Top Staff Picks - October 2021

Non-Fiction Picks 

This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health: A Journey into The Heartland of Psychiatry by Nathan Filer  

In this book, Nathan Filer uses his experience as a psychiatric nurse to debunk the myths, confront assumptions, and offer readers the insight into what it means to be mentally ill. And most importantly, what it means to be human. Compassionately crafted, this book is a powerful tool in helping today's society to start conversations about mental health, especially on psychiatry and the use of psychiatric drugs. 

Under a white sky : the nature of the future 

 The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity's transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it? That man should have dominion "over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" is a prophecy that has hardened into fact. So pervasive are human impacts on the planet that it's said we live in a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Here, Elizabeth Kolbert takes a hard look at the new world we are creating. She meets scientists who are trying to preserve the world's rarest fish, which lives in a single, tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave. She visits a lava field in Iceland, where engineers are turning carbon emissions to stone; an aquarium in Australia, where researchers are trying to develop "super coral" that can survive on a hotter globe; and a lab at Harvard, where physicists are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere in order to reflect sunlight back to space and cool the earth. One way to look at human civilization, says Kolbert, is as a ten-thousand-year exercise in defying nature. In The Sixth Extinction, she explored the ways in which our capacity for destruction has reshaped the natural world. Now she examines how the very sorts of interventions that have imperiled our planet are increasingly seen as the only hope for its salvation. By turns inspiring, terrifying, and darkly comic, Under a White Sky is an utterly original examination of the challenges we face. 

Fiction Picks 

Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North 

Once the world was on fire - but that was long ago. The Burning Age gave way to an era of peace, humanity finding harmony with nature and each other, as new cities rose from the ruins of the old. Ven used to be a holy man, a guardian of ancient archives. Sorting secrets from sacrilege, he studied the past so that we might never repeat it. But some ideas never fade, and as a new war brews, fuelled by old knowledge and older ambitions, Ven must decide how far he's willing to go to save this new world, and how much he is willing to lose. Notes from the Burning Age is a captivating and visionary new novel from Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and 84K. Set in an age after the world has fallen, this masterfully imaginative story asks whether humankind can change the paths we seem fated to follow. 

Early Morning Riser 

Jane easily falls in love with Duncan: he's charming, good-natured, and handsome. He has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere – at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away. While she may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she didn't have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, still has Duncan mow her lawn. And his coworker Jimmy comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Jane wonders how the relationship is supposed to work with all these people in it. But any notion Jane has of love and marriage changes with one tragic accident. Now her life is permanently intertwined with Duncan's, Aggie's, and Jimmy's, and she knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But is it possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of her eyes? A novel that is alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Early Morning Riser is Katherine Heiny's most astonishingly wonderful work to date. 

Children's Pick 

When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland   

This book is perfectly pitched for young readers who want to explore and understand the feeling of grief and sadness. In this book, Sadness is a feeling that is portrayed by a large green creature that comes to visit a child, uninvitingly. In the beginning, the child tries to hide and shove Sadness away but it is not so easy to get rid of. Instead of resisting Sadness, slowly the child befriends it and tries to understand its needs. Eventually the child embraces and welcomes Sadness into daily life, and they spend time together by drawing, drinking hot chocolate and going for an outdoor walk. At last, the child acknowledges Sadness and in the wake of being acknowledged, Sadness can leave. When Sadness Comes to Call is a beautiful, sensitive, and gentle illustration book that explores the emotion of grief and sadness. Although this book is categorized as a children's book, it is suitable for anyone to understand the importance of dealing with emotions. 



Mata, Missy and Makareta. Three cousins. Three lives. Separated by circumstances, yet bound together by blood. Orphaned Mata believes she has no whānau and lives out her lonely childhood in fear and bewilderment. Back home on the land, educated Makareta flees an arranged marriage to study law and begin the search for her missing cousin. She leaves behind cheeky yet dutiful Missy who takes on her role of kaitiaki (guardian) of the land. As the years pass, loss of the family land seems imminent and the women's promise to bring their stolen cousin home seems more unlikely than ever, until a chance encounter changes everything.