New Zealand Book Month (Not The) Top Ten

New Zealand Book Month
18 September - 15 October 2006

Amid all the lists of the best New Zealand books and favourite New Zealand books and all the other lists it's easy to overlook some very good books that might not make it on to any list but are well worth reading anyway. These books are about us, about where we live, about how we lived in the past and how we live now. If they don't appeal, there are a lot more New Zealand books out there, so give some a go over the next month.

Treasures from the museum of New Zealand Te papa tongarewa is a collection of beautiful colour illustrations of hundreds of disparate items owned by Te Papa. Maori taonga, European art from across the centuries, Pacific pieces, historical pieces, even animals and plants theyre all here and theyre all in full-colour with entertaining and informative captions.

Long Loop HomeLong loop home Peter Wells
Film-maker, critic, organiser of literary events and novelist Wells wrote this fine memoir a few years ago and it would be hard for anyone who grew up in New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s not to be moved by it. So often in autobiographies the I excludes the reader, but Wells work is so skilled and sophisticated that he manages to combine larger themes of family, colonialism, betrayal and forgiveness with intensely personal moments into a seamless whole.

Wellington: The City in LiteratureThe City in Literature series are collections of bits and pieces of writing about what used to be called the four main centres; Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington. Short stories, poetry and extracts from novels and memoir celebrate the unique literary heritage of the respective cities. This set of four charming little books is ably edited and beautifully produced, the content is good and the small format of the books makes them very pleasing to handle.

Hikoi: 40 years of Maori protest
In this photographic history of Māori protest from the 1960s to the Hikoi of 2004 black and white photographs illustrate the issues and the passions behind demonstrations against apartheid South Africa, the Land March of 1975, the occupations of Raglan, Bastion Point and Pakaitore. The images are a clear and compelling reminder of the power of peaceful protest and just how important the right to such protest is in any democracy.

100 Favourite cakes and biscuitsNo list of New Zealand books would be complete without one by our very own domestic goddess, Alison Holst. Her clear directions, her commonsense, her ability to make even the most inept cook feel competent and her sheer all-round niceness surely make her truly divine, not like other celebrity cooks whose claims to goddess status are based more on how they look than how their recipes turn out. Alison Holst cooks warming food for cooler days is her latest, but there are lots to choose from; The ultimate collection, Alisons pantry, 100 favourite cakes & biscuits if Alison can't tell you how to cook it is it really worth cooking?

New Zealand WarsInterest in New Zealand historical fiction has been high recently with works like The Denniston rose achieving bestseller status, but one of the most important works of historical fiction produced by a New Zealand writer came out some years ago.The New Zealand Wars trilogy, by Maurice Shadbolt, presents a distinctive and revisionist version of post-colonisation New Zealand but it never forgets that history has story in it for a reason.