Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some stocking filler suggestions ...

Here at Groove we've been reading our way through a mountain of new material.  Here's but a few that might be good for under the tree this year.

The Sting Man - Robert W. Greene
How did a Bronx hustler nearly bring down the US government?  This is the inspirational story behind the film American Hustle, directed by David O'Russell (Silver Linings Playbook).  This is the inside story of Mel Weinberg one of the most audacious con men in American, indeed the modern world's history.   From street hustling to the legendary FBI sting Abscom this is an amazing story.  Julian Asange has not always been the only public enemy no. 1 in the info game.  A great read.  Think Catch Me If You Can, but sexier!

Game - Anders De La Motte - Book One of the Game Trilogy
Play or be played in book one of the Game Trilogy , the Swedish thriller series taking the world by storm.  It began by spray-painting a door. Then detonating a hand grenade. Each task is secretly filmed and uploaded for other ‘Players’ to comment on. The more daring the mission, the greater the thrill and reward – and the acclaim.  But how far will loser Henrik “HP” Pettersson go before the seemingly innocent game he was invited to play on a ‘lost’ mobile phone begins to play him? With his police protection officer sister dragged into the action, and the game looking more and more like a trap, HP’s excitement is turning to fear.  Dripping suspense, edge-of-your-seat thrills this is the first instalment in ex-policeman and security expert Anders de la Motte’s hot new Scandinavian thriller series.

The Young Desire It - Kenneth MacKenzie
It was dark under the trees, and heavy drops had begun to fall from the branches...he knew there was someone there, walking on the leaves like rain.
It was a girl, a stranger.
Fifteen-year-old Charles Fox is sent away to boarding school from the isolated farm where he has grown up. There he must deal with both the bullying of the other boys and the intense affection of Penworth, one of the masters. But then, home for the holidays, he meets Margaret, a girl staying at a nearby farm, and a passionate bond develops between them.
Published in 1937 to extraordinary acclaim when Kenneth Mackenzie was in his early twenties, The Young Desire It is an unparalleled account of erotic awakening, and, judging from the first chapters a fine re-read.  Worthy of slipping in your pile for the summer  bach!

Changing Times: New Zealand Since 1945 - Jenny Carlyon & Diana Morrow

Our main pursuits were only cultural in the broadest sense. They were horse-racing, playing  

Rugby football and beer drinking - especially playing football. – John Mulgan, Report on Experience

A revolution doesn’t have to be bloody, there don’t have to be guns and grenades. A revolution can take place inside people’s heads . . . – Dunedin Collective for Woman, 1972

Pirate radio in the Hauraki Gulf and the first DC8 jets landing at Māngere; feminists liberating pubs and protests over the closing of Post Offices; kōhanga reo and carless days: Changing Times is a history of New Zealand since 1945. From a post-war society famous around the world for its dull conformity, this country has become one of the most ethnically, economically and socially diverse countries on earth. But how did we get from Nagasaki to nuclear-free? What made us embrace small-state, free-market ideology with such passion? And were we really leaving behind a society known for its fretful sleepers and ‘the worship of averages’? In Changing Times, Jenny Carlyon and Diana Morrow answer those questions, taking us from the ‘Golden Weather’ of post-war economic growth, through the globalisation, economic challenges and protest of the 1960s and 1970s, and on to the free market revolution and new immigrants of the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout, stories from the lives of New Zealanders are key: a tank driver yelling in his sleep after World War II, a woman in the Wairarapa discovering The Feminine Mystique, a Tapawera forestry worker losing his job.

This is a powerful history of the transformation of New Zealand life.

I was highly impressed by the breadth of this book.  With Nelson Mandela's death recently many Kiwis have been returning to poignant moments in our history, such as the 1989 Springbok Tour.  This and many other moments are examined with a 360 lens.  This less the academic read and more a story, a view or rather many views and something I appreciated.  History should not be the preserve of the University.  Carlyon and Morrow, perhaps because they are not dusty old tweed jacket types have brought our past to life, without compromising quality or validation.

Hanns and Rudolf: The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz -