A low-fi list of books I've read over the last 20 years or so. These entries in bold are the books I particularly liked.
The Kid From Matata by David McGill
A book written from a kid's point of view about growing up in (very) small town NZ. Quaint.
One Crowded Hour by Tim Bowden
The biography of Neil Davis, Australian war correspondent. Absolutely amazing story. The guy was a freak but what an amazing life!.
Maori Witchery by C. R. Browne
A fictional book set in the King Country in the 1870's when the government was trying to open the land up for the railroad. Written in 1928.
Wildcat Screaming by Mudrooroo
A book about an Aboriginal guy who gets thrown in prison. Starts off really good, swapping between the real world and this guy's daydreams. Then it turns into a really slack detective story for some reason. Maybe the author died and somebody finished writing it for him? I don't know.
Beak of the Moon by Philip Temple
Kind of like a Watership down for Keas. (Keas are a mountain parrot that lives in the South Island of NZ and are famous for their appetite for windscreen wiper rubber.) Liked the birds' eye descriptions of humans: tall birds with no wings and a silly beak.
War in the Tussock by Ormond Wilson
A mini-text-book about the last stand of the prophet Te Kooti with the Tuhoe and Ngati Tuwharetoa at Te Porere near Tongariro (Desert Rd, just North of Ruapehu). (Te Kooti lost.)
The Matriach by Ihimaera
Witi's third-to-most-recent book. Just catching up. Quite a weird book, jumps from ancient past to mythology to recent past to the present mid-sentence sometimes. Cool, but hard work.
Disorderly Conduct by Marilyn Duckworth
A NZ novel about a very ordinary woman. Quite a cool book. No bad guys, no good guys, no car chases and no moral of the story. I like that.
Race For The World by John Todd
The story of the first guy to visit every country in the world. A tale of how jolly inconvenient it is when petty countries let things like war and torture stand in the way of tourism, also details the evil of communism and the divine right of Christianity. What can you expect from a guy who poses on the front of his book in a pair of track suit pants?
The Gippsland Massacres by P.D. Gardener
A historical analysis of the Gippsland massacres that finished off the Kurnai people in the 1850's and 1860's. I went tramping through Kurnai country a couple of years ago and saw a few of their old middens so this was quite interesting, despite being extremely dry.
Pemulwuy, the Rainbow Warrior by Eric Wilmot
Very very cool historical novel based on Pemulwuy, who led the Eora tribe against the British at Sydney for 12 years. He was one scary dood, did the Rasputin thing and just would not die. Pemulwuy featured prominently in Grassby's book (see below).
The Mountains of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
The fourth in the Majipoor series ֠and probably the worst.
The Jungle Book By Rudyard Kipling.
The World's Most Fantastic Freaks by Mike Parker.
A really shlocky trashy collection of stories about tall people, people with long noses and people with other heads growing out of their backs. Shows how many times the phrase "A distorted parody of a human being" can be used in one book (nearly) without sounding silly.
The Australasian Aluminium Smelter Technology Workshop by various wise people
Yep, I read it cover to cover. Ask me any questions. Ask me about Norwegian environmental studies, ask me about alumina, ask me about trying to stop Hayden from ripping one very boring speaker's head off
How Does Aspirin Find a Headache by David Feldman
The latest in Mr Feldman's series of books in which he answers lots of everyday questions. Sometimes badly but usually interesting anyhoo.
The Hard Disk Quick Reference by PD Moulton and Tim Stanley.
Very very very dull reading but quite useful for we poor saps who know not nearly enough of the basics to keep ourselves out of trouble.
Saga of Exiles Collection by Julian May.
Just another schlocky science fiction/ fantasy series really but with some quite cool ideas to keep it interesting. "Rivals Tolkien at his best" commented one particularly stupid reviewer on the first book.
A Night in The Gardens of Spain by Witi Ihimaera
Unlike his usual books which are generally semi-autobiographical stories about rural East Coast North Island Maori communities (Witi grew up in a East Coast North Island Maori community), this one is about a gay university lecturer in Auckland coming to terms with his marriage falling apart and what that does to his two daughters.
Witi is presently living in Auckland as a university lecturer. He has two daughters.
Shaka's Children by Stephen Taylor
A history of the Zulu people. Absolutely fascinating. Traces the history of the Zulus from the time of Shaka Zulu through the wars against the other South African tribes, the Boers and finally the English - through to the present day. Great book! Best non-fiction I've read since "The New Zealand Wars" without the benefit of being local.
Levitating Trains and Kamikaze Genes by Richard Brennan.
A kind of a "science for dummies" book. Scarily I even learnt some stuff from it. Not extremely well written, there are a lot of gaps.
Mission Earth by L Ron Hubbard.
I just had to read this book to see what the esteemed Father of Scientology wrote like. The answer: he writes like a dribbling, talentless fool. Disappointingly, there are no evil undertones and i didn't start acting funny after reading it.
Panati's Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody by Charles Panati.
An almost random but extremely entertaining and informative list of stories about disease, death, wills, famous people and historic miscellanea. Very good !
All The Weyrs of Pern by Anne McAffrey.
The latest in the incredibly long running series. Shallow scifi trash but I HAD to know what happened to F'lar and the rest.
Te Puea by Michael King.
A biography of Te Puea Herangi. A famous Maori leader of the Waikato tribe and specifically the King movement. Very interesting if you're into NZ history.
Whina by Michael King.
A biography of another great Maori woman. Whina Cooper of the Te Aupouri tribe in Northland. Whina died last year at the age of ninety-something. Some cool tie-ins with the "Te Puea" book.
Hawke A biography of Bob Hawke. Written before he became PM. Pretty dull stuff.
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff.
Yes, the one the movie was based on. I reckon the movie was better. Not as preachy and more realistic, but I've got to admit that's partly my bias against the esteemed Mr Duff. It's still worth a read. (Duff is tragically, and ironically, ill-informed about history.)