General non-fiction

True story is gripping reading

March 30, 2016
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True story is gripping reading

Hanns and Rudolf, by Thomas Harding (Random House, RRP $38): Subtitled “the extraordinary true story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious war criminals”, Hanns and Rudolf shows that a true story can be every bit as exciting as any work of fiction a Hollywood scriptwriter could...

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Dawkins opens up on fascinating life

March 22, 2016
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Dawkins opens up on fascinating life

An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, by Richard Dawkins (Bantam Press, RRP $40): I’m no science geek, in fact I happily admit to still being quite impressed by the magical ability of my fridge to spit out ice at the touch of a button, so you know a science dude is...

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What do rats dream about?

March 19, 2016
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What do rats dream about?

The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking, by Michael C Corballis (Auckland University Press, RRP $35): As often as I stop to think, then forget to start again, I am also plagued by bouts of my mind wandering off unattended and delivering all sorts of random thoughts that I then...

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Guide to paradise isle

February 8, 2016
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Guide to paradise isle

Ulva Island: A Visitor’s Guide, by Ulva Goodwillie (Craig Print, RRP $39): There’s no doubt we live in a beautiful part of the world, but even a born-and-bred Southlander like me can be taken aback at times by just how beautiful it is. Drive for 20 minutes or so in any direction and you’ll...

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Revelations rocked newspaper industry

January 23, 2016
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Revelations rocked newspaper industry

Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch, by Nick Davies (Chatto & Windus, RRP $40): While the 2011 News International phone-hacking scandal might not have been the huge news here that it was in the northern hemisphere, there’s no doubting the fact that what happened has had a global impact. The...

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Fairy-tale life that turned sad

January 17, 2016
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Fairy-tale life that turned sad

Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr (Atlantic Books, RRP $40): It’s human nature that we have a fascination with the lives of the rich and famous, but sometimes the lives of the incredibly wealthy are also incredibly sad. Reclusive heiress Huguette Clark died in 2011 at the age of 104....

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Inspiration top of ill teacher’s list

January 7, 2016
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Inspiration top of ill teacher’s list

The Priority List, by David Menasche (Allen & Unwin, RRP $35): The word “inspirational” is often bandied about when it comes to biographies of the famous and wealthy, but this story of a teacher who simply wanted to carry on doing what he loved best is one of the few times “inspirational” is the...

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Flying history recounted

December 8, 2015
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Flying history recounted

A Passion for Flight: New Zealand aviation Before the Great War Volume Two, by Errol Martyn (Volplane Press, RRP $55): Meticulous Errol Martyn continues the rich history of innovation, imagination and daring of early New Zealand aviation. This slice titled Passion for Flight: New Zealand aviation Before the Great War Volume Two: New Zealand Aviation...

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Return to the manor a treat

November 15, 2015
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Return to the manor a treat

Dog Gone, Back Soon, by Nick Trout (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37) I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I missed the buzz over author Nick Trout’s earlier novels. The biggest buzz of all has been about 2013’s The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs. I eventually managed to catch up on that particular wee gem while I was on holiday in Aussie...

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Grylls delivers – and some

November 11, 2015
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Grylls delivers – and some

True Grit Junior Edition, by Bear Grylls (Corgi Juvenile, RRP $20): I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this book but am pleased to say I was proved wrong. Let me begin by owning up to one thing in particular: I’m not greatly enamoured of Bear Grylls. While his fans watch his various “boy’s own adventure”...

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