Lindsey Dawson is the host of Let's Talk, a weekly women's issues show on Stratos TV. She was also the founding editor of Next magazine and has authored seven books.
The book I love most is ... Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Who'd ever think of writing a novel about a boy called Pi and a Bengal tiger adrift for 227 days in a lifeboat on the Pacific Ocean? But Martel's belief in his implausible plot was so complete that he managed to pull it off with great aplomb. And it surprised me by making me think seriously about whether big animals are better off in zoos than in the wild.
The book I'm reading right now is ... Paul Auster's Sunset Park. Auster's one of those old-school writers who makes his craft seem effortless. This book is about a teenager who runs away because he can't bear to confess the part he played in his brother's death. Halfway through I'm realising there's hardly any dialogue on the page, and yet I'm never bored by it as he details the messed-up lives of a family.
The book I want to read next is ... The Book of Rachael by Leslie Cannold.
It's her first novel but she's known as a brainy intellectual in Australia. Her Rachael is the high-spirited fictional sister of Jesus (yes, that Jesus). I've read one scathing review of this book by a man and a laudatory one by a woman, and so am curious to try it for myself. I hear it's not unlike Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, which I loved, so I'm hopeful.
The book that changed me is ... The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. It's the 1963 polemic that set off feminism. I can remember feverishly reading it in bed one night in my 20s, riveted by her arguments about how constricted women's lives were in the post-war period, and thinking, "My God, this is how my mother felt! This is why she was so frustrated. This book is true!"
My favourite bookshop is ... The Women's Bookshop in Ponsonby, Auckland.
The book I wish I'd never read is ... The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. It was huge in the 90s but has sunk out of sight. On a trip to Peru I heard how the locals despised him because his mythical spiritual tale set in their landscape didn't even get the geography right. Redfield sold 20 million copies of his book, one of them to me. Okay, call me a sucker.