Our picks of the best books to curl up with this winter to escape the mundane.
Sing You Home
Jodi Picoult, Allen & Unwin, RRP$36.99
Yet again Jodi Picoult delivers a gripping, heart-wrenching tale that will challenge your opinion on everything from religion, to IVF, alcoholism and lesbianism. For added novelty value you can head to www.jodipicoult.com and download specially written songs, performed in the "voice" of the main character to help set the mood for each chapter. Keep the tissues handy - especially if you've got pregnancy or post-baby hormones.
Emma Neale, Vintage, RRP$29.99
Emma Neale writes a strange yet captivating novel about the discovery of an injured man in the bush who is more than seven foot tall and covered in thick fur. His arrival at Dunedin Hospital causes a media frenzy, particularly after he professes to being a yeti - a creature from mythology. It's easy to warm to the child-like Bu and journalist Sandrine who tries to rescue him but the forces of 21st century society are racked up against him - the psychiatrist who wants to study him, the media, the yobs in the street and the activists who want to turn him into a cause. A thoughtful story that reflects our modern world.
Elizabeth Taylor: The Lady, The Lover, The Legend - 1932-2011
David Bret, Mainstream, RRP$39.99
Just days after her death in March, publishing houses were in a race to meet the public's voracious appetite for more of "Hollywood's greatest icon since Mae West". Bret lays bare the tears, tantrums and tumultuous relationships with her many lovers and husbands. Perhaps the greatest script ever written for the last true Hollywood star was the story of her own amazing life.
Inside Stories: A History of the New Zealand Housewife
Frances Walsh, Godwit, RRP$49.99
Kiwi women's magazines have long been a source of gossip, giggles and griping. Now they've been mined to trace how New Zealand wives and mothers lived between 1890 and 1975. Then, as now, women lapped up a vast array of magazines. And you'll find anecdotes about husbands, housework and children, all beautifully illustrated with quaint print advertisements from earlier times. Gems include tips for managing husbands (1935): "Don't let him see you at your ironing after supper. It may sound foolish but men are jealous of these womanly jobs..."
The Butterfly Cabinet
Bernie McGill,Headline/Review, RRP$36.99
Based on a true story about a woman in Ireland convicted and imprisoned in 1892 for the manslaughter of her three-year-old daughter, this is a truly fascinating story that examines the many shades of grey behind the harsh facts of the case. Despite readers knowing the outcome of the tragedy, it reads like a mystery novel. The secrets are slowly revealed through the discovery of an old prison diary and a former servant's confessions 70 years after the case. The events leading to the death of the child are far more complex than the facts for which her mother is condemned by society and the law. Despite the dark subject, it's an uplifting and powerful read. Highly recommended.
Owen Marshall, Vintage, RRP$39.99
This is the stuff of romance involving a magnificent castle, an illicit love affair and suicide. But no, it's not Barbara Cartland, it's based on a true story set in Dunedin at the end of the 19th century and written by one of New Zealand's most respected authors, Owen Marshall. Larnach Castle on Otago Peninsula is a tourist attraction and locals know the story of William Larnach's rise to prosperity and those rumours of his third wife's affair with his son. This is the story of that love affair and it's told with an eye for drama while recreating the culture and society of pioneering New Zealand.
Published July, 2011
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 14 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW