First Person Singular
by Haruki Murakami
This is a new collection of short stories by the thought-provoking Murakami. There are eight stories and they are all told in the first person (hence the obvious title). Some could be read as real-life events as experienced by the author, others are more fantastical, as only Murakami can do. The stories range from an encounter with a talking monkey, to fleeting memories of ex-girlfriends. Murakami himself is a major baseball fan and there is even some baseball poetry at the end. Once again, Murakami’s writing is clever and thought-provoking and this is another example of his stylish prose.
Farm For Life
by Tangaroa Walker
Walker was born in Tauranga and was adopted by a friend of his birth mother’s when he was just a couple of days old. Things were rough at home, even living in a tent for a while. His whanau was involved in gang life, alcohol and drugs, and although his adopted mum loved him, her ill health meant he was adopted again by an aunt and uncle who lived rurally. Here Walker was expected to pull his weight on the farm. School and rugby taught him discipline and these were where he made lifelong friends. With a part-time job working on a nearby farm, Tangaroa began to see how dairy farming could be a path to achieving some of his life goals.
Walker is honest in telling his life story, and he doesn’t shy away from dealing with his mistakes and learning from them. He intersperses the chapters with straightforward advice and is very forthcoming with his praise of those who have helped him achieve so much at a young age. This is an easy but inspiring read, and many teenagers who are needing guidance and encouragement could benefit from checking out his online platform, Farm4Life.