Author: Craig Johnston

Your Favourite Books of 2022

We asked which books you enjoyed reading in 2022, and here are some of the cool titles you told us about!

Girl A by Abigail Dean

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series got a lot of votes!

A format-specific mention for the BorrowBox version of Lucy Dawson’s You Sent Me A Letter. (There are lots of great titles on BorrowBox and Libby, in ebook and e-audio formats – straight to your device!)

Another series that was popular is Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper.

Did you know that Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York wrote a book called Her Heart For A Compass? Well, you do now, and it comes recommended by one of you lovely people!

Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick. ‘It’s great reading about the early days of the area you come from’ says the person who recommended it.

Verity by Colleen Hoover. One of 2022’s most popular authors worldwide.

All That Glitters. There are many great books with this title – make it a 2023 reading challenge to read them all!

Blinding by Mircea Cartarescu.

Auē by Becky Manawatu

Crime and Thrillers are interfiled

In the Central Library’s Adult Fiction area, the Crime and Thriller books (Paki Taihara and Paki Pohopā) have now been interfiled. The books will retain their Living Room (genre) labels, to give you an indication of what’s inside, and to help with making a quick selection. Paperbacks on the spinner stands and books in the Returned Today section remain separated, as these are not in alphabetical order, so separation makes them quicker to search through.

The same thing happened with Romance and Sagas (Paki Whaiāipo and Paki Hautoa Toro Whārahi) some time ago, and has proven to be worthwhile.

This move was triggered by a few factors.

For one thing, the genres do have some overlap already, in many cases. Looking for a thrilling crime read? We’ve got you covered!

We feel that there’s a good chance the readership overlaps a bit too, so we hope that this move helps you discover some new favourite authors. One of the staff involved in the move said she usually reads Crime, but when moving the books, she discovered some Thriller authors she wanted to read.

Finally, sometimes the Library will buy a Thriller book that is being marketed by the publisher as a Mystery/Crime book, or vice versa. By interfiling them, we aim to increase your chances of finding a book that you love.

The Living Room concept of shelving books by genre was enacted in the Palmerston North City Library when the current Central Library building was opened in 1996. Over the years, the concept has been tweaked sometimes, to respond to customers’ needs. We hope that this latest tweak helps you increase your TBR (To Be Read) pile!

Garfield is bigger than ever

Did you know that Garfield books are some of the most popular titles in the Young Adult area? At time of writing, they claim 6 spots on the top ten most-issued books in YA, across all genres.

As the personal servant of a ginger cat myself, I get the appeal. But it goes further than that.

For a detailed analysis, here is one person’s opinion from The Spinoff.

Is it just a comfort thing? Is Garfield still as funny as I remember? I suppose the only way to know for sure is to take a copy home – I hope there are some left on the shelf! (Here’s a link where you can check our catalogue.)

Library podcast – Shelf Awareness

The Library now has its own podcast! Thanks to Manawatū People’s Radio, Shelf Awareness airs live at 10am on Wednesdays, but you can listen to it at any time on the MPR website.

You can expect to hear about all the great stuff the library offers, from books to author talks to outreach programmes. Plus there’ll be reading recommendations, and interviews where library staff talk about what they do in their jobs, and how they can help you.

Is there something you’d like us to talk about? Let us know:

Staff recommendations 2022

Here are our favourite books that we read during 2022. (Some of these were published in earlier years.)

We love a good list. They’re good for inspiration, cogitation, and maybe even argumentation!

What was your favourite book of 2022? Drop us a line and we might put it in our next newsletter!


Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree

‘Cosy fantasy’ in which an orc warrior gives up that lifestyle to open a café. Along the way she makes new friends. There’s some mild conflict, but the author deliberately wrote it to be ‘high fantasy, low stakes’ so it’s a comforting read in these troubled times.

Mother of Invention: How Good Ideas Get Ignored in an Economy Built for Men by Katrine Marcal

Pretty shocking how many inventions were abandoned or delayed because they were deemed too feminine. “When genders are defined by their opposites, no one gains access to the full spectrum of what it means to be human”

The Forgotten Coast by Richard Shaw.

Written following the realisation that his great-grandfather was in the Armed Constabulary when they invaded Parihaka.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk.

A librarian gets promoted to the post her recently deceased mentor has just left vacant, and she finds out that rare books are going missing. So many cool library details!

The Birth of Loud by Ian S. Port.

The people who brought the solid-body electric guitar into existence, including both the inventors and the players who helped shape their work.

Of Dice and Men: The story of Dungeons & Dragons and the people who play it by David M. Ewalt.

A much more convoluted tale than I’d expected.

Cuteness award: Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega.

Great cover, cool story about three tweens who have to learn to work together to become fully-fledged witches.

The Stranger Times by C. K. McDonnell.

Yes, this is the author with the cool prologue about z’s and s’s that’s doing the rounds on social media (it’s not from this book though).

Somewhat similar to Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series but instead of police, it’s people working at a quirky newspaper, which covers all the weird stuff, some of which turns out to be true.

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach.

NZ authors seem to excel at the weird type of fantasy. Some great lines (“he didn’t so much walk into a room as launch an invasion of it”) and a hugely inventive mycelial world.

The Day the World Stops Shopping by J. B. MacKinnon.

Really good investigation of reducing consumption globally, and what that would actually mean. From this book I learned that the person who invented the concept of the GDP subtracted military spending from it. The money could otherwise be used to improve citizens’ standard of living.

Too Much Money by Max Rashbrooke.

Eye-opening. I learned a lot about NZ’s economy, and the fact that there exist ways to remedy inequity in NZ right now, but we aren’t using them.

Learning to Love Blue by Saradha Koirala.

(Won the YA section of NZ C & YA Book Awards this year). Young woman moves to Melbourne to break into the music scene. A very accurate portrayal of how that all works! 

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel.

Rumination on the meaning of humanity. “A life lived in a simulation is still a life”, one of the characters posits. I called it ‘gorgeous and poignant’ in my little book of books I’ve read.

Poor People with Money by Dominic Hoey.

Hard-living young woman decides to fleece some gangsters of their drug money, with no real plan for after. Tough to read such a slow-motion car-crash of a plot, but such great writing! Cool lines like “His face looked like a drawing someone had started and then given up on”

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers.

I’m a big fan of Becky Chambers. This is another lovely, gentle novella about how we live our lives. It takes a robot to make you fully understand humanity.

The Guitar by Chris Gibson.

Two Australian geography professors track down where each piece of wood on a guitar comes from. Fascinating! Environmental and cultural impacts of sawmilling are scrutinised.

Nora’s Top 5

Here is my list of the most interesting, enjoyable, surprising and exciting books I have read and listened to in 2022:

The language of food by Annabel Abbs

Dead man’s axe by Bing Turkby

Daughter of the moon goddess by Sue L. Tan

Bloomsbury girls by N. Jenner

The girl who wrote in silk (eaudiobook) by Kelli Estes


The Other Side of Beautiful, Kim Lock

A funny, absorbing and far-fetched read with just a little bit of romance. Mercy’s husband leaves her, an accident at work leaves her crippled by anxiety, and then her house burns down. With not much more than her ex-husband’s partner’s spare clothes on her back, she impulse buys an old campervan and sets off across Australia with no plan. Mercy’s eventual triumph is a comforting reminder that growth is always possible.

The Other Bennet Sister, Janice Hadlow

As the introverted, ugly duckling sister in Pride and Prejudice’s central family, this thoughtful story colours in Mary as an intelligent, sensitive and lost soul who blossoms into her own kind of heroine. Starting with and following the events in Pride and Prejudice, The Other Bennet Sister continues past Lizzie and Jane’s triumphant marriages and into the future. The writing is modern but respectful of Jane Austen’s style, and a heart-warming story of self-realisation.

The dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams

Set during the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, the great compilation of the English language, Esme grows up in a world of words. One day, a slip flutters under the table, that she secretly keeps. Esme begins to collect the scraps that are discarded, which evolves into a personal mission: collecting women’s words and experiences that others may not deem important or genteel enough to be recorded and preserved. This fictional tale is based around real characters and a real incident: the loss and exclusion of the slip for the word ‘bondmaid’ in the first edition of the OED.

Tales of the Royal Wardrobe and Bedchamber

Presented by my heroine Lucy Worsley, dive into the historic bedrooms and wardrobes of royalty to examine their lives and the impacts that they had on fashion, culture and modern culture.

Bugs, Whiti Hereaka

Sarcastic, smart and stuck: Bugs is the quintessential kiwi teenager. It gave me whiplash in the first 45 pages, and was so relatable I could have been mates with Bugs, Jez and the troublesome new girl who insists on being called ‘Stone Cold’. This is a great coming-of-age story, filled with teenage drama, bitchy girls and well-meaning parents that you just want to get out of your room.


When the dust settles’ by Lucy Easthope 

 “When I see a disaster unfold, my first thought is of needs of dead, of the grieving and of those who care for both”, Lucy Easthope. 

 Have you ever wondered how in the aftermath of big disasters ‘things’ are organised?  Its Lucy’s job to plan out and advise Companies, Governments and countries about disaster relief, temporary mortuaries and the like.  Lucy discusses well known disasters such as 9/11, Grenfell Tower, Bali Bombings, COVID and lesser known incidents such as an aeroplane crashing on the motorway and human trafficking. 

I absolutely taken with this book as I had no idea of the background work done by disaster advisors and the hidden pitfalls.  Its deliciously fascinating. 

Ora Nui 4 Maori Literary journal.  New Zealand and Taiwan special Edition

I found this fascinating book when I was shelving books in the Fiction living room.  I picked it up and started looking at the articles before I realised what I was doing I had read the article on page 194 about “How plant DNA tells story of Austronesian Expansion and Migration”….cool stuff for a person who is interested in Pacific Navigation and Archaeology. I discovered poetry, short stories, Austronesian archaeological articles and some creative non-fiction.  I thoroughly enjoyed dipping in and out of this book over the week or two I had it issued to me. 


  1. The Art of Losing (Alice Zeniter) – first published in French 2017, English 2021; winner Dublin Literary Award 2022

The title unfortunately does not do justice to the book, and I am glad I picked it up despite that…

This often heart rending story of Algerian immigrants to France is told by tracing the story of three generations, starting with the family that was forced to seek refuge in France after the French/Algerian war of independence. Eventually, ‘third generation’ Naima is the first one to travel back to Algeria and to experience a country that seems to have nothing much to do with her and her life anymore, but which still defines much of her and her family’s history and relationships, and her status in French society. The book does depict the situation and treatment of Algerian immigrants to France, and goes some way to explain the clashes and riots that happened a few years ago in parts of France. While a specific example – in time and space – of an immigrant family, the book will ring a bell in many ways with any immigrant, refugee, asylum seeker and other in a similar situation, and gives them all a voice. I am not someone given to emotional outburst but this book made me cry a couple of times, and nod with recognition of common feelings and thoughts often. 

For a visual Tour de Force of the dark chapter of the Algerian war, KANOPY features the 1966 Italian/Algerian, black and white, documentary style movie “The Battle For Algiers” which is well worth watching.

Reality might not be what you think it is… or what it is for your fellow humans…. It might just be a ‘controlled hallucination’….. A really good review of this book here:

Being You by Professor Anil Seth review – The Guardian

Well worth deviating for to the non-fiction area of the library….

..and some more stuff about the brain. How come two witnesses recount very different memories of an event. Where the heck did you just put the newspaper? What’s his name again – it’s on the tip of my tongue! Is this a ‘normal’ senior moment or the start of Alzheimers? Lisa Genova answers all these questions and explains how memory actually works according to the latest brain research, and it’s highly readable.

A woman scientist has dropped off the radar while researching a secretive Amazonian tribe to find out why their women can conceive and give birth well into old age. But would developing a drug for Western World’s child-desperate women be a good result from this research? Meanwhile, the scientist’s Pharma Corporation’s boss is desperate to progress such a drug and sends his employee/lover to find the scientist and solve the mystery of a colleague who has disappeared, presumed dead. Heart of Darkness infused, but less dark.

Hefty tome that is very timely, about how climate change could pan out. Though not much of a science fiction reader, this was deservedly highly recommended to me and is timely, given another Climate Summit has come and gone, with a ‘BLAH’ as was just about expected. Very believable scenarios, although towards the end I was not convinced by the novel’s optimism regarding humankind’s fate…

Irina kisses or doesn’t kiss another man than her husband. These two scenarios develop into two different versions of her future life, each version having good and bad times and outcomes, regrets, affirmations of choice etc. As a reader I tended to oscillate between her choices, as did Irina herself “I should have – I shouldn’t have”. The lesson to learn here, in a very entertaining way, is that whatever choice you make in life, it will come with pros and cons, good and bad results. Make a choice and run with it, and that’s your life 😊


  1. Book: Axiom’s End (Lindsey Ellis)

I was recommended this Sci-fi novel about first contact by a D&D friend, because of course I was. It ended up being a fantastic exploration of how humanity would interact with a species foreign enough to our perception to be basically incomprehensible, led by a very likable protagonist and a healthy amount of humour.

A girl and her interplanetary cyborg, on a trek across the Continental United States – If you like your aliens with a dose of philosophical, existential dread and for that to be way more fun than it sounds, look no further. 

  1. Movie: Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

A coherent multiverse plot, Michelle Yeoh kicking ass, a touching emotional core of familial love and Chinese representation – any other movie would be great if it achieved any one of these things, but this one has it all, and does it excellently.

As a martial artist since my preteens who also happens to be a massive nerd, Everything, Everywhere, All At Once ticked every box for me. No longer must I keep my loves of sci-fi and Bruce Lee separate. 

  1. TV Show: Midnight Mass 

 A seven-episode horror miniseries with a fully-realised ensemble cast, great soundtrack and poignant themes that manages to be unsettling without descending into jumpscare territory gets an A in my book. Horror doesn’t always satisfy me with its characters or storytelling; it’s often more about the tension and the atmosphere while the narrative suffers. Midnight Mass was special in that it was able to tell not just an evocative horror story, but an evocative story. Probably the best show I’ve seen in a long time. 

  1. Album: ERROR (The Warning)

Firstly, I am exceedingly jealous of The Warning. They’re an all-female hard rock band from Mexico who have performed with Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless and the Foo Fighters, all within the space of a few years… while all being younger than me. Seriously. I may be 23 and one of the youngest staff members here at the library, but their oldest member is 22.

Segueing from blistering envy to blistering admiration, The Warning have a wholly unique style that ranges from hauntingly beautiful to thrashingly epic and captures everything I love about the music of the 70s-80s. ERROR is their first full-length album, and is special to me due to a series of freaky coincidences:

First, it was released on my birthday. My 23rd birthday. One of the tracks is titled ’23’. Another is titled ‘Z’ – like, what my name starts with. And my favourite track on the album, ‘REVENANT’, Is so eerily similar to parts of my own life that I’ve been checking my house for bugs ever since.

Look, I get it – I’m projecting. The whole point of The Warning is to make hard rock accessible to a predominantly Gen Z audience. But given my existing love for the genre, the band and the crazy conveniences surrounding their new album, this is an entry I can’t do anything but recommend.

  1. Metaphysical Concept: Paracausality 

Paracausality is the idea of something that will have happened in the past as a result of something in the present, at which point the present retroactively changes to accommodate the discrepancy. Is it confusing? Yes. Irrelevant? Also yes. But I couldn’t think of a fifth thing.

Holiday hours

If you’re planning to pop into the library to stock up on reading material soon, you’ll be pleased to hear that we have extended our opening hours on certain days at the Central Library (on the Square) to make it easier.

Sunday 18 Dec: 10am – 4pm

Tuesday 20 Dec: 9am – 7pm

Wednesday 21 Dec: 9am – 7pm

All locations will be closed between Christmas and the New Year like the rest of Council, but a Click & Collect service will be available on some days as outlined below.

You can see all our library locations and their open hours on the PDF below, or on the Locations page on our website.

Click and Collect:

On December 28, 29 and 30, the Click & Collect service will be operating. So you can still pick up your Central Library, Mobile Library or Click & Collect items even though the library will be closed.

Learn how to use the Click and Collect service.

Digital Library:

There’s one part of the library that’s always open – the digital library!
You can get ebooks, e-audio, movies, magazines, and more, from the comfort of your own home.

There’s even a specific page for a Children’s Digital Library, to keep the young ones entertained.

Holiday 2022/23 Click and Collect

Over the holidays this year, the Library will be closed from Fri 23 Dec – Tue 3 Jan inclusive, so we’re making our ‘Click and Collect’ service available at the Central Library on the following days:

  • Wednesday 28 Dec, Thursday 29 Dec, Friday 30 Dec.
  • 10am – 4pm

That way, you can still pick up items you reserved for pick up at Central Library or Click and Collect. Items reserved for Mobile Library will also be available to pick up at the Central Library.

How Click & Collect works:

  • Reserve your item for pick up at “Click and Collect – Central Library” (If you’ve made a reservation/hold for pick up at another location give us a ring and we can change this for you).
  • You’ll get a notification when your items are ready to collect.
  • Bring your library card to the window to the right of the Central Library’s main entrance (up the ramp from Te Marae o Hine / The Square, or up the stairs from George Street)
  • Library staff will retrieve your items and check them out for you.

Good things to know:

  • Placing a hold/reserve is free.
  • The normal pickup time applies – you have 10 days from time of notification.
  • If you’re picking up items for a family member or a friend, just bring their card with you.

To get you started, here’s a refresher on How to place a hold on our website or our app (available for iOS and Android):

If you want to edit your hold using the website, here are the instructions:

eAudiobooks and holidays – bliss!

Listening to a story is a wonderful way to spend family time or to simply relax, so, as the holidays are soon upon us (yay!), here’s a big shout out to eAudiobooks. Whether you’re travelling in a car, on a boat or an alien aircraft, or just chillin’ out at home or the bach, or in the caravan or tent (though not on the beach, devices, sand and sea, hmmm?) eAudiobooks are an amazing, hassle-free way to listen to books. And remember, if your child is signed up for the library’s Summer Reading Programme, listening to stories counts!

The two platforms the library provides are Borrowbox and Libby (eBooks are also available through both, as well as eMagazines through Libby). Best of all, you can access all these for free with your Palmerston North City Library card, and using the platforms’ mobile apps, you can listen to titles offline once you’ve downloaded them.

There’s a large number of titles exclusive to the individual collections, so it’s worth downloading both BorrowBox and Libby. An extensive range of adult, young adult and children’s titles are available and there’s no worry about late returns as eAudiobooks simply expire on their due dates (as do eBooks and eMagazines).

Have a look at the ebooks & e-audio page on our website for more information, to download the apps and sign up. If you’ve forgotten your library card password, we can help with that, just give us a call. Click, sign-up and enjoy the myriad of stories that await.

Merry Christmas and joyful listening!

Digging in the crates

A guest post from Anton Carter, Group Manager – Community Services. Anton hosts a weekly radio show ‘Audio Mechanics’ on Radio Active (Wtgn). He is a board member with Manawatu People’s Radio, and former member of NZ dub fusion band Rhombus.    

Palmerston North City Library has an excellent curated vinyl collection and it’s a great way to discover new and old music, but also to have the physical tactile experience that digital streaming can’t offer. I’ve been a vinyl junkie and record collector since the early 80’s and am always keen to do some vinyl crate digging, as you never know what you will find.

Here’s few of my picks:

  1. Alice Coltrane / Journey in Satchidananda 1971

Alice was married briefly to legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane but is a significant artist in her own right. This double gate fold-out album on Impulse Records has wonderful liner notes and photos of the artists performing. Providing depth and details of the recording before you even put the needle on the record.   

This is Alice’s fourth full length album, on which she plays piano and harp. The title of the album indicates Alice’s spiritual leanings, as it refers to Swami Satchidananda, of which she was a close disciple. And you can hear the eastern musical influence in many of the tracks and is a strong theme over her career.  

The album needs to be listened to multiple times, as there’s so much subtle interplay between the artists, you are always discovering new elements of harmonics. While the tracks have a start, middle and end, each of the tracks have their own life and move in different directions. At times in opposite directions but always coming back together to form a cohesive musical statement. The album has been described as ‘fusion music with a cosmic opulence’ with tracks called ‘Shiva-Loka’ and ‘Isis and Osiris’, it highlights Alice’s personal and musical journey in life. 

I had the privilege of seeing Alice perform solo on piano in a small intimate club in LA and you couldn’t but help realise you were witnessing jazz royalty.

Other notable albums by Alice Coltrane include; Universal Consciousness 1971, Lord of Lords 1972 and Illuminations 1974 with guitarist Carlos Santana. And of course, John Coltrane’s classic 1964 album ‘A Love Supreme’ is also highly recommended. 

  1. This is Soul / Atlantic records 1968

If you don’t know what soul is, then this compilation is a great introduction. Released in 1968 on Atlantic Records, this album features 12 smash hits from the home of soul.  

Starting off with Wilson Pickett’s ‘Mustang Sally’ and finishing with Pickett’s version of ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’. The record features artists like; Percy Sledge, Sam & Dave, Ben E king, Aretha Franklin, Carla Thomas, Solomon Burke and Otis Redding. All giants of their time and you can hear the raw energy in each of these recordings, no flash recording studios, multiple takes or overdubs. Which is what makes soul music unique, the raw emotion of singers digging deep within their own experience to bring out something special. You can feel their pain, longing or joy with each word.

Eddie Floyd’s ‘Knock on Wood’ and Percy Sledge’s ‘When a man loves a woman’ are probably the most well-known songs on the album. The album back cover also features pictures of the albums which the original songs come from, along with other soul artists from Atlantic Records. A great way to learn about soul music and the many pioneers of the time. 

  1. Easy Star All-Stars / Dub side of the moon

Easy Star All-Stars formed in 1997 in New York and have built a solid reputation for their reggae inspired reinterpretations of classic albums and sometimes very unexpected versions. Covering unlikely bands such as Radiohead, The Police, The Beatles and Michael Jackson, is what makes their albums interesting and standout. 

Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is not at album that you would expect to be reggaefied, but the spacey ambient nature of the original album does lend itself perfectly to the dub echo chamber of Jamaican music. This comes through particularly on tracks such as ‘The great gig in the sky’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘On the run’. With long meandering intros and classic Roland Space Echo breakdowns, you can imagine yourself being weightless and floating effortlessly in space.         

The vocals on the album are done by some serious reggae heavyweights like Ranking Joe, Frankie Paul, Dr Israel and The Meditations. Which adds to the authenticity of the music, not just cheesy fluffy covers but real reworkings of the songs by accomplished musicians.  

If you’re a fan of Pink Floyd and want to hear another take on this album, then this one is a real trip into an alternative musical universe.

  1. Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra / Floating points

This album is a collaborative effort from Manchester born electronic artist Floating Points (Sam Shepard), free jazz legend Pharoah Sanders on tenor saxophone and the LSO. Composed by Shepard the album is a single 45min composition broken down into nine movements.   

The beauty of this album is the sparse nature given to Sanders’ playing, where each note speaks volumes and is allowed to hang in the air. The album is a slow sonic meander with textures of synthesisers, harpsichord, piano and strings guiding you along the way. Released in 2021 this was Sanders’ final album before he passed away in 2022.

As expected, each movement has its own life. At times the movements collide in a frenzy of activity, almost a 70’s psychedelic vibe with violins and sax creating tension that keeps building and building into a swirling climax. I’d describe the album as a modern version of experimental jazz with no jazz. Meaning not the traditional jazz sounds or approach but a high level of musical creativity and innovation. 

Other notable albums by Pharoah Sanders include: Pharoah’s First 1966, Black Unity featuring Stanley Clarke on bass 1971 and Message from home 1996. Also, worth a listen if you like classical music collaborations is ‘A brand new me’ Aretha Franklin with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 2017.

  1. Nas / Illmatic 1994

Rated as one of the top 10 hip hop albums of all time. Nas first came to light with a guest verse on Main Source’s ‘Live at the Barbeque’ 1991. From just one verse his reputation quickly grew, and a full-length album was highly anticipated.  

The album was released in 1994 and featured some of the best hip hop producers at the time including Dj Premier (Gangstarr), Large Professor, Pete Rock and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest). Which only added to the hype of the album, as the line up of producers were some of the most respected East Coast hip hop producers in the game.

What makes the album significant is Nas’s ability to paint vivid pictures with words. A modern-day storyteller, gritty and real but also respectful. The album is what I’d call ‘headphone food’ rather than ‘dancefloor fillers’. ‘NY State of mind’ gives you an idea of what it’s like growing up in New York, while ‘Halftime’ (one of my all-time fav tracks) is a solid headnodder from start to finish. ‘The world is yours’ and ‘One Love’ are both anthemic odes to ‘street life’ while offering hope and inspiration.

It’s rare for hip hop albums to have more than two or three singles from an album but almost every track on this album was released as a single, which just shows the quality of the album. 

Other notable albums by Nas are: ‘It was written’ 1996, ‘God’s Son’ 2002 and ‘Distant Relatives’ featuring Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley 2010.

Life is What You Bake It

From zealous bakers looking for a challenge, to those looking for inspiration, to bakers just starting out and wanting to learn the basics, the City Library’s got you covered. 

The Brownie Diaries by Leah Hyslop 

Have you ever done one of those online quizzes to find out what type of brownie you most relate to? Me neither… If you’re a brownie-enthusiast like me and want more excuses for whipping up a batch of brownies for any occasion, or just want to add more indulgent brownies to your repertoire, look no further than Leah Hyslop’s The Brownie Diaries. Packed with over 50 varieties, this is the ultimate brownie book. My personal favourites are her ‘Emergency Brownie’ for when you just need a quick brownie for one and the caramel-infused ‘Payday’ brownie inspired by Millionaire’s shortbread. Yum! 

Jane’s Patisserie by Jane Dunn  

If you’ve ever spent an unhealthy amount of time scrolling through Instagram watching baking videos, you might have come across the zestful Jane Dunn and her sweet treats. This recipe book contains many of her most popular recipes as well as some exclusive creations you won’t find on Instagram. Filled with 100 delicious baked goods from cakes to slices to biscuits, those of you with a sweet tooth are sure to find something scrumptious inside. Not to disparage any previous mentions of brownies but her ‘Triple Chocolate Brownies’ is a must-try. 

Chelsea Winter’s Cookbook Range 

Avid bakers will be familiar with celebrity chef and three-time best-selling author Chelsea Winter and her extensive range of cookbooks. Covering a variety of tasty New Zealand classics like Anzac biscuits, Louise cake, and custard squares, you’ll also discover some of her brilliant new creations. All of Chelsea Winter’s books can be borrowed from our collection. Special mention goes to her ‘Oat My Goodness’ slice from Eat; a crunchy golden oat base and crumble topping with a luxuriously rich caramel filling. This slice is so sweet, you’ll want to share with others if you don’t want to end up with an upset tummy. 

Preppy Kitchen by John Kanell 

Some of you might recognise the author of this new release from his eponymous YouTube channel. John’s first-ever cookbook is just in time for the summer holidays, offering delicious twists and personal flairs on well-known classics like ‘Orange Pecan Cinnamon Rolls’ and ‘Pavlova with Orange Curd’. But it’s not just summertime favourites. Preppy Kitchen is arranged by the seasons to keep you inspired throughout the year. Pastry-experts might want to try out his ‘Passion Fruit Mille-Feuille’. You more daring types will be tempted by his ‘Chocolate Carrot Cake’. Surely dark chocolate and autumnal spices are a terrible flavour combination? Yet somehow it just works! And of course, you cannot go wrong with a thick slathering of cream cheese icing. 

Keep an eye out for more recipe books by popular YouTubers such as Cupcake Jemma, Food52, and Bigger Bolder Baking coming soon…