Book reviews: May 2019

MCD editor Claire Smith takes a look at some of the latest titles to hit the bookshelves

The Big Trip

Lonely Planet


RRP $32.99

The great Kiwi ‘gap year’ is a rite of passage for youngsters. Leaving the safe shores of home and discovering new cultures, foods and experiences is an exciting time, and now there’s a handbook to help make it even more fun.

The Big Trip brings together all the essential information young (and young at heart) globetrotters need to plan their next big adventure.

Part one of the book takes travellers through the issues of sorting passports, insurance, budgeting and staying in touch.

Part two has helpful tips on tailoring your trip, working holidays, and accommodation. And for the fun really fun bit, part three helps answer the question of where to go. There’s also a helpful directory and a list of useful organisations and resources.


The Path Made Clear

Oprah Winfrey

Macmillan Publishers

RRP $39.99


I’ve always been an Oprah fan, so Iwas super-keen to pick up a copy of her latest book. In it, she shares her guide to activating your deepest vision of yourself.

The book’s 10 chapters are designed to help you recognise the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, and how life’s detours have lessons to teach us.

Each chapter includes wisdom and insights from some of the many, many inspiring people Oprah has met and interviewed over the years.

A fantastic book for travellers, it can be picked up and opened at any point to find an inspiring message.

My favourite, "I think luxury is a matter not of all the things you have, but of all things you can afford to do without." – Pico Iyer.


Around the World in 80 Food Trucks

Lonely Planet

RRP $32.99


Looking for a little inspiration for your campsite cooking? For Around the World in 80 Food Trucks, Lonely Planet Food has taken to the streets to source 80 fast, fresh and mouth-watering dishes, including Auckland’s Hapunan, serving up Filipino fare; and Mama Tahina’s Mediterranean offerings.

In the introduction to the book, commissioning editor Christina Webb writes, "In the past 10 years, the culinary landscape of cities all over the world has been transformed by a new kind of street food purveyor: the gourmet food truck."

Discover how to cook a raft of crowd-pleasing dishes, from sea bass ceviche and Lebanese msakhan to old-fashioned American peach cake. The book also introduces the chefs responsible for the great dishes, who share the stories behind their passion projects.


I Know an Artist

Susie Hodge, Illustrated by Sarah Papworth

White Lion Publishing

RRP $45


This fascinating collection of 84 illustrated portraits reveals the connections between the world’s most treasured artists – whether through teaching, as in the case of Paul Klee and Anni Albers; a mutual muse, as seen in the flowers of Georgia O’Keeffe and Takashi Murakami; or an inspirational romantic coupling like that of Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock.

Through the storytelling process, the author unveils the intriguing web of connections that have fostered some of the world’s art masterpieces. Some are well-known, others span both time and place, linking art pioneers in compelling and unexpected ways.

Illustrated in a colourful tribute to each artist’s unique style, this is an illuminating and celebratory account of some of the art world’s most inspired visionaries.


One Single Thing

Tina Clough

Lightpool Publishing

RRP $39.99


Following on from The Chinese Proverb, Tina Clough has delivered again with an unforgettable, and unputdownable read.

This time, journalist Hope Barber disappears two weeks after returning to New Zealand from an assignment in Pakistan. Hunter Grant and Dao (who readers of The Chinese Proverb will already know) agree to help Hope’s brother Noah find her.

The police don’t seem to be acting, and as details about Hope’s time in Pakistan emerge, there appear to be more questions than answers – was she under surveillance? Was she linked to terrorists? And who is the man Hope referred to as "my stalker"? A great plot and plenty of action combine to offer a terrific read.


See you in the Piazza

Frances Mayes


RRP $40


If you’ve ever wanted to visit Italy, this book is a must-read before you go! The Roman Forum, the Leaning Tower, the Piazza San Marco – they’re all synonymous with Italy, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg of this country’s magical offerings.

Frances Mayes shares the hidden pleasures and treasures of Italy in this delicious travel book that takes readers across the country with divine recipes celebrating all things Italian.

The book is arranged geographically, from north to south, so it’s easy to pick it up and read at any point.

Frances explores the enchanting backstreets, the bustling markets, and the fabulous cuisine from some of her favourite restaurants.


Storm Clouds over Levuka

Margaret Gilbert


RRP $30


Fiji in the 1860s is a politically unstable, violent country, a dangerous place for a woman alone. This is where Charlotte Swann finds herself when her husband, Richard, is murdered the day after their arrival in Levuka, the country’s capital.

Overcome by grief, Charlotte manages to get work as a hotel cleaner. The town is filled with unsavoury types to frighten her, and the stories she hears of a hostile tribe of Fijians who live in a nearby valley fill her with panic.

But time passes and Charlotte is surprised at her feelings on meeting the British Consul, Gareth Murdoch. Things get complicated when his estranged, and pregnant,
wife returns.

Be in to win a copy of Storm Clouds over Levuka by Margaret Gilbert.

Enter here before May 31, 2019

Gravity is the Thing

Jaclyn Moriarty

Macmillan Publishers

RRP $34.99


This beautifully written, funny, and profound book is another fine example of Jaclyn Moriarty’s gorgeous writing style.

It centres around Abigail, a 35-year-old mum-of-one who has spent her life trying to unravel the events of 1990.

It was the year she turned 16 and the year when her brother Robert went missing. It was also the year when she started receiving random chapters from a self-help manual called The Guidebook by post.

Almost 20 years later, Abigail has been invited to learn the truth behind the book at an all-expenses-paid retreat.

What she finds will be unexpected, life-affirming, and heart-breaking. A wonderfully compelling read – perfect for snuggling up on a chilly winter’s day.

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