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December 9, 2021 December 2021, Regular Features No Comments

Let the library start your summer with fascinating life stories

This spring, as we idly dream of summer adventures that may or may not be stuck at a Covid-19 traffic light, come by the Martinborough Library to feed your restless mind on these tales of big lives lived widely and well:

A Thousand Years of Joys and Sorrows, by Ai Wei Wei. 

When his poet father is exiled to a freezing labour camp during China’s Cultural Revolution, young Ai tags along for a what becomes an “open-ended course in wilderness survival training” and a life-changing political education. A lifetime later, the now world-famous artist was himself detained in 2011 by the Chinese government. This strinking memoir seeks out parallels between the lives of father and son, but also between Ai and the prison guards who were never permitted to leave his side. A moving account of the intertwining power of freedom and memory to make us who we are.

Helen Kelly: Her Life, by Rebecca Macfie.

A hero to many, ‘that woman’ to her foes, the first female head of New Zealand’s trade union movement stirred fierce emotions across the political spectrum with her life-long struggle to better the lives of the country’s workers. In this meticulous and moving account of her too-short life, award-winning Listener journalist Rebecca Macfie explores Kelly’s own life and motivations but also gives a masterful account of a defining period in New Zealand history, as the old welfare state gives way to neoliberalism. “Clear-eyed and powerfully written, this is a book every New Zealander should read,” Kristy Johnston, Stuff.

Between Two Kingdoms: What Almost Dying Taught Me About Living, by Suleika Jaouad. 

Diagnosed with leukaemia at 22, the author set aside dreams of being a war correspondent to chronicle her own personal struggle in her celebrated “Life, Interrupted” column for the New York Times. This deeply affecting memoir takes us through her gruelling illness but also her survival and reconnection with the world. Once deemed cancer-free, she takes an epic road trip to visit the readers who cheered her on, delivering a profound—and in a pandemic, incredibly timely—meditation on the power of human connection.

If you can’t find these or any other title on the shelf, just ask—we’d love to reserve a copy for you!

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