What We're Reading

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Neil

The Penguin NZ Travel Guide North island by Diana and Jeremy Pope (Penguin)

This is the 2009 revised version of what was originally the Mobil Guide, published in 1973. It was, and is, a deserved classic. The historical sections are terrific - clear, concise, interesting and colourful. The facts and figures are helpful, and the recommendations of sights worth visiting are spot on. This book should be in every car glovebox, it certainly makes any road trip around the North Island even more interesting!

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Neil

Volcanoes of Auckland: The Essential Guide, by Bruce Hayward, Graeme Murdoch & Gordon Maitland (Auckland University Press)

Every household in Auckland should have a copy of this book, and every visitor to Auckland should at least take a look at it. The geology of Auckland and its volcanic origins are fascinating, and this book explains the history and science in an accessible but authoritative way, with stunning photographs and clear diagrams. I thought I new quite a bit about this, but I've learned so much more.

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Neil

Home AKL

This is the book of the exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, showcasing the best of contemporary Pacific art. It is superb. The art is stunning, the reproductions thoughtful, accurate and well-arranged, the essays interesting and provocative. Brilliant stuff!

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Neil

I'm Not Really Here: A Life of Two Halves by Paul Lake

OK, I do like a good English football memoir. Just a pity most of them aren't very good. This one is, although the writing does struggle with cliche as is common in this genre. Paul Lake was a rising star, playing for Manchester City and on the cusp of a great future with the English national team, almost certain of a place in their 1994 World Cup campaign when he suffered that most classic football injury: a ruptured cruciate ligament.

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Neil

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver (November 2012)

I've only recently come to Barbara Kingsolver. Somehow I missed The Poisonwood Bible, and until The Lacuna, I'd read only a few excellent short stories. Now, I wasn't wildly impressed with The Lacuna. I thought it was too long, and the Mexican bit I could have done without, really. I did like the second part; I thought the McCarthyist paranoia in 1950s America was beautifully done, but overall, I had some reservations. I have very, very minor reservations about this new book.

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Neil

Winter Journal by Paul Auster

Winter Journal is a memoir, and a companion piece to The Invention of Solitude. It is in part about the death of his mother in 2002, just as the previous book was in part about the death of his father over 30 years before. It's an extraordinarily intimate book, despite being written in the second person, and will resonate with anyone who thinks deeply about the passing of years, and the events that accumulate during a life: love and sex, death and marriage, loss, eating, moving house, pleasure, pain.