Book reviews: March 2020

A good book is a must-have for any road trip. Here’s a quick look at some of the latest titles on the bookstore shelves.

Southern Nights 

Naomi Arnold

HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand



From eclipses to aurorae, comets to constellations, this is the story of the night sky above Aotearoa New Zealand. It looks at what is special about our southern skies, which have only been explored very recently compared with those in the northern hemisphere.

It showcases our ‘family of light’, the major stars and objects of our sky and their associated meanings, history and cultural importance. It explains Polynesian celestial navigation, which brought the first people here, and Māori astronomy or tātai arorangi, which helped people live here once they arrived.

Finally, it delves into modern astronomy, covering some of New Zealand’s amateur and professional scientific astronomers and their research, and looks at our observatories and the increasing popularity of dark sky tourism.

Be in to win a copy of Southern Nights..


Competition ends 2nd April 2020.

Nanny Mihi & The Rainbow

Melanie Drewery

Illustrated by Tracy Duncan

Oratia Books



Nanny Mihi’s mokopuna (grandchildren) come to stay during the school holidays. Each day, she sends them out to collect objects of a different colour.

They scour the local beach, collecting shells, flowers, seaweed and beach detritus left by humans, all the time asking, ‘why?’ By the week’s end, they have a collection of coloured items for a beach rainbow.

Nanny Mihi teaches her grandchildren and the kids who will read the book patience, creativity and connection to nature — and that sometimes the best things are not those we keep but those we give away.

The text includes te reo throughout, for which translations are provided. Tracy Duncan’s revamped artwork and Melanie’s enduring story ensure that, once again, children’s imaginations will be captured.



The Universe

Lonely Planet



Lonely Planet is journeying further than it ever has before with the world’s first and only travel guide to the universe, created in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Developed with the latest data from NASA, and featuring a foreword by award-winning science educator Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Lonely Planet’s new book touches down on the planets of our solar system, before continuing to the edge of the known universe via exoplanets, newborn stars, supernova remnants, galaxy superclusters and more as it discovers space’s most astonishing sights.

By the end of the book, you’ll have a sense for the structure of the entire universe as well as some of the big questions we still have as we ponder our place in it.



Brilliant Maps

Ian Wright

Allen & Unwin



Which nations have North Korean embassies? What percentage of young people live with their families? Which country lists volleyball as its national sport? How much does it cost to get a pint around the world? And where can you find lions in the wild?

Revelatory, thought-provoking and fun, Brilliant Maps is a unique atlas of culture, history, politics and miscellanea, compiled by the editor of the iconic Brilliant Maps website.

As visually arresting as Information is Beautiful and as full of surprising facts and figures as any encyclopaedia, Brilliant Maps is a stunning piece of cartography that maps our curious and varied planet. A clever book that will change the way you see the world and your place in it.




Deborah Hide-Bayne

Lighthouse PR



In her latest book, Deborah Hide-Bayne deepens her love affair with coastal New Zealand and gets stuck into a lifestyle that stopped her in her tracks when she first passed through expecting little more than happy holiday memories.

Coastal is life lived joyfully – building a dream home and a fresh start with enjoyable detours on the way into making or doing things such as art and craft projects, collecting seafood, making a vegetable garden and growing veggies, planting an orchard, smoking a fish, making sausages and many other projects, large and small. It’s inspiration
and encouragement for readers to have a go themselves.




Dinner in 5

Pete Evans

MacMillan Publishers



Dinner in 5 by award-winning chef Pete Evans makes family dinners easy. Each dish has five or fewer ingredients and includes an optional sauce or spice rub to add if you feel like taking things up a notch.

Think crispy salt and pepper prawns with a kick of lime and chilli. A healthy spin on the beloved Chinese lemon chicken. The juiciest pork cutlets topped with zingy pineapple salsa. A delicious barbecue chicken that needs nothing else but a squeeze of lemon and a simple green salad.

Easy, fast, nutritious. Pete Evans has been the No1 selling health and wholefood author for the past three years and is dedicated to improving people’s lives through education about nutritional food and wellness. 



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