Books: Winter reads 2023

Embrace the cozy season with our winter book reviews

Secret Life.jpgThe Secret Life of Number 8: The Science of Everyday Materials

By Neil Broom

Mary Egan Publishing, $40

Author and Emeritus Professor Neil Broom uses reader-friendly language to transport the reader into the mysterious inner world of commonplace materials that have shaped the course
of technological development up to modern times.

Taking its cue from an uninspiring fragment of rusted iron, The Secret Life of Number 8 leads the reader into the heart of a universe in miniature – one revealing the striking order, complexity, and elegance of the many materials that are part and parcel of everyday life.

It’s not the lightest read, but if the structure of materials and why they behave the way they do, is of interest, then you will certainly be drawn in.

pomegranates-and-artichokes-9781623717407_xlg.jpgPomegranates & Artichokes

By Saghar Setareh

Allen & Unwin, $55

A flavourful journey through Eastern Mediterranean history, ingredients, and recipes, carefully guided by the deft hand of photographer and food writer Saghar Setareh.

A rich treasury inspired by Saghar’s culinary journey from Iran to Italy, peppered with personal stories and experiences where her love for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food cultures shines brightly.

From the stunningly simple (but delicious) Midnight spaghetti with garlic, chilli, and olive oil, to sweet-sour meatballs from Alepp and a velvety Middle Eastern milk pudding, it’s a journey well worth embarking on.


IMG_4462.jpgVegemite: The True Story of the Man who invented an Australian Icon

By Jamie Callister

Allen & Unwin, $36.99

If you love a good yarn about a product that has long been both divisive and controversial, then this story of Cyril Callister, an Australian scientist who invented Vegemite, is just the read.

Written by Cyril’s grandson, Jamie Callister, it offers fascinating insights into times of unrest and war through Cyril’s personal letters, along with the unique set of circumstances, which saw the need for barrels of yeast to be transformed into a wholesome food product, traversing the early days of food science.

With insights into the wider Callister family, as well as the challenges and history of the times, it’s a cleverly written read that gradually draws you in, regardless of whether you’re pro or anti-Vegemite.


Wild-Coasts-cover-300dpi-scaled.jpgWild Coasts: Exploring Aotearoa’s marine reserves 

By Ned Barraud 

Potton & Burton, $21.99 

The latest book from award-winning author and illustrator Ned Barraud offers a fascinating exploration of some of Aotearoa’s marine reserves. The cover is beautifully illustrated, as are the inside pages, which are packed with fascinating facts on Aotearoa’s protected areas and the wonderful sea life they contain. This captivating book focuses on six of the 44 marine reserves offering wild safe zones for a diverse spectrum of marine habitats. 

Wild Coasts serves as a timely reminder to cherish and nurture what our nation has to offer, highlighting the importance of protecting our marine environment for future generations. 

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend