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Book reviews: February 2022

3 min read

Pick of the month

Trillion Trees
Fred Pearce
Reviewed by Esha Chanda

Wherever we look, whether it is the deep Amazon forests or up the Orinoco, we will find human footprints. And while it sounds all doom and gloom, author Fred Pearce is hopeful, for he says the great ‘shaving’ of our planet may be coming to a close. He points out how some countries, such as China and India, have found room to seed more forests. And while he finds the idea of planting an additional trillion trees “both beguiling and doable”, he says the problem is not with the ambition but with the word planting. We can have our forests back, but mass planting should be a last
resort – contrary to what we have been told to do so. Stand back, make room, and let nature do the rest.

The book is an interesting read that explores some new and extraordinary science about how fundamental forests are to our planet’s life-support systems and how human civilisation has taken our planet from paradise to plunder. Pearce also sheds light on how forest recovery is already happening and takes a look at various parts of the world where humans have retreated, and nature has returned. The book celebrates trees, their history and importance, and the impact they have on the climate and is an optimistic take on the future of the world’s forests.

More good reads

Kiko & Friends – Discovering the North Island
Charles Peters
Reviewed by Esha Chanda

A perfect little book for kids to learn, draw, and discover New Zealand, Kiko & Friends is both informative and beautiful. It takes readers along on a journey through the North Island while teaching them about the beautiful wildlife and places found in the country.

A first book in the series (with the South Island version releasing later this year), the book encourages young readers to not only learn and discover New Zealand but also sketch the many different places included in the book.

The colourful, vivid illustrations are sure to keep the reader engaged while learning about Aotearoa’s wildlife. Plus, as an added bonus, it features some big fish found in our waters and some great fishing/island destinations.

What really happened in Wuhan?
Sharri Markson
Harper Collins
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Award-winning Australian journalist Sharri Markson delivers her well-researched take on how the COVID-19 virus originated, and I’ll tell you now, it doesn’t bode well for the researchers at the Wuhan lab.

Looking at the information gathered, it’s hard not to place an acknowledging nod in the direction of the tinfoil hat wearers, and then shake it in disbelief at the cover-ups and ineptness of WHO and governments around the world who contributed intellectual knowledge and handfuls of cash to help set up the lab in the first place, before getting unceremoniously shut out. How dumb are some of these people? Even if you think you’ve ‘researched’ it all online, this book will enlighten you even more. It’s sobering but addictive reading.

The Shadow Broker
Tina Clough
Lightpool Publishing
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Delivered by Kiwi-based writer Tina Clough, this read takes us into the believable and not-too-distant future of 2026, where state surveillance and individual freedoms are near non-existent.

The main character finds a cell phone that points to strange goings-on and corruption at the top levels of government and enlists a couple of friends to help unravel the tangled web while trying to uncover the mysterious Shadow Broker.

The writing is reasonably good, although, it does tend to lag in places, and the characters are fairly cliché fare, right down to the overweight and scraggly IT expert.

The author could also have been a bit more creative with the book title, especially when the ‘shadow’ moniker has been used by fiction writers more than a community e-scooter. 

Add to your reading list: Win a copy

This month, we’re giving away a copy of Kiki & Friends – Discovering the North Island by Charles Peters.

Enter here

Deadline: 2 March 2022

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