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.
Redemption Songs by Judith Blinney
(A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turiki)
A biography of Te Kooti, the prophet and general who fought the English from Te Urewera South of Whakatane for several years in the 1860's. HUGE book but very readable.
Tales of the Broken Hearted by Alan Duff
The blurb describes this book as "uncompromising", but that's shite because the first thing this book does is compromise. This new book was a far better read than ԏnce Were WarriorsԠbut it's transparently obvious that this one's written with the movie sequel in mind. Thus Jake is redeemed, he is proven to be innocent of the rape of his daughter and the rape is vaguely attributed to Uncle Bully to fit the movie. (If that's not a "compromise", what is?)
Apparently my cousin Glen is in the movie, as Apeman's bodyguard. Cool huh?
Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
A quite sympathetic view of the bike gang written in 1964 before they had even expanded out of California, let alone to their present status. Hunter S. is at his sarcastic scathing best, hanging shit on all and sundry including himself. Does his usual rant about irresponsible media.
Glimpses by Lewis Shiner
A really original idea for a novel. The hero is some sort of weird dood who can go back in time and listen to music that was never played by people like Hendrix, Morrison and The Beach Boys. Cool book and obviously written by a guy who knows his stuff (about the music not the time travelling stuff)
Talisman by Steven King and Peter Straub
The Road to Eternity by Clifford Simak
Surely the worst science fiction book ever written. Unoriginal unimaginative implausible twaddle. A 10 year old could write better science fiction. I'd seen lots of books by Mr Simak on the Sci Fi shelves before and sometimes wondered what they were like. Wonder no more - they are awful!
Lonely Planet Guide To Mexico by John Noble et al
Vital travelling companion for rookies like ourselves. Proof of Heidelberg's "the observer changes the system" theory for those who want to get a bit geeky.
Phaid The Gambler by Mick Farren
Science Fiction. Well written and some original ideas.
Evil Day by Errol Braithwaite
The last in the trilogy, set during the Waikato War in NZ in the 1860's. Pretty similar to the previous two, shows its age somewhat. (A bit of a historical slip-up at one point re the town of Mercer but hardly matters really. Certainly not in Alan Duff's league for historical inaccuracy.)
The Media and Me by Stuart Littlemore
An autobiography from the host of "Media Watch", surely the most sarcastic man on australian TV. Great show, great book... although Ray Martin has got much nicer hair!
Belgarath the Sorcerer by David Eddings
The "prequel" to the Belgariad and the Mallorean, which were series of five books each. Sort of "Sword and Sorcery" stuff, not very adventurous but amusing all the same.
Demon by John Varley
The third in the "Titan" series, and a book I'd been hunting for about the last six years. It didn't disappoint. Groovy science fiction set on a world/space station/God orbiting Saturn. Great twist at the end (as you'd hope after waiting six years to read it!
Encylopedia of Pop Culture by Jane and Michael Stern
A study of all the things that make the late 20th century weird. A lot of American stuff happening here (of course) but enough familiar stuff to make it really really interesting reading. Good preparation for Trivia night at the Homestead.
The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies
The last novel by this weirdo Canadian. A kind of a mix between mythology and mundane lives of people living in small town Hicksville.
The Paper Ark by Bill Clark
Describes itself as "an extraordinary illustrated journey to the wildlife world of the holy land". This is a cool study of all the animals which either featured in or were mentioned in the bible, koran and other "holy land" scripts. A fair historical barrage plus cool drawings and lots of theological trivia. Cool!
The Needle's Eye by Errol Braithwaite
The sequel to "The First Fish". This one's set in the Waikato during the war against the Kingites. Some of the same characters as the first book, bloody great!
The First Fish by Errol Braithwaite
A fictional story set in NZ's Taranaki land war in the 1860's. Good adventure story kind of stuff. Historically pretty good. Show's its age a bit "charmin, simple minded folk, those Maoris". But offers a few reasons behind the war too.
No Friends But The Mountains by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris
The story of the Kurds. Their history from 500AD or so. Very interesting but a bit disjointed. Possibly suffers because of the way it tries to follow what was happening to the Kurds in five different countries, with limited connections.
Evil Angels by John Bryson
The story of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain. Bloody shockin' story. The worthy journo Derryn Hinch pronounced that "Neither Lindy Chamberlain's release nor Evil Angels convinces me of her innocence." Luckily for Ms Chamberlain they don't let pig-stupid TV personalities decide court verdicts. I'm sure Derryn could use the extra money though.
"Mustn't Grumble" edited by Lois Keith
A collection of short stories, poems and other writings by disabled women. Some really really good stuff! Like the cover says, a very powerful book.
East West by Salman Rushdie
A collection of short stories from early in the Great Popular One's writing career. A bit childish I thought. I didn't like it much at all, but I probably won't kill him for it.
Out of The Shadows by Tony Healy and Paul Cropper
A study of all the "mystery" animals of Australia, like the Tassy Tiger (still alive?) and the Bunyip and the Grampians Puma and the Giant Marsupial Cat. Pretty cool, there are a lot of gullible fools out there seeing some pretty unbelievable stuff. But just maybe... (dot dot dot, pause for effect, dramatic intake of breath etc etc). I do like this sort of conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo!!
"Joh" by Hugh Lunn
The life and political adventures of Johannes Bjelke-Peterson. I suspect this book might sit slightly on the 'pro-Joh' side, but not too much. Reads a bit like a farcical comedy except it's true. Written in 1978 so it misses some of the really good stuff. Scary but awesome reading. (We'll be reading similar books called "Jeff" in 15 years time I reckon.)