Summer Reading picks 2020 / 2021

Perched up in bed, Reclining on a couch, or Sitting by the sea — Here are the books librarians plan to spend time with this summer:

Fiction Picks

All our shimmering skies Trent Dalton
Auē Becky Manawatu [NZ]

This debut novel won the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction 2020 and deservedly so. A tortured and confronting tale but a compelling read. (Andrew)

The word, 'auē' is a lament: Having lost their parents, teenager Taukiri hears the lament in the sound of the sea and his father's old guitar, while his younger brother Ārama covers his grief with plasters. (Fee)

Girl, woman, other Bernardine Evaristo

An insight on the lives of black immigrants to the U.K. over generations, this book s a journey through the lives of women exploring life, love and the culture of London, from the 1950s to the present. (Fee)

A series of multiples – multiple stories, multiple characters and multiple points of view. This book is unputdownable. (Jane)

Girls Against God Jenny Hval

I love Jenny Hval's music (try her 2019 album The Practice of Love - Ashes to Ashes was one of my favourite songs of the year). Her second novel  - according to a stellar Guardian review - "starts out like the teenage diary of an unrepentant suburban goth" and with words & terms like zealotry, unembarrassable, escalating psychodrama, and knowing academese peppering the review how could I resist? (Donna)

Monsters in the Garden: An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Elizabeth Knox and David Larsen [NZ]
Scabby Queen Kirstin Innes

Thatcher’s Britain, and Cleo is the Queen of pop and Queen of protests, she is not what she seems though and her friends, enemies, lovers and exes and there to tell her story. (Jane)

The girl in the mirror Rose Carlyle [NZ]

This Kiwi writer's debutnovel about thesinister machinations between identical twins roared into the international marketplace with a publishing bidding war. (Andrew)

The Nancys R.W.R. McDonald

Murder, mystery, and mayhem in small-town New Zealand. (Ky)

The Silent Wife Karin Slaughter

Political intrigue and explosive revelations about the Queen and her involvement in the dismissal of Australia’s Whitlam government in the 1970s. (Abby)

The Thursday murder club Richard Osman
Troubled blood Robert Galbraith

The 5th Cormoran Strike mystery. Strike and his business partner Robin have taken on the case of a young doctor who went missing in 1974. Gripping … but you also need patience. The books is 929 pages long! (Cornelia)


Non-Fiction Picks

Children of ash and elm: a history of the Vikings Neil S. Price

This book features the real Vikings on their own terms: their politics, art and culture and spirituality. (Christine)

The Five: The untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper Hallie Rubenhold

These five wives, mothers, and daughters were far more than just victims. (Ky)

Code name Madeleine: a Sufi spy in Nazi-occupied Paris Arthur J. Magida

This well-researched, thrilling and commemorative real story is about an Indian-British heroine, who grew up in the peaceful outskirt of 1920s Paris, contributed to the Allies’ communications networks in France, and sacrificed her life to resist the Nazi invasion during World War II. (Hong)

The story of an amazing woman, Noor Inayat Khan, who was trained in espionage sabotage and reconnaissance and who showed immense courage and daring in the face of the Nazis, including transmitting many details crucial to the Allies success on D-Day. (Christine)

House of Treasures : 150 objects from Canterbury Museum Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho

Published on the occasion of Canterbury Museum’s 150th anniversary. Showcasing 150 taonga from the collection all beautifully photographed by Jane Ussher with short texts from the museum’s curators and researchers. (Cornelia)

Dolly Parton, Songteller : My life in Lyrics

Behind Dolly Parton's showbiz persona is an intelligent, sharp, sassy businesswoman and philanthropist. Self-deprecating is Dolly's style and she once said said she would not run for President because "There's already been too many boobs in the White House". (Andrew)

The Meaning of Mariah Carey Mariah Carey

One minute crying time Barbara Ewing

With lucidity and nostalgia, Ewing’s narratives on her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood based on her diary bring readers back to the 1950s and early 1960s Wellington and Auckland. (Hong)

The Palace Letters - The Queen, the Governor-General, and the plot to dismiss Gough Whitlam Jenny Hocking

Political intrigue and explosive revelations about the Queen and her involvement in the dismissal of Australia’s Whitlam government in the 1970s. (Abby)

The Great unknown Geoff Spearpoint
English Pastoral James Rebanks

A shepherd’s passion for his land and an account of his changing views on modern farming. (Lynley)

Sweet Dreams: From Club Culture to Style Culture, the Story of the New Romantics Dylan Jones

I love a good music book, and when one tackles one of my most formative musical genres, I am in. (Donna)

Falter : Has the human game begun to play itself out? Bill McKibben

This American environmentalist has long been a harbinger of homo sapiens ' rush to self-destruction and his warnings are growing more urgent with each book. (Andrew)