In March, we introduced a new service: the Reading Doctor. Read more about Dr Louise here. And do feel free to request further prescriptions, as needed!
Prescription #14: something for a book club
I'm in a large, diverse book club and we can't settle on a New Zealand book to read together. Do you have any recommendations for something we might all find interesting?
The best books to read in a group tend to be ones which are unconventional or controversial, either in subject or style: agreement makes for a very brief discussion. For these books, liking or not liking them is often beside the point; they are interesting and thought-provoking, prompting us to consider and reconsider, to see things anew, and to linger with us long after turning the last page.
Pip Adam’s new novel Nothing to See is a highly original novel which asks us to think about life lived outside the bounds of what’s normal, to think about individuality, isolation and loneliness within a technologically-bound world, in which simulation looks so nearly like the real thing.
Caroline’s Bikini is a very clever story about storytelling, about a frustrated romance which remains unfulfilled and in which nothing really happens, with footnotes, from Kirsty Gunn.
Victorian London is the setting for The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti, in which a Māori boy who is exhibited as a curiosity subverts the colonial gaze by looking back on the society around him.
In Paul Cleave’s Trust No-one, a crime writer with dementia fears he may have committed the gruesome deeds of his own character, Henry Cutter; it’s a fast-paced novel which keeps you guessing right until the end, while playing with the conventions of the genre.
Concerned with the often banal ordinariness of daily family life and its own very particular rhythms, Emily Perkins’ novel The Forrests does unusual things with time, continuity and focus in its narrative.
The difficulties of navigating the moral landscape of the contemporary age are the context for Kate Duignan’s The New Ships, in which a middle-aged man finds himself suddenly unmade, as the structures which used to define him crumble away.
Sarah Quigley’s controversial novel The Suicide Club contributes to the conversation about youth suicide, following three young people seeking to extinguish themselves.
The Cage is a dark parable about xenophobia by Lloyd Jones, describing the treatment of two refugees when they arrive in a small town from far away, bedraggled and traumatised.