Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Non-fiction books for Young Adults

Together Alone: The story of the Finn Brothers by Jeff Apter
(Random House) RRP $42.00 ISBN: 978-1-74166-816 336pp paperback

The unauthorised biography of the Finn brothers describes Tim and Neil's middle class upbringing - with parents who were always supportive of their musical ambitions. The brothers began playing instruments from a very young age in an exciting time musically: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bob Dylan. After school Tim formed Split Enz with school friends and Neil was invited to join him several years later. The roles were reversed when Neil set up Crowded House and asked his brother to join them. We read about the brother's struggles with fellow band members, sibling rivalry, their world tours and inspiration for their music.

The book is targeted towards the adult market and teenage musos who would enjoy reading about Tim and Neil Finn's musical journey. The book does mention drug usage but does not glorify it or dwell on it. At the back of the book is a discography and historical photographs of the brothers .

Jeff Apter based the book on interviews, extensive research and more than 30 years of watching the Finn brothers performing. Jeff was a journalist for Rolling Stone and Vogue and has written about popular culture for more than 20 years.

Available in Australia and New Zealand. Go to Crowded House's website.

Blue Adrenalin: Life in the New Zealand Police by Bill O'Brien
(Longacre/Random House) ISBN: 978-1-877460-50-0 RRP $34.99

A non-fiction chapter book for teenagers who are interested in joining the police. Find out about the structure of the police, their training, communications centres, emergency responders and see behind the scenes. You'll also read about the other branches of the police such as armed offenders squads, dog handlers, criminal investigation branch, serious crime, traffic, maritime and air support, and search and rescue. At the end of some of the chapters is a problem-solving scenario. You get to decide what you would do if you were a police officer. It helps you to see that for every decision you make another set of options can confront you. The book design is pared back (text and photographs only) with a contents page only (no index). A no-nonsense book for those interested in the police force.

Author Bill O'Brien was with the New Zealand Police for 35 years and has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. He was a finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards with his junior fiction novel 'Castaway - the diary of Samuel Abraham Clark' and has held a Fellowship at the University of Otago College of Education. He has also written educational publications on a wide range of topics for the New Zealand, Australian, U.S. and Canadian markets.

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