The holidays are here and we have some excellent books for children and young adults to help to while the winter away.
The BFG is showing in cinemas now, and we have the film tie-in edition in store. A story that grown-ups will enjoy, too, it's entertaining, warm and full of adventure. We also have the audiobook which is read by David Walliams and is (of course) a lot of fun. We recommend this book for children aged 7 and up.
Jacqueline Wilson's latest, Little Stars, is the fifth instalment in the adventures of Hetty Feather, who has now escaped from Tanglefield's Travelling Circus with her best friend. Jacqueline Wilson's books always have a cast of clever, bold and lovable characters, and this one is just as captivating, along with some wonderful period detail relating to Victorian England. Aimed at readers aged 9 and up, many teenagers enjoy this series as well.
The seventh and final book in the Lorian Legacies by Pittacus Lore, United As One, is brimming with action and tension. For those eager to find out how the sci-fi series wraps up, this will keep you on the edge of your seat! Compelling and very readable. Aimed at readers aged 12 and up.
A thorough study of the upstate New York town of Woodstock, which gave its name to the legendary 1969 mud-and-music festival held around 60 miles away, by one of the foremost music writers of his generation. The bucolic town was once home to Dylan, The Band, Hendrix, Joplin and Van Morrison, among many others, including the author for a time in the 1990s. Central to the story, and the link with most of the artists, is scary manager Albert Grossman. Highly recommended for those interested in music and popular culture. - Steve
In Love With These Times
By Roger Shepherd
An entertaining and informative memoir from the music fan who set up the iconic indie record label Flying Nun in Christchurch, in the post-punk era of the early 1980s. Britain's Guardian newspaper wrote "surely the label with the highest quality output per capita in pop history". Included in the roster were the likes of The Chills, The Clean and The Headless Chickens, bands that epitomised the so-called "Dunedin Sound". Shepherd provides an insider's guide to the personalities and music but also a rare look at the tricky business of surviving in the music industry. Be in quick to secure a signed copy. - Steve
Much fuss and publicity heralded the recent release of this "lost" novel from the American author of To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee's only other published work, from 1960) which was written before the award-winning "Mockingbird" . This, too, is set in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, though 20 years later, and features most of the main characters. Tomboy "Scout" is now New York-residing Jean Louise on her annual trip back home. She is appalled to find her father, Atticus, appears to be a racist, rather than the colourblind lawyer she deeply respected. Some critics have not been kind in comparing this to her famous work, however, despite a too-long racist debate towards the end, the writing is often wonderful. - Steve
Apple lives with her Grandma in England, but has always wanted to see her mother, who's been away in America since Apple was three. When her mother unexpectedly arrives in town with another daughter (Rain), her life takes a surprising twist. The book covers issues such as reuniting broken families, school life, and growing up.
Apple and Rain is very addictive, and the characters seem very real.. A good book especially for girls aged 10-15. My favourite book of the year!
Moving novel by Booker-winning Irish author Anne Enright. Four siblings who've lived apart for many years, are reunited for Christmas by their 76 year old mother Rosaleen Madigan. This proves to be a cathartic experience, as various personalities and unresolved issues come to a head. A gripping pared-down narrative, with a page-turning finale, recommended.
Farewell Kabul :From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous Place by award-winning journalist Christina Lamb, is the gripping account of how the West's politicians forgot the experiences of the past in this troubled region, the root of the War on Terror, when pursuing their goals.
This has lead to the longest war fought by the US in its history and by Britain since the Hundred Years War!
I read William Dalrymple's Return of the King The Battle for Afghanistan some years ago ,also a gripping account of this region.
I highly recommend this new book which whilst detailed is immensely readable
Really it is the definitive book on Afghanistan,
A must read for history buffs and every "world leader" should read both of these books.
Do not be confused over the book's title - Christina Lamb has changed the title several time in the writing- so it appears in different guises - a bit like the Taliban really.
Grant’s biography of Kirk's brief, frenetic life. From a working class background in South Canterbury, and without a formal secondary education, Kirk progressed through a variety of jobs into politics, eventually becoming Prime Minister. He was the driving force behind many ground-breaking initiatives - withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, opposition to French nuclear testing; introduction of the DPB; improving trade with Asia and South America as Britain entered the Common Market, while dealing with the global oil shocks and ensuing financial crisis. For anyone who grew up in the baby-boomer era, this is a roadmap of this period in New Zealand's history. Compelling read, thoroughly researched
Clever and very well written, this is the story of Will, a troubled Wellington teen with a talent for singing opera, and an orhaned baby Orca called Min, separated from his pod after his mother is killed by illegal whalers. Each chapter alternates between Will's and the Orca's story.
Most of the story follows their interaction with locals in a small rural town in Marlborough Sounds, largely centred around salmon farming. Antagonism between Will, some of the townspeople, and particularly the salmon farm's owner Bruce, and concludes in a gripping finale as Will, his cousin Pania and Bruce's son Hunter decide to reunite the orca with its pod. Strong characterisations, highly original, a good read for secondary-age readers (some language and adult themes, with relevant violence thrown into the mix)