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The reading room

31 May 2022

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

Follow from left to right (starting with How to Loiter in a Turf War).

How to Loiter in a Turf War

Jessica (Coco Solid) Hansell
(Penguin, $28)

Renowned multimedia artist and musician Jessica Hansell, aka Coco Solid, started writing this fast, smart, fierce and funny work of autobiographical fiction while studying at the University of Hawai’i as the Fulbright Creative New Zealand Pacific writer in residence in 2018. Set in Tāmaki Makaurau, it follows a day in the life of three friends beefing with their own city as gentrification sets in and racial tensions swelter.

Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives

Kitty & Al Tait
(Bloomsbury, $43)

There’s nothing quite like freshly baked bread, and in the case of then-14-year-old Kitty Tait, a loaf baked by her dad Al was a life-changing experience that pulled her out of severe anxiety and led the adorable duo to opening a booming little bakery in their town. Equal parts moving memoir and delicious cookbook (with 80-plus recipes for their sought-after bread, pastries, biscuits and more), Breadsong provides food for both the body and soul.

Managing Expectations: A Memoir In Essays

Minnie Driver
(Allen & Unwin, $37)

This “memoir-ish, tell-most” collection of personal essays by much-loved actor Minnie Driver tracks from her rather bohemian upbringing between Barbados and the UK and finding herself the only one from her acting school not taken on by an agent to being “discovered” at a rave in the muddy English countryside (and quite a bit in between), and is, as you might expect, hilariously funny, charming, heartwarming and searingly honest.

The Improbable Life of Ricky Bird

Diane Connell
(Simon & Schuster, $35)

Ricky Bird loves making up stories for her brother Ollie almost as much as she loves him. The imaginary worlds she creates are wild and whimsical places full of unlimited possibilities – but real life is another story altogether. Kiwi-born-and-raised author Diane Connell’s gorgeously written and heartbreakingly humorous new book will be loved by fans of the likes of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Shuggie Bain and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

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