Kia ora and welcome to the Reading Doctor! Each week, literary critic and devoted reader Dr Louise recommends books to us on a particular theme, or responds to reader questions.
Read more about Dr Louise here. Send us your questions for her by emailing: email@example.com
This week, honouring Matariki, she looks up to the stars to recommend some novels.
As the Matariki star cluster rises in our skies and we celebrate the beginning of the new year of the Māori lunar calendar, one of these stellar novels might be the perfect accompaniment to our new public holiday.
· A creation story, woven and beautifully illustrated by Xoë Hall, Together in Love: A Legend of Matariki begins with the loving embrace of Ranginui and Papatuanuku.
· A spaceship heads towards the stars, carrying the seeds of a new colony in Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, though always tethered to things and places left behind.
· Arthur Dent is rescued from Earth moments before it’s destroyed to make way for an interstellar freeway in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Trillian is the astrophysicist he tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone.
· Galileo Galilei has been called the father of observational astronomy; Galileo’s Daughter was the nun Suor Maria Celeste, and her letters are the basis for Dava Sobel’s exploration of their relationship, in a “historical memoir of science, faith and love”.
· The Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is set on the West Coast goldfields and is steeped in things both astronomical and astrological, featuring characters who represent planets and signs of the zodiac.
· An American astronaut is left behind in the chaos of an emergency evacuation from Mars, in The Martian by Andy Weir, and has to improvise in order to survive in a hostile environment until help arrives.
· The Reds work ceaselessly believing that they are making the surface of Mars habitable for future generations, while their overlords the Golds already live there in luxury, in Red Rising by Pierce Brown.