Blog Archives

Carnival anarchists, Martin Edmond

Goneville: A Memoir Nick Bollinger Awa Press, $39.00, ISBN 9781927249543 This Explains Everything Richard von Sturmer Atuanui Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780994137609 The authors of these two books have a few things in common: they were both born in late 1950s

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Discovery on the great southern continent, Julia Millen

Dispatches from Continent Seven: An Anthology of Antarctic Science Rebecca Priestley (ed) Awa Press, $55.00, ISBN 9781927249055 New Zealand’s connection with Antarctica began with early explorers. Abel Janszoon Tasman and Captain James Cook sailed south seeking Terra Australis Incognita and

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Science

Fizz with zip, Wystan Curnow

Zizz! The Life and Art of Len Lye In his own words with Roger Horrocks Awa Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781927249215 Back in 1965, aged 26, I walked into the Howard Wise Gallery in New York and saw the best kinetic

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

Telling our stories to ourselves, Chris Else

Jerome Kaino: My Story Jerome Kaino Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143573562 Wildboy Brando Yelavich Penguin, $35.00, ISBN 9780143573159 The Good Doctor Lance O’Sullivan Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143572510 How Bizarre Simon Grigg Awa Press, $38.00, ISBN 9781927249222 Lydia Bradey: Going Up is

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Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Memoir, Non-fiction, 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, Review

Lucky to survive, Nicholas Butler

Greece Crete Stalag Dachau: A New Zealand Soldier’s Encounters with Hitler’s Army
Jack Elworthy
Awa Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781927249123

The Lost Pilot: A Memoir
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143568766

There is a void at the heart of both these WWII memoirs. In Greece Crete Stalag Dachau, it is the time Jack Elworthy spent in Stalag VIIIB, four of his five years at war but given just eight pages in the book, a time he’s tried to forget. In Holman’s book, it is the space left by his father, lost first to the Navy, then to the war, and later to drink, gambling, prison and, finally, cancer.

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Investigation: “The health and safety event of a generation”, Jane Westaway

Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and Why 29 Men Died Rebecca Macfie Awa Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781877551901 Every New Zealander of voting age should read this book. It recounts the decades-long lead-up to an afternoon, nearly three years ago,

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Opening the ears, Ross Somerville

How to Hear Classical Music  Davinia Caddy Awa Press, $26.00, ISBN 9781877551000 At the end of June this year in Wellington, Michael Houstoun presented the centrepiece of his Beethoven Recycled series of piano recitals, in which he was playing the

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Posted in Music, Non-fiction, Review

Square meals, Ruth Nichol

The Colour of Food: A Memoir of Life, Love and Dinner Anne Else Awa Press, $12.00, ISBN 9781877551925 Back in the days when most New Zealanders ate the same stuff – mince, chops, sausages, a roast on Sunday – the

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Posted in ebooks, Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

A taste of the salt, Anne French

How to Sail a Boat Matt Vance Awa Press, $26.00, ISBN 9781877551857 “We were about five hundred miles off the coast of California … .” That’s how Mid’s best stories start. I haven’t seen him for years now, but I still

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Sport
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