April Picks

Jan’s been reading:

Watson, Richard (2010) Future Minds; how the digital age is changing our minds, why this matters and what we can do about it. Nicholas Brealey.  Drawing on the latest research futurist Richard Watson looks at the ways digital culture is shaping the future and changing the way we think. Thought provoking, with suggestions on how to reclaim space and time to think deeply – go with the slow flow.  Rating: 8/10

Hoffman, Alice (2011) The Red Garden.  Crown. Introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts.   A web of tales, centred on a mysterious garden, intertwining  200 years of small town history with passion, dark secrets, enchantment, and redemption.  Well crafted, and full of magic.  Rating: 8.5/10

Julie’s been reading:

Home, A M (2006) This book will save your life. Granta Books.  This is an uplifting story about one man’s struggle to bring himself back to life. Richard has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one, until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world. One day, he wakes up with a knotty cramp in his back, which rapidly develops into an all-consuming pain. At the same time, a wide sinkhole appears outside his living room window, threatening the foundations of his house. A novel about compassion and transformation, revealing what can happen if you are willing to open up to the world around you.  Loved it. Rating: 8.5/10

Look at you: Aroha Atu, Aroha Mai (2010). Counties Manukau DHB.  Is the first of a series of DVDs showing the ways in which babies are social and communicate right from birth. The DVD is aimed at helping parents, whaanau and professionals understand and respond to the social and emotional needs of babies, in the first three months of life. Highly recommended. Rating: 10/10

Smither, Elizabeth (2011) The Commonplace Book; a writer’s journey through quotations. Auckland UP. Elizabeth Smither has always kept her own collection of other people’s words: quotations, extracts, poems and pensées, the found and overheard. She shares these witty and wise quotations, interspersed with incidents and memories from her own writing and life. Offers a glimpse into the influences and inspirations . A lovely book to give a precious friend. Rating: 9/10

Debbie’s been reading:

Scholes, Katherine (2011) Lioness. Penguin.  Angel Kelly and her mother are travelling by camel across the dusty plains of northern Tanzania when disaster strikes. Australian medical researcher Emma Lindberg arrives at a nearby field station, hoping to lay to rest a grief she’s carried since childhood. Their worlds collide when human footprints are found in the desert, among those of a lioness and her cubs. A light read. Rating: 6.5/10

Roz’s been reading:

Haigh, Jennifer (2008)  The condition. Harper Collins. The story of a New England family that comes apart one fateful summer. Frank and Paulette’s daughter, Gwen, is diagnosed with Turner’s syndrome–a genetic condition that leaves her trapped forever in the body of a child.  Twenty years later, their three children, now grown, are each struggling with secret conditions of their own and still dealing with the fallout of their parent’s divorce. Then, suddenly, Gwen falls in love for the first time.  Rating: 8.5/10

Jan Mc’s been reading:

Diamant, Anita (2009) The Red Tent. Allen & Unwin. The story of Dinah, Jacob’s only daughter in the Book of Genesis. From her upbringing by Jacob’s four wives to her growth into one of the most influential women of her time.  A tale  of ancient womanhood combining both a rich insight into women’s society with history and politics of the time.

Rating: 10/10.

Stead, CK (2006) My name was Judas.  Random House.  The story of Jesus told by Judas, recounted some forty years after the death of Jesus. Looking back on his childhood Judas recalls his friendship with Jesus; their schooling together; their families; the people who would go on to be disciples and followers; their journeys together and their dealings with the powers of Rome and the Temple.  Stead goes beyond the boundaries of the story known to us all and convincingly enters the mind of one of its key players.  Rating: 8/10.

Raewyn’s been reading:

Tremain, Rose (2008) The road home. Vintage. Lev goes to Britain to seek work, so that he can send money back to Eastern Europe to support his mother and little daughter.  The  story of his struggles with the mysterious rituals of ‘Englishness’, and the fashions and fads of the London scene. We see the road Lev travels through Lev’s eyes, and we share his dilemmas, his friendships, his joys and sufferings, his aspirations and his hopes of finding his way home.  A great read. Rating: 9/10.

Sheehy, Gail (2007) Sex and the seasoned woman; pursuing the passionate life . Random House.  Sheehy reveals a hidden cultural phenomenon-increased vitality in women’s sex and love lives after fifty. The story of an intimate revolution taking place  in midlife women –  sex, love, dating, new dreams, exploring spirituality, and revitalizing their marriages as never before. Anecdotal comments mixed with current research. Recommended.

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