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Book reviews: August 2020

3 min read

Pick of the month

Fly-Fishing in New Zealand
Derek Grzelewski
Bateman Books
Reviewed by Lisa Potter

The art of fly-fishing is a serious business. Just ask Derek Grzelewski, professional fly-fishing guide and author. His passion for fly-fishing is evident on every page of his latest book, Fly-Fishing in New Zealand (what you NEED to know) where he shares in exacting detail the skills, tricks and knowledge required to enjoy the sport: whether you’re a first-timer or wanting to master some of the more expert moves.

Derek delivers a solid overview of trout and fly-fishing, from selecting the right equipment and basic casting techniques, through to stream craft, the nature of trout and expert tips and techniques. And, of course, when and where to fish.

This wealth of information is backed up by some stunning visuals, confirming New Zealand’s reputation of having some of the best fly-fishing for trout in the world. It’s surprisingly interesting, even if you’re a complete novice to this unique world.

WIN: We’re giving away three copies of Derek Grzelewski’s Fly-Fishing in New Zealand. Enter here. Deadline: 24 August 2020.

More good reads

Into the Unknown
Ian Trafford
Penguin Random House
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

There are a number of WW1 books out there and it seems every single aspect has been covered by writers and historians over the last 100-plus years, but this latest offering puts what I reckon is the closest Kiwi touch to The Great War that I’ve seen.

Essentially, as I understand it, the diaries were kept by the author’s grandfather and he details his experiences in the trenches while convalescing from injury in the UK and pretty much everything else in between. The first-person account is raw, at times funny, frequently sad, and occasionally horrific, especially when told of the places some would inject condensed milk to get off returning to action.

We’re lucky to get this clear New Zealand observation of WWI, as the original writer gave his son instructions to burn the diaries. Fortunately for us, this did not happen, and thanks to his grandson, we have an excellent historical account. This read must rate in my top five percent of all time, and I highly recommend it.

Tough Country
Mike Bellamy
Harper Collins
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

As pointed out on the cover, this book contains tall tales of bushmen, bulldozers, and backcountry blokes. Or put another way, short observations and interactions with the author’s father that he experienced when growing up through the 1970s and particularly the 1980s.

First off, it focuses on dad, a nomadic and unstable influence on his two young sons. Partway through the focus turns to the author, as it skews off into earthmoving and contracting life 1980’s style. Some company and personal names have been changed to protect the innocent, but those with half-decent memories of Auckland contracting in that era will easily pick them out.

I didn’t take to it at first, but a few pages in, it became quite enjoyable and a finished up being a good all-round read.

A high-five to Harper Collins for polishing-up something that I would have expected to see in the self-published category. It’s great to see historical stories like this kept alive. 

Gearing up
Darl Kolb, David Irving, Deborah Shepherd, Christine Woods
Auckland University Press
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

While the idea of having your own business seems enticing for most, it often comes with its own challenges.

Small businesses that start from kitchen tables can be at a disadvantage when the company grows and the owners find themselves getting more clients or fulfilling more orders. It’s here that the authors introduce basic business sense for those who need to grow passionate about the numbers and people connected to their companies.

This is a must-read, as it relates directly to helping grow successful New Zealand businesses.

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