Book Reviews for Booklovers from The Booklover
Books & Reading

Book Reviews for Booklovers from The Booklover

This month's must read:

Let Me Be Frank With You
Richard Ford  $37

Richard Ford returns to the territory that sealed his reputation as a master novelist: the world of Frank Bascombe, one of the most indelible and widely discussed characters in modern literature. Now 67 years old, ensconced in a quiet suburb in Haddam, New Jersey, Frank lives with his second wife Sally, enjoying the ‘next level of life’ – retirement. Unfolding over several days before Christmas, Bascombe navigates life in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Sandy. While Frank’s house has been spared, the effects of the hurricane seep into his life. His duty is to listen – to the man who bought Frank’s beachfront house that now lies in ruins; to the woman left homeless by the storm who turns up on his doorstep; to his ex-wife, convinced that the hurricane has caused the Parkinson’s disease that is slowly ravaging her body; and to an old acquaintance with advanced cancer, who ruminates painfully on his past.
In these four richly luminous, entwined narratives, Ford charts the waning years of Frank Bascombe, protean, funny, profane, wise, often inappropriate, as he attempts to reconcile, interpret and console a world undone by calamity. Let Me Be Frank With You is both a moving, wondrous and extremely funny odyssey through modern America and a brilliantly nuanced meditation on ageing, grief and acceptance from an exceptional writer.

Lists of Note
Shaun Usher  $70

In this follow-up to the bestselling Letters of Note, Shaun Usher turns his hand to lists. Humans have been making lists for even longer than they’ve been writing letters. They are the shorthand for what really matters to us: our hopes and aspirations; likes and dislikes; rules for living and loving; records of our memories and reminders of the things we want to do before we die. Usher has once again trawled the world’s archives to produce a rich visual anthology that stretches from ancient times to the present day.

Absolutely Beautiful Things: A Bright and Colourful Life
Anna Spiro  $60

Successful Brisbane-based designer Anna Spiro shows you how to create an interior that’s just right for you. To her, it’s all about the mix – she’ll give you the confidence to put together a layered and very individual home using elements you love, and make you see your old belongings in a new light. As well as lavish photographs of rooms Anna has created, she shares many of her secrets from a life in decorating, gives practical details on how to work with pattern and colour, and provides a room-by-room guide to furniture choice.

Time and Time Again
Ben Elton $38
Ben Elton is one of Britain’s most provocative and entertaining writers – his books give his unique perspective on some of today’s controversial topics. If you had one chance to change history... Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you kill? It’s 1 June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer, is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be. Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilisation and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history. Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. But can a single bullet truly corrupt an entire century? And, if so, could another single bullet save it?

Bungalow: From Heritage to Contemporary
Patrick Reynolds & Nicole Stock  $80

A glorious celebration of one of New Zealand’s most significant residential architectural styles. If you live in a house built before 1940, chances are it’s a bungalow. It may be small and utilitarian, or it may be a high-flown celebration of the Arts and Crafts movement, loaded with inglenooks, stained-glass windows and wood panelling. Either way, it’s a housing style that’s instantly familiar to New Zealanders: well built, snug, and full of character. In this splendid book, New Zealand’s best architectural writers and historians document the bungalow’s complex past and its varied and eminently modifiable present.

Legendary Ponsonby restaurant SPQR has been a magnet for Auckland diners for more than 20 years. With its Italian-inspired menu, colourful atmosphere and sun-bathed pavement tables, there really is no other restaurant quite like it. The SPQR cookbook shares more than 85 dishes from the restaurant menu, all carefully adapted and tested for the home cook. Recipes range from elegant entrées to casual platters, classic Italian pizzas, pastas and risottos, to simple salads, favourite seafood and meat dishes and stunning desserts.

The Life and Loves of a He Devil
Graham Norton  $40

Graham Norton has been entertaining audiences and having fun with the world’s biggest stars for 20 years. He is adored for his delight in the peculiar and for his ability to find humour and a common ground in all that life brings. In this funny and candid memoir he shows it’s really the things you love that make you who you are, and so he tells his story from his Irish childhood to the present day, describing just what and who he loved as a young boy, and his new loves and obsessions as he’s grown older.

By Channel Magazine

Channel Magazine: Issuu 49 November 2014

Columnist articles by Channel Magazine