Author: Craig Johnston

Young Adult LGBT titles

We’re testing out a new app that creates promotional images – here’s a list of LGBT-themed Young Adult books, and if you click on a cover in the image below it will take you straight to that title on our library catalogue!

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Selector’s Picks

I always tell people that the most stressful part of my job as a Content Development Librarian is never having enough time to read all the amazing books I see and handle every day on the job.

My TBR pile is huge, scattered across several Living Rooms in the Fiction area. Here’s a smattering of my recommendations.

Charity Norman’s latest title, Remember me sounds very appealing with an unsolved cold case and  fraught familial relationships in a  New Zealand setting. I’ve read several others of Charity’s books and thoroughly enjoyed them.

I don’t think Patrick Gale could ever surpass his sublime 2007 novel Notes from an exhibition but I’ll read anything he writes regardless. Mother’s boy, his 17th novel apparently,  is based around the known facts of the boyhood and youth of the great Cornish poet, Charles Causley and the life of the mother who raised him singlehandedly.

For Lucinda Riley fans, The murders at Fleat House has just been released in New Zealand. As the title implies this one is a murder mystery and according to very reliable sources – it is a page-turner from beginning to end! Originally written in 2004/2005 and now published posthumously. Reserve it now.

British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak is a writer I greatly admire. Her pocket-sized non-fiction title How to stay sane in an age of division is an absolute gem. I recently read 10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world and now her latest The island of missing trees is on my TBR list. Hers is a voice for the unheard, the unloved, the outcast. Listen to this recent interview with her on RNZ  – Elif Shafak: The Island of Missing Trees | RNZ

Reviews for Unsheltered by Wellington based novelist Clare Moleta have consistently been very positive so this one has found a place on my list as well – a dystopian novel where Li is searching for her eight-year-old daughter Matti, who she’s been separated from in a fire which broke out during the clearance of an unsanctioned Makecamp – a refugee settlement. Described by Elizabeth Knox as ‘extraordinarily suspenseful’.

Jill

Samoa Language Week

Talofa lava. Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week is on each year in May / June.

Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week celebrates the third most spoken language in New Zealand. 

Join us in celebrating Samoa Language Week at the Palmerston North City Library. We have an amazing array of Samoan Language books for children, Samoan movies, Samoan music, travel guides for Samoa and more to offer!

Samoan Language Books for children

Fale Sāmoa Come join Tomasi and his friends as they take a magical ride to learn more about Fale Sāmoa, and why they are so important in Samoan culture.

Kuaka visits Samoa A story about a small Godwit that travels to Samoa to experience the culture and explore the beautiful island.

Samoan Films available from Kanopy, stream for free with your library card

The Orator

One Thousand Ropes

Samoan Authors in the Palmerston North City Library 

Albert Wendt 

Born in Apia, Samoa, Albert Wendt has been an influential figure in the developments that have shaped New Zealand and Pacific literature since the 1970s. His books include the powerful Sons for the Return Home (1973). Sons for the Return Home describes the life of a young man from a migrant Samoan family and his love affair with a fellow (Pakeha) student. Wendt drew on his own life experiences to write Sons for the Return Home and the book was later turned into a movie. Wendt’s stories are told with insight, wisdom, humour and compassion. The Palmerston North City Library has a collection of poetry, short stories and novels by Wendt, please do seek out one of the South Pacific’s treasured and best-known writers.

Tusiata Avia

Born in Christchurch, Niu Sila (New Zealand), Tusiata Avia writes (sometimes with painful results) the influences of New Zealand and Samoan cultures in her life. Wild Dogs Under My Skirt was one of Avia’s first collection of poetry, a deeply personal journey exploring themes of power, politics, racism, love, sex and living between cultures.

Samoan Music Artists in the Palmerston North City Library

Hamofied 

Poetik is the stage name of Ventry Parker, an independent artist from Apia, Western Samoa. His style of rap, combines both confronting and honest lyricism about subjects such as systemic racism and Polynesian culture lined with a background West Coast-inspired g-funk beats. Listen out for the Conch Shell Horn as well as name drops of Samoa’s most famous beer, Vailima. 

2022 Taite Music Prize winner – Anthonie Tonnon

Listen to this post here:

Congratulations to Anthonie Tonnon, who has won the 2022 Taite Music Prize for his album Leave Love Out Of This. He told RNZ that the album “is about being part of the first generation growing up in the economic experiment New Zealand launched into during the 1980s”.

The Taite Music Prize “champions the most creative NZ album released annually” according to the Independent Music NZ website.

The Palmerston North City Library holds Tonnon’s album in both LP and CD formats. Have a listen and see if you agree with the judges!

Remembering Ray Liotta

Hear this as an audio post:

Here’s a salute to one of acting’s greats, Ray Liotta, who has just passed away. Establishing himself as one to watch with his role in Something Wild, he went on to absolutely huge roles in Field of Dreams and Goodfellas. But he was just as likely to appear in a Spongebob Squarepants movie, or indeed, to voice a character in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Perhaps one of his best roles was in the video for Ed Sheeran & Rudimental’s song Bloodstream. The depth of emotion he brought to this, solely through physical acting, was truly impressive.

Rest in peace, Ray.

Manga books

Konnichiwa!

Did you know the Palmerston North City Library has a manga collection?

Manga is a specifically Japanese form of graphic novel, with several subgenres. Manga books read in Japanese format, ie. right to left rather than left to right. It’s a buzz! You’ll find them mostly in the Young Adult area, although some titles are in Adult Graphic Novels.

Many of these books have been made into serialised shows, or movies, or else have been adapted from shows. See: Sailor Moon; Alita, Battle Angel; Cowboy Bebop, and more.

The bulk of the Manga collection is spread between the Central Library and the Youth Space, but these books can be brought in to any branch just like other books. Simply talk to your local librarian if you’d like to see more!

Due to the episodic nature of most Manga, the series can get very large, some with more than one hundred titles. As a public library with limited space, it’s not always possible for us to hold all the titles at one time. And every so often, something will go out of print, so we aren’t able to replace a lost title. But we do our best to keep the collections up-to-date so you can enjoy them! You can reserve copies from any of our branch libraries.

If there’s a series you’d like to see that we don’t have, contact content@pncc.govt.nz and we’ll see what we can do.