Scoop Review of Books

Archive for October, 2013

Hairy Maclary’s journey

The Life and Art of Lynley Dodd by Finlay Macdonald (Penguin, $50)
Reviewed by Nikki Slade Robinson

hairymclary The cover of this book, with its classic colours and comfortingly familiar animals, is fittingly reminiscent of a Beatrix Potter classic. And classics are what the Hairy Maclary books have become, so it’s delightful to see this biographical tribute released.

This book is written by Finlay Macdonald, well-known journalist, editor, publisher and broadcaster. He has successfully combined the elements of a traditional biography with a detailed insight into Dame Lynley Dodd’s imaginative world. Read more »

Saluting our canine companions

Quake Dogs: Heart-warming stories of Christchurch Dogs by Laura Sessions and Craig Bullock (Random House, $34.99)
Reviewed by Kelly Bold

imageYou know you’re in trouble when just reading the publisher’s blurb for a book makes you teary. But that’s how it was for me as I picked up my copy of Quake Dogs. We all know the devastating effects the Canterbury earthquakes had on the region’s human inhabitants, but what about our faithful four-pawed friends? Author Laura Sessions teamed up with photographer Craig Bullock to answer that question.

The first thing that struck me was just how truly beautiful this book is to look at. Each tale is accompanied by a number of gorgeous photos that capture each dog’s unique character and circumstances. Clearly Craig Bullock is not only a talented cameraman, but a dog lover too. I couldn’t help but marvel at his obvious patience to get the perfect shot and the joy he elicited from his furry subjects.
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Can we cope with a warming world?

Living in a Warmer World by Jim Salinger (Bateman, $39.99)
Reviewed by John Lang

salingerHow is climate change going to affect our lives? According to Living in a Warmer World, it won’t just be changes to the weather, but also changes to our water, our wheat and even our wine.

Vastly experienced climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger, who lives in Auckland, has gathered essays from the who’s who of climate specialists in a fast-paced book that moves beyond our preoccupation with the causes of climate change. Rather, it combines observation and foresight to evaluate the looming effects on our world.

Former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark, now head of the United Nations Development Programme, provides a useful foreword. From there, 20-plus experts across various disciplines leave little unexplored in a series of short (albeit technical) chapters, and help the reader understand the enormity of adapting to a warming planet, with effects on such critical areas as our fisheries, food supplies and access to fresh water.
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Sustainability, one bottle at a time

Ecoman: From Ecoman: From a Garage in Northland to a Pioneering Global Brand by Malcolm Rands (Random House, $$39.99)
Reviewed by Peter Kerr

Before starting the review of ‘Ecoman’ by Malcolm Rands, I was expecting it to be a slog; a tedious, hair-shirted, finger-wagging tale of me being told off for existing.

Well, delightedly, it was breeze. Rands, at one stage describes writing for the initial mail-order catalogue business that launched what has become the ecostore range of cleaning and bodycare products as, “keep things as brief and as straightforward as possible.”

This 256 page part autobiography, part business and life philosophy, part questioning of modern commercial practice, is just that.

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Be careful what you wish for

Tempting Fate by Jane Green (Penguin, $37)
Reviewed by Fiona O’Kane

TemptingFateJane Green is an international bestselling author, and one of the reigning queens of ‘chick lit’. Whilst her books aren’t as strongly comedic as those of some of her peers, such as Marian Keyes or Helen Fielding, her novels are known for their warmth, and gentle humour in dramatic situations. Tempting Fate is her fifteenth novel.

The main character is Gabby, a 43-year-old mother of two, who has been happily married for 20 years. Her husband is kind and sweet and her best friend, but she hesitates to admit to herself that the spark has gone out of their marriage. Then she has a chance meeting with a handsome younger man, who flatters her and sweeps her off her feet, wanting to talk about other things than the school run or the PTA (Parent Teachers Association).
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