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Five Books About Science and Scientists

By Simon Nathan
Twenty years ago the publication of a book about New Zealand science was an unusual event. But in 2008 science writing is now sexy, attracting creative writers and established publishers. These five recent volumes are a sample of the excellent new science books that are available.

A Continent on the Move

Chief Editor, Ian Graham

Geological Society of New Zealand (distributed by Craig Potton Publishing). $50

science001.jpgThere has been a revolution in geological ideas over the last thirty years. When I was a student, it was widely believed that the continents and oceans were fixed and unchanging. Development of the concepts of plate tectonics has given a completely different way of looking at the earth. This encyclopedic book is a synthesis of present knowledge of the geology of New Zealand and how it fits in with the rest of the world. Read more »

Five Books that Made Me a Feminist

Wellington writer, librarian and feminist MARIA McMILLAN contributes the latest installment of the Scoop Review of Book’s “Five Books that…” series.

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Freedom Train: The story of Harriet Tubman
By Dorothy Sterling
As a child I read obsessively. I crammed books in and swallowed them whole not wanting to stop to sleep or eat. At night after my parents came to turn my light off I would take my lamp under the covers so they couldn’t see–it is there still somewhere, white cloth covered plastic misshapen on one side from heat it should never have experienced. After I finally relented to sleep I would dream new chapters and entirely new conversations among characters. I would read books in one sitting and instantly forget most of the plot. Read more »

Five Books that Helped Make Me a Poet

By Airini Beautrais

blake.gifThis is a tough call as I think to be any kind of writer you need to read more like five hundred books. However these are a few of the books that spring to mind as having influenced me at particular times of my life. Firstly my mum was a big William Blake fan. If I had been a boy it’s quite likely I would have been named Blake. Probably my first introduction to his work was a recording of ‘Tyger tyger’ made in the 60s which was on a nursery rhyme tape we had. When I was a teenager – maybe 15 – I read the Songs of Innocence and Experience and enjoyed it. Read more »

Five Books About Blackball

By Simon Nathan

bb001.jpgBlackball is a remote and bleak West Coast mining town in the shadow of the Paparoa Range. The main mine closed over 50 years ago, but a small, fiercely loyal community remains. People with Blackball connections have fond memories of a town that probably seems better through nostalgia-tinted lenses. Although these books cover a period of more than 100 years, a common theme is that life in Blackball was tough. Read more »

Five Crime Novels that Inspire My Writing

0142002399.jpgAuckland crime writer ANDREA JUTSON – author of the just published The Darkness Looking Back – nominates five crime novels that have influenced her writing.

The Shape of Water – Andrea Camilleri
He might share his first name with me, but I can only marvel (and laugh, repeatedly) at Andrea Camilleri’s ability to weave a sparkling, tragic-comic mystery that truly breathes the spirit of modern Sicily. Read more »

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