Books

 

Books Groups Love

A selection of our best books according to groups. Click or tap on any book to view it in the catalogue and read more reviews from groups.

 

Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2010
Pages : 313
Moving from Africa to Europe, a young woman undertakes an ambitious journey involving child kidnapping, people smuggling and exploitation. Revealed to us by the people she encounters, a surprising story unfolds. It is a tale of love and betrayal and need; a contemporary odyssey that compels you to keep on reading to uncover the truth. What's Hot - June 2013

Comments from Groups:

We agreed that it was well written and a clever idea. It was better understood when read twice...It enthused us to read more of Lloyd Jones. Wellington 074

The retrospective telling of the story of Ines through the eye-witness accounts makes the reader work, think, nut-out what is happening here. Mana 001

Excellent book with lots of discussion about the mother-child bond. A thought-provoking rather than an enjoyable read. Auckland 050

All his [the author's] books are 'just so different' and yet every one has been enjoyable and engaging. No one was disappointed with this very different story. Auckland 133

Clever writing with good descriptions. A truly international story. Christchurch 071

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Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, What's Hot, Blind Foundation book, Larger font

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2018
Pages : 388
When cabinet minister James Whitehouse, with a seemingly perfect life, goes on trial for rape, there is a lot at stake: not only his marriage to Sophie and his successful career (in tandem with his old friend Tom the PM), but also his exposure to Kate Woodcroft, the experienced prosecuting barrister hell-bent on revealing the truth.

Moving between the hallowed halls of contemporary Westminster and Oxford University decades earlier, this suspenseful psychological thriller and intelligent dissection of male privilege and behaviour, offers a fascinating and timely reflection on consent, intent and the misuse of power. [Larger font]

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Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Feminism, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, Suspense/Thriller, England, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, 2020 Titles, Larger font

Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2009
Pages : 278
From the late nineteenth century to the 1920s, from Kwantung, China to Wellington and Dunedin and the battlefields of the Western Front - a story of two families. Yung faces a new land that does not welcome the Chinese. Alone, Katherine struggles to raise her children and find her place in the world. In a climate of hostility towards the foreign newcomers, Katherine and Yung embark on a poignant and far-reaching love affair ... [Taken from book cover.] [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

An enchanting read. A very special book. All members enjoyed the read and would recommend highly. Dunedin 006

Beautifully written. Good read. Interesting historical era. Auckland 122

Good first read for book club. A little depressing but great for discussion. Paraparumu 002

We agreed the writing was beautiful and could see that it had been written by a poet. Several of us had read it before and were very happy to reread it. Nelson 007

A superbly written novel - very evocative of early NZ and its narrow-mindedness. Nelson 003

The characters felt authentic, the author's research was thorough - what an amazing and accomplished 'first novel'. Dunedin 061

We all enjoyed this book;its history, cultural setting, location and poetic, gentle writing. Wellington 018

One of our favourites to date. Author did a good job of combining NZ history and views into an interesting and engaging novel. Gore 007

Such a glorious book - sparse, lyrical and poignant. Our group was unanimous in our enjoyment of this book, and we probably had our best ever discussion. Auckland 094

An interesting and easy read of a well-written book, which was enjoyed by everyone in the group. The NZ author has used language romantically, producing wonderfully evocative characters and scenes. The cultural contrasts between the Chinese and New Zealanders led to to excellent discussions, about both the late nineteenth century and the present. Christchurch 010

Our discussion was lively. The group thought the couple's relationship would never have been able to develop fully due to the prejudices of society, and therefore wasn't as interesting to read about as it might have been. We all thought we learnt a lot about how Chinese people were treated in early 20th century NZ, and about some of our country's more shameful past immigration policies. Auckland 322

A relatively simple story with not too many characters,short chapters and very well written. The sensitive handling of the love between a Chinese man and a NZ Wellington widow in the early 20th century was gently portrayed. Our group found the book a delight to read. Wellington 117

This novel promoted a most lively discussion about immigration and related topics. We loved the poetic economy of language and the rhythmic flow of sentences. Hamilton 024

What a fascinating look at early 1900's Wellington, and the relationship between the locals and the Chinese community. The racism was normal for the time, as was the lack of womens' rights. We had a great discussion and all enjoyed the book. Masterton 013

We were impressed by this book - beautifully written and dealing with the issues of the day with sensitivity and skill. The author successfully combined historic facts with the story of the fated relationship. It had contemorary relevance also. Dunedin 029

Everyone enjoyed this book although they all said it was slow reading. We had an interesting discussion about it. Christchurch 356

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Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Award Winner, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Relationships, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, Blind Foundation book, Larger font

Genre : Fiction
Year : 1931
Pages : 357
The classic story of Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan. This remarkable novel depicts the suffering and hardship of poverty and the struggle to achieve prosperity, as well as the strictures of tradition that shaped and controlled daily life in rural pre-revolutionary China. Pulitzer Prize winner. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

A wonderful read. Full on discussion. Some members decided to buy a copy to have on the book shelf. Te Pahu001

We loved the book. It's magnificent in its sweep and humanity. Wellington 050

A wonderful classic history of China. Easy to read and a great work of art from 1930's. Masterton 005

A very lively discussion on this book - without exception we all agreed this was excellent. Wellington 134

Deservedly a classic that holds up well from 1930's. Universal themes, very well written with 'real' characters. We had a great wide-ranging discussion. Lower Hutt 006

Great book which generated lots of discussion. It provided a window to another world, another time, and intriguing diverse human relations. Christchurch 124

We all loved this book. Pearl Buck's writing style captured the suffering and struggle in the countryside of pre-revolutionary China brilliantly. For many in contemporary China, the hardship and poverty hasn't changed. Wellington 066

All members enjoyed the story very much. All but three had read it years ago. Our discussion was wide ranging, but our collective knowledge of China was shared and commented on. We discussed the importance to Wang Lung of the "good earth". Christchurch 078

An interesting insight into life in pre-Revolution China. Although written over 80 years ago, it is a timeless piece and could be set in any patriarchal rural society. The characters were not very sympathetic, but complex and interesting. The conditions of life portrayed were brutal - childbirth, begging etc. Overall it was enjoyed by the group, and was a healthy discussion piece. Wellington 153

Great discussion - we all agreed we'd not do well as female partners in pre-revolution China! Takaka 003

Very easy to read - some of us had read it years before. Very good insights into the value of land for the earlier Chinese, and shocking to see the way women were treated as little better than "farm animals". In spite of O-lan's exceptional care of Wang Lung, she was still regarded as little better than a beast of burden....Dunedin 066

Loved it - every one of us ! Good old classic! Taupo 003

Most of us had read this book in our "younger days", and we discussed how our understanding of the issues had changed. We discussed the issue of land also, and how all cultures have a basic understanding of our dependence on the land, and the need to respect it. Feilding 002

This book followed a classic storyline ie/ a poor man wanting wealth, who becomes rich and unhappy, and gains a new appreciation for his humble beginnings. It was a very well written and compelling read. An excellent book enjoyed by all in our group. Tauranga 034

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Categories: Fiction, Classic, Young narrator, China, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, Blind Foundation book, Larger font

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2013
Pages : 402
Although his enemies in the Surete are sharpening their knives, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Homicide Department gives the appearance of 'business as usual' as he goes about investigating the death of a woman who was once one of the most famous people in Canada. Moving between the isolated village of Three Pines and Montreal, the gentlemanly Gamache must solve the mystery of Constance Pineault's life while simultaneously uncovering the corruption festering in the Quebecois elite.

Quirky characters, carefully controlled tension and a lacing of subtle humour render this multi-layered story a most satisfying and enjoyable read. [Larger font]

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Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Relationships, Suspense/Thriller, Canada, What's Hot, 2017 Titles, Blind Foundation book, Larger font

Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2010
Pages : 313
This is a story of friendship, family and the influence of the past on the present. The appearance of a character from a previous novel Landings, establishes the setting of 1960's Samoa, a melting pot of approaching political independence, family tensions, and challenges to 'fa'asamoa', the traditional Samoan way. Moving between Samoa and 1990's New Zealand, the author considers the weight of cultural expectations and the possible conflict between truth and love. A book to relish, rich in cultural and historical detail. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

Enjoyed by all, interesting to read about the Samoan culture plus the history of the islands. Auckland 58

A whodunnit with fragrance and warmth! Wellington 18

Generally agreed a great read. Jenny Pattrick has obviously done her research well and draws us in with her local knowledge of Samoan culture and language. Auckland 55

Another sterling read from the pen of this very engaging author. Masterton 10

Lively discussion covered many themes, cultural, secrets, family, generations, connections, life and its twists and turns. Wellington 130

The majority of the discussion group enjoyed 'Inheritance'; most scoring the book between 7-9/10. Members who had previously read 'The Landing' were able to identify more with the characters and their subsequent development in 'Inheritance'. Katikati 005

The book was enjoyed by some - the story-line and also the range of subjects it touched on. Those who didn't like it were not happy with the characterisation, and felt it was not well constructed. However, it generated a longer than usual discussion, so overall a good book for groups. Tauranga 016

Our group found the book enjoyable. Jenny Pattrick is good at teasing out historical facts and weaving them back into the narrative in a colourful and interesting way. The story had plenty of tension to hold the reader's interest. We felt we could almost feel the heat and humidity of Samoa, and almost smell the frangipani. Auckland 332

This book elicited great passion and dislike in our members. Her depiction of characters and her dialogue came in for the most criticism, with comments like 'cliched', 'unbelievable', and the dreaded 'Mills ands Boon!' We all agreed however that she can spin a rollicking tale, and excels in thorough historical research. We learned a lot about Samoa's past.... Raumati 001

All members of the group enjoyed the book very much. The strengths and weaknesses of the various characters made for interesting reading, and kept us all engrossed in the mystery unfolding. The background of the relationship between Samoa and NZ was an eye-opener for most of us - the bitterness felt by the islanders over the preceived treatment by the NZ government etc. We discussed the character of Jeanie and how powerless she appeared to be, but then she found the strength to break away from her husband's brutality. We also discussed how sometimes it is better to leave the truth hidden. Great discussion ensued from this book. Otorohanga 003

We all agreed that the book was good "story-telling" rather than a literary read, but we got caught up in the characters and wanted to know what happened next, so we were engaged. We thought the title was excellent, and explored some of the thoughts around 'inheritance' eg DNA, nature vs nurture etc. Auckland 335

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Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Community, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Family Saga, Love story, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Samoa, Light style, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, Blind Foundation book, Larger font

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 436
Single mum 'Rabbit' Hayes is coming to the end of her innings ... prematurely, it has to be said but that is not going to stop her making the most of what time she does have left. Gathered at the hospice in her final days are her friends and family, recalling and celebrating the life she has led to the full.

Tempered with Irish humour and the perfect balance of sadness and hope, this is a credible, heartwarming story of a reluctant but beautiful journey. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

Everyone LOVED this book! Hard to start, then hard to put down! 9/10 loved the characters (especially Molly); thought it a well constructed novel; a privilege to read, and admired the huge strength of their family bond. We thought the interaction brilliant, although thought their ethics questionable re not telling Juliet about her mother's imminent death. A perfect book about death and dying. Excellent! Whitianga 002

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Categories: Fiction, Grief/loss, Humour, Inspirational, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, 2017 Titles, Larger font

Genre : Non Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2010
Pages : 202
Navigation is Joy Cowley's story. From her childhood in 1940s Foxton, to family life, marriages and international fame as a writer, Joy takes us on a candidly told and often surprising journey. She touches down constantly at her retreat centre in the Marlborough Sounds, where she writes passionately about the seasons and the natural world. Warm, sensitive and peppered with Joy's irrepressible love of life, Navigation is a relaxed and beautifully written memoir. [Taken from the book cover.] NZ Interest

Comments from Groups:

An easy book to read; it created much discussion. It encompassed many parts of her life, personal, creative etc and the part that surprised us all most was her spiritual, religious writings. There were several teachers in the group who all related well to much of her writing about her teaching of reading. The non teachers didn't find this as interesting. Overall, an enjoyable read. Akaroa 005

Thoroughly enjoyed it, easy read. Joy Cowley expresses herself well. An adventurous woman - obviously her life experiences influence her writing. One member loved the way Joy is so visual. Joy turned everything into a positive experience and was a woman who could see possibilities. The value of oral history was emphasised as a basis of storytelling. Carterton 001

Everyone was interested that it was a memoir but were also interested in getting a wider perspective of some of her life events. A lot of interest persisted from her hardship, how the community was supportive of everyone and this provided a lot of material for her stories. Everyone was impressed by the developing of school journals with New Zealand relevant stories. Auckland 166

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Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Biography, Literary, Relationships, Religion, Uplifting, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, Blind Foundation book, Larger font

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2018
Pages : 288
Six-year-old Zach Taylor has had far too much happen in his short life: he has experienced a school shooting that has taken his brother Andy, and now his parents are not themselves. It's bewildering and his parents' preoccupations in the aftermath of the tragedy leave Zach floundering, alone. But it is the naive optimism and determination of the big-hearted child he is, to make things right, that has unexpected consequences.

Presented through the unique perspective of an insightful young survivor, this is a powerful story of grief and recovery. [Larger font]

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Relationships, Tragedy/disaster, Young narrator, America, What's Hot, 2020 Titles, Larger font

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 333
It comes as a shock to the Turkoglu family when patriarch Kemal leaves his Anatolian estate to an unknown woman on the other side of the world. Behind this bequest is a history that they know little about and it is up to the grandson Orhan to confront the elderly beneficiary in Los Angeles and ascertain her connection with the family. The ill-fated 1915 love story between a Christian Armenian and Muslim Turk that is eventually revealed, will have Orhan questioning his family legacy and his future.

Told from different perspectives, this story, both romantic and tragic, tells of a country's painful history and its citizens who must reconcile with their past. [Larger font]

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Categories: Fiction, War theme, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Historical, Human Rights, Love story, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, Religion, Social commentary/perspectives, Turkey, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, 2017 Titles, Armenia, Larger font

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