Here’s my Bookwatch column from today’s Herald on Sunday (11 August 2013):
Nga Tau ki Muri : Our Future
By Ans Westra with Hone Tuwhare, David Lange, David Eggleton, Brian Turner & Russel Norman (Suite Publishing)
Celebrated photographer Ans Westra (Wash Day at the Pa) is back in print with another beautiful and moving portrait of New Zealand in all its glory and ruin. For Nga Tau ki Muri, Westra is joined in text by some great names. The focus is our country, our nature, and our footsteps upon it. The production quality is fantastic, with cloth bound embossed covers. This book is a thing of beauty.
At the Dying of the Year
By Chris Nickson (Severn House)
This is well-written, extremely well paced and quite enthralling. The year is 1733, Richard Nottingham is the Constable of Leeds and three children have just been found battered to death. Nottingham and his team are on the tail of a serial child-killer. Nickson’s skill is in telling a tale and letting us into the lives of his protagonists. He also goes to lengths to bring to life the grit and sights, sounds and smells of 18th-century England.
A History of Food in 100 Recipes
By William Sitwell (Harper Collins)
This book is entertaining and mouth-watering. Sitwell, a food magazine editor, goes right back to the ancient Egyptians first making unleavened bread and takes us on a ride through food history in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. He presents each recipe in the original, accompanied by tidbits of history, food and eating. A fascinating journey through history that shows how our obsession with food has never waned.
The Daylight Gate
By Jeanette Winterson (Random House)
A thrilling and quick read, dealing equally brilliantly with the spiritual and the corporeal. Set in 17th century England at the height of the witch trials, the story centres on Alice Nutter, who is set on a collision course with Thomas Potts, discoverer of witches. The Daylight Gate is visceral, capturing the smells, sights, diseases and fear of its time and place. It is a bone-chilling fear Winterson is dealing with here – the complete unpredictability of life when you don’t own your soul, your brain or your body.