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Books Just Added

A list of titles most recently added to the Scheme. View the full catalogue or login to add a title to your booklist.

 

Genre : Non Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2021
Pages : 291
Tim Heath's decision to go to teachers' college may have been pragmatic - they paid an allowance - but once there he was bitten by the education bug and clocked up more than forty years at the chalk face. Big schools, small schools, urban and rural schools, a stint in Samoa, and more with the Correspondence School, Tim has been there and done that.

Encapsulated by the subtitle, 'the joys, ambitions, ideals, stuff-ups and heartaches of a teaching life', this open and honest memoir brings together the professional and private lives of a thoughtful and passionate New Zealand educator.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"One of the more enjoyable NZ books that I've read - very interesting and enjoyable."

"The author is self-effacing and often funny. The situations and stories he writes about are poignant and his frustration with himself and bureaucracy is evident."

"Because it's set in New Zealand, his experiences will resonate with most readers."

"The book is well-written and easy to read."

"Tim's private life is vulnerably and honestly exposed in a careful way."

"Tim weaves his philosophy of education through his experience of being a teacher in the system in a seamless way."

"Tim's passion for education seeps through."

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Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Community, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Learning, Social commentary/perspectives, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2021
Pages : 278
Astrobiologist Theo Byrne has a demanding day job simulating possible life on other planets, but the biggest challenge he faces is raising his young neurodiverse son alone, after his wife dies. Robin, aged nine, is a troubled youngster intensely focused on the state of the environment and is unable to understand why no one is doing anything about it.

From the joy and wonder of the natural world and society's failure to protect it, to the experimental neurological therapy Robin undergoes, this is a wholly original and thought-provoking story distinguished by its beautiful relationship between a father and his son, and the more urgent question of the future of the planet.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"This book is gripping. Robbie especially is a very compelling character."

"This is a heartfelt and heart-breaking story. A 10 out of 10."

"All the characters were very real. Robin, the troubled boy, is truly beautiful."

"I found the astrobiology facts to be fascinating."

"I would love to discuss how the rest of my group reacted to the book."

"I thought it was a very original vehicle for discussing many themes, especially climate change, the consequences of human intervention and violation of the natural environment."

"I was fascinated by the references to the President - clearly Donald Trump, but never named as such."

"There are some very weighty themes. Although an easy enough and quite compelling read, it is not something you can read on a surface level."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Environmental, Grief/loss, Medical/Health, Relationships, Science & Technology, Social commentary/perspectives, America, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2017
Pages : 465
Who doesn't love a bargain when it comes to buying clothes, but at what cost? A garment factory fire ... an American corporation ... a whistleblower ... a courtroom.

From Bangladesh to Malaysia to Washington D.C., this journey across the world has a company lawyer and an investigative journalist lifting the lid on the international garment trade.

Comprehensively researched, this is a compelling and challenging thriller revealing just what is at stake when corporate greed runs rampant.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"For those who enjoyed John Grisham's early works, this will be catnip!"

"This is a fascinating read. Although it is fiction, there is a lot of factual information around the supply chain of a big corporation."

"An interesting and well-researched story about globalisation and the fashion industry."

"Good insight into how the legal system works or does not work."

"Personal details regarding the characters, the intensity with which the story is told, makes this an excellent read."

"This story has parallels in many societies where international companies can apply undue pressure for cheap goods; even our own is not exempt from exploiting workers."

"The characters' stories are rather predictable however they do carry the story forward and allows the author to delve into the complex reasons behind the exploitation of workers in poorer countries."

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Categories: Fiction, Human Rights, Morals/Ethics, Social commentary/perspectives, USA, Asia, Bangladesh, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2021
Pages : 272
Astoundingly, there is more biodiversity in the earth than above it, and in this expose farmer and commentator Matthew Evans digs down into this essential top layer of the Earth. Pulling together history, agriculture and science, this highly readable account of soil sets out the essential role it plays in our lives and the future of the planet.

Practical as well as passionate, this story reminds us of the interconnectedness of all natural systems and the responsibility we have for the state of the environment.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"This book is easy to read and although a serious topic, has touches of humour."

"Highly readable. I am buying a copy!"

"Anyone with an interest in soil, gardening, growing and eating vegetables, health and the future of agriculture would appreciate this book."

"Overall, 'Soil' is a great book to read and an easy read as it is very engaging."

"The author writes well and with enthusiasm. He writes from both a world and very personal perspective."

"When reading this book you will gain a deeper understanding and love of the planet and nurturing what is good in the soil."

"I think people will learn a lot from this book, be they gardener, knowledge-seeker, or a budding environmentalist."

"By the end of the book, I had a positive thicket of scraps of paper marking points I wanted to share with others."

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Categories: Non fiction, Contemporary, Environmental, Food, Learning, Science & Technology, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2020
Pages : 280
Widowed when her children were very young, Dr Joan Louwrens decided to pursue 'adventure medicine' which allowed her to work on all seven continents and many of the world's oceans, frequently with her daughters in tow.

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, to every landscape in between, including the Australian outback and the African savannah, this is captivating storytelling combining fascinating medical stories with an exciting travelogue of the remote and inhospitable places of the world.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I loved this book. Joan is adventurous, humble, skilled and tells a wonderful, descriptive story."

"The medical stories are both interesting and engaging."

"I enjoyed the way the author interspersed medical case anecdotes with clear descriptions of the locations and the people she met."

"I liked the way she included personal details, such as her lack of self-confidence, her humility, her early widowhood, motherhood etc."

"I appreciated the map of the world showing the places she writes about."

"My knowledge of life in extreme places was broadened, and safely so from my sofa."

"I think this book should be included in the scheme as it would appeal to more than merely those with an interest in medical stories."

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Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Adventure/Exploration, Contemporary, Medical/Health, Personal Interests, Travel, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2018
Pages : 421
In 1952, a meteorite destroys the East Coast of USA. With the likelihood that earth will become uninhabitable, drastic action on a global scale is called for. The plan - colonise the moon and then Mars. When the International Aerospace Coalition is formed, WWII pilot and mathematician Elma York is determined that nothing and no one will stop her from being an astronaut.

Engaging characters, credible science and a gentle exploration of contemporary issues within its historical setting ensure this alternate history of the space race is as exciting as it is thought-provoking.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A wide range of age groups would enjoy this book and there is a great deal to discuss."

"I liked the well-developed, sympathetic characters."

"It's well-researched and addresses contemporary themes (eg, sexism, racism, mental health, climate change)."

"My daughter also loved this book and was so impressed she has reserved the second in the series."

"Excellent vehicle for considering the various themes in a different light."

"While the book addresses a range of social issues, its main character is white and very privileged. In this sense, this alternative history is not that radical, but is perhaps more realistic for it."

"A most enjoyable read and not one I would normally read."

"The characters in general are well-drawn, and the author makes every effort to round them out. Even the arch-nemesis has positive qualities."

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Categories: Fiction, Adventure/Exploration, Community, Dystopia/Futuristic, Environmental, Feminism, Historical, Relationships, Science & Technology, Science Fiction, America, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Non Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2021
Pages : 266
At the age of fifty-five, Kyle Mewburn embraced a transition that had been pending her whole life - from male to female. Growing up in 1960s' Queensland as a boy, Kyle always knew that to survive this role and its expectations, she would have to 'fake it'. She did so convincingly for decades - there was university, travel, marriage, establishing a home and a life in Central Otago, and becoming an award-winning writer of children's books.

Brave, honest and engaging, this thought-provoking memoir offers direct insight into the experience of growing up in the wrong body and the challenges of gender in a world unsympathetic to difference.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Very well-written and enjoyable to read. Very honest and thought-provoking."

"Easy to read, engaging and honest."

"An interesting perspective on small town Australian culture and Kyle's engagement with it."

"A very clear, honest, personal journey."

"I hope this book would appeal to men and women, young and older. It's very topical."

"Being a 'trans person' may be off-putting for some, but in fact the author's writing is excellently expressed."

"This reader learned quite a lot about the trans situation, and grateful for the opportunity to read this book."

"Transgender topic is well presented and details of Kyle's life are clearly given - warts and all."

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Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Biography, Contemporary, Gender Issues, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, Australia, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texan oil tycoon, and Ana Moreno come from very different worlds. When Daniel visits Madrid with his father who is drumming up business with the fascist regime, Ana is their hotel attendant, a young woman whose family have been devastated by the Civil War and its fallout. Daniel's passion is photography and it is through the images he captures that he comes face to face with the realities of General Franco's reign.

Both a love story and a mystery involving orphaned children, this is a compelling story of the havoc wreaked by the fear and oppression of 1950's Spain, well supported by cited primary sources.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A really good read with a mix of chilling and some lighter moments."

"The elements of suspense throughout when danger threatens are well-handled."

"The short, almost 'snapshot' chapters keep the story moving along."

"The book left me disturbed at what happened but also because I didn't have a great understanding or comprehension of this time in Spain."

"No negatives from me. It was a really good read."

"I liked the way the author inserted frequent historical comments, reports etc from authoritative figures to 'ground' the events."

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Categories: Fiction, Historical, Human Rights, Love story, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, USA, Spain, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2020
Pages : 272
In an appealing mashup of history and memoir, museum expert Rachel Morris begins a journey to uncover her family's bohemian past while also telling the story of museums.

From collections and curators, archives and artefacts, to the author's own 'Museum of Me', this fascinating immersion into memorabilia and memory making, both personal and societal, is a gently reflective dive into the value of our stories and how we preserve them.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"It was a delight to read about something so many of us do and for the same reasons as the author. I too had to sort out the family 'stuff'."

"This is a book that would encourage much discussion and would have wide appeal particularly among the older readers."

"I think readers who love museums would be those most likely to enjoy this book."

"There is some sexual content which is judiciously handled and would lead to interesting discussion in some groups I think."

"The gently reflective nature of the narrative is appealing, as is the author's kind depiction of a fascinating line of people."

"A very thought-provoking read from all points of view."

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Categories: Non fiction, Family Saga, Historical, Inspirational, Personal Interests, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, UK, 2023 Titles - Available Now

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2020
Pages : 382
Between the two of them, teenager Lenni Pettersson and octogenarian Margot Macrae have clocked up a hundred years of living. Patients of the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital, their days are numbered, but not their determination to stave off the boredom and restrictions of hospital care. Wrangling her way into a new art therapy programme, Lenni teams up with Margot in a project to create one hundred artworks to tell the story of their lives.

Revealed through the lives of its beautifully drawn characters, this tender and funny story is a celebration of friendship, loss and love.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Fantastic book - very well worth reading."

"Funny and tender and a real page turner."

"The characters are beautifully drawn. Lenni is a very sympathetic character and the reader is drawn to her. Margot too is a great character."

"Despite the fact that this book's main character has a terminal illness, it is not all gloomy, and in fact is very funny in parts."

"There is a depth of seriousness to this book - it looks at terminal illness steadily and without mawkishness. It is very appealing."

"A lot of reminiscing which I usually dislike, but I loved it."

"The writing is light and zips along. Despite a lot of hard topics being covered, the tone is warmth and happiness."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Grief/loss, Humour, Inspirational, Medical/Health, Relationships, Religion, Social commentary/perspectives, Uplifting, Young narrator, UK, 2023 Titles - Available Now

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