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Book reviews: January 2020

3 min read

Pick of the month

Amazing Boat Journeys
Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet books hardly ever disappoint and their latest coffee-table edition leaves no hull unturned. From salt breezes to river safaris, Amazing Boat Journeys is a fantastic collection of the world’s greatest water adventures. The book features accounts of 60 of the world’s most unforgettable voyages over water, accompanied by beautiful photographs and practical details to assist travellers in planning their own memorable trips.

The book celebrates a slower, more romantic and rewarding way of travelling – from sailing the Nile by felucca and cruising the Canadian Arctic, to reaching the Pitcairn Islands by cargo ship and exploring Halong Bay in Vietnam. And among the hot spots mentioned are New Zealand’s Cook Strait Ferry and North Island’s Hauraki Gulf.

Some of the other top journeys include Cape Town Fishing Vessel (South Africa), Amazon Exploration (Peru), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Kerala Backwaters (India), and Marine Mammals Expedition (Antarctica).

More good reads

RV There Yet?
Dan & Marilyn Jessen
Bateman Books

Even if you’re not planning a lifestyle change or to explore the world in a camper van, this is a surprisingly fun read. It’s got everything you need to know if you do plan to dip a toe into the world of recreational vehicles, as well as an introduction to the wonderfully colourful community who enjoy life on the road, from mega trucks to pop-up campers. It’s also packed with great New Zealand spots to enjoy, along with all the practical information you’ll need before embarking on your RV journey.

Against All Odds
Craig Challen and Richard Harris with Ellis Henican
Penguin Random House

In June 2018, the world held its collective breath as rescuers attempted to save the Wild Boar soccer team trapped deep in a cave in Thailand. Australians Dr Richard Harris and Dr Clive Challen were two members of the international cave-diving team, which managed, against near-impossible odds, to rescue the boys one by one in challenging circumstances. This gripping read follows the intricacies of the planning and rescue of 12 boys and their coach, requiring sedation, and incredibly risky scenarios. A fascinating and ideal binge read for summer.

Me: Elton John
Elton John

I’m always a bit wary of official autobiographies, as more often than not, a sanitised version turns up on bookstands and almost always, the read is awful. In this instance, I’ll raise my hand and acknowledge Elton; the old boy has done well. He covers a lot of what we already know about him, but heck, this guy is a gossip, although, in most cases,​​ he does it fairly tactfully.

He doesn’t shy away from getting into details about his love life, years on the Charlie and I don’t mean boyfriend, as well as giving us an insight into what some would call his caring and philanthropic pursuits. I can totally see why he’s a rock star because with all those life experiences, he’d either be that or homeless and sitting on the sidewalk. It is a very good read.

Our Spaces
Alana Broadhead
Penguin Random House

With social media and television shows feeding a relentless glut of home interior advice, Our Spaces offers a soothing calm amidst this busyness. There’s something immensely relaxing about being able to take a leisurely browse through a beautifully illustrated book as opposed to being bombarded with colour, information, and sound. This showcase of contemporary New Zealand interiors is conveniently divided into spaces, with hundreds of ideas and insights to inspire and an underlying encouragement towards designing spaces which work for your individual lifestyle.

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