And it has two of my favourite books of recent months – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (more on that soon) and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.
The judging panel for the New Zealand Post Book Awards for 2012 has been announced, and last year’s NZ Post Supreme Book Award winner is heading up the judging panel.
The judges are Chris Bourke, David Eggleton, Mary Egan, Paula Green, and Reina Whaitiri (Kai Tahu).
Read the full announcement and article on the Booksellers NZ site - Last Year’s Supreme Book Award Winner is This Year’s Top Judge
Book Review: Wyatt by Gary Disher, Text Publishing, RRP $23.95, ISBN 978-1-921656-81-1, Available now.
Wyatt is a professional thief, and he’s back in town after some time away. There’s a job involving a pretty lady, an evil Frenchman and some expensive goods, and Wyatt’s the guy to sort it out.
And that is pretty much all you need to know about this book. Sure, it’s tightly written and engaging: I can see how it deserved to win the 2010 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction – but at the end of the day, it just does what it says on the box.
Crime-type books are wildly popular, but the appeal of them largely escapes me. They all seem the same to me, like episodes of CSI: enjoyable at the time, but completely interchangeable.
While we’re on the subject, one fairly constant criticism I have of crime-type books (and one of the reasons I avoid them) is their cookie-cutter lady characters – or no lady characters at all (for a description of some stereotypical lady characters, see this handy flow chart). Disher does an okay job with the main lady character, and a laughable job on the others. There’s a bitter, man-less lady cop who would maybe be a lot happier if she just got a man, and a crazy stripper whose mental instability seems to be inextricably linked to her sexuality. We can compare and contrast to the equivalent male characters who have back stories which run for pages and whose happiness or unhappiness are not directly linked to what they do or don’t do in bed.
I’m not saying that two-dimensional lady characters make Wyatt a bad book - it’s just a shame that Disher missed an opportunity to make it better. And on the plus side, fewer three-dimensional characters leave more page space for car chases.
Still, I liked Wyatt, despite the fact he shot a bunch of guys (such a turn off), and is described as being so pretty that his face is instantly memorable unless he wears a funny hat to distract from it. Being that pretty is so hard.
The plot wasn’t predictable (though I can never guess who-dun-it in CSI either), and contained one or two genuine surprises. I also enjoyed the ending.
I enjoyed Wyatt from start to finish. It’s readable and fast paced. If you’re a fan of crime-type books, I would absolutely recommend it. If you’re not, then there are plenty of other great books out there you should read first.
A huge congratulations to James McNeish, Joy Cowley and Cilla McQueen – winners, respectively, of the Non-fiction, Fiction and Poetry 2010 Prime Minster’s Awards for Literary Achievement.
So, this morning I was idly reading this and then I saw this (it’s the call for expressions of interest in judging the 2010 NZ Post Book Awards, in case you don’t want to look) and in a minor moment of full-of-my-self-importance-ness, I thought hey! I could do that! I’m a blogger, I’m a book blogger, people read my blog and stuff, I’m not entirely unqualified! I can get my judgypants on!
Then I thought hehehe, look at me and my up-startyness.
And it turns out you guys (and my lovely Twitter followers and my lovely fellow BookieMonster reviewer Rachel) are awesome enablers!
So Rachel and I have come up with a plan. We’re going to aim towards applying to be judges next year, or at least “expressing interest”. 200 books! It’s a lot, right? So we may be joint judges. We could be the “BookieMonster judge”. If that doesn’t go down well, we’ll just pretend to be conjoined twins or something.
In the meantime my loves, we need your help. This is naked ambition. It’s a bookie eat bookie world out there (well, no it’s not really), and we’re aiming to stake out our small (or large) section. So please, feel free to tell all your friends, family, workmates, teachers, students, volunteers, churchmates, pubmates, devilworshipmates, facebook friends, twitter followers, strangers on the street, neighbours, invisible friends, invisible enemies, visible enemies and stray dogs about BookieMonster.
I even have bookmarks if you know somewhere that would love to hand them out! Or if you just want some. Don’t throw them at people though. Paper cuts are not to be laughed at.
We don’t even mind if you’d like to namedrop us. “Oh, Fierce September, oh yes I read that last week and, as BookieMonster said Beale does an excellent job of placing a lot of the action in a New Zealand that is recognisable and at the same time quite alien.”
Just make sure you namecheck us. We want everyone to know the BookieMonster name! And to visit us and say hello.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say using as many words as possible, in my way, is… we’re not above a bit of self-promotion. We’re not even above a lot of self-promotion. We’d like readers, we’d like lots of readers, we’d like more readers! Because ya’ll are amazing and stuff. *shy*
AUCKLAND, 3 May 2010. New Zealand’s exceptional book design talent is showcased in the shortlist announced today for the 2010 Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) Book Design Awards.
Designers “shape the way readers experience a book,” says Peter Gilderdale, one of the judges. “Authors provide the content, but the designer can either enhance or inhibit the way the book functions.”
The depth of talent made it difficult for Gilderdale, along with the other judges, Graham Beattie and Sharon Grace, to select 2010’s contenders Gilderdale adds, “The standard was very high and even — a wonderful mix of the vibrant and restrained, clever and crafted, quirky and traditional — this is great for book buyers but tough on judges!”
A new award for young designers introduced last year has proved spot on, with this year’s main category shortlist featuring all three 2009 Awa Press Young Designer of the Year finalists: Spencer Levine (winner), Keely O’Shannessy and Carolyn Lewis. Finalists for the 2010 Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award will be announced on Thursday 3 June.
Levine is one of the designers who feature multiple times, along with Kate Barraclough, and Sarah Laing, who has not only designed two of the books in the shortlist, but is also the author of one of them.
Ranging from the commercially successful New Zealand titles like The Wonky Donkey and A Treasury of New Zealand Baking to beautiful international titlesThe Life & Love of Trees and A Beautiful Game, this year’s shortlist illustrates the diversity of the New Zealand literary landscape.
The 2010 judging panel is Peter Gilderdale, Head of Graphic Design at AUT University, Graham Beattie, a fulltime book reviewer and book blogger, and designer Sharon Grace.
The awards are run by the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) to promote excellence in, and provide recognition for, the best book design in New Zealand. The competition is judged in six categories, with a winner for the highly coveted Best Book chosen from the shortlist and sponsored by Nielsen Book Services.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Auckland on 22 July, along with the Awa Press Young Designer of the Year. The awards are sponsored by a range of publishers, along with North & South magazine and Kalamazoo Wyatt & Wilson printers.
Finalists for the 201 0 PANZ Book Design Awards are as follows:
Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book
Anita Mcleod, Book Design Ltd and Katz Cowley
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith Scholastic New Zealand
Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn Scholastic New Zealand
Ben and Mark: Boys of the High Country by Christine Fernyhough and John Bougen
Random House New Zealand
Hachette New Zealand Award for Best Non-illustrated Book
Sarah Laing (cover), Kate Barraclough (interior)
Dead People’s Music by Sarah Laing Random House New Zealand
Spencer Levine (cover and interior) Dee Murch (layout)
In a Word: The Essential Tool for Finding the Perfect Word by Mark Broatch
New Holland Publishers (NZ)
Keely O’Shannessy (cover), Katrina Duncan(interior)
Mirabile Dictu by Michele Leggott Auckland University Press
Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book
Villa: From Heritage to Contemporary by Patrick Reynolds, Jeremy Hansen and
Jeremy Salmond Random House New Zealand
Spencer Levine (cover) and Katrina Duncan (interior)
Marti Friedlander by Leonard Bell Auckland University Press
The Life & Love of Trees by Lewis Blackwell PQ Blackwell
Pearson Award for Best Educational Book
Get Growing: A New Zealand Step-by-step Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables
and Fruit by Helen Cook Random House New Zealand
Cheryl Rowe, Macarn Design
Geography on the Edge by Justin Peat and John Lockyear Cengage Learning
Book Design Ltd
Year 9 Graphics by Pail Bourdiot Cengage Learning
Pindar Award for Best Typography
Mission Hall (interior), Afineline (additional design and typesetting)
Art at Te Papa by William McAloon Te Papa Press
A Treasury of New Zealand Baking edited by Lauraine Jacobs Random House New Zealand
Wine Class: All You Need to Know about Wine in New Zealand by Jo Burzynska
Random House New Zealand
HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover
As the Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong Penguin Group (NZ)
Magpie Hall by Rachael King Random House New Zealand
A Beautiful Game by Tom Watt PQ Blackwell