Welcome to this month's Staff Picks page, where our librarians share some of the great books they've read recently. Discover hidden gems, popular titles, and diverse recommendations that will captivate your imagination and enrich your reading experience. Happy exploring!
On coming home by Paula Morris
In February I'm coming home to Auckland, after thirty years of living away. Is Auckland still home? Is New Zealand still home? Perhaps, having made and re-made my home in other cities and other countries, I'm at home everywhere and nowhere. Perhaps home can never be one place for me...' Award-winning New Zealand writer Paula Morris talks about coming home and being home, of nostalgia and memory and belonging and perhaps even wishful thinking as she reflects on returning to live in New Zealand after more than half a lifetime in foreign places. 'I wonder if the place I've always thought of as home is a place I no longer belong.
The obstacle is the way : the ancient art of turning adversity to advantage by Ryan Holiday
We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Ryan Holiday, who dropped out of college at nineteen to serve as an apprentice to bestselling 'modern Machiavelli' Robert Greene and is now a media consultant for billion-dollar brands, draws on the philosophy of the Stoics to guide you in every situation, showing that what blocks our path actually opens one that is new and better. If the competition threatens you, it's time to be fearless, to display your courage. An impossible deadline becomes a chance to show how dedicated you are. And as Ryan discovered as Director of Marketing for American Apparel, if your brand is generating controversy - it's also potentially generating publicity. The Stoic philosophy - that what is in the way, is the way - can be applied to any problem: it's a formula invented more than 2,000 years ago, whose effectiveness has been proven in battles and board rooms ever since. From Barack Obama's ability to overcome obstacles in his election races, to the design of the iPhone, the stoic philosophy has helped its users become world-beaters.
Where the river bends : recipes and stories from the table of Jane & Jimmy Barnes by Jane Barnes
Jane and Jimmy Barnes invite you to enjoy family recipes and stories from their new cookbook, Where the River Bends. Inspired by the food they love and the legendary feasts they share at home with family and friends, Where the River Bends features recipes and stories from the kitchen table of Jane and Jimmy Barnes. Besides making music, Jimmy and Jane sharing their love of cooking on Instagram and YouTube and garnering legions of foodie fans. With stunning photography and featuring 60 of Jane's favourite recipes - for breakfasts and light lunches, Thai meals and pasta classics, easy everyday dinners and delicious veggie sides, grilled foods and barbies, spectacular Sunday feasts and roasts, and delectable sweets.
The broken estate : journalism and democracy in a post-truth world by Melanie Bunce
A lack of knowledge about the world can be a very dangerous thing. In the age of Trump, fake news and clickbait headlines, it is easy to despair about the future of journalism. The New Zealand and global media are in upheaval: the old economic models for print journalism are failing, public funding has been neglected for decades, and many major news organisations are shedding journalists. New Zealander Mel Bunce researches and teaches journalism at the acclaimed Department of Journalism at City, University of London. Drawing upon the latest international research, Bunce provides a fresh analysis that goes beyond the usual anecdote and conjecture. Insightful and impassioned, this short book provides a much-needed assessment of the future for New Zealand journalism in a troubled world.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman's shoulders. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath -- but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.
The priory of the orange tree by Samantha Shannon
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
State of the union : a marriage in ten parts by Nick Hornby
Married for years, Tom and Louise thought they had a stable home life -- until a recent incident pushed them to the brink. Going to therapy seemed like the perfect solution. But over drinks before their appointment, they begin to wonder: what if you take your marriage apart to see what's in there, but then you're left with a million pieces? For ten weeks, meeting before their weekly therapy sessions, their conversation forces them to look at their marriage -- and at each other.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Project is a classic screwball romance. Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. Then a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire - a sixteen-page, scientifically researched document - to find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver. Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is strangely beguiling, fiery and intelligent. And she is also on a quest of her own. She's looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might just be able to help her with - even if he does wear quick-dry clothes and eat lobster every single Tuesday night.
Adult Graphic Novel
Sapiens. Volume one, The birth of humankind : a graphic history by Yuval Noah Harari
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one-homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? In this first volume of the full-colour illustrated adaptation of his groundbreaking book, renowned historian Yuval Harari tells the story of humankind's creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human". From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens challenges us to reconsider accepted beliefs, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and view specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke
A haunting graphic memoir about leaving, and those left behind. After the sudden death of a beloved uncle, Kristen becomes obsessed with the abandoned places - derelict Midwestern mining towns, an Icelandic village preserved in volcanic ash, Cambodian temples reclaimed by jungle. At the same time, she examines what it means to be an artist, to be hungry for the next experience, to be always in transit.
The mental load : a feminist comic
In her first book of comic strips, French artist Emma reflects on social and feminist issues by means of simple line drawings, dissecting the mental load, ie all that invisible and unpaid organizing, list-making and planning women do to manage their lives, and the lives of their family members. Most of us carry some form of mental load - about our work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and personal life; but what makes up that burden and how it's distributed within households and understood in offices is not always equal or fair. In her strips Emma deals with themes ranging from maternity leave (it is not a vacation!), domestic violence, the clitoris, the violence of the medical world on women during childbirth, and other feminist issues, and she does so in a straightforward way that is both hilarious and deadly serious. If you're not laughing, you're probably crying in recognition. Emma's comics also address the everyday outrages and absurdities of immigrant rights, income equality, and police violence.
Shortlisted for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry in the 2023 Ockham NZ Book Awards People Person is a debut collection by Joanna Cho. These adventurous, funny and dissonant poems are about the endless work of fitting in when the goalposts are constantly changing. They ask: how can we nail the perfect routine? How can we be a people person in the world? What parts of ourselves must we leave behind?
Moving between South Korea and New Zealand, Joanna Cho’s poems range excitingly in form, drawing upon and cleverly subverting the folktale, the phone conversation and the basketball game. At the heart of this book is a mother – a generous, artistic woman who has limited choices in life, in comparison with our narrator, who is almost paralysed by choice – and the deep, almost haunting comfort she brings.