are a big thing, but with a wealth of amazing titles releasing each month, where do we even begin to choose our next read? Here are three books that we’ve loved at Wardini Books, and have either had a book club discussion about or are about to. It might give you a place to start.
Leonard and Hungry Paul – Rónán Hession (Melville House Publishing, $37.00) As booksellers, we sometimes struggle to fulfil the request for a ‘gentle book where nothing
awful happens.’ That quandary ended when I read this book.
Leonard has lived with his mother well into his thirties. They get along well, they’re friends, and they’re companionable. When his mother dies, Leonard is lonely and rather bereft. He visits his best friend, Hungry Paul, a man also in his thirties who lives with his parents, keeps Mondays free in case the post office needs a relief worker and spends much of his time in content silence and contemplation. Hungry Paul’s mother worries about him and his sister Grace, high achieving and furiously organised, fervently wishes he could get his act together and do some stuff.
So what happens to Leonard and Hungry Paul? Well, they play many board games, depending on energy levels and mood. Leonard meets a woman who shows some interest in him and he struggles to find the balance between being himself and being who he thinks she wants him to be. Hungry Paul takes up Judo and is a finalist in a lucrative competition. Grace is planning her wedding (to the exhausting nth degree) and has deep, long telephone
conversations with her mother. All of these everyday happenings will have gently life-changing consequences for Leonard and his best friend, Hungry Paul.
Leonard and Hungry Paul is a beautiful book: quiet, kind, funny, and, consequently, soothing.
Eddy, Eddy – Kate de Goldi (Penguin, $29.99) Eddy is a conundrum. A sweet nineteen-year-old soul, brought up by his Uncle Brain (yes you
read that right), recently bereaved of their dog, Marley. Stuff is going on for Eddy: some kind of catastrophic exit from his Catholic high school, a caustically clever but needy best
friend in Thos More, and a series of unsatisfactory jobs. Eddy is a deep teenage sigh come to life.
This is a story of an unconventional family in which extraordinary things teach huge lessons to ordinary people. Set in Christchurch, it is peopled with the best of humans, and some
slightly shabby ones who aren’t really all that bad – just, well, human.
If an eddy is an area of swirling water that forms behind an obstacle like a boulder in a river, then this boy is that. We’ll travel with him, whilst he overcomes. Eddy, Eddy is heartwarming
Horse – Geraldine Brooks (Hachette, $37.99)
Set alternatively between Kentucky in the mid-1800s and modern-day Washington, D.C. Horse follows the stories of Jarret, a slave, Theo, an art historian, and Jess, a scientist. What
brings them together is a horse – the horse, Lexington, the greatest racehorse in American history.
The story blisters along as we meet the colt, initially named Darley, through a variety of scenarios: an act of hubris by a new owner, later still in the re-discovery of paintings by Thomas Scott, and then there’s the skeleton, brought back to incredibly articulated life, 150
years after death, by Jess. Bones and paint bring Theo and Jess together in a shared fascination. Their relationship is complicated, and their experiences of humanity are vastly different. Brooks hits the nail on the head when describing how it is not Theo’s responsibility to educate Jess (or any White person) or smile upon her contrition for acts of ingrained
Based on real people and a real horse, this story is authentic in its sadness, its joy, and its depiction of the insanity and beauty of human nature. An epic treat.
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