Monday, March 21, 2011

Top 5 New Zealand titles

List by Josie
'Though methods of warfare have changed, the military machine remains essentially the same; and the record of my own battle against that machine, on behalf of my fellow humans, is therefore relevant to this time also.'
~ Archibald Baxter, Preface to the 2003 edition of 'We will not cease'

Another in our series of posts celebrating New Zealand Book Month, here we present Josie's favourite NZ titles of all time. Josie works in the South Auckland Research Library as an Assistant Reference Librarian.

Home work : leading New Zealand architects' own houses / John Walsh & Patrick Reynolds When architects accept a client's commission they are working to fulfill the client's aspirations. When they build their own houses they have only themselves to please. In this fascinating and handsomely produced book, Patrick Reynolds and John Walsh go inside 20 homes built and still lived in by their architects. These range from homes built in the 1960s through to brand new houses only recently completed, throughout New Zealand.

Fascinating, full of wonderful eccentrics and beautiful photographs.

Poenamo / John Logan Campbell
Gives a first hand account of Maori life and Pakeha settlement on the Hauraki and the Waitemata in 1840-41.

Logan Campbell describes coming to Auckland as a young man and living on Brown’s Island while waiting for Auckland to be established. Insightful, amazing description of early colonial settlement and Maori life in the 1840s.

Lady Jean / Noel Virtue
A romantic novel from one of New Zealand's most revered writers.

Funny and irreverent tale full of nutty, unconventional, capricious characters. Hilarious and sad. All mixed up. Just like life!

We will not cease / Archibald Baxter
Autobiography of a New Zealand conscientious objector during World War I.

Deeply moving. Gives an insight into the hideous realities of being anti-war in the early 20th century. A courageous and honest and humbling account. Written by the father of James K. Baxter.

The godwits fly / Robin Hyde
First published in 1938, this novel conveys the intense feelings of an adolescent in love, poetry and England. It pictures life in early 20th-century Wellington, its physical details, emotional tensions, muddle and variety.

I’ve always admired the author for the way she led such an intense, true and brave, but tragically brief life. These are the qualities I remember from this book, though I read it many years ago. “But she held her own line passionately against all odds, and she took the consequences of living hard - recklessly at times - with bravery and spirit”. Going to read this again soon. Probably my no.1 fav.

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