I have a new hero: UK food writer Nigel Slater. I'm reading and reviewing his Kitchen Diaries, which are splendid (although the recipes are as yet not trialled in the Waiheke Island Test Kitchens, since we can't eat ever again after the Slow Food weekend in Matakana). A sensible message - the right food at the right time - charmingly conveyed, and beautifully produced on lovely thick stock. I shall have to move straight on to his autobiography, Toast.
Over the weekend, I reignited my faith in the favourites of my childhood, after last week's disappointments, with Cue For Treason by Geoffrey Trease. He was way ahead of his time in constructing equally interesting male and female lead characters, and very good at the dollops of history. And adventure. Not too much depth in the adults, but you can't have everything.
Regular readers of this blog know better than to start me on the hilarious Da Vinci Code. Well. I don't usually read mysteries, but I picked up one of Iain Pears's art world crime novels for $2 somewhere because I read The Dream of Scipio last year and it is still dancing about in my head.
There's no real similarity in style or intent between that and The Last Judgement, but I still vote we take away all Dan Brown's money, and give it instead to Iain Pears, who actually knows how to write and wrote several books much more deserving of global domination than that pathetic drivel in Da Vinci Code, years before Dan Brown could even afford one of those infernal black turtlenecks.
Then Mr Pears can buy lots of beautiful paintings and write anything he wants; and nobody would ever sue him, except possibly Dan Brown - but who cares?
Now I'm onto Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches (on Holland's Golden Age) for research purposes, but as it's too heavy to lug into town on the ferry I will have to alternate it with a new kids' swashbuckler, Secrets of the Fearless. (I hate people who get to thank "the staff of the National Maritime Museum ... and the Musee National des Douanes in Bordeaux". I'd just kill for a couple of hours in either.)