Kieran Read’s books (Image: Archi Banal)
Kieran Read’s books (Image: Archi Banal)

BooksJanuary 17, 2024

‘I love to think of myself as a Jack Reacher’: What Kieran Read reads

Kieran Read’s books (Image: Archi Banal)
Kieran Read’s books (Image: Archi Banal)

Welcome to The Spinoff Books Confessional, in which we get to know the reading habits and quirks of New Zealanders at large. This week: former All Blacks captain Kieran Read.

The book I wish I’d written

I was lucky to write my autobiography Straight 8 (shameless plug here) with Scotty J Stevenson so I guess a book I enjoyed that I wish had come out of my own brain would be any Jack Reacher novel, as I could then advise on not casting Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in the movies and have someone a bit taller than five foot.

Everyone should read

Belonging by Owen Eastwood, because it reminds of us of who we really are and what is most important.

The book I want to be buried with

This might be a strange pick but The Goblet of Fire from the Harry Potter series. I was at the older range of kids reading the books when the last few books first came out but was already hooked. I would re-read the series before the next book would be released and the Goblet of Fire has always been my favourite of the lot. I have now read them to my two older kids and will start with my youngest soon. It can take you back to those school times that were so enjoyable for me.

From left to right: one of the books Kieran Read wishes he’d written; the book he would be buried with; and the book he thinks everyone should read.

The first book I remember reading by myself

I loved the Goosebumps books as a kid but my first book may have been Slide the Corner by Fleur Beale. I remember it being a cool Kiwi book.

The book I wish I’d never read

Eddie Jones’ Leadership: Lessons from my life in rugby. Not sure why I picked it up in the first place but it was very old school and had no real relevance to me and how I lead.

Dystopia or utopia

I do prefer a utopia I think. The science fiction I enjoy is more along the lines of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I did read a good dystopian series called The Nevernight Chronicle however.

Fiction or nonfiction

I enjoy both equally, and perhaps enjoy best when they are intertwined in the same story, like Ken Follett’s books.

The book that made me cry

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay was the full rollercoaster of emotions.

The book that made me laugh

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay.

The book character I identify with most

I love to think of myself as a Jack Reacher. He’s my kind of character: 6’4” and 240lb, which is my size but it’s more that he is able to leave material things behind. He travels with just his toothbrush, irons his clothes between the mattresses of his motel bed and travels on the Greyhound Bus. But most importantly he has values and standards that he upholds and he sticks by them no matter what. 

From left to right: the book that made Kieran Read laugh and cry; the first book he remembers reading by himself; and the book he wishes he’d never read.

The book I wish would be adapted for film or TV

The Orphan X series by Greg Hurwitz. I love a removed-from-society main character and all of these books are packed full of action that I find hard to put down. They would make a great action series.

Greatest New Zealand writer

It has to be Lynley Dodd or Margaret Mahy. Their stories have lasted through generations: I grew up having their books read to me and I have done the same for my kids.

Best thing about reading

Mostly the escapism that it lends itself to: I would always take a book away on tour with me because reading before bed ensured a restful night as my mind would be thinking about the adventure happening between the pages and not worried about what was to come on the field.

Best place to read

For me it has to be lying outside in the shade of a tree on a glorious sunny day.

What are you reading right now?

The Armour of Light by Ken Follett, and just finished Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes.

Kieran Reid: Straight 8 ($50, Upstart Press) can be purchased online at Upstart Press or ordered at Unity Books Wellington or Auckland.

Keep going!