Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
A good book should draw you in right
from the start. I’ve always felt that way, both as a reader and as a
writer. There are simply too many good books in the world—and too little
time—to spin our wheels delving into something that doesn’t hook us.
That’s why THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf is still
so fresh in my mind. The book starts with the seeds of a mystery, piquing
the reader’s interest immediately. Who is the little girl the narrator is
talking about? What’s she doing running through the woods in her
nightgown? And why has she neglected to say a single word in the last
“What makes Iago evil? Some people ask.
I never ask.” So opens Joan Didion’s spellbinding novel PLAY IT AS IT
LAYS, which has my vote for best first lines of a book. It immediately
encapsulates the novel’s mood of weary nihilism and the lawless
California setting where morality and the debate of good versus evil are
beside the point.