From the bookshelf: The Luminaries (and others)

I’ve done a lot of reading over the summer holidays, and yet I’ve hardly cut into my TBR (To Be Read) tower. (With a nudge from author Vicky Adin, I grew a summer reading pile of books by NZ authors).

luminaries cover

The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton

The reason I haven’t read many books is because one of those books was an eight-hundred-plus literary tome: The Luminaries. I generally have mixed feelings about award-winning books, having learnt from a young age that popular opinion and my opinion aren’t always the same. Add to this the mixed reviews (from ‘terrible storytelling’ to ‘it was okay’ to ‘the most amazing book I’ve ever read’) and I was feeling apprehensive to say the least.

It was a mystery novel first and foremost, with a beginning that slowly built layers of interest and intrigue. We got to see into the motivations and opinions and life-shaping experiences of a range of characters. From a psychological perspective it was fascinating.

My only complaint is that there were some parts that were over-explained; a paragraph of beautiful description culminated in a summary sentence that, in my mind, was unnecessary.

The final third of the book was a page-turner: each mystery solved left another one open. I found myself contemplating on how much circumstance and misguidance can affect our lives – but equally how genuine love and care can erase that very same misery.

All in all, it was a wonderful story that I look forward to re-reading.

drive cover

Drive, by Scott Butler

A book I read this week was by fellow kiwi indie author, Scott Butler. Scott is a vibrant and enthusiastic writer and I had been looking forward to reading his debut, Drive, since I purchased it early last year.

I was rewarded with a well-paced story that kept me up late wanting to know what happened next – thanks Scott!

My ‘official’ review:

Wanting to fulfil his mother’s legacy, Toby Dresdon gets caught up in the crime world and finds control slipping away – quickly.

This was an easy, page-turning read, and I enjoyed the offbeat humour. Some great reading for a weekend away or a day at the beach!

You can follow my reading progress and reviews on Goodreads.

2 Responses to “From the bookshelf: The Luminaries (and others)

  • I started reading more New Zealand literature 5 years ago when I took up my current post as HOD English at Taumarunui High School. Then, shortly after starting my blog, I made a commitment to read and review NZ Lit even more widely, including Indie books and books making the headlines like ‘The Luminaries’ and ‘The Chimes’. i read Catton’s book at this time two years ago and wrote a review here: http://antonymillen.com/2014/01/08/review-the-luminaries/

    Have you added ‘The Chimes’ to your reading list? I highly recommend it. It was my favourite book to read in 2015: http://antonymillen.com/2015/12/22/book-review-the-chimes-anna-smaill/

    • Z.R. Southcombe
      1 year ago

      The Chimes has been on my reading list since it came out! And I was disappointed to have missed her talk at the Auckland Writers Festival last year. I’ll read your reviews and leave a comment there. Thanks Antony.

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