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Enter, writers in crime …

As we (im)patiently wait for the 10 long listed books for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards which is due to happen on Tuesday 22 May 2018, we looked at the books in the shop that are entrants this year … what an eclectic mix. An amazing 66 books are up for the award this year… and we have 13 of them.

We hope you managed to get to one of the many ‘Murder in the Library’ events that have been held around the country – with a couple more still to come. It’s a great opportunity to meet local authors and get inside the mind a writer of crime.

‘Crime writing has evolved from the puzzle-like mysteries of Agatha Christie and New Zealand’s own Dame Ngaio Marsh to modern novels delving deeply into people, places, and psychology. It has continued to thrill readers throughout the decades.’ – Ngaio Marsh Awards (FB page)

We have a list of the books in the shop that are entrants this year – the cover images are in the Ngaio Marsh Awards graphic which is at the top of this page (and we have our fingers and toes crossed for our authors to be long listed).

Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel 2018 entrants

The Carlswick Deception by SL Beaumont
Political Secret by Thomas W Devine
Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley
The Chinese Proverb by Tina Clough
Hot Flush by Rosy Fenwick
Broken Silence by Helen Vivienne Fletchger
Bad Oil and the Animals by LP Hansen
Painted by Kirsten McKenzie
The Contest by Carne Maxwell
Bittersweet by p.d.r. lindsay
Suspicion by AL Neville
The Atlantic Affair by Gary Paul Stephenson
The Trials of Minnie Dean by Karen Zelas

Other thrillers in the shop we think you’d enjoy –

The Jaded Kiwi by Nick Spill
Glacier Murder by Trish McCormack
A Moment’s Silence by Christopher Abby
Private Viewing by Geoff Palmer
Databyte by Cat Connor

The full list of the 66 entrants –

1. AUKATI by Michalia Arathimos
4. THE SOUND OF HER VOICE by Nathan Blackwell
6. THE LOST TAONGA by Edmund Bohan
7. SIX MURDERS by Robert Philip Bolton
8. THE JAWS OF REVENGE by Mike Boshier
10. SCAVENGER HUNT by Meg Buchanan (YA)
11. MARLBOROUGH MAN by Alan Carter
12. FROM THE SHADOWS by David Carter
14. TELL ME A LIE by CJ Carver
15. KNOW ME NOW by CJ Carver
16. KILLING IS MY BUSINESS by Adam Christopher
17. A KILLER HARVEST by Paul Cleave
18. THE CHINESE PROVERB by Tina Clough
19. NOTICE OF DEATH by Genesis Cotterell
21. NOTHING BAD HAPPENS HERE by Nikki Crutchley
22. POLITICAL SECRET by Thomas W Devine
23. THE HIDDEN ROOM by Stella Duffy
24. HOT FLUSH by Rosy Fenwicke
25. BROKEN SILENCE by Helen Vivienne Fletcher
26. PASSPORT TO POWER by Robert Fisk
28. STRAIGHT AND LEVEL by Penelope Haines
30. THE FLOATING BASIN by Carolyn Hawes
31. THE ONLY SECRET LEFT TO KEEP by Katherine Hayton
32. SCORPION’S REACH by Lawrence Hebb
33. MURDER MOST MALICIOUS by Kitty Jackson
34. BABY by Annaleese Jochems
35. EASTERN TRADE by Alan R Kerr
36. BITTERSWEET by PDR Lindsay
37. REBELLION by John Ling
39. THE MURDER TRAP by Leonie Mateer
40. THE CONTEST by Carne Maxwell
41. TESS by Kirsten McDougall
43. PAINTED by Kirsten McKenzie
44. RED MIST by Angus McLean
45. THE SHADOW DANCERS by Angus McLean
46. THE SECRET COMMUNITY by J Meverington
47. THE ETERNAL COMMUNITY by J Meverington
48. WOLVES IN DOGS’ CLOTHING by Christodoulos Moisa
49. THE EMPTY COFFIN by Gary Moore
50. SUSPICION by AL Neville
51. SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER by Charity Norman
52. THE RESULT OF KIDNAP by Allison O’Neill
54. THE THERAPY HOUSE by Julie Parsons
55. HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray
56. TREACHERY ROAD by John Rosanowski
57. MURDER ON BROADWAY by John Rosanowski
59. THROWING LIGHT by KA Servian
60. STEPPING INTO THE UNKNOWN by Brad Shaw & Peter Campbell
61. THE ATLANTIC AFFAIR by Gary Paul Stephenson
62. THE FORGOTTEN LANDS by Justin Warren
63. RAT BAIT by Richard Ward
65. LIFTING by Damien Wilkins

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Our staff Picks for Mother’s Day

Mothers Day this Sunday 13th May and what better way to say to mum that she is appreciated than to spoil her with books and some time for herself to read.
We asked some of our volunteers and frequent buyers what they recommend or what they would like to get for Mothers’ Day. We hope you can find some inspiration among the picks – either for yourself, or for a woman in your life that deserves a treat.

Caro is very interested in a new cosy mystery book in the shop ‘Private Lives’ by Geoff Palmer which is book 2 of the Bluebell Investigations series. Set in London, Caro is set to read this after she reads the first book ‘Private Viewing’ because … there is nothing better than to relax with a glass of wine, some cheese and crackers while reading a good mystery.

Cat loved reading the deliciously hilarious ‘Nyphrazi Gods + Monsters’ by Minky St. Anne, it’s a hot little number for mature audiences. Jasmine gets sucked into a parallel universe and we follow her journey as she tangles first with Vyran, God of the Woods. Not all is as it seems with the Gods of Nyphrazi.

Pat loves reading but while being taxi driver for kids and having to sit and wait, her preference is for short stories, so she can finish the whole story while waiting in the car at pickups, especially now we are in autumn and the weather is not so good. She likes the look of two books in the shop, firstly, C’est la Vie’ by A Writer’s Plot, which has a selection of authors as well as different genres. Secondly, ‘The Sampler’ by D.A. Howe – tales of murder, mayhem, caramel and nuts – maybe it was the caramel and nuts that took her fancy …

Toni’s heart lies with historical novels and she is torn between three authors, the books of Vicky Adin and Tony Chapelle will have to wait as she picked ‘He Called Me Son’ by Barbara Arnold (The Blountmere Street Series Book 1) as her book to read for mother’s day weekend, and is looking forward to it.

Pearl has been reading her way through the Across the Strait series of romance and is ready to start on book 3,A Southern Strait’ by Anya Forest. Ever the romantic, Pearl has enjoyed the previous books in the series and is looking forward to finding out if two wayward souls can keep their love afloat when the wind’s of change begin to blow. Set in New Zealand Rebecca and Heath feel a pull stronger than any current, but they’ll need to confront painful losses if they have any chance at charting a new course towards love.

Anne loves reading fantasy, it takes her away from the hum-drum of life and both she and her tween daughter like the same types of books. The next one they want to try is ‘The Dragon Slayer’s Son’ by Robinne Weiss. Nathan is shocked to learn that his father is dead … Everything he thought he knew about his father was a lie. This book has action, adventure and dragons! What more could you want?

Alex was fascinated by the Loch Carron series and has started reading ‘The Laird’s Daughters’ by Janet Heads, and with seven books in this series, there is plenty of reading ahead. Starting in the year 1312 in the turbulent highlands of Scotland, we find out the MacDonald women are different to the woman of other clans, as some chose to become Chevaleresses “French for female knight” and fight beside their men.

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Why We Don’t All Like the Same Books

We welcome our guest blogger Nōnen Títi …

Why do we go around saying that one or another book “is good”, “is fascinating”, “is realistic”, or, alternatively, “is stupid”, “is simplistic” or “is not proper literature”? Why do we express our opinion about certain genres of books as if they are factual?

I am not talking about books that can justifiably be labelled “not very good”, because they have problems with grammar, punctuation, cohesion, pace, tone and characterization – problems related to the ability to use language or the craft of writing itself – which are somewhat objective measurements.

I am talking about our assumption that, despite referring to different genres and believing that “all people are unique”, we can somehow judge the quality of a story according to its content.

For example, fans of science fiction, especially hard science fiction, tend to dismiss everything that has a sense of magic as “unrealistic”, while their own books tend to be dismissed as having “cardboard characters”; many intellectual readers have a habit of calling action or romance stories “simple” or “stupid”, while others believe that books that focus on dialogue are “just talk and not story” or characters are “not really human” if they lack the expected desire for sex or adventure. And many still believe that a story that is not filled with a lot of high-brow words is “not literature”.

In other words, we assume that “a good book” must comply with our personal sense of reality, human nature and importance.

In short, we tend to believe that our picture of the world is the only correct picture, because we have lived with that picture our entire life, and we will righteously dismiss the others as “wrong”.

Worse than that, we tend to judge not only the book, but its writer and the readers of those books according to the same standards, so that we might think that people who read ‘simple’ stories are simple people.

But people are not all alike – and they are not all unique either – so that the attraction we feel towards certain genres of books (and characters) are a direct result of our inborn differences. These differences come in types that are like “genres” of books, while each person is as unique as different books are.

Now, it turns out that people of the same type tend to like similar books or contents.

For example, those “hard science fiction” readers I mentioned above, are usually people who are themselves quite technical and much better at math or computers than they are at dealing with people. This is why their characters tend to be a bit flat in the eyes of those people who tend to be naturally empathic, and whose deep (and sometimes dark) characters and their relationships are prominent in their stories, while they tend to brush over the technology. Whether as readers or writers, both might like science fiction, because their attention is not on today, but on what they imagine to be possible in the future, yet they emphasize either the technology or the people.

You could say these “future-people” are either “data-people” or “people-people”.

Alternatively, people who are naturally practical and who live for the here-and-now are not usually very much interested in stories that take either science and technology or human nature to the far reaches of the possible. They prefer stories they can relate to, like family or animal stories, action, adventure and they might read historical novels or biographies. We’ll name them “today-people”, and they also come in two types: “data-people” and “people-people”.

So now we have four groups of people, and each naturally feels more at home with some genres and not with others, although there is no clear boundary.

However, contrary to the common belief, fantasy does not belong with the “future-people”. Fantasy has many facets; it can focus on adventure, on people or on magic, each of which will attract different readers.

“Today-people” tend to accept the facts of the (fantasy) story as real for the duration of the book. They don’t care whether it is realistic or possible in the future; they accept the facts of the fiction and they enjoy the story exactly because it is intangible – because the story allows them to step out of their real world for a little bit. For example, they accept that the hero can fly.

“Future-people” are forever imagining what the future might look like, so that they will take the ‘facts’ of today or of science, and they create the fiction from those facts. They enjoy the fantasy, because it gives them new ideas. They might contemplate how people could fly in the future and use that as a basis for a new story or invention.

In this way, different genres are naturally attractive to different ‘genres’ of people and instead of dismiss books that don’t match our own nature, we might try and learn something about each other if we get a little bit brave and try something different for a change. The great thing about fiction is that it allows us to step into the mind (the perspective) of those different people for a little bit.

And this wonderful little book shop is the perfect place to give it a try.

Of course, these types of personalities are not really known by the names I gave them in this post. They are known by letter indicators, and instead of “genres’, I have used musical styles to explain those differences in my non-fiction books.

Thank you for reading.

Nōnen Títi

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

The 2018 theme for International Women’s Day is Achieve gender equality and empower rural women and girls.
We have excellent reads, that will motivate, encourage or inspire, see these and more on our website.
A woman with a voice is by definition a strong womanBut the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates, Powerful Voices Annual Luncheon 2003
Events happening around the country can be found on the UN Woman, International Woman’s Day page.

In celebration of International Women’s Day we recommend the following:

Constant Radical: The Life and Times of Sue Bradford by Jenny Chamberlain
Sue Bradford is still evolving but in terms of what matters most, her core social justice principles, she remains constant. RRP $40.00

Go Gayle Go by Bruce Melrose
Young Gayle McKee’s running ability isn’t in question. But in the highly competitive environment of premier track racing, talent – and even hard work – aren’t always enough. RRP $30.00

The Evolution of Sylvia Graves by Nicole O’Connor
A coming-of-age-story that defines victory over adversity in the days before social media, set in Zimbabwe / Rhodesia and South Africa. RRP $25.00

Super Mum! Frazzled, Frumpy and Fabulous! by Stacey Broadbent
Motherhood. One of life’s journeys that some of us choose to partake in. It’s a crazy ride, full of ups and downs and in-betweens. RRP $15.00

A Childhood at Cairnsmore:Growing up on a New Zealand Sheep Farm by June Allen
The true story of a childhood spent on a sheep farm at the foot of the Ruahine Range in the 1920s and 1930s.        RRP $20.00

To Catch a Butterfly by Barrie Allom
The story of a much loved, but not always understood, daughter, who walked outside the frame of conventionality, leaving a trail of heart-searching questions. RRP $30.00