Book Club | August’s Non-Fiction Picks!

Poor People with Money – Dominic Hoey

A darkly comic, gritty, punch-in-the-guts new novel that captures life on the poverty line, from the author of 1986Iceland and I Thought We’d Be Famous.

Monday Wooldridge is a fighter with a face like a broken dinner plate.
Fifteen years ago, her kid brother Eddy disappeared and she’s been looking for him ever since.
When she’s not training, Monday works in a bar selling drinks to rich assholes and dreaming of escape.
Together with her flatmate JJ, Monday comes up with a scheme to make enough money to lift them both out of debt. But when things go awry, fleeing the city is their only option to escape the gangsters, the vampires and the ghosts of Monday’s past.
From the award-winning poet and playwright Dominic Hoey, Poor People with Money is a darkly comic, pacy, heart-twisting, punch-in-the-guts novel that captures life on the poverty line in Aotearoa New Zealand now.

Diana, William, and Harry – James Patterson

At the age of thirteen, she became Lady Diana Spencer.

At twenty, Princess of Wales.

At twenty-one, she earned her most important title: Mother.

As she fell in love, first with Prince Charles and then with her sons, William and Harry, the world fell in love with the young royal family – Diana most of all.

With one son destined to be King and one needing to find his own way, she taught them lessons about royal tradition and also real life. ‘William and Harry will be properly prepared,’ Diana once promised. ‘I am making sure of this.’

Even after her tragic death, the strength of her love for her sons remains an enduring inspiration, not only for the two princes, but for the entire world.

Tough Outback – Mike Bellamy

A Kiwi’s stories of misadventure, mining and mayhem


In 1989 Mike Bellamy set off for the remote town of Wiluna, on the edge of the Western Desert. Keen to make a buck from Australia’s mining boom, the fledgling Kiwi soon realised he’d walked across a frontier into a roughshod world where anyone trying to last longer than a desert sunrise had to watch their back, play by the rules, and keep their wits about them.

Bellamy’s stories of dongas, dozers and diggers is a window back in time to work-hard, play-hard land, where snakes, spiders and flies were the least of one’s worries. Welcome to the tough mining country of Western Australia.

Owning It – Brad Smeele

Brad Smeele’s thrill-seeking, fast-paced life as a professional wakeboarder came to an abrupt halt eight years ago. Brad was at the height of his career, winning world championships and perfecting tricks that no one else could achieve.

Under a Big Sky – Tim Saunders

Tim Saunders writes about his life and work on the farm that’s been in his family for five generations. He encompasses drought, farming during lockdown, illness, financial pressure and the drive to become more viable and environmentally friendly. Woven throughout is Tim’s love of, and respect for, the land, animals and the environment. He describes how farming is intertwined with the weather, how the weather has changed, how the changes affect farmers and what they are doing to counteract this Tim describes how his forebears farmed, and how methods have changed. He referenced these ancestors in his first book This Farming Life but now he explores how they farmed, who they were, why they did what they did and how that affects him and the farm today. With the impact of climate change there is a need to change farming practices. Like other farmers Tim and his family are closely studying their farming system, deciding what needs to be done to stay viable. To survive. To work within the environment while feeding an ever-growing population. They are looking at the past to shepherd the future of the farm.

Bi – Julia Shaw

Despite all the welcome changes that have happened in our culture and laws over the past few decades in regards to sexuality, the subject remains one of the most influential but least understood aspects of our lives. For psychologist and bestselling author Julia Shaw, this is both professional and personal—Shaw studies the science of sexuality and she herself is proudly and vocally bisexual.

It’s an admission, she writes, that usually causes people’s pupils to dilate, their cheeks to flush, and their questions to start flowing. Ask people to name famous bisexual actors, politicians, writers, or scientists, and they draw a blank. Despite statistics that show bisexuality is more common than homosexuality, bisexuality is often invisible.

In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.

What We Owe The Future – William MacAskill

The fate of the world is in our hands. Humanity’s written history spans only five thousand years. Our yet-unwritten future could last for millions more — or it could end tomorrow. Astonishing numbers of people could lead lives of great happiness or unimaginable suffering, or never live at all, depending on what we choose to do today.

In What We Owe The Future, philosopher William MacAskill argues for longtermism, that idea that positively influencing the distant future is a key moral priority of our time. From this perspective, it’s not enough to reverse climate change or avert the next pandemic. We must ensure that civilization would rebound if it collapsed; counter the end of moral progress; and prepare for a planet where the smartest beings are digital, not human.

If we make wise choices today, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will thrive, knowing we did everything we could to give them a world full of justice, hope and beauty.