Monday, March 30, 2015

Discovering sanctuary: A book to counter the ‘age of anxiety’

Sanctuary: The discovery of wonder

By Julie Leibrich

ISBN 978-1-877578-96-0, $40
Otago University Press

Sanctuary: The discovery of wonder by Julie Leibrich is a unique, inspiring, contemplative work that combines reason and imagination, poetry and critical thinking. In this spiritual memoir Leibrich shares her deepest fears and her deepest insights.

‘Revealing my interior life became a way of sharing authentically with the reader,’ says author Julie Leibrich. ‘The book is a conversation. It is an intimate book that reaches out.’

Leibrich draws on the writing of philosophers, poets, novelists and theologians as a gateway to reflection and musing. Conversations with friends, theoretical ideas, aphorisms, poems and images are seamlessly incorporated. She does not ‘tell’ the reader, but shows, how in her own life she came to understand the nature and meaning of sanctuary.

‘What sanctuary means for us individually, and how we experience it, differs. What I discovered, during the ten-year period of writing the book, is that, ultimately, finding sanctuary is about discovering the space within ourselves that is sacred and safe. This is what leads to wonderment.’

Mental or physical illness, the death of a family member or friend: there are many circumstances in life that challenge us to re-think, and re-engage with, what really matters.
Leibrich writes frankly about her own breakdown and draws on her experience as a poet, writer, former research psychologist and Mental Health Commissioner.

‘Some people are forced to take stock of their lives in order to survive, but for others it can just be reaching a point where something inside them says, “something is missing, something is wrong”.’

Sanctuary is a book to read slowly, a book to dip into; it is a book of our time: a counterpoint to the ‘Age of Anxiety’ in which we live. As Judi Clements, CEO, NZ Mental Health Foundation, says, ‘The reading experience is in itself a sanctuary.’ 

Julie Leibrich is the author of 11 books – four poetry collections, four children’s books and three non-fiction works on mental health, and on crime. She has been awarded several grants and prizes, including the Todd New Writer’s Bursary, the Joy Cowley Award and the Legal Research Foundation Special Book Award. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, and she has given invited talks in several countries. Born in England in 1947, Julie came to New Zealand in 1974 and has lived in Raumati since 1987. She worked for 20 years as a research psychologist before becoming one of New Zealand’s first Mental Health Commissioners.

Nine to Noon - Scheduled interviews and reviews - this week

Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan
Nine to Noon episode archive

Scheduled interviews and reviews

Monday 30 March

  • Analysis of the Cricket World Cup final between NZ and Australia
  • What will become of low-lying atolls under threat from sea level rise? The Marshall Islands' pleads for help.
  • Middle East correspondent, Kate Shuttleworth
  • Epigenetics expert Professor Jo Nadeau on how environmental factors like diet, stress and conditions in the womb can alter a person's genetic make-up
  • Book review: The Legend of Winstone Blackhat by Tanya Moir 
  • Reading: The Dwarf Who Moved' by Peter Williams  QC (Part 5 of 8)

  • Political commentators Mike Williams and Matthew Hooton
  • Clevedon tomato growers Anthony and Angela Tringham from Curious Croppers. If you have a glut of tomatoes at the moment, they have recipes for  Gazpacho, Tomato, Ricotta and Oatcake Canapes and Caprese Salad.
  • Urban issues with Tommy Honey
Anthony and Angela Tringham
Clevedon tomato growers Anthony and Angela Tringham have been selling their Curious Croppers produce at the Clevedon Farmers Market and two years ago they began supplying restaurants. The couple grows rare and unusual tomatoes.
Photo by Manja Wachsmuth.

Tuesday 31 March

  • Barbara Docherty as a rural nurse for more than 2 decades including on the Chatham Islands. She says rural nursing is not taken seriously by the sector and that needs to change.
  • US Correspondent Steve Almond
  • Katharine Zaleski , the company president who has issued a public apology to the mothers she has worked with, saying she didn't realise how horrible she'd been until she had a child of her own.
  • Book Review:The Faithful Couple by A.D. Miller
  • Reading: 'The Dwarf Who Moved' by Peter Williams QC (Part 6 of 8)
  • Business commentator Rod Oram
  • Interview
  • Media commentator Gavin Ellis

Wednesday 1 April

  • What happens when our shampoos, antibacterial soaps and foaming face washes go down the drain?
  • Australia correspondent Karen Middleton
  • The brain's capacity to improve itself and solve problems and how mindset influences behaviour. Carol Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
  • Book review: A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
  • ''The Dwarf Who Moved' by Peter Williams QC (Part 7 of 8)
  • Marty Duda's musical artist of the week
  • Legal commentator Charles McGuinness on employment law issues
  • Science with Siouxsie Wiles.

Thursday 2 April

  • Marine Scientist Cornel De Ronde on a recent expedition to study undersea volcanoes in the Kermadec Arc, using the world's most sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicle.
  • UK Correspondent Kate Adie
  • Pediatrician and an anesthesiologist, Elliot Krane on  treating pain in children.
  • Book review: Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender
  • Reading: the final part of The Dwarf Who Moved' by Peter Williams QC
  • Music with Jeremy Taylor
  • Sport with Brendan Telfer
  • The Week that Was with comedians' Te Radar and Irene Pink

Cover of The Dwarf Who MovedThe Reading 24 March - 2 April

The Dwarf Who Moved

Written and read by Peter Williams
Prominent criminal defence lawyer Peter Williams recalls the people and cases, celebrated and obscure, that have defined his remarkable career.

Anthony Browne: how I re-imagined Alice in Wonderland

What’s it like to illustrate a book already known for its iconic illustrations? Alice in Wonderland, originally drawn by Sir John Tenniel, was first published 150 years ago; here Anthony Browne describes his new surreal take on Alice. Look out for the primates!

Little Black Classics carry Penguin to new heights

The success of Penguin’s highly portable commute-sized gobbets says much about what modern readers want. 

little black classic book
Penguin Little Black Classics: portability is surely the main factor in their runaway success.

Released to mark Penguin Books’ 80th birthday, the pocket-sized, 80p-a-pop Little Black Classics have been a hit, selling 70,545 copies in the first week of publication.\

The commercial success of the commute-length gobbets – 80 titles ranging from the Communist Manifesto to Sappho’s poems to Mozart’s letters to his father – is striking since they are all in the public domain. To quote a commenter on the Guardian website: “How many of these are not available in full on Project Gutenberg?”

How to explain the appeal? Partly it’s the curation; but it also proves people like their reading matter cheap… and portable.

The Supernatural Grace of Flannery O'Connor

Work in Progress
Robert Giroux
On Writers
In commemoration of Flannery O'Connor's 90th birthday last Wednesday, we are honored to share the introduction to The Complete Stories written by her longtime editor and friend, Robert Giroux.

Read on...

An Absorbing and Elegiac Look Behind the Iron Curtain

By Elena Gorokhova    |   Friday, March 27, 2015 - Off the Shelf

Editor's Note: Elena Gorokhova grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, although for most of her life it was known to her as Leningrad. At the age of twenty-four she married an American and came to the United States with only a twenty kilogram suitcase to start a new life. She is the bestselling author of the memoirs, A Mountain of Crumbs and Russian Tattoo.
Zhivago’s Children catapulted me back into the world of my Leningrad childhood. Before settling in New Jersey, I grew up among the Soviet intelligentsia: the poets, actors, and bards whose lives are examined in this well-researched and nuanced volume by Vladislav Zubok, a Russian émigré. 

These artists and writers were often my only escape from the grinding grayness that was our constant reality in the Soviet Union. It was a place that had isolated itself from the world, “a country of closed borders and captive minds” where foreign travel was unimaginable. Yet despite the risks, there were a few who were able to break loose from the trap of Soviet indoctrination and become “a vibrant and diverse tribe, with intellectual curiosity, artistic yearnings, and a passion for high culture.” They were able to see beyond the Soviet men... READ FULL POST

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Elmore Leonard's Rules for Writers

WRITERLY WISDOM OF THE AGES / Collected by Jon Winokur

Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle

These are rules I've picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I'm writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.

1. Never open a book with weather.

If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a character's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.


Sarah Hall: ‘I love writing about sex, the civil veneer stripped off’

The books interview: the author of The Electric Michelangelo talks about her new book, The Wolf Border, how motherhood has affected her work and why avoiding politics in fiction is juvenile

Sarah Hall at home in Norwich.
Sarah Hall at home in Norwich. Photograph: Si Barber for the Guardian
Want to know what it takes for a literary author to become a household name? Ask Hilary Mantel. Never mind the three decades-worth of praise and prizes she garnered for her pre-Wolf Hall output, it wasn’t until she tackled the Tudors that she made the step-change. These days, of course, she’s Dame Hilary, universally revered – but not so very long ago she was writing in relative obscurity, vigorously championed by her supporters, but little known by the wider public.

Four novels and one short-story collection into her career, Sarah Hall finds herself in a similar position. On the back of her fifth novel, out this month, her publisher, Faber, lists her achievements in bold. “Winner”, it declares, simply: “Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. BBC National Short Story Award. Portico Prize for Fiction. John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. EM Forster Award.” It’s an exceptional record for a novelist only just entering her 40s – and that’s without her inclusion in the Granta list of best young British novelists and her numerous short- and longlistings: for the Man Booker (twice), the Impac, the Frank O’Connor prize, the Arthur C Clarke award. But despite the laurels, the eulogies (“the best British writer around right now”, according to Foyles’s Jonathan Ruppin) and glowing comparisons to the likes of Raymond Carver and Alice Munro, the odd sense lingers of Hall as a well-kept secret. If you’re currently revelling in your membership of the initiate, however, be warned: her new novel looks set to blow the lid off. “Honestly,” says Hall, “I think it’s the best thing I’ve done. Everything I’ve learned about writing over the years, it’s in this book.”

Your Brief And Wondrous Guide To Contemporary Queer Comics

The Huffington Post


"The following artists and creatives identify as queer, among other labels, like, for example, comic, illustrator, storyteller and writer. They defy rigid categorization in both life and work, weaving wonderfully unique and sex-positive tales about everything from college parties and intergalactic adventures to a criminal potato. If the following artists show us anything, it's that there's no one way to be queer. And why would you want to, when each individual perspective looks oh-so beautiful?" (Read more here)


March 27 - Washington Post

When the Los Angeles Review of Books Web site debuted in 2012, I thought it was quixotic and unnecessary, but its smart essays and elegant design immediately won me over.

This month, the LARB gave birth to a literary magazine called the Offing. The first issue contains a chapter from James Hannaham’s fantastic new novel “Delicious Foods” and a witty piece called “The New & Selected Tweets of Eighties Man,” by Alena Smith. But once again, I felt deeply skeptical — and, to be honest, deeply envious.

On a bitter whim, I sent the Offing a few bellicose questions. I got back these thoughtful answers from editor in chief Darcy Cosper and executive editors Airea D. Matthews and Michael D. Snediker.

Bill Hader Cast in Steven Spielberg’s Adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’

Bill Hader Cast in Steven Spielberg's Adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'The BFG'

Hollywood’s newest, oldest director is Steven Spielberg. He’s got aliens, he’s got … Read More

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The New York Timees Sunday Book reviews

'The Folded Clock'

Reviewed by EULA BISS
Time loops and circles forward in the essays that make up Heidi Julavits's diary.
T. C. Boyle

T. C. Boyle: By the Book

The author, most recently, of "The Harder They Come" is mad about nature writing: "I want to get inside the head of every creature in the world, even ants."
·         By the Book: Archive


Reviewed by ELISA ALBERT
The troubled heroine of this debut novel strays from her stable Zurich fold.
Thomas McGuane

'Crow Fair'

Reviewed by ATTICUS LISH
Thomas McGuane's story collection, his first in nine years, returns to the untamed spaces of his native Montana.
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in May 1865, wearing a mourning ribbon for President Lincoln.

'Sherman's Ghosts'

Reviewed by JAMES M. McPHERSON
A journalist assesses claims about Sherman's March, and considers its later effects.

'Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be' and 'The End of College'

How to stay sane about college admissions, and how to make education more accessible.
Alejandro Zambra

'My Documents'

Alejandro Zambra's stories draw from the age of computers and the legacy of Pinochet.

'Leaving Berlin'

In Joseph Kanon's thriller, a German-born American writer becomes a spy in Cold War East Berlin.
The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus

'Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square'


A biography of the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, an intellectual maverick of 20th-century Roman Catholicism.