Book reviews: March 2016 (part 2)

By: Peta Stavelli


Captivated by the Popular Penguins series, Peta Stavelli is working her way through the classics frequently on sale at booksellers, at the retro price of two for $20.

Love in the Time of Cholera Love -in -the -time -of -cholera

Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

Gabriel Garcia Marquez died in 2014 aged 87, leaving behind a body of work that included novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He has been described as a magical and lyrical writer, a genius, and a master of storytelling.

After reading Love in the Time of Cholera and being transported so vividly to a colourful world of enduring love, I concur with all of the above, and cannot wait to get my hands on his most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. 

Mother Tongue Mother -tongue

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is better known for his hilarious travelogues but he is also an accomplished writer on language and science. Mother Tongue examines how the English language developed from a series of guttural grunts to become the world’s first language. In so doing he explores the variations of English which exist in America and Australia, as well as Pidgin English and Creole.

Along the way he touches on swearing, spelling, spoonerisms and Scrabble. It’s a delightful book to dip in and out of.

Persuasion Persuasion

Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s own life as the daughter of a country rector was lived on such a small scale, it is staggering that she could have imagined and written enduring works which are as captivating today as when they were written more than 100 years ago. While her personal secrets contained in a lifetime of correspondence to her sister were burned after her death, Austen’s books reveal her as an acute observer of the human condition.

Persuasion centres on Anne, a spinster, who eight years previous rejected the man she loved on the advice of family and friends. When Captain Wentworth returns to live nearby, she begins to hope for a second chance. Perfect escapism.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover Lady -Chatterley 's -Lover

D.H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s husband returns from the Great War paralysed and emotionally distant and she seeks comfort in a passionate liaison with gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. And so unfurls one of the great scandals of modern publishing. Public outrage for D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel was not simply confined to the explicit content, but also the tandem themes of class and sexuality.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover was not openly published in the United Kingdom until 1960. Almost 90 years since it was written, it’s still a ripping good yarn.

The best of Alison Holst Holst _New

Alison Holst
New Holland Publishers, $50 (Hardback)

This is as comprehensive a Kiwi cookbook as you could want, containing more than 1200 easy, delicious and affordable recipes. I would be tempted to call it The Ultimate Alison Holst Collection, however that title is already in circulation; and there is no overlap between the books. If readers are lucky enough to have both, they will have access to 2500 of Alison’s most trusted recipes.

All are laid out in an accessible style and some chapters contain illustrated lessons to extend you as a cook. These include the preparation of your own cuts of meat and ways to extend your repertoire of grain dishes. Recipes for everything from starters to sweets will encourage you – or someone you love – to become a better cook and host.

The Innocent Killer The -innocent -Killer

Michael Griesbach
Penguin Books NZ, $37

Steven Avery had all the hallmarks of a rapist when he was arrested for the sexual assault and attempted murder of a respected Wisconsin businesswoman. He served 18 years in prison before the new district attorney and his deputy, Michael Griesbach, began to suspect a wrongful conviction had taken place. Worse still was to come when members high ranking members of the justice and law enforcement departments were found to have framed Avery.

Two years after his exoneration, and on the eve of receiving a massive payout for wrongful conviction, Avery was back behind bars – this time for the brutal murder of a young freelance photographer. Was he framed a second time? This shocking narrative non-fiction will have you enthralled.

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