Blog Archives

Frind of all animals, Linley Boniface

Linley Boniface recalls what Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals meant to her growing up in the “anti-Corfu” of 1970s Palmerston North. The territorial skirmishes of marriage manifest themselves, at my house, in bookcases. We have always had too many…
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Anti-brain fade, Bernard Beckett

Anti-brain fade Self-confessed geek Bernard Beckett is seduced by the history of science Asked to write on a “book that means a lot to you”, I knew I’d write about non-fiction, and indeed a piece of science writing. I am…
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The endurance of Sappho, Alan Loney

Alan Loney records his long-lasting admiration for the lute-playing poet. The persistence of the ancient Greek poet Sappho (c630-570 BC) in the literary imagination of the West is one of the most remarkable aspects of the poetic tradition. While many…
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In the beginning, Peter Russell

Peter Russell looks at his childhood reading through the eyes of Ovid. At the time when the story opens, a little boy named Maui … was playing on the sea-shore. He was so happy, picking up shells and watching the…
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At home in Hobbiton and Boy Land, Gavin Bishop

Gavin Bishop leafs through two boyhood favourites.  The three of us are about the same age – my first picture book, my teddy bear and me. The book lies, or should I say languishes, coddled in tissue and plastic to…
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Beautiful and organic, Christine Johnston

Dunedin writer Christine Johnston rediscovers the still-growing pleasures of Tom’s Midnight Garden. I would have borrowed a copy of Tom’s Midnight Garden from Dunedin Children’s Library, which in those days was located in two of the terraced houses in Stuart…
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Poetic hair, C K Stead

C K Stead recalls encountering Rupert Brooke’s The Complete Poems. During WWII my sister Norma, two and a half years my senior, acquired a “pen-friend” in Rugby, England. I don’t recall the friend’s name, but we sent her family food…
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Enter a messenger, David Hill

Our English teacher in form five was a nice, ineffectual guy. He stuttered, so in typically compassionate boys’ school style, we called him “Static”. His discipline was pretty tenuous; some of the second-year fifth formers (this was the 1950s: score…
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Christmas list

  New Zealand Books reviewers choose which book they’d most like to see in their Christmas stocking and why. Owen Marshall: The Journals of John Cheever, unfortunately out of print; a wonderfully candid and elegant insight into the life of…
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Swamp thing, Elizabeth Smither

Elizabeth Smither seeks out A Girl of the Limberlost. I can still remember my fear of the swamp. Was it because of The Hound of the Baskervilles? But A Girl of the Limberlost held a deeper kind of fear when…
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