Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: November 2023

Six Days (November 2023)

By Dani Atkins

November 22, 2023

Two people.  One love story.  Six days.

Gemma knows that she and Finn are destined to be together.  They are soulmates.  But then, on their wedding day, he never arrives at the church.

Gemma is convinced Finn wouldn’t abandon her like this, even though he has disappeared once before.  But back then he had a reason.  She feels sure something terrible has happened, but no one else is convinced.  Even the police aren’t concerned, telling Gemma most people who disappear usually turn up in a week… assuming they want to be found, that is.

For the next six days Gemma frantically searches for Finn, even though every shocking revelation is telling her to give up on him.  Soon she even begins to doubt her own memories of their love.

How long can she hold on to her faith in Finn if everyone is telling her to let him go?

The Secret (November 2023)

By Lee Child and Andrew Child

November 22, 2023

Chicago.  1992.  A hospital patient wakes to find two strangers by his bed.

They show him a list of names and ask a simple but impossible question.  Minutes later he falls to his death from his twelfth-floor window – a fall which generates some unexpected attention.

That attention comes from the Secretary of Defense, who calls for an inter-agency task force to investigate.  Jack Reacher, recently demoted from Major, is assigned as the army’s representative.  If he gets a result, great.  If not, he’s a convenient fall guy.

Reacher may be an exceptional military investigator, but office politics aren’t what get him up in the morning.  As he races to identify a cold-blooded killer and uncover a secret that stretches back twenty years, he must navigate around his new partners.

Will Reacher bring the bad guys to justice the official way … or his way?

Resurrection Walk (November 2023)

By Michael Connelly

November 22, 2023

From No. 1 bestselling author Michael Connelly: Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller is back, and he’s taken on another long-shop case.  The chance of winning is one in a million…

Defence attorney Mickey Haller has agreed to represent a woman who is in prison for killing her husband, a sheriff’s deputy, and Haller enlists his half-brother, retired LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, as investigator.  Even after four years in prison, his new client maintains her innocence.

Reviewing the case, Bosch sees something that doesn’t add up and senses the sheriff’s department close ranks as he pursues the truth.

The path to true justice is, for both the lawyer and his investigator, fraught with danger from those who don’t want the case reopened.  And their opponents will stop at nothing to keep the Haller-Bosch dream team from uncovering what the deputy’s killing was really about.

Light Over Liskeard (November 2023)

By Louis de Bernieres

November 22, 2023

Sometimes we must look to the past to survive the inevitable.

Q wants a simpler and safer life.  His work as a quantum cryptographer for the government has led him to believe a crisis is imminent and he needs somewhere to ride out what’s ahead.

Q buys a ruined farmhouse in Cornwell and begins to build his own self-sufficient haven.  Over the course of his challenge he meets the eccentric characters who live on the moors nearby, including the park ranger in charge of the reintroduced lynxes and aurochs that roam the area; a holy man waiting for the Second Coming on a nearby hill; an Arthurian knight; and the amorous ghost of an Edwardian woman who haunts the house.

As life in the cities gets more complicated, and our systems of electronic control begin to fall apart, Q flourishes in the wild countryside.  His new way of life brings him back in tune with his family and his sense of who he is.  He also grows close to Eva, energetic and enchanting, who is committed to her own quest for love and meaning.

In this entertaining and heart-warming novel Louis de Bernieres makes us reconsider what is really precious in our short and precarious lives.

The Book Collector: Reading and Living with Literature (November 2023)

By Tony Eyre

November 22, 2023

The Book Collector is a fascinating bibliomemoir of the writer’s lifetime joy of reading, the books and authors that have touched him, and how they have shaped his passion for book collecting.

Step into his library, where the book is ‘a tangible object of sentiment and delight’ and experience his fondness for New Zealand literature as well as a great many of the world’s most celebrated writers.  Then follow this wondering bibliophile as he takes you on a personal journey of search and discovery to second-hand bookshops around Aotearoa New Zealand and further afield, to the community book fairs and charity shops and into the online world of books.

The Book Collector is an enjoyable and thoroughly engaging read, packed full of stories, personal observations, useful information and splashes of humour, inviting the reader to further explore what our often neglected New Zealand literature has to offer.

The Exchange (November 2023)

By John Grisham

November 22, 2023

The Exchange is John Grisham’s epic follow-up to his phenomenal global bestseller The Firm, the novel that launched his career as the world’s favourite storyteller.  It will take you on a rollercoaster journey across the globe, from New York to London, and Rome to Marrakech.

Mitch McDeere has cheated death and come out the other side.  Fifteen years ago, he stole $10 million from the mob and disappeared.  Now, with his enemies jailed or dead, he has fought his way to the top of the biggest law firm in the world.

When a new case takes Mitch to Libya, danger awaits; he’s soon in the biggest hostage negotiation in recent history with terrorists who have murdered and will murder again.  Their demand is staggering: a ransom of $100 million must be paid within ten days.

But this isn’t a random kidnapping – it’s personal.  And no one, not even Mitch’s wife in New York, is safe.

With the clock ticking, can Mitch stay one step ahead of his enemies?  This time, there’s nowhere to hide.

Shelter (November 2023)

By Catherine Jinks

November 22, 2023

Meg’s little house in the bush outside town is a perfect place to hide.  That’s one of the reasons she offers to shelter Nerine, who’s escaping a violent ex with her two little girls.  The other is that Meg knows what it’s like to live with an abusive partner.

Nerine is jumpy when she arrives, worried that her partner will find her.  Meg assures her she and her kids are safe now.

Then Meg start to wonder about some little things.  A disturbed flyscreen.  A tune playing on her wind-chimes.  Has Nerine’s ex tracked them down?  Has Meg’s husband turned up to torment her some more?

By the time she finds out, it’ll be too late to do anything but run for her life.

The Passenger (November 2023)

By Cormac McCarthy

November 21, 2023

It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wetsuit and plunges from the boat deck into darkness.  His divelight illuminates a sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats.  Missing from the crash site are the plane’s black box, and the tenth passenger.  But How?  A collateral witness to machinations that can only bring him harm, Western is shadowed in body and spirit – by men with badges; by the ghost of his father, inventor of the atom bomb; and by his sister, the love and ruin of his soul.

From the bar rooms of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness, and one of the final works by a true American master.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (November 2023)

By V. E. Schwab

November 21, 2023

France, 1714.  A desperate woman makes a desperate deal in the dark – a bargain to live forever but be remembered by none.

So begins the invisible life of Addie LaRue, shadow muse to artists throughout history, forgotten friend, confidante and lover, slipping away with the morning light.  Addie passes through lives, desperate only to leave a trace of herself.  Until the day she walks back into a small bookshop in Manhattan and meets Henry, who remembers her.

After 300 years Addie’s life is restarting, but the devil never plays fair.  As Henry and Addie’s lives start to intertwine, they must face the consequences of the decisions they’ve made and the prices to be paid.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a dazzling adventure across centuries and continents, across history and art, about a young woman learning how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

The Fraud (November 2023) – Athenaeum Book Club 2024

By Zadie Smith

November 21, 2023

It is 1873.

Mrs Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper – and cousin by marriage – of a once-famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.

Mrs Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life and the next.  But she is also sceptical.  She suspects her cousin of having no talent; his successful friend, Mr Charles Dickens, of being a bully and a moralist; and England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle, meanwhile, grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica.  He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost.  That the rich deceive the poor.  And that people are more easily manipulated than they realize.  When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

The’ Tichborne Trail’ captivates Mrs Touchet and all of England.  Is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is?  Or is he a fraud?  Mrs Touchet is a woman of the world.  Mr Bogle is no fool.  But in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what is real proves a complicated task…

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britian, fraudulence and authenticity, and the mystery of ‘other people’.


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