Book reviews: One for the road - June 2013


One for the road - June 2013 One for the road - June 2013
One for the road - June 2013 One for the road - June 2013
One for the road - June 2013 One for the road - June 2013
One for the road - June 2013 One for the road - June 2013
One for the road - June 2013 One for the road - June 2013
One for the road - June 2013 One for the road - June 2013

Peta Stavelli looks over the latest books from our publishers and offers some suggestions for great autumn reads.

At my table, Chelsea Winter, Random House NZ, $55

I don't watch MasterChef, so I was in a good position to review MasterChef winner Chelsea Winter's book without prior knowledge or bias. My first impression was: 'Ho hum. Nothing new here. Just a lot of family-style classics.' Then it slowly dawned on me this was not its weakness, but a considerable strength because here in one book you'll find a repertoire of treasured recipes you can perfect, and one day call your own. Recipes like eggs benedict, lemonade and cream scones, Greek-style meatballs in pita pockets, smoked fish pie and easy butter chicken. I would suggest this book might (read: should) find a ready market with aspiring cooks.

House of earth, Woody Guthrie, Harper Collins Publishers NZ, $35

Woody Guthrie is best known for his music which influenced — among the many others — Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and, of course, his own son Arlo Guthrie. Among the more than 3000 songs Guthrie wrote, possibly the best known is This land is your land. Since his death in 1967, at the age of 55, Guthrie has continued to influence contemporary American music. However, he was also an illustrator and an author whose previously-unpublished 1947 novel has been languishing in the archives of documentary film maker Irving Lerner since it was sent by Guthrie as a prospective idea for a movie. The language is an earthy, frankly sexual hymn to grinding poverty and a time capsule of life in the dustbowl.

Just draw it!, Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp, New Holland Publishers NZ, $30

Take art classes at home — or wherever you find yourself. This book is organised as a series of exercises designed to get you to free up your creativity. From rapid sketches to drawing upside down and sketches rendered in embroidery, you'll soon discover your inner Picasso and extend your confidence to tackle larger canvases. Along the way you will also be given homework to extend your artistic knowledge and vocabulary. This book offers a sure-fire way to overcome your inner critic and find joy in your own expressions of artistic endeavour.

Anzac Day: The New Zealand story, Philippa Werry, New Holland Publishers NZ, $25

The subtitle of this attractive book aimed at 8-12-year-olds (What it is and why it matters) seeks to answer the questions children in this age group ask of teachers and parents every year as Anzac Day rolls around. It covers all aspects of Anzac Day from Gallipoli and the Great War, as well as commemorative services, memorials and traditions. Philippa Werry is a librarian and children's writer, among whose previous books are those listed for notable book and junior fiction awards, as well as broadcast on New Zealand radio.

Simple, fabulous lunchbox ideas, Leanne Katzenellenbogen, New Holland Publishers NZ, $20

I am always looking for new lunchbox ideas and, being both gluten intolerant and preferring protein rich, low-carb options, I struggle a bit to come up with exciting alternatives. Even with my narrow requirements to satisfy, there were some great ideas in this book — shawarma, fajita, mini meatballs, sesame or honey-soy chicken and mini-frittatas. Plus some ideas to use the protein-dense, gluten-free grain quinoa, and make dressings, dips or salads. Overall, a great little book at a modest price.

Fly patterns by fishing guides, Tony Lolli, New Holland Publishers NZ, $30

This book is subtitled: 200 flies that really work. I'm no fisher, so I have no way of checking this claim, although I do admit to a lifelong fascination with the practice of making and using these tiny, unique and endlessly creative lures. I imagine this extensive collection of well-illustrated fly pattern projects will make a marvellous gift and will find a ready market with keen fishers in this country.

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