Good books: what to read in 2014

Want to know what to read in 2014? Books ed­i­tor Michelle Hur­ley cherry picks the best.

South Waikato News - - BOOKS -


Another year, another novel about love, sex, lies etc from Hanif Kureishi with, The Last Word, com­ing from Faber in Fe­bru­ary.

And fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory too for the doyenne of mid­dle-class drama, Joanna Trol­lope and her new novel Bal­anc- ing Act, which dis­sects the col­lapse of a very mid­dle- class fam­ily busi­ness, a pot­tery firm (Dou­bleday, March).

An Un­nec­es­sary Woman by Rabih Alamed­dine is the much­hyped novel com­ing from Text in March, about an ec­cen­tric Beirut woman and her literary ob­ses­sions.

Welling­to­nian Sebastian Hamp­son min­gles ro­mance and Paris ( who’d have thought!) in his de­but novel, The Train to Paris, (Text, March)

New Zealand au­thor Robert Glancy sparked an in­ter­na­tional bid­ding war with his de­but novel Terms & Con­di­tions, with Harry Pot­ter publisher Blooms­bury ink­ing a six fig­ure two- book deal. Is it worth the hype? We’ll have to read the fine print to find out.

Also in March, ris­ing star Tina Mak­ereti’s first novel, Where The Rekohu Bone Sings tra­verses the Chatham Is­lands to Lon­don, and the 21st cen­tury to 1835 (Vin­tage).

Tim Wil­son’s sec­ond novel News Pigs - chron­i­cling the mis­ad­ven­tures of news hack Tom Milde - hits the shelves in April ( Vic­to­ria Univer­sity Press).

White Gar­de­nia au­thor Belinda Alexan­der has a new novel in April called Sap­phire Skies (HarperCollins), based loosely on the " night witches": The fe­male Rus­sian fighter plane pi­lots who wrecked havoc over the Ger­man army dur­ing World War II.

Last year’s re­cip­i­ent of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Award for Literary Achieve­ment in Fic­tion, Owen Mar­shall’s lat­est novel, Car­ni­val Sky, is pub­lished in May by Vin­tage, and is a med­i­ta­tion on love, death and trans­for­ma­tion.

June sees Text pub­lish a new novel by Tom Rach­man, au­thor of The Im­per­fec­tion­ists. Set in an in­ter­na­tional news­room in Rome, The Rise and Fall of Great Pow­ers is a story about " un­ex­pected con­nec­tions and the rev­e­la­tions that change ev­ery­thing".


Caoilinn Hughes aligns sci­en­tific and po­etic ven­tur­ing in her de­but col­lec­tion, Gath­er­ing Ev­i­dence, pub­lished by Vic­to­ria Univer­sity Press in Fe­bru­ary.

The re­cip­i­ent of the 2013 Prime Min­is­ter’s Award for Literary Achieve­ment in Poetry, Michele Leg­gott’s new work Heart­land, will be pub­lished in April by Auck­land Univer­sity Press and fol­lows on from her pre­vi­ous col­lec­tion, Mirabile Dictu.

Auck­land poet Sam Samp­son also has a se­quel in the works: Hal­cyon Ghosts will be pub­lished by AUT in May, fol­low­ing on from his first col­lec­tion, Ev­ery­thing Talks.


The Kept by James Scott ( Hutchin­son, Fe­bru­ary) is be­ing de­scribed as a literary page-turner in the tra­di­tion of Cold Moun­tain, set in the win­ter of 1897 when a trio of killers de­scend upon an iso­lated farm in up­state New York.

He’s barely le­gal but high hopes are held for Auck­land writer Ben Atkins and his de­but noir novel, Drown­ing City, set in 1930s’ Amer­ica ( Vin­tage, March).

Jo Nesbo re­turns in April with a stand­alone thriller, The Son, where a charis­matic young pris­oner es­capes jail to find out the truth about his fa­ther’s death (Harvill Secker).

Tony Par­sons makes the jump to crime fic­tion in The Mur­der Bag (Cen­tury, May), about a se­rial killer who kills rich and pow­er­ful men, the first in a se­ries.

Chris Pavone’s The Ac­ci­dent fea­tures a leg­endary me­dia ty­coon, an anony­mous manuscript about said me­dia ty­coon and some­one ( surely not the me­dia ty­coon?) who is des­per­ate for it to re­main un­pub­lished (Faber, June).

In what is be­ing billed as his first "hard­boiled de­tec­tive novel", Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes hits the shelves mid-year from Hachette.


Kick­ing things off in Jan­uary, Scribe pub­lishes John Riz­zoli’s The Com­pany Man -a provoca­tive ac­count of his time as the CIA’s top laWyer post- 911, where he ap­proved, among other things, the rules that gov­erned wa­ter­board­ing.

What Ge­orge taught me . . . in The Road to Mid­dle­march: My Life with Ge­orge Eliot (Text, Jan­uary) New Yorker staff writer dis­tils Mid­dle­march to of­fer a guide for liv­ing well.

In the pre­quel to Sarah Vaughan is Not My Mother, Wellington au­thor Mary­Jane Thom­son vividly de­tails how men­tal ill­ness led her to slip into drugs, strip­ping and, even­tu­ally, psych wards in Bunny: How it Be­gan (March, Awa Press).

The post­hu­mous mem­oir of Dave McArt­ney, found­ing mem­ber of Hello Sailor and the Pink Flamin­gos, will be re­leased by HarperCollins NZ in May next year.

Publisher Fin­lay Macdon­ald de­scribes Gut­ter Black ‘‘as a kind of so­cial his­tory of those times, as well as an amaz­ingly in­ti­mate mem­oir by a cre­ative in­di­vid­ual’’.

Aus­tralian broad­caster and per­former Sian Prior in­ves­ti­gates her chronic shy­ness ( and dis­in­te­grat­ing re­la­tion­ship with her part­ner, a fa­mous mu­si­cian . . . all right, it’s singer Paul Kelly) in Shy: A Mem­oir, out

from Text in June.


Ex­pect a dev­as­tat­ing ac­count of the Robert Far­quhar­son case - the Aus­tralian fa­ther con­victed of mur­der­ing his sons on Fa­ther’s Day in 2005 by driv­ing them into a farm - from Aus­tralia’s most ex­tra­or­di­nary non- fic­tion writer, He­len Gar­ner. (Septem­ber, Text).

Tiger mother Amy Chua turns her crit­i­cal eye to suc­cess in The Triple Pack­age ( Bloomb­sury, Fe­bru­ary) where she posits that there are three cul­tural traits that al­low some groups to out­per­form oth­ers.

We’re pick­ing ten­der­ness isn’t one of them.

David Grant’s bi­og­ra­phy of Nor­man Kirk is be­ing billed the de­fin­i­tive book on one of New Zealand’s most ad­mired po­lit­i­cal lead­ers (Ran­dom House, March).

Ar­chi­tec­ture pho­tog­ra­pher Si­mon De­vitt and writes Bill McKay and An­drea Stevens pay trib­ute to New Zealand state houses in Be­yond the State: New Zealand State Houses from Mod­est to Mod­ern (Pen­guin, April).

Fair­fax jour­nal­ist Michael Field lifts the lid on ap­palling hu­man rights abuses on board ships fish­ing for New Zealand quota in The Catch, com­ing from Awa Press in April.

April also sees the re­lease of AUP’s Ko te Whenua te Utu / The Land is the Price by his­to­rian M P K Sor­ren­son, bring­ing to­gether ma­jor strands of his writ­ing from the last 50 years.

Come May, Auck­land aca­demic Michael Cor­bal­lis ex­am­ines what the mind is re­ally do­ing when it’s goof­ing off in The Wan­der­ing Mind: What the Brian Does When You’re Not Look­ing ( Auck­land Univer­sity).

Brid­get Wil­liams Books and The Auck­land War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum re­leases in May what should be a land­mark pub­li­ca­tion, Tan­gata Whenua: An Il­lus­trated His­tory, by Athol An­der­son, Ju­dith Bin­ney and Aroha Har­ris, of­fer­ing a sweep of Maori his­tory from Pa­cific ori­gins to the 21st cen­tury.

A new take on the Great War from celebrity his­to­rian Si­mon Schama tells the sto­ries of the sol­diers through the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of war in Your Coun­try Needs You! ( HarperCollins, June).

Grahame Syd­ney fans should look out for Grahame Syd­ney - Paint­ings ( Oc­to­ber, Craig Pot­ton Pub­lish­ing) in what should be the ma­jor sur­vey of his ca­reer, with an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal ac­count from Syd­ney and es­say from Vin­cent O’Sul­li­van.

Fair­fax NZ News


THE KING: Stephen King’s new novel Mr Mercedes hits the shelves mid year.

BAL­ANC­ING ACT: The doyenne of mid­dle-class drama, Joanna Trol­lope, dis­sects the col­lapse of a very middleclass fam­ily busi­ness - a pot­tery firm.

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