Blog Archives

Scaring them silly, Linda Burgess

Gladys Goes to War Glyn Harper (Jenny Cooper illus) Puffin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143507208 Speed King David Hill (Phoebe Morris illus) Puffin, $25.00, ISBN 9780143507222 My Grandpa is a Dinosaur Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones Puffin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143507192 Did You

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

Consecrated ground, Ian Lochhead

Historic Churches: A Guide to Over 60 Early New Zealand Churches
Linda Burgess (Robert Burgess photographer)
Random House, $50.00, ISBN 9781775537335

Worship: A History of New Zealand Church Design
Bill McKay (Jane Ussher photographer)
Godwit, $85.00, ISBN 9781775538363

One of the inexplicable paradoxes of the human condition is the way in which the religious impulse leads, irresistibly, to the creation of beauty, but also, with seemingly equal passion, to its destruction. Throughout history, buildings and works of art have been created to serve religion, only to be destroyed by reforming zealots who see such works as inimical to worship. The iconoclastic purges of the early Christian churches, the destruction of images and the demolition of monastic buildings during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and, in our own day, the dynamiting of monumental Buddha figures by the Taliban in Afghanistan, all testify to these contradictory urges.

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Posted in Architecture, Non-fiction, Review

History, myth and jollity, Linda Burgess

Roly the Anzac Donkey
Glyn Harper (Jenny Cooper illus)
Puffin, $20.00,
ISBN 9780143506638

The Song of Kauri
Melinda Szymanik (Dominique Ford illus)
Scholastic, $27.00,
ISBN 9781775432289

I Am Not a Worm
Scott Tulloch
Scholastic, $19.00,
ISBN 9781775432517

Zoo Train
Sally Sutton (Daron Parton illus)
Walker Books, $28.00,
ISBN 9781922179876

There’s an immutable force that stands between a child and a book: the adult who buys it. There’s already been the adult who wrote it, published it, reviewed it, stocked it, displayed it – all that has to have taken place before the child can say that magical – sometimes chilling – word: “Again.”

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

Rhyming pleasures, Linda Burgess

Over the Hill to Greytown
Tania Atkinson (Viv Walker illus)
Wai Art Press, $20.00,
ISBN 9780473252526

Bruiser and the Big Snow
Gavin Bishop
Random House, $21.00,
ISBN 9781775534860

Toucan Can
Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis
Gecko Press, $20.00,
ISBN 9781877467547

The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so Sophie, who was having tea with her mummy in the kitchen, spied Tom Thumb, who was in the cupboard. Can’t go under it, can’t go over it, and Alfie got in first and the door shut behind him. I’ll eat you up, I love you so. Your father was put in a pie by Mrs McGregor. And into the water they fell. Frances will only eat bread and jam. Captain Najork came with his hired sportsmen. The cat from Brazil caught a very bad chill. “EEEEEOWWWFFTZ” said Scarface Claw. The little yellow digger will sort it.

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

No getting away from the man, Linda Burgess

Civilisation: Twenty Places on the Edge of the World  Steve Braunias Awa Press, $36.00, ISBN 9781877551352 Steve Braunias is one of our very best writers. How does he do it, wonders the reviewer, as within a sentence Braunias moves from

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction, Review

The cult of celebrity, Linda Burgess

Mike McRoberts: Beyond the Front Line  Mike McRoberts HarperCollins, $39.99, ISBN 9781869509392   Scrim: The Man with a Mike  William Renwick Victoria University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9780864736956   “I like to think I have my father’s courage and humour, and

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Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Bovver boys

What they wrote A taste of contributor comments over our first 20 years   On New Zealand Books My hope is that New Zealand Books will provide a forum for frank discussion that dares to rise above the suffocating confines

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Posted in Comment

Debuts and returns, Linda Burgess

Enemy at the Gate  Philippa Werry Scholastic New Zealand, $17.99  ISBN 9781869438135 Old Drumble  Jack Lasenby  HarperCollins, $16.99, ISBN 978169506742 Chicken Feathers  Joy Cowley and David Elliot (illus) Puffin Books, $17.95, ISBN 9780143303909 Five (and a bit) Days in the

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

Faith and works, Linda Burgess

Women with a Mission: Rediscovering Missionary Wives in Early New Zealand Cathy Ross Penguin Books, $39.95, ISBN 0143020501 Be careful what you leave behind you. That unflattering photo could well be the one chosen for your obituary (should you be

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Posted in Gender, History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Not everyone gets a bargain, Linda Burgess

I See Red: The Shocking Story of a Battle against the Warehouse Judith Bell aka Stephen Tindall – the woman Awa Press, $29.99, ISBN 0958250979 I do think it’s a mistake to put the word “shocking” on any book. I’ll

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review
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