Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The country’s top publishers tell Nicky Pellegrino what's on their reading list.

Kevin Chapman is the Managing Director of Hachette NZ.

This summer I'll be reading...Brazil by Michael Palin.  Brazil has always fascinated me, but despite a number of attempts I’ve never been there. So I’ll do the next best thing – see it through the eyes of Michael Palin. Those eyes are always penetrating, and you see much more than if you read a book aimed at tourists, but at the same time he retains the newcomer’s joy of discovery. Perhaps afterwards I’ll have a really good idea of how to plan that trip…

My pick for a relaxing beach read is...Trust Your Eyes by Linwood BarclayIn my view Barclay never writes anything other than an excellent book. He takes an ordinary, everyday situation and turns it into a plot-twisting ride with great characters and satisfying outcomes. Trust Your Eyes is no different, and I think the only problem is you’ll want to stay and keep reading – thus risking sunburn!

My pick for a challenging holiday read is... The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. This is not challenging because it’s difficult to read, but because it asks us to confront our own social values. A big book in size, and a big book in theme, it’s excellently written and rewarding for those who pick it up.

Debra Millar is the general manager for Penguin NZ

This summer I'll be reading ... all the books I never got around to reading in 2012. I have a stack that lies waiting . . . Zadie Smith's NW, JoJo Moyes The Girl You Left Behind, Anna Funder's All That I Am, Ian McEwen's latest Sweet Tooth. If I nail those I'll be happy.

 My pick for a relaxing beach read is . . . Lives We Leave Behind by Maxine Alterio, a moving account of two young New Zealand nurses serving at the front lines in World War 1, or for crime fans Paul Cleave's The Laughterhouse, a gripping thriller which, to be honest, is probably best described as engrossing rather than relaxing.

 My pick for a challenging holiday read . . . is Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. It’s always good to start a new year with a book that gets you thinking, and Malcolm Gladwell’s latest promises ‘you’ll never think about thinking in the same way again’. It’s sure to ignite some campfire conversations.

Graham Mitchell is the general manager of HarperCollins NZ

This summer I'll be reading...The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien (and who won't be!).  I want to read it before I take the family to see the movie.  I might even end up reading it out loud to my son and daughter.

My pick for a relaxing beach read is...Mick Jagger the new biography of the rock legend by Philip Norman.  When you read a description of Jagger in the book blurb that includes the words flawed genius, Casanova, Antichrist, nonchalance and fur rugs all in one sentence, you know you're in for a fascinating read!

My pick for a challenging holiday read is...Bad Pharma, where science writer Ben Goldacre puts the pharmaceutical industry under the microscope and reveals an apparently fascinating but terrifying mess. Goldacre will be appearing at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival next May, and I need to swot up.
Karen Ferns is the managing director of Random House NZ

This summer I’ll be reading…Fiona Kidman’s The Book of Secrets which is freshly released in a special new edition. It is one of Fiona’s most celebrated novels and is a compelling and dramatic story of three generations of women swept up in the migration led by a charismatic and domineering Scottish preacher. As I think about the year ahead I also plan to dip into The Power Of Us words of wisdom from inspirational New Zealanders . Perfect for dipping in and out of with time for reflection before reading another chapter.

My pick for a relaxing beach read …Originally self-published in episodes on the web Hugh Howey’s Wool received such acclaim that Random House bought the rights and have released it as one book. Set in an enclosed underground dystopian, highly regulated world and with a small cast of main characters it will be ideal for the pageturner one needs on one of those wet summer days.  

My pick for a challenging read…Will be the emotionally charged The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman, a heart wrenching piece of storytelling where good people make tragic decisions and the writer is so skilled that the reader is forced to shift their moral view as the story unfolds. No wonder Oprah selected this book and Dreamworks have bought up the movie rights.
Melanie Lavelle-Moore is the director of Allen & Unwin NZ
This summer I'll be reading...It’s all about tradition at this time of the year, and for me that always includes Michael Connelly, an author whose crime novels are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Last year (2012) marked the twentieth anniversary for the immensely likeable character of Harry Bosch, so it’s fitting that he should return to an unsolved case from 20 years ago. Far from re-visiting old territory though, in The Black Box Connelly delivers a taut and plot-driven page-turner with the violence of the 1992 LA riots as its starting point.
My pick for a relaxing beach read is...Providing your bag can accommodate a decent-sized, and really rather beautiful hardback, Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper is an engrossing, and hugely accomplished novel that will amply fill any day spent at the beach. Predominantly set in England during WWII, the novel is brimming with the historical detail, mystery, romance and immensely likeable characters that have become Morton’s trademarks. I defy anyone to guess the twist at the end.
And providing your partner can withstand the guaranteed belly laughs that are sure to be induced, Dom Harvey’s Bucket List of an Idiot is a beach-read that’s difficult to beat. One of New Zealand’s most popular personalities demonstrates that he’s not just good at being funny, but that he is one idiot that writes superbly too.

My pick for a challenging holiday read is...It’s always an event when the truly brilliant Barbara Kingsolver releases a new novel. We’re used to waiting years for something new – yet Flight Behaviour has arrived less than three years on from her Orange Prize-winning masterpiece, The Lacuna. It covers Kingsolver’s favourite stomping grounds of class, poverty and climate, and I’ve deliberately kept it on the bedside table for when I have plenty of time to dedicate to it. Not just because I expect it to be challenging (and I'll be bitterly disappointed if it isn't), but because every Kingsolver sentence needs to be suitably savoured. Some things just can't, and shouldn't be rushed.

This feature first appeared in the Herald on Sunday, 6 January, 2013.


Anonymous said...

Those picks are mostly marketing!

Graham Beattie said...

I agree with anon. Pity they couldn't have chosen a few titles other than their own!