Book reviews: June 2020 #2

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

The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide

Jen Gale

Green Tree

RRP $29.99


If you want to save the planet, but your to-do list is already pretty long and remembering your re-usable coffee cup feels like a Herculean task, then this is the book for you. Covering every aspect of our lives from the stuff we buy and the food we eat, to how we travel, work, and celebrate.

This book provides stacks of practical, down to earth ideas to slot into your daily life, alongside a gentle kick up the butt to put your newfound knowledge into action.

Practical tips include unsubscribing from all the tempting emails that drop into your inbox with details of the newest clothing range or the latest sale, and keeping a mug next to your kettle to work out how much water you actually need to boil each time, as over filling kettles costs British households £68 million on energy bills each year. 




The Yellow Bird Sings

Jennifer Rosner

MacMillan Publishers

RRP $34.99


Poland, 1941. After the Jews in their town are rounded up, Róza and her five-year-old daughter, Shira, spend day and night hidden in a farmer’s barn. Forbidden from making a sound, only the yellow bird from her mother’s stories can sing the melodies Shira composes in her head.

Róza does all she can to take care of Shira and shield her from the horrors of the outside world. They play silent games and invent their own sign language. But then the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Róza must face an impossible choice: whether to keep her daughter close by her side or give her the chance to survive by letting her go.

The Yellow Bird Sings is a powerfully gripping and deeply moving novel about the unbreakable bond between parent and child and the triumph of humanity and hope in even the darkest circumstances. 





Jeff Gordinier

Icon Books

RRP $39.99


Hungry is a book about not only the hunger for food, but for risk, for reinvention, for creative breakthroughs, and for connection. Feeling stuck in his work and home life, writer Jeff Gordinier happened into a fateful meeting with Danish chef René Redzepi, whose restaurant, Noma, has been called the best in the world.

A restless perfectionist, Redzepi was at the top of his game but was looking to tear it all down, to shutter his restaurant and set out for new places, flavours, and recipes. This is the story of the subsequent four years of globe-trotting culinary adventure, with Gordinier joining Redzepi as his Sancho Panza. Along the way, readers meet Redzepi’s merry band of friends and collaborators, including acclaimed chefs.

Hungry is a memoir, a travelogue, a portrait of a chef, and a chronicle of the moment when daredevil cooking became the most exciting and ground-breaking form of artistry. 




Live More, Think Less

Dr Pia Callesen

Icon Books

RRP $32.99


Live More Think Less presents strategies for regaining control over your thoughts – learning not only how to overcome depression, but how to avoid developing it altogether. Many of us believe that the best way to treat crises and challenges is to process them: to mull over and analyse the stresses, anxieties and traumas we face. But this perception is misguided.

Instead, we should think of our mind as a sieve, through which everything slips unless we choose to hold onto it. But how do we let go of those negative thoughts we’ve held onto which are weighing us down? The first practical book on metacognitive therapy – a groundbreaking new treatment for depression – Live More Think Less presents guidance, case studies, and exercises and tips from the therapy room.

Dr Pia Callesen shows us that depression is not an inevitable disease, but something which we can learn to control and prevent, by living more and thinking less. 




Elastic Island Adventures: Alphabet Resort

Karen McMillan

Lighthouse Books

RRP $19.99


Suitable for children aged 7 - 12 years, Alphabet Resort is the fourth in the Elastic Island Adventures children’s book series by New Zealand author Karen McMillan. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan, discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

The children are excited to be going to the wedding of King Shiny and Princess Topaz. Love is in the air, especially when they encounter Wombo the Wombat, a bachelor looking for love, who they decide to help.

But then Princess Topaz is kidnapped, and everyone begins a frantic hunt to find her. Will they find her in time for the wedding, and will Wombo the Wombat succeed in finding love? The series, set in the South Pacific, is in the initial stages of being developed into a feature film. 




Frozen Summer

Ian Austin

IA Books

RRP $23.99


Frozen Summer is the third book in a compelling series of crime novels featuring ex-detective Dan Calder. Dan has made a new life in New Zealand, but an unsolved cold case causes Dan to return to England to investigate the death of murdered drug mule Zoe Summers.

Dan is the only suspect in her killing – as an undercover police officer he was at the scene, but he was unconscious for a time, so he doesn’t know if he killed her or not. At the time he covered up being there.

But the thought he may have somehow caused her death – however unlikely it seems given his character – has been psychologically torturing him over the years, and now he is determined to get to the truth, even if he finds out he is the killer. Author Ian Austin is an ex-police detective who is being compared to Ian Rankin.


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