Book Reviews: September 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 September

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Facing the Haka

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Andy Burt & Jamie Wall

Allen & Unwin

$59.99

The story of the All Blacks from the other side of halfway. Big names from all their fiercest rivals talk about meeting the world’s most successful rugby team in some of the greatest tests of all time. This brilliant selection of photographs and stories describes what it means to stare down the most famous ritual in sport, from the perspective of those who have been there. Facing the Haka examines the significance the All Blacks’ haka has in the wider rugby world, as well as the deep respect opponents have for the team. This is about standing in front of the haka, meeting the All Blacks on those key occasions, and reliving the stories of the games that followed. Facing the Haka covers many crucial moments in rugby history with great storytelling, fresh insights and all the information a fan could ask for. 

 

 

Fly-fishing in New Zealand

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Derek Grzelewski

Bateman Books

$39.99

New Zealand has a reputation of having the best fly-fishing for trout in the world – but also some of the hardest and most challenging. As a professional fly-fishing guide, Derek Grzelewski, author of The Trout Trilogy, shares his expert knowledge and decades of experience learned from some of New Zealand’s best anglers and guides. Here he takes you through all the essential skills needed to improve your fly-fishing ability, including:

• Selecting the right equipment
• Styles of fly-fishing and the nature of trout
• Basic, advanced and expert casting techniques
• Learning to see trout
• Riverside entomology and what flies to use
• Where to fish and when
• Streamcraft and much more 

 

 

Shifting Currents

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Joanna Orwin

Fantail Communications

$35

It is 1853. Widowed Lydia Boulcott has remarried, hoping to escape her shameful past. An isolated new life in the kauri forests of New Zealand’s Far North offers the chance of a respectable future for her and her five-year-old daughter, Hannah. To her dismay, Lydia discovers that one of her few neighbours is none other than ambitious Eliza Noakes – someone from her past who has the power to reveal her guilty secrets to the world. But, despite Lydia’s best efforts, fate constantly throws them together. Inspired by the intertwined lives of two real women, and set against the fast-changing and challenging world of remote pioneer New Zealand, awardwinning writer Joanna Orwin’s superbly written new novel tells a gripping and touching story of struggle, love and unlikely friendship. 

 

 

The Silence of Snow

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Eileen Merriman

Penguin

$36

A compelling medical novel about facing one’s demons, self-prescribing, and finding the strength to carry on, even when it seems that all is lost. Anaesthetic Fellow Rory McBride is adrift. Since a routine procedure went horribly wrong, he has been plagued by sleeplessness, flashbacks and escalating panic attacks. Jodi Waterstone has recently started work as a first-year doctor at the same hospital, and the night shifts, impossible workload and endless hours on duty are taking a toll. Both are trying to stay in control of their lives, but Rory starts to self-medicate with sleeping pills and sedatives to help him get through the nights... and the days. Before long, the sedatives aren’t enough. Can Jodi save him from himself? The author says, "I want to challenge readers to think about what happens when mistakes are made in the medical world, because it’s never as black and white as one might think – and how these impact on both patients and their doctors". 

 

 

The Sin Eater

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Megan Campisi

Macmillan Publishers

$34.99

A Sin Eater hears the final confessions of the dying, eats their sins as a funeral rite, and so guarantees their souls access to heaven. It is always women in this 16th century historical novel who eat sins – since it was Eve who first ate the Forbidden Fruit – and every town has at least one, not that they are publicly acknowledged. Stained by the sins they are obliged to consume, the Sin Eater is shunned and silenced, doomed to live in exile at the edge of town. Recently orphaned May Owens is just 14, and has never considered what it might be like to be so ostracised; she’s more concerned with where her next meal is coming from. When she’s arrested for stealing a loaf of bread and sentenced to become a Sin Eater, finding food is the least of her worries. It’s a devastating sentence, but May’s new invisibility opens new doors. And when first one then two of the Queen’s courtiers suddenly grow ill, May hears their deathbed confessions – and begins to investigate a terrible rumour that is only whispered amid palace corridors. 

 

 

Automania

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Don Jessen

Bateman Books

$49.99

Visit the most incredible motor vehicle collections from across New Zealand, rarely ever showcased for the public before. From vintage cars to motorbikes, military vehicles to famous movie cars and exotic cars – the owners of these collections take us inside their garages to celebrate the vehicles that have captured their imaginations. These automobiles have intriguing histories, with some guaranteed to bring back fond memories of bygone eras, and others we could only dream of owning. Many have been painstakingly restored by the owner, or totally built from scratch. Discover the beloved vehicles that have inspired exceptional cases of Automania.  

 

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