Newsletter 4 - November 2018
This is probably the last thing you want to hear – only 55 days till Christmas, but on the upside Poppies is chock-a-block full of books – so much fiction to choose from, beautiful coffee table books, stunning children’s books. Beautiful Christmas cards are still arriving, and we are still getting in very lovely diaries with quality covers and paper. And calendars that will give your walls a most artistic lift.
It has been a busy October too with three very successful book events, well attended and enjoyed. Lauraine Jacobs, Helen Brown and Deborah Challinor have given us a mixture of food, cats and 1950s Auckland, with good book sales resulting. Helen’s visit even made it into the Howick Pakuranga Times. We have a number of book clubs as well as the Embroiders’ Guild making visits this month, and with Midnight Madness on 23 November it is going to be another full on month.
New Books In-Store This Month
Milkman by Anna Burns Winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize. In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult The Centre for Women's Reproductive Health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice. Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder. How life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage. Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, this novel unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point. And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.
The Invitation by Belinda Alexander Paris, 1899. Emma Lacasse has been estranged from her older sister for nearly twenty years, since Caroline married a wealthy American and left France. So when Emma receives a request from Caroline to meet her, she is intrigued. Caroline invites Emma to visit her in New York, on one condition: Emma must tutor her shy, young niece, Isadora, and help her prepare for her society debut. Caroline lives a life of unimaginable excess and opulence as one of New York's Gilded Age millionaires and Emma is soon immersed in a world of luxury beyond her wildest dreams - a far cry from her bohemian lifestyle as a harpist and writer with her lover, Claude, in Montmartre. Emma hopes for an emotional reunion with her only family, but instead she finds herself in the vice-like grip of her charismatic and manipulative sister, who revels in the machinations of the ultra-rich. As Emma begins to question her sister's true motives, a disaster strikes, and New York society is stripped bare - beneath the glittering exterior lies a seething nest of deceit, betrayal, moral corruption ... and perhaps even murder.
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak The breath taking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the centre of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome? The author of The Book Thief makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.
Past Tense by Lee Child Jack Reacher’s 23rd outing! He plans to follow the autumn sun on an epic road trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been - the town where his father was born. He takes the detour. At the very same moment, close by, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians are trying to get to New York City to sell a treasure. They're stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strange place ... but it’s all there is. The next morning in the city clerk's office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in that town. He knows his father never went back. Now he wonders, was he ever there in the first place? So begins another nail biting, adrenaline-fuelled adventure for Reacher. The present can be tense, but the past can be worse.
From the Ashes by Deborah Challinor Allie Manaia must navigate society's disapproval of her mixed-race marriage to Sonny, while at the same time attempting to cope with the death of their baby, and undiagnosed PTSD - a result of being caught in the Dunbar & Jones department store fire two years earlier. Allie's grief, and her distress at failing to conceive again, is compounded when those near her seem to have no trouble falling pregnant - even when they shouldn't. And then there's Sonny's wayward sister, Polly, who, it appears, is not above selling her own child. .After being advised to quit her job at Smith and Caughey's department store for her health, Allie's offered the job of marketing the qualith knitwear of a Maori women's co-operative. but who will buy it, racism being what it is in 1950s New Zealand. And is her wealthy friend Kathleen Lawson really trying to come betwen her and Sonny, or is llie just imagining that?
Written in History: Letters That Changed the World by Simon Sebag Montefiore Celebrating the great letters of world history, creative culture and personal life, acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects over one hundred letters from ancient times to the twenty-first century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling; some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal, coarse and frankly outrageous; many are erotic, others heart breaking. The writers vary from Elizabeth I, Ramses the Great and Leonard Cohen to Emmeine Pankhurst, Mandel, Stalin, Michelangelo, Suleiman the Magnificent and unknown people in extraordinary circumstances - from love letters to calls for liberation, declarations of war to reflectoins on death. In the colourful, accessible style of a mater storyteller, Montefiore shows why these letters are essenctial reading: how they enlighten our pat, enrich the way we live now, and illuminate tomorrow.
Saving Mona Lisa by Gerri Chanel In late August 1939, as war loomed over Europe, curators at the Louvre nestled the world's most famous painting into a special red velvet-lined case and spirited her away to the Loire Valley. Thus began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history. A small army of workers swiftly emptied the Louvre's cavernous galleries of all but the most cumbersome and fragile pieces and tucked away the displaced treasures in the chateaux of the Loire countryside. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again and again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France. Throughout the German occupation, teh Louvre's staff fought to keep the priceless treasures out of the hands of Hitler and his henchmen and to keep the Louvre Palace safe, many of them risking their jobs and their lives to protect the country's artistic heritage. Superbly researched and accompanied by riveting photographs of the period, it is a compelling story of art and beauty, intrigue and remarkable moral courage in the face of one of the most fearful enemies in history.
The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters: The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenburger The story of the two famous sisters begins with their idyllic childhood at the Bouvier summer home in the Hampton. At times, they are close conspirators and at others jealous, competitive, and nearly estranged.The authors recreate the turbulent years when the elder sister was First Lady, bringing readers back to the Cuban missile crisis and the assassination of JFK. While Jackie struggled to rebuild her life, eventually marrying Aristotle Onassis and later becoming an editor at Doubleday, Radziwill fell for offbeat photographer Peter Beard, divorced her second husband, opened an interior design business, and married (and divorced) a film director. Readers drawn to the Kennedy mystique will savor this intricate chronicle rife with romance, tragedy, and surprising details, such as that Jackie may have helped choose JFK's paramours.
Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Everyday by Clemency Burton-Hill A unique celebration of classical music by an author who wants to share its diverse wonders with others and to encourage a love for this genre in all readers, whether complete novices or lifetime enthusiasts.Clemency chooses one piece of music for each day of the year, with a short explanation about the composer to put it into context, and brings the music alive in a modern and playful way, while also extolling the positive mindfulness element of giving yourself some time every day to listen to something uplifting or beautiful. Thoughtfully curated and expertly researched, this is a book of classical music to keep you company: whoever you are, wherever you're from. ‘The only requirements for enjoying classical music are open ears and an open mind.' Clemency Burton-Hill.
Ajax the Kea Dog by Corey Mosen The highly illustrated, heart-warming story of conservation heroes, dog Ajax and his handler Corey, who traverse remote parts of the South Island tracking kea nests. Together, Corey and Ajax travel through the steep high country throughout the South Island searching out kea nests. Their part in the kea conservation effort is essential and both Ajax and Corey can rightly be called conservation heroes. This heart-warming story describes how Ajax was trained to be one of the very few kea detection dogs in the world and tells of his various escapades in the unpredictable wilds of the steep back-country, including flying in helicopters; working in blizzards, heavy rain, and dense fog; escaping from angry wasps; and sleeping out in the bitter cold. The strong connection between Ajax and Corey has proved vital to their survival and the important work that they do. Ajax is slowing down and soon his high country days will be over.
Sam Hunt: Off the Road by Sam Hunt and Colin Hogg. Thirty years after Hogg and Hunt collaborated on the now-legendary Angel Gear: Off the Road with Sam Hunt, the pair have decided to throw caution to the wind and proceed without doctors' certificates, to create an older, possibly wiser twin to that earlier book. A backstage pass to the private side of one of our most public people, Sam Hunt: Off the Road is a wild, hilarious, no-holds-barred book about the non-stop life and poems of a man New Zealand thinks it knows, until now. Part conversation, part story-telling, part poems, it's also a book about friendship, solitude, love, death, self-destruction and endurance. With photographs and poems, some old and some new.
Let’s Get Lost- Great New Zealand Road Trips by Nicola McCloy and Jane King There are few things as sweet as throwing some clothes, your togs, your jandals, a chilly bin, some good sounds and your best mate into the car and shouting, 'ROADIE!' as you gleefully leave your everyday life behind for a few days. Chuck this book in while you're at it. Traversing the offbeat, awesome and out-and-out fun, Let's Get Lost is a guide to the real New Zealand that few of us get a chance to explore. In its pages, you'll pass through the sausage capital of New Zealand, encounter amazing geothermal springs, take a dip in a secret lake, visit a village entirely populated by guinea pigs, find culture and cuisine in the most unlikely of places, soak up home-grown histories the country over, and share a yarn with many a local good bugger. Let's Get Lost will inspire you to get out there and encounter the wild and unknown, and take in some of the best this country has to offer.
Birdstories – A History of the Birds of New Zealand by Geoff Norman A fascinating, in-depth account of New Zealand’s birds, spanning their discovery, their place in both Pakeha and Maori worlds, their survival and conservation, and the illustrations and art they have inspired. In 1872, the first instalments of Walter Buller’s A History of the Birds of New Zealand appeared showcasing for the first time the unique birdlife of this country. Birdstories carries Buller’s publishing legacy through to the present day. He covers a range of our bird families and individual species, and provides an up-to-date picture of how these birds are regarded by both Maori and Pakeha, the backstory of their discovery, and their current conservation status. Extensively illustrated with historic illustrations and contemporary artwork, this is a beautiful, comprehensive publication that will help New Zealanders realise what a taonga we have in our birds.
Oh Boy: A Story of Epic NZ Men by Stuart Lipshaw There are many kinds of hero! OH BOY is a striking collection of true stories about amazing New Zealand men who busted stereotypes and broke through obstacles to follow their passion. Heroes can wear rugby boots or ballet shoes. They can go on adventures, build rockets, or save lives. They can change the world with a shovel, a microscope or an idea. And YOU can become one of them! Just some of the amazing men whose stories are featured in this book are Billy T James, Bret McKenzie, Bruce McLaren, Edmund Hillary, Ernest Rutherford, Fred Hollows, Jemaine Clement, Jonah Lomu, Kelly Tarlton, Liam Malone, Neil Finn, Peter Jackson, Richie McCaw, Steven Adams, Taika Waititi, Willie Apiata, Witi Ihimaera - and many, many more. Their stories are accompanied by equally fabulous portraits specially created for the book by exceptional New Zealand-based illustrators. A companion volume to the number-one bestseller GO GIRL, OH BOY is essential and inspirational reading for New Zealanders of all ages, and that includes you too grown ups!
Cook’s Cook: The Cook Who Cooked for Captain Cook by Gavin Bishop Cook's Cook follows the 1768 journey of James Cook's H.M.S. Endeavour with his ship's cook, the one-handed John Thompson, as story teller. Through real recipes from the ship's galley, events on board and the places the ship travelled to on its way to the Pacific, the book tells multiple stories. Here are stories of social class, hierarchy and race; stories of explorers and the people of the land; the story of one of the world's most famous explorers told through a fresh new lens. This beautiful book is full of information drawn from extensive research alongside evocative illustrations, released to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the Endeavour's journey.
Home From the Homer by Anya Forest Some family holiday memories last a lifetime… The Homer Tunnel has vanished, and with it the last link to life as the Williams family knows it. Fiordland has them trapped, leaving their car and cell phone useless. Their only hope is to make it by foot to Milford Sound in an attempt to escape the kaleidoscope of history. Separated from their parents, and each other, Zoe and Seth face an uncertain future, and must rely on the past to survive. Surveying the Homer Saddle, tracking giant moose with Jim Muir and Eddie Herrick, exploring with Young Bob Murrell, and meeting the legendary Lost Tribe, Zoe and Seth venture into an incredible world where anything can happen – and often does! But Fiordland has always been a place where nature rules, and myth and reality merge. Zoe and Seth travel through time, in a bid to reach the eighth wonder of the world. But what will they find when they get there? (WARNING: Incredible adventure awaits. Contains hunting scenes, a conservation dog, and possibly the greatest eagle that has ever lived. You have been warned!) For ages 10-14 years, and adults who enjoy a good yarn.
Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell Ottoline is back in Ottoline and the Purple Fox, a brand new adventure from Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell. Ottoline and Mr Munroe love puzzles, clues and mysteries. One day, they meet an enigmatic purple fox, who offers to take them on a night-time urban safari. The fox shows them all the hidden animals of the city and Ottoline makes notes on them in her field notebook. Mr Munroe is making notes too - on the anonymous poems he finds stuck to lampposts on their journey. Who is the secretive poet, and how can he and Ottoline help them mend their broken heart? Includes a free fold-up-and-keep-fortune-teller.
A Kiwi Day Before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison From the creators of the ultimate Kiwi Christmas read-aloud A Kiwi Night Before Christmas comes the prequel A Kiwi Day Before Christmas and Santa has work to do! Luckily his trusty little helpers have been busying themselves in his workshop with all that gift wrapping. But those prezzies won't be going anywhere without Santa's reindeer to pull the tractor, so where have those sheep got to?