Book Chooks

They're faster than a speeding bookmark, more powerful than the glue on the pricetag on the cover of your favourite book and able to leap tall paperbacks in a single bound ... and they read. A lot. Jillian Allison-Aitken and Nadine Hancock are the Book Chooks.

Reviews: Advice and self-help books

05:00am 30 Oct 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Mindful Learning
By Dr Chris Hassed and Dr Richard Chambers (Exisle Publishing, RRP $35)

In these busy times we have a tendency to do things with a lot of thought, often resulting in a lack of connection and a lack of interest.

Clinical psychologist Dr Richard Chambers and Dr Craig Hassed understand that "mindfulness" is an essential part of learning and are keen to encourage all of us to adopt better learning habits by being present and accountable.

Subtitled "reduce stress and improve brain performance for effective learning", this book is a comprehensive guide to doing just that. Using what the book says is the proven stress management technique of mindfulness, they reckon you can improve your brain performance for effective learning.

Some of the content comes across as a bit fluffy and being a practical person, I figure it's really the modern-day version of the whole "sit up straight and pay attention" delivered by my standard 4 teacher Mrs Bridgeman with the assistance of a well aimed blackboard duster.

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Grylls delivers - and some

05:00am 20 Sep 2014


BOOK REVIEW: 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" TV shows and no doubt puff out their chest in collective pride at the antics of their seemingly invincible superhero, I just find him annoying. And a little smug.

Sure, he could probably survive for a year in the wilderness with just a half- sucked wine gum and a dead possum for sustenance, drinking his own urine and using the possum's pelt as a sleeping bag, but I don't really care.

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French idioms ... and bidets

11:00am 27 Oct 2014


BOOK REVIEW: They Eat Horses Don't They? The Truth About the French
By Piu Marie Eatwell (HarperCollins, RRP $37)

Have you ever wondered what life in France is really like?

Is it all garlic and fabulousness? Berets and croissants? What do they do with bidets? Do they really eat horses?

In this quirky little book, Piu Marie Eatwell reveals the truth behinds 45 myths about France and its citizens.

The author lived in France for many years, and her observations paint a fascinating - and often hilarious - picture of a nation that embraces its history every bit as much as it embraces its future.

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Quirky thriller is a little off-balance

11:00am 23 Oct 2014


BOOK REVIEW: Dog Will Have His Day 
By Fred Vargas (Harvill Secker, RRP $37)

Former special investigator Louis Kehlweiler has to find new ways to fill in his days now that he no longer works for the Parisian police force.

Kehlweiler gathers information, takes care of his toad (yes, he has a pet toad), and patiently digs away at crime and corruption.

He's keeping watch on the flat of the nephew of a prominent politician when something unusual catches his eye.

A dog has left a deposit near a tree, but that's not what catches' Kehlweiler eye - it's the human bone protruding from the excrement.

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From our reviewers: NZ non-fiction

05:00am 20 Oct 2014

Changing Times: New Zealand Since 1945
By Jenny Carlyon and Diana Morrow (Auckland University Press $45)

Reviewed by Mark Hotton

Much has been written about New Zealand's attempts to find its place in the world as a fledgling nation and the role of rugby and war in creating a sense of nationalism in and around World War I.

But a more important portion of our nation's history has occurred post-World War II, and it's this period that plays a more important role in both how we define ourselves as New Zealanders and how the past shapes our present.

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