God defend New Zealand...my NZ book resolution...

by tosca on Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweeping statement (which are always the worst, aren't they?): I don't read a lot of NZ authors as an adult because I don't like them much. As a child, yes. As a teen, absolutely. As an adult - next to nil. If I see an NZ sticker on the spine in the library I quite happily cruise right on past. In fact, if it weren't for the library bookclub I wouldn't read any. Last year I read 'Mr. Pip' by Lloyd Jones and this year, so far, I've read 'The 10pm Question' by Kate de Goldi and 'Ruined' by Paula Morris. I enjoyed 'Ruined.' So much so, in fact, that I've decided to read 1 NZ book a month.

Why my unpatriotic stance? At the risk of looking dozy, I don't really identify with a lot of NZ books. Which sounds totally daft because I edit our romance newsletter and neither do I identify with a Greek gazillionaire tycoon nor an impossible virgin secretary, yet I read those quite happily LOL Maybe, then, it's that I identify too much. It's like...I don't read romance stories with Maori or African-Americans because the character voices - and the possibilities - would feel too much like I was looking into my sibling's backyard (although considering mainstream romance includes anal which has become the new oral eek). That would strike too close to home. It could *gasp* happen (not the anal-as-oral but the voices being 'familiar'). And I think I'd prefer to have it all one step removed (one giant leap backward for my peace of mind...).

This year I decided to get out of my comfort zone a bit (or maybe step back into it, I'm not totally sure yet) and pick 12 (ok, I lie, I picked 14 in total, maths was never my forte) books across kids, teens and adults (fiction and nonfiction) to try. In any one month I read anywhere from 20-30 books, so fitting in another 1 or 2 could be interesting. Or awful. I'm about to find out. There are no re-reads on this list - every book will be a first-time read for me - as if I were an impossible virgin secretary but yet not o_O

I had no clue which author, book, genre etc. to start with seeing as it had been years since I'd read NZ-anything and queried that on twitter. @senjmito suggested starting with NZ authors I follow. Which seemed so logical I couldn't help but laugh. So, I'm starting Feb with one of his books :) Here's my list - all links lead back to the Manukau Libraries catalogue ('cause that's where I work d'oh):

January: Ruined by Paula Morris – teen fiction
January: The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi – teen/adult fiction
February: All Black's Kitchen Gardens by Tim Jones – nonfiction
March: Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley & Gavin Bishop – junior fiction
April: The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan – teen fiction
May: The Book of Fame by Lloyd Jones – adult fiction
June: Jerusalem Sonnets by James K. Baxter – nonfiction
July: The Fat Man by Maurice Gee – junior fiction
August: Violence 101 by Denis Wright - teen fiction
September: The Christ Clone by David McLeod - adult fiction
October: We Will Not Cease by Archibald Baxter – nonfiction
November: Bow Down Shadrach by Joy Cowley - junior fiction
December: I am not Esther by Fleur Beale – teen fiction
Depending on time constraints I hope to re-read the two titles below. They're books I first read years ago and enjoyed so much I happily re-read them about once every two years:

No Ordinary Sun by Hone Tuwhare
The Haunting by Margaret Mahy

I will probably tweet my thoughts about each book as I'm reading so you'll get sick of me really quickly (quicker than usual, that is) and will post updates as I go along. All books on the list above have been added to my TBR (to-be-read) list in GoodReads, with 'The 10pm Question' and 'Ruined' crossed off. YAY.


That looks like a good list to me! I have read four of these (counting my own book :-)), plus "No Ordinary Sun", and enjoyed all of those I've read. I am embarrassed to report that one of the books on the list I haven't read is by my son's Form Dean at high school.

Even as an NZ author, a lot of New Zealand fiction doesn't appeal to me. There is a particular strain of social realism in NZ fiction which doesn't do much for me, and quite a lot of NZ fiction lacks ... how shall I put this delicately? ... a focus on entertaining the reader. Slowly, slowly, I think this is beginning to change.

by Tim Jones on January 30, 2010 at 8:00 PM. #

For something really different, which sounds like what you would enjoy, please try out my new release, Angela 1: Starting Over. It is the first of three novels set in a coastal Texas high school and you may be surprised at what you find. To know more, just click on my name and follow the link to my web site. Thanks!

by David A. Bedford on January 31, 2010 at 8:40 AM. #

Tim - gidday :) The hardest part was not choosing re-reads. I'd never have discovered anything else otherwise hah. Then I got sidetracked adding kids/teens stuff. I'm kinda put off by writers with an academic following (and I hesitate to name and shame 'cause someone'll write in and moan ugh). Should be interesting. I'm actually looking forward to it!

by catatonia on February 1, 2010 at 3:34 PM. #

Hi David, thanks for dropping by. Checked out your new release and have flicked the details on to our teen acquisitions librarian to follow up :)

by catatonia on February 1, 2010 at 3:35 PM. #

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