Thursday 23 February 2017

(Just click through to find out more (and to purchase or reserve the books))

The Evenings by Gerard Reve      $33
"The funniest, most exhilarating novel about boredom ever written. If The Evenings had appeared in English in the 1950s, it would have become every bit as much a classic as On the Road and The Catcher in the Rye." - Herman Koch

Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen         $26
Two protagonists (both named Joshua Cohen) orbit each other's fates in a novel about pretty much everything. 
"Joshua Cohen's novel Book of Numbers reads as if Philip Roth's work were fired into David Foster Wallace's inside the Hadron particle collider. Book of Numbers is more impressive than all but a few novels published so far this decade." - The New York Times 
"A hugely ambitious novel set in the high-tech world of now. It is a verbal high-wire act, daring in its tones and textures: clever, poetic, fast-moving, deeply playful, filled with jokes, savvy about machines, wise about people, dazzling and engrossing." - Colm Toibin, Guardian
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen      $35
Eight stories from the author of the remarkable (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) The Sympathizer, each dealing with the experiences of immigrants straddling two worlds: those in their homeland and those in the societies in which they find themselves welcome, unwelcome or ignored. What can be healed and what cannot?
"The Refugees comes at a time when Americans are being forced to reckon with what their country is becoming. It's hard not to feel for Nguyen's characters, many of whom have been dealt an unfathomably bad hand. But Nguyen never asks the reader to pity them; he wants us only to see them as human beings. And because of his wonderful writing, it's impossible not to do so. It's an urgent, wonderful collection." - NPR
Age of Anger: A history of the present by Pankaj Mishra     $40
How can we explain, let alone remedy, the wave of paranoia, racism, nationalism and mysongeny that is sweeping the world and manifesting as reactionary government, violence and demagoguery? Mishra shows how disaffection has wide roots in our economic and social structures. 
"Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely. Throws light on our contemporary predicament, when the neglected and dispossessed of the world have suddenly risen up to transform the world we thought we knew." - John Banville
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis      $28
A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering demagogue runs for President of the United States - and wins. Lewis's 1935 novel is suddenly incredibly relevant. 
"Eerily prescient." - Guardian
"One of the most important books ever produced in the United States." - New Yorker
Browse: The world in bookshops edited by Henry Hitchings      $33
Fifteen authors from around the world (including Ali Smith, Dorthe Nors, Yiyun Li, Ian Sansom, Juan Gabriel Vasquez, Daniel Kehlmann, Elif Shafak, Iain Sinclair and Pankaj Mishra) tell their stories of the importance to bookshops to them and to society. 
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich         $37
How does a horrific act resonate along the lines of love and memory that link (and divide) a family? What changes, what endures? What can be recovered, and what must be constructed? 
"That an act of brutality inspires storytelling as beautiful as this is reason enough for this novel to stand out from the crowd. To discover the sheer exquisiteness of Ruskovich’s prose is an unforeseen added bonus. There’s a rare, rich plangent quality to her sentences, as present in the spaces between the words, in what’s not said, as much as in what is articulated." - Independent 
>> An interview with Ruskovich.
And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe, austerity and the threat to global stability by Yanis Varoufakis         $28
The former Greek finance minister and "rock star of Europe's anti-austerity uprising" (Telegraph) shows that the roots of European economic collapse run deeper than officially acknowledged or addressed. Is the European Union a financial pyramid scheme? Are international fiscal practices structurally flawed? 

Granta 138: Journeys edited by Sigrid Rausing         $28
Is travel writing dead? What are the ethics of writing about a place you visit only briefly and view with the eyes of an outsider?

Includes Geoff Dyer, Edna O'Brien, Emily Berry, Robert Macfarlane and Pico Iyer. 
The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook by Selena Hage      $55
The author of the excellent The Lebanese Kitchen widens her scope to present 150 dishes from a region steeped in traditional vegetarian recipes. 
How to Survive a Plague: The story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS by David France      $40
15.8 million people taking anti-AIDS drugs today are alive thanks to a de facto collaboration between social activists and medical scientists.
"Epoch-making: the whole social and scientific history of AIDS, brilliantly told. Informative, entertaining, suspenseful, moving, and personal." - Edmund White
"A contemplation not so only of an epidemic of illness but also of an epidemic of resilience." - Andrew Solomon

A Zero-Sum Game by Eduardo Rabasa         $33

"Rabasa's novel is built much like the sprawling housing complex it portrays: a complex but self-contained set of ideas populated by funny and frightening characters. Rabasa has crafted an Orwellian satire of low-level bureaucrats, urban dreamers, and political power." - Publishers Weekly
>> Zero sum games explained (but aren't all games zero sum games when seen in a wide enough context?).
The Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2016 edited and introduced by Rachel Kusher       $30
Selected by (intelligent, engaged) secondary school students for (intelligent, engaged) secondary school students. Includes Jesse Ball, Marilynne Robinson, Adrian Tomine, Dana Spiotta and several interesting writers you haven't yet discovered. 
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller      $37
Did Ingrid kill herself? Was Gil a charming womaniser or a monster? Will Flora be able to lay the ghosts of her past to rest? How does miscommunication between people close to each other make love an obstacle to understanding as much as it is a bond? 
“Swimming Lessons has all the observational touches that show Fuller to be a serious novelist with an acute awareness of the nuances and patterns of human speech and behaviour." - Guardian
“Claire Fuller has captured love in its fullest form, nursed on betrayal and regret and guilt. Swimming Lessons is so smoothly, beautifully written. The human failures here are heartbreaking." - David Vann
The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, literature and the Dreyfus case by Michael Rosen       $37
In January 1898 the newspaper l'Aurore published 'J'accuse', an open letter from Zola accusing the French government of anti-Semitism in the treatment and unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus. The letter was successful in provoking the government to sue Zola for libel, thus reopening the Dreyfus case, and, following his conviction and to avoid jail, Zola fled to London, where he continued to defend Dreyfus until his death from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a blocked chimney. Rosen fills in all the details and the colour.  
The Attention Merchants: From the daily newspaper to social media, how our time and attention is harvested and sold by Tim Wu        $37
"I couldn't put this fascinating book down. Gripping from page one with its insight, vivid writing, and panoramic sweep,it is also a book of urgent importance, revealing how our preeminent industries work to fleece our consciousness rather than help us cultivate it." - Amy Chua
"A profoundly important book. Attention itself has become the currency of the information age, and, as Wu meticulously and eloquently demonstrates, we allow it to be bought and sold at our peril." - James Gleick
>> Who is creating your reality?

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