Book reviews: June 2018

By: Claire Smith

Looking for something to read? Check out these latest books to hit the shelves. NZMCD reviews.

Whose Home Is This?

By Gillian Candler

Illustrated by Fraser Williamson, Published by Potton & Burton

RRP $14.99

Whose -Home -is -ThisWe have some amazing wildlife in New Zealand, and the wonderful thing about motorhoming is that you get to see so much of it.

Penguins, seals, sea creatures, and more! And they’re all featured in this beautifully illustrated children’s book that is as educational as it is fun. While having fun guessing which native animal lives in the different homes or habitats pictured, young children will learn how animals have different strategies for keeping themselves (and their young) safe.

Being encouraged to look closely at the pictures teaches observation skills and children will start to learn more about what makes each animal unique. A lovely book for reading to kiddies as you travel about and spot the creatures inside.

How To Communicate With Someone Who Has Dementia

By Angela Caughey

Published by Calico

RRP $35

Dementia -articleChances are that someone in your life has a loved one who suffers from dementia. I remember when my grandfather was suffering from this terrible disease. Feelings of worry, sadness, stress, and frustration were always in the background whenever I visited him.

This handbook would have been immensely helpful to my family, so it’s very pleasing to see it hit the bookshelves recently. An easy-to-read, practical book that will help anyone caring for someone with dementia communicate more easily with them.

The book provides practical strategies that are easy to implement when dealing with some commonly encountered problems drawn from real-life experience. It explains what works, what doesn’t, and why.

Be in to win a copy of How To Communicate With Someone Who Has Dementia by Angela Caughey. 


Competition ends on 29 June 2018.

Origin Story

By David Christian

Published by Allen Lane

RRP $40

Origin -StoryStretching back 13.8 billion years, and ahead to the remote future, this is the epic story of the universe and our place in it. How did we get from the Big Bang to today’s staggering complexity in which seven billion humans are connected into networks powerful enough to transform the planet? And why, in comparison, are our close primate relatives reduced to near-extinction?

Big History creator David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale. He traces how, during eight key thresholds, the right conditions have allowed new forms of complexity to arise, from stars to galaxies, Earth to homo sapiens, agriculture to fossil fuels. A great book for pondering the big questions over those cold winter days ahead!

The Infinite Game

By Niki Harré

Published by Auckland University Press

RRP $29.99

Infinite -GameWhether we are competing for a job, building a business, or championing a good cause, some days it can feel as if we are trapped in an endless competition for status, wealth, or attention.

Maybe if we learn to play the game and follow the rules, we’ll come out on top. But is life really a finite game—a game of selection and rules, winners and losers, players and spectators?

What if we are all part of a different type of game entirely, one in which playing matters more than winning, where rules evolve as new players turn up? Deeply informed by psychological research and a life of social activism, Niki Harré’s provocative book teaches us all how we might live life as an infinite game.

The Hunters

By Debbie Stewart

Published by Random House NZ

RRP $50

The -HuntersMost Kiwis are familiar with the plight of our native birds such as the kereru and kokako—their loss of habitat and the threat from cats and rodents. But we don’t often read or hear about New Zealand’s birds of prey, many of which are endangered, such as the New Zealand falcon.

Written by Wingspan founder Debbie Stewart, The Hunters is beautifully photographed and takes a close up look at the predatory birds of New Zealand, such as the endearing ruru (morepork) to the hawks we see swooping on road kill along the highways, and the stories of the people who are working to keep them safe.

This fascinating book also takes a look at the ancient art of falconry and how you can help with the rescue and rehabilitation of injured birds.

A Way with Words

By Chris Maclean

Published by Potton & Burton

RRP $49.99

A-Way -With -WordsFrom an early age, author and publisher Chris Maclean was told he had a way with words, a talent that later became the focus of his professional life. Since the 1980s, he has written a dozen non-fiction books, publishing many of them under his own imprint, The Whitcombe Press.

A Way with Words takes us through the changes over the years, describing a variety of aspects of writing: the effect of writing by hand, the influence of memory, sleep-assisted writing, the requirements for writing online, and the value of an editor.

The book is a celebration of a very New Zealand approach to writing and publishing and will be of interest and lasting delight to all those for whom books explain, entertain, and provide meaning in a transient world.


By Helen Brown

Published by ABC Books

RRP $35

BonoHaving survived a brush with breast cancer, Melbourne-based Kiwi author Helen Brown, of the international bestselling Cleo, has just launched her follow-up book, Bono. Based on her Huffington Post blog read by more than 22 million people, Bono is centred around a homeless cat with a big heart.

Following her mastectomy, Helen made the brave decision to accept an invitation to visit New York. There, she wound up fostering a homeless cat—a wide-eyed unpredictable bundle of nervous energy with a feisty attitude and punk haircut.

The book is tender, funny, and insightful, a wonderful read even for those who are not fond of cats (but just might be after reading this book!). If you read Cleo and loved it, you’ll find Bono equally enjoyable.

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