John le Carré has something of a reputation for not liking to give interviews, so these “Stories from My Life” go some way to redressing the balance, providing an insight into both his life and his writing. This is an excellent book on lots of levels. It is very well written, with both compassion and… Read More

Beautifully written, impossible to put down, but heartbreaking enough to make you want to, and philosophical enough to make you think for weeks afterwards, Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air took my breath away... pun intended. I'm a voracious reader - I like to read until my eyes can't stay open, and if I have the… Read More

Leigh Hopkinson was the least likely person to become a stripper, but after spending two decades naked, she realised it was her career - and her life. As a university student in Canterbury she worked at a succession of low-paying jobs that paid the rent and fit around her degree. However, none of them fit… Read More

First up, I must say that I’m a big fan of Alex Miller’s novels, with my favourites being Landscape of Farewell and Lovesong. This new book contains both short fiction and true stories about the inspiration for these novels and in particular the characters that inspired the stories. It also tells me lots about Miller’s… Read More

Barry’s passion for plants, particularly flowers, began at the same time as his first memories. He toddled around the garden after his mother learning which weeds to pull, the names of his favourite flowers and marvelling at their variety in form, colour and fragrance. It was a natural progression that he went on to become one… Read More

Professionally, Lou Reed was known as a genius maverick in the world of music and performance; in his personal life, if Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed, the newest biography of the late musician by Howard Sounes, is anything to go by, he was a bit of a bastard. Abusive towards… Read More

Descended from Hollywood royalty and working as an actress before she could walk and talk, Drew Barrymore has had much of her private life on display for the whole world to see. Now at the age of forty, Barrymore has increasingly and deliberately withdrawn from the public eye. Wildflower is not a memoir, but rather… Read More

Face To Face charts historian Paul Moon’s illuminating conversations with 12 remarkable New Zealanders. Spanning sporting, music and literature greats (e.g. Richard Hadlee, Tim Finn, Patrica Grace) to heroes largely unsung outside their fields (e.g. Lawyer Mai Chen, Scientist Sir Peter Gluckman), through these conversations, wonderfully peppered with Jane Ussher’s photographs, Moon brings these 12… Read More

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