I confess I didn’t read all of the books in my eyewateringly large pile of holiday reads. But I accidentally went all #AotearoaReads and it was ACE.
First up, I finished Can you tolerate this? Personal essays by Ashleigh Young. She tells stories about her family and relationships, but also little histories that have captured her imagination – a boy with a rare skeletal disease, a French postman and his project with stones. This combination of the personal and something more expansive (in both space and time) is a winner. I gave this book to my little sister at Christmas time, and she has whisked it away to London (where today it is snowing). She’s going to love it.
Tell you What Great New Zealand Nonfiction 2017 is the third in a series of top writing from magazines, websites, and blogs – pieces so good that it feels good and proper to have them in print. They are anything but ephemeral.
Editors Jolisa Gracewood and Susanna Andrew have again created a brilliant buffet of thoughts and words. You can dip in anywhere and read something that’ll grip you to the last full stop. It’s joyously diverse in topic – kererū, Rugby World Cups, tikanga, Hudson and Halls. It is also geographically varied. The stories are not just set in Aotearoa but range from London to Iceland as well as Kiwi locales like Poplar Avenue and Ashdown Place.
Tell you what reminds me of listening to Radio New Zealand. You’ll find yourself deeply immersed in something you never knew about, and didn’t know you were interested in. That’s magic.
#AotearoaReads is the gift that keeps on giving well past the New Year. I’ve started reading Write to the Centre: Navigating Life With Gluestick and Words by Helen Lehndorf.
Other recent #AotearoaReads I loved:
- Hera Lindsay Bird
- The Gecko Annual (perfect school hols fodder – we have acted out some of the comics and played Naked Grandmother a few times)
- Mansfield and me Sarah Laing
- Let’s take a walk Nicole Phillipson, illustrated by Hannah Beehre
- The Chimes Anna Smaill
- Sam Zabel and the magic pen Dylan Horrocks
- The scene of the crime Steve Braunias
- The villa at the edge of the empire: One hundred ways to read a city Fiona Farrell
- In love with these times: My life with Flying Nun Records Roger Shepherd
- 101 works of art Christchurch Art Gallery
- Three words: An anthology of Aotearoa/NZ women’s comics
- Through the eyes of a miner: The photography of Joseph Divis Simon Nathan
- Grandma McGarvey
- Bungalow Patrick Reynolds
- Stuff I forgot to tell my daughter Michele A’Court
Find out more about the New Zealand Book Council’s Aotearoa Summer Reads.
Tell you what: Great New Zealand Nonfiction 2017
edited by Susanna Andrew and Jolisa Gracewood
Published by Auckland University Press