Book reviews: February 2019

Heading away for some well-earnt rest and relaxation? Don’t forget to pack a good book! NZMCD takes a look at some of the latest titles to hit the bookshelves.


Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh

Macmillan Publishers


Thinking about venturing further afield than New Zealand’s amazing shores? If Tokyo is on your ‘must see’ list this year, then this handy guide is definitely worth taking with you. Visiting Tokyo, whether for the first, second, or hundredth time, is a life-changing experience.

As a city, it’s dynamic, exciting and resolutely individual – a mesmerising and unrivalled parade of fashion, design, architecture, the highest of high culture and the best pop culture in the world.

This guide is for people who want to get an up close and personal look at the real Tokyo – the hidden finds, the architectural marvels, where to go to get into the thick of it and where to go to escape the madness.

Heads-You-Win.jpgHeads You Win

Jeffrey Archer

Macmillan Publishers


Leningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive.

At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America, or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin.

With a final twist that will shock even his most ardent fans, this is international number one bestseller Jeffrey Archer’s most ambitious and creative work since Kane and Abel.

Rich-Enough.jpgRich Enough?

Mary Holm



With the start of a new year, many of us are thinking of ways we can make the most of our money, and more of it. Written by Mary Holm, New Zealand’s most trusted money expert, Rich Enough? A Laid-Back Guide for Every Kiwi is a complete money handbook for New Zealanders.

Learn how to kill off debt, curb spending, find your best KiwiSaver fund, save painlessly, buy a house (or be happy not buying one), and move confidently towards and through retirement. Find out what many in the financial world don’t want you to know. Laid-back investing is not only easier, it can actually make you richer. You’ll also learn why, beyond a certain point, having more money is not the key to happiness.


Sarah Ell



Magnificently illustrated, Ocean is a spirited collection of historical tales, a landmark book about how the ocean has shaped New Zealand and its people. Ocean tells the stories of pioneers and trail-blazers, from the big names who left their mark on our history to everyday folk whose fates were dictated by time and tide.

From myth and migration to exploitation and industry; from the word of God and the pursuit of money to summer carnivals and the oldest sporting trophy in the world, these stories of ships, sailors and seekers show how our relationship with the sea has been pivotal throughout our history, while the contemporary stories of those whose lives are deeply connected to the ocean bring our maritime past into the now.

Guardians-of-Aotearoa-front-cover.jpgGuardians of Aotearoa

Johanna Knox



This stunning book is all about celebrating New Zealanders who are passionate about what they hold dear, and of the stories behind what they do and why.

Author Johanna Knox interviews 47 Kiwis, each dedicated to preserving skills and knowledge, or restoring and protecting our environment or the values that are part of what it means to be New Zealanders. If there’s one thing this book shows, it’s that it takes all sorts – to make a world, and to safeguard the best things about that world.

It also gets us asking – what else do we need to make sure we take with us into the future? And how can all of us help? 

Be in to win a copy of Guardians of Aotearoa by Johanna Knox. Click here to enter.  Competition ends on 8 February, 2019.

Why-is-that-lake-so-blue.jpgWhy Is That Lake So Blue?

Simon Pollard

Te Papa Press


Exploring New Zealand’s unique and beautiful environment is what motorhoming is all about. And if your children or grandchildren love to travel with you, they no doubt have all sorts of questions about what makes Aotearoa so special. This fantastic book is the perfect travel companion to help answer many of those important questions. Why is our place magic? Why are its islands shaky? Why are our mountains tall and our forests green? Why are some lakes so blue? What happens below the waves? Who used to live here? What happens in the dark? In this fun-filled, fact-rich book, award-winning science writer Simon Pollard shares the magic, secrets, mysteries and marvels of Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural world.

Vanlife_companion_cover.jpgThe Vanlife Companion

Lonely Planet


The Vanlife Companion has all you need for a life on the open road. Whether it’s practical information and advice on the right van to suit your needs, the myriad conversion options, or tips for storage, trip planning and getting the most out of the camping experience, its’ all in here.

The book also profiles 10 trailblazing vanlifers and their vehicles, exploring their motivations and experiences as well as examining their conversions in detail.

And to really get you inspired, there’s a section that showcases a selection of inspiring route ideas from around the world, including Australia’s Great Ocean Road, Outback Queensland, Western Australia’s Southwest Coast; New Zealand’s Northland & Bay of Islands, and The Southern Alps Circuit.

The-Binding.jpgThe Binding

Bridget Collins



Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book, and you will never remember your secret, however terrible. Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: a book which has his name on it.

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