Stuff.co.nz - Books

    Sinead Recaps The Classics: The Great Gatsby

    Sinead Recaps The Classics: The Great Gatsby


    Okay so I know The Great Gatsby is supposed to be about the disintegration of the American dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess, but I think you'll find it's actually about is Thirst...

    Okay so I know The Great Gatsby is supposed to be about the disintegration of the American dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess, but I think you'll find it's actually about is Thirst Trapping.
    Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2018 finalist 'Emotional support animal' by Kathryn van Beek

    Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2018 finalist 'Emotional support animal' by Kathryn van Beek


    Kathryn van Beek is engaged in doctoral study on the topic "writing to change the world". Inbetween changing the world, she's developing a collection of short stories called Pet, which explores the relationships we have with animals. This story,...

    Kathryn van Beek is engaged in doctoral study on the topic "writing to change the world". Inbetween changing the world, she's developing a collection of short stories called Pet, which explores the relationships we have with animals. This story, "Emotional support animal" won third place in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2018, sponsored by Penguin Random House NZ.
    In 2019, immigration novels are especially timely

    In 2019, immigration novels are especially timely


    Not long before Election Day, 2016, Samira Ahmed completed the first draft of her novel, Internment, a dystopian narrative about the rounding up of...

    Not long before Election Day, 2016, Samira Ahmed completed the first draft of her novel, Internment, a dystopian narrative about the rounding up of Muslim-Americans.
    Who's reading what and how often?

    Who's reading what and how often?


    OPINION: As 2018 limped to its end I consoled myself with the thought that at least one goal had been achieved. My reading habits having long withered on the vine, I'd set myself a target of 12 books for the year. A judicious December selection, a slim...

    OPINION: As 2018 limped to its end I consoled myself with the thought that at least one goal had been achieved. My reading habits having long withered on the vine, I'd set myself a target of 12 books for the year. A judicious December selection, a slim collection of brilliant essays, even meant I had a couple of weeks to spare.

    Lulu in Hollywood was written by the silent movie icon Louise Brooks and first published in 1982. I had purchased it in a Burbank secondhand store in May. The owner of the establishment had no idea who Brooks was â€“ an irony that would have amused the star: the antipodean tourist knew more about her than the Los Angeles local.

    My smugness was short-lived. A casual comment by the wife put the "achievement" of reading 12 books in 12 months into much-needed perspective. Janine has a Facebook friend in Israel who consumed 100 books in the calendar year 2018.  

    How do such numbers stack up against the New Zealand average? Cursory research reveals some interesting statistics. About the same time I was discovering that not all who live in and around Hollywood know their silent film history, the New Zealand Book Council was asking questions of 2261 of us. The resulting report provides insight into whose reading what and how often.

    At first glance, the news is good. Eight-six per cent of adults in this country "had read or started to read at least one book in 2018". This logic rather puts intention in the same category as execution and you wonder at the leap of faith required to extrapolate out from a sample pool of under 3000 to make claims about an adult readership of 2.8 million. The real eye-opener, though, is the suggestion those in this category get through 33.3 books per annum. Presumably, the ".3" accounts for texts begun and not finished.

    Whichever way you look at it, my paltry 12 texts is well below the girly swot national average. Moreover, whereas 80 per cent of the 33.3 book reading public are addressing themselves to fiction, and 95 per cent read both fiction and non-fiction, I'm part of the unenviable minority who eschews novels, short shorts and poetry completely. My penchant for biographies, autobiographies and memoirs exceeds general trends.  
    Beloved book The Kuia and the Spider adapted for the stage

    Beloved book The Kuia and the Spider adapted for the stage


    The children's book The Kuia and the Spider is a Kiwi classic, as cherished as The Hungry Caterpillar and Hairy Maclary, and will soon transform from the page to the...

    The children's book The Kuia and the Spider is a Kiwi classic, as cherished as The Hungry Caterpillar and Hairy Maclary, and will soon transform from the page to the stage.
    Book extract: The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti

    Book extract: The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti


    I am not yet seventeen years of age, but I have a thought that I may be dying. They don't say that, of course, but I can read it in their many kindnesses and the way they look at one another when I speak of the future. Perhaps I do not need their...

    I am not yet seventeen years of age, but I have a thought that I may be dying. They don't say that, of course, but I can read it in their many kindnesses and the way they look at one another when I speak of the future. Perhaps I do not need their confirmation, for surely I wouldn't see all I can in the night if I weren't playing in the shadow of death. So when they come and ask about my life, I tell them all. What else is there for me to do? I don't feel it then, the brokenness of my own body. I feel only the brokenness of the world.
    Three of the best books for summer reading

    Three of the best books for summer reading


    1. Sex and the Single Girl: The Unmarried Woman's Guide to Careers, the Apartment, Diet, Fashion, Money, and Men, by Helen Gurley...

    1. Sex and the Single Girl: The Unmarried Woman's Guide to Careers, the Apartment, Diet, Fashion, Money, and Men, by Helen Gurley Brown
    'The Singularity of Sleep' – runner-up in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2018

    'The Singularity of Sleep' – runner-up in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2018


    Haematologist Eileen Merriman describes herself as a doctor by day, and a writer by night – so she knows about the lack of sleep described in this story. Her young adult fiction novel Invisibly Breathing will be published in March...

    Haematologist Eileen Merriman describes herself as a doctor by day, and a writer by night – so she knows about the lack of sleep described in this story. Her young adult fiction novel Invisibly Breathing will be published in March this year. This story, The Singularity of Sleep was named runner-up in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2018, sponsored by Penguin Random House.
    Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver: first major novel to take on Trump

    Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver: first major novel to take on Trump


    Nonfiction writers began publishing books about Donald Trump even before Sean Spicer could start lying for him. Fiction writers, though, have been slower to incorporate the Mogul into their...

    Nonfiction writers began publishing books about Donald Trump even before Sean Spicer could start lying for him. Fiction writers, though, have been slower to incorporate the Mogul into their work.
    Marie Colvin gave everything to report the horrors of war

    Marie Colvin gave everything to report the horrors of war


    In the autumn of 2011, I caught a glimpse of foreign correspondent Marie Colvin at the Radisson hotel in Tripoli, Libya. I noticed the black patch on her left eye first. But there was something more that made me...

    In the autumn of 2011, I caught a glimpse of foreign correspondent Marie Colvin at the Radisson hotel in Tripoli, Libya. I noticed the black patch on her left eye first. But there was something more that made me pause. 
    Summer reading list: Let your nostalgia run wild

    Summer reading list: Let your nostalgia run wild


    OPINION: Among other interests listed in my Tinder bio: "Books, but don't ask for...

    OPINION: Among other interests listed in my Tinder bio: "Books, but don't ask for recommendations."
    Adequacy, independence of NZ's air accident investigations questioned

    Adequacy, independence of NZ's air accident investigations questioned


    Several New Zealand pilots and aviation experts have claimed investigations into the country's air accidents are often inadequate...

    Several New Zealand pilots and aviation experts have claimed investigations into the country's air accidents are often inadequate and lack independence.
    Books that serve as a comfort blanket

    Books that serve as a comfort blanket


    OPINION: I am so ready to kick 2018's bony arse goodbye. It has been a true "how to eat an elephant" situation: take one bite at a time until you are done. I am a little sick to my...

    OPINION: I am so ready to kick 2018's bony arse goodbye. It has been a true "how to eat an elephant" situation: take one bite at a time until you are done. I am a little sick to my stomach.
    Corin Dann: My summer reading list

    Corin Dann: My summer reading list


    TVNZ presenter and book lover Corin Dann shares his summer reading list. No crime novels...

    TVNZ presenter and book lover Corin Dann shares his summer reading list. No crime novels included.