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Book reviews: March 2020

3 min read

Pick of the month

Living on Shaky Ground
Matthew Wright
Bateman Books
Reviewed by Tony Orman

This is an excellent book, impressive in its production, presentation, text, and photography, dealing with the turbulent tectonics – the history and science behind New Zealand’s earthquakes that have happened over centuries, indeed millions of years. In my rambles on rivers and in the hills, I have found geology fascinating and this book is sure to spark an interest in the powerful geological forces that have shaped New Zealand. It is a reprint but revised as time inevitably means more quakes along the many fault lines of New Zealand.

The book is superbly produced with ample colour photographs and easy-to-read text, ideal for the layperson. A real bonus is the exceptional price of just $40 for such a high-quality book of 244 pages. The author details all the major quakes with emphasis on three major ones: Christchurch 2010–11, Hawke’s Bay 1931 and Wairarapa 1855 and even delves back to pre-European earthquakes. An engrossing, superbly written and presented book.

More good reads

Moa’s Ark
Peter Millet, illustrated by Shaun Yeo
Scholastic NZ
Reviewed by Henry Alan

The Earth flooded over and some creatures set sail on an ark built by Noah but onboard are two pesky moa wondering when they will be able to get off the boat. Would it be after the lions or before the penguin? In his new book, Peter Millet presents a delightful rhyming account of Noah’s trip around the world and the moa who are constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” A classic story with a humours Kiwi twist, Moa’s Ark is a great read for children.

My Mini Could Tow That!
Don and Marilyn Jessen
Bateman Books
Reviewed by Shaylie Jessy Elliott

A wonderful collection of all the different kinds of Teardrop campers and caravans from across New Zealand and Australia. The authors’ keen interest in miniature vintage and classic caravans have connected them with a variety of people from all over, each with their own unique camper. They have put together this excellent portfolio that tells the stories of how these campers have come to be – through restorations and redesigns and self builds, as well as the stories of the people who behind them. Brilliant photos accompany each story and it really makes you want to hitch one to the back of your car and start exploring the country.

The Dalai Lama
Alexander Norman
Penguin Books
Reviewed by Reid Ryan Alan

A fascinating look into one of the world’s most famous, yet elusive leaders, the Dalai Lama. It’s the first authorised biography of the Dalai Lama in 25 years. Well researched, the biography holds a strong narrative while also providing a thorough history lesson packed with information. For those who may not have a strong knowledge of Tibet and Buddhism, the author does well to make sure you do not need to do your own research in order to understand the stories in the book, however there is a lot of facts and information to take in – so go easy. With that in mind, credit must go to the author for pulling together this biography – for the subject has lived an extraordinary life indeed.

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