Books to look up

Our other favourite reads. 

Observations of a Rural Nurse by Sara McIntyre (Massey University Press, $55) 

Rowena, living in her caravan with various added tarpaulins and sheds, told me about being a Wiccan. I thought the skull and crossbones flag in her garden was part of this, but no. I’m really just a pirate, she said.
And so it goes in this tremendous book, which captures life as Sara and her fellow King Countrymen know it. Sara was introduced to Kākahi on a childhood holiday in 1960. Her late parents, Patti and Peter, bought a property there two years after that first visit, and Peter went on spend much of his career painting its landscape and residents, publishing a book of his own work, Kakahi New Zealand, in 1972.

MAIN IMAGE Te Akau whānau wall, 2017. ABOVE Kākahi Marae, 2008.

Relocating from Wellington 10 years ago, Sara moved onto the McIntyre acreage and now lives next door to her brother, Simon, and his family. Her work as a district nurse based at Taumarunui Hospital saw her caring for patients in their homes and gave her an intimate window not only to the lives of the locals but also to this special part of the North Island, criss- crossed with gravel roads. Her at once uncommon and everyday insights are gathered here today in stirring photos that tell it like it is. Shots of Peter’s artwork and pics from the McIntyres’ family album are collected at the back of the book — moments in their own King Country home, very much where the heart is. 

In brief

Cooking in Marfa by Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette (Phaidon, $75) 

Reboot your tapped-out repertoire of recipes while visiting a West Texas desert town as singular as the dishes its acclaimed restaurant The Capri serves. Virginia is the owner and her partner Rocky’s head chef there, and here they share jazzed-up classic American and Mexican fare plus their own creations (and cocktails) presented as memorably as the art Marfa’s famous for.

The Great Indoors by Emily Anthes (Macmillan, $45) 

You probably think you know your home, office and other haunts like the back of your hand. In this book, science journalist Emily asserts that you don’t, actually, and uses cutting-edge research to help reveal the ways the buildings we spend our lives in shape us. How might your house be influencing your immune system or your office benefitting your relationships? You’re about to find out — and it’s fascinating. 

Be Well (Gestalten, $95) 

The concept of ‘self-care’ might seem a new invention, but of course people have been practising it for ages. Edited by US beauty writer Kari Molvar, this elegant read dives into the ways in which ancient healing rituals and modern pampering techniques can boost our wellbeing. Architecture gets a look-in, influencers are profiled and pins are dropped on wellness destinations you’ll want to bookmark for future reference. 

Words Philippa Prentice

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