Monday, 19 June 2017
Books anticipated or surprising, just out of the carton.
Click through to find out more and to secure your next book.
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.
>> Read an extract.
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
>> How to jam the Trump brand.
>> "Trump is an idiot, but don’t underestimate how good he is at that."
Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone $33
Seb's beautiful, beloved wife Leda has been killed by a swan. Sorting through her belongings after her death, he comes across a packet of unopened letters from Olaf, a man whom Leda had never mentioned. Floundering professionally and sunk by grief, he decides to travel to Leda's home village in Latvia to patch her story together. But with each new person that he turns to for answers, Seb is met instead by more questions about Leda, her past and their life together.
"Although I began this novel captivated by its wicked humour, confident prose and gripping narrative, it was its savage tenderness that ensnared me. Far more than a tragicomedy of errors and erasures, Strange Heart Beating is about the idea of possession in relationships, and the lie that we can ever fully know someone even when we love them absolutely. Eli is an astonishing writer with a vision that is both acerbic and sympathetic." - Ka Bradley
>> "I can't think of many great books that aren't funny."
>> Read the first chapter here.
Binary Star by Sarah Gerard $36
Like a star, the anorexic burns fuel that isn't replenished; she is held together by her own gravity. The saga of two young lovers and the culture that keeps them sick.
"A bold, beautiful novel about wanting to disappear and almost succeeding. Sarah Gerard writes about love and loneliness in a new and brilliantly visceral way." - Jenny Offill
"Rhythmic, hallucinatory, yet vivid as crystal. Gerard has channeled her trials and tribulations into a work of heightened reality, one that sings to the lonely gravity of the human body." - NPR
"Sarah Gerard's debut, Binary Star, radiates beauty. Gerard captures the beauty and scientific irony of damaged relationships and ephemeral heavenly lights. Just as with the stars, it is collapse that offers the most illumination." - Los Angeles Times
Walks With Walser by Carl Selig $29
A regular visitor to the Swiss author-of-the-small Robert Walser during the last twenty years of his life during his time as a voluntary patient in mental asylums, Selig, who became Walser's guardian and literary executor, meticulously recorded their conversations and is the best biographical source for this period of Walser's life.
>> How Swiss is it?
The New Animals by Pip Adam $30
Gen-Xers and Millennials clash in the world of fashion - will irony or sincerity prevail? Will new animals emerge from the wreckage and waste of 21-st century Auckland?
>> Compare the attitudes.
>> Interview with Pip Adam.
The Perfect Pencil: The story of a cultural icon by Caroline Weaver $90
In the digital age, what could be hipper than using a pencil and paper? The humble pencil, once the tool of the infant school, has now become the talisman of designers, artists, writers and other creatives. This book features profiles of pencil crafters, anecdotes about famous writers and their favorite pencils, and essays about the surprising role of pencils in world history and culture. Illustrated with pencil drawings.
>> Visit a pencil factory.
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.
A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar $20
A pair of lovers - a young female journalist and an older man who owns an isolated farm in the Brazilian outback - spend the night together. The next day they proceed to destroy each other.
"A Cup of Rage is a burning coal of a work, superbly translated by Stefan Tobler. You may consider a book this short to be scarcely worthy of the name, but it packs more power into its scant 47 pages than most books do into five or 10 times as many. Each of its seven chapters comes not only as an unbroken paragraph but as a single sentence: you have to read carefully to keep track, and once you have finished you will want to read it again. The writing is chewy - dense, tough, but well worth the effort."- Nick Lezard, The Guardian
Hamlet, Globe to Globe: Taking Shakespeare to every county in the world by Dominic Dromgoole $37
Over two years, the Globe Theatre travelled to every country in the world, performing Hamlet. I what ways did the reception differ in different societies and conditions, and in what ways were the responses universal?
>> Off (and on) they go.
The Egg by Britta Teckentrup $34
A beautifully illustrated survey of birds in nests and in art and mythology.
The Bickford Fuse by Andrey Kurkov $28
Four separate bewildered wanderers bear their symbolic burdens towards a common goal. A satirical epic of the Russian mentality, grand schemes and failures, from World War Two until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"Some people see him as a latter-day Bulgakov; to others he's a Ukrainian Murakami." - Guardian
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.
The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle $16
A preposterous board book. Fun.
Gauchillos by Toni Meneguzzo $55
A stunning photographic essay on the culture of the Argentinian rural bandits.
Outside the Asylum: A memoir of war, disaster and humanitarian psychiatry by Lynne Jones $35
War and disaster bring an intensity of trauma to ordinary citizens, and compound the difficulties of those already receiving psychiatric care.
Chromaphilia: The story of colour in art by Stella Paul $70
Uses 200 artworks to explore the pigments and effects of 10 major colours or colour groups.
"Stella Paul has written a most useful and readable book on the complex subject of color which addresses expertly both its material and affective properties. The many works of art that she illustrates are in her well balanced text not merely data for a clinical examination of color, but a source of sensitive analysis and interpretation." —Philippe de Montebello, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Upgrade: Home extensions, alterations and refurbishments $120
Full of excellent examples of marrying old and modern elements without compromising the characteristics of either to make living spaces that are comfortable and pleasing.
Land's Edge: A coastal memoir by Tim Winton $26
A new edition of this beautifully written short book about life lived in harmony with the ebbs and flows of the tide.
The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd $29
Shepherd's timeless evocation of the Cairngorms and of the way in which humans find meaning and regeneration in the natural world puts her in the front rank of nature writers. This edition has an introduction by Robert Macfarlane.
The Happy Reader, Issue 9 $8
This issue looks at Treasure Island from many angles and follows its many resonances. Robert Louis Stevenson is under-recognised as a prose stylist. Also in this issue, an audience with bookseller, supermodel and actress Lily Cole.