Ever wondered what the staff at the Ōamaru Library are reading? Well here's your chance!

Check out our list below for all the goodies the staff are reading and their reviews for this month.


Debbie's pick: Swimming with seals by Victoria Whitworth (Adult Non-Fiction)

This is a memoir of intense physical and personal experience, exploring how swimming with seals, gulls and orcas in the cold waters off Orkney provided Victoria Whitworth with an escape from a series of life crises and helped her to deal with intolerable loss.

- This is a stunning memoir that not only explores the inner and outer experiences of swimming with seals, gulls, and orcas in the cold waters off Orkney but also a deep dive into Orkney’s history and myth, poetry, local folklore, and archaeology.  


Jenny's pick: On Tyranny – Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder (Adult Non-Fiction)

In the twentieth century, European democracies collapsed into fascism, Nazism and communism. These were movements in which a leader or a party claimed to give voice to the people, promised to protect them from global existential threats, and rejected reason in favour of myth. European history shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary people can find themselves in unimaginable circumstances.

-This small easy-to-read handbook has been written by American Levin Professor of History at Yale University, Timothy Snyder. As an expert in the origins of the Holocaust, Snyder imparts an understanding on the ease at which democracies can collapse. He pulls together 20 lessons from the collapse of democracies, into fascism, Nazism and communism and provides the reader with a blueprint for resisting a slide away from democracy to something more sinister. I loved this book for its simplicity of analysis (can be read within a couple of hours), collating a vast store of lessons from 20th century history and helping us to remember the importance of freedoms that often we take for granted.​


Susanna's pick: Dark rise by C.S Pacat (Young Adult)

The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember. For centuries they have kept vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns. Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run in London, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant urges him to seek out the Stewards, Will is ushered into a secret world, where he must train to fight for the Light in the oncoming war.

C.S Pacat triumphs again in this rich fantasy. Full of magic, mystery, and a hint of romance, this book is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Naomi Novik.


Lynley's pick: Tale of Ginger and Pickles by Beatrix Potter (Children's Early Reader)

Ginger and Pickles (a terrier and a ginger cat) kept a very popular shop. Their customers loved to buy their provisions there, but they were less keen to pay for them and ran up a gret deal of credit, making poor Ginger and Pickles lives very difficult indeed.

- I was drawn to this early reader book from the children’s area by the wonderful illustration of a Beatrix Potter character who resembles Peter Rabbit. The two characters of this delightfully told story run a village shop. The story unfolds as many of the local villagers come in to put their groceries ‘on credit’. There is a layer of understanding for children and a layer for adults. So clever! No wonder it is a classic!


Glenys's picks: Margaret's Unicorn by Briony May Smith (Children's Picture Book)

A little girl finds and takes care of a lost baby unicorn in this beautiful and utterly transporting picture book. Margaret's whole world changes when her family moves to a cottage by the sea to be near her grandma. One evening, Margaret spots a mist over the water. No, that's not mist ... clouds, maybe? No, they're unicorns descending onto the shore!

This magical story is set in the Scottish highlands, capturing the emotional difficulties of a young girl as she fills the lonely days before finding new friends. The exquisite artwork by Briony Smith captures the colours, landscape, and atmosphere of life in the highlands, and her text delivers a delightful tale with a satisfying ending.


Little Bo Peep’s library book by Cressida Cowell (Children's Picture Book)

Little Bo Peep goes to the library to look for a book called How To Find Sheep. But there are other characters browsing the shelves too! Will she find those troublesome sheep before the Big Bad Wolf finds her? Step inside this amazing book, discover the true magic of reading and meet all your favourite nursery rhyme characters, including Little Boy Blue, Mother Goose, the Big Bad Wolf and the Queen of Hearts.

- For children who know their nursery rhyme characters, this book is loaded with visual puns and characters to identify, and I guarantee the adults will be chuckling too!