Not Drowning, Reading
By Andrew Relph (Fremantle Press, $30)
A memoir for readers, Not Drowning, Reading is an affecting meditation on a life of reading (or not reading). Relph had a reading disability as a child so there’s a real intensity to this “literary conversation”. I was simultaneously moved and spirited by Relph’s reflections on what books can mean to a child, a teenager, and an adult, in fact what books can bring to a whole life.
The Prince of Soul and the Lighthouse
By Fredrik Brouneus (Steam Press, $30 paperback, $12 ebook)
The first book from brand new New Zealand speculative fiction publisher, Steam Press, The Prince of Soul and the Lighthouse bodes very well for the future of NZ publishing. A very clever, very funny and very enjoyable YA read which had me very envious of the talents of its author, Fredrik Brouneus. Brouneus may be Swedish but his book is definitely Kiwi, and should be on every Kiwi bookshelf. Packed with action, puns, science, philosophy and soul.
Mystery at Riddle Gully
By Jen Banyard (Fremantle Press, $18.99)
Pollo di Nozi – she’s a reporter in training and she’s out for a scoop! Along with her sheepish sidekick, Shorn Connery (yes, I giggled every time I read it), Pollo’s going to find out what’s happening in Riddle Gully. A smart and funny chapter book for kids, Mystery at Riddle Gully will engage any reader. Banyard uses humour and a touch of the spooky to produce an entertaining read that still tackles some of the serious issues most kids have to deal with.
Love & Money
By Greg McGee (Penguin, $29.99)
McGee’s first novel under his own name (having published two crime novels under the pseudonym Alix Bosco), Love & Money is a true New Zealand satire set in 1987 – a time that seems disturbingly familiar. Our protagonist is Mike, an ex-hippy actor who is almost gratingly inept at modern life. Love & Money combines brittle commentary on our recent financial and political landscape with slapstick comedy and a playfully poignant celebration of family.