Book reviews: October 2017


MCD reviews the latest book releases in October

Five Ingredients

Jamie Oliver

Penguin Random House

RRP $65

5 Ingredients Final CoverI’m prepared to admit that I don’t enjoy cooking. If I didn’t have to cook for a family, I’d probably settle for something-on-toast most nights.

I have the utmost respect for those who can whip up an amazing meal with a multitude of ingredients and do a good job of it. I’m just not one of them.

But if anyone can inspire me to try a new recipe, Jamie Oliver is the man to do it. And if there ever was a cookbook that might actually get put to good use in my house, this could be the one.

Using just five ingredients for each recipe, Jamie shows you how to whip up a decent, tasty meal with little fuss. My favourite is the aromatic lamb curry, slightly more challenging than toast, but definitely tastier.

Islands of the Gulf

Shirley Maddock and Don Whyte

Harper Collins

RRP $45

Islands Of The GulfSitting on Auckland’s doorstep, across 4000sqm of ocean, lie around 40 islands. In the early 1960s, Shirley Maddock and photographer Don Whyte joined Captain Fred Ladd to film New Zealand’s first locally produced documentary series and to produce a book at the same time.

First published in 1966, Islands of the Gulf went on to become a bestselling classic. In the early 1960s, Shirley and Don’s journey around the islands of the Hauraki Gulf to document its people and places would have been quite extraordinary.

It was also a watershed moment in New Zealand history where New Zealanders were given the opportunity to see themselves not just in the pages of this book but also on screen.

Now, some 50 years later, the new edition coincides with the remake of the documentary series for TVNZ with Shirley’s daughter, actress and writer Elizabeth Easther, stepping into the narrator’s role.

A Walk a Day

Peter Janssen

New Holland

RRP $34.99

A Walk A Day _cover Front HIRESThe Department of Conservation has recently recognised the demand for shorter, easier walking experiences by announcing a new network of Great Short and Great Day walks throughout the country. So the timing of Peter Janssen’s updated edition of A Walk a Day—365 Short Walks in New Zealand could not be better.

Each walk in the book takes less than three hours, ideal for those who enjoy walking but don’t want a long tramp with heavy boots and a pack. Adding 12 new walks to the updated edition, Peter combines essential
details such as a summary of the route and access and walking times, with engaging descriptions and anecdotes on the history and points of interest along the tracks.

Walks are arranged according to the region with a handy map overview, so it’s easy to see at a glance where the walks can be found in each region.

Wild Auckland

Peter Janssen

New Holland

RRP $29.99

Wild Auckland _FC HRDeserted beaches, lush ancient forest, extinct volcanoes, and majestic harbour headlands—this book will help you discover these diverse and spectacular landscapes all within a day’s journey of Auckland.

Peter Janssen, a keen outdoorsman who has travelled extensively throughout New Zealand, rediscovered a fascination for his hometown and its dramatic landscape in his research to uncover 125 natural places around the
‘super city’. Grouped into five areas, and introducing seven special regional features, his book details walks and day trips, important flora, fauna, and geology, lists facilities, and provides directions.

Most entries also include ‘nature notes’ that take a specific aspect of the wild area’s natural history and describe it in more detail. A must-have for nature lovers visiting Auckland and its surrounds.

Stitch People

Jo Dixey

Bateman Publishing

RRP $34.99

Stitch People High Res CoverProfessional embroiderer Jo Dixey has created 20 stitching projects to inspire and challenge the creativity of those new to embroidery as well as more experienced stitchers who want to take their ideas further.

Projects range from small embroidered cards to more complex wall art and allow for progress from beginner to an accomplished stitcher. Each project introduces new embroidery stitches and techniques and is accompanied by detailed step-by-step photographs.

Templates of the images to stitch are provided for photocopying and there’s a photo gallery and instruction for all of the stitches covered in the book.

Author Jo Dixey trained to be a professional embroiderer at the Royal School of Needlework in London. Along with her commissioned work, she has taught embroidery workshops for more than 20 years and loves seeing the enjoyment others have found from learning to stitch.

New Zealand on Foot

Denis Dwyer

New Holland

RRP $ 35

NZ On Foot FC HRNow in his early 70s, retired teacher, journalist, and keen walker Denis Dwyer devises a plan to rediscover his own country by embarking on a series of more than 200 day walks and recording them.

In Bill Bryson style, Denis includes wry observations on place, history, people, and incidents. The walks are nearly all two hours or less on easy terrain.

He traverses a vast array of landscapes: from kauri forests to volcanoes, parks and streets, old battle sites, wetlands and gardens, mountains, a crater rim and the floor of an inferno; sometimes on tracks face-to-face with wilder nature and sometimes on manicured paths and walkways.

Part walking-guide, part travel narrative, in his entertaining book, Denis also stresses the importance of conserving our walkways and preserving the environment for future generations.

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