Let Me Be Frank by Sarah Laing $35
Reading. Writing. Parenting. Angsting. A wonderful — quirkily funny and poignant — graphic memoir from the superb Sarah Laing, drawn between 2010 and 2019.
"Let Me Be Frank is a brilliant collection of anecdotes and observations. Sarah's stories of navigating daily life in all its absurdity and mundanity are told with alarming honesty and humour." —Art Sang
"Full of incidental and profound pleasure. Audaciously, addictively honest." —Anna Smaill
>>Let Me Be Frank continues.
>>Mansfield and Me.
Armand V. by Dag Solstad $30
A novel told entirely as footnotes to an unwritten book, Armand V conveys the life of a diplomat nearing the end of his career, inclining to withdraw from life, and his relationship with his son, who, against the father's advice, chooses to participate, with disastrous consequences. Interesting, radically unconventional and well-written.
“Without question, Norway’s bravest, most intelligent novelist.” —Per Petterson
>>Read Adam Mars-Jones's insightful review in the LRB.
The Cockroach by Ian McEwan $20
When Jim Sams woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed (from a cockroach) into the most powerful man in Britain. Once reviled by all, he now sets off to enact the will of the people. Nothing — legality, decency, common sense or the rules of parliamentary democracy — will stand in his way. Does this sound somehow familiar?
>>Read the first section.
>>Or listen to Bill Nighy read the first section for (or to) you.
The Besieged City by Clarice Lispector $21
Lispector's third novel, at last translated into English. As a young woman is 'tamed' by marriage and her frontier town aspires towards 'civilisation', the constraints entailed by both leave her identifying with the porcelain knickknacks in her mother's cabinet.
"Lispector made her own rules, free of the world’s constraints, and here, in her third novel, an ordinary story and apparently shallow protagonist are no impediments to formidable experiment…Having read her, one feels different, elated." —Booklist
"Lispector’s prose lilts and sways, its rhythm shakes at once with closeness and distance. The sensory power Lispector is able to draw from her sentences is here given free rein and the descriptive character of the text is wild with excess, seeking to imbue everything simultaneously with solidity, material presence, and transience, fluidity." —Music & Literature
"Underneath Lispector’s inventive, modernist style is a poignant and radical depiction of a young woman navigating a patriarchal society." —The Paris Review
The Burning River by Lawrence Patchett $30
In a radically changed Aotearoa New Zealand, Van's life in the swamp is hazardous. Sheltered by Rau and Matewai, he mines plastic and trades to survive. When a young visitor summons him to the fenced settlement on the hill, he is offered a new and frightening responsibility: a perilous inland journey that leads to a tense confrontation and the prospect of a rebuilt world.
The Memoir of an Anti-Hero by Kornel Filipowicz $30
First published in Polish in 1961 as Pamiętnik antybohatera, Filipowicz's novel now appears in English for the first time. As the Second World War engulfs Poland, the narrator has no intention of being a hero. He plans to survive this war, whatever it takes. Meticulously he recounts his experiences: the slow unravelling of national events as well as uncomfortable personal encounters on the street, in the café, at the office, in his love affairs. He is intimate but reserved; conversational but careful; reflective but determined. As he becomes increasingly and chillingly alienated from other people, the reader is drawn into complicit acquiescence.
Garments Against Women by Anne Boyer $28
“I am the dog who can never be happy because I am imagining the unhappiness of other dogs.” Anne Boyer’s collection of prose poems is everywhere alert to the ways in which the world as experienced by those who live in it is riven by inequalities. Boyer’s poems provide subtle and often surprising insights into the relationships between individuals and their roles, desires and scripts, personal and societal misfortunes, struggle and survival, despair and surprising joy.
>>Read Thomas's review.
>>Reading by Anne Boyer.
Purgatory: Dante's Divine Trilogy, Part Two: Decorated and Englished in prosaic verse by Alasdair Gray $40
Gray's approach is both idiosyncratic and faithful, as well as being a pleasure to read. Follows Hell.
Grand Union by Zadie Smith $38
Smith's first short story collection showcases her restless intellect, eclectic interests and verbal prowess, ranging through forms from Chekhovian neatness to autofiction to speculative delimitation.
Olafur Eliasson in Real Life by Mark Godfrey $45
Provides unique insight into the work and the artistic, social and environmental contexts of this exceptional artist.
>>Visit Eliasson's 'studio'.
White Bird by R.J. Palacio $40
Beautiful and sad, Palacio's graphic novel explores the story of Sara Blum, who was hidden from the Nazis in a French village during World War 2 (and is the grandmother of Julian the bully in Palacio's Wonder). Genuinely moving.
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman $38
When Ettie the Rabbi's daughter conjures a golem named Ava to protect Lea from the Nazis, can the three of them do more good than just survive? Can they even survive?
"Hoffman's exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances - and then it delivers with a tremendous punch." —Elizabeth Strout
Mid-Century Living: The Butterfly House collection by Christine Fernyhough $60
An unparalleled collection of kiwiana has been assembled in Fernyhough's extensive bach (where better?).
On Fire: The burning case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein $35
Outlines concrete and achievable steps of policy reform to address the climate crisis.
Deep Breaths by Chris Gooch $38
A space bounty hunter tracks down a frog princess, a woman finds a condom where it shouldn't be, and a spoiled art student works his first freelance job. A collection of short dark-to-very-dark, strange-to-very-strange, excellent-to-superb comic strips from this outstanding graphic novelist.
Rebel Writers: The accidental feminists by Celia Brayfield $43
In London in 1958 a play by a 19-year-old redefined women's writing in Britain. It also began a movement that would change women's lives forever. The play was A Taste of Honey and the author, Shelagh Delaney, was the first of a succession of very young women who wrote about their lives with an honesty that dazzled the world. They rebelled against sexism, inequality and prejudice and in doing so rejected masculine definitions of what writing and a writer should be. After Delaney came Edna O'Brien, Lynne Reid Banks, Virginia Ironside, Charlotte Bingham, Margaret Forster and Nell Dunn, each challenging traditional concepts of womanhood in novels, films, television,essays and journalism.
The Security Principle: From serenity to regulation by Frédéric Gros $37
Gros takes a historical approach to the concept of security, looking at its evolution from the Stoics to the social network. With lucidity and rigour, Gros’s approach is fourfold, looking at security as a mental state, as developed by the Greeks; as an objective situation and absence of all danger, as prevailed in the Middle Ages; as guaranteed by the nation-state and its trio of judiciary, police, and military; and finally biosecurity, control, regulation, and protection in the flux of contemporary society.
I Am Sovereign by Nicola Barker $38
A bonkers novel of real estate.
"One of the funniest, most finely achieved comic novels, even by her own standard. I think it's a masterpiece." —Ali Smith
"I think Nicola Barker is incapable of a dull page. Her work is unified by its spirit of adventure." —Kevin Barry
Wittgenstein's Antiphilosophy by Alain Badiou $33
Badiou anatomises the 'antiphilosophy' of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, addressing the crucial moment where Wittgenstein argues that much has to be passed over in silence, showing what cannot be said, after accepting the limits of language and meaning. Badiou argues that this mystical act reduces logic to rhetoric, truth to an effect of language games, and philosophy to a series of esoteric aphorisms.
To Calais, in Ordinary Time by James Meek $33
In a 14th century England a group of quite various individuals set off for France and into the oncoming disaster of the Black Death.
"One of the many deep and destabilising pleasures Meek’s rich and strange new novel offers comes from trying to work out precisely what kind of a book – and what kind of a world – you are in at any particular moment. At the centre of this beautiful novel is an exploration of the difference between romance and true love, allegory and reality, history and the present. It plays out in unexpected and delightful ways." —Guardian
Flour Lab: An at-home guide to baking with freshly milled grains by Adam Leonti and Katie Parla $65
The definitive book for the flour aficionado.
Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses by Dominic Bradbury $250
Astounding survey of 500 Mid-Century Modern house around the world.
Stig & Tilde: Vanisher's Island by Max de Radiguès $20
Stig and Tilde are to spend time without adult supervision on a deserted island in accordance with local tradition — but what happens if they land on the wrong island? They learn a lot about themselves and about each other in the process.
Fresh Ink, 2019: A collection of voices from Aotearoa New Zealand edited by James George $30
Contributors: Crispin Anderlini, Vivienne Bailey, Manu Berry, Madeleine Child, Wendy Clarke, Jenny Clay, Anne Curran, Hannah Davison, Alexandra Fraser, Katie Furze, Michael Giacon, Peter Graham, J.A. Grierson, Claire Hagan, Jacob Hagan, Sandi Hall, Trisha Hanifin, Kayleen Hazlehurst, Edna Heled, Paul Hewlett, Feby Idrus, Lincoln Jaques, Anna Knox, Clare Marcie, Lorraine Marson, Helen McNeil, Elizabeth McRae, Jacquie McRae, Dave Moore, Denise O’Hagan, Christina O’Reilly, Maris O’Rourke, Nataliya Oryshchuk, Janet Pates, Karen Phillips, Edith Poor, Garth Powell, Kirsty Powell, Vaughan Rapatahana, Gillian Roach, Emma Robinson, Henrica Schieving, Tina Shaw, Olivia Spooner, Andrew Stiggers, Ellie Stiggers, Jessica Thomas, Lee Tupuola-Madsen, Kathryn van Beek, Suzie Watt, Sally Wilkins, M.A. Wilkins, Lisa Williams, Briana Woolliams, and Johnathan Worrall.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay $75
At last! The fourth volume superbly illustrated by Jim Kay.
Just Kids by Patti Smith $65
Fully illustrated edition of Smith's revered memoir of her coming of age in New York's arts/music/literature scene , and relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.
>>Also new from Patti Smith: Year of the Monkey.
A visual Journey by Nick Channon $45
A collection of well-observed photographs taken around the world, with an eye for pattern and form. Channon is a former design tutor at NMIT.
>>See some images here.
An Underground Guide to Sewers, Or: Down, through and out in Paris, London, New York, &c by Stephen Halliday $45
Cities could be mapped by their underground networks of sewers, and the history revealed by what a city gets rid of is every bit as fascinating as the history of its inputs. Superbly illustrated with photographs, plans, maps, &c.
>>The story of a 'fatberg'.
Copenhagen Cult Recipes by Christine Rudolph and Susie Theodorou $55
All cultures are defined by their food, but for Danes the two are almost indistinguishable.
Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh $25
At school, Selina is teased for her big, frizzy hair. Kids call her ‘mophead’. She ties her hair up this way and that way and tries to fit in. Until one day, after Sam Hunt visits her school, Selina gives up the game. She decides to let her hair out, to embrace her difference, to be WILD!
>>Five minutes with Selina Tusitala Marsh.