Book Club | New Non-Fiction

Good Mourning

Sally Douglas & Imogen Carn


Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn met after the sudden deaths of their mothers only months apart. Their experiences led them to launch a podcast, and their no-holds-barred, relatable approach to talking about grief sparked a growing following of people eager to have honest conversations about what it really feels like to deal with loss.

Good Mourning is a compassionate survival guide for anyone dealing with grief – the kind of book Sal and Im wish they’d had to help them through the dark times. Here they shine a light on the many ways grief can impact our lives (hello ugly crying, exhaustion and ‘grief brain’). Along with expert advice from clinical psychologist Tamara Cavenett and warm words and insights from hundreds of others who’ve experienced grief, the authors offer practical tips on coping with isolation and loneliness, navigating grief at work, managing milestones and so much more.

Whether you’re one month in or ten years down the track, Good Mourning will help you make sense of life after loss — and know that you’re not alone.





The Drinking Game

Guyon Espiner


Ever wondered why it always seems like a good time for a drink?

Four years ago, investigative journalist Guyon Espiner gave up drinking alcohol. He had been a heavy yet controlled drinker since his teens – abstaining three nights a week but making up for it the other four. One morning he woke up after a big night and decided he’d had enough and he quit – no AA, no support groups. Not drinking has given Guyon a new perspective on our relationship with alcohol in Aotearoa, and a lot of it is disturbing.

The Drinking Game investigates the alcohol industry: the power, politics and lobbying behind our most harmful drug. Weaving together personal experience, hard research and interviews, it examines why New Zealand has such a heavy drinking culture, the harm it causes and how our attitudes to alcohol are changing.

This is a sobering look into how the way you drink is shaped not only by your individual choice, but also by government, media and big business.




Tale of a Vet Nurse

Jade Pengelly


You never know who or what is going to walk, crawl or slither through the doors of veterinary hospital…

Clumsy Luna the Greyhound and her fragile front legs; the tortoise in need of a prosthetic leg; Jock the Saint Bernard and his problematic eyelashes; Edward the Burmese cat and his extravagant diet; the burly farmer and the world’s tiniest Chihuahua, Lulu-bell… there is never a dull day in the life of a vet nurse. As the people who care for them around the clock, vet nurses are uniquely placed to speak for their patients and help us understand what our pets are going through.

From emergency shifts at a posh London practice to a busy country hospital treating all manner of wildlife – snakes, foxes, hedgehogs – to working with equine-surgeons and teaching the art of care to new generations of vet nurses in New Zealand, Tales of a Vet Nurse is about a life devoted to saving our beloved and unconditional friends. Along the way, Jade enlightens readers to the forbidden feasts of Labradors, the dangers of x-raying prize-winning showjumpers, and the most common pets she sees as hospital inpatients.




The Earth Transformed

Peter Frankopan


In The Earth Transformed, Peter Frankopan, one of the world’s leading historians, shows that the natural environment is a crucial, if not the defining, factor in global history – and not just of humankind. Volcanic eruptions, solar activities, atmospheric, oceanic and other shifts, as well as anthropogenic behaviour, are fundamental parts of the past and the present.

In this magnificent and groundbreaking book, we learn about the origins of our species: about the development of religion and language and their relationships with the environment; about how the desire to centralise agricultural surplus formed the origins of the bureaucratic state; about how growing demands for harvests resulted in the increased shipment of enslaved peoples; about how efforts to understand and manipulate the weather have a long and deep history. All provide lessons of profound importance as we face a precarious future of rapid global warming.

Taking us from the Big Bang to the present day and beyond, The Earth Transformed forces us to reckon with humankind’s continuing efforts to make sense of the natural world.



A Joyful Life

Rosemary Kariuki


As a child, she survived the first of many predators in her home. As a teen, she survived the first of three infant losses. In her twenties, she survived years of domestic violence. In her thirties, she survived political unrest and tribal clashes that brought a hammer crashing down on her head.

But what makes Rosemary’s journey so remarkable is not just how she survived, but also how she came to find joy: an infectious joy that she has gone on to share with countless others. From her tough childhood in Kenya, taking care of her fifteen siblings, to becoming the 2021 Australian of the Year – Local Hero through her work as a multicultural community liaison officer for the police in western Sydney, Rosemary’s story is a memoir that will inspire all Australians.

Raw, direct and filled with Rosemary’s warmth and humour, A Joyful Life shows how in the face of incredible hardship, kindness to ourselves and to others can allow us to regain our internal strength and ultimately become the writer of our own life story.




Megan Hess: The Bag

Megan Hess


Megan Hess: The Bag is an illustrated love story about the most stylish, timeless and useful of accessories, from internationally renowned fashion illustrator Megan Hess.

A piece of fashion is so much more than an object. To the designer who creates it, the muse who inspires it, the fashion lover who lusts after it, or the star who defines it, that piece is part of a story.

A beautiful bag is the ultimate fashion investment. From the Hermes Birkin to the Chanel Classic, the Lady Dior to the Louis Vuitton Keepall, the Valentino Rockstud to the Fendi Baguette, these iconic designs are not just the perfect way to carry your lipstick and book – and complete your outfit. They are works of art and craftsmanship.

Megan Hess: The Bag is the next in the Ultimate Fashion Wardrobe series, filled with fascinating information and stunning illustrations and packaged up in a beautiful hardback: the ideal accessory for any fashion life.




Gen F-d? How Young Australians Can Take Back Their Stolen Futures

Alison Pennington

In Gen F-d?, economist Alison Pennington shows how the most educated generation in Australia’s history stands to be the first generation worse off than their parents, and gives young people the tools to create the change we need. This is the fifth book in The Crikey Read series from Crikey and Hardie Grant Books.

Young people are digital natives, encouraged to market their own uniqueness and success online, amid out-dated advice from parents and politicians: work hard and you’ll get ahead. But the bottom rungs of the opportunity ladder are disintegrating, and millions of young people are stuck on the rat-wheel of insecure work and crammed into share-houses paying off boomers’ mortgages.

Against the backdrop of global warming and COVID-19, young people inherit a dysfunctional economy that consumes their futures, turning misery into lucrative markets. But despite stable jobs, housing, and families all in flux, there is much to be hopeful for as a new generation of activists begins to rise.

Gen F-d? plots a path forward for the young people of Australia to reactivate our democracy and create a new widely held vision of the common good.




From Renter to Owner

Susan Edmunds

Do the chances of buying your first home seem akin to winning the lottery? Well, don’t give up because respected property and business journalist Susan Edmunds has done the hard work to show you how to get into your first home as quickly as possible.
Most of us don’t have a big inheritance or limitless funds from the bank of Mum and Dad, so need help getting into a first home and navigating the many options available to the first-home buyer.
This book is packed full of up-to-date advice with lots of different topics to help you into your first home. How to make the most out of KiwiSaver when saving for a deposit. Options for help from the family. How to apply for a loan, and how to structure your loan. What to consider when buying off the plans. Is it kids versus a mortgage?
The different properties worth considering, as well as less traditional buying options, such as buying with friends. From Renter to Owner is a step-by-step guide to buying your first home, no matter how daunting it may seem, and the only book you’ll need to make your dreams a reality.