Book reviews: November 2023

Explore the latest releases and discover your next favourite read

Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition


Al Brown
Allen & Unwin
Reviewed by Lisa Potter

Indulge in the ultimate culinary experience with Al Brown’s revised edition of the iconic Eat Up New Zealand, where the chef and writer includes new recipes aimed at easy bach living — and it’s absolutely perfect, packed with more than 150 delicious recipes for sharing casual meals with your whānau.

The photography is stunning, with beautiful on-location shots from around the country, and Al combines his passion for cooking with the nostalgic charm of Kiwi baches, offering clear and easy recipes that are accessible and achievable for everyone.

With New Zealand being blessed with abundant fresh produce, Al’s approach of starting with seasonal ingredients and adding a burst of flavour creates dishes that are both clever and simpl. It’s the perfect addition to any food lover’s collection.

Thief, Convict, Pirate, Wife


Jennifer Ashton
Auckland University Press
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Those who follow New Zealand history will have an idea of who Charlotte Badger is, said to be one of the first European women residents, circa early 1800s.

Convicted of theft and sentenced to death, before being transported to New South Wales — in fairly short order — she joined a shipboard mutiny along with a friend and ended up in Godzone, the wife of a Rangatira no less. Well, that’s a cut-down version.

The trouble is, there’s not a lot of information to go on, so well-meaning authors over the years have constructed her colourful life. This book attempts to separate the chaff from the wheat and does a decent job of it.

The Manual


Dr Kieran Kennedy and
Scott Henderson
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Who better than a psychiatrist and health journalist to tell men how to be happier and healthier in the 2020s? In what I’m sure they hope will be more than a doorstop, our professionals show young men how to traverse life by explaining how pillars of well-being are interconnected with exercise, nutrition, and relationships.

While a read like this may be dismissed in favour of advice from well-meaning mates over a beer, it’s good for those who want to extend their well-being, which judging by the waistlines and level of conversation on most job sites, may not be a bad thing.

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