose of painkillers, Daniel Fletcher is resuscitated in a Los Angeles trauma centre and detained for psychiatric evaluation. However, what the psychiatrist doesn't know is that 'Daniel Fletcher' is actually John Dolan Vincent, a young forger who continually reinvents himself to evade capture.
The animals in that country by Laura Jean McKay
Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks. Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She's never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue. As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals - first mammals, then birds and insects, too. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean's infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin. Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species.
Yasmin Ghorami is twenty-six, in training to be a doctor (like her Indian-born father) and engaged to the charismatic, upper-class Joe Sangster, whose domineering mother, Helen, is a famous feminist. Though both Yasmin's parents and Joe's mother approve of the marriage, the cultural gulf between them is vast as, it turns out, is the gulf in sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe. The novel opens as Yasmin, her parents and her brother pile into their car, packed with Indian food prepared by Yasmin's mother, to go to dinner to meet Joe's mother in her elegant townhouse in one of London's poshest neighborhoods. Contrary to all of Yasmin's fears, her unsophisticated and somewhat flamboyant mother is embraced and celebrated by Helen and her friends. Many complications ensue when Yasmin discovers that Joe has had an affair with a co-worker, and Yasmin's ne'er do well brother is banished from the house by her father, and Yasmin's mother moves to Helen's house in protest. Love Marriage is a story of emotionally fraught self-discovery and how the secrets people keep hidden affect their most intimate relationships. Joe hides the exact nature of his promiscuous past; Yasmin's brother and mother keep a monumental secret from their father; Yasmin has a wildly erotic affair of her own; and the story of her parents' love marriage proves to be a cover-up for a dark, tragic history. In the wake of extreme upheaval, Yasmin finds herself, and her life, transformed.