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24/12/2017 04:42 PM



The VOLUME GIFT SELECTOR.

There have been a large number of excellent books published in 2017. Over the next month we will be posting a number of brief themed lists of suggestions of books we think would be perfect for seasonal gifts for pretty much everyone you know. Choose a list below to browse our recommendations. 

>> Don't forget, you can always come and talk to us, or e-mail us, about your specific gift requirements. 


>> List #1: COOKBOOKS

>> List #2: POLITICS

>> List #3: BIOGRAPHY

>> List #4: SCIENCE

>> List #5: POETRY

>> List #6: FICTION

>> List #7: HISTORY

>> List #8: CHILDREN'S NON-FICTION



08/12/2017 05:12 PM




List #8: CHILDREN'S NON-FICTION

Scroll this list to select from our recommendations. 

Come in or click through to browse our full selection, or ask us for our recommendations for your specific needs. 


The Book of Bones by Gabrielle Balkan and Sam Brewster       $35
Have a look at the skeletons. Can you work out which animal they belong to, and where the animal lives? Why do these animals have the skeletons they do? Full colour images with textured skeletons give an idea how the animal operates in its natural habitat. 
>> Dry bones

Do Not Lick This Book (It's full of germs) by Idan Ben-Barak and Julain Frost      $23
Min is a microbe. She is small. Very small. In fact so small that you'd need to look through a microscope to see her. Or you can simply open this book and take Min on an adventure to amazing places she's never seen before - like the icy glaciers of your tooth or the twisted, tangled jungle that is your shirt.


Aotearoa: The New Zealand story by Gavin Bishop      $40
A breathtakingly wonderful large-format visual history of New Zealand, drawn by the inimitable Gavin Bishop. One of the outstanding New Zealand books of the year. 

Wild Animals of the South by Dieter Braun       $45
A beautiful and colourful menagerie of animals living in the southern hemisphere, a companion to Wild Animals of the North



Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano          $35
A graphic novel about a refugee boy's journey of hope and desperation. 



Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love         $37
Excellent retellings, with excellent illustrations. Crossley-Holland's versions are both enjoyable and scrupulous to the sources. 
"Kevin Crossley-Holland is the master." - Neil Gaiman

Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davies       $30
From the smallest Pygmy Marmoset to the largest Mandrill, this book provides all the facts you wanted to know (and more). 


Anatomy: A cutaway look inside the human body by Helene Druvert and Jean-Claude Druvert       $45
Here's the human body as you've never seen it before. Clever laser cut-outs, flaps and overlays explore every detail of the organs, systems and senses. 




Good-Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 tales of extraordinary women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo     $40
100 one-page biographies of inspiring women from all times and all places, each with a wonderful full-page illustration by one of 60 artists (who just happen to all be women), including New Zealander Sarah Wilkins.
>> Watch this!


General Relativity for Babies by Chris Ferrie        $19
A clear and helpful board book. 


Egyptomania by Emma Giuliani and Carole Saturno       $45
How are mummies made? What's inside a pyramid? A beautifully drawn large-format lift-the-flap book, introducing the world of Ancient Egypt. 


If Apples Had Teeth by Milton and Shirley Glaser        $30
This silly, inventive picture book by the outstanding graphic designer of the protopsychedelic era will make your brain turn somersaults. Facsimile of the original 1960 edition. 



Follow Finn: A search-and-find maze book by Peter Goes       $30
A beautifully drawn and delightfully immersive maze boo with lots to find and an exciting plot. When goblins invade and then flee the house, Finn's dog gives chase - and so must Finn. Hours of fun. 

Women in Sports: 50 fearless athletes who played to win by Rachel  Ignotofsky        $35
A lively, beautifully illustrated survey.
"Rachel Ignotofsky provides young women with the courage and the confidence to follow the exciting paths these women have blazed before them." - Eileen Pollack
>> Also available: Women in Science
Here We Are: Notes for living on planet earth by Oliver Jeffers         $30
"Well, hello. And welcome to this Planet. We call it Earth. Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you've only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let's explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you'll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else. Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you've just got to be kind."

Mixed-Up Masterpieces: Funny faces       $23
Split pages let you make a vast number of different faces from images from the British Museum collection (and have a vast amount of fun). 
A Sea Voyage: A pop-up story about all sorts of boats by Gerard Lo Monaco     $35
Two people and a dog sail out amongst ships of all kinds in this inventive pop-up book. There are even life-rings and mooring ropes. A lovely book. 

Today by Julie Morstad           $28
What should we do today? Where should we go? What should we wear? What should we eat? A beautifully illustrated book (with choices!) about all the options we have available to us every day. 
>> "Maybe I'll read my favourite book. Can you guess what it's about?"



Dinosaurium by Lily Murray and Chris Wormell       $42
A beautifully illustrated large-format book from the wonderful 'Welcome to the Museum' series. The latest facts with a retro feel. 



Cloth Lullaby: The woven life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault        $35

A beautifully illustrated children’s book outlining Bourgeois' early connection with textiles via her family’s work as tapestry restorers for generations in France, her early connection with nature, and her path to becoming an artist. While studying mathematics in Paris, Louise’s mother dies and Louise abandons her studies and begins her work as a painter and sculptor -  a homage to her mother.  


Illumanatomy by Silvia Quintanilla, Francesco Rugiand and Kate Davies        $40
Wonderful large-format illustrations of the wonders of the human body. See 3 images at once, or use the filters to untangle them.



Animals of a Bygone Era: An illustrated compendium by Maja Säfström         $30
Animals that no longer exist are just as fascinating as animals that still do. This beautifully illustrated book introduces us to some you'll know and some you won't, and describes many of their surprising quirks. 
A companion volume to Amazing Animal Facts



Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis        $42
An absolutely stunningly beautiful large-format illustrated guide to the wonders and variety of the plant world. Seldom do we use so many adjectives to describe a book. Part of the 'Welcome to the Museum' series. 





Pantheon: The true story of the Egyptian deities by Hamish Steele      $30
Horus, son of Isis, vows bloody revenge on his Uncle Set for the murder and usurpation of his Pharaoh father. A huge amount of fun packed into one graphic novel. 
>> Before he colored it in



Marco Polo: Dangers and visions by Marco Tabilio       $28
An exquisite graphic novel account of the explorations and inner life of the Venetian merchant who travelled through Asia as far as Chine in the thirteenth century. 
>> Have a look at Tabilio's website



The Egg by Britta Teckentrup           $34
A beautifully illustrated survey of birds in nests and in art and mythology. 





Explore! Aotearoa by Bronwen Wall       $30
Kupe! Thomas Brunner! Freda du Faur! Kieran McKay! Kelly Tarlton! Other people!




The Big Book of Bugs and The Big Book of Beasts by Yuval Zommer     
Giant, splendidly illustrated, satisfyingly fact-filled books in the same series as The Book of Bees!










05/12/2017 09:30 PM




List #7: HISTORY

Scroll through and select some of these books about the past. 

Come in or click through to browse our full selection, or ask us for our recommendations for your specific needs. 


1947: When now begins by Elisabeth Åsbrink      $38
The world had to reboot itself after the Second World War, but what was to be saved, what could be rebuilt, and what was to be made entirely new? In the first few years of relocations, reinventions and redirections set in place many of the tropes that have defined the world since. In 1947, production began of the Kalashnikov, Christian Dior created the New Look, Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex, the first computer bug is discovered, the CIA is set up, Hassan Al-Banna drew up the plan that remains the goal of jihadists to this day, and a UN committee was given four months to find a solution to the problem of Palestine. 

The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich        $38
"Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown. I want to write the history of that war. A women's history." An important oral history of Russian women's experiences in World War Two, in English for the first time. 



Fantasyland: How America went haywire, A 500-year history by Kurt Andersen       $40
If you are free to create your own reality in the Land of the Free, what happens when this reality is contradicted by actuality? Trump's post-factual universe has deep and long precedents in American history. 
"This is the indispensable book for understanding America in the age of Trump." - Walter Isaacson



Red Famine: Stalin's war on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum         $65
The Holodomor (man-made famine) of 1932-33 killed millions of Ukrainians by starvation, and amounts to genocide. To prevent an uprising, Stalin ensured food shortages, restricted movement, confiscated foodstuffs and prevented foreign aid. Applebaum's careful account makes for horrific reading. 



The Water Kingdom: A secret history of China by Philip Ball       $30
A grand history of China's deep and recent history told through its relationship and management of water.




Dancing With the King: The rise and fall of the King Country, 1864-1885 by Michael Belgrave        $65
When Maori were defeated at Orakau in 1864 and the Waikato War ended, Tawhiao, the second Maori King, and his supporters were forced into an armed exile in the Rohe Potae, the King Country. For the next twenty years, the King Country operated as an independent state - a land governed by the Maori King where settlers and the Crown entered at risk of their lives. For twenty years, representatives of the King and of the British Queen engaged in a dance of diplomacy involving gamesmanship, conspiracy, pageantry and hard headed politics, with the occasional act of violence or threat of it.

Nowherelands: An atlas of vanished countries, 1840-1975 by Bjorn Berge         $40
Where do countries go when they cease to exist? What are the histories of Biafra, New Brunswick, Labuan, Tannu Tuva, Inini and Eastern Karelia? Each of these defunct states issued their own stamps. Berge takes us to each and shows us some of the lesser-known dead ends of history. 

Old Nelson: A history in postcards, 1900-1940, Selected from the Rob Packer collection by Barney Brewster     $50
A huge amount of documentary detail, arranged by location and by theme.



Sun, Sea and Sustenance: The story of the Otaki Children's Health Camp by Di Buchan          $40
An excellent collection of oral history and context giving insight into the experience of children in one of New Zealand's health camps (to which children from the Nelson area were referred). From the late 1940s, health camps were established to provide health care and education for sickly, disadvantaged and 'at risk' children. 



Love of Country: A Hebridean journey by Madeleine Bunting       $28
The far-flung Hebrides lie on the outer edge not just of Britain, but of Europe. Bunting's finely written insular psychogeography explores the relationship of the land not only to the people who have lived on it or visited it, but to those for whom it forms an island for the mind. 
"Bunting's crisp and luminous prose is the ideal medium to capture the ambiguities and dichotomies of the landscape; between ever-shifting sea and unfathomably old rock; between tradition and modernity; between wilderness and depopulation; between feudal subsistence and aristocratic profligacy." - The Scotsman



The Epic City: The world on the streets of Calcutta by Kushanava Choudhury           $37
Everything that could possibly be wrong with a city was wrong with Calcutta. When Choudhury returned to the city as an adult he found it much unchanged from his childhood, a city of intense localism, very different from the new age of consumption that was revolutionising other Indian cities. Why?
"Beautifully observed and even more beautifully written, The Epic City marks the arrival of a major new talent." - William Dalrymple



Koh-i-Noor: The history of the world's most infamous diamond by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand          $26
Greed, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation - a distillate of British colonial history. 



Death: A graveside companion by Joanna Ebenstein         $66
Death is common to all people but there is huge cultural variation in our relationship to the inevitable. This splendidly illustrated volume surveys the attitudes and practices and art relating to dying and the dead, both in memory and concerning the remains, through the world and throughout history. Compelling. Forward by Will Self.



Sagaland by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason         $45
Two friends travel to Iceland to experience the settings of (and to retell!) the Icelandic sagas they are both so fond of, and to find Gislason's roots. What is the relationship between land and stories, both ancient and modern, both culture-defining and personal? Where are the Vikings now? 
>> "Tales of blood feuds and dangerous women, fugitives and warrior poets." 
>> How they came to write the book




You Do Not Travel in China at the Full Moon: Agnes Moncrieff's letters from China, 1930-1945 edited by Barbara Francis       $50
New Zealander Agnes Moncrieff was the foreign secretary to the and the YWCA in China during the Sino-Japanese War. Her first-hand accounts of the horrors taking place around her are nuanced and 

valuable. 


The Balkans, 1804-2012: Nationalism, war and the great powers by Misha Glenny          $40
Glenny investigates the roots of the bloodshed, invasions and nationalist fervour that have come to define our understanding of the south-eastern edge of Europe, and presents portraits of its kings, guerrillas, bandits, generals, and politicians. Glenny shows that groups we think of as implacable enemies have, over the centuries, formed unlikely alliances, thereby disputing the idea that conflict in the Balkans is the ineluctable product of ancient grudges. He explores the often-catastrophic relationship between the Balkans and the rest of Europe, raising some disturbing questions about Western intervention.

A Revolution of Feeling: The decade that forged the modern mind by Rachel Hewitt         $55
Led by revolutionary foment in Europe, British intellectual and radicals in the 1790s formulated new ways of thinking, feeling and acting that would have far-reaching consequences through literature, art and social dynamics, what Edmund Burke called "the most important of all revolutions, the revolution of the sentiments." The project involved the complete rethinking of the relationship between the individual and society, between the individual and nature, between an individual's inner and outer lives.  



RisingTideFallingStar by Philip Hoare        $33
Hoare wraps his remarkable prose for a third time around a watery subject, this time tracing poets', artists', utopians',and adventurers' all-consuming and sometimes fatal attraction to the sea. 

Empires in the Sun: The struggle for the mastery of Africa by Lawrence James      $40
Between 1830 and 1945, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Italy and the United States exported their languages, laws, culture, religions, scientific and technical knowledge and economic systems to Africa. The colonial powers imposed administrations designed to bring stability and peace to a continent that seemed to lack both. The justification for occupation was emancipation from slavery - and the common assumption that late nineteenth-century Europe was the summit of civilisation - but the underlying motivations were about power and money and the legacies of these administrations have made the processes of independence fraught.
Futures of Black Radicalism edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin        $39
Surveys the black radical traditions since the nineteenth century to provide context for the new international wave of protests and awareness, tied to a critique of capitalism, privilege and power. 
>> Angela Davis on TV



The War is in the Mountains: Violence in the world's high places by Judith Matloff      $43
Mountainous regions are home to only ten percent of the world's population yet host a strikingly disproportionate share of the world's conflicts. Mountains provide a natural refuge for those who want to elude authority, and their remoteness has allowed various practices to develop and persist in isolation, resulting in a combustible mix those in the lowlands cannot afford to ignore. A new way of looking at conflict. 

October: The story of the Russian Revolution by China Mieville      $33
How was a ravaged and backward country, swept up in a desperately unpopular war, rocked by not one but two revolutions? A fresh and incisive account by this idiosyncratic novelist. 


St Petersburg: Three centuries of murderous desire by Jonathan Miles        $38
"Of all cities St Petersburg is most like a novel. Conceived in the mind of a Tsar like a writer might give birth to a book,it has never ceased to be relentlessly dramatic, as if being like a novel is its destiny. Miles tells the tale magnificently." - Peter Pomerantsev



The Hidden Ways: Scotland's forgotten ways by Alistair Moffat     $45
Centuries of people moving about have left tracks on the landscape, many of them almost erased by other land use and movement patterns. Moffat follows some Roman roads, pilgrims' ways, drove roads, turnpikes, ghost railroads and sea roads to evoke for us a different and often surprising view of landscape and history. 

Rooms of One's Own: 50 places that made literary history by Adrian Mourby       $28
How does the place where writing takes place affect what is written there? What can we learn about a book by visiting there? Mourby visits fifty rooms in which fifty writers wrote fifty books, and compares the locations with what ended up on the page.  

Tangata Ngai Tahu / People of Ngai Tahu edited by Takerei Norton and Helen Brown       $40
Fifty biographies of key figures in Ngai Tahu's history, up to the Deed of Settlement. Fully illustrated and fully interesting. 



The Ghost: A cultural history by Susan Owens      $45
"Five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has even been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it." - Samuel Johnson
A fascinating look at the literature and art that have been engendered or shaped by the belief or otherwise in the phenomenon, or should that be pseudophenomenon, of ghosts.  
"A work of profound scholarship and imaginative engagement, beautifully written and elegantly constructed. It's the finest study of its kind I've read." - The Literary Review

Istanbul: Memories and the city by Orhan Pamuk         $55
A beautifully illustrated edition of Pamuk's memoir, with 450 historical photographs. 



He Reo Wahine: Maori women's voices from the nineteenth century edited by Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla         $50
"This book presents a rich and ranging collection of Maori women speaking from the nineteenth-century archive. The hopes, the persistence, the effort to set down a cause are all apparent in the words of women presented in these pages. It is in various measures an inspiring, instructive and agonising read." - Charlotte Macdonald, Victoria University of Wellington

Farewell to the Horse: The final century of our relationship by Ulrich Raulff          $65
"Any reader interested in horses, history, art, literature or language will love this book, and be stunned by its scope and stylish intellect. This is about the end of a relationship between man and horse that Raulff likens to the dissolution of an idiosyncratic workers’ union, and what is thrilling is that the horse becomes a subtext – a new way of considering history via the stable door. The book is beautifully and idiosyncratically illustrated, in keeping with the text." - Guardian

Sad Topographies: A disenchanted traveller's guide by Damien Rudd and Kateryna Didyk      $52
What are the stories behind the most lugubrious places in the world? Beautifully drawn maps by Kateryna Didyk.
>> Sad online


Tears of Rangi: Experiments across worlds by Anne Salmond         $65
Polynesian and then European settlers arrived in New Zealand bringing with them world views and modes of practice that they then began to apply and adapt to the new land. This remarkable book calibrates the varying approaches of the differing peoples who came to Aotearoa, and suggests that a deeper understanding of these mind-sets can lead towards approaches that are more harmonious, not just between cultures but towards the natural world too. 



Belonging: The story of the Jews, 1492-1900 by Simon Schama        $40
"Simon Schama takes the reader through a grand sweep of Jewish history, but he makes it so personal you begin to feel you know the men and women whose lives shine out from the pages, and their foibles, and you get a sense of the fragility of their lives and their determination to survive. It's a brilliant piece of work" - Rabbi Julia Neuberger
"Profoundly illuminating." - Guardian
Short-listed for the 2017 Baillie-Gifford Prize.
>> An interview with Schama



The Last London by Iain Sinclair         $40
The outstanding psychogeographer strikes out on a series of solitary walks and collaborative expeditions to make a final reckoning with a capital stretched beyond recognition. Here is a mesmerising record of secret scholars and whispering ghosts. Of disturbing encounters. Night hospitals. Pits that become cameras. Mole Man labyrinths. And privileged swimming pools, up in clouds, patrolled by surveillance helicopters. Where now are the myths, the ultimate fictions of a many times revised city?



Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India by Shashi Tharoor         $38
A wonderfully unrelenting indictment of colonialism and the damage it did to what had been a thriving country. Two centuries of British rule devastated the economy, violated human rights, and introduced institutions and infrastructure that enabled Britain to thrive at India's expense. 




Make Her Praises Heard Afar: The untold history of New Zealand women in World War One by Jane Tolerton        $60
Many New Zealand women have been left out of the histories of the First World War. As well as the 550 nurses who followed the troops and the women who 'kept the home fires burning', many other New Zealand women were involved in the war, as doctors and ambulance drivers, munitions workers and mathematicians, civil servants and servicewomen in British units, and in many other roles. Tolerton tells these stories for the first time. 

Empire of Things: How we became a world f consumers, from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first by Frank Trentmann      $38
Changes in our relationships with objects both manifest and underlie many of the other processes of history. This is a fascinating book. 


 Soviet Space Dogs by Olesya Turkina         $50
In the lead-up to Yuri Gagarin's first space flight, small robust stray dogs were plucked from the streets of Moscow and trained to endure gravitational pressure, low oxygen levels, a constipating diet, ungainly outfits and celebrity status before being launched into orbits from which some actually returned alive. This interesting book traces their history and also records the vast array of paraphernalia, from postcards to nightlights, designed to celebrate these remarkable dogs.  
>> Can you tolerate this? 
>> Was Ivan Ivanovich the model master? 
>> Chernushka today

A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield's Wellington by Redmer Yska         $40
"It's not enough to say I immensely enjoyed A Strange Beautiful Excitement; it's simply splendid." - Fiona Kidman
"The best account I have ever read of Wellington and Karori as they were in Mansfield's day. Vivid and vigorous, it is a pleasure to read." - K.M. biographer Kathleen Jones











02/12/2017 07:31 PM




List #6: FICTION 

Scroll through and select some of these excellent novels*, short story collections and other fictive texts as gifts or for yourself. 
Come in or click through to browse our full selection (we have a large number of interesting and unusual titles in stock), or ask us for our recommendations for your specific needs. 


Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood             $35
A splendid new edition of this excellent novel (and now a NetFlix series). A doctor specialising in amnesia interviews Grace Marks, imprisoned for the 1843 murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Grace claims to remember nothing. Was she guilty? 
"Brilliant. So intimate it seems to be written on the skin." - Hilary Mantel


Mrs Osmond by John Banville         $37
In this sequel to Henry James's A Portrait of a Lady, Banville assumes not only James's mantle but his eye and pen. 
“When I speak of style, I mean the style Henry James spoke of when he wrote that, in literature, we move through a blessed world, in which we know nothing except through style.” - John Banville
" Banville makes James something all his own." - Guardian 
"Banville is one of the writers I admire the most - few people can create an image as beautifully or precisely." - Hanya Yanagihara (author of A Little Life)




Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba        $28
A girl arrives at an orphanage after the deaths of her parents in a car accident. Her presence is a wound to the orphans' idea of themselves, and they also begin to have a disturbing effect upon the incomer. What role does the girl's doll play in the hazards that soon beset the inmates of the orphanage? 
>> Read Thomas's review
"Barba inhabits the minds of children with an exactitude that seems to me so uncanny as to be almost sinister. Lying behind the shocks is a meditation on language and its power to bind or loosen thought and behaviour. It is about language, wounding, wickedness; but it is also about how fleeting and how vulnerable is the state of childhood innocence – that 'nothing which we are to perceive in this world/equals the power of its intense fragility'." - Sarah Perry, Guardian

The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet         $35
Another remarkable novel from the author of HHhHWhat if the death of Roland Barthes in 1980 was not an accident but an assassination? What if the cultural theorist's death of the was part of an international intrigue, involving the use of language as an irresistible convincer (its ultimate 'seventh function'). Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a global chase that takes them from the corridors of power and academia to seedy back streets. Both brainy and fun.

>> Read Thomas's review
"This is a novel that establishes Laurent Binet as the clear heir to the late Umberto Eco, writing novels that are both brilliant and playful, dense with ideas while never losing sight of their need to entertain. The 7th Function of Language is one of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you’ll read this year." - Guardian

Sodden Downstream by Brannavan Gnanalingam          $29
The stresses of yet another once-in-a-lifetime storm in Wellington and not helped by the demands put upon Tamil refugee Sita by her employer, but support comes from unexpected quarters when the usual structures of urban life and upended.
>> "A subversion of the classic quest narrative."

The Beat of the Pendulum: A found novel by Catherine Chidgey     $35
This fascinating (and funny) new novel from the author of The Wish Child (winner of the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize) is sieved and assembled from the great flood of words that washed over Chidgey in 2016. Both an experiment in form and an exercise in documentary rigour, this novel is revelatory of the actual texture of life and an interrogation of the processes of memory.

>> Read Thomas's review


Tinderbox by Megan Dunn        $30
Like everyone, Megan Dunn had a book inside her. In Dunn's case, that book happened to be Fahrenheit 451, which had already been written by Ray Bradbury. Tinderbox is about the hold of literature on our minds and about the mechanisms by which society attempts to destroy that hold. It is about hope and failure and retail and living in the twenty-first century and failure (it's strong on failure), and it's fun to read. 
>> Read an extract
>> The 1966 film by Francis Truffaut
>> Megan's Julie Christie slide show
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan          $38
Egan follows the Pulitzer-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad with this historical novel set in Depression era and post-Depression era New York, a period in which modern American history was put on a new track. 

>> Read Stella's review. 
"This is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides. Its resonances continue to wash over the reader long after the novel ends." - Guardian

Compass by Mathias Enard        $40
Enard's text is like a ball-bearing rolling around indefinitely inside a box over surfaces imprinted with every sort of information about the wider Mediterranean, from Barcelona to Beirut, and Algiers to Trieste, past and present. Enard very effectively uses the necessarily one-directional movement of a sentence to sketch out, through endless repetition and variation, the multi-dimensional complexity of the political, cultural, historical, social and physical terrain of the entire zone, providing a panoramic view of the political and personal violence that has shaped the history and cultures of the area, and intimating the way in which an individual is caught irretrievably in the great web of their circumstances, submission to those circumstances being the price of travelling along them. 
Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck          $33
"Jenny Erpenbeck's magnificent novel is about the 'central moral question of our time,' and among its many virtues is that it is not only alive to the suffering of people who are very different from us but alive to the false consolations of telling 'moving' stories about people who are very different from us. Erpenbeck writes about Richard, a retired German academic, whose privileged, orderly life is transformed by his growing involvement in the lives of a number of African refugees—utterly powerless, unaccommodated men, who have ended up, via the most arduous routes, in wealthy Germany. Erpenbeck uses a measured, lyrically austere prose, whose even tread barely betrays the considerable passion that drives it onward." — James Wood, New Yorker
"Profound, unsettling and subtle." - The Guardian

Salt Picnic by Patrick Evans       $30
It's 1956 and Iola (a character both based and not based on Janet Frame) arrives on the island of Ibiza, on the fringes of Franco's Spain, with little more than a Spanish phrasebook and an imagination shaped by literature and movies. Soon she meets a fascinating American photographer who falls in and out of focus: is he really a photographer, and who exactly is the German doctor he keeps asking her about? Nothing is stable or quite as it seems, and the mysterious doctor, when he appears, takes Iola for a picnic on a salt island, where she is brought close to a brighter, harsher reality.
From the author of Gifted


Decline and Fall on Savage Street by Fiona Farrell      $38
Under the house the earth moves according to its geological time, while upon it the lives and times of humans move by different rhythms. One house is the place where these forces interact. Farrell's new novel is a sort of counterpart to The Villa on the Edge of the Empire

>> Read Stella's review
First Person by Richard Flanagan       $48
Can a penniless writer retain any certainty, even of his own identity, when he is commissioned to ghost-write the memoir of a conman? From the author of the Booker-winning Narrow Road to the Deep North

Stories: The collected short fiction by Helen Garner        $37
"Garner's stories share characteristics of the postcard: they flash before us carefully recorded images that remind us of harsher realities not pictured. And like postcards they are economically written, a bit of conversation is transcribed, a memory recalled, an event noted, scenes pass as if viewed from a train-momentarily, distinct and tantalising in their beauty.'" - New York Times
>> Also available and uniform with this volume: True Stories.
A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman         $28
This taut depiction of a stand-up comedian falling apart on stage in front of an audience wanting entertainment won Grossman the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. Why are we so transfixed by tragedy, our own and others'? In reading literature, are we like Dovaleh's audience, seeking entertainment from the miseries of others? 
"Unrelentingly claustrophobic. The violence that A Horse Walks into a Bar explores is private and intimate. Its central interest is not the vicious treatment of vulnerable others but the cruelty that wells up within families, circulates like a poison in tight-knit groups, and finally turns inward against the self. Searing and poignant." - New York Review of Books 

The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Grudova        $32
As surreal and "beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella" (to use words written in anticipation by le Comte de Lautréamont (with particular emphasis with reference to this collection upon the sewing machine)), Grodova's stories, full of baroque detail worn via patina to a thinness that makes them dangerously sharp to handle, take place in a world governed by strange customs, where significance is found in odd conjunctions, where obsessions assume the fatal ordinariness of custom, where only misfits approach normal, and where childhood is the conduit of immense threat, to children, parents and to wider society. All that is riven will henceforth continue to diverge, but Grodova's stories, lying on an axis of mitteleuropean flavour somewhere between Grimm's tales and accounts of Soviet privations, and on another axis somewhere between the stories of Angela Carter (pleasantly close to these) and  those of Ben Marcus, have as much delight (and even hope) in them as they do despair, for, after all, with an imagination as fertile (and a hand as steady) as Grudova's, anything could happen (not only the dreadful). - Thomas
Exit West by Moshin Hamid          $37
What place is there for love in a world torn by crisis? From the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

>> Read Stella's review
"Exit West is a novel about migration and mutation, full of wormholes and rips in reality. It is animated by a constant motion between genre, between psychological and political space, and between a recent past, an intensified present and a near future." - The Guardian


Kingdom Cons by Yuri Harrera         $26
The new book from the author of the astounding Signs Preceding the End of the World. "Part surreal fable and part crime romance", the whole book is a meditation on the durability of integrity when confronted with power. 
>> Read Stella's review
"Yuri Herrera must be a thousand years old. Nothing else explains the vastness of his understanding." - Valeria Luiselli
>> Read an extract
Sleeps Standing / Moetū by Witi Ihimaera and Hēmi Kelly       $35
The three-day siege of the Battle of Orakau in 1864, in which 1700 Imperial troops laid siege to a hastily constructed pa sheltering 300 Maori men, women and children, marked the end of the Waikato War. Ihimaera tells the history from the point of view of a Moetu, a boy on the side that refused to submit and fought to the end. With facing texts in English and Maori (by Hemi Kelly). First-hand accounts and documentary illustrations appended. 

>> Read Stella's review



The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen        $25
Living is hard both physically and mentally on a small island off the Norwegian coast. Ingrid's father dreams of building a causeway to the mainland, whereas her mother dreams of moving to a smaller, even more remote island. When Ingrid is sent to work on the mainland she learns that mainland life has trials of its own.
 Short-listed for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize
"Even by his high standards, his magnificent new novel The Unseen is Jacobsen's finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read." - Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

I am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy         $28
These short stories come up with one surreally gothic image after another: deeply resonant and affecting beyond the reach of reason. 

"These stories do not take long to read but the images in them will be embedded in your mind for a long time, so precisely sharp are Jaeggy’s tiny burrs of observed detail." - Thomas (>> read his review)
"This book is twisted and hypnotizing and downright lovely. Reading it is not unlike diving naked and headlong into a bramble of black rosebushes, so intrigued you are by their beauty: it's a swift, prickly undertaking and you emerge the other end bloodied all over." - The Paris Review
Baby by Annaleese Jochems           $30
"Sultry, sinister, hilarious and demented, Baby blazes with intelligence and murderous black humour. Heavenly Creatures for a new generation." – Eleanor Catton
"Patricia Highsmith meets reality TV in this compelling debut. Jochems nudges up the tension until we can’t bear to look – and can’t bear to look away: thrilling, dangerous and deliciously funny." – Catherine Chidgey 
"This funny, sexy, unnerving novel challenges received ideas and delivers jolts of pleasure and disquiet throughout. Jochems, like her extraordinary creation Cynthia, is a force to be reckoned with." –Emily Perkins
>> "The best novel of 2017." - Spinoff

The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo                  $26
Tradition and superstition clash with economic reality in this illustrated short novel telling of family's migration from rural Finland to urban Sweden. 
"This quiet, assiduously written short novel about a girl living in Finland among the looming shadows of war achieves the alchemy every writer would love to conjure up: it’s somehow about every childhood, every twilit life. A radiantly beautiful book." – Joseph O’Connor"So bleakly funny that it makes Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes seem idyllic." – The Irish Times

Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss           $30
A dazzlingly intelligent dual-narrative novel concerning, on the one hand, a retired New York lawyer who 'disappears' to Tel Aviv, and, on the other, a novelist named Nicole Krauss who comes home to find herself already there, and so sets off towards the point the narratives meet. Elegant and replete with Kraussian themes of memory, solitude and Jewishness.

"Wonderfully complex and thought-provoking." - Stella (>>read her full review and listen to her reviewing the book on RNZ National)
"Restores your faith in fiction." - Ali Smith
"Charming, tender, and wholly original." - J. M. Coetzee
>>"
What is ‘real’ and what isn’t, and do such questions even apply, really, to something that is entirely a construction, from beginning to end?" 

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser       $37
Which undoes the present more, a shadow cast by the past or one cast by the future? De Kretser's new novel gauges the dissonances between individual and collective identities. 
"I so much admire Michelle de Kretser's formidable technique - her characters feel alive, and she can create a sweeping narrative which encompasses years, and yet still retain the sharp, almost hallucinatory detail." - Hilary Mantel
"Michelle de Kretser writes quickly and lightly of wonderful and terrible things. She is a master storyteller." - A.S. Byatt

Twins by Dirk Kurbjuweit          $24
"We didn't want to be like twins-we wanted to be twins. We wanted to be absolutely identical. But because we hadn't been born twins, we had to make ourselves the same-and part of that, of course, was having to go through all our most important experiences together." Rowing partners Johann and Ludwig are best friends, but that's not enough. To defeat the region's current champions, identical twins from a nearby town, they must become twins too. Ludwig has a plan: they will eat, sleep, breathe and even think in perfect harmony. Only then will they have a chance of winning. But Johann has a secret he's been keeping from his friend-and when Ludwig begins acting strangely, Johann realises that his 'twin' wants to put their bond to the ultimate test.

The Answers by Catherine Lacey        $33
Mary is hired to play the part of the Emotional Girlfriend(alongside a Maternal Girlfriend, a Mundane Girlfriend, an Angry Girlfriend, &c) in a research project called The Girlfriend Experiment, which seeks to discover why two people, drawn together by forces beyond their control, can wake up one day as strangers to one another. 

>> Read Stella's review
"For Lacey’s remarkable skill to be fully embraced, we may need a new genre to categorize her work under. Lacey’s books are not really novels, in a similar way that Woolf’s The Waves, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, or Rachel Cusk’s Outline are arguably not really novels. Still, no matter how you categorise them, it seems inevitable that her books will find a larger audience. Her sentences are like reading an iconic prose style before it’s become iconic." - Los Angeles Review of Books
Lacey's previous novel Nobody is Ever Missingset largely in New Zealand, was an international literary sensation. 
>> She's got a paperclip upon her wrist

Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre    $33
A wonderfully written interior monologue, reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard, of a difficult woman obsessed with a portrait of the composer Arnold Schoenberg and thrown off kilter by a romantic encounter with a musician.

"The best book I've read this year." - Thomas (>>read his review)
>> Read an extract



Solar Bones by Mike McCormack          $23
Written in one long sentence (in which line breaks perform as a higher order of comma), McCormack’s remarkable and enjoyable book succeeds at both stretching the formal possibilities of the novel (for which it was awarded the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize) and in being a gentle, unassuming and thoughtful portrait of a very ordinary life in a small and unremarkable Irish town. The flow of McCormack’s prose sensitively maps the flow of thought, drawing feeling and meaning from the patterning of quotidian detail as the narrator dissolves himself in the memories of which he is comprised. This wash of memory suggests that the narrator may in fact be dead, the narrative being the residue (or cumulation) of his life, the enduring body of attachments, thoughts and feelings that comprise the person. Few novels capture so well the texture of a person’s life, and this has been achieved through a rigorous experiment in form. - Thomas 

Tess by Kirsten McDougall        $25
What binds a family together tears a family apart. On the run, Tess is picked up on the side of the road by middle-aged father Lewis Rose, and drawn into the complexity of his life. Tess is a gothic love story set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium.

>> Read Stella's review.
"I love novels about amelioration, about people trying to mend and fix themselves. Kirsten McDougall's brave and brilliant Tess is one of these. A novel of tender observation and deftly judged suspense, Tess imagines what it might mean for someone to really know what goes on inside others." - Elizabeth Knox



False River: Stories, essays, secret histories by Paula Morris        $35
Fiction addresses itself to fact and fact addresses itself to fiction. These pieces range all over the place, occasionally observing themselves transforming from essay to fiction (or vice-versa), asking themselves, and us, what is the nature, or value, of truth? 

Elmet by Fiona Mozley         $35
A beautifully written novel about the relationship between a family and a landscape after the father's decision to withdraw from society. 

>> Read Stella's review.
" Elmet is at once both delicately beautiful and compellingly brutal, and is entirely memorable because of this." - Thomas (>>read his full review)


A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee             $37
The striving for a different life is one of the markers of modern existence. Can these five characters in Mumbai make better lives for themselves, or can they only achieve dislocation? From the author of The Lives of Others
"This is a great hymn to poor, scabby humanity-a devastating portrait of poverty and the inhumanity of the rich to the poor. A masterpiece." - Edmund White 
"Fans of Neel Mukherjee expect that his books will be exceptional and once again he has produced just that. A State of Freedom is formally audacious, vividly observed, and deeply imagined. Unsentimental yet full of heart, grimly real yet mysteriously dreamlike, with characters who continue to live their complicated lives long after you've turned the last page. Just a beautiful, beautiful piece of work." - Karen Joy Fowler

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami          $45
"I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden." 
Seven stories of men choosing loneliness as a way of avoiding pain, even if it brings them close to self-erasure. Contains all your favourite Murakami signatures (cats, pasta, baseball, music, mysterious women). 

>> Read Stella's review
>> The playlist for this book




The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting       $38
When a beautifully made coffin turns up for Edvard's grandfather, whose death is nowhere in sight, Edvard begins to unravel the mystery of his lost uncle and dead parents, an unravelling that takes him from the remote Norwegian farmstead where he grew up to the Shetland Islands, to the historic battlefields of France. The novel is neatly dovetailed throughout, just like the woodwork that runs through it. From the author of the incomparable Norwegian Wood
>> Mytting speaks with Kathryn Ryan



The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa        $45
A fragmentary "factless autobiography" attributed by Pessoa largely to his semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares but left unedited and uncompleted (if such a project could be completed) at Pessoa's (and, by extension, Soares's) death. The book is a Modernist masterpiece of existential observation and self-observation, with musings on the scattershot distribution of meaning in everyday life. 
>> "The weirdest autobiography ever."
>> "A writer in flight from his name.
>>  On the destruction of the 'I'.




Basket of Deplorables by Tom Rachman        $24
Almost true stories for a post-truth world. Does being an American mean anything any more? 
"These bang-up-to-the-minute stories feel like essential reading as we get to grips with a bizarre new era." - Guardian



An Overcoat: Scenes from the afterlife of H.B. by Jack Robinson         $33
In June 1819 Henri Beyle (aka Stendhal) is rejected by the woman he loves. Beyle finds himself stranded in an afterlife populated by tourists, shoplifters and characters in novels he hasn't yet written. Footnoting a host of other writers, An Overcoat is an obsessional play upon the life and work of one of the founders of the modern novel.

"In this subtle and playful text, Charles Boyle (Boyle/Beyle), writing under his pen-name Jack Robinson, dissolves the distinction between historical fact and creative freedom, allowing each to infect or lubricate the other. Composed mostly of footnotes (and of footnotes to the footnotes), the brief impressionistic sections display and connect a wide experience of reading, thinking, feeling and writing." - Thomas (>>read his full review)"An Overcoat takes intellection as seriously as, say, being able to make a three-point turn in traffic; perhaps less so. This is the book’s charm, and possibly its point. It’s a mind at play, and Boyle’s silly pseudonym is a deliberate act of self-sabotage – as well as a nod to Stendhal’s fondness for different identities. I can’t think of a wittier, more engaging, stylistically audacious, attentive and generous writer working in the English language right now." - Nicholas Lezard , Guardian
My Private Property by Mary Ruefle       $35
A collection of devastating short prose pieces from on of America's sharpest poets. 

>> Read Thomas's review.
"The property that Ruefle deems private is the impalpable nature of the inner life we all share; it is at once ours and everyone's. Ruefle has shown a talent for elevating her acute observations and narrative inclination well above mere anecdote to create quietly disquieting moments. A literature of barbed ambiguity and unresolved disruption." - Bookforum
"Ruefle can seem like a supernally well-read person who has grown bored with what smartness looks like, and has grown attracted to the other side." - New York Times

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich         $37
How does a horrific act resonate along the lines of love and memory that link (and divide) a family? What changes, what endures? What can be recovered, and what must be constructed? 

>> Read Stella's review
"That an act of brutality inspires storytelling as beautiful as this is reason enough for this novel to stand out from the crowd. To discover the sheer exquisiteness of Ruskovich’s prose is an unforeseen added bonus. There’s a rare, rich plangent quality to her sentences, as present in the spaces between the words, in what’s not said, as much as in what is articulated." - Independent 

Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn          $34
A contemporary rewriting of King Lear, as part of the 'Hogarth Shakespeare' series, from the acid-tipped pen of one of the sharpest (and blackly funniest) satirists of contemporary mores. Henry Dunbar has handed over control of his global media corporation to his two eldest daughters and is stuck in his dotage in a care home in the Lake District. When he escapes into the hills, who will find him first, the two daughters keen to strip him of his estate or his youngest daughter, Florence? 
"Of all the novelist and play matches in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, that of Edward St Aubyn with King Lear seems the finest. Shakespeare’s blackest, most surreal and hectic tragedy sharpened by one of our blackest, most surreal and hectic wits. Our ur-text about the decay of patriarchal aristocratic power reimagined by a writer whose central subject is the decay of male aristocratic power." - Guardian

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders      $33
Winner of the 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE. 
Is this The American Book of the Dead? Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie died of typhoid in 1862. This inventive and much-anticipated novel from the author of the Folio Prize-winning Tenth of December has a president, "freshly inclined toward sorrow," driven by grief into communion with the disembodied spirits of the dead in what becomes a meditation on the force of death in personal and collective histories, notably the American Civil War. 

>> Read Stella's and Thomas's reviews


Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin        $23
A young woman lies dying in hospital. The boy at her bedside asks some questions which unleash the most terrifying of stories. 
>> Read Thomas's review
"Terrifying but brilliant, this dangerously addictive novel in which a woman’s life speeds towards doom is haunted by the bleak landscape of rural Argentina. Schweblin remorselessly cranks up the tension until every sentence seems to tremble with threat. Fever Dream’s ambiguities, and the intricate psychologies with which Schweblin invests her characters, mean that rereading proves rewarding even when the suspense is removed. Wherever you decide the truth lies, aspects of Amanda’s story will continue to puzzle and haunt you long after she stops being able to tell it." - Guardian

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie         $27
Family, society, love and religion clash in this modern reworking of the themes of Antigone. Long-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. 
"Home Fire left me awestruck, shaken, on the edge of my chair, filled with admiration for her courage and ambition. Recommended reading for prime ministers and presidents everywhere." - Peter Carey 



Winter by Ali Smith     $34
In the second installment of Smith's seasonal quartet, a modern-day Scrooge reassesses her relationships in the context of Brexit Britain and the deep patterns of history and society. 
"Luminously beautiful. A novel of great ferocity, tenderness, righteous anger and generosity of spirit." - Guardian




To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm        $28
What happens when a man just walks away from his wife and children and doesn't come back? Beautifully translated by Michael Hofmann. 
"This inscrutable novel is a haunting love story of subtlety and pathos. Everything is so thoughtfully put together, so gently and subtly observed, that the question of whether Thomas and Astrid will ever be reunited, if such a thing is even possible, gathers an extraordinary pathos." - Tim Parks, Guardian



The Necessary Angel by C.K. Stead     $38
Paris: books/conversation, love/politics, fidelity/infidelity. 
"Edgy and lyrical, acerbic and witty, intellectually incisive but also visceral and bawdy, disarmingly direct and intricately plotted." - Andrew Bennett



Flights by Olga Tokarczuk         $37
We have in us a restlessness, a will to change, a fluidity of identity and belonging that Olga Tokarczuk in her fine and interesting book Flights would see as our essential vitality, an indicator of civilisation. Flights is an encyclopedic sort-of-novel, a great compendium of stories, fragments, historical anecdotes, description and essays on every possible aspect of travel, in its literal and metaphorical senses, and on the stagnation, mummification and bodily degradation of stasis. The book bristles with ideas, memorable images and playful treatments.
>> Read Thomas's review


Worlds from the Word's End by Joanna Walsh        $30
"Walsh toys with notions of realism versus fantasy and autobiography versus fiction. She exposes, and revels in, the absurdity of these boundaries, their indistinctness. Her clever, self-parodying stories capture the existential disarrangement of the writer, but also the existential disarrangement of anyone who finds real life strange and, at times, quite unreal." - Joanna Kavenna, Guardian

>> Read Thomas's review"A genuinely original collection, sharp and sparse." - Mike McCormack
>> Read an extract, 'Exes'



Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward         $27
As 13-year-old Jojo approaches adulthood, how can he find his way in the U.S. South when all seems set for him and his family to fall foul of rural poverty, drug addiction, the penal system, the justice system, racism and illness? From the author of Salvage the Bones. 

>> Read Stella's review
"This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare." - Margaret Atwood 
"A powerfully alive novel haunted by ghosts; a road trip where people can go but they can never leave; a visceral and intimate drama that plays out like a grand epic, Sing, Unburied, Sing is staggering." - Marlon James

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner    $28
The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their perfect daughter Heather, but as Heather grows she becomes the centre of other, darker orbits. 
"Heather, the Totality is superb. Weiner conveys the sense that beyond the brilliantly chosen details there was a wealth of similarly truthful social and psychological perception unstated. Then there was the ice-cold mercilessness, of a kind that reminded me (oddly, I suppose, but there it was) of Evelyn Waugh. This novel is something special." - Philip Pullman
"I cringed and shuddered my way through this short, daring novel to its terrible inevitable end. Each neat, measured paragraphcarpaccios its characters to get to the book's heart - one of Boschian self-cannibalising isolation. A stunning novel. Heather, the Totality blew me away." - Nick Cave
>> Matthew Weiner, the man who made Mad Men

Lifting by Damien Wilkins      $30
Wilkins' writing is both light and deft as he brings us inside the head and world of Amy, a store detective at Cutty's (for which read Kirkaldie and Stains) in the weeks leading up to the department store's closure. Why is Amy being interviewed by the police? What will change in her unremarkable life? 



https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/short-stories-ninety-nine-stories-of-god--2?barcode=9781781258804
99 Stories of God by Joy Williams        $28
99 stories, most less than a page long, each written with such sharpness and lightness of touch that they draw blood unexpectedly and without pain.

"Brevity, sparsity, clarity: these stories are distillates of novels, tragedies told as jokes, aqua vitae for anyone who reads, observes, thinks or writes." - Thomas (>>read  his full review)
"Radically compressed. New territory for Williams, with a brevity and a strict whimsy you might encounter in Lydia Davis's work. Easy to follow and hard to fathom; easy to enjoy and harder to absorb." - New Yorker
"A collection of tiny, wry masterpieces." - New York Times
>> "There’s something unwholesome and self-destructive about the entire writing process."

Two Stories by Virginia Woolf and Mark Haddon      $26
Published to mark the centenary of the first Hogarth Press printing, Woolf's original story 'The Mark on the Wall' is here paired with a new story by Haddon. All the pleasures and production qualities of the original have been retained. 

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang      $27
Centred on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life on the poverty line in 1990s New York City, the stories that make up Sour Heart examine the many ways that family and history can weigh us down, but also lift us up.
"As I read, I quickly realized this was something so new and powerful that it would come to shape the world, not just the literary world, but what we know about reality. Zhang's version of honesty goes way past the familiar, with passages that burst into a bold, startling brilliance. Get ready." - Miranda July 
"Obscene, beautiful, moving." - The New Yorker
>> Jenny Zhang and Lena Dunham.

Black Marks on the White Page edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti          $40
A beautifully presented, various and interesting collection of twenty-first century stories by Maori and Pasifika writers, both well-known and emerging (and some artists, too). 




McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #50         $55
A whole summer's worth of reading from Lydia Davis, Sarah Vowell, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Diane Williams, Jesse Ball, Sheila Heti, Carrie Brownstein, Etgar Keret, Jonathan Lehtam, Valeira Luiselli, Heidi Julavits, Sherman Alexie, &c, &c, &c, &c, &c, &c (50 writers and artists).






 (* including a few non-fiction novels)

02/12/2017 06:47 PM





List #5: POETRY

13 recent New Zealand Poetry books you might consider giving as gifts. Click through or come in to browse our full poetry section. 

Ask us for our recommendations for your specific needs. 


Hoard by Fleur Adcock           $25
Images, moments, feelings, persons. Hoard acts as a great poetic sieve, scooped through Adcock's life in New Zealand and the UK, through her reading, dreams and relationships.


Flow: Whanganui river poems by Airini Beautrais         $35
"This remarkable sequence winds and eddies like the Whanganui River, filtering the region's many histories into something rich and swimmable. Is verse the future of history?" - James Brown
The Internet of Things by Kate Camp        $25
Camp is adept at the interrogation of quotidian objects, surprising them into revealing dimensions of themselves to which we have been blinded by familiarity. In this book Camp tickles the objects in Aunt Mimi's kitchen to catch unexpected reflections of John Lennon. 
Collected Poems by Allen Curnow          $60
"Simply by sailing in a new direction / You could enlarge the world." Curnow's 70-year career in the vanguard of New Zealand poetry involved the defining and redefining of poetic sensibilities, moving from an antipodean to an autochthonic focus. 
>> Uniform with Terry Sturm's biography of Curnow (and also available as a slip-cased set).
Ginesthoi by Evangeline Riddiford Graham          $20
Presented as a series of fragments, much in the manner of the scraps of text discovered by archeologists, these poems are partial unearthings of an emotional life as intent upon concealing itself as it is upon revealing. What are we make of these twists of words, half earnest, half mocking, leaping back and forth across millennia, overlapping past and present while simultaneously reinforcing and dissolving the distinction between the two?
>> Read Thomas's review
Vanishing Points by Michele Leggott        $28
"Vanishing Points concerns itself with appearance and disappearance as modes of memory, familial until we lose sight of that horizon line and must settle instead for a series of intersecting arcs. It is full of stories caught from the air and pictures made of words. It stands here and goes there, a real or an imagined place. If we can work out the navigation the rest will follow."

Some Things to Place in a Coffin by Bill Manhire         $25
In the face of that of which the mind cannot conceive the senses speak with urgency, we experience simultaneously a grasping and a relinquishment, a change in contrast and in texture, if we may call them that, a new sense of purpose indistinguishable from resignation. In this book, Bill Manhire’s first collection in seven years, language dances as death presses at it from behind, agency flees into objects, images draw themselves together on the brink of their own dissolution, small things become final containers for the large. Wearing his art so lightly as at times to resemble artlessness, Manhire tests the strengths of finer and finer threads to very subtle effect. An excellent collection.
>>Read Thomas's review
 Tightrope by Selina Tusitala Marsh          $28
Built around the abyss, the tightrope, and the trick that we all have to perform to walk across it, Pasifika 'poetry warrior' Selina Tusitala Marsh brings to life in Tightrope her ongoing dialogue with memory, life and death to find out whether stories really can cure the incurable.
>> This video of Marsh launching her previous collection, Dark Sparring, is worth watching again. 
Fully Clothed and So Forgetful by Hannah Mettner        $25
"This book will push you down a marble staircase, and then cheerfully bring you a couple of aspirin.' — Hera Lindsay Bird
A Tongue is Not for Lashing by Panni Palasti       $25
A bilingual edition (English and Hungarian) volume of Palasti's poems, rich with the pains and pleasures of memory. 
"I love the writing, the honesty of it, the search that is always there, the courage to face hard truths and at the same time imagine other lives with compassion." - Elizabeth Smither
Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither        $25
"Elizabeth Smither's world is the people she knows, the places she visits, the animals she encounters. As they appear in her work they take on mysterious, sometimes surreal, qualities. Her imaginative world is charming and enchanted, peculiar, whimsical, and often very funny." - C. K. Stead

Selected Poems by Ian Wedde      $40
How can language contain the world that spills
From its torn rinds, how can my ode hold
On to language that ejects itself like birdsong
From pine trees still shady with dawn?
Five decades of word-and-brain work. 
The Yield by Sue Wootton      $25
Whether it is considering the relationship between medical institutions and individual suffering or the impact of climate change on personal creativity, Wootton's restless inventiveness liberates unexpected connections. 
"A richly mulled book about suffering and empowerment." - Siobhan Harvey







25/11/2017 11:24 PM







List #4: SCIENCE

A selection of books for those curious about the physical world and its workings. 

Come in or click through to browse our full selection. 



The Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world by Anthony Brandt and David Eagleman         $37
The latest neurological research shows how our brains are softwired (or live-wired!) rather than hardwired. This endless malleability enables us to reconceptualise our world and to construct experience. Where do new ideas come from? Eagleman, whose book The Brain is the best introduction to the philosophical and psychological implications of neurological research, teams up with composer Anthony Brandt to explore our need for novelty and our capacities to produce it like no other animal. 

Animals Among Us: The new science of anthrozoology by John Bradshaw         $50
Why do humans keep and cherish some animals i their homes and yet regard others as a source of food or sport? Our relationship with animals tells us much about our own nature as a species and as individuals. A thoughtful and enjoyable book. 


 


The Seabird's Cry: The lives and loves of puffins, gannets and other ocean voyagers by Adam Nicolson        $40
At the heart of the book are the Shiant Isles, a cluster of Hebridean islands in the Minch but Nicolson has pursued the birds much further-across the Atlantic, up the west coast of Ireland, to St Kilda, Orkney, Shetland, the Faeroes, Iceland and Norway; to the eastern seaboard of Maine and to Newfoundland, to the Falklands, South Georgia, the Canaries and the Azores - reaching out across the widths of the world ocean which is the seabirds' home. 
"I was entranced - my mind thrilling to the veers and lifts of thought, to the beautiful deftness of the prose. This marvellous book inhabits with graceful ease both the mythic and the scientific, and remains alert to the vulnerability of these birds as well as to their wonder. It is a work that takes wing in the mind." - Robert Macfarlane

Mysteries of the Quantum Universe by Thibault Damour and Mathieu Burniat        $48
Quantum physics gets its graphic-novel explication as Bob and his dog Rick have crepes with Max Planck, chat with Einstein about atoms and hang out, uncertainly, with Heisenberg in Heligoland. 
"Billed as 'Tintin meets Brian Cox', the book was created by theoretical physicist Thibault Damour and illustrator Mathieu Burniat so it's as scientifically accurate as it is beautiful." - BBC Focus 

Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst by Robert Sapolsky           $40
What drives human behaviours such as racism, xenophobia, tolerance, competition, morality, war, and even peace?
>> A neurobiologist in the bookshop
>> Are we hard-wired to be cruel to each other? 

The Inner Life of Animals: Surprising observations of a hidden worldby Peter Wohlleben       $38
The aspects of ourselves that we hold as being the most human are in fact the ones that we share most widely with other animals. 
From the author of The Hidden Life of Trees
The Matter of the Heart: A history of the heart in eleven operations by Thomas Morris            $40
“Thomas Morris does for the history of cardiac surgery what The Right Stuff and Hidden Figures did for the space race. The book is – appropriately – pulse-thumpingly gripping and will be enjoyed by anyone who, in any sense of the phrase, has a heart.” – Mark Lawson
“Tremendous. An exhilarating sweep through ancient history and contemporary practice in surgery of the heart. It’s rich in extraordinary detail and stories that will amaze you. A wonderful book.” – Melvyn Bragg



The Wood for the Trees: A long view of nature from a small wood by Richard Fortey      $25
This biography of an English 'beech-and-bluebell' wood through the seasons and through history both natural and human, is a portrayal of the relationships of humans to nature and a demonstration that poetic writing can be scientifically precise. 
"'His remarkable scientific knowledge, intense curiosity and love of nature mean entries erupt with the same richness and variety as the woods they describe. Fortey's enthusiasm for his new wonderland is infectious and illuminating, deep and interesting." - Guardian 



Modern Death: How medicine changed the end of life by Haider Warraich          $43
Advances in medical science has meant not only that we live longer but that we spend more of that time dying. How has this changed our view of the world and our place in it? 





The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks        $38
The latest advances in neuroscience have bearing on the dilemmas of both philosophy and psychology. Before he died, Sacks drew together some of his incisive essays on consciousness and on the relationship between the brain and the mind, experience and memory, to be presented as this important addition to his oeuvre. 




Moonshots: 50 years of NASA space exploration seen through Hasselbladt cameras by Piers Bizony       $130
The most extraordinary images of the Apollo and later missions, presented in this lavish large-format slip-cased volume. Who would have thought that such images could inspire such awe and wonder? 



A Crack in Creation: The new power to control evolution by Jennifer Doudna and Sam Sternberg          $40
Doudna's discovery of the genome editing capacities of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) has provided scientists with potentially the most powerful interventional tool yet in the field of genetics. 



The Voices Within: The history and science of how we talk to ourselvesby Charles Fernyhough        $28
As soon as we evolved language our minds assailed us with voices that could not be heard by anyone else. What do these voices tell us about the workings of our minds, the structures and function of language, and about our conception of ourselves and our place in our world?
>> Not I




Universe: Exploring the astronomical world by Paul Murdin       $90
A sumptuous collection of 300 images giving an overview of humanity's conceptions of the cosmos, from the earliest times to the latest discoveries and imaging techniques. 
>> See some sample pages here



The Way of the Hare by Marianne Taylor        $33
Hares are small animals with many predators but they have no burrow or tunnel to shelter them from danger. They survive by a combination of two skills honed to unimaginable extremes: hiding in plain sight, and running fast. This handsome book deals in detail with hares, both as they are, both biochemically and behaviourally, and as they are imagined in art, mythology and legend. 



Improbable Destinies: How predictable is evolution? by Jonathan Losos         $55
The natural world is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. Convergence suggests that evolution is predictable, and if we could replay the tape of life, we would get the same outcome. But there are also many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change - a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze - caused evolution to take a completely different course. So are we humans, and all the plants and animals in the world today, inevitabilities or evolutionary freaks? 

Sound: Stories of hearing lost and found by Bella Bathurst        $40
A thoughtful consideration of the place of sound and hearing in our lives and culture and identities, springing from the author's progressive deafness and the recovery of her capacities.
International Travel Bureau Vacation Guide to the Solar System: Science for the savvy space traveller by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich         $28
The essential planning guide for the curious space adventurer, covering all of the essentials for your next voyage, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive, and a vast amount of information about the planets. 
How to Survive a Plague: The story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS by David France        $30
A remarkable, passionate, brutally human account of the shifts in societal attitudes and in science that enabled humanity to turn the tide against the AIDS epidemic. 
Winner of the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
Anaesthesia: The gift of oblivion and the mystery of consciousness by Kate Cole-Adams        $38
A hundred and seventy years ago many people would have chosen to die rather than undergo the ordeal of surgery. Today, even major operations are routine. Anaesthesia has made them possible. But how much do we really know about what happens when we go under? Can we hear what's going on around us? Is pain still pain if we are not awake to feel it, or don't remember it afterwards? How does the unconscious mind deal with the body's experience of being cut open and ransacked? 

Stalin and the Scientists: A history of triumph and tragedy, 1902-1953 by Simon Ings       $28
War-torn, unstable and virtually bankrupt, revolutionary Russia tried to light its way to the future with the fitful glow of science. It succeeded through terror, folly and crime - but also through courage, imagination and even genius. Stalin believed that science should serve the state and with many disciplines having virtually unlimited funds, by the time of his death in 1953, the Soviet Union boasted the largest and best-funded scientific establishment in history - at once the glory and the laughing stock of the intellectual world. 
Soonish: The emerging technologies that will improve and/or ruin everything by Kelly Weinersmith       $55
From robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters - what technologies are coming? What technologies are needed? What are the impediments to useful progress? Fun. 



A Map of the Invisible: Journeys into particle physics by John Butterworth      $40
Over the last sixty years, scientists around the world have worked together to explore the fundamental constituents of matter, and the forces that govern their behaviour. The result, so far, is the 'Standard Model' of elementary particles: a theoretical map of the basic building blocks of the universe. With the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012, the map as we know it was completed, but also extended into strange and wonderful new realms.

Beyond Infinity: An expedition to the outer limits of the mathematical universe by Eugenia Cheng      $37
Numbers are infinitely extensive but also infinitely divisible. Can one sort of infinity be said to be larger than another? 

Reading the Rocks: How Victorian geologists discovered the secrets of life by Brenda Maddox      $36
Was it a coincidence that geology has a pivotal science in an age of social and political repositioning? Maddox introduces us to the diverse range of geologists who kept focussed during the geology vs. Genesis showdown. 



Tōtara: A natural and cultural history by Philip Simpson            $75
Among the biggest and oldest trees in the New Zealand forest, the heart of Maori carving and culture, trailing no. 8 wire as fence posts on settler farms, clambered up in the Pureora protests of the 1980s: the story of New Zealand can be told through totara.



Humankind: Solidarity with non-human people by Timothy Morton        $22
What is a person and what is not? If we rethink our notions of identity can we both include and overcome the notion of species and arrive at a more helpful model of our place on (or in) the planet? 
"I have been reading Timothy Morton's books for a while and I like them a lot." - Bjork

Void: The strange physics of nothing by James Owen Weatherall        $42
The physics of matter receive a lot of attention, but what about the physics of nothing and of absence? Both relativity and quantum theory tell us that nothingness can't be infinitely extensive. Nothing, Weatherall shows, turns out to be very similar to something, similarly structured and describable with the same laws. 

Paleoart: Visions of the prehistoric past by Zoe Lascaze        $160
How have artists envisaged  human and prehuman life in prehistoric times? Perhaps you have been moved or amused by the often poignant depictions of dinosaurs, mastodons or hominids in the books of your childhood. This vast volume collects the best of such art, in all its poignancy and ludicrosity, from 1830 to 1990. Beneath the dustwrapper, the book is bound in real dinosaur skin (or something very like it). 
>> A tour through the book (then resist it if you can).

Human Anatomy: Stereoscopic images of medical specimens by Jim Naughten        $100
Fascinating, unsettling, wonderful. The specimens are all drawn from the Vrolik Museum in Amsterdam. Includes stereoscope. 
The Reality Frame: Relativity and our place in the universe by Brian Clegg        $45
From religion to philosophy, humanity has traditionally sought out absolutes to explain the world around us, but as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of these certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials such as absolute zero, nothingness, and light, leading to better science and a new understanding of our place in the physical world. 
Bird Words: New Zealand writers on birds by Elisabeth Easther      $35
An anthology of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, all concerned with the birds, both native and endemic, of New Zealand. 
Bee Quest by Dave Goulson        $45
A hunt for the world's most elusive bees leads Dave Goulson from the Salisbury plains to the Sussex hedgerows, from Poland to Patagonia. 
Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the myths of our gendered minds by Cordelia Fine       $33
 “A cracking critique of the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ hypothesis, Cordelia Fine takes to pieces much of the science on which ‘fundamental’ gender differences are predicated. Graced with precisely focused humour, the author makes a good case that men and women are far more alike than many  would claim. Feminist? Possibly. Humanist? Certainly. A compellingly good read.” - Richard Fortey
Winner of the 2017 Royal Society Science Book Prize.

Anatomy: A cutaway look inside the human body by Helene Druvert and Jean-Claude Druvert       $45
Here's the human body as you've never seen it before. Clever laser cut-outs, flaps and overlays explore every detail of the organs, systems and senses. 


In Search of Stardust: Amazing micrometeorites and their terrestrial imposters by Jon Larson      $33
The solar system is a dusty place. Every day approximately 100 metric tons of cosmic dust collides with Earth, mainly in the form of micrometeorites. Most of these mineral particles (iron, nickel, etc.) are smaller than grains of sand, and they are falling down on us all the time and all over the globe. This book shows you how to find and identify (and collect!) micrometeorites, and how to distinguish them from other microstuff. 
>> Stardust found



23/11/2017 05:48 PM






List #3: BIOGRAPHY

2017 has produced a number of compelling books concerning the lives of people who warrant attention for one reason or another. 


Mr Lear: A life of art and nonsense by Jenny Uglow         $55
A man of deep ambivalences, contradictions and vulnerabilities, Edward Lear was unable to act on his deepest feelings but produced some of the oddest poetry of his time, as well as a body of art both serious and comic. Jenny Uglow, who could almost be said to specialise in biographies of odd characters who both exemplify and stand apart from their times, is Lear's perfect biographer, forensic yet sensitive to the most hidden corners of his psyche, his playfulness and his melancholy. 
"Jenny Uglow has written a great life about an artist with half a life, a biography that might break your heart." - Robert McCrum, Guardian



Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia, illustrated by Katy Horan       $42
A magical survey of 30 writers who are also women, giving insight into their verbal superpowers, biographies and principle works. Powerfully illustrated. Includes Janet Frame, 'Hermit of Hospitals, Belonging and Lost Souls'. 
>> Peek at a few witches here



Tuai: A traveller in two worlds by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins           $40
One of the first Maori travellers to Europe, Tuai, a young Ngare Raumati chief from the Bay of Islands, took the opportunity in 1817 to visit England and elsewhere, observing Pakeha culture and technology in its own place. He returned in 1819, planning to integrate new European knowledge and relationships into his Ngare Raumati community, but the situation at home had changed in his absence. 

Simply by Sailing in a New Direction: Allen Curnow, A biography by Terry Sturm         $70
"Simply by sailing in a new direction / You could enlarge the world." Curnow's 70-year career in the vanguard of New Zealand poetry involved the defining and redefining of poetic sensibilities, moving from an antipodean to an autochthonic focus. 
Uniform with Curnow's Collected Poems (and available as a slipcased pair).


Threads: The delicate life of John Craske by Julia Blackburn        $48
John Craske, a Norfolk fisherman, was born in 1881, and in 1917 he fell seriously ill. For the rest of his life he kept moving in and out of what was described as 'a stuporous state'. In 1923 he started making paintings of the sea and boats and the coastline seen from the sea, and later, when he was too ill to stand and paint, he turned to embroidery, which he could do lying in bed. Julia Blackburn's account of his life is a quest which takes her in many strange directions - to fishermen's cottages in Sheringham, a grand hotel fallen on hard times in Great Yarmouth and to the isolated Watch House far out in the Blakeney estuary; to Cromer and the bizarre story of Einstein's stay there, guarded by dashing young women in jodhpurs with shotguns. Threads is a book about life and death and the strange country between the two.
"Oh, what a miraculous book this is: parochial, weird and inconclusive in a way that few books dare to be these days, and illustrated so generously, with something beautiful or interesting on every other page. Buy it, and let it take you out to sea, no sou'wester required." - Rachel Cooke, Observer
"Wonderful. I lay down her book without knowing the cause of the 'mental stupors' that defined Craske's life, or understanding his relationship to his complicated family, but feeling I had inhaled the cold salt of the East Anglian coastline from which he sailed when he was well, and run my fingers across the bright wool of the embroideries he made when he was not." - Telegraph

Strangers arrive: Émigrés and the arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980by Leonard Bell          $75
From the 1930s to the 1950s, forced migrants - refugees from Nazism, displaced people after World War II and escapees from Communist countries - arrived in New Zealand from Europe. Among them were extraordinary artists and writers, photographers, designers and architects whose European Modernism radically reshaped the arts in this country. How were migrants received by New Zealanders? How did displacement and settlement in New Zealand transform their work? How did the arrival of European Modernists intersect with the burgeoning nationalist movement in the arts in New Zealand? This book introduces us to a group of `aliens' who were critical catalysts for change in New Zealand culture. An outstanding piece of social and artistic history, beautifully illustrated. 

This is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson          $28
What do you report when you become uncertain of the facts, of the notion of truth and of the purpose of writing? What can you understand of yourself when you are uncertain how or if your memories can be correlated with known 'facts'? Is your idea of yourself anything other than the sum of your memories? Lara Pawson was for some years a journalist for the BBC and other media during the civil wars in Angola, and on the Ivory Coast. In this book, her experiences of societies in trauma, and her idealism for making the 'truth' known, are fragmented (as memory is always fragmented) and mixed with memory fragments of her childhood and of her relationships with the various people she encountered before, during and after the period of heightened awareness provided by war. It is this intermeshing of shared and personal perspectives, sometimes reinforcing and sometimes contradicting each other, always crossing over and back over the rift that separates the individual and her world, that makes this book such a fascinating description of a life. By constantly looking outwards, Pawson has conjured a portrait of the person who looks outwards, and a remarkable depiction of the act of looking outwards. Every word contributes to this pointillist self-portrait, and the reader hangs therefore on every word.

Driving to Treblinka: A long search for a lost father by Diana Wichtel       $45
When Diana Wichtel moved to New Zealand as a child with her mother and siblings, her father, a Polish Jew who had jumped off the train to the Treblinka extermination camp in World War II and who had hidden from the Nazis for the rest of the war, failed to follow them as planned. In adulthood, Wichtel began to wonder what had become of him, both before and after his brief presence in her life. Her search for answers led towards the Warsaw ghetto and to consider the ongoing consequences of trauma. Very well written. 
>> Wichtel talks to Kim Hill

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen brushes with death by Maggie O'Farrell        $35
Death could come to us at any time, and in a range of guises. O'Farrell builds the memoir around the times in her life when death was nearer than at other times: childhood illness, teenage misadventure, mismanaged labour. Does the proximity of death make us act differently? 
"O'Farrell is a breathtakingly good writer, and brings all her elegance and poise as a novelist to the story of her own life." - Guardian 

The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria by Annie Gray        $40
Victoria's appetite for life was expressed in her appetite for food: the queen consistently over-ate all her life. Her appetites presided over a revolution in English cuisine. 
"Had me at the first sentence." - Nigel Slater 
"Zingy, fresh, and unexpected: Annie Gray, the queen of food historians, finds her perfect subject." - Lucy Worsley 
>> Gray on the importance of dinner to the British Empire

Why Dylan Matters by Richard F. Thomas         $30
When the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan in 2016, many wondered whether he even qualified for the award. Thomas makes the case for his inclusion in the literary canon. 


The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year that Changed Literature by Bill Goldstein      $43
1922, the year that Modernism was born. 



Drawn Out: A seriously funny memoir by Tom Scott       $45
Scott is one of New Zealand's favourite and longest-serving political cartoonists, columnists and satirists. Find out about the many unsuspected facets of his life. 



Edmund Hillary, A biography by Michael Gill         $60
Exhaustive and magisterial, this biography benefits from its author's first-hand knowledge and from his access to Hillary's personal papers. It reveals dimensions of Hillary's life not hitherto examined. 



The Man Who Climbs Trees: A memoir by James Aldred       $35
Nature writing from a professional tree-climber whose work has taken him into the upper strata of forests around the world. Beautifully written.




Making Trouble: life and politics by Lynne Segal      $27
What happens when angry young rebels become wary older women, ageing in a leaner, meaner time: a time which exalts only the 'new', in a ruling orthodoxy daily disparaging all it portrays as the 'old'? Delving into her own life and those of others who left their mark on it, Segal tracks through time to consider her generation of female dreamers, what formed them, how they left their mark on the world, where they are now in times when pessimism seems never far from what remains of public life.
Marx, Freud, Einstein: Heroes of the mind by Corinne Maier and Ann Simon       $33
Excellent and amusing graphic biographies.



Joan: The remarkable life of Joan Leigh Fermor by Simon Fenwick        $55
A photographer and independent woman in the London bohemian circles in the 1930s, Joan Eyres Monsell met Patrick Leigh Fermor when she was on assignment in Egypt during the Second World War. At last we have a biography of this interesting free-thinking woman, whose photographic work supported Patrick in his writing. 
"Engrossing." - Guardian

The Expatriates by Martin Edmond           $50
"The connection between a colony and its founder, centre and margin, is always paradoxical. Where once Britain sent colonists out into the world, now the descendants of those colonists return to interrogate the centre." This book rediscovers four men, born in New Zealand, who achieved fame in Europe as they were forgotten at home: Harold Williams, journalist, linguist, Foreign Editor of The Times; Ronald Syme, spy, libertarian, historian of ancient Rome; John Platt-Mills, radical lawyer and political activist; and Joseph Burney Trapp, librarian, scholar and protector of culture. Edmond, as always, writes thoughtfully and with insight. 
What You Did Not Tell: A Russian past and the journey home by Mark Mazower         $55
It was a family that fate drove into the siege of Stalingrad, the Vilna ghetto, occupied Paris, and even into the ranks of the Wehrmacht. Mazower's British father was the lucky one, the son of Russian Jewish emigrants who settled in London after escaping the civil war and revolution. Max, the grandfather, had started out as a socialist and manned the barricades against tsarist troops, but never spoke of it. His wife, Frouma, came from a family ravaged by the Great Terror yet somehow making their way in Soviet society. How did the confluence of these histories form the person Mark Mazower is? 
Last Inhabitant of Shackleton's Hut by Oliver Sutherland       $25
In 1962, as a young zoologist, Sutherland lived for 3 months alone in Shackleton's hut in Antarctica's McMurdo Sound, alone, that is, apart from visitors (up to 40 a day) who came to see him living alone in the famous explorer's hut. One of the visitors, Graham Billing, wrote a novel, Foxbrush and the Penguins, based on Sutherland, and this was subsequently made into a film starring John Hurt as Sutherland. Sutherland's own account of his stay is now available for the first time.



200 Women by Geoff Blackwell      $75
What really matters to you? What would you change in the world if you could? What brings you happiness? What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? What single word do you most identify with? Two hundred women from around the world, both famous and nonfamous, answer these same five questions. What would your answers be? This monumental book includes photographic portraits of all 200 interviewees. 

The Militant Muse: Love, war and the women of Surrealism by Whitney Chadwick      $55
How Surrealism, female friendship, and the experiences of war, loss, and trauma shaped individual women's transitions from someone else's muse to mature artists in their own right. Includes Claude Cahun and Suzanne Malherbe, Lee Miller and Valentine Penrose, Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini, Frida Kahlo and Jacqueline Lamba.
Adventures of a Young Naturalist by David Attenborough       $38
In 1954, a young television presenter was offered the opportunity to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo's collection, and to film the expeditions for the BBC. His name was David Attenborough, and the programme, Zoo Quest, not only heralded the start of a remarkable career in broadcasting, but changed the way we viewed the natural world forever. 

These Possible Lives by Fleur Jaeggy           $21
Jaeggy, whose brief fictions, such as those in I am the Brother of XX, remain as pleasant burrs in the mind long after the short time spent reading them, has here written three brief biographies, of Thomas De Quincey, John Keats and Marcel Schwob, each as brief and effective as a lightning strike and as memorable. Jaeggy is interested in discovering what it was about these figures that made them them and not someone else. By assembling details, quotes, sketches of situations, pin-sharp portraits of contemporaries, some of which, in a few words, will change the way you remember them, Jaeggy takes us close to the membrane, so to call it, that surrounds the known, the membrane that these writers were intent on stretching, or constitutionally unable not to stretch, beyond which lay and lies madness and death, the constant themes of all Jaeggy’s attentions, and, for Jaeggy, the backdrop to, if not the object of, all creative striving. >> Read Thomas's review

Nick Cave: Mercy on Me by Reinhard Kleist       $33
"Reinhard Kleist, master graphic novelist and myth-maker has - yet again - blown apart the conventions of the graphic novel by concocting a terrifying conflation of Cave songs, biographical half-truths and complete fabulations and creating a complex, chilling and completely bizarre journey into Cave World. Closer to the truth than any biography, that's for sure! But for the record, I never killed Elisa Day." - Nick Cave
>> Live Mercy

21/11/2017 10:12 PM




List #2: POLITICS

Just a few of the interesting books at VOLUME on political issues.
Come and browse our full selection

The Mother of All Questions: Future feminisms by Rebecca Solnit          $28
Feminism if for everyone. Solnit continues the sharp and important wok she began in Men Explain Things to Me with this collection of commentary essays on feminism, misogyny, gendered binaries, masculine literary insecurity and related topics. 
"No writer has weighed the complexities of sustaining hop in our times of readily available despair more thoughtfully and beautifully, nor with greater nuance." - Maria Popova
BWB Texts (various titles)       $15 each
Incisive comment on social, political and environmental issues facing New Zealand from a swathe of leading writers and thinkers. Click through to find out more. Intelligent stocking-fillers. 


The Journal of Urgent Writing, 2017 edited by Simon Wilson      $40
Essays towards a better national conversation, including: Morgan Godfery on identity • Jess Berentson-Shaw on social investment • Andrew Judd on racism • Carys Goodwin on climate change • Conor Clarke on dirt • David Cohen on Popper, Plato, Hegel and Marx • Emma Espiner on a tikanga Māori world • Gilbert Wong on growing up Chinese • Giselle Byrnes on why universities matter • Jo Randerson on dying • Māmari Stephens on our threatened marae • Victor Rodger on being actually brown • Maria Majsa on Johnny Rotten • Max Harris on dreams • Mike Joy and Kyleisha Foote on dams • Raf Manji on a new progressive agenda • Sarah Laing on menstruation • Sylvia Nissen on youth and politics • Teena Brown Pulu on three Tongan funerals • Tim Watkin on explaining Trump • Simon Wilson on a radical centre.

Out of the Wreckage: A new politics for an age of crisis by George Monbiot         $27
The neoliberal experiment has brought society and the environment to the brink of disaster (and for many, over the brink). But humans are characterised not as much by competitive individualism as by altruism and co-operation. How can these be built into a politics that addresses the crises the world currently faces? 

Precarity: Uncertain, insecure and unequal lives in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Shiloh Groot et al                             $40
The precariat is a class-in-the-making. The precariat are our fellow citizens (if they are not us) for whom poverty, age, disability, homelessness, estrangement, mental or physical illness or estrangement from communities and cultures have resulted in uncertainty, dependency, powerlessness, perilousness and insufficiency. The precariat is very much an outcome of the dismantling of the welfare state and the violation of unwritten social contracts by the privileged. 

The New Zealand Project by Max Harris         $40
We face unprecedented challenges - climate change, rising inequality, economic uncertainties, a rapidly changing concept of ‘work', to mention just a few. The New Zealand Project is a serious, intelligent and thoughtful vision that challenges our preconceptions, tackles the tough questions, and gives us a framework on which to think about New Zealand’s political future and how changes in political concepts are vital to creating a better society for all.  Max Harris wants a discussion - he wants people to ask questions and debate concepts. This is a book that should be read, absorbed and discussed. 
No is Not Enough: Defeating the new shock politics by Naomi Klein          $35
"Trump, as extreme as he is, is less an aberration than a logical conclusion - a pastiche of pretty much all the worst and most dangerous trends of the past half century. A one-man megabrand, with wife and children as spin-off brands." Klein sees Donald Trump's presidency as the conclusion of the long corporate takeover of politics, using deliberate shock tactics to generate wave after wave of crises and force through radical policies that will destroy people, the environment, the economy and national security. This book provides a toolkit for resistance, starting with clarity of perception.
"I count Naomi Klein among the most inspirational political thinkers in the world today." -Arundhati Roy 
"Naomi Klein as a writer is an accusing angel." - John Berger
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui          $40
The Best We Could Do explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child. Thi Bui documents her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the diffiulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America.



A Moral Truth: 150 years of investigative journalism in New Zealandedited by James Hollings         $45
Spanning the wars in the Waikato to the present day, and including pieces from Robyn Hyde and Pat Booth to Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle, Mike White, Jon Stephenson, Nicky Hager and Phil Kitchin, the pieces in this anthology are fresh whatever their age, and remind us of the importance of the contribution made by journalists to public knowledge and discourse. 

Basic Income, And how we can make it happen by Guy Standing        $28
"Guy Standing has been at the forefront of the movement for nearly 4 decades, and in this superb and thorough survey he explains how it works and why it has the potential to revitalise life and democracy in our societies. This is an essential book." - Brian Eno
>> Protecting the precariat


Democracy and its Crisis by A.C. Grayling         $37
Why are the institutions of representative democracy seemingly unable to sustain themselves against forces they were designed to manage, and why does it matter?
Five Ideas to Fight For: How our freedom is under threat and why it matters by Anthony Lester         $22
Human Rights, equality, free speech, privacy, the rule of law: these dearly held principles of civilised society are under threat globally - from forces within government and without. 


Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles          $38
"Now more than ever, the world needs a book like Draw Your Weapons. With mastery, urgency and great courage, Sarah Sentilles investigates the histories of art, violence, war and human survival. In her haunting and absorbing narrative, the act of storytelling itself becomes a matter of life and death." -- Ruth Ozeki
"A beautiful, harrowing, and moving collage that portrays the making of art as a powerful response to making war." - Alice Elliott Dark
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A brief history of capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis           $35
What is money and why does debt exist? Where do wealth and inequality come from? How come economics has the power to shape and destroy our lives? An excellent primer, using stories to explain and question the drivers of society. 
""The reason Varoufakis seems to have captured the imaginations of so many is that his words about the European crisis speak universal truths about democracy, capitalism and social policy." - Guardian
Freedom Hospital: A Syrian story by Hamid Sulaiman       $48
A graphic novel giving insight into one the tragedies of out time. Over 40,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian Arab Spring. In the wake of this, Yasmin has set up a clandestine hospital in the north of the country. The town that she lives in is controlled by Assad's regime, but is relatively stable. However, as the months pass, the situation becomes increasingly complex and violent. 
Age of Anger: A history of the present by Pankaj Mishra        $40
How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world - from American 'shooters' and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? 
"Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely. Throws light on our contemporary predicament, when the neglected and dispossessed of the world have suddenly risen up to transform the world we thought we knew." - John Banville

A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler        $25
New Zealand needs a constitution that is easy to understand, reflects our shared identity and nationhood, protects rights and liberties, and prevents governments from abusing power.


The Future is History: How totalitarianism reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen         $37
Gessen follows the lives of four Russians born in the last days of the Soviet Union and considers how their prospects have dwindled as the country has descended into what is effectively a Mafia state. 



https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/politics-antifa-the-anti-fascist-handbook?barcode=9781612197036
Antifa: The antifascist handbook by Mark Bray        $35
Traces the history of movements to counteract far-right, authoritarian and white supremacist movements from their roots in 1920s Europe to the grass-roots response to the fascist populism of Trump-era USA. The book also is a guide to recognizing and counteracting reactionary and racist invective and behaviour wherever it is found. 


The Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers confront the occupation edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman      $33
26 writers (including Colum McCann, Rachel Kushner, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien and Eimear McBride) from 14 countries bear witness to the human cost of the 50-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank. 
"Moving, heartbreaking, and infuriating, testifying to the chilling cruelty of Israel's policy toward Palestinians. Deeply unsettling and important." - Kirkus 
>> Trailer
Free Speech: Ten principles for a connected world by Timothy Garton Ash          $28
With the internet providing instant audience for any statement, how are we preserve our freedoms and also progress to a more humane and inclusive mode of discourse?
"Garton Ash's larger project is not merely to defend freedom of expression, but to promote civil, dispassionate discourse, within and across cultures, even about the most divisive and emotive subjects." - Guardian 
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 29 psychiatrists and mental health experts assess a President edited by Bandy Lee      $45
Everything you've ever suspected is backed up by an expert, but what is the mental health status of the nation that elected him? 


A World of Three Zeroes: The new economics of zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions by Muhammad Yunus        $38
In the decade since Yunus first began to articulate his ideas for a new model of economics, thousands of companies, nonprofits, and individual entrepreneurs around the world have embraced them. From Albania to Colombia, India to Germany, newly created businesses and enterprises are committed to reducing poverty, improving health care and education, cleaning up pollution, and serving other urgent human needs in ingenious, innovative ways. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in alleviating poverty. 
The New Odyssey: The story of Europe's refugee crisis by Patrick Kingsley            $25
An incomparable account from The Guaridan's refugee correspondent, who travelled to 17 countries and interviewed hundreds of refugees.
"A must-read for our times." - Yannis Varoufakis
The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a year acting dangerously by Slavoj Žižek       $30
Do we endorse the predominant acceptance of capitalism as a fact of human nature, or does today's capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms to prevent its infinite reproduction? Can we move beyond the perceived failure of socialism, and beyond the current wave of populist rage, and initiate radical change before the train hits?


Spinfluence: The hardcore propaganda manual for controlling the masses by Nick McFarlane         $22
A useful guide to the malleability of truth and the control of public opinion. 










18/11/2017 04:49 PM







List #1: COOKBOOKS

Just a few of the delectable cookbooks at VOLUME.
Come and browse our full selection




Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura         $50
"My approach to food favours intuition over strict rules and is about using your hands, rushing a little less and savouring the details. It's not food that needs to be placed on a pedestal or admired from afar; it is food that slowly weaves its way into the fabric of your daily life - food for living and sharing."
The online slow food phenomenon has now produced this very beautiful cookbook. Very satisfying - even just to look through. 
The Vegetable by Caroline Griffith and Vicki Valsamis               $60
A beautifully presented and wonderfully quiet cookbook, with 130 plant-based recipes for all occasions. 





Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the elements of good cooking by Samin Nosrat          $55
Learn to cook instinctively by increasing your awareness of four variables and learning how their interaction can achieve delicious results whatever the ingredients. 
"Samin Nosrat has managed to summarize the huge and complex subject of how we should be cooking in just four words. Everyone will be hugely impressed." - Yotam Ottolenghi
>> In her own words


The Grammar of Spice by Caz Hildebrand         $45
Explains not only the history of every imaginable sort of spice, but imparts an understanding that enables the reader to use and combine them effectively when cooking. Wonderful illuminated illustrations throughout. 





French Pâtisserie: Master recipes and techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts, Paris        $100
A very clear guide to the production of perfect patisserie, up to Michelin level (absolutely breathtaking). 

Lisboeta: Recipes from Portugal's City of Light by Nuno Mendes      $53
An interesting and attractive guide to the food of Lisbon replete with recipes for every meals of the day and with evocative photographs. 
>> Mendes tells a little about himself




The Great Dixter Cookbook by Aaron Bertelsen          $60
New Zealander Bertelsen is gardener and cook at Great Dixter, the house designed by Edwin Lutyens (upon a 15th century remnant) with gardens in the Arts and Crafts style by Christopher LLoyd. This book is a delight both to gardeners, with hands-on seasonal tips, and to cooks, with very appetising versions of classic dishes, many with a distinctly New Zealand flavour, using many of the ingredients you may have just harvested from the garden. The book is very attractively presented, with quietly beautiful photographs. One of the nicest cookbooks of the year. 


https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/food-drink-sweet--3?barcode=9781785031144
Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh          $65
What could be better than a new cookbook entirely devoted to baking and desserts from the author of several of the best cookbooks on your shelves? Ottolenghi and his long-time collaborator Goh present recipes that combine flavours and ingredients in interesting ways and yet are achievable, either easily or with a small amount of pleasurable effort. Delicious, beautifully presented and absolutely recommended for everyone from children to accomplished bakers. 
>> Would you eat this? 

Nikau Cafe Cookbook by Kelda Hains and Paul Schrader      $60
Recipes for many of the memorable dishes at the iconic Wellington cafe,a long with thoughtful writing, and photography by Douglas Johns. 
The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the legendary cuisine of Syria by Marlene Matar        $55
It is hardly surprising that Aleppo, one of the world's oldest inhabited cities, is also home to one of the world's most distinguished and vibrant cuisines.



Igni by Aaron Turner       $65
After working in some of the world's outstanding restaurants, including Noma in Copenhagen and El cellar de can Roca in Girona, Turner opened his own restaurant in Australia. This book documents the tribulations and excitements of its first year, and is full of distinctive recipes and atmospheric photographs. 
>> A high-end degustation restaurant in a Geelong backstreet.


Japan Easy: Classic and easy Japanese recipes to cook at home by Tim Anderson       $37
Appealingly presented, fun to use, full of authentically easy and manifestly delicious dishes, each with an easiness rating (ranging from "not so difficult" to "so not difficult").
>> You can make this


The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young        $45
100 recipes for dishes mentioned in favourite books. Includes Marmalade (A Bear Called Paddington), Tunna Pannkakor (Pippi Longstocking), Crab & Avocado Salad (The Bell Jar), Stuffed Eggplant (Love in the Time of Cholera), Coconut Shortbread (The Essex Serpent), Madeleines (In Search of Lost Time), Figs & Custard (Dubliners), Chocolatl (Northern Lights) and Smoking Bishop (A Christmas Carol). 
"A work of rare joy, and one as wholly irresistible as the food it so delightfully describes. It is a glorious work that nourishes the mind and spirit as much as the body, and I could not love it more." - Sarah Perry (author of The Essex Serpent)
>> Crytallised ginger to please Agatha Christie
CCCP Cook Book: True stories of Soviet cuisine by Olga and Pavel Syutkin         $45
Features 60 recipes, each with fascinating background text explaining the relationship between edible culture and its political, social economic and ethnic corollaries. The illustrations and the food are at once ugly and beautiful, attractive and repellent. A beautifully produced book that will possibly give you deeper insight into Soviet life than most histories. 

The Complete Guide to Baking: Bread, brioche and other gourmet treats by Rodolphe Landemaine        $65 
Everything from the fundamentals (types of flours and starters; stages of fermentation; basic doughs and fillings) through to recipes for breads (baguettes, sourdoughs, speciality breads, flavoured breads, oil breads and milk breads), Viennese pastries (croissants, pains au chocolat, apple tarts) gateaux (flan patissier, pistachio and apricot tart, spice bread), brioches (Parisian, praline, plaited, layered and cakes) and biscuits (sables, madeleines, almond tuiles).  


America: The cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz     $70
An encyclopedic survey of 50 states with contributions from over 100 chefs and food writers, absorbing and recombining countless ethnic cuisines into the vast panoply (and is there any panoply that is not vast?) of over 800 dishes of all sorts.
>> Have a look inside










06/11/2017 03:21 PM




HOW JEWISH IS THAT?
A few books from our shelves on Jewishness, Jewish issues and history for Jews, the Jew-curious and people who like interesting books.


https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/politics-the-origins-of-totalitarianism--2?barcode=9780241316757
The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt         $30
Arendt's analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards absolutist domination. A warning for our times (even though first published in 1951). 
A Land Without Borders: My journey around East Jerusalem and the West Bank by Nir Baram        $40
Baram navigates the conflict-ridden regions and hostile terrain to speak with a wide range of people, among them Palestinian-Israeli citizens trapped behind the separation wall in Jerusalem, Jewish settlers determined to forge new lives on the West Bank, children on Kibbutz Nirim who lived through the war in Gaza, and ex-prisoners from Fatah who, after spending years detained in Israeli jails, are now promoting a peace initiative. 
"Written with great talent, momentum and ingenuity. It expands the borders of literature to reveal new landscapes." - Amos Oz
"A book that is a fascinating and charged document about the meaning of home, security and freedom, on both sides of the divide." - NRG 
https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/politics-revolutionary-yiddishland-a-history-of-jewish-radicalism?barcode=9781784786069
Revolutionary Yiddishland: A history of Jewish radicalism by Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg        $37
Socialists, Communists, Bundists, Zionists, Trotskyists, manual workers and intellectuals: before the Holocaust decimated their numbers and laid waste to the land their radicalism addressed, the Jewish communities between Russia and the Baltic brought forth a swathe of new ideas compounded of idealism and doubt. The book examines what was lost, and what might have been. 
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon          $23
If Alaska rather than Israel had become a Jewish homeland after World War 2, and if the streets of its capital Sitka then quaked in fear of Ultraorthodox gangsters with sidelocks, how will Detective Landsman and his half-Jewish, half-Tlingit sidekick Berko solve a murder case that stretches back to the elusive Rebbe Gold and beyond? A hilarious novel, with lashings of noir tropes. 


The Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers confront the occupation edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman      $33
26 writers (including Colum McCann, Rachel Kushner, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien and Eimear McBride) from 14 countries bear witness to the human cost of the 50-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank. 
"Moving, heartbreaking, and infuriating, testifying to the chilling cruelty of Israel's policy toward Palestinians. Deeply unsettling and important." - Kirkus 
>> Trailer
The Non-Jewish Jew, And other essays by Isaac Deutscher         $22
Essays on Spinoza, Heine, Marx, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg and Chagall, and on the Jews under Stalin and of the 'remnants of a race' after Hitler, as well as on the causes and results of Zionism.
"Exceedingly vivid." - TLS


The Choice by Edith Eger         $35
The psychologist specialising in PTSD recounts her own experiences surviving Auschwitz (where she was forced to dance for Josef Mengele) and those of the people she has helped. 
"The Choice is a gift to humanity. Dr. Eger's life reveals our capacity to transcend even the greatest of horrors and to use that suffering for the benefit of others." - Desmond Tutu




Charlotte by David Foenkinos         $28
Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943) was a German-Jewish artist primarily remembered as the creator of an autobiographical series of paintings 'Life? or Theater?', consisting of 769 individual works painted between 1941 and 1943 in the south of France, while Salomon was in hiding from the Nazis. In October 1943 she was captured and deported to Auschwitz, where she and her unborn child were gassed to death by the Nazis soon after her arrival. Her life forms the basis of Foenkinos's beautiful, indignant book. 
>>Some of her work can be seen here
Man's Search for Meaning by Victoe E. Frankl     $33
A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Frankl observed the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn't) with the experience. He noticed that it was the ones who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest, and he asserts that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances. 


Hazana: Jewish vegetarian cooking by Paola Gavin      $52

During 2000 years of exile, Jews have spread across the world, bringing their culinary traditions with them and adapting and adopting the cuisines of their host societies. This book travels from North Africa across Europe and into India, showing all the subtle variations and innovations of essentially Jewish dishes. 
Where the Jews Aren't: The sad and absurd story of Birobidzhan, Russia's Jewish autonomous region by Masha Gessen        $40
In 1929, the Soviet government set aside a sparsely populated area in the Soviet Far East for settlement by Jews. The place was called Birobidzhan. The idea of an autonomous Jewish region was championed by Jewish Communists, Yiddishists, and intellectuals, who envisioned a haven of post-oppression Jewish culture. By the mid-1930s tens of thousands of Soviet Jews, as well as about a thousand Jews from abroad, had moved there. The state-building ended quickly, in the late 1930s, with arrests and purges instigated by Stalin. But after the Second World War, Birobidzhan received another influx of Jews those who had been dispossessed by the war. In the late 1940s a second wave of arrests and imprisonments swept through the area, traumatizing Birobidzhan's Jews into silence and effectively shutting down most of the Jewish cultural enterprises that had been created. 
The Children of Willesden Lane: A true story of hope and survival during World War II by Mona Gobalek and Lee Cohen        $19
Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura Gobalek escaped Vienna to London on the Kindertransport, where she eventually studies at the Royal Academy. How can she learn the fates of her sisters and the rest of her family she left behind?


The Yid by Paul Goldberg       $25
Moscow, 1953. Three secret policemen arrive in the middle of the night to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. But Levinson, though an old man, is a veteran of past wars, and he proceeds to assemble a ragtag group to help him enact a mad-brilliant plot: the assassination of Stalin (no less). While the setting is Soviet Russia, the backdrop is Shakespeare: A mad king has a diabolical plan to exterminate and deport his country's remaining Jews. 
"Darkly playful and generous with quick insights into the vast weirdness of its landscape." - The Washington Post
"A brilliant novel that is at once surreally comic, suspenseful if slightly cracked and punctuated with eruptions of violence, but with a poignant ending . An extraordinary, rich and surprising tale of intrigue Paul Goldberg has been aptly compared to a whole constellation of Jewish literary geniuses Sholem Aleichem, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, E.L. Doctorow, Michael Chabon and even the Coen brothers. Goldberg possesses a voice and vision that are entirely and uniquely his own." - The Jewish Journal
A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman         $28
This taut depiction of a stand-up comedian falling apart on stage in front of an audience wanting entertainment won Grossman the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. Why are we so transfixed by tragedy, our own and others'? In reading literature, are we like Dovaleh's audience, seeking entertainment from the miseries of others? 
"Unrelentingly claustrophobic. The violence that A Horse Walks into a Barexplores is private and intimate. Its central interest is not the vicious treatment of vulnerable others but the cruelty that wells up within families, circulates like a poison in tight-knit groups, and finally turns inward against the self. Searing and poignant." - New York Review of Books 
>> Some things wrong in Israel
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe       $30
14-year-old Dita is confined in the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The several thousand residents of camp BIIb are inexplicably allowed to keep their own clothing, their hair, and, most importantly, their children. Fredy Hirsch maintains a school in BIIb. In the classroom, Dita discovers something wonderful: a dangerous collection of eight smuggled books. She becomes the books' librarian. Based on a true story.  
Conversations with Kafka by Gustav Janouch          $32
Janouch met Kafka as a seventeen-year-old, and they took to taking long walks together, with Janouch recording everything afterwards, as id he were Kafka's Boswell. "Life is infinitely great and profound as the immensity of the stars above us. One can only look at it through the narrow keyhole of one's personal experience. But through it one perceives more than one can see. So above all one must keep the keyhole clean." Includes record of Kafka's opinions on Jewish concerns. Introduction by Francine Prose. 
Lost and Gone Away by Lynn Jenner        $35
With the digressive range and vigour of Sebald but without his crucial narratorial slipperiness, Jenner wrings meaning out of minute detail and subtly interrogates both memory and the clichés that so easily take its place. In the last part of the book she makes one of the most difficult of literary approaches: the Holocaust and the tendrils of antisemitism that appear in unexpected places. Where Sebald succeeds in addressing the trauma of the Holocaust by writing around its edge, pointing to it with all the details that appear to be about something else, Jenner succeeds by approaching it directly but by writing always about her approach, about herself and about asking how it could be possible to think about the Holocaust from her situation in present-day New Zealand, if it is possible to think about the Holocaust at all.
Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss           $30
A dazzlingly intelligent dual-narrative novel concerning, on the one hand, a retired New York lawyer who 'disappears' to Tel Aviv, and, on the other, a novelist named Nicole Krauss who comes home to find herself already there, and so sets off towards the point the narratives meet. Elegant and replete with Kraussian themes of memory, solitude and Jewishness.
"Restores your faith in fiction." - Ali Smith
"Charming, tender, and wholly original." - J. M. Coetzee
Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on memory and imagination by Otto Dov Kulka         $26
A child exposed to experiences of a kind and scale that cannot be assimilated will create their own mythology to make life liveable. Otto Dov Kulka was a child in Auschwitz, and went on to become a prominent historian of the Holocaust. This book is remarkable as it deals specifically with the internal aspects of surviving in an intolerable situation, young Otto’s ‘Metropolis of Death’. Millions of people, each with their own personal narrative, were subsumed by a single narrative (one which led to the gas chambers and crematoria). It is unfortunate that even many of the most sympathetic portrayals and histories tend to reinforce the single narrative, the erasure, and it is interesting to read Kulka express his feelings of alienation when reading or watching accounts of concentration camp experiences. One of Kulka’s achievements in this deeply thoughtful book is to show how an individual can retain that individuality, and even find a sort of beauty and meaning, even under the irresistible weight of a subsuming narrative such as the ‘immutable law of the Great Death’.

If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilna Kurshan        $45
A personal account of daily study of the Talmud, which contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis (dating from before the Common Era through the fifth century CE) on a variety of subjects, including Halakha (law), Jewish ethics, philosophy, customs, history, lore and many other topics. Can a life be entirely governed by texts?
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi        $26
Primo Levi assesses his life in terms of the chemical elements he associates with his past, from his birth into an Italian Jewish family through his training as a chemist, to the pain and darkness of the Holocaust and its aftermath. 
Einstein and the Rabbi by Naomi Levy        $45
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion." What did Albert Einstein mean by this? 


The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri Lévy        $38
Lévy, reasonably, locates the wellspring of Jewish identity in traditions of discourse and argument embodied in the Talmud. His positions on Israel, Islam and politics, however, have been met with considerable argument both from within Jewish discourse and from without.  
>> He has clashed several times with Michel Houellebecq
>> BHL (embarrassingly) thought 'Jean-Baptiste Botul' was a real philosopher (rather than a spoof).     
Small Pieces: A book of lamentations by Joanne Limburg        $33
"My mother, my family and Judaism are nested inside each other. I am Jewish and always Jewish; it's analogous with family, however hard it is, and however strained, it can never be disavowed. I remain, as my therapist put it, 'enmeshed', all tangled up in the family hoard. This book has been both a continuation of my conversations with them, and an attempt to untangle myself." Limburg's brother's suicide triggered for her a re-examination of her genetic and cultural heritage, as she attempted to hold onto her individual identity. 
Denying the Holocaust: The growing assault on truth and memory by Deborah Lipstadt          $30
"Important and impassioned. This book illuminates with skill and clarity, not only the peculiarly disturbing world of the Holocaust deniers, but also the methods they have used to distort history, the motives that have driven them to do so, and the vulnerabilities of our educational systems, our culture, and ourselves that have made so many in our society ready to listen to them." - New York Times 
>> This book was the focus of a libel suit by Holocaust denier David Irving, which failed notably and decisively. This was made into the film Denial
Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's On the Concept of History by Michael Löwy        $28
Looking in detail at Benjamin's celebrated but often mysterious text, and restoring the philosophical, theological and political context, Löwy seeks to highlight a complex relationship between redemption and revolution in Benjamin's philosophy of history.



Redemption and Utopia: Jewish libertarian thought in Central Europe by Michael Lowy        $22
Examines the confluence of religious and secular antiauthoritarian thought that did much to set the groundwork such remarkable twentieth century thinkers as Martin Buber, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Georg Lukacs.


The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser        $37
"Meet Bram Presser, aged five, smoking a cigarette with his grandmother in Prague. Meet Jakub Rand, one of the Jews chosen to assemble the Nazi’s Museum of the Extinct Race. Such details, like lightning flashes, illuminate this audacious work about the author’s search for the grandfather he loved but hardly knew. Working in the wake of writers like Modiano and Safran Foer, Presser brilliantly shows how fresh facts can derail old truths, how fiction can amplify memory. A smart and tender meditation on who we become when we attempt to survive survival." - Mireille Juchau
Marx, Freud, Einstein: Heroes of the mind by Corinne Maier and Ann Simon       $33
Excellent and amusing graphic biographies.


We Were the Future: A memoir of the kibbutz by Yael Neeman       $35
Were Israel's kibbutzim a practical expression of the socialist ideal of absolute equality, or were they an assault on those aspects of culture, such as the individual and the family, that could resist indoctrination?


Judas by Amos Oz         $26
A young man's erotic and intellectual obsessions open the way for him to re-examine the history in the consequences of which he is immersed.
"This book is compassionate as well as painfully provocative, a contribution to some sort of deeper listening to the dissonances emerging from deep within the politics and theology of Israel and Palestine." - Rowan Williams, New Statesman
"Oz engages with urgent questions while retaining his right as a novelist to fight shy of answers: it's a mark of his achievement that the result isn't frustrating but tantalising." - Daily Telegraph


The Biggest Prison on Earth: A history of the Occupied Territories by Ilan Pappe        $33
The war of 1967 dramatically redrew the map of Israel and Palestine, and changed the lives of millions of people both in the Middle East and across the world. Analysing the historical origins of the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza in the 1920s and 30s, Pappe goes on to examine the bureaucratic apparatus that has been developed to manage this occupation, from the political, legal, financial and even dietary measures to the military and security plans put in place over almost half a century.
The Joys of Jewish Preserving by Emily Paster       $33
Without refrigerators, whether in a European ghetto last century or wandering in a desert millennia ago, Jewish culture has developed a wide array of different methods to preserve food. This book is the ultimate guide to fruit jams and preserves (such as Queen Esther's Apricot-Poppyseed Jam or Slow Cooker Peach Levkar to Quince Paste, Pear Butter, and Dried Fig, Apple, and Raisin Jam), pickles and other savory preserves (including Shakshuka, Pickled Carrots Two Ways, and Lacto-Fermented Kosher Dills), and recipes for the use of preserves in holiday preparations, such as Sephardic Date Charoset, Rugelach, and Hamantaschen.
Two Visits to Auschwitz (1991/2017) by Bernard Redshaw and Michelanne Forster      $5
Two visits to the Auschwitz concentration camp end in silence. 
The Holocaust: A new history by Laurence Rees       $40
Rees' book is remarkable for the amount of new information gathered from 25 years worth of interviews with Holocaust survivors and perpetrators. This research enables not only a reassessment of the social mechanisms that induced and permitted genocide but also of the range of the victims' responses. Also recorded here is the resistance, albeit ultimately futile, of individual stories to the overwhelming story that subsumed them.
>>> Also arrived this week: Denying the Holocaust: The growing assault on truth and memory by Deborah Lipstadt ($30), which asks why Holocaust deniers like David Irwin are on the rise in a post-factual world. 
Hell's Traces: One murder, two families, thirty-five Holocaust memorials by Victor Ripp        $40
Two axes define the space of the Jewish Museum in Berlin: the 'axis of exile' and the 'axis of the Holocaust'. Ripp's mother's family chose the axis of exile, whereas his father's was consumed by the axis of the Holocaust. Ripp uses the stories of both sides of his family, and a journey he made to visit memorials through Europe, to give deft and subtle insight into the fatal spasm of anti-Semitism that emerged in the middle of the twentieth century. 
100 Best Jewish Recipes by Evelyn Rose       $40
A diverse selection of everyday and festival dishes , from the authority on Jewish cooking. 
https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/politics-the-last-resistance?barcode=9781786630759
The Last Resistance by Jacqueline Rose        $22
What place is there for literature in the political dimension of our lives? Rose considers Zionism, Israel-Palestine, post-Apartheid South Africa and the American national fantasy post-9/11, and the works of Freud, Grossman, Sebald and Gordimer.



So They Call You Pisher, A memoir by Michael Rosen        $37
"A mishmash, at once merry and pensive, of personal memoir, a history of left politics in postwar England, a portal into a lost Jewish London and a portrait of the artist as a nervy young man." - Guardian
The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, literature and the Dreyfus caseby Michael Rosen       $37
In January 1898 the newspaper l'Aurore published 'J'accuse', an open letter from Zola accusing the French government of anti-Semitism in the treatment and unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus. The letter was successful in provoking the government to sue Zola for libel, thus reopening the Dreyfus case, and, following his conviction and to avoid jail, Zola fled to London, where he continued to defend Dreyfus until his death from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a blocked chimney. Rosen fills in all the details and the colour.  

A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Goran Rosenberg        $28
On the 2nd of August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town. He has survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany. Now he has to learn to live with his memories. In this book, Goran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell his father's story. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, suffused with the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of post-war Sweden, and the world of the father, haunted by the shadows of the past.
Job by Joseph Roth         $25
"Many years ago there lived in Zuchnow, in Russia, a man named Mendel Singer. He was pious, God-fearing and ordinary, an entirely commonplace Jew." So Roth begins his novel about the loss of faith and the experience of suffering. His modern Job goes through his trials in the ghettos of Tsarist Russia and on the unforgiving streets of New York. 
East West Street by Philippe Sands       $25
When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial.


Finding the Words: The story of the Jews, 1000 BCE-1492 by Simon Schama     $28
"Unforgettable. A delicious cacophony of conversations and clamorous arguments echoing across history." - Daily Telegraph
Belonging: The story of the Jews, 1492-1900 by Simon Schama        $40
"Simon Schama takes the reader through a grand sweep of Jewish history, but he makes it so personal you begin to feel you know the men and women whose lives shine out from the pages, and their foibles, and you get a sense of the fragility of their lives and their determination to survive. It's a brilliant piece of work" - Rabbi Julia Neuberger
"Profoundly illuminating." - Guardian
Short-listed for the 2017 Baillie-Gifford Prize.
>> An interview with Schama
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert       $35
A novel correlating Jewish, Ukrainian and German experiences in the days following the Nazi invasion of a small town in the Ukraine in 1941, and seeking comprehension of the guilt burden still passed down through generations. 
>> "My grandparents were Nazis." 
Black Earth: The Holocaust as history and warning by Timothy Snyder         $30
We have come to see the Holocaust as a factory of death, organised by bureaucrats. Yet by the time the gas chambers became operation more than a million European Jews were already dead: shot at close range over pits and ravines. They had been murdered in the lawless killing zones created by the German colonial war in the East, many on the fertile black earth that the Nazis believed would feed the German people. It comforts us to believe that the Holocaust was a unique event. But as Timothy Snyder shows, we have missed basic lessons of the history of the Holocaust, and some of our beliefs are frighteningly close to the ecological panic that Hitler expressed in the 1920s. As ideological and environmental challenges to the world order mount, our societies might be more vulnerable than we would like to think.
Driving to Treblinka: A long search for a lost father by Diana Wichtel       $45
When Diana Wichtel moved to New Zealand as a child with her mother and siblings, her father, a Polish Jew who had jumped off the train to the Treblinka extermination camp in World War II and who had hidden from the Nazi's for the rest of the war, failed to follow them as planned. In adulthood, Wichtel began to wonder what had become of him, both before and after his brief presence in her life. Her search for answers led towards the Warsaw ghetto and to consider the ongoing consequences of trauma. Very well written. 
>> Wichtel talks to Kim Hill
City of Lions by Jozef Wittlin and Philippe Sands       $33
The city known variously in history as Lviv, Lwow, Lemberg and Leopolis in eastern central Europe was once a city where cultures and ethnicities (Jewish, Polish, Ukranian, Austrian) met and enriched each other, but, in the twentieth century, it became a city in which cultures and ethnicities obliterated each other. In the first half of this book, 'My Lwow', Josef Wittlin, looking back from exile in the 1940s, celebrates the rich texture of the city in which he grew up. The second half of the book, 'My Lviv', is written by human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who travelled to Lviv, now in the Ukraine, in the last several years, partly to learn more about his grandfather, who had lived there in the early twentieth century, but spoke little of that phase of his life, and partly to research his remarkable book, East West Street: On the origins of genocide and crimes against humanity – terms coined by Lvovians Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht  – which won the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction.
Cafe Scheherazade by Arnold Zable       $29
Jewish survivors of World War Two converge on a cafe in Melbourne and tell their very various stories. 













25/10/2017 12:28 PM



Featured publisher: HARD PRESS
Hard Press is an independent publishing house committed to publishing peripheral and experimental writing not limited to, nor benefiting from, any established convention.
>> Visit the Hard Press website
To the Roaring Thing Blended by Dan Nash       $20
Dan Nash's collection of poetry and drawings explores the possibilities of the mind and writing in the liminal space before sleep. Filled with violence, fantasy and tenderness, these prose poems are as unsettling as they are absurdly comical, perverting our desires, the momentary banality of life, and possibilities of poetic meaning.


Girl Teeth by Manon Revuelta       $20
Manon Revuelta’s collection of poetry and prose writing Girl Teeth conspicuously explores her relationship to the past and its interventionist hum on in the present. Coupling the openness of poetic imagining with intimate essayistic portraits of progenitors, this collection exposes the mechanics of language, the body, and how we might imagine a place in the world with all that has come before to which we’re bound. 
Ginesthoi by Evangeline Riddiford Graham        $20
The only words generally accepted to be actually written by Cleopatra VII of Egypt herself are “ginesthoi” or “make it so”, signing off a series of tax exemptions for Publius Canidius, one of Mark Antony’s generals. Although the exemptions and privileges are unromantic, and ordinary enough for a Ptolmaic court, the legendary and literary loading of the relationship between Cleopatra and Antony freight these words with subtexts and implications that exceed their denotation. The correlation or disjunction of inclination and obligation, of power and desire, of declaration and implication are themes that run also through Ginesthoi, a collection of poems by Evangeline Riddiford Graham published by the tiny and interesting Hard Press in Auckland. Presented as a series of fragments, much in the manner of the scraps of text discovered by archeologists, these poems are partial unearthings of an emotional life as intent upon concealing itself as it is upon revealing. What are we make of these twists of words, half earnest, half mocking, leaping back and forth across millennia, overlapping past and present while simultaneously reinforcing and dissolving the distinction between the two? There are two moments of awareness, one sealed in the past, encased in a museum cabinet or a memory, isolated from its context but preserved beyond a healthy span, resonating compulsively in its isolation until it has become little more than this resonation, and the other pausing in the present, gazing at the artefact in its current out-of-context context, attempting to make contact with the past moment, the past awareness or experience, to catch its eye, to pretend that the past reciprocates the gaze, or glimpse, or at least entertains the possibility of such a gaze or glimpse, to make believe, even to believe, if one can make oneself believe, that one can be not only aware of oneself in the past but that that past self can be somehow aware of the present self being aware of it, a game of memory working in both directions. In fact this is what we always do with memory: we are caught in a trap of tense, completed actions in the past are restrained there, playing in our memories or in our imaginations, if memories and imaginations can be distinguished from one another, but sealed in the perfect tense, whereas, though our present awareness may enter this case, cast itself backwards, project itself into the past, it can do so only at the expense of losing the capacity to act, to make things different to any effective degree. Expression is always ambivalent: to share a thought is to isolate oneself, to shut oneself within that thought; or, rather, perhaps, expression is quadrivalent: to share a thought is to shut oneself within that thought but, as the sharing of a thought is dependent upon a medium which necessarily replaces whatever is it applied to, both for the one to whose thought the medium is applied and the one, either specified or more generally implicated, to whom the sharing is directed, the act of sharing creates always a counterfeit artefact, at best a gloss, or label, upon the authenticity it causes to be lost. If poetry is the archeology of subjective experience, the poems of Ginesthoi are artefacts with all the clarity, obscurity and productive ambiguity of the papyrus fragment of Cleopatra VII to which they so playfully refer. {Review by THOMAS}
>> Some photographs from Evangeline Riddiford Graham's recent reading at VOLUME. 







13/10/2017 11:50 PM





THE BOOKER 6
Which of the short list for the 2017 Man Booker Prize have you read so far? Which will be next?
Come along on NZ Bookshop Day (28 October @ 2 PM) to discuss (or to listen to others discuss) the relative virtues of the finalists.
The winner will be announced on 17 October. 
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster        $28
Paul Auster’s first book in seven years, 4 3 2 1, follows the life of Archibald Isaac Ferguson born March 3, 1947. It’s not one life though: this Jewish boy born in Newark has 4 lives. Auster tells the story in four strands - in sliding door style. In each part a fateful event at Archibald's father’s business (a burglary, a fire, a tragic accident and a buyout) leads to a change in circumstances for the family, and Archie’s life is determined by how his immediate family respond. Fate plays her part and Archie’s life is altered. The minutiae of Ferguson’s life are delightfully told and, despite the variations in his circumstances, his characteristics along with those of his immediate family keeps the four strands linked together. Auster keeps many things the same, the characteristics, likes and dislikes, interests and talents of the main characters are constant. Circumstance dictates the roles they take and the choices they make. This is excellent writing, taking you into the mind of one life in all its fragmented realities, and capturing a time and place - the American mid-twentieth-century - in all its tumultuous glory. {S}
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund        $33
Linda, 14, and her parents are the last remaining members of a dying commune in the American mid-west. When she becomes attached to the family who move into the cottage across the lake, she begins to sense what has been missing from her life, but when the father of that family arrives, the relationships she had built there are quickly destroyed. 
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid         $37
Can love stand against the threat of war? When lovers must flee as refugees, where can they find a safe have for their relationship? Is it ever possible to outrun a feeling of displacement? What hope is there for those who have nowhere that they can belong? Can decency prevail against prejudice and xenophobia? Are we all "migrants through time"?
Elmet by Fiona Mozley           $35
Fiona Mozley’s Elmet is an unsettling portrayal of family and loss, of violence and deep love. Daniel is looking for someone following the path north - following the railway tracks across the moor and through the townships of Yorkshire, taking in the layers of time, of history, in a subtle, almost unconscious manner. It’s as though Daniel carries with him not only his own past, but the stories of all those wandering and searching. Mozley’s narrator is a gentle loving boy, a young man who lives for his sister, Cathy and to please his Daddy. The family have returned to the land eking out a life, their home built by Daddy’s hands from the woods that surround them, with odd jobs, trades of goods and services and hunting for food. Cathy and Daniel live a solitary life, no longer attend school, yet have an understanding of their environment and a care for the wilderness that surrounds them. Yet all is far from serene. Daddy is known for his fighting prowess and a violence that brews within him. Simmering under the surface are hurts and unsettled scores, pride and suffering.  The setting is beautifully described, almost dreamlike at times, yet the prose always fizzes with an underlying tension, a sense of something dreadful to come, and of secrets, of things unsaid. The violence is raw and brutal, it has a gothic element reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and the work is seething with history alongside its clearly contemporary setting.  {S}
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders       $33
George Saunders is an astounding writer whose gift for story-telling makes Lincoln in the Bardo a pleasure to read and thoroughly absorbing. Using first-hand accounts and a cacophony of voices (from the spirit world) this is predominately a dialogue-driven novel. The year is 1862, the Civil War rages in America and Abraham Lincoln's son Willie dies of a fever. Lincoln is inconsolable and this is the story of his grief and his visits to the young boy's grave. Willie is in the Bardo and it is here that his father comes, stricken with grief. In this place, the cacophony of voices telling this story and their fascination with the living one who enters their world, are intriguing. Not only do these voices give an insight into the times, but their stories of woe are both tragic and entertaining. Saunders gets the pitch just right. A story of grief and familial love against a backdrop of tragedy and crisis, Lincoln in the Bardo is a gem for its stylistic endeavours and the interplay between lightness and dark. {S}
Autumn by Ali Smith       $28
The first of Smith's projected seasonal quartet, set in post-Brexit Britain, addresses the subjective experience of time and the consequences this may have on personal and political relationships. Smith deftly weaves past and present, age and youth, desire and loss, hop and regret into something like the verbal equivalent of the torrent of modern life in all its contradictions, possibilities and limitations. Smith's use of language, both playful and precise, is hugely energetic and always a pleasure to read. 







27/09/2017 03:30 PM



TEN TREES
Actually, ten books about trees. Come and wander. There are plenty of other tree books in the shop, too. 


The Man Who Climbs Trees: A memoir by James Aldred       $35
Nature writing from a professional tree-climber whose work has taken him into the upper strata of forests around the world. Beautifully written.
Little Tree by Jenny Bowers      $29
A tiny seed grows into a pear tree. Lift the flaps to find our what animals live in the garden. 
Wise Trees by Diane Cook and Len Jensel       $60
How have 59 trees around the world been the foci of human history? From Luna, the Coastal Redwood in California that became an international symbol when activist Julia Butterfly Hill sat for 738 days on a platform nestled in its branches to save it from logging, to the Bodhi Tree, the sacred fig in India that is a direct descendant of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, Cook and Jenshel reveal trees that have impacted and shaped our lives, our traditions, and our feelings about nature.
Eagle's Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Audrey Eagle       $250
A beautiful slip-cased edition of this masterpiece of botanical art. 
The Wood for the Trees: A long view of nature from a small wood by Richard Fortey      $25
This biography of an English 'beech-and-bluebell' wood through the seasons and through history both natural and human, is a portrayal of the relationships of humans to nature and a demonstration that poetic writing can be scientifically precise. 
"'His remarkable scientific knowledge, intense curiosity and love of nature mean entries erupt with the same richness and variety as the woods they describe. Fortey's enthusiasm for his new wonderland is infectious and illuminating, deep and interesting." - Guardian 
The Songs of Trees: Stories from nature's great connectors by David George Haskell       $38
A tree is part of a biological network involving other trees, fungi, bacteria, animals and other plants. The ability to widen the organism-model beyond the individual is rewarded with insights and warnings. 

One Thousand Trees by Kyle Hughes-Odgers         $30
Deep in the heart of the treeless city, Frankie dreams of one thousand trees. In her imagination she moves around, between and among them. An excellent introduction to prepositions. 

Trees by Lemniscates       $28
"Trees cannot change their place in the world so they are patient and learn to live where they are."


Witness Tree: Seasons of change with a century-old oak by Lynda V. Mapes      $35
How has history touched a single tree, both in an intimate and cyclical way, and in an epochal, linear way? 
The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees by Robert Penn        $30
Robert Penn  cut down an ash tree and decided to see how many things he could make from it. As he did so, he developed an understanding of our cultural reliance upon trees. 



Tōtara: A natural and cultural history by Philip Simpson            $75
Among the biggest and oldest trees in the New Zealand forest, the heart of Maori carving and culture, trailing no. 8 wire as fence posts on settler farms, clambered up in the Pureora protests of the 1980s: the story of New Zealand can be told through totara.









18/09/2017 01:50 PM




LONG SUFFRAGE
In 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant all women the right to vote. 19 September is Suffrage Day. You might like to mark the occasion by considering these half-a-dozen books on the politics of women in New Zealand: 
A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes       $70
Professor Barbara Brookes' achievement is phenomenal, spanning two centuries from 1814-2015. Looking at our society through the stories of women, the book tells the political and social history of New Zealand from a female perspective. In the early chapters Brookes covers Maori women’s place within Maoridom and early Paheka contact, early settler roles as missionary wives and traders, the colonial era where roles for both Maori and Pakeha women were altered by the circumstances of a new country, the tensions that arose and the changes to female roles either by design or necessity. The tone is perfectly set - readable, interesting history with enough analytical depth and a wealth of knowledge that places this work among our best histories. The overarching themes are dotted with specific examples of women and their lives in early New Zealand, giving both a depth of analysis and fascinating insights on a personal level, bringing history alive. These vivid accounts are well-illustrated with photographs, sketches, paintings, and maps on most pages.
He Reo Wahine: Maori women's voices from the nineteenth century edited by Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla         $50
"This book presents a rich and ranging collection of Maori women speaking from the nineteenth-century archive. The hopes, the persistence, the effort to set down a cause are all apparent in the words of women presented in these pages. It is in various measures an inspiring, instructive and agonising read." - Charlotte Macdonald, Victoria University of Wellington
>> Disrupting the narrative of our colonial history
Polly Plum, A firm and earnest woman's advocate: Mary Ann Colclough, 1836-1885 by Jenny Coleman          $40
Coleman argues that Colclough was just as important as Kate Sheppard for the New Zealand women's movement in New Zealand.



The Women's Suffrage Petition / Te Petihana Whakamana Poti Wahine (1893)       $30
A full facsimile of the 270-metre long petition, with biographies of many of the 24000 signatories. 
The Whole Intimate Mess: Motherhood, politics and women's writing by Holly Walker         $15
"I began to pull the threads of my experience back together. Instead of divergent stories about public failure, private torment, and postnatal distress, I started telling myself a united story: the truth, or as close as I could get to it." A Rhodes scholar and former Green MP, Holly Walker tells the story of how she became one of New Zealand's youngest parliamentarians, how motherhood intervened, and how she found solace and solidarity in the writings of women. 
The Secret Diary of Charlotte Gatland by Patricia Charlotte Dennis        $39
In 1847, Gatland left London high society and travelled first to California during the gold rush, and then to New Zealand, about the social conditions of which (and the prevalent attitude towards women) she makes some very fresh observations. 




Risking Their Lives: New Zealand abortion stories, 1900-1939 by Margaret Sparrow         $40
No Country for Old Maids? Talking about the 'Man Drought' by Hannah August         $15
Does New Zealand's demographic gender disparity provide an opportunity to reconsider prejudices against singleness and nontraditional relationships? 
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 tales of extraordinary women edited by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo    $40
Kate Sheppard is one of the 100 outstanding women featured in this inspiring book. 








>> Read more about women's suffrage in New Zealand <here



06/09/2017 03:16 PM



THE 'BOOKER DOZEN'
These thirteen excellent books have been long-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. The short list will be announced on 13 September. 
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster       $37
Paul Auster’s first book in seven years, 4 3 2 1, follows the life of Archibald Isaac Ferguson born March 3, 1947. It’s not one life though: this Jewish boy born in Newark has 4 lives. Auster tells the story in parts - four strands - in sliding door style. In each part a fateful event at Archibald's father’s business (a burglary, a fire, a tragic accident and a buyout) leads to a change in circumstances for the family, and Archie’s life is determined by how his immediate family respond. Fate plays her part and Archie’s life is altered. The minutiae of Ferguson’s life are delightfully told and, despite the variations in his circumstances, his characteristics along with those of his immediate family keeps the four strands linked together. 

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry        $37
After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged 17, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. They find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both witness and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Shawnee woman crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges. 
"Days Without End is a work of staggering openness; its startlingly beautiful sentences are so capacious that they are hard to leave behind, its narrative so propulsive that you must move on. In its pages, Barry conjures a world in miniature, inward, quiet, sacred; and a world of spaces and borders so distant they can barely be imagined." - Guardian
History of Wolves by Emily Fridland        $33
Linda, age 14, lives on a dying commune on the edge of a lake in the Midwest of America. She has grown up isolated both by geography and her understanding of the world, and is an outsider at school, regarded as a freak. One day she notices the arrival of a young family in a cabin on the opposite side of the lake. She starts to befriend them, and for the first time she feels a sense of belonging that has been missing from her life. Leo, the father, is a university professor and an enigmatic figure, perpetually absent. When he returns home, Linda is shunned by the family unit. Desperate to be accepted again, she struggles to resume her place in their home and fails to see the oncoming consequences. 
"So much is accomplished here, not least a kind of trust that this writer will make everything count, including the kind of data that is usually left for dead in a story." - Ben Marcus
Exit West by Moshin Hamid          $37
What place is there for love in a world torn by crisis? From the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
"Exit West is a novel about migration and mutation, full of wormholes and rips in reality. It is animated by a constant motion between genre, between psychological and political space, and between a recent past, an intensified present and a near future." - The Guardian

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor                 $35
A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. One tragedy affects the lives of many people. 
"Absolutely magnificent; one of the most beautiful, affecting novels I've read in years. The prose is alive and ringing. There is so much space and life in every sentence. I don't know how he's done it. It's beautiful." - Eimear McBride 
"McGregor writes with such grace and precision, with love even, about who and where we are, that he leaves behind all other writers of his generation." - Sarah Hall
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack          $23
Written in one long sentence (in which line breaks perform as a higher order of comma), McCormack’s remarkable and enjoyable book succeeds at both stretching the formal possibilities of the novel (for which it was awarded the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize) and in being a gentle, unassuming and thoughtful portrait of a very ordinary life in a small and unremarkable Irish town. The flow of McCormack’s prose sensitively maps the flow of thought, drawing feeling and meaning from the patterning of quotidian detail as the narrator dissolves himself in the memories of which he is comprised. This wash of memory suggests that the narrator may in fact be dead, the narrative being the residue (or cumulation) of his life, the enduring body of attachments, thoughts and feelings that comprise the person. Few novels capture so well the texture of a person’s life, and this has been achieved through a rigorous experiment in form. 
Elmet by Fiona Mozley         $35
A beautifully written novel about the relationship between a family and a landscape after the father's decision to withdraw from society.  
"An impressive elemental, contemporary rural noir steeped in the literature and legend of the Yorkshire landscape and its medieval history." - Guardian
"I already feel like I've won.


The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy         $38
"How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything." Twenty years after The God of Small Things, Roy's second novel braids together many lives and strands as they pass through harm and healing. 
>> "Fiction takes its time."
>> Where do old birds go to die? (an extract from the novel).
>> Roy speaks with Kim Hill.


Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders      $33
Is this The American Book of the Dead? Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie died of typhoid in 1862. This inventive and much-anticipated novel from the author of the Folio Prize-winning Tenth of December has a president, "freshly inclined toward sorrow," driven by grief into communion with the disembodied spirits of the dead in what becomes a meditation on the force of death in personal and collective histories, notably the American Civil War. 
>> Read the review in The New York Times
>> Saunders speaks.



Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie         $27
Family, society, love and religion clash in this modern reworking of the themes of Antigone
"Home Fire left me awestruck, shaken, on the edge of my chair, filled with admiration for her courage and ambition. Recommended reading for prime ministers and presidents everywhere." - Peter Carey 

Autumn by Ali Smith          $26
In a nation divided against itself, who is looking to the future and who to the past, and how is love won and lost?
"Transcendental writing about art, death and all the dimensions of love. It's not so much 'reading between the lines' as being blinded by the light between the lines - in a good way." - Deborah Levy 
"Smith is more valuable than a whole parliament of politicians." - Financial Times 
"Undoubtedly Smith at her best. Puckish, yet elegant; angry, but comforting." - The Times
Swing Time by Zadie Smith          $26
Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early 20s, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
"Brilliant." - Guardian
"Superb." - Financial Times 
"Virtuosic and breathtaking." - Times Literary Supplement 
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead        $25
A young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia takes the opportunity to escape to the North and freedom aboard the Underground Railroad, which, in this Pulitzer-prize winning novel, is a boxcar railway literally under the ground. A meditation on race and the way that history is perceived. 
"A brutal, vital, devastating novel. This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history, but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself." - Observer


Come and tell us which book you would choose to win the 2017 Man Booker Prize. 



10/08/2017 10:17 PM



LITERARY HORSES
(A selection)
Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither       $25
"W. H. Auden once defined poetry as 'a game of knowledge, a bringing to consciousness, by naming them, of emotions and their hidden relationships'. This definition suits Smither's poetry, too, with its sophistication, its wit and humour, its playfulness, its candour, its tenderness, its exploration through simile and metaphor of the unexpected relations between things." - Peter Simpson
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, illustrated by Levi Pinfold        $23
December 1941. Britain is at war. Emmaline has been evacuated away from the bombs to Briar Hill Hospital in Shropshire. When she gets there she discovers a secret. It's not to be shared, not to be told to anyone, even her friend Anna. There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill. 

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin        $23
A young woman lies dying in hospital. The boy at her bedside asks some questions which unleash the most terrifying of stories.
"Terrifying but brilliant, this dangerously addictive novel in which a woman’s life speeds towards doom is haunted by the bleak landscape of rural Argentina. Schweblin remorselessly cranks up the tension until every sentence seems to tremble with threat. Fever Dream’s ambiguities, and the intricate psychologies with which Schweblin invests her characters, mean that rereading proves rewarding even when the suspense is removed. Wherever you decide the truth lies, aspects of Amanda’s story will continue to puzzle and haunt you long after she stops being able to tell it." - Guardian

The Boy Who Stole Attila's Horse by Ivan Repila       $23
“It looks impossible to get out,” he says. And also: “But we’ll get out.” This is a compellingly unpleasant little book. Two brothers, Big and Small, are trapped down a well in the forest. Calling, climbing and leaping are to no avail. As the days pass (the chapters are numbered with a sequence of prime numbers), we witness the brothers’ desperation, their physical and mental decline, their diet of worms and maggots (they will not touch the bag of food belonging to their mother), their suffering from both thirst and flooding, the cruelty and tenderness that constitute their deformed relationship. “Life is wonderful, but living is unbearable.” There are no horses in this book, and no reference to Attila beyond the title. 
Farewell to the Horse: The final century of our relationship by Ulrich Raulff          $65
"Any reader interested in horses, history, art, literature or language will love this book, and be stunned by its scope and stylish intellect. This is about the end of a relationship between man and horse that Raulff likens to the dissolution of an idiosyncratic workers’ union, and what is thrilling is that the horse becomes a subtext – a new way of considering history via the stable door. The book is beautifully and idiosyncratically illustrated, in keeping with the text." - Guardian

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo       $18
One horse witnesses the brutality of the First World War from both sides of the trenches.
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan         $35
"This novel is about horse racing the way Moby-Dick is about a whale; it has a similarly expansive scope, spiritual seriousness and density of grand themes. Morgan’s epic work builds to a climactic series of dramatic race scenes featuring a star filly named Hellsmouth. Along the way, Morgan wrestles with subjects including the history of Kentucky, slavery and its legacies, the iniquities of American healthcare, Darwinism, geology and relations between the sexes." - Guardian


The Fire Horse: Children's poems by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mendelstam and Daniil Kharms, illustrated by Lidia Popova, Boris Ender and Vladimir Konashevich       $37
Three classic Soviet-era children's books by leading avant-garde writers and illustrators, newly translated. 


All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy         $25
John Grady Cole is the last bewildered survivor of long generations of Texas ranchers. Finding himself cut off from the only life he has ever wanted, he sets out for Mexico with his friend Lacey Rawlins. Befriending a third boy on the way, they find a country beyond their imagining: barren and beautiful, rugged yet cruelly civilized; a place where dreams are paid for in blood.
"A darkly shining work executed with consummate skill and much subtlety - the effect is magnificent.: - John Banville, "Observer"

Orange Horses by Maeve Kelly         $38
Short stories from women's perspectives set around the 1917 Easter Rising against British rule in Northern Ireland and depicting the misogyny and violence rife in society at the time. 


A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman         $28
This taut depiction of a stand-up comedian falling apart on stage in front of an audience wanting entertainment won Grossman the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. Why are we so transfixed by tragedy, our own and others'? In reading literature, are we like Dovaleh's audience, seeking entertainment from the miseries of others? 
"Unrelentingly claustrophobic. The violence that A Horse Walks into a Barexplores is private and intimate. Its central interest is not the vicious treatment of vulnerable others but the cruelty that wells up within families, circulates like a poison in tight-knit groups, and finally turns inward against the self. Searing and poignant." - New York Review of Books 

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill      $23
A childless couple, a troubled inner-city kid and a volatile horse are the ingredients in a complex story of love, guilt and attachment.
"Gaitskill's work feels more real than real life." - Boston Globe
The Age of the Horse: An equine journey through human history by Susanna Forrest         $45
A hunk of meat, an industrial and agricultural machine, a luxury good, a cherished dancer, a comrade in arms, a symbol of a mythical past: the horse has meant many things to humans, most of them revelatory more of human mores than of anything about horses themselves. An interesting examination of the role played by horses in the endless spasm of human history. 
Thought Horses by Rachel Bush      $25
Rachel Bush's poetry is remarkable for the amount of meaning, feeling and wry humour it pivots on the ordinary details of life, and by the verbal lightness of touch brought to even the heaviest of subjects. This, her last collection, contains some of her very best work. It shows the breadth of her poetic range and the quiet skill with which she assembled and polished her language, from the conversational asides to the deep fugual patterns which tie meaning to the particular and the ordinary.  


Fullblood Arabian by Osama Alomar       $28Exquisite, by turns disconcerting, funny and revelatory, these very short short stories from a Syrian refugee author read like a cross between Aesop, The Arabian Nights and Lydia Davis.
"The stories' distinctive flavour comes from Alomar's masterful shifts of character perspective within extremely tight parameters. The book is full of these moments which trip you up, swing bluntly from one psyche to another, rapidly decelerate time and play with scale, all of it exposing the delicate balance of our presumptions and allegiances; the small dictatorships that we foster second by second." - Asymptote


[There are no puns in this list.]



27/07/2017 07:04 PM


SHORT SHORT SHORT SHORT SHORT
A few books currently in stock notable for containing stories often considerably less than a page long. 


Fullblood Arabian and The Teeth of the Comb by Osama Alomar
Unless he has been incarcerated or deported by the current US administration, Osama Alomar is working as a taxi driver in New York. Before moving to the US as a refugee, he was an acclaimed author in Syria, especially as a practitioner of al-qisa al-qasira jiddan (very short short stories). The two collections of his that we have in English translation place him somewhere in a rough triangle apexed by the fables of Aesop, the personification tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (albeit an ‘Omar Khayyam’ arising from a world of state-sponsored torture and media-fuelled anti-Arab prejudice). These micro-fables, few longer than a few sentences, rail against injustice, are socially and politically most acute at the point where they are seemingly most ludicrous, and acknowledge despair without being without hope. A man climbs out of a narrow metal tunnel to find himself emerging from the gun barrel now pointed at his chest, a rubbish bag becomes swollen with pride at finding itself at the top of the heap of rubbish bags, a man finds a question mark in his eye when looking in the mirror. The stories often have an aphoristic feel, and are fables in that they do not intimate any further story lying beyond them (compared, for instance, with Sarah Manguso’s 500 Arguments, which are like the nuggets sieved out of novels).
The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard
“The courtroom correspondent is the closest of all to human misery and its absurdity and can endure the experience only for a short time, and certainly not his whole life, without going crazy. The probable, the improbable, even the unbelievable, the most unbelievable are paraded before him every day in the courtroom, and, because he has to earn his bread by reporting on actual or alleged but in any case shameful crimes, he is no longer surprised by anything at all.” Bernhard’s brief spell as a crime reporter before becoming an author was the ideal preparation for the writing of these 104 one-page stories, which, in the perfect deadpan style of journalism or of jokes, record the miseries, cruelties and disasters that fester beneath the surfaces of human lives, surfaces that open from time to time to receive more hurt and then close over again until they can be contained no longer and make the news, so to speak, overwriting the lives with 'stories'. The book contains 26 murders, 18 suicides (Austria’s national pastimes, according to Bernhard, are committing suicide and resisting committing suicide (it could be said that much of Bernhard’s writing arises from a sublimation of his own inclination towards this pastime)) and six other painful deaths, but these only as the mechanisms by which the unresolved and unresolvable tragedies beneath the mundanity of lives manifest themselves and turn those lives inside out so that the tragedy is on the outside and the mundanity is revealed at the core. Accidents lead to tragedies, ill intentions lead to tragedies, good intentions also lead to tragedies. Nothing is made better or repaired or created in accidents. Although this book is structurally unlike any of his others, Bernhard’s perfect sentences, with their nested clauses-within-clauses, with their fugual repetitions, with their self-mocking pedantry, with their sudden shifts of tone as they respond to their terrain, explore in miniature the material more fully developed in his novels. Different facets of authenticity (‘authenticity’) arise from the plots and from the details, set against each other, as are the tragic and the quotidian, to comic effect. It is this ambivalence, this at-once-one-thing-and-its-opposite, this at-once-intimacy-and-distance, this at-once-sympathy-and-hatred that makes all Bernhard’s work so revelatory. Whether telling of the voice imitator incapable of imitating his own voice, ‘newspaper’ accounts of the attribution, misattribution, malattribution and nonattribution of guilt, first person plural anecdotes of persons met when travelling, second-hand reports of the statements of others, such as the dancer who cannot dance if thinking about dancing, the stories are free from narrators able to initiate either action or response. Many of the stories appear to have arisen from actual events (Bernhard was a devoted reader of newspapers in cafes), sometimes distorted or reshaped, reality both observed and denied, such as the account of the burns suffered by Bernhard’s here unnamed friend Ingeborg Bachmann, recognisable despite the ‘incorrect’ facts in the story. Part of the reason for this is the impossible relationship between reality and language, between experience and its representation, between proceedings and reportage. Each makes demands of its other but each moves too differently to conform. What is known and what is said are always in conflict in even the most seemingly straightforward account, even though their trajectories may be twinned. One story here tells of a playwright who, just like Bernhard, had great success “because he was honest enough to pretend [sic] that his comedies were always tragedies and his tragedies comedies,” because, at base, he hated the theatre altogether.
The Collected Stories and Can't and Won't by Lydia Davis
The narrower the aperture, the greater the depth of field. Many of Lydia Davis’s stories are little more than a detail or an image or a wry observation presented without a misplaced word or superfluous comma, precise enough to suggest that great slabs of life hinge about her words, without these slabs being fiction as such. Perhaps the distinction between actuality and fiction is too coarse to be relevant to such literature of the infra-ordinary and should be left to the literatures of the ordinary (for which this distinction is constantly contestable if ultimately unimportant) and of the extra-ordinary (for which it is pre-established in the effective contract between author and reader). Thrifty with her language, characterisation and narrative to the point of asceticism, Davis’s work attains a whittled acuity subtle enough to glance off the surfaces they address without (generally) becoming embedded in them. Davis is a master of the concise, the precise and the incisive: each sentence she writes is a scalpel wielded at the life of the emotions, removing scar tissue and all the while exposing the operations of minds under pressure and the inner gravel of ordinary life. 
Calamities by Rene Gladman
I began the day remembering, or what for me passes for remembering, or at least attempting to perform what passes for me for remembering, the book I had just read, a torrent of short essays written by Renee Gladman, each of which begins with, I began the day. The essays, or what pass for Gladman as essays, start out being about not very much, small ordinary particulars of Gladman’s life, or small observations such as a poet might make about the ordinary particulars of life, but really they are not so much about these things as they are about the writing about these things, that is to say about the relationship of a writer to her experience and to her work and about her trying to decide what sort of relationship there might be, both actually and ideally, between this experience of hers and this work. The essays that start out being about not very much end up being about even less or rather more, depending on your point of view, depending on whether you think the universals that open from particulars lie within them or beyond them. Gladman is concerned not so much with the signified, or even with the signifier, as she is with the act of signification, the act of conduction which causes, or allows, a spark to sometimes leap across. Gladman’s touch is light, and she constructs some beautiful sentences, and the sparks leap often, and she usually avoids being precious. In the final, numbered, section of the book, Gladman ties the compositional knot as tight as it can be tied, removing content almost entirely from her writing other than the act itself of writing. “I was a body and it was a page, and we both had our proverbial blankness.” What is her relationship to the text she produces, irrespective of the content of that text? “ I didn’t know whether at some point in my past, perhaps at the very moment that I set out to write, the page had fallen out of me or I had risen out of it.” She relates her prolonged rigours in attempting to find the essence, so to call it, of writing, to reduce writing to the irreducible, the making of a mark, the drawing of writing. “Language was beautiful exposed; it was like a live wire set loose, a hot wire, burning, leaving a trace. The wire was a line, but because it was electrified it wouldn’t lie still: it thrashed, it burned, it curled and uncurled around itself. … I was amazed that I was talking about wires when really I was talking about prose.” I’m not sure that the making of a mark is the irreducible essence of writing, but it is the irreducible essence of something, something which may perhaps be taken for some aspect of writing, at least in the physical sense. But maybe this is what Gladman is trying to isolate and understand, or to split, the duality between content and form, literature’s version of the mind-body problem (or, rather, the mind-body calamity). Although writing is all her art, Gladman wants to reach the limits of this art, of narrative, of words, of the act of writing, “writing so as not to write, so to find the limit (that last line) beyond which the body is free to roam outside once more.”
Newspaper by Édouard Levé
Édouard Levé and I drew our first breaths almost simultaneously, and we have been similarly concerned with the problematics of authorial presence in (or absence from) texts, although Levé concluded his struggles in this regard by killing himself immediately after delivering the manuscript for his novel Suicide in 2007. In Newspaper (first published in French in 2004), Levé succeeds in removing himself from the text almost entirely. Though presented as a book, the work takes the form of a newspaper, divided into the standard various sections, complete with articles, advertisements and so forth, from which all specificity has been removed (names, places, currencies, dates, identities), leaving only the patterns of information and the linguistic structures which support them. Shorn of referents, a newspaper is shown to be not so much outward-looking as inward-looking, a portrait of the obsessions and underlying anxieties of the society of which it is an organ. Subjects are shown to be incidental to stories, created and consumed by them. I am pretty sure I remember some of the stories here so treated and I suspect Levé has been rigorous throughout in his experiment upon written media (he achieved something similar in his photographic practice (in Actualitésand Quotidien (2001-2003)) by restaging press photographs using anonymised actors and a blank backdrop). It is only in the ‘Arts’ section that some slight residue of the personal can perhaps be detected, some indication that for Levé at that time the arts still slightly resisted the personally obliterative interchangeability that had engulfed the rest of existence.
300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso
“Think of this as a short book composed entirely of what I hoped would be a long book’s quotable passages,” states Manguso in one of the 300 aphorisms and ‘arguments’ (as in ‘the argument of the story’ rather than a disputation) that comprise this enjoyable little book. Indeed the whole does feel as if it bears some relation to another considerably longer but nonexistent text, either as a reader’s quotings or marginalia, or as a writer’s folder of sentences-to-use-sometime or jottings towards a novel she has not yet written (“To call a piece of writing a fragment, or to say that it’s composed of fragments, is to say that it or its components were once whole but are no longer”). Many of the aphorisms are pithy and self-contained, often dealing with awkwardness and degrees of experiential dysphoria (so to call it), and other passages, none of which are more than a few sentences long, are distillates or subsubsections of stories that are not further recorded but which can be felt to pivot on these few sentences. Some of the ‘arguments’ reveal unexpected aspects of universal experiences (“When the worst comes to pass, the first feeling is relief” or “Hating is an act of respect” or “Vocation and ambition are different but ambition doesn’t know the difference”) and others are lighter, more particular (and, I'm afraid, a few do belong on calendars on the walls of dentists’ waiting rooms). Some of the arguments are just singular observations: “The boy realises that if he can feed a toy dog a cracker, he can just as easily feed a toy train a cracker” or “Many bird names are onomatopoeic - they name themselves. Fish, on the other hand, have to float there and take what they get.” To read the whole book is to feel the spaces and stories that form the invisible backdrop for these scattered points of light, and the reader is left with a residue similar to that with which you are left having read a whole novel.
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
“We love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us but because it draws us after it,” wrote Goethe. Maggie Nelson’s book, comprised of 240 short numbered, mostly beautifully written passages, describes her life-long affinity for and attraction to (what she calls ‘love’ for) the colour blue in all its literal and figurative senses, along with describing a period of mourning after the end of an intense relationship (also called ‘love’). She is, she says, not interested in learning “what has been real and what has been false, but what has been bitter, and what has been sweet.” To this end, and with the assistance of a range of co-opted “blue correspondents” reporting from art, literature and history, she intimates a field of nuanced responses to the colour blue, even though subjective colour response is almost impossible to communicate. Indeed, blue’s attraction is almost its absence of meaning, or its relief from meaning. “Blue has no mind. It is not wise, nor does it promise wisdom. It is beautiful, and despite what the poets and philosophers and theologians have said, I think beauty neither obscures truth nor reveals it. It leads neither towards justice nor away from it.” More than colour, blue is also merely colour, altering the cast of whatever it is seen upon. Although she attempts to draw correlations between the two (“I have found myself wondering if seeing a particularly astonishing shade of blue, for example, or letting a particularly potent person inside you, could alter you irrevocably, just to have seen or felt it. In which case, how does one know when, or how, to refuse? How to recover?”), there is an apparently unbridgeable gap in Nelson’s life, at least in the period treated in this book, between, on the one side, her intellectual passions and, on the other, her physical passions, between, as she would term it, thinking and fucking. Each side yearns towards the other, but encounters only the seductively nullifying colour of the void between them: blue.
This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson
What do you report when you become uncertain of the facts, of the notion of truth and of the purpose of writing? What can you understand of yourself when you are uncertain how or if your memories can be correlated with known 'facts'? Is your idea of yourself anything other than the sum of your memories? Lara Pawson was for some years a journalist for the BBC and other media during the civil wars in Angola, and on the Ivory Coast. In this book, her experiences of societies in trauma, and her idealism for making the 'truth' known, are fragmented (as memory is always fragmented) and mixed with memory fragments of her childhood and of her relationships with the various people she encountered before, during and after the period of heightened awareness provided by war. It is this intermeshing of shared and personal perspectives, sometimes reinforcing and sometimes contradicting each other, always crossing over and back over the rift that separates the individual and her world, that makes this book such a fascinating description of a life. By constantly looking outwards, Pawson has conjured a portrait of the person who looks outwards, and a remarkable depiction of the act of looking outwards. Every word contributes to this pointillist self-portrait, and the reader hangs therefore on every word.
Fine Fine Fine Fine Fine by Dane Williams
If it is necessary to move out to the very edge of ourselves, to the part of ourselves that is least ourselves, to be near another person, another person who has also moved out to the very edge of themselves, to the part of themselves that is least themselves, in order to be near us, what value can there be in any communication that takes place, if any communication can take place, between parties who are therefore almost strangers even to themselves? Diane Williams’ short, energetic, hugely disorienting short stories pass as sal volatile through the fug of relationships, defamiliarising the ordinary elements of everyday lives to expose the sad, ludicrous, hopeless topographies of what passes for existence. This is not a nihilistic enterprise, however, for Williams has immense sympathies and her stories themselves demonstrate the possibility of connection through the very act of delineating its impossibility. With the finest of needles, the most ordinary of details, Williams picks out the unacknowledged, unacknowledgeable but familiar hopeless longing that underlies our unreasoned and unreasonable striving for human relations, a longing that makes us more isolated the harder we strive for connection. So much is left unsaid in these stories that they act as foci for the immense unseen weight of their contexts, precisely activating pressure-points on the reader’s sensibilities. These are some of the finest stories you will read.
99 Stories of God by Joy Williams
Joy Williams is a devastating observer of social vacuities, yet shows great sympathy for the ways in which her characters attempt to shore up their dissolving realities, and a sharp eye for the tiny details which form the pivots upon which great weights of existence turn. A few years ago The Visiting Privilege introduced many of us to four decades’ worth of work from the underknown Williams, one of America’s finest short story writers, and 99 Stories of God shows her now becoming even sharper, stranger, more despairing and compassionate. The stories, few more than a page long, many a single paragraph or even a sentence, are each written such sharpness and lightness of touch that they draw blood unexpectedly and without pain. Sparely, flatly written, using the language of the newspaper report or the encyclopedia entry, trimmed utterly of superfluities, the stories read like jokes that make us cry instead of laugh, or like laments that make us laugh instead of cry. Comparison may be made with Thomas Bernhard’s The Voice Imitator, the scalpel-work of Lydia Davis or the Franz Kafka of the Zurau Aphorisms, but Williams’ sensibilities and turns of phrase are very much her own: she comes upon her subjects at unexpected angles, giving insight into the strangeness hung on the most ordinary of details (and, conversely, making the strangest of details seem necessary and familiar). The 99 stories have the texture of Biblical parables or Aesopian fables but they are not parables or fables due to the indeterminacy of their meanings (unless they are parables or fables which eschew lessons and morals and return the reader instead to the actual). The title of each follows the story and often sits at odds with the reader’s experience of the story, forcing a further realignment of sensibilities. Brevity, sparsity, clarity: these are distillates of novels, tragedies told as jokes, aqua vitae for anyone who reads, observes, thinks or writes.


{THOMAS}




17/07/2017 02:48 PM


Cultivate your mind with these 10 GARDENING BOOKS. 
Lives of the Great Gardeners by Stephen Anderton         $70
Traces the development of thinking about the design, purpose and meaning of gardens from the 18th to the 21st century by focusing on such luminaries as Capability Brown, Le Notre, William Kent, Russell Page, Gertrude Jekyll and Christopher Bradley-Hole. Very nicely presented.
Practical Latin for Gardeners: More than 1500 essential plant names and the secrets they contain by James Armitage       $28
Attractively presented and full or revelations. 
The Thoughtful Gardener: An intelligent approach to garden design by Jinny Blom           $80
Blom is remarkable at being able to design very different gardens for very different situations. Each, though, shares Blom's sensitivity to both the plants and her clients. This book gives a deep insight into the workings of a garden designer's mind. 
The Rose: The history of the world's favourite flower in 40 captivating roses with classic texts and rare prints by Brent Elliott       $75
A solander box containing 40 frameable prints and a book exploring the cultural history of the 40 featured roses. 
Evergreen: Living with plants           $120
Meet city dwellers who are bringing nature to their urban habitats in appealing and often unexpected ways. Just dipping into this beautifully illustrated book will leave you inspired and feeling positive about renaturing your life. 
A Garden Eden: Masterpieces of botanical illustration by H. Walter Lack        $45
A stunning collection of botanical art from the collection of the National Library of Vienna. 
The Botanical Wall Chart: Art from the golden age of scientific discovery by Anna Laurent         $60
The late nineteenth century was both a period of intense and exciting discovery of plant species around the world and a period of significant advances in printing techniques. The books and wall charts produced in this period are both replete with information and hugely attractive. 
The Botanical Treasury: Celebrating 40 of the world's most fascinating plants with rare prints and classic texts by Christopher Mills       $75
A solander box containing frameable prints and a book providing facsimile texts concerning the featured plants. 


Plant: Exploring the botanical world        $95
A stupendous and stupendously beautiful collection of 300 botanical illustrations showing the diverse ways the plants have been depicted throughout history. 
Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis         $42
A beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully selected collection in the large-format 'Welcome to the Museum' series. 
The Gardener's Companion to Medicinal Plants: An A-Z of healing plants and home remedies by Monique Simmonds, Melanie Jane Howes and Jason Irving        $33
Nicely presented, with clear instructions for preparations. 








>> Click through or come into the shop to browse our other gardening titles



10/07/2017 04:45 PM





Featured publisher: LES FUGITIVES
Les Fugitives publishes only short books that have been written by award-winning, female, francophone writers who have previously not been translated into English. Founded in 2015, they have published three astoundingly good books so far.    {Reviews by Thomas}

Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger          $30
Léger was commissioned to write a short biographical entry on Barbara Loden for a film encyclopaedia but ended up writing a very interesting and quite unusual book. Loden directed one film, >>Wanda (1970), about a woman who leaves her husband and who, passively and therefore pretty much by chance, attaches herself to a man who is planning a bank robbery for which, following his death in a police shoot-out and despite her lack of initiative and her not even being present at the robbery (she took a wrong turn in what was supposed to be the getaway car), she will be sent to jail for twenty years. The book operates on many levels simultaneously: it is ‘about’ Léger’s attempts to excavate information about Loden, principally beneath the ways in which she has been recorded by others, notably her husband the Hollywood director Elia Kazan, who also wrote a novel in which Loden features, thinly disguised; it is ‘about’ Loden’s making of the film Wanda; it is ‘about’ the character of Wanda in that film, a character Loden played herself and with whom she strongly identified personally; it is ‘about’ the tension between the “passive and inert” Wanda character with whom Loden identifies and Loden as writer and director, and about the relationship between author and character more generally in both an literary/artistic and a quotidian sense; it is ‘about’ Léger’s search for and discovery of the true story that inspired Loden to make the film, a botched 1960 bank robbery after which the passive and inert Alma Malone politely thanked the judge for handing her a twenty-year sentence; it is ‘about’, therefore, the relationship between inspiration and execution, and between actuality and  fiction; it is ‘about’ portrayal and self-portrayal and ‘about’ who gets to define whom (“To sum up. A woman is pretending to be another, in a role she wrote herself, based on another (this, we find out later), playing something other than a straightforward role, playing not herself but a projection of herself onto another, played by her but based on another.”); it is ‘about’, cumulatively, the way in which, as she delved more deeply into the specifics of another whom she sought to understand, Léger come up more and more against the unresolved edges of herself so that the two archaeologies became one (she also ended up learning quite a lot about her mother and the imbalanced mechanics of her parents’ relationship). When Wanda was released in 1970, it was disparaged in many feminist circles for its portrayal of a passive woman. Léger shows the film to be a useful mirror in which to recognise passivity as not only an impulse for self-erasure on a personal level but as part of the wider social mechanisms by which women are erased and colonised by projections, and in which the feminist critique and frontline necessarily become internal and self-reflexive. There is also in this book a strong sense of the inescapability of subjectivity, that in all subject-object relationships the subject perceives only and acts only upon a sort of externalised version of itself (the object being passive and without feature (effectively absent, effectively unassailable)); and also that when attempting to be/conceive of/portray oneself one has no option but to use the template of that with which one identifies but which is not in essence (whatever that means) oneself (except to the extent that one’s ‘self’ perhaps exists only in the mysterious act of identification). Oh, and Léger‘s writing is exquisite. (>>Read an extract)

Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi         $30
Devi does an excellent job of inhabiting the heads and capturing the patterns of thought that occur just on the brink of consciousness of the four narrators of this account of young lives in the slums of Port Louis in Mauritius. Just as a plughole communicates its force at all times to the entire contents of a basin, even to the molecules that have not yet begun to circle or descend, there is throughout the book a sense that a hopeless future is pulling upon the characters, that their descent will be at first slow and then sudden, that the world for them is tilted and greased, that their voices are impermanent, that they will become those that now harm them and are caught by harm. “One day we wake up and the future has disappeared.” In a milieu where the energies of sex and violence already run in the same channels, where currency is extracted in rape, beatings and murder, how can the voices of individuals, and how can moments of happiness and beauty, be preserved as more than corruscations swallowed, first slowly and then suddenly, by future shadow? Is to fight against your fate a way of preserving your independence from it, for a short moment at least, or does fighting it draw it more tightly entangled upon you?

Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre         $30
It takes approximately an hour and a half to fly from Berlin to Paris. Upon that hour and a half, a human memory, especially one working at neurotically obsessive speed, can loop a very large amount of time indeed, an hour and a half is plenty of time to go over and go over the things, or several of the things, the unassimilable things, that happened in Berlin, in an attempt to assimilate those things, though they are not assimilable, in an attempt, rather, albeit an involuntary attempt, to damage oneself by the exercise of one’s memories, to draw self-blame and self-disgust from a situation the hopelessness of which cannot be attributed to anything worthy of self-blame or self-disgust but which is sufficiently involved to exercise the self-blame and self-disgust that seethe always beneath their veneer of not-caring, of niceness, the veneer that preserves self-blame and self-disgust from resolution into anything other than self-blame and self-disgust. Upon this hour and a half can be looped, such is the efficacy of human memory, not only, obsessively, the unassimilable things that happened in Berlin but also much else that happened even into the distant past, but, largely speaking, the more recent things that have bearing upon, or occupy the same memory-pocket, not the best metaphor, as the unassimilable things that happened in Berlin, for disappointment and failure seldom happen in a vacuum but resonate with, even if they are not the direct result of, disappointments and failures reaching back even into the distant past, self-blame and self-disgust having the benefit, or detriment, if a difference can be told between benefit and detriment, of binding experiences to form an identity, and, not only this, upon that hour and a half can be looped also an endless amount of speculation and projection as to what may be occurring in the minds of others, or in the mind of, in this case, a specific other, a German-American pianist and composer with whom the narrator, who has been visiting Berlin with her sister, has had some manner of romantic encounter, so to call it, the extent of which is unclear, both, seemingly, to the narrator and, certainly, to the reader, the reader being necessarily confined to the mental claustrophobia of the narrator, on account of the obsessive speculation and projection and also the inescapable escapist and self-abnegating fantasising on the part of the narrator, together with the comet-like attraction-and-avoidance of her endless mental orbit around the most unassimilable things that happened in Berlin, or that might have happened in Berlin, or that did not happen in Berlin but are extrapolative fantasies unavoidably attendant upon what happened in Berlin, untrue but just as real as truth, for all thoughts, regardless of actuality, do the same damage to the brain. Lefebvre’s exquisitely pedantic, fugue-like sentences, their structure perfectly indistinguishable from their content, bestow upon her the mantle of Thomas Bernhard, which, after all, does not fall upon just any hem-plucker but, in this case, fully upon someone who, not looking skyward, has crawled far enough into its shadow when looking for something else. Where Bernhard’s narrators tend to direct their loathing outwards until the reader realises that all loathing is in fact self-loathing, Lefebvre’s narrator acknowledges her self-loathing and self-disgust, abnegating herself rather for circumstances in which self-abnegation is neither appropriate nor inappropriate, her self-abnegation arising from the circumstances, from her connection with the circumstances, from her rather than from the circumstances, her self-abnegation not, despite her certainty, having, really, any effect upon the circumstances. Not at all not-funny, pitch-perfect in both voice and structure, full of sly commentary on history and modernity, and on the frailties of human personality and desire, providing for the reader simultaneous resistance and release, Lefebvre shares many of Bernhard’s strengths and qualities, and the book contains memorable and effective passages such as that in which the narrator recalls playing tennis with her mother-in-law, now her ex-mother-in-law, and finding she is not the type for ‘collective happiness’, or her hilariously scathing descriptions of Berlin’s Sony Centre or of Brecht’s house, now a restaurant, or of the narrator's inability to acknowledge the German-American pianist-composer's wife as anything but 'the accompaniment', or, indeed many other passages, but the excellence of the book is perhaps less in the passages than in the book as a whole. I will be surprised if I read a better book this year. 
>>Read an extract here.


Visit the publisher's website to find out more about Les Fugitives and about these books and authors. 






20/06/2017 02:48 PM



QUIRKY BOOKS FOR DULL DAYS
Some books are dissimilar to other books (and a good thing, too). A few examples:


The Diary of Edward the Hamster, 1990-1990 by Miriam Elia      $28
"Wednesday, May 7th: Two of them came today, dragged me out of my cage and put me in some kind of improvised maze made out of books and old toilet tubes. A labyrinth with no escape. They were treating it like some kind of game, laughing and squealing as I desperately scrabbled from blind alley to blind alley, but I knew it was no game. They're trying to crush my will, to grind me down. They can take my freedom, but they will never take my soul."
We Go to the Gallery by Miriam Elia        $22
A pitch perfect spoof both on Ladybird books and on modern art.
"'Is the art pretty?' says Susan. 'No,' says Mummy, 'Pretty is not important.'John does not understand. 'It is good not to understand," says Mummy. John doesn't understand. John sees the painting. 'I could paint that.' says John. But you didn't,' says Mummy." 
Also available in the Dung Beetle Reading Scheme: We Go Out and We Learn at Home. Funny. 
Home-Made Europe: Contemporary folk artefacts by Vladimir Arkhipov       $34
On each page of this book, an object is presented with an accompanying photograph of the maker and text explaining the purpose of the object. The objects themselves as a photo essay are compelling, but it is in the text that the passion for making, for creating from scratch or for cannibalising other objects, and the pleasure and pride in creating a successful and useful object is revealed.The aesthetic of these objects is clumsy, quirky and oddly appealing, reminding us that there is a place for the home-made, for folk art in a time of slick, mass production. 
Archibet by federico Babina       $25
A book of 26 quirky postcards by the outstandingly wry architectural artist, each interpreting an architect's work as the letter of the alphabet with which her or his name begins. Perfect for modern architecturophiles. 
>> Babina's other work is also work is worth perusing.
The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey        $23
An alphabetical phantasmagoria in which a succession of infants meet dreadful ends.
>> Watch! Listen!


Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig        $50
The fascinating thing about the Soviet era bus stops is their individualistic nature, compared with the larger prescribed buildings of this period. They reflect the whims of their architects and the personalities of their local communities - many incorporate regional folk design in their decorative elements. A perfect book for the Soviet era architecture/design/aesthetic enthusiast. 
Window-Shopping through the Iron Curtain by David Hlynsky          $40
Wonderful examples of how the Soviet scarcity aesthetic lingered even into the 1990s. For a similar book on New Zealand shops: The Shops by Peter Black and Steve Braunias.
Shakespeare Insult Generator: Mix and match more than 150,000 insults in the Bard's own words by Barry Kraft          $25
Hundreds of the bards most powerfully insulting words in a fun, flip book format. Just add 'thou' before any of the 157,464 different insult combinations and you'll be ready to set dullards and miscreants in their place. 
Junket is Nice by Dorothy Kunhardt         $40
Can anyone guess what the old man with the red beard and slippers is thinking about as he eats his bottomless bowl of junket? Many people guess (and what guesses!), but what happens when a young boy on a tricycle gets the right answer? 


The Fire Horse: Children's poems by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mendelstam and Daniil Kharms, illustrated by Lidia Popova, Boris Ender and Vladimir Konashevich       $37
Three classic Soviet-era children's books by leading avant-garde writers and illustrators, newly translated. 

Texts from Jane Eyre, And other conversations with your favourite literary authors by Mallory Ortberg          $25
Ortberg retrofits the classics with cellphones.Very clever. 
70s Dinner Party by Anna Pallai         $40
Anna Pallai was brought up on 1970s stalwarts of stuffed peppers, meatloaf and platters of slightly greying hardboiled eggs. When she rediscovered her mother's grease-stained 70s cookbooks, she knew she needed to share them with the world. All the illustrations in this nauseating book come from authentic (non-satirical) cook books. 
A Humument: A treated Victorian novel by Tom Phillips         $55
In 1966 the artist Tom Phillips discovered A Human Document (1892), an obscure Victorian romance by W.H. Mallock, and set himself the task of altering every page, by painting, collage or cut-up techniques, to create an entirely new version. Some of Mallock's original text remains in tact and through the illustrated pages the character of Bill Toge, Phillips's anti-hero, and his romantic plight emerges. First published in 1973, A Humument - as Phillips titled his altered book - quickly established itself as a cult classic. Since then, the artist has been working towards a complete revision of his original, adding new pages in successive editions. That process is now finished. This 50th anniversary edition presents, for the first time, an entirely new and complete version of A Humument
>> It is worth visiting the website
Speaking in Tongues: Curious expressions from around the world by Ella Frances Sanders      $37
Sometimes other languages have ways of saying things that come a lot closer to the actual experience of the thing than the language you normally speak is capable of. Luckily, Ella Frances Saunders has collected (and illustrated!) an excellent selection of these. 
Schottenfreude: German words for the human condition by Ben Schott         $26
German is full of wonderful compound words, so it is the obvious language with which to construct new terms for situations that have been crying out for nomenclature (but probably crying rather quietly, as the need for the word is only made evident by its provision (which point is interesting in itself)).      Witzbeharrsamkeit - Unashamedly repeating a bon mot until it is properly heard by everyone present. Scheidungskreidekreisprobe - The distribution of friends after a divorce. Frohsinnsfaschismus - The god-awful mediocrity of organised fun. 
The Clown Egg Register by Luke Stephenson and Helen Champion       $40
For over 70 years, Clowns International - the oldest established clowning organization - has been painting the faces of its members on eggs. Each one is a record of a clown's unique identity, preserving the unwritten rule that no clown should copy another's look. At first they were painted on real eggshells, then later (when they kept breaking) on to ceramic eggs, most of which are now housed at the Wookey Hole Clowns' Museum. Here images from this extraordinary archive are accompanied by the stories of the men and women behind the make-up.
Make Faces by Tupera Tupera         $25
Fifty-two images of everyday and unexpected objects provide the perfect canvases for creating funny, quirky and completely original faces. Just add eyes, noses, mouths, ears, hair and more from 6 vinyl sticker sheets packed with expressive features and other amusing accessories. Exemplary fun. 

Russian Criminal Tattoo: Postcards by Sergei Vasiliev and Danzig Baldaev       $40
An ethnographic portrait of a closed society with its own symbolic language and rituals. The 25 drawings and 25 photographs here have been chosen from the thousands copied from convicts’ skins by prison attendant Danzig Baldaev and photographer Sergei Vasiliev, and give an insight into the aesthetic, political, sexual, ‘tribal’ and spiritual concerns and traditions of Russian criminal culture.
Walt Whitman's Guide to Manly Health and Training        $25
Who better as a guide to the manly life than the man who was every man? These newspaper columns have only recently been identified as being Whitman's work.
Cat Bingo             $42
Brush up on your breeds and have fun at the same time.


https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/art-bad-hair-day?barcode=9781877375439
Bad Hair Day        $15
Once you start looking at the subjects' hair in artworks, you'll find amusement everywhere. This wee handbook from the collections of the Christchurch Art Gallery will get you started.












15/06/2017 11:53 AM



UNSTOPPED TEXT
What is the reason for and what is the effect of writing a book without full stops? Although the production of such a gush of text requires virtuosic skills from a writer, reading it does not necessarily require virtuosic skills from a reader (although it may). Written without full stops, does a text more realistically represent the ceaseless flow of thought (often in many different rivulets at once) or perhaps the unstoppable momentum of time? (if there is a difference between the two). The full stop is an artifice, an arbitrary attempt to represent thought and time as if we could control them by the application of punctuation (perhaps not such a bad idea). Here are four books from our shelves, each written in a single sentence: 
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack         $38
Written in one long sentence (in which line breaks perform as a higher order of comma), McCormack’s remarkable and enjoyable book succeeds at both stretching the formal possibilities of the novel (for which it was awarded the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize) and in being a gentle, unassuming and thoughtful portrait of a very ordinary life in a small and unremarkable Irish town. The flow of McCormack’s prose sensitively maps the flow of thought, drawing feeling and meaning from the patterning of quotidian detail as the narrator dissolves himself in the memories of which he is comprised. This wash of memory suggests that the narrator may in fact be dead, the narrative being the residue (or cumulation) of his life, the enduring body of attachments, thoughts and feelings that comprise the person. Few novels capture so well the texture of a person’s life, and this has been achieved through a rigorous experiment in form.
Phone by Will Self          $37
Self’s great achievement and presumed intention is to create, by the breaking and reconstitution of language, a remarkable study of how thought moves in the mind, looping, moving at any one moment on many parallel tracks, in cul-de-sac curlicues and feedback loops. Thought is constantly assailed by interference, often arising from the mechanisms of language itself but also from the instability of referents, and Self’s text is full of rather funny linguistic jokes and precise ironic observations, and is frequently every bit as irritating as your own thoughts. The identities of the narrators segue into one another, the actual world barely registering on, and having no clear delineation from, the loosely bundled and rebundled memories and urges that hardly pass as personhood, the distance between each stitch of ‘actual’ narrative containing great tangled loops and knots of mental thread. If our thoughts cannot define us, what can be the organising principle of our identities?
The Last Wolf by Laszlo Krasahorkai          $36
Written in one virtuosic 73-page sentence which exerts enormous pressure on language to make it more closely resemble thought and which makes form the primary content of this novella, The Last Wolf tells of an academic who is commissioned to travel to Extremadura in Spain where he seeks to determine the fate of the last wolves in that barren area. We read his relation to a Hungarian bartender in Berlin of the accounts of Extremadurans made to him via a translator (and usually based in any case on further hearsay), nesting the subject of the story in several layers of reportage, rumour and translation, the performative complexity of which is repeatedly punctured by the offhand comments of the bartender. Krasznahorkai, as usual, succeeds in being both comic and morose, this hopeless tale of human destruction and the frustrating impassivity of nature is one in which meaning is both invoked and withheld much like the presence of the last elusive wolf (or, rather, much like the story of the last wolf, for it is  narrative that is the true quarry for the hunter).
Zone by Mathias Enard             $45
Enard's text is like a ball-bearing rolling around indefinitely inside a box over surfaces imprinted with every sort of information about the Mediterranean, from from Barcelona to Beirut, and Algiers to Trieste (the "Zone"), past and present. Enard very effectively uses the necessarily one-directional movement of a sentence to sketch out, through endless repetition and variation, the complexity of the political, cultural, historical, social and physical terrain of the entire Zone, as well effectively inducing the narrator's patterns of thought, mesmeric, irresistible, but containing pieces of painful psychological grit not yet abraded from the his personal history and his involvement in the recent traumas of the Zone, in Croatia and elsewhere. 




29/05/2017 09:10 PM



The Writer's Toolkit


All writers can do with an occasional tune-up. Our 5-week writing course The Writer's Toolkit, led by the inspirational Michelanne Forster, begins on June 8th. Places are limited to ensure individual attention. Click here to find out more

Here a few books from our shelves that would be good additions to any writer's shelf:
Syllabus: Notes from an accidental professor by Lynda Barry       $35
Barry teaches a method of writing that focuses on the relationship between the hand, the brain, and spontaneous images, both written and visual. Collaged texts, ballpoint-pen doodles, and watercolor washes adorn Syllabus 's yellow lined pages, which offer advice on finding a creative voice and using memories to inspire the writing process.
Confabulations by John Berger         $21
"Language is a body, a living creature, and this creature's home is the inarticulate as well as the articulate."
Literature Class by Julio Cortázar           $44
Cortázar's novels and short stories ignited a whole generation of Latin American writers, and had an enthusiastic following through the Americas and Europe. In this series of masterclasses he discusses his approach to the problems and mechanisms of fiction writing: the short story form, fantasy and realism, musicality, the ludic, time and the problem of literary "fate". 
"Anyone who doesn't read Cortázar is doomed." —Pablo Neruda

The Elements of Eloquence: How to turn the perfect English phrase by Mark Forsyth         $23
Why are some ways of saying things better than others? The Elements of Eloquence is a relentlessly entertaining guide to the figures of speech that are the neglected sharp end of rhetoric. Forsyth believes our overconcentration on content has blinded us to the craft of making even banal statements memorable and effective. For example, I now know that when I say, “Get off the computer and ready to go,” I am employing syllepsis, a flower of rhetoric, and am not just being an old nag.
https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/writing-calamities?barcode=9781940696270
Calamities by Renee Gladman              $30
Gladman's essays start out being about not very much, small ordinary particulars of Gladman’s life, or small observations such as a poet might make about the ordinary particulars of life, but really they are not so much about these things as they are about the writing about these things, that is to say about the relationship of a writer to her experience and to her work and about her trying to decide what sort of relationship there might be, both actually and ideally, between this experience of hers and this work.

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr       $28
Synthesises her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and "black belt sinner," providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahari         $33
Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterwards, true mastery had always eluded her. Seeking full immersion, she decided to move to Rome with her family, for 'a trial by fire, a sort of baptism' into a new language and world. There, she began to read and to write - initially in her journal - solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.
Write to the Centre: Navigating life with gluestick and words by Heen Lehndorf      $35
Create your own series of 'personal books' that provide a home for your mind, savouring life's moments with scissors and gluestick at the ready. 
Juicy Writing: Inspiration and techniques for young writers by Brigit Lowry             $24
Being a writer is good because you get paid to write stuff up, you can stay home and work in your pajamas and you get to travel because it's research. Being a writer is bad when you're sitting all by yourself staring at a blank page. Brigid Lowry knows the highs and lows of being a writer, but she still thinks it's a joy. In this book she takes you on a journey to discover yourself and what you really want to say AND how to make it juicy and original. 


https://volume.circlesoft.net/products/1133891-LettertoaYoungWriterandYouToo-9781408885031
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann         $25
"A lot can be taken from you—even your life—but not your stories about that life. So this, then, is a word, not without love and respect, to a young writer: write." Some considered practical and philosophical advice.
"An intensely literary writer, his prose thrums with echoes of Beckett, Yeats and Joyce." - Sunday Times
The Exercise Book: Creative writing exercises from Victoria University's Institute of Modern Letters edited by Bill Manhire, Ken Duncm, Chris Price and Damien Wilkins          $35
A wonderful array of writing exercises, prompts and constraints that will help writers at any stage in their career. 
https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/writing-writing-true-stories-the-complete-guide-to-writing-autobiography-memoir-personal-essay-biography-travel-and-creative-non-fiction?barcode=9781760293086
Writing True Stories: The complete guide to writing autobiography, memoir, personal essay, biography, travel and creative non-fiction by Patti Miller       $40
Provides guidance and inspiration on an array of writing topics, including how to access memories, find a narrative voice, build a vivid world on the page, create structure, use research, and face the difficulties of truth-telling.
https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/writing-the-story-cure-a-book-doctor-s-pain-free-guide-to-finishing-your-novel-or-memoir?barcode=9780399578809
The Story Cure: A book doctor's pain-free guide to finishing your novel or memoir by Dinty W. Moore         $35
A collection of cures for writer's block, plotting and characterisation issues, and other ailments writers face when completing a novel or memoir. Includes prescriptions for diagnoses such as character anemia, flat plot, and silent voice.
Release the Bats: Writing your way out of it by D.B.C. Pierre       $33
Dirty-But-Clean burst onto the literary scene from a nonliterary background with publication of Vernon God Little in 2003. Find out how he learned everything the hard way. 
Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau          $25
Take one small banal story about a man on a bus and a remark about a button, and rewrite it ninety-nine times according to different constraints, from sonnet to antiphrasis, from onomatopoeia to metaphor, from Dog Latin to double entry, from the gastronomical to the abusive, and you come up with a book that is inventive, erudite and very funny. Raymond Queneau is a verbal acrobat of the first order. Reading this book is to attend a circus of rigours - be prepared to be exhilarated.
https://volume.circlesoft.net/products/1136772-BleakerHouseChasingMyNoveltotheEndoftheWorld-9781509824410
Bleaker House: Chasing my novel to the end of the world by Nell Stevens      $38
When Nell Stevens was given the opportunity to spend three months in a location of her choice in order to write her novel, she was determined to rid herself of all distractions. So Nell decided to travel to Bleaker Island (official population: two) in the Falklands where she would write 2,500 words a day. But Bleaker House is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a young woman realising that the way to writing fiction doesn't necessarily lie in total solitude (though total solitude may well be a good way to write a book about how total solitude is not a good way to write a book).
https://volume.circlesoft.net/p/writing-the-writer-s-diet--3?barcode=9781869408312
The Writer's Diet by Helen Sword            $25
Is your writing flabby or fit? >>Take the test. Helen Sword's book is a useful guide to producing clear, crisp, effective prose.








>>> Find out more about The Writer's Toolkit here.


19/05/2017 11:07 PM




BOOKS ON THE BRAIN
A few books from our shelves about the brain, its vagaries and potentials. 


The Brain: The story of you by David Eagleman        $25
The latest discoveries enable neurology to enter the preserves of psychology and philosophy. Eagleman’s descriptions of the behaviour of neurons tell us much about how we generate our idea of reality, our feelings and thoughts, our ideas about ourselves and our capacities. What makes humans so interesting neurologically is that we are born ‘soft-wired’, which means that the function of our brain is formed and reformed by experience. Of the many fascinating things that have been revealed by recent neurology is the fact that we do not attempt to make an idea of the world around us from sensual stimulation but rather that we form an idea of the world around us and only then test it against stimulation, showing our idea of the world to be primarily a creative act, the work of an author (which just happens to be subsequently fact-checked) rather than a piece of reportage. Discoveries like these have profound implications.
A Day in the Life of the Brain: The neuroscience of consciousness, from dawn to dusk by Susan Greenfield          $38
How do our daily activities translate into the pattern of firing neurons and chemical microchanges that we consider somehow analogous to consciousness? Greenfield presents the perfect blend of expertise and compelling writing. 
Patient H.M.: A story of memory, madness and family secrets by Luke Dittrich        $55
In 1953 a neurosurgeon failed to eliminate the seizures that beset Henry Molaison, but the operation did leave Molaison incapable of forming durable memories. Molaison became a celebrated case in the study of neurology, and his profound amnesia gave much to our understanding of memory. Beneath all this neuroscience lies also a tragic human story. 
Do No Harm: Stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh       $28
What is it like to be a brain surgeon? How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason? How do you live with the consequences of performing a potentially life-saving operation when it all goes wrong?
Admissions: A life in brain surgery by Henry Marsh       $38
Why does a person to spend a lifetime handling other people's brains? No other part of the body is more integral to what makes us human and what makes life worthwhile. 
How Emotions are Made: The secret life of the brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett         $38
What correspondence is there between our experiences and our brain chemistry and neural activities. 


The Case of the Missing Body by Jenny Powell       $30

The story of a young New Zealand woman who has no sense of her body. Working with a physiotherapist, this begins to change. 
The Man Who Wasn't There: Tales from the edge of the self by Anil Ananthaswamy        $32
Recent neurological investigation of conditions such as schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer's, ecstatic epilepsy and Cotard's syndrome, as well as out of body experiences and Asperger's, is helping us to think anew about the Self at a level of detail that Descartes ("I think therefore I am") could never have imagined. 
Finding Sanity: John Cade, lithium and the taming of bipolar disorder by Greg de Moore and Ann Westmore        $37
Lithium: the penicillin of mental health, the first effective psychiatric medication, flattening out the lives of bipolar sufferers since 1948. 



The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, And other inspiring stories of pioneering brain transformation by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young          $27
As a child, Arrowsmith-Young read and wrote everything backward, struggled to process concepts in language, continually got lost, and was physically uncoordinated. With iron determination she set about changing her brain function through cognitive exercises she devised herself. Although neuroplasticity is now accepted by the medical mainstream, this has only happened very recently, and Arrowsmith-Young and the other pioneers she treats in this book were operating very much in isolation and against medical resistance. 
The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science by Norman Doidge       $36
A woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole; a woman labelled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises; blind people who learn to see; learning disorders cured; IQs raised; ageing brains rejuvenated; lifelong character traits changed: Doidge presents evidence of neuroplasticity that until recently would be labelled as science fiction.  
Override: My quest to go beyond brain training and take control of my mind by Caroline Williams        $38
Williams visits the experts and tries out the latest exercises in plain plasticity, but can she really make a difference to her brain's function? What possibilities and what limitations are there in this area of neuroscience? 

In a Different Key: The story of autism by John Donvan and Carin Zucker      $38
From the first diagnosis 75 years ago to the latest scientific discoveries and difference activism, the history of autism is inseparable from the history of the non-autistic. This book does much to include the experiences of the autistic, parents and doctors, and will help towards a new understanding and acceptance. 
Odd Girl Out: An autistic woman in a neurotypical world by Laura James         $30 
Explores how and why female autism is so under-diagnosed and very different from that seen in men and boys and explores difficulties and benefits neurodiversity can bring.
The Reason I Jump: One boy's voice from the silence of autism by Naoki Higashida         $23
"When we look at nature we receive a sort of permission to be alive in this world." This is a very interesting book, written by a 13-year-old autistic boy using a cardboard ‘keyboard’. In response to a series of questions, he gives insights into the usually unreachable world of someone whose mind is so acutely wired that he is overwhelmed by every impulse and whose body is the locus of a frustrating interface with the world. This book not only intimates the life of an autistic mind, but will enlarge your understanding of what it is to exist and be human. "People with autism have no freedom. The reason is that we are a different kind of human, born with primeval senses. We are outside the normal flow of time, we can't express ourselves and our bodies are hurtling us through life. We want to go back. To the distant, distant past. To a primeval era, in fact, before human beings even existed."  
Delusions of Gender: The real science behind sex differences by Cordelia Fine         $29

Splendidly debunks the myth that there is a biological difference between the male and female brain and shows how gendered thinking is solely the result of social conditioning. 
Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the myths of our gendered minds by Cordelia Fine         $33
Brings together evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience and social history to move beyond old 'nature versus nurture' debates, and to explain why it's time to unmake the myth of the 'male' or 'female' brain. 
Pieces of Mind: 21 short walks around the human brain by Michael Corballis        $30
A very personable guide to the facts and myths of the human brain, with explanations of humans' behavioural quirks. 
The Wandering Mind: What your brain does when you're not looking by Michael Corballis          $35
Science has shown that the brain is never idle. When not being goaded towards a particular goal, a lot of interesting things are going on inside our heads. These neural wanderings are important for our personality, creativity and mental health. 
The Truth About Language: What it is and where it came from by Michael Corballis       $40
Corballis argues with both God and Chomsky to persuade us that language is indeed the product of evolution and has its precursors throughout the animal kingdom. How has this development paralleled the evolution of the human brain?
Stammered Songbook: A mother's book of hours by Erwin Mortier       $25
When Erwin Mortier’s mother developed Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 65, her loss of memory was also a profound loss of personality and Mortier began to find it difficult to associate the memories he had of his once-vivacious mother with the person whose rapid mental and physical diminishment made her more of a lingering absence than a presence. Mortier’s book is beautifully written, intensely sad, unsentimental, unflinching and tender. His ability to use a tiny detail or turn of phrase to evoke a memory of his mother or his childhood or a step in his mother’s loss of memory and language and personality is remarkable. Written while his mother is still alive in an attempt to fix his memories of her lest they get sucked away in the slipstream of her departure, the book expresses the hope that, following her death, these memories will be freed from the mental decline which currently overwhelms them and that, through words, they may come together again to form an idea of the particular person his mother was. 
When We Are No More: How digital memory is shaping our future by Abby Smith Runsey         $37
The human capacity for memory has given the species an evolutionary advantage and the ability to project forward on the basis of those memories. How are these capacities, and the brain that enables them, being affected by the outsourcing of memory to electronic devices? 
The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains by Nicholas Carr       $34
Does Google make us stupid? How is the use of technology to do things formerly done by our brains affecting and reshaping those brains? Carr compares the focus and concentration enabled by a technology such as the printed book with the rapid multi-focused information assault provided by digital media and speculates a far-reaching change in human nature. Is this book the Silent Spring  for our brains?
Deep Thinking: The human future of artificial intelligence by Garry Kasparov       $38
In 1997 the world chess champion Garry Kasparov was beaten at chess by a supercomputer named Deep Blue. This experience led him to consider the vast scope and uses of artificial intelligence and also the human capacities (including the capacity for useful error) beyond the reach of machines. Is AI a threat or an opportunity for the human brain?
To Be a Machine: Adventures among cyborgs, Utopians, hackers and the futurists solving the modest problem of death by Mack O'Connell       $33
Technological transhumanism is causing us to rethink what it means to be human and is enabling us to rethink old problems in new ways. 
"A beautifully written powerhouse of a novel that defies all expectations." - Independent 
Other Minds: The octopus and the evolution of intelligent life by Peter Godfrey-Smith        $30
The remarkable intelligence of the cephalopds evolved quite separately from that of homonids and cetaceans. What does this tell us about the nature and evolution of consciousness, and what would it be like to have the mind of an octopus? 









16/05/2017 09:51 PM

 
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The winners in the OCKHAM NEW ZEALAND BOOK AWARDS have just been announced.



The Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize: The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey
Can You Tolerate This?



Royal Society Te Aparangi Award for General Non-Fiction: Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young



A History of New Zealand Women


Illustrated Non-Fiction: A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes


Fits & Starts



Poetry: Fits & Starts by Andrew Johnston






Best First Book Awards:
Illustrated Non-Fiction: A Whakapapa of Tradition: 100 Years of Ngati Porou Carving, 1830-1930 by Ngarino Ellis
Poetry: Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird
General Non-Fiction: My Father's Island by Adam Dudding
Fiction: Black Ice Matter by Gina Cole




04/05/2017 03:42 PM



These three recent novels all retell legends from ancient Greece, often reclaiming viewpoints of suppressed or vilified female characters. 
- BRIGHT BLACK AIR by David Vann (Medea and Jason) 
- THE CHILDREN OF JOCASTA by Natalie Haynes (Oedipus and Antigone)
- HOUSE OF NAMES by Colm Toibin (Clytemnestra, Orestes, Electra and Iphigenia)