“I went to New Zealand recently,” there I’ve said it, and you can all count yourself alongside everyone I have actually met since I got home.
So, to answer you obvious questions:
Yes, absolutely the most beautiful country I have ever seen.
30 hours, that’s how long it took to get there, and then the same back again; and it was a bloody horrible experience both ways, but worth every minute of discomfort to see New Zealand. Quite frankly, I’m amazed that I found the heart to come home.
And, no, I didn’t do any of the real tourist things, that people tend to associate with New Zealand; I basically just walked around, drank a lot of coffee and read an armful of books: BEST HOLIDAY EVER.
Anyway, I’m really not well travelled enough to write an insightful travel blog, so instead I’ll talk about about the 8 books I managed to read while I was away.
So, and in no particular order, they were:
1: Harry Potter and the half-blood Prince [J.K. Rowling]. My favourite Harry Potter novel, and a children’s book I have, unashamedly, read on numerous occasions. This time it was on a long-haul flight, and Ms Rowling has my devoted love for keeping me sane… well, mostly sane.
2: Past Tense [Lee Child]. The latest Jack Reacher novel, once again announcing to his army of fans, “Veni, vidi, vici.” You’ll either like big Jack, or you wont. I spent a day on beach reading it, while facing in the general direction of Antarctica: needless to say, I’ve read worse thrillers.
3: Target: Alex Cross [James Patterson]. The latest Alex Cross novel, once again calling out to his fans, “Please kill me now, I ran out of credible plots back when George W. Bush was still the most ridiculous man to grace the oval office.” Still, remember that beach I mentioned, well the only bookshop near there was actually an off-license.
4: Of Mice and Men [John Steinbeck]. A classic, plain and simple. The last time I read this I was teenager and failed to recognise just how great this novella is; and it’s still probably better than I truly understand. I had such a beautiful evening reading J.S. once again.
5: Ball Lightning [Cixin Liu]. Chinese Sci-Fi, and a great read. Not quite a classic, but a really excellent read (note: Fant/Sci fans only), heavy on details and fact, but still keeps sight of the need for an edgy plot. I left this book on a table in Dubai airport, with my email address and compliments; and have yet to hear anything back. Given that the terminal didn’t actually have a book shop, I don’t expect to.
6: The accidental further adventures of the 100 year-old man [Jonas Jonasson]. I can only describe this as, ‘The sequel to one of the most universally like books of the last decade,’ which probably tells you everything you need to know about it. Yes, it’s still funny; and, yes, its worth reading, but I’m sorry to say that magic of the first book has gone. I gave my copy to the grandmother, who was sitting next to me on the Sydney-Christchurch flight; such a lovely woman.
7: The Dumas Club [Arturo Perez-Reverte]. I love this book, it’s not a classic, nor will it ever become one, but it is a really fun read. The plot is basically about a self-absorbed book detective, being a self-absorbed book detective. I brought this one home with me, where it shall sit with the rest of my A.P-R. novels.
8: The Witches [Roald Dahl]. Christmas day 2018 for me included a 20km walk, in precisely no coherent directly; a truly terrible mircowave turkey dinner; and a few hours, in utter peace, reading R.D in the middle of a nature reserve. Best Christmas ever.
And that’s 8 of the books I read while I was in New Zealand. Full disclosure: there were another four books, but each was in some way worthy of a full review, so I think I will save those for another day.
Feel free to tweet, or message me in some other way, your opinions on any of the books I’ve mentioned; I’d love to hear another person thoughts on them.