I have an unhealthy obsession with American politics. As I’ve written before, I know far more about what’s happening 13,000km away in Washington D.C. than just down the road in New Zealand’s Parliament House.

The attraction is partly the traditional razzle-dazzle of American politics, partly the geopolitical importance of the…


I have a confession.

It is a painful one for a keen reader to make. One that has taken me years to come to terms with. …


Three years ago — long before it was cool — a friend and I created a podcast.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

It was called Dadpod; it was about the trials and tribulations of being a dad; our first recording session took about three hours, and ended in something of a drunken singalong.

We only…


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We live in a world terrified by the thought of wasted time.

Despite the reminders we give our children to take their time over things and the promises we make them that they have all the time in the world, things seem to change once we reach adulthood.

At that…


Book Reviews — Jane Harper’s The Dry, Force of Nature, and The Lost Man

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I don’t usually bother with big screen adaptations of books I’ve enjoyed but I’ll be making an exception for The Dry, due out in early 2020 and based on the outback crime novel of the same name by Jane Harper.

The Dry describes the return of Australian Federal Police detective…


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I have just listened to an hour-long discussion about delegate allocation in the current Democratic presidential nomination contest.

This would be a fairly geeky thing to do for your average American political junkie. …


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People do PhDs for all sorts of reasons.

For some, it’s an essential qualification for their chosen career. For others, it’s a way of quenching a thirst for knowledge. But there are plenty who embark on a Ph.D. …


Strike the right balance between planning your writing and just going with the flow

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I was in a writing seminar the other day, looking at how to write clearly and compellingly for business audiences.

It was a great workshop in most respects, with the instructor emphasising that most writing rules and guidelines are made to be broken. If it makes sense to end a…


Book Review — The Wall by John Lanchester

Catastrophic sea level rises. A wall to keep out “Others”. Generational conflict.

Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

This is what Britain has to look forward to in the next few decades, according to John Lanchester’s intriguing novel, The Wall.

The plot is a simple one but — as I commented in a review of Robert…


It was eleven years ago this week when, on a cold night in Chicago in 2008, one of the great political orators of his generation declared victory in the US presidential election.

As you would expect, Obama thanked those in his campaign who helped get him elected. He emphasised the…

Andrew Smith

I’m an avid reader from Wellington, New Zealand. History, crime fiction, literary classic. You name it, I’ll read it. Twitter @pileobooks

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