Shelf Portraits

Verve Magazine approached Auckland’s favourite booksellers and asked them to send in their ‘shelfies’, ie: a few books on their shelves that they have loved reading. 

Carole Beu from The Women’s Bookshop

105 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

 Vividly recreates the Stratford-on-Avon of Shakespeare’s time. His wife Agnes is a wise, independent woman and the death of their 11-year-old twin son in a pandemic is devastating. Deeply moving; illuminating about the period and, indirectly, the plays. $38.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A highly relevant read for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. One identical twin sister has a very dark child; the other ‘disappears’ and spends her life ‘passing’ as white. A fascinating, insightful exploration of race and identity. $35.

Jenna Todd from Timeout Bookstore

432 Mount Eden Rd, Mount Eden
Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam

Sprigs is an intense, visceral story set around a sexual assault linked to a boys’ high school. An important read. $35.

Nothing to See by Pip Adam

Nothing to See is a wild ride through Pip Adam’s incredible imagination. Funny, contemporary and sharp. $35.

Victory Park by Rachel Kerr

By the publisher of the 2020 winner’s Auē. A quiet, yet wonderful character study about single motherhood and the wealth divide. $35.

In Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey

A masterful telling of collective blindness to tragedy. Set in the concentration camp Buchenwald during the Nazi occupation. $35.

Chloe Blades of Unity Books Auckland

19 High Street, Auckland
Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift

Smart-arsed and as funny as it is moving, this dystopian novel has a world-ending pandemic at its core and there’s only one inhibited woman left. But unlike predictable apocalyptic reads, she gets drunk and high and sets off to navigate burning cities and hungry rats while avoiding a nervous breakdown with her adopted retriever; there’s no one left to judge her, so she can be who she likes. It’s surprisingly uplifting given you might be thinking it’s too soon. $35.

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

How a novel can be so devastating yet hilarious is a masterful achievement on author Meg Mason’s part. Remember the wit, pain, and love of Fleabag? It’s found here, too. Unfolding amidst a separation between Martha and Patrick is a story of mental illness and the mechanics of a fascinating family, each challenged by their own hopes, dreams and failures. It really is incredible. $35.

Hera Lindsay Bird of Unity Books Auckland

19 High Street, Auckland
Mirror Visitor Quartet by Christelle Dabos

I’m taking a permanent vacation from neurotic auto-fiction about unlikeable women in their late 20s and have never felt better. My new obsession is Mirror Visitor series, a Pullman/Wynne-Jones-esque quartet about a woman who can walk through mirrors, in a universe of floating islands called ‘Arks’. Marvellous. $26.

Nobody is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

Patricia Lockwood manages to escape this category by being neither unlikeable nor in her 20s. If she is neurotic, she disguises it with savant levels of despotically flamboyant prose, which feels like being kicked in the neck by John Ashberry, only funnier. Patricia Lockwood can do what she likes to me. I’m her dog. $43.