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Book reviews: September 2023

3 min read
Book reviews September 2023

Pick of the month

Greatest Walks of the World
Stuart Butler and Mary Caperton Morton
Exisle Publishing
$34.99

An indispensable guide for walkers, hikers, and trekkers – and equally appealing to the armchair travellers among us – Greatest Walks of the World is a visual feast that takes readers on an odyssey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes.

The meticulously crafted book, written by two experienced travel writers and hikers, is packed with information that only a local would know, with helpful notes on what to research before you travel. It features 50 main hikes spread across six different continents, plus three similar/inspired-by routes to try next.

The locations have been chosen for their natural beauty and their popularity among the hiking community. The routes range from brisk day hikes to epic multi-week hikes and cover coastlines, rivers, caves, deserts, forests, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanoes.

Among the illustrated walks, you’ll find Australia’s captivating Three Capes Trek and Dove Lake Circuit and New Zealand’s iconic walks, the Tongariro Crossing the Milford Track.

The book serves as the perfect bucket list for anyone looking for inspiration for their next adventure.

More good reads

Not Alone: Walking Te Araroa Trail Through New Zealand
Tim Voors
Bateman Books
$45.99
Reviewed by Tony Orman

Keen walker Tim Voors has walked across countries and continents. His first book, The Great Alone, about his trek across America’s Pacific Crest Trail became an Amazon bestseller in 2019. When he heard of New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail, after family discussions, he decided to give it a go to walk 3100km – or four million steps – in a five-month hike from the top of the North Island to Bluff at the bottom end of the South Island.

The author writes in a pleasing, relaxed style, and the book is brilliantly illustrated with excellent photographs and the author’s own charming watercolour artwork. If you’re thinking of walking the Te Araroa Trail, there’s a chapter with much informative and wise advice on planning, equipment, and preparing for getting fit. The author emphasises that ‘mental preparation is even more important than physical training’. It’s an entertaining and informative read.

Book reviews September 2023

Life on Fodder Farm: A journey to self-sufficiency
Rebecca Stewart
Upstart Press
$39.99
Reviewed by Tony Orman

This is an intriguing and informative book about self-sufficiency in the wop-wops of the King Country. The Stewart family made a deliberate move to get away from the consumer society – some might say ‘rat race’ – and as much as possible live off the land.

This book details their escape describing ways to achieve a more healthy and sustainable independent lifestyle. Their self-sufficiency move results in lots of good practical advice, such as growing your vegetables, keeping chickens, do-it-yourself projects, preserving fruit and vegetables, plus some excellent homestead-style recipes. In view of the skyrocketing cost of living, it’s a handy book for anyone, whether in town or the wop-wops.

Book reviews September 2023

Takahē: Birds of Dreams
Alison Ballance
Potton & Burton
$59.99

The remarkable tale of New Zealand’s redoubtable takahē, twice declared extinct, and their triumphant rediscovery by Invercargill doctor Geoffrey Orbell in the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland in 1948, unfolds in Alison Ballance’s latest book.

Ballance charts the history of Aotearoa’s longest-running species conservation effort – the Takahē Recovery Programme – and the struggle to get the population to grow. After many setbacks, mixed success, and often slow progress, there have been significant wins and the programme has, in recent years, managed to help build up a healthy population.

Takahē: Birds of Dreams is packed with fascinating stories about the history, biology, and lifestyle of this feisty bird and takes readers through the conservation efforts spanning the past 75 years. It’s an inspiring story that has been beautifully written by Ballance.

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