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SRB Highlights: Alyson Noel | Carlos Gamerro | And More...


SRB Highlights: Echo by Alyson Noel | The Islands by Carlos Gamerro | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Chronicles: Art and Design By Daniel Falconer | And More…

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Romance, Fantasy, and Native American Spirit Animal Guides

January 28, 20131 comment

The Soul Seekers Series: Echo by Alyson Noel

Reviewed by Maria Robinson, age 14

What do you get when you mix romance, fantasy, magick, Native American spirit animal guides, a family of Richters, a prophecy, and forces of good and bad … with some seemingly ordinary teenagers who are determined to follow their destinies and protect the Lowerworld from evil?

The result: Echo, the second book in The Soul Seekers series by popular YA author Alyson Noel.

Daire is a soul seeker. Dace is her boyfriend, and twin of the villainous Cade. Cade and the Richters are trying to take over the Lowerworld; Daire and Dace want to preserve it. Read more »

# # #

The Reflections and Returns of The Islands

January 28, 20130 comments

The Islands by Carlos Gamerro, Translated by Ian Barnett in collaboration with the author; Introduction by Jimmy Burns (London: And Other Stories, 2012 £10)

Publisher: http://www.andotherstories.org/

Review By Mark P. Williams

Carlos Gamerro’s The Islands is, in all the best senses, an intense and fascinating reading experience.

The Islands is a novel where geopolitics is embedded in memory, compounding personal traumas within national ones. The narrative returns, through the histories of different character to psychic territories of violence and loss, memory and denial. Set in Buenos Aires in 1992, it concerns the life of a Malvinas/Falklands veteran turned computer hacker named Felipe Félix, who is offered a sinister assignment by one of the most powerful men in the country.
Read more »

# # #

Mountains of Creativity, Chronicled

January 10, 20130 comments

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Chronicles: Art and Design

By Daniel Falconer (HarperCollins, $60)


Review by Jim Robinson

There sure are a lot of beards in The Hobbit. Braided, looped, scraggly, lopsided, jeweled, regal — you name it, they’re all represented in fine, hairy form. Just as well, too. As explained in The Hobbit Chronicles, Art and Design, the distinctive facial foliage boasted by each dwarf and wizard helps movie audiences to tell the key characters apart.

Chronicles, Art and Design is the first in a planned series of books. It records the development of The Hobbit characters and scenes in fascinating detail. As well as hobbits, dwarves and wizards, there are pages and pages of ornate swords, clubs and armour; awful trolls, wolves and goblins; and imposing woodlands, mountains and castles. Read more »

# # #

Waihi in Words and Pictures

January 10, 20130 comments

Waiheathens: Voices From a Mining Town by Mark Derby, with Paintings by Bob Kerr (Atuanui Press, $30)

Reviewed by Alison McCulloch

As the year of the Waihi gold miners strike centenary drew to a close, Waihi was still a town divided over mining. And while the times and issues have certainly changed, the wounds often run just as deep.

Waihi’s 21st century struggle bears little resemblance to the labour versus capital clashes of 1912. For one thing, this time the union is firmly on the company’s side. “We have a well-established respectful Union/Employer relationship with the Waihi Gold Company Ltd,” the EPMU said in a submission on Newmont Waihi Gold’s latest expansion plan, “and have considerable confidence that they will deliver what they say they will.” Read more »

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Bikes Are Beautiful

January 8, 20130 comments

Easy Rider—A Kiwi’s Guide to Cycling, by Jon Bridges (Penguin, $40)

Reviewed by Jim Robinson

When he’s not working in television, radio, or comedy, Jon Bridges is apparently well recognised as ‘the guy who’s always riding a bike’.

He’s been turning the pedals since the 1970s (when he had the cool factor of ape-hanger bars and a banana seat). With about a zillion kilometres in his legs, he understands firsthand the ‘smugness’ of zipping past a queued line of traffic on the way to work; the ‘joy of self-sufficiency’ in bike touring; the ‘passport to being out amongst nature’ in mountain biking; the buzz of conquering a cycling challenge, and yeah, the ‘luxury of spending time for just you on the bike’. Read more »

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The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing

December 11, 20120 comments

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael J. Sandel (Farrar Straus & Giroux, $33.65)

Reviewed by Steve Riley


There are those who say that New Zealand has become NZ Inc. What they mean by this is that New Zealand is being run just like a business. The government, and increasingly voters, are looking out for the best return possible.

To give just a few examples: wealthy tourists, identified by their ownership of a gold or silver frequent-flyer card with a Chinese airline, now have access to a streamlined visa process; there has been an abortive attempt to open up conservation land to mining companies; and labour laws are urgently changed by the government at the behest of film companies. Even critics of government policies get in on the act. It is not uncommon to hear the argument against, say, mining of conservation land in terms of the damage that it will do New Zealand’s ’clean, green’ image and, ultimately, the tourist dollar.
Read more »

ENDS


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