Blog Archives

No country for old men, Megan Dunn 

Grahame Sydney Paintings 1974-2014
Grahame Sydney (essay by Vincent O’Sullivan)
Craig Potton, $100.00,
ISBN 9781927213254

Myself, Looking Back is Grahame Sydney’s extensive memoir of his childhood and formative artistic years up until his sell-out solo exhibition in 1975. Early on in this detailed and reflective piece, Sydney’s boyhood self asks: “Weren’t all lives like ours?” This question is rhetorical and it hits the right elegiac note, but ultimately the answer is no.

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

Lifting the lid, Colin Peacock

Dirty Politics: How Attack Politics is Poisoning New Zealand’s Political Environment
Nicky Hager
Craig Potton Publishing, $35.00,
ISBN 9781927213360

The Catch: How Fishing Companies Reinvented Slavery and Plunder the Oceans
Michael Field
Awa Press, $40.00,
ISBN 9781927249024

“Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made.” That zinger, attributed to Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, is still a go-to piece of wisdom today for those pointing out that plenty of nastiness goes on behind the scenes, which most people either ignore, or remain blissfully ignorant of. Some journalists today say the same applies to the unsavoury side of getting a good story. For instance, when Mediawatch asked an Australian reporter about the families of Pike River victims being pressed for exclusive and personal interviews, she fell back on that same saw. Some reporters even call their own workplaces “sausage factories”, pumping out cheap, filling content for public consumption day after day, rather than prime cuts.

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Posted in Economics, Media, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

Refugees and New Zealand compassion, Verica Rupar

Refuge New Zealand: A Nation‘s Response to Refugees and Asylum Seekers Ann Beaglehole Otago University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877578502 Andris, Where are You? From Latvia to New Zealand: The Family Story of Andris Apse Ron Crosby Craig Potton Publishing, $40.00,

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Posted in Biography, History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Sociology

Picking winners, Mark Stocker

Peter McLeavey: The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art Dealer Jill Trevelyan Te Papa Press, $65.00, ISBN 9780987668844 Landscape Paintings of New Zealand: A Journey from North to South Christopher Johnstone Godwit, $75.00, ISBN 9781775530114 Promoting Prosperity: The

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Posted in Art, History, Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

How to live in the woods, Don Aimer

Outsiders: Stories from the Fringe of New Zealand Society Gerard Hindmarsh Craig Potton Publishing, $35.00, ISBN 9781877517723 Christchurch Crimes 1850-75: Scandal and Skulduggery in Port and Town Geoffrey W Rice Canterbury University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781927145395 Google maps don’t have

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

Browsing, squawking and squabbling, Janet Hunt

Moa: The Life and Death of New Zealand’s Legendary Bird Quinn Berentson Craig Potton Publishing, $50.00, ISBN 9781877517846 It’s only 10 years since Richard Wolfe’s paperback Moa: The Dramatic Story of the Discovery of a Giant Bird (2003) hit the

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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction and Review

Strange Tookish yearnings, David Round

Shelter From the Storm: The Story of New Zealand’s Backcountry Huts Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint Craig Potton Publishing, $80.00, ISBN 9781877517709 Our ancestors found no tropical paradise here; not even the long settled summers of the American

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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction and Review

Remembering, John Horrocks

Under the Dundas Street Bridge Peter Olds Steele Roberts, $20.00, ISBN 9781877577833 Chords and Other Poems Sam Hunt Craig Potton Publishing, $30.00, ISBN 9781877338181 Voicetracks: Poems 2002-2012 Jan Kemp Puriri Press/Tranzlit, $32.50, ISBN 9780908943388 Like Paul McCartney singing “Remember” at

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Curiosa and curiosa, Dale Williams

The Owl That Fell from the Sky: Stories of a Museum Curator  Brian Gill Awa Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781877551130 Stag Spooner: Wild Man from the Bush  Chris Maclean  Craig Potton Publishing, $50.00,  ISBN 9781877517686 The Indescribable Beauty: Letters Home to

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Posted in Art, Fiction, History, Letters, Literature, Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

Gentleman’s agreement, Tony Simpson

Other People’s Wars: New Zealand in Afghanistan, Iraq and the War on Terror Nicky Hager  Craig Potton Publishing, $45.00, ISBN 9781877517693 About a year ago, shortly after this book was published, I heard Nicky Hager in an interview deploring the

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Posted in Non-fiction and War
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