Friday, 26 October 2018
Writer in Residence by Francis Plug $37
Oh no, Francis Plug is back! In the devastatingly funny How To Be A Public Author, Plug (a.k.a. New Zealander Paul Ewen) gave an account of visiting book festivals and events and getting Booker winners to inscribe books to him (>>read Thomas's review of that book here). Now Plug has landed a position as a writer-in-residence. What could be worse (or funnier)?
"Outstandingly funny, this book is pure delight. Plug’s observations on authors, academics and architects are hilarious and absurd but always compassionate." - The Guardian
Infinite Resignation by Eugene Thacker $40
Comprised of aphorisms, fragments, and observations both philosophical and personal, Infinite Resignation traces the contours of pessimism, caught as it often is between a philosophical position and a bad attitude. By turns melancholic, misanthropic, and tinged with gallows humour, Thacker's writing hovers between the thought of futility and the futility of thought. The final section of the book contains pessimistic biographies of the so-called 'patron saints of pessimism' (>>meet some of these here).
Heimat: A German family album by Nora Krug $55
Nora Krug grew up as a second-generation German after the end of the Second World War, struggling with a profound ambivalence towards her country's recent past. Travelling as a teenager, her accent alone evoked raw emotions in the people she met, an anger she understood, and shared. Seventeen years after leaving Germany for the US, Nora Krug decided she couldn't know who she was without confronting where she'd come from. In this outstanding graphic novel, she documents her journey investigating the lives of her family members under the Nazi regime, charting her way deep into a country still tainted by war.
>> A German in New York.
>> Watch Krug drawing the book.
>> What is left to say about Germany's Nazi past?
>> Krug's website.
Feast: Food of the Islamic world by Anissa Helou $85
Compendious, authoritative, clear, well illustrated, desirable.
Galleries of Maoriland: Artists, collectors and the Maori world, 1880-1910 by Roger Blackley $75
Galleries of Maoriland introduces the many ways in which Pakeha discovered, created, propagated and romanticised the 'Maori world' at the turn of the century: in the paintings of Lindauer and Goldie, among artists, patrons, collectors and audiences; inside the Polynesian Society and the Dominion Museum; among stolen artefacts and fantastical accounts of the Maori past. The culture of Maoriland was a Pakeha creation. The book shows also that Maori were not merely passive victims: they too had a stake in this process of romanticisation.
>> Blackley on the radio (and an image gallery to look at while you're listening!).
The Nordic Baking Book by Magus Nilsson $70
The absolutely definitive guide to every possible sort of pastry, biscuit, cake and bread originating in Scandinavia (with regional variations). Highly recommended.
Birdstories: A history of the birds of New Zealand by Geoff Norman $60
A beautifully presented and illustrated cultural history of the importance, use, study, depiction and description of New Zealand's unique avifauna to Maori and Pakeha through history.
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver $37
Parallel stories in 1871, when the discoveries of Darwin and others challenged established world views, and 2016, when Trump's election indicated a world-changing challenge of a different sort, Kingsolver's eagerly anticipated new novel is alert to the personal nuances of social change.
The Cuba Street Project: Place, food, people by Beth Brash and Alice Lloyd $55
Profiles, photographs and recipes from the eateries on Wellington's favourite street.
Notes from a Public Typewriter edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti $30
When Michael and Hilary Gustafson and his wife opened Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they put out a typewriter for anyone to use. They had no idea what to expect. Would people ask metaphysical questions? Write mean things? Pour their souls onto the page?
>> Literati, the story of a community bookshop (recommended viewing).
>> The typing!
At the Strangers' Gate: Arrivals in New York by Adam Gopnik $28
When Gopnik and his wife moved to New York in the early 1980s, the city then, much like today, was a pilgrimage site for the young, the arty, and the ambitious. But it was also becoming a city of greed, where both life's consolations and its necessities were increasingly going to the highest bidder.
"Anyone who worries that artificial intelligence might some day outpace the faulty circuitry inside human heads should be cheered by the existence of Adam Gopnik. His brain has nothing to fear from electronic competition. It is an organ housed in a body, kindled by the appetites and affections of the flesh; it operates friskily, risking vast generalities that it clinches with neat, nimble aphorisms. Gopnik can write brilliantly about almost anything." - Guardian
Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days: A memoir of recovery by Bill Clegg $30
An honest and riveting account of literary agent Clegg's descent to rock bottom through crack addiction, and of his attempt to ascend to normal life.
First You Write a Sentence. by Joe Moran $40
Books (and much else) either succeed or fail at the level of the sentence. Moran shows us how to appreciate - and how to produce - sentences in which the words combine with effectiveness and elegance.
Hell: Dante's divine trilogy, Part one, Decorated and Englished in prosaic verse by Alasdair Gray $33
Dante's Inferno newly translated by a self-described "fat, spectacled, balding, increasingly old Glaswegian pedestrian", author of the unparalleled Lanark.
>> The Gray Matter.
Hudson & Halls: The food of love by Joanne Drayton $50
The television chefs who were at the forefront of changing public attitudes towards homosexuality in 1970s and 1980s New Zealand.
>> Cheese grating.
Hillary's Antarctica: Adventure, exploration, and establishing Scott Base by Nigel Watson, photographs by Jane Ussher $50
Hilllary and New Zealand were supposed to be a support act to the 1958 British Commonwealth Antarctic crossing party. By heading on to the South Pole and reaching it before the crossing party, Hillary exceeded the brief. His actions created tensions, unleashed a media storm, and denied the British a historic first overland to the South Pole since Scott. This book also details the establishment the restoration of Scott Base, and of New Zealand's presence in the Antarctic generally.
Animals of Aotearoa: Explore and discover New Zealand's wildlife with Gillian Candler and Ned Barraud $35
At last! An excellent clear guide for children to New Zealand fauna of land, water and air.
Empress of the East: How a slave girl became queen of the Ottoman Empire by Leslie Price $45
Abducted by slave traders from her home in Ruthenia - modern-day Ukraine - around 1515, Roxelana was brought to Istanbul and trained in the palace harem as a concubine for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Suleyman became besotted with Roxelana and foreswore all other concubines, freeing and marrying her. Roxelana became a shrewd diplomat and philanthropist, transforming the hearem into an instrument of imperial rule and helping Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in which women - Isabella of Hungary, Catherine de Medici - were increasingly close to power.
Germaine: The life of Germaine Greer by Elizabeth Kleinhenz $48
The Female Eunuch and beyond.
Darius the Great is Not OK by Adib Khorram $23
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He's a Fractional Persian - half, his mother's side - and his first ever trip to Iran is about to change his life. Darius has never really fitted in at home, and he's sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His depression doesn't exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they're spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city's skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush - the original Persian version of his name - and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he's Darioush to Sohrab.
National Populism: The revolt against liberal democracy by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin $28
Across the West, there is a rising tide of people who feel excluded, alienated from mainstream politics, and increasingly hostile towards minorities, immigrants and neo-liberal economics. What does this mean for the functioning of our societies?
Lenny's Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee $23
Lenny Spink is the sister of a giant. Her little brother, Davey, suffers from a rare form of gigantism and is taunted by other kids and turned away from school because of his size. To escape their cruel reality, Lenny and Davey obsess over the entries in their monthly installment of Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia set. Lenny vows to become a beetle expert, while Davey decides he will run away to Canada and build a log cabin. But as Davey's disease progresses, the siblings' richly imagined world becomes harder to cling to.
Heartland: A memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh $38
During Sarah Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor.
Freeman's: The best new writing on Power $38
Margaret Atwood posits it's time to update the gender of werewolf narratives. Aminatta Forna shatters the silences which supposedly ensured her safety as a woman of colour walking in public space. The narrator of Lan Samantha Chang's short story assumes control of her family's finances to buy a house. Meanwhile the hero of Tahmima Anam's story achieves freedom by selling bull semen. Josephine Rowe recalls a gallery attendee trying to take what was not on offer when she worked as a life-drawing model. Booker Prize winner Ben Okri watches power stripped from the residents of Grenfell Tower by ferocious neglect.
Heroes by Stephen Fry $37
From his retelling of the Greek myths in Mythos, Fry now turns his attention to the Greek legends, bringing alive the mortal human and demigod heroes as they confront quests and monsters on behalf of the rest of us.
>> Just for one day.
Books that Saved My Life by Michael McGirr $40
Personal introductions to forty life-preserving texts.
Bibliophile: An illustrated miscellany for people who love books by Jan Mount $50
A love letter to all things bookish, quirkily illustrated with hand-drawn stacks of books, bopokshops (including Unity Auckland!), bookshop cats, &c.
Bibliophile diary 2019 $40
Bibliophile notecards $30
>> Have a look through our BIBLIOPHILIA! list.
A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene: True stories, illustrated by Tallulah Pomeroy $30
What things do women usually not tell other people about their bodies? This silly, gross but somehow empowering book outlines a few.
>>Tallulah Pomeroy's website.