Tag: Books

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.

Meet Manawatū author Vicky Adin

Award-winning historical fiction author Vicky Adin is coming to the library on Thursday 10 November to tell us about her New-Zealand inspired novels as part of our Writers and Readers programme.

Vicky describes herself as a genealogist in love with history and words. She loves to weave family stories and bygone days together in a way that brings the past alive. She recently won a Gold Medal in the Women’s Historical Fiction Category in The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of Year Award 2022 for Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner.

Her latest novel, Elinor, is a dual-timeline tale about discovering your roots. The story follows a rural family living in the Manawatū throughout the post-war years of the 1920s and into the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Vicky has many connections with the Manawatū. Her surname may be familiar to some. She married into a family who first came to Foxton in the 1860s. Many descendants still live in the area today. A wander around the cemetery will tell its own tale, or you could read her first book, The Disenchanted Soldier.

The Disenchanted Soldier is inspired by the true story of Daniel Adin, a British soldier fighting in the New Zealand Wars of 1864. Delve into the riveting experiences of a young British soldier in war-torn New Zealand and after, where Daniel, as patriarch and the father of World War One conscientious objectors, faces natural disasters, endures family tragedies and witnesses the birth of a nation.

We had a chat with Vicky to get the conversation started:

PNCL: Hi Vicky, please tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a Welsh-born, Cornish-raised Kiwi. I’m also a genealogist, antique lover, wife, mother, grandmother, and all-round nosy parker. I love Mediterranean food and red wine. Fortunately, I love to cook, but I love words more. My favourite past-time is delving into the past, looking at old photos, reading old newspapers and discovering those who shaped our world.

PNCL: What inspired you to write your latest book, Elinor?

Genealogical research. It’s such a mouthful, I wish there was a simpler word for it – but I find by digging into the social aspects of the past I understand more of how New Zealand developed as a nation. Elinor is not one person; she is a compilation of many women; women who survived whatever life threw at them. The fact she lived in Manawatū and for a short time in Pahīatua, is a bonus.

PNCL: What inspired you to write your latest book, Elinor?

New Zealand is a young country by world standards. After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Pākehā immigrants began to arrive in their thousands to create a new way of life in an untamed land with little infrastructure. My stories reflect the everyday struggles of those immigrants to our beautiful country. Except there was nothing ordinary about how the women survived; women who rarely appear in the annals of history but who oversaw the birth of a nation and helped shape many lives. They are the people who inspire me.

PNCL: How many books have you written?

I have six books in The New Zealand Immigrant Collection – they are family sagas about overcoming the odds. Some are entirely historical, some are dual-timeline, others are contemporary novels about searching for the past. One of those stories, Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner is set in Karangahape Road at the turn of the 19th century. The other stories in the collection are The Disenchanted Soldier, The Cornish knot, Portrait of a man, Brigid : the girl from County Clare and The Costumier’s Gift.

Elinor is Book Two in a new series The Art of Secrets, a series about about finding your roots. Book 3 is due out next year.

You can meet and hear from Vicky at the Central Library, second floor, on Thursday 10 November at 10:30am. The event includes morning tea and a chance to win a prize. Please RSVP to vicky@vickyadin.co.nz

3 Burning Questions – Crime After Crime

We are thrilled to host Crime After Crime: the world’s finest crime writers come to Palmerston North on 13 September. We expect a criminally good night!

Val McDermid is considered to be crime-writing royaly. Over 18 million copies of her books have sold to date, and there have been several TV adaptions. Her latest book, 1989 is the second book in the Allie Burns series.

Michael Robotham is Australia’s hottest crime writer; his Joseph O’Loughlin series was a worldwide bestseller and is currently being adapted for the screen. He’s also well known for his bestseller The Secrets She Keeps, now an award-winning TV drama with Season 2 streaming now on TVNZ+. His latest book is Lying Beside You.

Rotorua-born J.P. Pomare’s debut novel Call Me Evie won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, and his second book In the Clearing will soon grace our screens via Disney+. His fifth book, The Wrong Woman, is out now.

To get our interrogation started, we sent 3 burning questions to the authors. Here’s what they had to say for themselves.

What’s the weirdest thing in your (writing-related) search history?

J.P.POMARE: The one thing I think that has put me on a watchlist (If I am on one) was ‘How to drown a child’ which I searched for In The Clearing

VAL MCDERMID: It would have to be a toss-up between ‘home-made bomb 1994’ and ‘how to climb the Inaccessible Pinnacle on Sgurr Alasdair.’ And lots of searching for accurate names for characters of different nationalities. ‘Most common Lithuania surnames,’ that sort of thing.

MICHAEL ROBOTHAM: When I was writing Bombproof, I had to research how to make a homemade bomb known as the ‘Mother of Satan’. I was convinced that the security services were going to pick up on trigger words and come storming into my house to arrest me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you know how the book will end when you start writing?

J.P.POMARE: I know how the book is going to end, but I’m still a pantser when it comes to the writing. I view the end of the story as a point on the compass and will generally head in that direction but won’t follow a map, or have a plan as to what is going to happen. I just like to be surprised as I write.

VAL MCDERMID: I used to be a plotter. When I started out, I thought plotting was my weakest area, so I worked hard on getting the story coherently laid out on file cards before I started. Then that suddenly stopped working for me mid-book. Now, I know the broad brush strokes of the story, the ending I’m aiming for and a couple of crucial turning points along the way. Writing is a process, and we don’t always control what works for us!

MICHAEL ROBOTHAM: I’m definitely a pantser. When I was writing LYING BESIDE YOU, I was three quarters the way through and still didn’t know who the villain was going to be.

One of the benefits is that I make each of the suspects equally credible, because I don’t know who I’m going to choose. I think sometimes when you know too early, you can make the villain either too obvious, or tried to hide them too well and not give the reader a chance to guess the ending. I figure, that if I don’t see the twists coming – neither will the reader.

What pseudonym would you use if you had to go on the run after a – hopefully non-lethal – crime?
J.P.POMARE: Paul Gilbert — it might be a little obvious, and I’m sure Reid would figure it out in ten seconds but it’s my middle name and my Grand Mothers Maiden name.

VAL MCDERMID: Something really bland and common. Emma Taylor, Sarah Robertson, Jane Brown. That sort of thing. And if I dyed my hair its original colour, nobody would recognise me!

MICHAEL ROBOTHAM: Inspector Endeavour Morse. (Nobody would ever suspect me of anything).

Tickets are now sold out.

Check out the winners!

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults champion and honour New Zealand’s literature for tamariki and rangatahi. The winners were announced on Wednesday August 10, and now’s your chance to check them out.

The awards are a celebration of New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators, and the contribution they make to building our national identity and heritage. So without further ado, here’s the winners of 2022! We’re including a link to the book in our collection, so you can see if it’s available. If it’s not, place a reservation

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction and Russell Clark Award For Illustration

Atua: Māori Gods and Heroes, written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

 “Before the beginning there was nothing. No sound, no air, no colour: nothing. TE KORE, NOTHING. No one knows how long this nothing lasted because there was no time. However, in this great nothing there was a sense of waiting. Something was about to happen.

Find it in the library.

Picture Book Category Winner

Lion guards the cake, written and illustrated by Ruth Paul

“Lion is full of pride when it comes to guarding his home and when the birthday cake has been made for the next day’s celebrations, he goes where he is needed most … to guard the cake. But in the morning, the household awakes to a chaotic scene. What happened when Lion was guarding the cake?”

Find it in the Library.

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

The Memory Thief, written by Leonie Agnew

Seth has been trapped behind the iron bars of the public gardens for as long as he can remember. By day he’s frozen as a statue of a shepherd boy, but as soon as the sun sets he roams the park, ravenously hungry. He is a troll, and the food he seeks is human memories. Then he meets Stella.

Find it in the library.

Young Adult Fiction Award

Learning to Love Blue, written by Saradha Koirala

With Vox Pop and high school behind her, 18-year-old Paige arrives in Melbourne with her suitcase and bass guitar; a copy of Bob Dylan’s Chronicles and Joni Mitchell’s Blue – a gift from her estranged mother that she’s still learning to love. Following in the footsteps of her musical heroes, all of whom left home to make it in 1960s New York, Paige knows Melbourne’s the new rock and roll capital of the world: if she can’t make it here, she can’t make it anywhere.

Find it in the Library.

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori

I Waho, i te Moana, written by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Jenny Cooper and translated by Pānia Papa

Out in the moana, underneath the sparkling sun, lived a mother sea lion and her little pup one. A playful retelling of the much-loved traditional story, Over in the Meadow.

Find it in the library.

NZSA Best First Book Award

Spark Hunter, written by Sonya Wilson

Over a million hectares of wild bush-clad land and one young hunter… Nissa Marshall knows that something is hiding deep in the forests of Fiordland National Park – she’s seen their lights in the trees. But what are they, and why does no one else seem to notice them?

Find it in the library.

Congratulations to the winners! You can see the full shortlist at the New Zealand Book Awards Trust website – it’s a great starting point for some of the newest and best stories for tamariki (children) and rangatahi (youth).

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’.


Friday Fast Food inspo

We kiwis love our takeaways, especially on a Friday evening, when we’re tired and just want to take it easy. But we *know* takeaways aren’t the best for us, but that hankering for something quick, affordable and tasty is so great. Luckily for you, Palmerston North City Library has curated some great books for fast Friday food, in case you feel the need to cook on Friday (or if you want fast food any other day of the week). Get stuck in here and pay us a visit to check out your fave (don’t forget we also offer click and collect, in case you’re really busy!)

Time saving fast food, by Simon Holst

Most of us are on the lookout for different ways to create tasty meals that will satisfy ourselves and families. With fast busy lifes and households Time Saving Fast Food will save you time in the kitchen and cooking can be a more enjoyable experience instead of a chore.

Find it in the library here.

Vegan fakeaway, by Katy Beskow

We all love a takeaway. It’s one of life’s little pleasures, and a great way to try food from around the world in the comfort of our own homes. But when hankering after a plant-based treat, the takeaway menu isn’t always the easiest thing to navigate. Vegan Fakeaway offers 70 recipes that deliver fast, easy, vegan takeaway classics that will make sure that you’re able to indulge, whenever the craving strikes.

Find it in the library here.

Nigella express, by Nigella Lawson

The Domestic Goddess is back — and this time it’s instant. Nigella and her style of cooking have earned a special place in our lives, symbolizing all that is best, most pleasurable, most hands-on, and least fussy about good food.

Featuring fabulous fast foods, ingenious shortcuts, terrific time-saving ideas, effortless entertaining tips, and simple, scrumptious meals.

Find it in the library here.

Eat : the little book of fast food, by Nigel Slater

A collection of recipes that you can have to the table in less than an hour . The recipes are generally for two but are easy double or triple up for more.

Find it in the library here.

Fast & fun family food, by Alison Holst

This collection of recipes provides lots of exciting ideas for parents faced with the dilemma of how to provide nutritious, economical – and above all tasty and tempting – meals for their young families.

Find it in the library here.

In the mood for quick family food, by Jo Pratt

Jo Pratt has devised a cookbook full of delicious and healthy food that addresses one of the most challenging problems experienced by busy parents- finding time to cook meals for their family. The recipes are simple, easy to shop for and quick to make, with shortcuts and prepare-ahead tips.

Find it in the library here.

Gordon Ramsay’s fast food

Everyone needs quick, healthy, and delicious recipes for feeding a family–and no ones better at providing them than Gordon Ramsay, the three-star chef famous for his no-nonsense cooking. Here he serves up a feast of doable ideas: more than 100 recipes and 15 great menus for putting food on the table each and every day. Many of the dishes take only 15 minutes to prepare and cook!

Find it in the library here.

The “I love my air fryer” 5-ingredient recipe book, by Robin Fields

Create deliciously quick and easy recipes in your Air Fryer using only 5 ingredients or less! Want simple meals that your entire family (even the pickiest eaters) will devour? This easy-to-use cookbook provides mouthwatering, whole-food dishes for every meal–from breakfast and dinner to appetizers and dessert–using favorite, familiar ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Find it in the library here.

Nadiya’s fast flavours, by Nadia Hussain

Known for her bold and surprising flavour combinations, Nadiya loves to throw the rulebook out of the window, always finding ways to take familiar recipes to the next level. Now she makes it easy for others to do so too, with a host of everyday recipes that are guaranteed to send your taste buds into overdrive. Sour, sweet, spicy, zesty, earthy, fruity, herbal – her delicious recipes offer new and innovative ways to pack your meals with flavour, using clever shortcuts, hacks and handy ingredients to put the va-va-voom into your food without spending hours in the kitchen.

Find it in the library here.

Bon Appétit Palmy!

Top Ten… Children’s books of 2021

It probably comes as no surprise to children and parents alike, that Dog Man and Dav Pilkey reign supreme in the popularity ranks! So, in favour of some balance, we’ve compiled Dog Man and added in more titles from the top 30 of children’s books. Because while it’s good to stick with a good thing, variety is the spice of life!

The Top Seven (Dog Man) titles are:

  1. Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey.
  2. Fetch-22 by Dav Pilkey.
  3. Cat Kid Comic Club (ok, admittedly not exactly Dog Man, sorry team), by Dav Pilkey.
  4. For Whom the Ball Rolls by Dav Pilkey.
  5. Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey.
  6. Mothering Heights, by Dav Pilkey.
  7. Grime and Punishment, by Dav Pilkey.

Dog Man is a comedic graphic novel series about a dog headed cop protecting the city with his friends.

Coming in at number eight…

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball, by Jeff Kinney.

An unexpected inheritance gives the Heffley family a chance to make major improvements to their home. But they soon find that construction isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Rounding out our top ten, our ninth and tenth most popular children’s books are:

A tale of Two Kitties, and Unleashed, both by Dav Pilkey.

Other honourable mentions from the top 30 that are not Dog Man include:

The World’s Worst Parents, by David Walliams.

Are you ready to meet the worst parents ever? Sure, some parents are embarrassing – but they’re NOTHING on this lot. These ten tales of the world’s most spectacularly silly mums and deliriously daft dads will leave you rocking with laughter.

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure, by Jeff Kinney.

Join Roland and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, as they leave the safety of their village and embark on a quest to save Roland’s mom from the White Warlock. Will our heroes survive?

The Grinny Granny Donkey, by Craig Smith.

Grinny Granny Donkey likes to dunk biscuits in her tea, fall asleep in the sun, play her banjo, and cuddle up to her pint-sized granddaughter, Dinky . . . and she has a tendency to lose her false teeth! She’s a clinky-clanky, dunky-drinky … you know how it goes … grinny granny donkey!

Karen’s Roller Skates, by Katy Farina.

It’s going to be a great weekend! Karen has new roller skates and is a very good skater. She’s looking forward to trying some new tricks. But, oh no! Karen falls down and has to go to the hospital. Her wrist is broken! Karen is determined to get everyone she knows — plus someone famous — to sign her cast.

The Sewer Rat Stink, by Geronimo Stilton.

Geronimo and his friend Hercule Poirat venture into the sewers to find the origin of the horrible stink that’s driving all the mice away from New Mouse City–and learn an important lesson about recycling.

The 130 Storey Treehouse, by Terry Denton.

Andy and Terry have added 13 new levels to their treehouse and now it’s even more out of this world than before! There’s a soap bubble blaster, a GRABINATOR (it can grab anything from anywhere at any time), a time-wasting level, a toilet paper factory (because you can never have too much toilet paper), a room full of mechanical grandparents…

Code Name Bananas, by David Walliams.

1940. Britain is at war with Nazi Germany. Eleven-year-old Eric spends his days at the place that makes him most happy: London Zoo. And there’s one animal in particular he loves: Gertrude the gorilla. With bombs falling all over London, Eric must rescue Gertrude. Together with his Uncle Sid, a keeper at the zoo, the three go on the run. But while hiding out at the seaside they uncover a top-secret Nazi plot…

If any of these books catch your fancy, you can click on the linked title to go to our website, which will then show all of the formats of this book. Many of our books are available in a digital format as well as a physical book, so even if the physical book is on loan, you’re away on holiday or the Library is closed for the festive season, you can still get or reserve a copy for the hottest books your Library has on offer. For very popular titles like Dogman it’s a good idea to place a hold on your chosen book – we’ll email you when the copy has been returned and is waiting for you!

Top Ten… Adult Non-Fiction books of 2021

As another year draws to a close, we thought it would be fun to look at what some of our most-borrowed (and beloved) items were for 2021. The search has uncovered some surprises and confirmed what we already suspected – this list of adult non-fiction proves that we love a good mystery, we love a story of triumph, and that we love to cook. Starting with our most popular books at the top – here’s some inspiration for your reading list. They’ve got the public vote that they’re good!

10. Wild at Heart: The Dangers & Delights of a Nomadic Life, by Miriam Lancewood.

Miriam Lancewood’s first book Woman in the Wilderness told how she and her husband, Peter, lived for six years in the wilderness of New Zealand, hunting and gathering, and roaming the mountains like nomads. A year later they left New Zealand to explore other wild places.

9. Becoming, by Michelle Obama.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. A deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.

8. A Richer You: How to Make the Most of Your Money, by Mary Holm.

Author and New Zealand’s financial expert on how to make your money work in the real world. We live in uncertain times. But this need not affect how you can make the most of your money.

7. 7 Ways, by Jamie Oliver.

Naked Chef television personality Jamie Oliver has looked at the top ingredients we buy week in, week out. We’re talking about those meal staples we pick up without thinking – chicken breasts, ground beef, eggs, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and shares 7 achievable, exciting and tasty ways to cook 18 of our favorite ingredients.

6. The Cause of Death, by Cynric Temple-Camp.

Spontaneous combustion and exhumation, drug mules and devil-worshippers, a gruesome killing beneath the Palmerston North Airport control tower, a mysterious death in an historic homestead, rare diseases, drug-mules, devil-worshippers, a first-hand dissection of the infamous Mark Lundy case … provincial pathologist Dr Cynric Temple-Camp lifts the lid on the most unusual stories of death and murder he has encountered during his 30-year career

5. Bella: My Life in Food, by Annabel Langbein.

Annabel Langbein, New Zealand’s well-known food writer, writes about her remarkable life and how food has shaped it, highlighting some of the recipes that have resonated most strongly with her over the years.

4. Impossible: My Story, by Stan Walker.

Stan Walker speaks with startling honesty about abuse and addiction, hardship and excess, cancer and discrimination, and growing up in a family where love and violence were horribly entwined.

3. Supergood, by Chelsea Winter.

 These plant-based recipes are 100% meat-free, egg-free and dairy-free with loads of gluten-free options to inspire every cook.

2. The Official New Zealand Road Code 2019/20: Including Licence and Study Guide.

Your guide to becoming a safe and responsible driver. The essential for all learner drivers!

1. The Quick and the Dead: True Stories of Life and Death from a New Zealand Pathologist, by Cynric Temple-Camp.

A dead body without a trace of trauma; alien parasites; worms of the brain; crocodile attacks; bizarre eating disorders and surgical puzzles. Pathologist, former medical officer and self-confessed death-aficionado Cynric Temple-Camp’s compelling stories will leave you with a new lease on life, as he seeks answers to the questions posed by disease and death.

If any of these books catch your fancy, you can click on the linked title to go to our website, which will then show all of the formats of your chosen book. Many of our books are available in a digital format as well as a physical book, so even if the physical book is on loan, you’re away on holiday or the Library is closed for the festive season, you can still borrow or reserve a copy for the hottest books your Library has on offer.