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.
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
Strangers arrive: Émigrés and the arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980 by 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.
Insane by Rainald Goetz $38
Dr Raspe takes up a position at a psychiatric institution determined to implement his ideals, but instead becomes overwhelmed by the reality of life in the hospital and soon passes beyond the edges of what is commonly thought of as sane, disassembling as he does so society's expedient construct of sanity. For him, and for the reader, the idea of madness is overthrown.
"Rainald Goetz is the most important trendsetter in German literature. In many passages, Goetz achieves the same intensity and concentration of experience as in the disturbing early novels of Thomas Bernhard." — Süddeutsche Zeitung
"This book is a hammer. His texts should come with an epilepsy warning." — Die Zeit
"As a hyper-nervous virtuoso of attentiveness, Rainald Goetz works in the field between authenticity and fiction." — Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"Praise is bad." — Rainald Goetz
>> "He was a doctor. He knew what he was doing." — Marcel Reich-Ranicki, commenting on Goetz slicing open his forehead at the 1983 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize
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.
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.
Old Rendering Plant by Wolfgang Hilbig $28
One day, a boy follows the odors, oozings, and grime of a polluted creek to the rendering plant that has spewed animal refuse into it for years. He becomes obsessed with the poor creatures that are being made into soap, and in his paranoia he comes to believe that this abattoir is somehow connected to the mysterious disappearances occurring throughout the countryside. Hilbig uses obsessive, hypnotic prose to explore the intersections of identity, consciousness, our frail bodies, and history's darkest chapters.
"An artist of immense stature." - Laszlo Krasznohorkai
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.
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.
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.
Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia O'Hara and Lauren O'Hara $30
Hortense is irritated by the antics of her shadow, but its ability to take on new forms can be useful when you are threatened by bandits.
Downtime: Deliciousness at home by Nadine Levy Redzepi $60
Quietly thoughtful and nicely presented.
"This is great family cooking: inviting, achievable and simply delicious." - Nigel Slater
Coming Unstuck: Recipes to get you back on track by Sarah Tuck $60
When not everything is going your way (or even when nothing seems to be going your way), the preparing and eating of good food can help to get your life back on the rails. S. Tuck shares 100 of her most effective recipes in this attractively presented cook book. This food will help pick you up off the floor.
>> STuck in the kitchen.
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 paragraph carpaccios 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.
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.
Type: A visual history of typefaces and graphic styles, 1628-1938 by Cees de Jong et al $125
A stupendous encyclopedia of typographical evolution and innovation, including not only typefaces but also layout, ornament and aesthetic. Full of information and inspiration.
Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively $40
A memoir of the writer's life in gardens and a consideration of gardens in her reading.
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresan $40
What happens if you throw literature into the Large Hadron Collider? This book is a fictional life told in fragments, each fragment constantly permuting and breaking into further fragments. An adventure in fractalising narrative.
"It’s a strange and rewarding book, and one which channels a stylized, almost hermetic environment—which seems to fit the themes of both supercolliders and the inner workings of the human psyche." - Electric Literature
>> Is this a "total novel"?
Ungrateful Animals by Dave Eggars $50
Before Eggars was a writer he was an illustrator. In this book he presents a series of animals, both wild and domestic, with plaintive or pseudo-Biblical texts. Odd and rather touching.
Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante's Inferno by Robert Rauschenberg $45
"I think a picture is more like the real world when it's made out of the real world." Produced between 1958 and 1960, Rauschenberg's illustrations transpose photographic and found imagery to the canvas and overwork it with other media.
>> Read the book and look at the pictures.
>> Rauschenberg is not the first artist to tackle the subject.
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.
The Art of Cartographics by Jasmine Desclaux-Salachas $60
A curated selection of maps that take cartography in new directions. Interesting.
Moral Fables by Giacomo Leopardi $22
Between 1823 and 1828 Leopardi set aside the lyric poetry he has become most famous for to concentrate on this set of 24 stories, mostly dialogues, which address the range of philosophical themes that underlie both his academic and poetic writings.
Fanaticism: On the uses of an idea by Alberto Toscano $29
Tracing its development from the traumatic Peasants' War of early sixteenth-century Germany to contemporary Islamism, Toscano tears apart the sterile opposition of 'reasonableness' and fanaticism. Toscano suggests that fanaticism results from the failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics.
Tū Arohae: Interdisciplinary critical thinking by William Fish and Stephen Duffin $45
Being able to describe, evaluate and generate reasoning and arguments effectively, appropriately and sympathetically is a key life, professional and academic skill. But there are hidden complexities inherent in this approach, and it has limits when employed as a form of persuasion.
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.
Portraits, 2005-2016 by Annie Leibovitz $140
Stunning, as you would expect. Leibovitz's sure and incisive eye captures layers of subtlety beneath each exquisite surface. Sumptuous, large-format production.
Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eager $19
Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate's heart of gold?
Detailed hand-painted maps that provide a cartographic representation of 35 major films. Plus essays (also fun).
>> DeGraff is also responsible for Plotted: A literary atlas.
Storied Lives (The Novella Project V), Griffith Review 58 edited by Julianne Schulz $35
How do people make an impact on the world? Fiction and nonfiction.
This Long Pursuit: Reflections of a Romantic biographer by Richard Holmes $30
What are the challenges, rewards and pitfalls of biographical research and writing?
"Holmes writes beautifully. A masterly performance by the greatest literary biographer of his generation." - The Oldie
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.
Gnomon by Nick Harkaway $37
An investigator studying the recordings of a machine that can read memories finds evidence of more persons than she ought to in the mind of a reclusive novelist who has died in police custody. Inventive (bonkers).
"Gnomon is an extraordinary novel, and one I can't stop thinking about some weeks after I read it. It is deeply troubling, magnificently strange, and an exhilarating read." - Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
"Harkaway is J.G. Ballard's geeky younger brother." - Times Literary Supplement
First Time Ever by Peggy Seeger $45
An interesting memoir from the folk music revival catalyst, left-leaning political activist and feminist.
>> 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'.
Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia by Fahmida Suleman $65
The textiles featured include male and female garments, hats and headdresses, rugs and felts, children's clothing, dolls, tent hangings, amulets and animal harnesses.
I Can't Breathe: The killing that started a movement by Matt Taibbi $38
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in New York City after a police officer put him in what has been described as a "chokehold" during an arrest for selling "loosies," or single cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions, sparking an international series of protests that built into the transformative "Black Lives Matter" movement. Weeks after Garner's death, two New York City police officers were killed by a young black man from Maryland, in what he claimed was revenge for Garner's death. Those killings in turn led to police protests, clashes with New York's new liberal mayor, and an eventual work slow-down.
Phantom Architecture: The fantastical structures that the world's greatest architects really wanted to build by Philip Wilkinson $60
Katherine Mansfield tote bag $20
Holly Dunn design.