Summer is finally here, and after a year like 2021, it couldn’t have arrived sooner. As you plan how to spend the next few weeks, you might want to find some precious ‘me time’ to enjoy a good book or a podcast.
So, are you on the hunt for something a bit different to read or listen to? Here are some options to check out over your summer break.
Kiwi summer reading
- Looking for award-winning writers? If you haven’t read Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries yet, summer could be an ideal time to tackle this 850-page murder mystery. Catton’s second novel and recipient of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, The Luminaries is set in gold rush New Zealand, with striking depictions of the West Coast.
- Named one of top books for young adults, Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip plays out amid civil war on Bougainville Island, Papua Guinea, during the early 1990s. The novel tells the story of a girl, Matilda, who survives the war thanks to her connection with Pip, who is also the fictional protagonist of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations.
- Tina Makereti’s The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke is the beautifully woven and haunting coming-of-age story of a young Maori boy who travels to Victorian London, to discover his place in the world. The novel moves from the early days of New Zealand as a country to the city of London, back then at the very centre of a large empire and the industrial revolution.
- Speaking of award-winning Maori authors, in 2020 Becky Manawatu’s debut novel Auē garnered critical acclaim and saw her emerge as a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction. One critic described it as “a beautifully pitched and nuanced hopeful story about the power of love, friendship and family.”
- If you’re looking for happily-ever-afters, Auckland-based writer Kellie Hailes’ romance Snowed in at the Snowflake B&B could just be the festive, uplifting read you need right now.
- Missing travelling or dreaming of a nice trip to Europe? A regular on the best-seller list, Nicky Pellegrino will transport you all the way to Italy and its dreamy atmosphere. Born in England to an Italian father, Pellegrino married a Kiwi and calls New Zealand home; in keeping with her heritage, all her novels are a trip to Italy, full of adventure, delicious food, and romance.
- Lastly, blogger Emily Writes’ Rants in the Dark is a funny collection of short pieces and, most importantly, word of encouragement for all sleep-deprived parents or parents-to-be out there. It can also make for a great present, if you know someone who’s just starting out on the parenting journey.
Looking for even more inspiration? You can head to the NZ Book Awards Trust’s website for the full list of 2021 award winners, short-listers, and long-listers.
Reading is great, but what if you have a long-distance road trip ahead of you, or you’re going on a walk? Listening to a podcast may be a great option to keep yourself entertained while doing something else at the same time – or why not, while doing nothing at all.
Here are some excellent homegrown podcasts to get you started.
- Hosted by Bernard Hickey, Nikki Mandow and Peter Griffin, RNZ’s Two Cents’ Worth provides an in-depth look at all-things business and economy-related, and how they affect people’s own finances. Episodes stopped in August 2020, but you can find some timeless nuggets of inspiration here and there.
- A Spinoff’s production, Gone by Lunchtime is an ongoing politics podcast with Ben Thomas, Annabelle Lee Mather and Toby Manhire, focusing on the latest topics of conversation.
- Kiwi friends Brodie Kane, Caitlin Marett and Gracie Taylor host The Girls Uninterrupted, an easy listen revolving around the ‘issues of the week’ – or anything else they have in mind.
- For a darker atmosphere, true crime enthusiasts may enjoy Black Hands, a Stuff’s podcast with journalist Martin van Beynen, delving into the story of the Bain family murders.
- The Worst Idea of All Time is a hit comedy podcast by Kiwi comedians Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt, who have been entertaining New Zealand with it since February 2014.
- In their parenting podcast Double Strength Mama Power, Suzy Cato and Tui Fleming share the lessons they’ve learned on their parenting journey, with 18 episodes to listen to, all of which are less than half-hour long.
Would you like to discover even more? This year, the NZ Podcast Awards presented its inaugural winners out of over 170 nominations. You can find the full list here.
Have a happy holiday break!
From our team to your family, happy holidays. We wish you a restful and relaxing holiday break, and look forward to assisting you again in 2022.
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