Book Reviews: November 2020

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Hare & Ruru

Laura Shallcrass

Beatnik Publishing

RRP $30

This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an unnamed mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try to find a solution. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: talking to someone, focusing on breathing, and connecting to nature. This gentle story is described by the author as ‘a mindfulness book for children’, but could equally be helpful for anybody who suffers from noises, anxiety or loud feelings. Hare & Ruru is beautifully written and illustrated, with hidden gems throughout. 


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It’s in the post!

Rachael Reid

Bateman Books

RRP $24.99

Avid traveller Rachael Reid took her first letterbox photo while walking around Lyttelton streets looking at cute cottages. It got her wondering how many other unusual letterboxes she could find. The answer is in her quirky new book, It’s in the Post! Rachael’s collection is the result of a year’s worth of letterbox hunting from Southland to the Far North. Almost all the letterboxes were found at random and include examples of Kiwi ingenuity, DIY attitude and humour. The examples in the book show that just about anything, from a coffee machine to a dive tank, can be used to collect the mail. 


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Scorpions in Stilettos

Hinemura Ellison & Ted Hughes

Bach Doctor Press

RRP $29.99

From Wellington, Auckland, Nepal to Sweden this novel will not only take you around the world but will lead you on a journey of discovery and awakening; compelling you to evaluate your life, abandon the rat race and follow your heart. Caught in a compromising position, Clara – a classy, conservative career girl – struggles as her carefully constructed life comes crashing down around her. Juggling a complicated love life, a busy career with bullying managers, an overbearing mother and demons from the past may be a little too much, even for her. Those who aspire to thrive in today’s chaos must read this book. The themes are universally experienced and will resonate with readers who have struggled with bullies, family pressures, corporate life and relationships. 

Jackies Journey Exploring DOC campsites in NZ


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The Telling Time

P J McKay

Polako Press

RRP $34.95

Two young women, a generation apart, travel to opposite sides of the world on fraught journeys of self-discovery. 1958: Gabrijela yearns to escape the confines of bleak post-war Yugoslavia and her tiny fishing community, but never imagines she will be exiled to New Zealand — a new immigrant sent to housekeep for the mysterious and surly Roko, clutching a secret she dare not reveal. 1989: Luisa, Gabrijela’s daughter, departs on her own covert quest, determined to unpick the family’s past. But not all decisions are equal, and amid Yugoslavia’s brewing civil unrest, Luisa’s journey confronts her with culture shocks and dark encounters of her own. 


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Wild at Heart

Miriam Lancewood

Allen & Unwin

RRP $36.99

Wild at Heart is Miriam Lancewood’s follow-up book to Woman in the Wilderness, and her story of the quest for a simple life, unfettered by society’s norms. Miriam and her husband Peter left New Zealand to explore other wild places. They walked 2000km through the forests of Europe and along the coast of Turkey, mostly camping under trees and cooking by fire. They lived on the edge, embracing insecurity, and found the unexpected: sometimes it was pure bliss, sometimes it was terrifying. But when they moved on to the Australian desert, they met with disaster. This gripping story is about life and death, courage and the power of love. 


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Golden Eyes

Kelly Lynch

Bateman Books

RRP $19.99

Golden Eyes is a yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho – the world’s rarest penguin – who lives at the bottom of the South Island. He makes his nest in the bushes at the base of a cliff. Every morning, Golden Eyes waddles down to the beach to fish for food. He is shy and prefers to live in secret with his life partner Curio and their chick. Author Kelly Lynch has woven the penguins’ fears and daily dangers into this fascinating story that will appeal to young readers. The photographs in the book were taken from hides and covert locations using a telephoto lens, except those of chicks which were taken during an expedition with the Department of Conservation.  


MCD Pets Barry and Bailey

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