Book Reviews: August 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 for August

The Deceptions

Suzanne Leal

Allen & Unwin 

RRP $32.99

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Prague, 1943. Taken from her home in Prague, Hana Lederova finds herself imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto of Theresienstadt, where she is forced to endure appalling deprivation and the imminent threat of transportation to the east. When she attracts the attention of the Czech gendarme who becomes her guard, Hana reluctantly accepts his advances, hoping for the protection she so desperately needs.

Sydney, 2010. Manipulated into a liaison with her married boss, Tessa knows she needs to end it, but how? Tessa’s grandmother, Irena, also has something to hide. Harkening back to the Second World War, hers is a carefully kept secret that, if revealed, would send shockwaves well beyond her own fractured family.

Inspired by a true story of wartime betrayal, The Deceptions is a searing, compassionate tale of love and duplicity – and family secrets better left buried.

 

Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything

Viktor E. Frankl 

Penguin 

RRP $30

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Just months after his liberation from Auschwitz, renowned psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl delivered a series of talks revealing the foundations of his life-affirming philosophy. The psychologist, who would soon become world famous, explained his central thoughts on meaning, resilience and his conviction that every crisis contains opportunity.

Viktor Frankl was born in Vienna in 1905 and was a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. His wife, father, mother, and brother all died in Nazi concentration camps. Only he and his sister survived.

Published for the very first time in English, Frankl’s words resonate as strongly today as they did in 1946. Despite the unspeakable horrors in the camp, Frankl learned from his fellow inmates that it is always possible to say ‘yes to life’ – a profound and timeless lesson for us all.

 

Joy at Work: Organising Your Professional Life

Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein 

Pan MacMillan 

RRP $39.99

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In Joy at Work, KonMari method pioneer Marie Kondo and organisational psychologist Scott Sonenshein help you to refocus your mind on what’s important in the workplace. And as their examples show, the results can be truly life-changing. With advice on how to improve the way you work, the book features tips on problem areas including fundamentals like how to organise your desk, getting through your emails and finding what sparks joy in an open-plan office.

Joy at Work adapts the inspirational KonMari method for the professional environment, taking you step-by-step through ways to get the most fulfilment out of your working life. Once you’ve found order, you can feel empowered to find confidence, energy and motivation to create the career you want and move on from negative working practices.

 

Ripiro Beach

Caroline Barron 

Bateman Books 

RRP $34.99

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This beautifully written book from New Zealand author Caroline Barron is a raw and honest memoir about uncovering her own identity.

Caroline’s father never found his birth mother. After he dies suddenly on her 20th birthday, Caroline develops an insidious fear of her own untimely death. When she nearly bleeds out on an operating table during childbirth, it almost seems her greatest fear is justified.

Emerging from the experience a changed woman, she spends the next six years poring over her family history in an attempt to make sense of her inexplicable rage. The family secrets she unearths threaten to destabilise her identity and carefully built life, eventually leading her to Northland’s rugged Ripiro Beach, where past and present dramatically collide. Caroline learns that there are mental health issues, suicide and incarceration in her family and – most significantly – that she is Māori. 

 

 

The Wine O'Clock Myth

Lotta Dann 

Allen & Unwin 

RRP $36.99

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Women are buying and consuming alcohol at alarming rates never seen before. But is it doing us any favours? Is it really that treat or reward that we deserve? Lotta Dann thinks not.

In The Wine O’Clock Myth, Lotta takes an in-depth look at women’s drinking habits. Written through the lens of her own story and her work in the field of addiction and recovery, Lotta explores the privileged position alcohol holds in our society, the way the liquor industry targets women, and the damaging ‘Wine Mum’ social media culture.

She reveals the damage alcohol is causing women and the potential reasons why so many women are drinking at harmful levels. She talks to brave individuals who share detailed stories about their personal relationships with alcohol – stories that are at times brutal and heartbreaking, but also inspiring and heart-lifting. 

 

 

Invisible Impact

Iain Gracie 

Self-published 

RRP $28.95

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A feel-good action adventure with one foot in the past and one in the future as America confronts a devastating computer virus sent from space.

Hayley Sung-Li is a brilliant academic who, under duress, becomes a spy. Jack Logan lives off his wits and his systems genius. When both arrive in New Zealand to track a satellite no one can find, the last thing on their minds is each other.

Partly set in New Zealand’s stunning South Island, Invisible Impact merges fact with fiction, love with lust, and humour with despair as personalities collide and righteousness becomes lost in ambition.

Written by former journalist and MCD reader Iain Gracie, this fast-paced story of international politics is a definite page-turner and the perfect book to get stuck into if you’re looking for a fabulous read to escape into over a wet winter weekend.

 

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