Book reviews: June 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.

Keto Simple

Martina Slajerova

Quarto US

RRP $36.99


The Ketogenic diet has become a popular choice of diet, with many people claiming it has helped them lose weight and overcome certain illnesses. But sustaining any special diet over the long term can feel all-consuming. The reality is that no one has the time or budget for complicated meals with a dozen ingredients or hours to spend every weekend meal-prepping next week’s dinners into Instagram-worthy, cute containers.

Best-selling author Martina Slajerova takes the biggest challenge out of staying the ketogenic course by showing how to do keto quickly, easily, and deliciously. Filled with over 100 recipes, Keto Simple provides fast and healthy options including sheet-pan suppers, one-pot meals, quick-prep lunches, and grab-and-go snacks.

You’ll also learn effective strategies for how to stock your pantry, meal-prep, and make dinner when you are down to a handful of ingredients in the fridge.



The Midnight Adventures of Ruru and Kiwi 

Claire Scott Illustrated by Amy Haarhoff

Penguin NZ

RRP $19.99


The Kiwi looked up to the sky above, and sang to the tune of the breeze. "Oh lovely Ruru! I’ll dine here with you. We’ll picnic beneath these trees. These trees, these trees. We’ll picnic beneath these trees!" 

Children will love the delightful rhyming story of Ruru and Kiwi, who host a midnight forest party for their friends. The Midnight Adventures of Ruru and Kiwi is a delightful twist on the tale of The Owl and the Pussycat and takes place in a moonlit forest in Aotearoa.

Drawing on a cast of nocturnal New Zealand creatures, with enchanting illustrations by Amy Haarhoff, this lovely book was the winner of the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award 2019. For older readers, a fact sheet, about night-time creatures of the bush is also included.



Dark Skies

Lonely Planet

RRP $34.99


Discover the best stargazing destinations around the world with Lonely Planet’s Dark Skies. Authored by space tourism and travel writer Valerie Stimac, this comprehensive companion includes guides to 35 dark-sky sites and national parks, where to see the aurora, the next decade of total solar eclipses and how to view rocket launches, plus the lowdown on commercial space flight.

"The skies above us are part of our heritage, both natural and cultural," Valerie writes in her Introduction to the book.

"Astronomy and stargazing are an important part of human history, one that can connect us back to early myth or awaken us to the vast scale of our universe and its many mysteries. Witnessing the sweep of the Milky Way, the remains of passing comets as they burn up in our atmosphere, or the shimmering aurora, we better understand space and our place in it."



Out There

Warren Feeney

Scape Public Art

RRP $79.95

Out-There.jpgIt has been 20 extraordinary and exciting years since SCAPE Public Art began to revolutionise the open spaces of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

This bold initiative stepped outside the gallery and into the streets, to make contemporary art truly public in a fresh and invigorating way. And it did so, uniquely for this country, by involving industry and business, and the city’s various communities, in commissioning and realising arts projects and permanent works.

Out There: SCAPE Public Art 1998–2018 tells the story of this fruitful association and celebrates two decades of achievement. Drawing on more than 100 interviews with the originators and supporters of SCAPE, and with many of the more than 230 artists who have been involved, well-known arts commentator Dr Warren Feeney has written a lively and appealing account. No one interested in the visual arts will want to be without it. 



The Family Travel Handbook

Lonely Planet

RRP $32.99


Full of practical advice, ideas and inspiration for every type of family, Lonely Planet’s The Family Travel Handbook gives you the lowdown on amazing travel experiences around the world – and how to plan and enjoy them with your children.

The book names New Zealand as a top ‘Adventure Destination’ for families, while its other NZ highlights include Auckland (‘Top 5 Destination for Tweens & Teens’) and Tauranga (‘Top 5 Family-Friendly Cruises’). "Our aim," Lonely Planet says, "is to bring together all of our expertise in one useful handbook that you can refer to as much for ideas about exploring the great outdoors close to home as for advice on packing up everything and taking the kids on a round-the-world trip.

Your family may be experienced jet-setters, or you may be unsure where to start when taking your kids on the road, but amazing opportunities for travelling together exist at every turn."





Meg-John Barker Illustrated by Julia Scheele

Icon Books

RRP $27.99

Gender.jpgAn exciting new exploration of gender from the creators of the groundbreaking Queer: A Graphic History.

The book takes a look at how gender has been ‘done’ differently – from patriarchal societies to trans communities – and how it has been viewed differently, from biological arguments for sex difference to cultural arguments about received gender norms.

It dives into complex and shifting ideas about masculinity and femininity, looks at non-binary, trans and fluid genders, and examines the intersection of experiences of gender with people’s race, sexuality, class, disability and more. Tackling current debates and tensions, which can divide communities and even cost lives, Gender looks to the past and the future to ask how we might approach gender differently, in more socially constructive, caring ways. 



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