RNZ Nine to Noon
Jenna popped into the RNZ studio in Wellington to review National Book Award-winning novel The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. It’s a wry and moving story of companionship based around the unlikely friendship between a woman and a Great Dane.
This image features a little secret from RNZ. As Kathryn is in Wellington, we record our book reviews from a little room at RNZ Auckland.
Sometimes, if another guest is recording a live interview with Kathryn and we don’t have time for a song, we have to creep in quietly beside them and hope we don’t give them a fright or break their flow.
Jenna crept in yesterday to review A Different Drummer. This is a new lost classic, originally published in 1962, set in 1957, in a fictional Southern USA conferate state.
An incident causes the entire black population to leave the state over a few days. William Melvin Kelley, is himself African American, tells this story from the point of view of the white characters.
With vibrant prose and rich characters, this lost classic couldn’t be more timely. Read the 2018 New Yorker article that sparked this book being republished here.
And listen below for more:
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed one of her favourite novels of 2018 In the City of Love’s Sleep by Lavinia Greenlaw. An elegant and eloquent story of love, recovery, repair and beautiful objects.
This week on RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed Human Relations and Other Difficulties by Mary-Kay Wilmers. Wilmers co-founded the London Review of Books in 1979 and has been its editor since 1992. This collection brings together 23 polished, informative and entertaining self-contained pieces which are fine examples of her wonderfully dry and brittle wit.
Jenna’s favourite novel of 2018!
It’s the year 2000 in New York, and our unnamed narrator decides to take a year off from life. By carefully mixing a cocktail of prescription medication, she will sleep through the year, emerging a new person, ready to slot back into society.
A laugh out loud, black as black comedy, that is layered, smart and sharp.
A spunky and glamorous figure of the 1960s and 70s LA counter culture, Eve Babitz was an alluring ‘It Girl’ who wrote startlingly sharp essays, memoir and fiction. Kiran reviewed the reissued edition of Babitz’s 1979 novel Sex & Rage: Advice for Young Ladies Eager for a Good Time on RNZ’s Nine to Noon.
Never Anyone But You is a straight-up, no nonsense, excellent read. Through the eyes of two inspiring women, we see the glitz of the roaring 20's in Paris to the horrors of the German occupation on Jersey, we are reminded of the value of true love and companionship, whatever form that may take.
This is one of Wendy's favourite books of the year! Listen to Jenna's review below:
Today, Jenna reviewed the excellent There, There by Tommy Orange on RNZ's Nine to Noon.
Louise Erdrich describes Tommy Orange as a new writer with an old heart - which is very true. He weaves in tradition with pop culture, humour with sadness and gives readers an insight into the complexities of living as an urban Native American in this time.
Jenna reviewed the highly anticipated, Motherhood by Sheila Heti today. This book, which is officially fiction, is about writer Sheila's struggle to decide whether to have children. She consults friends, family & I Ching in a bid to discover if she doesn't have children, will her books be a justafiable replacement.
Circe, well known from The Odyssey, was the first recorded witch in Western literature. Madeline Miller (winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for Song of Achilles) has captured her story in Circe, which will be a joy for classicists. Listen to Jenna chat about the book with Nine to Noon's Katherine Ryan below.
Woods has given us eight tales of American small town grime. A major highlight was the story, A New Mohawk, where the protagonist wakes up one day to have a miniature version of the Gaza strip living in his mohawk.
This is Roxane Gay's favourite read of 2017. An epic 500 page saga which follows four generations of a Korean family living in Japan over the 20th century. A fantastic read for those who love to learn about different cultures.
Hera Lindsay Bird's favourite read of 2017. This could be seen as just another university coming of age story, but it's so much more. We following Turkish American Selin in her first year of Harvard as she navigates classes, friends and this new fandangled thing called email. A very funny, crisp observation of language and what's lost in translation.