Monday, September 22, 2014

Devastating impact of the Waikato War revisited by leading historian

At a time of great focus on World War One, a new book by prominent historian Dr Vincent O’Malley draws startling comparisons with the Waikato War of 1863–64. Taking a new approach to analysing evidence on the war, O’Malley’s book challenges previous assumptions made about casualties suffered by the Waikato tribes.

‘This new approach to estimating casualty figures suggests that the scale of the losses suffered by the Waikato tribes was much greater than previously thought,’ says O’Malley. ‘Indeed there is every indication that the numbers killed and wounded may have exceeded those sustained by New Zealand troops during World War One in per capita terms.’

‘These estimates can, of course, be debated but it is clear from Census data that overall Māori losses in the Waikato War were horrendous.’

O’Malley’s essay on the Waikato War is one of thirteen featured in Beyond the Imperial Frontier, published by Bridget Williams Books, which reflect on early encounters between Māori and Pākehā, giving an insight into the different ways the two ‘fronted’ one another across the nineteenth century.

Beyond the Imperial Frontier: The Contest for Colonial New Zealand will be launched by Bridget Williams Books on 24 September 2014 at Victoria University. Prior to the launch Dr O’Malley will deliver a lecture on ‘The Waikato War: Myth, History and the “Art of Forgetting”’. O’Malley is continuing his research into the Waikato War and this will result in a major new publication with Bridget Williams Books in 2015. 

5.30pm, Wednesday 24 September
Vic Books, Victoria University
1 Kelburn Parade, Wellington

JD Stout Lecture:
‘The Waikato War: Myth, History and the “Art of Forgetting”’
4.10pm, Wednesday 24 September

McLaurin Lecture Theatre 103, Victoria University

Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett

Passion and conflict during the Cold War from master storyteller, Ken Follett, the final book in the ‘Century’ trilogy.

As the decisions made in the corridors of power bring the world to the brink of oblivion, five families from across the globe are brought together in this unforgettable tale.

When Rebecca Hoffmann, a teacher in East Germany, finds herself pursued by the secret police, she discovers that she has been living a lie. Her younger brother, Walli, longs to escape across the Berlin Wall to Britain to become part of the burgeoning music scene.

In the United States, George Jakes, a bright young lawyer in the Kennedy administration, is a fierce supporter of the Civil Rights movement – as is the woman he is in love with, Verena, who works for Martin Luther King, Jr. Boarding a Greyhound bus in Washington to protest against segregation, they begin a fateful journey together.

Russian activist, Tania Dvorkin, narrowly evades capture for producing an illegal news sheet. Her actions are made all the more perilous as her brother, Dimka, is a rising star in the heart of the Communist Party in the Kremlin. From the deep south of America to the vast expanses of Siberia, from the shores of Cuba to the swinging streets of Sixties London, Edge of Eternity is a sweeping tale of the fight for individual freedom in a world gripped by the mightiest clash of superpowers anyone has ever known.

Edge of Eternity
Ken Follett
Macmillan -  RRP $49.99, Hardback

About the Author
Ken Follett was twenty-seven when he wrote Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. He then surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate millions of readers all over the world and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, was a number one bestseller in the US, UK and Europe. Fall of  Giants and Winter of the World are the first bestselling books in the ‘Century’ trilogy.

Week ahead on Nine to Noon September 23-26

9-10am: News and current events; new reports of indescribable atrocities in Syria; how Estonia became the world’s most hi-tech country; US correspondent Jack Hitt.
10-11am: Novelist and short story writer, Elspeth Sandys opens up on her exhaustive search for her birth family and her career as a writer; Louise O’Brien reviews “The Children Act” by Ian McEwan; reading: “My Brother's Keeper” – written by Donna Malane and read by Alison Bruce (part 11 of 12).
11-12pm: Business commentator Rod Oram; Annette Parry of New Zealand’s Richard III Society discusses the latest scientific developments in the analysis of Richard III’s remains; media commentator Gavin Ellis.

9-10am: News and current events; the Islamist militia group that’s taken over Tripoli; Australia correspondent Peter Munro.
10-11am: Disability rights campaigner Sophie Morgan, who is walking again after ten years in a wheelchair, with the help of a high tech wearable robot; Quentin Johnson reviews “Dumont d'Urville - Explorer and Polymath”, by Edward Duyker; reading: “My Brother's Keeper” – written by Donna Malane and read by Alison Bruce (part 12 of 12).
11-12pm: Marty Duda features the music of his artist of the week; legal commentator Dean Knight; arts commentator Courtney Johnston.

9-10am: News and current events; youth voter participation; UK correspondent Jon Dennis.
10-11am: Indian-Canadian author Jaspreet Singh on recording and recovery from a nation’s shame; Paul Diamond reviews “White Ghosts, Yellow Peril - China and New Zealand 1790-1950”, by Stevan Eldred-Grigg with Zeng Dazheng; reading: “Mrs Taylor Jump-Starts the War”, written by Wix Hutton and read by  Fiona Truelove.
11-12pm: New technology commentator Sarah Putt; parenting commentator Christian Wright; film reviewer Dan Slevin.

9-10am: News and current events; Asia correspondent Jamil Anderlini.
10-11am: David Stuart Maclean on his harrowing memoir of forgetting, “The Answer to the Riddle Is Me”; Tilly Lloyd from Unity reviews books; reading.
11-12pm: Jeremy Taylor from Slow Boat Records plays new music; Radio New Zealand’s sports reporter Stephen Hewson on sports; comedians Te Radar and Michele A’Court tell jokes about the week’s news.

You can listen to podcasts of Nine to Noon's interviews and reviews on our website:

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Oamaru: New Zealand’s living Victorian town

Oamaru: New Zealand’s living Victorian town| 26 September 2014 | $55.00 | Penguin

In Oamaru: New Zealand’s living Victorian town, writer Paul Sorrell and photographer Graham Warman capture the unique character of a town where locals get about on penny farthings and parade in everything from bonnets and bustles to steampunk-inspired costumes.

Oamaru’s outstanding architectural heritage and the fascinating characters who choose to live a Victorian-themed lifestyle make this one of New Zealand’s most colourful towns. The people, places and events that lend Oamaru its authentic character are celebrated in this special book.
Ornately decorated whitestone buildings that in the 1800s housed banks, hotels and grain stores have been lovingly restored and become home to thriving artisan businesses – including brewers and whisky makers, a bookbinder, a soap maker, a working woolstore, a baker and a textile cooperative – that have transformed this South Island centre into one of the world’s best examples of a living Victorian town.

Stroll along bustling Harbour and Tyne streets and you’re likely to encounter locals bedecked in nineteenth-century outfits. Visit during the annual Victorian fête and you could easily think you’ve slipped back 150 years in time as women in crinolines and gentlemen wearing fancy waistcoats and top hats parade through the streets or gather for croquet and traditional high tea. Boasting more than just a collection of well-preserved historic buildings, Oamaru is a Victorian town at work.

Oamaru attracts international and local visitors both for its carefully preserved architecture and Victorian character and increasingly its steampunk attractions (Jules Verne meets industrial gothic). Locals hope to one day have Oamaru designated a World Heritage site.

With recipes from celebrated local restaurants, colourful insights into the variety of artisan businesses that call the town home and an in-depth look at the extraordinary phenomena of the steampunk movement, Oamaru: New Zealand’s living Victorian town showcases the best the area has to offer and proves that Oamaru truly is a town with something for everyone.

About the authors
Paul Sorrell is a writer, editor and wildlife photographer based in Dunedin.
He has collaborated three times previously with photographer Graham
Warman, on his first book, the best-selling Fleurs Place (Penguin, 2008), on
Trail: Riding the Otago Central Rail Trail (Penguin, 2011) and on Peninsula:
Exploring the Otago Peninsula (Penguin, 2013).

Graham Warman is an award-winning photographer with offices in both
Dunedin and Central Otago. He trained in London, learning from some
of the UK’s leading commercial photographers, and now specialises in
architectural and advertising photography. His architectural images have
helped win awards for many of his clients, and his photography has been
featured in magazine articles as well as culinary and travel books. www.

 Back Cover
 A scene from the 2013 fashion show in the opera house

 Slightly Foxed Second-Hand Books co-owner Jenny Lynch-Blosse

 Penny farthing riders assemble for race

An Event in Autumn review – Henning Mankell’s lugubrious detective Kurt Wallander is back, briefly

Published in English for the first time, Mankell’s delightful novella finds Wallander in typically dejected form

Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander. BBC adaptation of An Event In Autumn. Left Bank Pictures
Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander in the BBC adaptation of An Event In Autumn. Photograph: Laurence Cendrowicz/Left Bank Pictures
Henning Mankell’s lugubriously lonely detective Kurt Wallander is back – briefly. Originally written for a Dutch crime festival, the novella An Event in Autumn is set in 2002, just before Mankell’s final Wallander novel, The Troubled Man. Although the story was adapted by the BBC in 2012, starring Kenneth Branagh as the Swedish policeman, it has never been published in English before.
It sees Wallander living with his daughter, Linda, in central Ystad, dreaming of the countryside. As the book’s title tells us, it’s autumn, which naturally sets off the great detective’s gloom: “I shall never find a house, he thought. No house, no dog, no new woman either. Everything will remain the same as it always has been”, and other such deliciously dejected Wallanderisms: “nothing could make him as depressed as the sight of old spectacles that nobody wanted any more”.

If it weren’t enough just to be back in Wallander’s company, there’s also a crime to solve. Viewing a potential new house, he stumbles across human remains in the garden. It’s the clue to a decades-old mystery which Wallander is keen to get his teeth into; and no, he doesn’t buy the house.
This short tale is an absolute pleasure to read and worth luxuriating in. Mankell notes at the end: “There are no more stories about Kurt Wallander” and “I’m not the one who will miss him. It’s the reader.” Indeed.

An Event in Autumn - Harvill Secker - NZ$26.99

"The Strangest Family" review – Janice Hadlow’s engaging history of the Hanoverian court

King George III of England, Prince of Hanover (1738-1820), painted by Sir Nathaniel Dance Holland.
The strange world of the Hanoverian court: King George III (1738-1820), painted by Sir Nathaniel Dance Holland. Photograph: The Art Archive
Republicans and royalists alike will enjoy Janice Hadlow’s authoritative debut, which looks at the strange world of the Hanoverian court in 18th- and 19th-century England with wit and compassion. Hadlow focuses on George III and Queen Charlotte, whose desire to govern the country by moral example, especially as a happy and fruitfully married couple (with no fewer than 15 children), initially appeared to pay dividends but descended into chaos when he succumbed to a terrifying bout of madness and she to deep depression.

Hadlow’s particular skill in this lengthy book is to provide sympathetic, nuanced portraits of all of the main figures of the time, with enjoyable cameos from some of the rakes and debauchees of the age, such as the corrupt Foxes, a pair of father and son politicians, and the dashingly licentious Prince of Wales, while lending psychological shading to what is as much a family saga as a nationalistic one. If the allusions to Jane Austen feel like so much window dressing, then that is a minor flaw in a book that has all the flair and engaging storytelling as the documentaries that Hadlow was responsible for commissioning in her former roles in broadcasting.

The Strangest Family - William Collins

Sunday, September 21, 2014


6pm, Thursday 25th September, 2014

A celebration of contemporary Auckland poetry, this Essential New Zealand Poems reading features local poets included in the anthology: Raewyn Alexander, Stu Bagby Serie Barford, Siobhan Harvey, Michele Leggott and Iain Sharp. 

The poets will read from the anthology and other poems they have written. Copies of Essential New Zealand Poems will be available for sale.

Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books announcement indicates change in New Zealanders’ reading habits

 Whitcoulls announce their keenly awaited Kids’ Top 50 Books List for 2014 on Monday 22 September, and the results suggest a change in New Zealanders’ reading habits. The most popular books are ‘home grown’ stories where humour features strongly, bucking the trend from previous years in which young adult novels set in remote, dystopian worlds have been such firm favourites.

Claiming the number one spot for the second year in a row is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, followed by beloved New Zealand children’s writer Lynley Dodd with her classic book Hairy Maclary and Friends, which comes in at number two; up three places from 2013. In third place is enduring favourite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which moves up five places from last year.

Three of the top five books that New Zealanders voted for are fun and dynamic children’s picture books, including Baa Baa Smart Sheep by creative Kiwi couple Mark and Rowan Sommerset, which comes in at number five.  Almost a third of the books that New Zealanders voted for this year are relative newcomers to the List, including the mega-bestselling Gone, Minecraft and The Ranger’s Apprentice series of books that are so popular with teens.

Interestingly, a third of the books that feature on the Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books List this year are children’s picture books. “This suggests that despite living in an era where technology is changing the social landscape, books are as important as ever to young New Zealanders and their parents”, says Whitcoulls Head Book Buyer, Joan Mackenzie.

Significantly, Suzanne Collins’ bestselling The Hunger Games teenage series has been booted out of the top ten altogether, falling from last year’s number two spot to number 14 this year. This reflects the trend away from dystopian novels towards books which make us laugh. Classic stories by writers Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton still feature strongly, as do New Zealand stories by such literary greats as Margaret Mahy, which comprise nearly 20 percent of the Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books List.

Influential book reviewer and the face behind ‘Joan’s Pick’, Mackenzie says: “The new Kids’ Top 50 Books List demonstrates that kids’ reading patterns are as strong as ever, which is a great thing, as reading is such a great building block for the rest of life. And the old favourites, many of them iconic New Zealand stories which have entertained generations of children, deserve their classic status.”

Whitcoulls has been compiling their Kids’ Top 50 Books List for the past 16 years and the passion and enthusiasm reflected in voting patterns year-on-year is as strong as ever. This suggests that New Zealand is an engaged and avid nation of readers.

Quake Cats - behind the scenes

Last year’s very special Quake Dogs melted hearts all over and it was an instant best-seller. Ultimately, the collection of stories was a moving celebration of the unique wordless, mutual bond between people and their pets which is one founded on love, trust, loyalty and companionship.

But, what about our cats – big and small. How did they get on in the terrifying quakes?

Quake Cats, which promises to be another emotional roller-coaster is coming out in a couple of weeks. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Craig capturing the stunning portraits for the book:

Quake Cats (Craig Bullock), 3 October 2014; RRP $39.99

In the footsteps of Virginia Woolf

Puna Wai Korero - book launch invitation

Book launch


Auckland University Press

Invites you to celebrate the publication of

puna wai Kōrero
An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English

Edited by Reina Whaitiri & Robert Sullivan

5:30 pm, Monday 29 September 2014
To be held at Waipapa, the University of Auckland's marae
Wynard Street, Auckland Central.
Refreshments will follow in the adjacent whare kai, Reipae.

RSVP to Auckland University Press by 23 September
Phone 09-373-7528 or email

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Poetry book launch invitation

you are invited to celebrate the publication of
How to be dead in a year of snakes

By Chris Tse

To be launched by Chris Price.
5:30 pm, Monday 22 September 2014
Vic Books, 1 Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington

RSVP to Auckland University Press by 15 September
Phone 09-373-7528 or email

The Rosie Effect & other book stories from the Sydney Morning Herald

The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion.

Graeme Simsion looks for the Rosie effect, again.

Helen Elliott 11:45pm Rosie and Don are back - but what sort of effect will pregnancy and a move to New York have on their lives?

David Astle: Wordplay

David Astle 12:15am Spring – my cue to capsize the mailbag. First a big thanks to all those who sent along riddles last week. David Astle upturns his mailbag.
My Story by Julia Gillard


SUSAN WYNDHAM 12:15am Julia Gillard on tour; Peter Carey's brush with Julian Assange; Sydney Writers' Festival funding; Cats v dogs

Graeme Simsion and the global effect of Rosie

JASON STEGER 12:15am Graeme Simsion has followed up the huge success of 'The Rosie Project' with a sequel that takes his lovers to a New York pregnant with comic complications.

Take three: Jeff Popple reviews three top thrillers

Take Three dinkus Jeff Popple 12:00am Jeff Popple reviews three thrillers that made the grade.

Val McDermid reveals women know more about fear than men

KAREN HARDY 12:00am The crime writer believes women understand the mechanics of fear because they're brought up being told the world is a dangerous place.

Death does not become them: Arise the new James Bond, Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes

Literary revivals.
Illustrations: John Shakespeare LINDA MORRIS 11:45pm Forty years after the death of Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot gets a new case to solve.

Short story author Jane Gardam takes her material from the world she knows best

At home in Sandwich, England: Short stories, Jane Gardam says, teach you when to stop. Brenda Niall 11:45pm Jane Gardam, now in her mid-80s, is still winning acclaim. But the real wonder is the stories themselves.

The return of Mark Henshaw

The Snow Kimono, by Mark HenshawDon Anderson 11:45pm A quarter century after his first novel, Mark Henshaw has published his second, The Snow Kimono, and a wonderful second innings it is.

Turning pages: The writers who struggle to survive

Midlist crisis: Mel Campbell has written an honest and disturbing piece for the Wheeler Centre website about what it's like to be an average-selling author in Australia. Jane Sullivan 11:45pm Authors, even highly regarded international names, are finding it harder and harder to sustain a career writing full-time. 


The Banff Centre is pleased to announce the category finalists in the 2014 Banff Mountain Book Competition; all finalists are listed alphabetically by title in each award category.


The Last Quarter of the Moon
Chi Zijian, Harvill Secker/Random House (UK, 2013)
Letters from Chamonix
David Stevenson, Imaginary Mountain Surveyors (Canada, 2014)

The Mantis
Philip Temple, Vertebrate Digital (UK, 2014)

Books Update - The New York Times

'The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace'

Jeff Hobbs tells the story of Robert DeShaun Peace, who went from a New Jersey ghetto to Yale but never truly escaped his past.

John Lahr

John Lahr: By the Book

The author of "Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh" is not a fan of science fiction. "Life on earth is mysterious and terrifying enough."

Deborah LevySerrated Edges

In two books, Deborah Levy explores exile, estrangement and the deferral of desire.
Bill Cosby, 1968.

'Cosby: His Life and Times'

A biography of Bill Cosby chronicles the outspoken comedian's rise to stardom, along with personal and professional setbacks.

'Stone Mattress'

Reviewed by MATT BELL
There's plenty of life left in the aging protagonists of Margaret Atwood's "tales."
Eimear McBride

'A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing'

Reviewed by JOSHUA COHEN
An Irish woman leaves behind a sick brother and an abusive home life in this coming-of-age novel.

'The Paying Guests'

Reviewed by CAROL ANSHAW
In Sarah Waters's novel of illicit love in 1920s London, a widow and her spinster daughter take a young couple into their home.

Donald Antrim'The Emerald Light in the Air'

Men and women are forced to make detours into unfamiliar territory in Donald Antrim's first story collection.
Laird Hunt


Reviewed by KAREN ABBOTT
Disguised as a man, Laird Hunt's heroine joins the Union Army.

Margaret Forster'The Unknown Bridesmaid'

A child psychologist is troubled by her own adolescence.
Author's Note

Be Polite With Your Books

The etiquette of borrowing, recommending and reshelving books.

Children's Books

Walks on the Wild Side

Peekaboo! From By DANIEL HANDLER
Swallowing their fears, these adventuresome characters set off down unfamiliar streets and explore unknown worlds.


Students at a therapeutic boarding school discover a way to return to the past, before their personal traumas.


In this middle-grade novel, a girl finds a way forward after the loss of her mother.

'Harlem Hellfighters'

A picture book about an African-American regiment in World War I that confronted racists as well as the German Army.

Slide Show: Bookshelf: Laughs

New picture books include Mac Barnett's "Sam and Dave Dig a Hole."