Book reviews: July 2016


The MCD team has selected the best of some recent inspiring reads.

Tom Clancy’s Duty and Honour Duty -and -Honour

Grant Blackwood
Penguin Publishers, $37.00

Forced to take a sabbatical from his job at Hendley Associates, a private CIA clone known as ‘The Campus’, covert operative Jack Ryan Jr is enjoying some well-earned R&R when he’s attacked in a supermarket parking lot by a knife-wielding assassin.

Jack soon discovers that he’s got a target on his back and sets out to find out who wants him dead, and why.

A trail of clues leads Jack through France and Switzerland to Rostock, a shadowy security firm based in Germany. Jack knows its head, Jurgen Rostock, from a previous operation - one that has apparently drawn the man’s fury.

With the help of an investigative journalist, Jack embarks on his own secret campaign to uncover the truth about Rostock. And soon discovers they’re up to something both big and very, very bad. But what can one man do against all Rostock’s might? The world is about to find out. CS

Mindfulness on the Run Mindfulness -on -the -Run _front -cover

Dr Chantal Hofstee
Exisle Publishing, $25

Mindfulness, or ‘being mindful’ is one of the buzzwords of the moment. It’s one of those things we all know we could benefit from, but if you’re like me, you probably never have the time to learn the techniques and put them into practice. Good news! Mindfulness on the Run has been written for people just like us.

As a busy psychologist, wife and mother, Dr Chantal Hofstee has developed a quick, effective programme that enables you to slot mindfulness into your life without the need for formal meditation practice. The result will be a calmer mind, less stress, more focus, greater productivity, increased efficiency, enhanced creativity, and most importantly, a happier, more enjoyable life. Packed full of practical exercises that can be done in minutes, this is mindfulness that can be done anywhere, anytime — even when you don’t have time! CS

Food for Sharing Italian Style -food -for -sharing -italian -style-

Liliana Battle
New Holland Publishers, $50

Every now and then I pick up a recipe book that I just have to have. One that is packed with page after page of recipes that seems to be made just for me. This is definitely one of those books, which surprised me really because I’ve never really considered myself a big fan of the typical Italian foods – pasta and pizza.

And while there are certainly plenty of pasta and pizza dishes that look utterly delicious, there’s also a mouth-watering selection of seriously good sides, breakfasts, snacks and desserts that can be mixed, matched and laid out on a table to make a stunning display of food to share. Best of all, these recipes are just as easy to make as they are to eat, with lots of handy hints for making food in advance, freezer tips and how to make new meals from leftovers. CS

Feed Your Brain FYB---jacket

Delia McCabe
Exisle Publishing, $35

This is the ultimate guide to getting your brain in tip-top shape and keeping it healthy through the foods you eat. With a worldwide ageing population, and cases of dementia as well as severe depression and anxiety alarmingly on the rise, the need to look after your brain optimally has never been more important. It has now been proven beyond a doubt that it is possible to improve focus and memory, reduce stress and anxiety, and think more clearly simply by enjoying a diet rich in the right nutrients.

Author Delia McCabe has a Masters in Psychology and is completing her doctorate on the effects of certain nutrients on female stress. She also presents seminars and workshops teaching people how to achieve optimum brain health through nutrition. Delia takes readers through her seven-step programme explaining the science behind how the brain works and also provides delicious, quick and easy recipes. CS

Chop Chop Chop -Chop

Brett McGregor
Penguin Books NZ, $45

I’m a great fan of Brett McGregor’s relaxed family orientated style of cooking and eating and I love the way he brings authentic Asian flavours to our kitchens. In this book the former Masterchef winner brings his take on curries, soups, stir fries and sweets.

Many of these dishes will be familiar to you. Now you can recreate the flavours you enjoyed while on holiday. This book is conveniently divided into chicken, beef lamb, pork, the sea, vegetables and sweets. It works exceptionally well. And will also win fans with many whose food allergies prevent them from consuming dairy or gluten. PS

Vinegar Girl Vinegar -Girl

Anne Tyler
Random House NZ, $34

A successful modern version of The Taming of the Shrew sounds unlikely but in the hands of master story teller Anne Tyler it comes off brilliantly. The book centres around sharp-tongued pre-school assistant Kate Battista whose life has become stuck in a deep rut between her unsatisfactory career and her home life. Kate dutifully looks after her widowed father – an eccentric professor on the verge of a magnificent breakthrough – and younger sister Bunny who would like to be in trouble.

Meanwhile, as her father’s work threatens to unravel with the departure of his assistant Pyotr whose visa may not be renewed. Is an arranged marriage on the cards? Not if Kate has anything to do with it. A great winter read. PS

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