News | 26 January 2021
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Top 10 hottest reads this summer

The sun, the beach, and a good book – a great way to spend a balmy day. We asked our Wellington City Librarians for their summer reading picks. Here are their top 10 recommended books, many written by award-winning Kiwi authors.

A birds-eye view of a blue and white striped towel on the sand, with a hat, some sunglasses, a drink, and a book.

Adult fiction, recommended by Neil Johnstone

The Nancys
Written by R.W.R McDonald
When Tippy’s teacher's body is found beside Riverstone's only traffic light, she and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club.
Neil says: “This book won ‘best first novel’ at the recent Ngaio Marsh awards and it is fabulous! Really funny and really dark at the same time.”

The Girl in the Mirror
Written by Rose Carlyle
An edge-of-your-seat debut thriller with identical twins, a crazy inheritance and a boat full of secrets. Who can you trust? Absolutely nobody. 
Neil says: “International bestselling sensation snapped up by Hollywood already and written by a Kiwi. Must read.”

Harrow the Ninth
Written by Tasmin Muir
After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem.
Neil says: “Science fiction and fantasy title at its best.”

Dance Prone
Written by David Coventry
A novel of music, ritual and love. Full of closely observed details of indie-rock, of punk infused performance, the road and the players’ relationship to violence, hate and peace.
Neil says: “Very different kind of novel this one set in the hard core music scene in America in the 1980s. Visceral and intense, much more challenging but compelling none the less with some of the best descriptions of playing live on stage committed to paper. A fabulous read for music fans.”

Fake Baby
Written by Amy McDaid
Stephen's dead father is threatening to destroy the world. If Stephen commits the ultimate sacrifice and throws himself into the harbour, he will save humanity. 
Neil says: “Tender and funny.”

The book cover of Dance Prone, by David Coventry, which features an image of a cactus on dry bush land with mountains in the background.

Top picks for tamariki, recommended by Stephen Clothier

The Inkberg Enigma
Written by Jonathan King
Miro lives in his books; Sia is never without her camera. The day they meet, they uncover a secret.
Stephen says: “This gorgeous and engrossing comic features exactly the kind of kids who you used to go on neighbourhood adventures with when you were young.”

Mophead: How Your Difference Makes a Difference
Written by Selena Tusitala Marsh
An inspirational graphic memoir of growing up Pasifika in New Zealand, written and illustrated by our fast-talking Poet Laureate, Selina Tusitala Marsh.
Stephen says: “This book is everything — by turns funny and poignant, strident and comforting, impetuous and patient.”

The History Speech
Written by Mark Sweet
It is 1960s provincial New Zealand, and a set of upper middle-class families enjoy the good life together. Adolescent Callum Gow’s father is a bully, his mother is having an affair, and there are secrets about abuse, suicide and the past.
Stephen says: “Callum’s voice and unique perspective kept us turning the pages with alacrity, and his tale of self-discovery is not one we think you should miss.”

Written by Michael Petherick
An exuberant multimedia novel for young readers and the young at heart.
Stephen says: This is a completely unique book with so much to discover — a whole diverse community, that really bursts off the pages.”

The front cover of children's book Tio Tiamu, written by Kurahau, with an illustrated village on a mountainous and snowy landscape with a river running through it.

Tio Tiamu
Written by Kurahau. Illustrations by Laya Mutton-Rogers
In this picture book, gentle, clever Toe Jam grows to be huge, and this causes a problem in his community because his feet smell. The bigger he gets the worse the smell.
Stephen says: “This book really is the complete package. The story feels at times very much like a legend being told in a traditional oral storytelling mode.”