Book Review: ‘The Free’ by Willy Vlautin

READ ON TO WIN YOUR VERY OWN SHINY, NEW COPY OF THE FREE!! (Competition closes Friday 14th November, 2014)

Holding The Free in my hands – before reading a single word – felt good. The ragged-edged pages felt lived in, worn-down, meaningful; reflecting the worn-down lives of the characters within. Pauline, Leroy, Freddie – oh my – how beautifully drawn they are.

Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

I was lucky enough to chat to Vlautin when he was in Auckland this month with his new band The Delines. Click here to read more and to – wahoo! – be in to win a free copy of The Free.

I have two favorite things about The Free. Firstly, Vlautin’s dialogue is some of the best I’ve ever read. I reckon you can tell he’s a musician by his dialogue’s perfect rhythm.  Continue reading

Book Review: ‘A Can of Sunshine’ by Christine Leunens (and a sneaky competition clue!)

Hearing fabulous Doris Mousdale of Arcadia Bookshop interview American author Christine Leunens at the Waiheke Book Festival rescued A Can of Sunshine from a solitary one star rating. Instead, the book gets two stars and I’ll tell you why a little bit later.


Doris Mousdale from Arcadia bookshop interviews Christine Leunens at Waiheke Book Festival. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2014.

It isn’t what earned her the extra star, but Christine Leunens is really beautiful. European-fashion-model beautiful (ten years as the head of a model agency qualifies me to say that); with a poise and elegance that evades most of us Kiwi girls. Continue reading

Beer and Books with Willy Vlautin and The Delines

17th October, 2014 @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ

“I can’t give you one favorite book. How ‘bout five?” I say, squeezing my beer bottle for inspiration.

“Nope. Cheating. You gotta give me one.” Willy Vlautin – award winning author and alt-country superstar – rocks back and forth on his toes and smiles a smile that stretches like telephone lines from his eyes to his chin. My carriages are momentarily uncoupled.

Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

“Here’s a song I wrote for my horse, Rudy.” Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

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Letters to a Friend: The End of (this) Road

30.09.14: Wanaka, New Zealand (Katharine to Caroline)

Dear Caroline,

It’s been great to hear your voice again over the last few days. I’m so looking forward to our Wednesdays recounting adventures, alongside the laughter of our children and a glass of pinot. We’re homeward bound, and yes I am happy we’ve had such a wonderful adventure. As Hanz sums it up: “We’ve had a summer holiday and we’ve skied!”

Working out the work-life balance has seen me find a calm place where I’ve been noticeably more engaged. It’s an unfamiliar pace of life yet one that is without an anxious panic and increased heart rate. I sleep eight hours a night and feel less rushed; there are no lists to complete. Ironically as I reluctantly prepare for our journey home life here has also become more cemented; Coco has found her groove at day-care and tells me with tears she’ll miss her friends, my heart skips a beat. We’ve started to meet people, who I know if we lived here, I could easily become friends with, and we’ve established routines.

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