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The reading room

27 June 2022

A place to discover what deserves a spot in your TBR pile.

New releases

Follow from left to right (starting with How to be a Bad Muslim and Other Essays)

How to be a Bad Muslim and Other Essays

Mohamed Hassan
(Penguin, $35)

An essential read for 2022, this collection of essays from award-winning New Zealand poet, journalist, podcaster and producer Mohamed Hassan brilliantly combines memoir, humour, storytelling and non-fiction to map the experience of being Muslim in the 21st century. Mohamed takes the reader on a raw, real journey from Cairo and Takapuna to Athens and Istanbul, all the while tapping with rare talent into both the personal and political.

Winter Time

Laurence Fearnley
(Penguin, $36)

Multiple award-winner and Dunedin-based writer Laurence Fearnley sets her latest novel in the South Island’s Mackenzie Basin, tracking lead character Roland’s return to the region to deal with the unexpected death of his brother, not to mention cantankerous neighbours, unwelcoming weather, unintentionally upset locals and the complaints of his partner back in Australia.

Good Pop, Bad Pop

Jarvis Cocker
(Penguin, $48)

Whether you’re a Britpop fan from way back or are entirely new to the legendary musician and character that is Jarvis Cocker, this suitably quirky memoir from Pulp’s famous frontman will reward any reader. Touted as “funny, revealing, surprising and highly original”, it tells tales and nods to musings from Jarvis’ Sheffield upbringing and early musical influences/activities, all connected by objects he comes across when clearing out his loft.


Joanna Preston
(Otago University Press, $28)

Not brand new but deserving of a notable mention here having just taken out Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the NZ Book Awards 2022, if you hadn’t already picked a copy up on its release in November last year, this beautifully crafted collection of poems by the Canterbury-based poet and editor
has now cemented its place among the country’s best books of contemporary creative writing.

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