We hope you enjoy this month's selection of books that our librarians have been reading lately.
The daily stoic : 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living by Ryan Holiday
Why have history's greatest minds--from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson, along with today's top performers from Super Bowl-winning football coaches to CEOs and celebrities--embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise.
The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus, as well as lesser-known luminaries like Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Every day of the year you'll find one of their pithy, powerful quotations, as well as historical anecdotes, provocative commentary, and a helpful glossary of Greek terms.
By following these teachings over the course of a year (and, indeed, for years to come) you'll find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well.
Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose art. It matters. Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters explores how reading, imagining and creating can change the world, and will be inspirational to young and old.
Two hundred and fifty ways to start an essay about Captain Cook by Alice Te Punga Somerville
Alice Te Punga Somerville employs her deep research and dark humour to skilfully channel her response to Cook's global colonial legacy.
How to tell depression to piss off : 40 ways to get your life back
Trying to manage the range of symptoms that depression throws at you is like navigating the dark ocean floor when you are without a torch and don't know how to swim. How do you manage something that feels utterly unmanageable? How do you get through each day when depression is telling you you're a worthless lump of camel spleen? What you need is a guide. A really good one. You need to know what works and what to do. This book gives you 40 ways to get to a better place with depression. They are born out of the author's personal experience of clinical depression and his many years of working as a counsellor helping people with their mental health. James lives with depression and knows its lies, the traps it makes and how to dodge when it starts spitting bile in your face. Nice, eh? At whatever point you're at with your depression, this book can help and provide some laughs along the way - hooray! - because you really need it with this bloody illness.
We were dreamers : an immigrant superhero origin story by Simu Liu
The star of Marvel's first Asian superhero film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, tells his own origin story of being a Chinese immigrant, his battles with cultural stereotypes and his own identity, becoming a TV star, and landing the role of a lifetime. In this honest, inspiring and relatable memoir, Simu Liu chronicles his family's journey from China to the bright lights of Hollywood with wit and humour. As a child, Simu's parents left him in the care of his grandparents, bringing him to Canada when he was four. However, Simu soon senses that his new guardians lack the gentle touch of his grandparents, resulting in harsh words and hurt feelings between him and his parents, who find their son emotionally distant and difficult to relate to. Although they are related by blood, they are separated by culture, language, and values. As Simu grows up, he plays the part of the pious child flawlessly - he gets straight As, performs exceptionally in national math competitions and makes his parents proud. However, as time passes, he grows increasingly disillusioned with the path that has been laid out for him. Less than a year out of University, he is fired from his first job and hits rock bottom. He develops a determination centred around creating his own path. This leads him to not only succeeding as an actor, but also opens the door to reconciling with his parents. We Were Dreamers is a story about growing up between cultures, finding your family, and becoming the master of your own extraordinary circumstance.
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
A vibrant story collection about Cambodian-American life—immersive and comic, yet unsparing—that offers profound insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities. Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.
Kim Jiyoung, born 1982 : palsip yi nyeon saeng Kim Jiyeong by Nam-ju Cho
Ms Kim Jiyoung is a sibling made to share a room with her sister while their little brother gets a room of his own. Ms Kim Jiyoung is a schoolgirl who has to line up behind the boys in the lunch queue. Ms Kim Jiyoung is a daughter whose father blames her for being harassed late at night. Ms Kim Jiyoung is a good student who doesn't get put forward for internships. Ms Kim Jiyoung excels at her job but gets overlooked for promotion. Ms Kim Jiyoung is a wife who gives up her career and independence for a life of domesticity. Ms Kim Jiyoung has started acting strangely. Ms Kim Jiyoung is depressed. Ms Kim Jiyoung is mad. Ms Kim Jiyoung is her own woman. Ms Kim Jiyoung is everywoman. Ms Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is the South Korean sensation which has got the whole world talking. The life story of one young woman born halfway across the globe at the end of the twentieth century raises questions about endemic misogyny and institutional oppression which are relevant to us all.
Can you fall in love with someone you've never met? Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they're crazy, but it's the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy's at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven't met yet, they're about to discover that if you want to live happily ever after you need to throw the rulebook out the window.
Warning: this is not your typical rom com. Have you ever imagined running away from your life? Well Birdy Finch didn't just imagine it. She did it. Which might've been an error. And the life she's run into? Her best friend, Heather's. The only problem is, she hasn't told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems... Can Birdy carry off a summer pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)? And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she's ever actually liked (but who thinks she's someone else)?
The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Wallis
In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys. Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.