Book reviews Jan 24

Book reviews: January 2024

Relax and immerse yourself in one of our Book of the Month choices. From travel adventures to tasty new recipes and even tips for helping streamline your life, these are a few of our favourite new offerings.

Book reviews Jan 24 America’s Greatest Road Trip!
Tom Cotter,
Michael Alan Ross
Allen & Unwin

Draw inspiration for your on-the-road travels with this mighty offering from author Tom Cotter and photographer Michael Alan Ross. Piloting a Ford Bronco and Airstream Basecamp along the back roads of America, their epic adventure spans almost 9000 miles, from Key West to Deadhorse (America’s literal end of the road in Alaska). Tom, a passionate road tripper, has spent decades ferreting out lost ‘barn find’ collectors cars, and this latest adventure is his quest for the most epic American road trip. Stunningly illustrated with beautiful photography, it’s the perfect read for those with a similar thirst for discovery. As well as celebrating the landscape and small-town delights, it’s a shared tale of the people they met and places discovered.

Book reviews Jan 24 Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Beginners
Jenn Sebestyen,
Kelli Foster
Allen & Unwin

If you’re planning lifestyle changes for 2024, or fancy embracing some fuss-free plant-based recipes, then the glorious line-up in Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Beginners is the ideal place to start. The book title sums up the contents perfectly – there’s nothing daunting about following these straightforward recipes (the one-pan offerings are particularly satisfying), and it has everything you need to start your meat-free lifestyle with confidence. From simple starter recipes for busy weeknights to an array of vegetarian burger choices, there are also recipes such as Buttersquash Mac and Cheese, Tortilla Enchilada Casserole, and Banana Walnut Baked Oatmeal. The selection of high-protein, low-fat, and energy-boosting meals caters for all palates. Choose from evening meals, snacks, and desserts and opt for power-packed salads as an exciting and fresh choice for summer al fresco dining.

Book reviews Jan 24 Healthy Kelsi Travel KitcheN
Kelsi Boocock
Bateman Books

Experience the flavours of the world under the thoughtful guidance of Kelsi Boocock. The accomplished food writer shares delicious inspiration based around fresh, seasonal, plant-based wholefoods. Having travelled to more than 20 countries and with a diploma in plant-based cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu in London, Healthy Kelsi Travel Kitchen is the perfect follow-up to the success of her first book Healthy Kelsi.

Part travelogue and part cookbook, this refreshing read is the perfect addition to your summer library and is interesting enough to read for sheer pleasure, as well as meal inspiration. Conveniently split into chapters themed around the type of meal you’re craving, the Drinks section is also well worth browsing (the fruity sangria and skin-glowing smoothie are ideal for summer entertaining).

Book reviews: February 2024

Book reviews Jan 24 The Para Method
Tiago Forte
Allen & Unwin

Small but mighty, this pocket-sized book is just the friend you need to streamline your digital systems. It’s a simple and clear way to help organise and simplify your inbox, documents, notes apps etc., helping ease time wasted searching for information or triple handling the same files. As well as providing a proven system to help your daily work/life load, using PARA is also about identifying the structure of your life and how it can work for you more efficiently. The key principle revolves around organising information by your projects and goals. Take advantage of that new year determination and take some steps towards revolutionising the digital components of your life. Author Tiago Forte is one of the world’s foremost experts on productivity.

Book reviews Jan 24 EPIC Adventures Across Aotearoa
Ray Salisbury
Exisle Publishing

Something about the New Zealand landscape seems to inspire adventurers of all ages and mindsets. EPIC takes a look at the journeys of a dozen memorable Kiwi explorers, with each chapter dedicated to a specific expedition. It’s a wonderful book to dip into, as each chapter makes perfect sense standalone, or you can immerse yourself in the full read for a truly awesome look at the realities of boundary-pushing adventure. Included among the accounts of physical and mental battles is the story of a solo 19-year-old who lived off the land as he traversed 8000km of coastline and that of Lisa Tamati, one of New Zealand’s most well-known ultra distance runners who made the Hikoi from Cape Reinga to Bluff on foot (but in the reverse direction). This awesome read is a timely reminder that New Zealand offers much to celebrate and explore – in your own way and own time.

Book reviews: March 2024

Book reviews Jan 24A Little Blue
Jeanette Goode

West Coast author, artist and illustrator Jeanette Goode lives close to a colony of Kororā, little blue penguins — the inspiration for A Little Blue. This endearing children’s picture book was originally designed for reluctant readers but appeals to all ages and stages. Aimed at eight to 12-year-olds and with detailed hand-drawn illustrations, the tale follows Simmy, a boy sent to live on the West Coast of the South Island. Having to adapt to isolation and a world devoid of technology, he is unhappy. How will he survive away from his mum, his friends, and the city life he is accustomed to? It takes a while to get used to living in a remote and wild place. He is forced to pick up a pen and write letters home to his mum to communicate his frustration and loneliness. When he realises she is ill and cannot respond, he knows he has to be brave. It is the kororā, little blue penguins, who capture his attention and change the way he sees the world.

Book reviews Jan 24 Ben Rothery’s Weird and Wonderful Animals
Ben Rothery

One to hand down through the generations and which is sure to be a firm favourite on the family bookshelf, Ben Rothery’s Weird and Wonderful Animals is a fascinating introduction to some of our planet’s most bizarre and extraordinary beasts. Discover the bearded vulture (the only animal on the planet with a diet that consists entirely of bones) and venomous platypus among others.

Author Ben Rothery is a detail-obsessed illustrator who creates intricate illustrations and repeating patterns, full of fine detail and vibrant colour. Much of his work is inspired by his love of nature ­— he grew up wanting to be a shark, dinosaur or David Attenborough crossed with Indiana Jones, but settled upon illustration as a compromise that allowed him to bring those fantasies to life on paper.

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