Some of the interesting books that have leapt from the cartons this week.
Scroll through to browse. Click through to have.
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.
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.
"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 Missing, set largely in New Zealand, was an international literary sensation.
>> She's got a paperclip upon her wrist.
Home: New writing edited by Thom Conroy $40
An excellent New Zealand essay collection on the theme of 'home', with contributions from Selina Tusitala Marsh, Martin Edmond, Ashleigh Young, Lloyd Jones, Laurence Fearnley, Sue Wootton, Elizabeth Knox, Nick Allen, Brian Turner, Tina Makereti, Bonnie Etherington, Paula Morris, Thom Conroy, Jill Sullivan, Sarah Jane Barnett, Ingrid Horrocks, Nidar Gailani, Helen Lehndorf, James George and Ian Wedde.
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
>> Some things wrong in Israel.
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. New edition.
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.
White Trash: The 400-year untold history of class in America by Nancy Isenberg $45
Isenberg argues that the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of the American fabric, and reveals how the wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlements to today's hillbillies. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery.
"A masterly and ambitious cultural history." - New York Times
"A gritty assault on American mythmaking." - Washington Post
Dior: Catwalk, The complete collections by Alexander Fury and Adelia Sabatini $110
For the first time, every Dior haute couture collection has been plucked from the catwalk and put into one book. Endlessly stimulating.
>> Lost in the woods.
Arabia Felix: The Danish expedition, 1761-1767 by Thorkild Hansen $38
In 1761 six men left Copenhagen by sea: a botanist, a philologist, an astronomer, a doctor, an artist, and their servant. Disliking and distrusting one another from the start, they nevertheless reached the Yemen, the first organised European mission to do so. Continually seeking to undermine each other in every way possible, the expedition reached Turkey and Egypt and then continued into the desert which proved their ultimate undoing. Only one member returned to Denmark, to find that their expedition had been almost entirely forgotten and that all the specimens that had been sent back had been neglected and spoiled. The notebooks, diaries and sketches lay forgotten until the 20th century.
The Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss edited by Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard $35
Influential art writers consider the work of influential art writers, including Nikolaus Pevsner's Pioneers of the Modern Movement, Alfred Barr's monograph on Matisse, E.H. Gombrich's Art and Illusion, Clement Greenberg's Art and Culture, and Rosalind Krauss's The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Required reading.
Pages for Her by Sylvia Brownrigg $35
Two women wishing to reignite their writing careers and their personal lives reunite after twenty years of domestic compromise at a writers' conference and begin to feel the irresistible pull of each other's gravity. How much have they lost sight of themselves?
"Completely engrossing." - Claire Messud
Old Asian, New Asian by K. Emma Ng $15
In 2010, the Human Rights Commission found that Asian people reported higher levels of discrimination than any other minority in New Zealand. Yet although anti-Asian prejudice has a long history in New Zealand, it is seldom publicly acknowledged.K. Emma Ng shines light onto the persistence of anti-Asian sentiment in New Zealand. Her anecdotal account is based on her personal experience as a second-generation young Chinese-New Zealand woman and those of other young Asian-New Zealanders. When Asian people have been living here since the Gold Rush, she asks, what will it take for them to be fully accepted as New Zealanders?
Animals at Home by Claudia Boldt $25
Young children can match 27 animals to their homes and make them happy. Older children will enjoy using this as a memory game.
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, like 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." Introduction by Francine Prose.
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay $38
Sixteenth century Venice, renowned for its mirrors; 1958 Venice Beach, California; 21st century Venice Casino, Las Vegas: this genre-splicing, time-shifting grand novel has been compared with the work of David Mitchell, Umberto Eco and Herman Hesse.
"Audaciously well written." - The New York Times
"With near-universal appeal, Seay's novel is a true delight, a big, beautiful cabinet of wonders that is by turns an ominous modern thriller, a supernatural mystery, and an enchanting historical adventure story." - Publishers' Weekly
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
Jane Austen, Secret radical by Helena Kelly $25
Almost everything we think we know about Jane Austen is wrong. Her novels don’t confine themselves to grand houses and they were not written just for readers’ enjoyment. She writes about serious subjects and her books are deeply subversive. We just don’t read her properly - we haven’t been reading her properly for 200 years. Now in paperback.
"A sublime piece of literary detective work that shows us once and for all how to be precisely the sort of reader that Austen deserves." - Guardian
A Passing Fury: Searching for justice at the end of World War II by A.T. Williams $30
After the Second World War, the Nuremberg Tribunal became a symbol of justice in the face of tyranny, aggression and atrocity. But it was only a fragment of retribution as, with their Allies, the British embarked on the largest programme of war crimes investigations and trials in history. This book exposes the deeper truth of this endeavour, moving from the scripted trial of Goering, Hess and von Ribbentrop to the makeshift courtrooms where the SS officers, guards and executioners were prosecuted. Was justice done?
I Can Only Tell What My Eyes See: Photographs from the rugee crisis by Giles Duley $70
Duley was commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to document the refugee crisis. Over the next seven months, he criss-crossed Europe and the Middle East attempting to put a human face to one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. The result are a reminder that the crisis and the responses it provokes have an impact on actual individual people. Powerful.
Make Way for the Superhumans: How the science of bio-enhancement is transforming our world, and how we need to deal with it by Michael Bess $25
"Michael Bess's detailed and humane book adeptly surveys some eye-opening developments in current technology (bionic vision, thought-controlled machines and so forth), and foresees that future humans will enjoy double the average healthy lifespan of today, leading to lives of multiple marriages and career changes." - The Spectator
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.
This is Not a Border: Reportage and reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature edited by Ahdaf Soueif and Omar Robert Hamilton $24
The Palestine Festival of Literature was established ten years ago as an attempt to break the cultural siege resulting from the Israeli military occupation. Contributions here from many leading writers, including Teju Cole, Molly Crabapple, Selma Dabbagh, Geoff Dyer, Yasmin El-Rifae, Adam Foulds, Henning Mankell, Claire Messud, China Mieville, Pankaj Mishra, Deborah Moggach, Michael Palin, Kamila Shamsie, Gillian Slovo, Alice Walker, China Achebe, Michael Ondaatje and J. M. Coetzee.
Being Here: The life of Paula Moderson Becker by Marie Darrieussecq $38
One of the most important of the early Expressionists, Paula Moderson Becker is most remembered for her searching, sensitive self-portraits.
McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh $21
1851, Salem, Massachusetts. Has the drunken McGlue killed a man? Was it his best friend? More urgently, can he get another drink? A novella from the Booker short-listed Eileen.
"Wonderful." - Guardian
"Strange and beautiful." - Los Angeles Times
Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How skiffle changed the world by Billy Bragg $45
Emerging from the trad-jazz clubs of the early '50s, skiffle was adopted by kids who growing up during the dreary, post-war rationing years. This the the story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch-hunts. Bragg traces how the guitar came to the forefront of music in the UK and led directly to the British Invasion of the US charts in the 1960s.
>> Donny Lonegan's 'Rock Island Line' hit the charts in 1956 and sales of guitars in the UK suddenly rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year.
>> Another man with a guitar.
Songs of Love and War: The dark heart of bird behaviour by Dominic Couzens $33
Perhaps no aspect of the natural world is more hidden by the projection of human response to it than the dawn chorus and birdsong in general. This interesting book shows us how little we really know about birds.
General Intellects: Twenty-one Thinkers for the Twenty-first Century by McKenzie Wark $37
Who are the public intellectuals of the internet age? Who are the vehicles for necessary thought in the face of modern populism? This book makes a few suggestions, including Slavoj Zizek and Judith Butler.
Art Oracles by Katya Tylevich and Mikkel Sommer Christensen $25
Artists are gatekeepers of the subconscious [*snigger*]. Who better to turn to for creative and life inspiration? [*snort*]. This set of 50 tongue-in-cheek 'divination' cards is a great way to become familiar with the thought processes of a wide range of artists, historical and modern. Fun (and possibly helpful).
We Could Be Heroes: The gods and heroes of the ancient Greeks and Romans edited by Gary Morrison, Penelope Minchin-Garvin and Terri Elder $30
Uses Canterbury University's superb Logie Collection to illustrate consideration of the myths and meanings of gods and heroes.
We also have in stock a superb catalogue to the superb Logie Collection.
>> But just for one day.
Archidoodle: Architects' activity postcards by Steve Bowkett $17
Very usable postcards ready to complete (or not) and send.
The Ultimate Insult Generator by Mike Roberts $22
Sometimes children need a little help insulting their friends and family (not to mention teachers and strangers). This useful flip-book allows the user to mix-and-match their insults, extend their repertoire (by more than 60 million) and become even more endearing than they are already.