Book reviews: November 2017

By: Reviewed by Claire Smith

MCD reviews the latest book releases in November

Big Pacific

Rebecca Tansley

Bateman Publishing

RRP $ 59.99

Big _Pacific _frontcoverAs New Zealanders, the Pacific Ocean plays a big part in our lives.
We live right in the middle of it, we play in it, we holiday around it, we harvest its bounty, and we could certainly do a better job of looking after it.

Brimming with simply stunning imagery, this gorgeous book is the companion to the spectacular four-part New Zealand-produced Prime TV series, Natural History.

Author Rebecca Tansley is a New Zealand-based writer and director with a strong interest in the marine world. She has written several internationally published books and has done a brilliant job of Big Pacific, with her spellbinding storytelling of the Pacific in the context of what’s happening today, the longstanding interactions with people, and the much greater impact people are having on the Pacific today.


Enchanting New Zealand

Liz Light

John Beaufoy Publishing

RRP $29.99

Enchanting -New -ZealandWritten and illustrated by Auckland-based travel writer and award-winning photographer (and MCD contributor) Liz Light, Enchanting New Zealand is part of the ‘Enchanting’ series of books.

In her book, Liz takes a journey from the tip of the sub-tropical North to the snowy southern mountains. Along the way, she encounters the country’s Maori culture and its colonial heritage, the big-city sophistication of Auckland and Wellington, and some of the most dramatic scenery the world has to offer.

Each page is beautifully illustrated with captivating photographs that share stories of New Zealand’s beautiful cities, towns, and regions. With Christmas just around the corner, this book would make an ideal gift for friends or relatives overseas who are considering a visit to New Zealand.

Win a copy of Enchanting New Zealand as reviewed above! Enter MCD's ongoing competition.


Low Carb, Healthy Fat

Pete Evans

MacMillan Publishers


Low -carb -healthy -fatIt’s been hard to miss the fat vs sugar vs carb debate in the media over the past few years. The consensus seems to be that fat is back, while sugary, starchy carbs are best left off the menu.

In Low Carb, Healthy Fat, Pete Evans (the blue-eyed, bronze-skinned Aussie of MKR fame) covers the ‘why and how’ of adopting a low carb lifestyle. The science behind low carb living is clearly explained, and there’s a good range of nutrient-dense recipes.

Some are extremely simple with just a few common ingredients, while others are quite involved with a recipe list as long as your arm. But if you’re keen to embrace the low-carb life, this could be the book to help you achieve it.



Russell Brand

MacMillan Publishers


RecoveryRussell Brand is one of those polarising kind of characters. Either you love him or you can’t stand him. Either way, he’s been hugely successful on the comedy scene, as a public activist and campaigner, and as an author.

In Recovery, Brand asks what unhealthy habits and attachments are holding your life tighter? Are you unconsciously dependent on food? Bad relationships? A job that doesn’t fulfil you? Constant perusal of your mobile phone? Brand explains the programme within the book gave him freedom from his addictions—to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, love, and fame.

And it can do the same for you. A little warning though before you pick it up—there is rather a generous sprinkling of swear words throughout, but on the whole, a very readable book with plenty of helpful, practical advice.


Yates Garden Guide

Harper Collins

RRP $49.99

Yates -Garden -Guide -79th -EditionMost Kiwis who grew up in New Zealand will remember a Yates Garden Guide being on the bookshelf at some point over the years. I’m pretty sure my Mum still has her decades-old dog-eared copy somewhere; her ‘go-to’ guide for everything from problematic tomatoes to black spotted roses.

First published in 1895, the guide is one of the oldest books in continuous publication, and it remains the most comprehensive, reliable, and practical source of advice for all New Zealand gardeners. This fully revised new edition includes hundreds of plant species and everything you need to know about growing trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

New additions to the 79th edition include new recommendations for pest and disease control, how to establish a community garden, encouraging bees, growing microgreens, and recommendations on keeping chickens.


Your Brain Knows More Than You Think

Niels Birbaumer

Scribe Publishers


Your -brain.I love a good brain book, and this one is definitely worth a look. Psychologist and neurobiologist Neils Birbaumer is a renowned brain researcher and a leading figure in the development of brain-computer interfaces. He’s won truckloads of international awards for his work and clearly knows his stuff.

In this book, Neils brings new hope to those suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, dementia, the effects of a stroke, or even the extremes of locked-in syndrome of psychopathy. He explains our brain’s incredible powers of self-healing, how we can control anxiety and depression without medication, and what we can do to improve our perception.

A great read for anyone suffering from any of the above conditions or just for those interested in the workings of our most complex and fascinating organ.

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