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Book Club: Kanoa Lloyd's reading list

The host of The Project opens up her bookshelf.

Kanoa Lloyd is a host on Three's The Project. While workign as a presenter and journalist, she has drawn acclaim for her focus on Te Reo in New Zealand broadcasting.

Kanoa is also an ambassador for Duffy Books in Homes, a programme which aims to inspire a love of reading in children at low-decile schools.

The Rehearsal
by Eleanor Catton, Victoria University Press.

Man Booker Prize winner (for The Luminaries) Eleanor Catton is roughly the same age as me.

When I was 22 I was working in the Dunedin Library. Catton had just published The Rehearsal, her debut novel. I read it, hot off the press, in 2008, with awe and envy.

At primary school I wanted to be an author when I grew up. In high school I abandoned that idea in favour of becoming an actor. At 22 I wasn’t an author or an actor. And here was Catton writing about this world of performing arts that I still wished I was a part of.

I think this work, more than the story itself, was one of the things that helped propel me to Auckland. I’m still not working on a novel, or treading the boards, but I love my work.

And for the record, I now admire Eleanor Catton as a national treasure. If you haven’t read The Luminaries you should add it to your reading list too.

The Great New Zealand Cookbook
by Murray Thom and Tim Harper, PQ Blackwell.

I chose this because I’m absolutely obsessed with food. Sitting in the sun with a glass of something cold and poring through a cookbook is my idea of heaven. Sometimes I won’t even cook anything from a book for months after I’ve read it. But I dream about flavours and fantasise about ingredients, and every once in a while the stars will align and I’ll give a new recipe a go.

I love this one because it includes lots of my culinary (and broadcasting) heroes, like Peta Mathias, Al Brown and Fleur Sullivan. Plus there are hunters, growers and magical characters from around Aotearoa. There are recipes for everything from Spaghetti Pies to Manuka Smoked Venison with Blackberries & Horopito.

It hasn’t just inspired my cooking; it has also encouraged me to add to my little library of New Zealand recipe books.

Chappy
by Patricia Grace, Penguin/Random House.

My favourite work by Patricia Grace is actually the picturebook The Kuia & The Spider, published in 1981. I can still hear the words reverberating through my father’s chest, as I sat on his knee waiting to turn each page.

My dad read it to me and I read it to my little brother and sisters. It was interwoven into our upbringing. But Grace’s novel Chappy will make for better beach reading. It is a story about family, race and figuring out a sense of place in the world.

Grace took a 10-year hiatus, then published this in 2015. It’s nice to have a work by her that still has that lovely new-book smell.

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