What We're Reading

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Neil

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss, by Amy Bloom (Granta 2022)

In 2020, Amy Bloom and her much loved husband travelled to Switzerland, where Dignitas helped Brian to end his life, due to his diagnosis with Alzheimers disease. It's very honest, surprising, heartbreaking, compassionate, angry, and funny. A beautifully written, passionate memoir, that fills a bit of a gap in the available literature around euthanasia.

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Neil

Everything I Know About Books: An Insider Look At Publishing in Aotearoa , edited by Odessa Owens and Theresa Crewdson (Whitireia Publishing 2023)

This is a vibrant anthology of writing about the book trade in Aotearoa, written by a well chosen cross section of key figures in all sides of the industry. It's a real insiders view of how the industry works, how it's structured, how everything at every stage actually works. A vital book for anyone even slightly interested.

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Neil

Question 7, by Richard Flanagan (Knopf 2023)

I haven't read Richard Flanagan before, and this seems like a brilliant place to start. Question 7 is a memoir, a meandering, drifty kind of memoir, which shouldn't work, but does work, brilliantly. He writes of his father, enslaved by the Japanese near Hiroshima when the bomb is dropped, through the history of the Manhattan Project to develop the bomb, and the life of the Americans who flew the fateful plane. H. G.

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Neil

Listen: On Music, Sound and Us, by Michel Faber (Canongate 2023)

Michel Faber is better known as an inventive novelist, for such varied titles as 'The Crimson Petal and the White', and 'The Book of Strange New Things'. In this book he turns his attention to one of his great passes: music. He explores the subject deeply, and explores what is happening to us when we listen to music, why we listen, the effect of age and illness, what good and bad taste are etc. It's a fascinating book, like having a highly opinionated older brother tell you what's what - sometimes you will agree, sometimes you won't.

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Neil

A Life Less Punishing: 13 Ways to Love the Life You're Given, by Matt Heath (A&U, 2024)

Matt Heath had an epiphany a few years ago. He determined to find out why his life wasn't as good and fulfilling as he wanted it to be, and why he was always grumpy. He read the classics, the stoics, Marcus Aurelius, and consulted the world's experts in science, philosophy and psychology.