With bookshops around the country closed, readers have been forced to shop their home bookshelves and work their way through the books they had at hand when New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown. But that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming about visiting our favourite bookshop, and browsing the shelves for a new title to take home and cosy up with. Bookshops will be back, and when they are, we’ll be ready and waiting for them.
We’ve asked some of our favourite people to share what books they’ll be rushing out to purchase when the bookshops of New Zealand open their doors.
First up is Chris Tse. Chris is the author of two poetry collections published by Auckland University Press: How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes, and HE’S SO MASC. He is currently co-editing an anthology of LGBTQIA+ Aotearoa writers.
Whatever the world might look like post-lockdown, I’m most looking forward to being able to see my friends and fellow writers. It’s been wonderful being able to hang out and hear from them virtually, but there’s nothing like running into people and catching up at a launch or an event. Trips to Unity Books and VicBooks are definitely high on my list once they’re allowed to re-open.
The first book I’ll be looking for is Michele Amas’ posthumous collection Walking Home (VUP). Michele’s is a voice we lost too soon but I’m so grateful that we’ll soon have more of her poetry to read and savour.
Sticking with poetry, there are a couple of other new collections I’m looking forward to picking up: The Lifers by Michael Stevens (OUP) and Pins by Natalie Morrison (VUP). I managed to get a copy of Michele Leggott’s Mezzaluna: Selected Poems (AUP) before we went into lockdown and I thoroughly recommend it. It’s a beautifully designed book and has been a dream to dip in and out of over the last few weeks.
Shakti by Rajorshi Chakraborti (Penguin) is also high on my list. Everything I’ve seen or heard about it has been glowing, praising its timeliness and thought-provoking storytelling.
And I can’t wait to be able to wander through some secondhand bookshops again. Even though I’ve managed to catch up on my own to-read pile, seeing what everyone else has been reading and recommending is definitely going to make me question how I’ll fit all my post-lockdown purchases in my tiny house…