Scoop Review of Books

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Thrilling International Crime

Craig Sisterson takes a look at some recent bestsellers.

New Zealand readers love their crime and thriller fiction. Although we’ve been a little slow to embrace the fantastic, high quality writing now being produced by some of our own local writers, we certainly devour titles from international authors. A quick glance at the weekly bestsellers lists shows that crime and thriller titles not only regularly top the International Adult Fiction bestseller list, but in fact often take up the majority of the Top 10 positions. We love our fictional crime tales, that’s for sure.

In the past few weeks there have been new releases from several of the biggest names on the international crime and thriller writing scene. But which of these five international stars are continuing to produce high quality crime and thriller fiction that is well worth reading, and which are relying more on reputations or past glories?

Here’s a quick round-up.

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Five Translated Children’s Books

fearsome-fiveBy Camilla During
Gecko Press is a boutique publishing house, the brainchild of New Zealander Julia Marshall. She specialises in publishing foreign children’s books which she then gets translated into English. Marshall is careful to choose “curiously good books from around the world by well-established authors and illustrators”.

Gecko Press publications (which now number over thirty) continue to impress me with both the calibre of the authors and illustrators as well as the unstinting production values.

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Getting to Know Ireland: Five Books

Journalist ALISON McCULLOCH, who recently moved to Ireland, contributes the latest installment of the Scoop Review of Books’ Five Books series…

Getting to Know Ireland

Ireland: Inventing the Nation. By R. V. Comerford. Hodder Arnold/Oxford University Press. 2003.

Ireland has a deep and enduring relationship with emigration. Being migratory seems part of who the Irish are, and not just historically. As soon as the clouds of economic doom appeared on the horizon in 2008, newspapers started running stories about how many people were lining up to get out.

But there’s a fierce nationalistic sentiment here, too, where the “Celtic” identifier can be attached to just about everything – “Celtic crosses, Celtic soul, Celtic mind and Celtic spirit … Celtic rock, Celtic rhythm, Celtic chocolates, Celtic needlepoint, Celtic helicopters”, and let’s not forget the Celtic Tiger, R.I.P. So how do you reconcile such loyalty to country – and all things Celtic – with that centuries-old tendency of its people to pack up and leave? It’s pretty simple. In the struggle between economy and ideology, as Vincent Comerford argues in this most engaging book, Ireland: Inventing the Nation, economy will prevail over ideology at every turn. Call it Celtic pragmatism. Read more »

Five Books that Helped Heal My Cancer

At the very basic level, cancer is your own cells attacking themselves. When I learned this after my own breast cancer diagnosis – early on – I felt like I’d been given a kind of power. I had a total belief that if my own body had created cancer, then surely I could reverse it. So I started reading…

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Five Stories about ‘The Settled Landscape’

Theme 4 of Te Ara, the online Encylopedia of New Zealand.
General Editor: Jock Phillips; Theme Editor: Allan Gillingham

Reviewed by SIMON NATHAN
sl1-1.jpgTe Ara, the Online Encylopedia of New Zealand, is being built up progressively, with a block of new content being added annually. The fourth section or theme is called ‘The Settled Landscape’, and deals with how humans have modified the land, clearing the forest and converting most of the lower altitude country to farmland. The emphasis of this theme is mainly on farming of both animals and crops. The 97 new articles cover a range of topics from superphosphate to animal diseases (which includes a chilling selection of illustrations). But it isn’t all technical stuff, as there is a delightful group of articles on Country Life.

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