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The reading room

6 November 2022
style books november2022

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

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A Brief Affair

Alex Miller

Allen & Unwin, $37

Dr Frances Egan appears to have it all, until a brief affair gives her the courage and inspiration to risk everything and change her direction at the age of 42, a revelation further motivated by the discovery of a long-forgotten diary. From the bustling streets of China and the ominous Cell 16 in an old asylum building to a farm in Victoria, A Brief Affair, from twice Miles Franklin Award winner Alex Miller, is a tender love story written with humour, sensitivity and the wisdom for which the Australian-based author’s work is famous.

Cult Trip

Anke Richter

HarperCollins, $38

Lyttelton-based journalist Anke Richter was finding her spiritual awakening at a new age festival in Byron Bay when she met a woman – a survivor of the Auckland cult Centrepoint – who would change the course of her life and career. Over the next decade, Richter took a deep dive into cults, from the emotional and criminal carnage of Centrepoint to an anti-cult conference in Manchester, the infamous Osho's ashram in India and the tantric Agama Yoga school in remote Thailand and culminating in a visit to Gloriavale on the West Coast of the South Island. The result is this powerful must-read.

We All Want Impossible Things

Catherine Newman

Penguin, $37

Have a big box of tissues at the ready when starting this one and expect copious tears both of laughter and sadness. When Edi is diagnosed with the final stages of terminal ovarian cancer, she moves to a hospice down the road from Ash, her best friend for more than 40 years. Against a backdrop of The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack blasting from the room next door and a rotating cast of hospice characters, the dear friends reminisce, hold on, and try to let go.


Philippa Gregory

Simon & Schuster, $38

Phillipa Gregory fans, get your page-turning fingers ready – the latest tome from the queen of historical fiction arrives this month. The third in the number one bestselling Fairmile Series (Tidelands, Dark Tides), Dawnlands begins in 1685, with England on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings, in a rich tale of family bonds, deception and derring-do that journeys from battlefields to hidden caves on the slave island of Barbados.

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