Books - December 2019 Reads

By: Tania Casey

Against all odds
By Craig Challen and Richard Harris with Ellis Henican

Although we know what happens in the end, this book grips you from the start. This story is a personal account told by Australians Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen, who due to their experience in cave-diving and rescue, were recruited to head this rescue mission. The world watched and waited while 13 local boys and their coach were trapped miles underground in a cave system in Thailand. We follow the doctors as they manage the teams to urgently rescue these boys as time is running out. This unprecedented and almost unbelievable true story describes events not told in the general media. We learn of the challenges and fears from the rescuers and also stories from the boys themselves. At times I held my breath while reading this; I could see this as a blockbuster movie. I would recommend this as a brilliant Christmas present for anyone.

2 book giveaways

Mahurangi Matters, in conjunction with Penguin Random House NZ, has a copy of two superb books to giveaway. To enter, email your contact details to: with Panzer Commander Hermann Balck or False Flags in the subject line. Entries close at 9am on January 6.

The Body – A Guide for Occupants
By Bill Bryson

Having dealt brilliantly with everything you need to know about the universe and science in A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson has now turned his insatiable curiosity and laconic humour to human biology, with a thorough and very intimate examination of The Body. Packed to the gills with astonishing – and quite often alarming – facts and tales about how human systems function, thrive and ultimately fail, this is another approachable, readable and frequently amusing layman’s guide to a very complex subject. There is analysis, too, of the history of disease, medicine and healthcare systems, including a grim snapshot of his native America (highest medical spend, poorest health outcomes).
Fascinating, informative and often very funny, this ultimate guide to navel-gazing would make a great gift. Be careful how you pay for it though – a flu virus can survive on a banknote for two and a half weeks …

Tania Casey


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