Word up – 2018 in books

I've set myself a project this year - document my life in books. What I get out of the library, the books that actually got read, second hand or new books bought, etcetera.
In true blog style, I'll add new stuff at the top, and there's a matching booklist:


2018 grand total: 94 books read. Here are my 14 favourites.
I didn't count this properly, but I estimate I bought at least 57 books (new or second-hand).

Another visit to the famous Chertsey Book Barn.

Bookspotting in Timaru.

Best reads of 2018

List created by Donna_R

My favourite books of the year. A Staff Pickles list.

View Full List


I picked Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble as best book cover of the year. Cover art by Xoë Hall, published by Victoria University Press.
I had my eye on this one back in April, when VUP Books tweeted their cover reveal.The bold sexy colours! The snaky Medusa lettering!

Ride on Super Sound St Asaph Street. Comics, records, zines, graphic novels, art. FAB.


My picks in the September Library Life mag:



Edible Book Festival at Ara Institute

It's a (sweet) honour to be a judge in this amazing competition! Read all about it: Call of Cthulhu takes Best in Show at Edible Books Competiton, Ara Institute.

Sights and scenes from WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 - Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September

Full coverage



Never not enjoying watching Tūranga grow. 

A healthy batch of borrowing. 

Rainbow clouds in Central Library Peterborough.

If you like taking pics with your cellphone, Smart phone smart photography by Jo Bradford is a goodie. 

Book art by Tim Wraight at Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre. 

Great Out on the Shelves displays all around our libraries. 

Tūranga, of an evening.

Matariki display at South Library.

So 90s - Jeff Lemire's new series Royal City is a tour de force.

Winter word fun with 100 days of Lettering by Jay Roeder.

Rose Tremain is a brilliant writer, here she turns her pen to her own history: Rose Tremain: Scenes from a vanished life

Barbara Else's Go Girl has great stories about New Zealand women, and the illustrations are utterly gorgeous. Margaret Mahy is drawn here by Sarah Laing. 

More library booty. Will I read 'em all. UNLIKELY.

Tūranga, as viewed from Cathedral Square.

The dapper Donna Tartt rightly stars in Legendary authors and the clothes they wore by Terry Newman.


Book cover fans!


Book cover alert!

The cover of Herstory: 50 Women and Girls who shook the world by Katherine Halligan, ilustrated by Sarah Walsh - love love love. 

Starting Jeff Lemire's Descender series. Loving it. 

The Iris Apfel book Accidental Icon: Musings of a geriatric starlet wasn't as great as she is. But still, with pics like this, it seems churlish to have wanted more.

Love Alex Johnson's blog about bookshelves, enjoyed the book too.

My favourite thing about Parris Goebel's book was getting into the choreo world, especially those Justin Bieber music videos.

Ngahuru - Autumn at Hornby Library.

A bunch of stuff from the library.

The Brett Anderson book Coal black mornings is all that. Astoundingly rich in detail; astonishingly evocative in mood. This is a five star read.

I read Silver hair: a handbook for some ideas on letting my natural colour come through. It firmed my resolve.

I was going to take Samantha Fox's memoir Forever back to the library unread, as I had too many books and not enough time. But somehow I managed to quickly knock it off before it went into the bag to go back. It's good, a frank read about how it was to be a sex symbol of the 80s (answer: mostly weird, with lots of unwanted penii).

Free Comic Book Day! including free ones and a few new purchases. 

Inside those fab Dries Van Noten books

OMG Tilda Swinton in Fashion and Versailles

Some book work in the Christchurch Art Gallery Tony de Lautour exhibition

Tūranga (New Central Library) looking good in the May sunshine.

Nice imaginary bookshelf by Linwood Library at Eastgate.

Jeff Kinney! Read Theresa's report of the WORD Christchurch event. 


Amazing book cover alert:

One of the most powerful and distressing things I've read: The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma by Junot Díaz. This level of revelation, honesty, and self awareness is astonishing. I really hope Junot finds it healing too. 

My latest batch of goodies. I do like a mix of graphic novels, biogs, DVDs and straight up coffee table. 

I haven't seen the exhibition yet, but I've checked out Lost World by John Stezaker

My favourite part of An Odyssey of Flavours and Fragrances by Givaudan is the still life photos by Lili Roze. 

Had a good time at Bookarama in Bishopdale. Spike Milligan finds!

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre by night. 

Poetry in the darkroom.

This book is a gem. Paolo Roversi's Dior Images.

University of Canterbury Bookshop has a choice selection of Out of Print merch.

Robert Webb's How not to be a boy. Alas I missed his WORD Christchurch session due to being crook as a dog (read Andrew's report) . But this is a brilliant, thoughtful book. 


I visited the famous Chertsey Book Barn.

Primo and Secundo at Methven had some books too.

Two volumes of Dries Van Noten's astonishing runway shows. Even the ends of the books are beautiful.

But the corners are a bit sharp ...


Happy Easter reading - The Woman in the window by A.J. Finn (here's my review).

Fantastic poet, title, and cover. Dang!

Part two of The Black Hammer.

WORD Christchurch event with Francis Spufford. He was warm and wonderful.

Nope, didn't read 'em all. Eyes bigger than reading tummy, as always.

Good news!

I didn't like the cover of this, but it was very good - funny and subversive: Whatever after Beauty Queen

This was meta and magnificent. My worst book ever! by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman. 

Oh hello.

Funky font fiction on display at Central Library Manchester. 

Book Day and Kiddo dressed up as the pigeon, and also made a facsimile copy of the entire book The pigeon finds a hot dog

Oh, it's just the library book sale, innit. 

As picked for Kiddo.

As picked for me. Fashiony. 

Cool library news.

$7 for two Andy Griffiths' books at South City Paper Plus. Yay!

I am absolutely raving about Tenements, Towers and Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City by Julia Wertz.

This beautiful book (and lovely story to match) The Tea Dragon Society is by Christchurch artist/cartoonist/writer/mega-talent Katie O'Neill. 

A re-read of NZ comic compilation Faction.

This is some wicked book design. The Downward Spiral is an artist book by NZ artist Dan Arps.

The illustrations in Go GIrl by Barbara Else are by people like Sarah Laing and Phoebe Morris. They look mega mint. 

The manga My lesbian experience with loneliness by Kabi Nagata is frank and melancholy. 


Two graphic novels on a Sunday arvo: Saga 8 and The Silence of our Friends. Saga is the best series out there, wild, fruity, fun. The Silence of our friends is semi-autobiographical look at the Civil Rights movement.


I saw Nigella Lawson! She was a trooper, wise as. 

Browsed Fashion Photography: The story in 180 pictures. I picked it up, read it, realised I'd already read it last year. No matter. Gorgeous photos. 

I confess: I started Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle but the type was too small and my poor eyes couldn't handle it. Might need to seek out a large print or audiobook version ...

This is ultimate swoon - not only the most glorious pics of Audrey Hepburn, but great context and book design: Audrey: The 60s.

Fresh out of the library - all graphic novels. 

Another book design book: Front cover: Great book jacket and cover design. 

Fresh outta the library. Have sent Stevie back because as usual my reading eyes are bigger than my reading stomach.

I was totally wow-ed by the Ann Shelton exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery, especially a library to scale

So I got Dark Matter out of the library, and revelled in it all a second time. 



At work - with Sunday mag and a fab book called Equipment for living: On Poetry and Pop Music by Michael Robbins, courtesy of Dr Matt Finch.

Christchurch street art features in the Lonely Planet's Street Art.

Favourite fashionista styles - this from Trinny and Susannah's 2008 book Who do you want to be today?

Beautiful words and illustrations in the picture book The world is not a rectangle: A portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter. 

Was brilliant to see New Zealand artist Yvonne Todd in Girl on girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze by Charlotte Jansen. I just loved Ilu Susiraja's work too. 

Another great book in the Little People, Big Dreams series. This one is Audrey Hepburn

A bunch of quite brilliant photos of characters from all sorts of 80s tribes - In the Eighties: Portraits from Another Time by Derek Ridgers. 

Paul Gorman's Portacom City: Reporting on the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes  is great and challenging read.

Hmm, I have two books out of the library, by two different Paul Gormans:

Fresh out of the library.

Um, did I get two copies of the same book out? Kia ora Power Girl.

Back at work. Here's one of my favourite coffee table books to browse. Dior Joaillerie by  Michelé Heuzé. It is a gem of a book, with striking images of jewellery - in sketches and in/on the flesh. Victoire de Castellane does astonishing work making jewel encrusted knuckledusters. It's the kind of jewellery that goes BIG.


ARTICLELost in (mis)translation? English take on Korean novel has critics up in arms
Claire Armitstead, The Guardian, 15 January 2018

A row over Han Kang’s award-winning novella The Vegetarian highlights the unavoidable difficulties of importing a novel from a very different language – but literal translation too often results in poor books

Second hand bookshop in Reefton.

Art books in a Reefton vintage shop.

$2 for 5 books from the Red Cross opshop in Manchester Street.

There's a Public Library hole on the new mini golf in town! City Putt and Cruise has bits of the old Library Chambers.

A graphic novel? I always have a clutch of them to read. My brother's husband Gengoroh Tagame

I spotted this on Amazon's Best Comics of Graphic Novels of 2017. This is the first manga I've read. With traditional manga, you read from back to front, and then within the panels you go from right to left. For me this was a brainteasing reading experience. Mike comes to Japan and stays with his dead husband's brother, and his young daughter. It's quite wonderful.

Local professor Erin's book is a stunner. Women, monstrosity and horror film: Gynaehorror by Erin Harrington delves into the rich vein of women, feminism, body horror, and movies. I thought it might be too high brow for me, but it it is both academic and utterly juicy. 

I really loved Bad Dad by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross. Me and Kiddo read this to each other. Action-packed, but what marks it out is the love between parent and child that leaps off the page 

This is a taonga. Someone's Mana photos by Krzanich, words by Haare Williams, editorial guidance by Witi Ihimaera. New Zealand photos that are as far from touristy LOTR schmaltz as you can get - and all the better for it. Michael Krzanich explores a more remote Aotearoa, that might not even be familiar to more urban dwellers. This beautifully produced book also includes brief poems by Haare Williams (in te reo Māori and English).

Start the year off with Bowie: Bowie: The Illustrated Story Pat Gilbert. I picked this up just to browse the piccies, but ended up reading it cover to cover. It's a perfect intro to the life and times of Bowie. 

I'm a sucker for books about books. The Illustrated Dust Jacket by Martin Salisbury is perfect coffee table read - I Ooooh-ed and Aaaah-ed over the delicious designs, and discovered the artists who made those glorious covers. 

The holiday reading/watching pile.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Christchurch City Libraries