Featured Reads

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Featured Reads

Marlborough Book Festival

The Marlborough Book Festival is back this year from 9 July to 11 July.

This year’s festival features 13 acclaimed authors and seven superb interviewers speaking in two beautiful spaces at the ASB Theatre Marlborough in Blenheim.

Go to Marlborough Book Festival website for more information

We have copies of most of the author's books that will be discussed at the festival.

See the full list below.

Auē by Becky Manawatu

Adult fiction

Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father's. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow. As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters

See if Auē is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam

Adult fiction

It is Saturday afternoon and two boys' schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya - a fifteen year old who barely belongs - watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya's friends have evaporated and she isn't sure what to do. In the weeks after 'the incident' life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.

See if Sprigs is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Secrets of strangers by Charity Norman

Adult fiction

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe - their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

See if Secrets of strangers is available on our catalogue or place a hold

See you in September by Charity Norman

Adult fiction

Cassy smiled, blew them a kiss. 'See you in September,' she said. It was a throwaway line. Just words uttered casually by a young woman in a hurry. And then she'd gone. It was supposed to be a short trip - a break in New Zealand before her best friend's wedding. But when Cassy waved goodbye to her parents, they never dreamed that it would be years before they'd see her again. Having broken up with her boyfriend, Cassy accepts an invitation to stay in an idyllic farming collective. Overcome by the peace and beauty of the valley and swept up in the charisma of Justin, the community's leader, Cassy becomes convinced that she has to stay. As Cassy becomes more and more entrenched in the group's rituals and beliefs, her frantic parents fight to bring her home - before Justin's prophesied Last Day can come to pass.

See if See you in September is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Caging skies by Christine Leunens

Adult fiction

Johannes is an avid member of the Hitler Youth. As the war rages on, he discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl called Elsa behind a false wall in their large house in Vienna. His initial horror turns to love and obsession. Both manipulating and manipulated, Johannes soon finds he is the only one aware of Elsa's existence in the house, the only one responsible for her survival.

See if Caging skies is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The vintner's luck by Elizabeth Knox

Adult fiction

A 19th century French winemaker is visited by a male angel and falls in love. The angel visits him once a year and the friendship leads to a triangle involving the winemaker's wife. By a New Zealand writer.

See if The vintner's luck is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The absolute book by Elizabeth Knox

Adult fiction

Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good. There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents’ house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter. A policeman, Jacob Berger, has questions about a cold case. There are threatening phone calls. And a shadowy young man named Shift appears, bringing his shadows with him. Taryn, Jacob, Shift – three people are driven towards a reckoning felt in more than one world.

See if The absolute book is available on our catalogue or place a hold

This mortal boy by Fiona Kidman

Adult fiction

Albert Black, known as the 'jukebox killer', was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society's reaction to outsiders?

See if This mortal boy is available on our catalogue or place a hold

All the way to summer by Fiona Kidman

Adult fiction

Fiona Kidman's early stories about New Zealand women's experiences scandalised readers with their vivid depictions of the heartbreaks and joys of desire, illicit liaisons and unconventional love. Her writing made her a feminist icon in the early 1980s, and she has since continued to tell the realities of women's lives, her books resonating with many readers over the years and across the world. To mark her 80th birthday, this volume brings together a variety of her previously published stories as well as several that are new or previously uncollected; all moving, insightful and written with love. The final stories trace her own history of love, a memoir of significant people from childhood and beyond.

See if All the way to summer is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Singing the trail: the story of mapping Aotearoa New Zealand by John McCrystal

Adult non-fiction 526MCC

The very first maps were oral maps made by early Polynesian and Maori settlers which were waypoints, described as 'survey pegs of memory', lists of places in songs, chants, karakia and stories that showed direction. Hundreds of years later, the Dutch Abel Tasman sailed here and made the first attempt at a physical map; followed more than 100 years later by Cook, whose map was much more detailed as he circumnavigated the country. Once the detail of the coastline was filled in, more detailed maps of the interior were made by those in search of resources to exploit. A clever look at New Zealand history and also at the intriguing tradition of map making.

See if Singing in the trail is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King

Children's graphic novel

Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of a mysterious castle. Miro lives in the world of books ; Zia is never without her camera. Then they meet, they stumble upon a secret. The fishing works, the castle, the town council: all are linked to an ill-fated 1930s Antarctic expedition. But the diary of that journey has been hidden and the sea is stirring up unusual creatures. Something has a powerful hold over the town. With Zia determined to discover more, a reluctant Miro is pulled into a real-life adventure.

See if The Inkberg Enigma is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Drawn to the wild: paintings of New Zealand birds by Nicolas Dillon

Adult non-fiction 759.993DIL

Nicolas Dillon is one of New Zealand's leading wildlife painters, who has built a reputation over the last 30 years for his masterful portraits of our wildlife, in particular birds. His evocative, moody paintings are deeply considered observations of nature and the environment. At the heart of his practice is drawing in the field. Using a high-powered spotting scope, he works quickly to capture the living character of the birds he is observing. This book beautifully illustrates his working process by combining many of the drawings and watercolour sketches done directly from life, with finished paintings completed in his studio. Nicolas Dillon is motivated by a deep yearning to connect with something beyond what he sees. 'It's about an intimacy or a closeness, a feeling for nature that I am trying to put across in the paintings.' With drawings, sketches and paintings of most of our bird species, as well as text from the author to capture something of his experience of painting the featured birds, this book is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to New Zealand's birdlife.

See if Drawn to the wild is available on our catalogue or place a hold

How to walk a dog by Mike White

Adult non-fiction 636.7WHI

The highs and lows, joy and heartache of owning a dog are told in this beautifully written story of life in and around a dog park. Mike White began walking his SPCA-rescue huntaway, Cooper, at Wellington's dog parks ten years ago, and since then has become part of a remarkable community of people and their pets. Written with wit, wisdom and heartbreaking poignancy, How to Walk a Dog is a story anyone who has ever owned or loved a dog will relate to. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will learn some of the secrets of living with a dog. Illustrated with drawings from acclaimed cartoonist Sharon Murdoch.

See if How to walk a dog is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Fifteen million years in Antarctica by Rebecca Priestly

Adult non-fiction 998.9PRI

Fifteen million years in Antarctica offers a deeply personal tour of a place in which a person can feel like an outsider in more ways than one. With generosity and candour Priestly reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about earth's future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?

See if Fifteen million years in Antarctica is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Murdoch by Sharon Murdoch

Adult non-fiction 741.56MUR

Sharon Murdoch represents a bold new voice in New Zealand cartooning. As regular cartoonist for the Sunday Star Times and the Press, she has been delighting readers with her witty observations, drawing talent and insightful social and political commentary. Covering topics that others do not, Murdoch's highly developed graphic skills combine with her social conscience and perceptive political analysis to produce hard-hitting, nuanced and often hilarious insights. In Murdoch, a written commentary by art historian Melinda Johnston sets the cartoons within their historical context. The introductory essay locates the works within New Zealand's cartooning history and argues that they stand as part of a lifetime given to activist design and advocacy. Featuring over 150 full-page cartoons highlighting the breadth and depth of this wonderful new talent, Murdoch will delight, entertain and educate readers with an interest in New Zealand's recent social and political history.

See if Murdoch is available on our catalogue or place a hold