Friday 26 May 2017

A selection of new arrivals we think you'll like.

Sport 45         $30
Includes: 'Moulin d’Ornes', a novella by new writer Nicole Phillipson; poet John Gallas interviewed by Bill Manhire; 'Stridently Sex-Conscious’: Writing and Gender (and Mountaineering) c. 1928', a chapter from John Newton’s forthcoming history of New Zealand literature; fiction by Claire Baylis, William Brandt, David Coventry, Breton Dukes, Eamonn Marra, Melissa Day Reid, Tracey Slaughter and John Summers; essays by Giovanni Tiso and Virginia Were; poetry by Johanna Aitchison, Jake Arthur, Victoria Broome, Jake Brown, James Brown, Stephen Burt, Kate Camp, William Connor, John Gallas, Rata Gordon, Rebecca Hawkes, Helen Heath, Anna Jackson, Clare Jones, Brent Kininmont, Natalie Morrison, Bill Nelson, Rachel O’Neill, Claire Orchard, Bob Orr, Vincent O’Sullivan, Harry Ricketts, Evangeline Riddiford Graham, Frances Samuel, Kerrin P Sharpe, Shen Haobo translated by Liang Yujing, Charlotte Simmonds, Elizabeth Smither, Catherine Vidler and Amy Leigh Wicks; cover art by Sam Duckor-Jones. 
Bluets by Maggie Nelson          $37
"It's been said that a great writer can turn any subject into an engaging book, but most authors still choose inherently dramatic themes, and few approach the static or plotless. But this is precisely what Bluets, Maggie Nelson's arty, smart and gorgeous meditation on the color blue, sets out to do, and it is alarming how much drama she creates from a subject so apparently simple... Wittgenstein, Goethe, Gertrude Stein and Yves Klein are just a few of the writers and artists whose work Nelson uses to uncover the potency of the colour. But their true function in the book is to establish a stage on which the author can dance." - Catherine Lacey, Time Out 
From the author of The Argonauts.
Fullblood Arabian by Osama Alomar       $28Exquisite, by turns disconcerting, funny and revelatory, these very short short stories from a Syrian refugee author read like a cross between Aesop, The Arabian Nights and Lydia Davis.
>> You will also enjoy Alomar's collection The Teeth of the Comb.
"The stories' distinctive flavour comes from Alomar's masterful shifts of character perspective within extremely tight parameters. The book is full of these moments which trip you up, swing bluntly from one psyche to another, rapidly decelerate time and play with scale, all of it exposing the delicate balance of our presumptions and allegiances; the small dictatorships that we foster second by second." - 
Emissaries by Lisa Reihana       $75
Lisa Reihana's vastly ambitious, vastly impressive video installation In Pursuit of Venus [Infected]  is currently representing New Zealand at the Venice Biennale. The work explores the impact of European contact on indigenous cultures in the Pacific. Reihana infects her backdrop of appropriated eighteenth-century wallpaper with subtle, snide and acute observations, building to an affecting and unsettling experience for the viewer. This sumptuous fully illustrated publication is supported by essays by a range of scholars and curators. 
The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo                  $26
Tradition and superstition clash with economic reality in this illustrated short novel telling of family's migration from rural Finland to urban Sweden. 
"This quiet, assiduously written short novel about a girl living in Finland among the looming shadows of war achieves the alchemy every writer would love to conjure up: it’s somehow about every childhood, every twilit life. A radiantly beautiful book." – Joseph O’Connor
"So bleakly funny that it makes Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes seem idyllic." – The Irish Times
Collected Poems by Ian Wedde        $40
On the sharp edge of the plough since the 1960s. 

>>"I don't really know where the instinct for form comes from."
The Milk of Dreams by Leonora Carrington        $37
Nine stories the surrealist painter and author wrote for her own children. Meet a boy who has wings for ears, another who ate the wall of his room, the Monster of Chihuahua and a vulture who gets set in gelatin.
>> Meet Leonora Carrington
Compass by Mathias Enard      $40
Awarded the Prix Goncourt and now a front-runner for the Man Booker International Prize, Enard's remarkable novel, of almost Proustian scope and texture, revolves on the cultural dynamo that is the Middle East. Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, Orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the centre of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East.
"Few works of contemporary fiction will yield as much pleasure as Compass. Reading it amounts to wandering into a library arranged in the form of an exotic sweet shop, full of tempting fragments of stories guaranteed leaving you wanting more." - Irish Times
"Compass is a challenging, brilliant, and important a novel as is likely to be published this year." — Los Angeles Times
"Enard is like the anti-Houellebecq, and he deserves far more attention." - Wall Street Journal 
>> "Mathias Enard's Compass is the antidote to Europe's Islamophobia."
>> He speaks (in French)
Nobody Leaves: Seventeen essays on Poland by Ryszard Kapuscinski       $38
When Ryszard Kapuscinski was a young journalist in the early 1960s, he was sent to the farthest reaches of his native Poland between foreign assignments. The resulting pieces brought together in this new collection, nearly all of which are translated into English for the first time, reveal a place just as strange as the distant lands he visited. From forgotten villages to collective farms, Kapuscinski explores a Poland that is post-Stalinist but still Communist; a country on the edge of modernity.
"A peculiar genius with no modern equivalent, except possibly Kafka." - Jonathan Miller
Five Ideas to Fight For: How our freedom is under threat and why it matters by Anthony Lester         $22
Human Rights, equality, free speech, privacy, the rule of law: these dearly held principles of civilised society are under threat globally - from forces within government and without.
The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt         $30
Arendt's analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards absolutist domination. A warning for our times (even though first published in 1951). 
The Experience of Architecture by Henry Plummer    $70
All aspects and details of a space affect how the space is experienced, but this relationship has been insufficiently documented and is often insufficiently considered. Stimulating. 
Boys in Zinc by Svetlana Alexievich          $30
A collection by the Nobel laureate of accounts from Russians (soldiers, doctors and nurses, mothers, wives and siblings) involved in the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War. Unflinching an harrowing. The dead were shipped home in sealed zinc coffins. 

There are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry        $23

A modern Dubliners -  a collection of short stories from the author of the wonderful Beatlebone
Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey           $25
When a Brazilian novelist disappears her translator must turn to her works to look for clues as to her whereabouts. 
"An elegant page-turner. Charges forward with the momentum of a bullet."  - New York Times Book Review

Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott        $38
Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, the town of Rotherweird's independence (not to mention its special character, strange architecture, arcane science and idiosyncratic customs) is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history. For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused. Shelve beside Peake, Gorey and Aaronvitch. 
"Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn: a book with special and dangerous properties." - Hilary Mantel
Sri Lanka: The cookbook by Prakash K. Sivanathan and Niranjala M. Ellawala        $45
As well as absorbing influences from India, the Middle East, Far East Asia and myriad European invaders, the small island also has strong Singhalese and Tamil cooking traditions. This cookbook brings these styles together to showcase feather-light hoppers, fiery sambols, subtly spiced curries and unique ‘vada’ (fried snacks).

Science and Islam by Ehsan Masood        $25
Preserving and building on Classical scholarship, it was the Islamic world, from Cordoba to Samarkand, that carried the torch of science before the European Enlightenment.
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann         $25
"A lot can be taken from you—even your life—but not your stories about that life. So this, then, is a word, not without love and respect, to a young writer: write." Some considered practical and philosophical advice.
"An intensely literary writer, his prose thrums with echoes of Beckett, Yeats and Joyce." - Sunday Times
Naondel ('The Red Abbey Chronicles' #2) by Maria Turtschaninoff        $23
Follows Maresi in this excellent Finnish feminist YA fantasy, reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale and Ursula K. Le Guin.
"Maresi is thrilling, harrowing and exhilarating by turns. It conjures up a startlingly well-fashioned world that's different from ours, yet disturbingly familiar. It grips like a vice and enchants like a distant song. It's tale-telling as strong, complex and admirable as its heroine." - Jonathan Stroud
Briony Hatch by Ginny and Penelope Skinner           $35
Briony Hatch hates reality. She prefers the fantasy world of her favourite novels: 'The Starling Black Adventures', in which ghosts are real and you can cast magic spells to defeat your enemies. In her real life, Briony's parents are getting divorced and her friends are preoccupied by losing weight and meeting boys. Briony has tried all Starling Black's magic spells in her bedroom but they don't seem to be working. Her mother wants her to grow up, get her head out of those books and pack - they're leaving Dad and moving into a bungalow the other side of town. Worst of all, Briony has almost finished the last ever Starling Black novel. Life will soon have no meaning at all. But Briony is about to learn that fantasy and reality aren't always so easy to distinguish, and life doesn't have to be dull just because you're getting older.
"The visual construction of the graphic narrative is remarkably inventive and varied, from Briony’s hand-drawn chapter markers to pages from her diary that render her internal thought processes empathetically. This visual narrative displays a fresh sense of experimentation in conveying the emotional extremes of teen life, from despair to laughter, and avoids the well-worn tropes of the coming-of-age tale" - Publishers Weekly
Argentinian Street Food: Empanadas, helados and dulce de leche by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher        $28
Achievable delicious food with text and photographs to provide cultural context.
Elsewhere: Stories from small-town Europe edited by Maria Crossan      $27
Featuring Mirja Unge (Sweden), Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Gyrðir Elíasson (Iceland), Roman Simic (Croatia), Ingo Schulze (Germany), Michael O'Conghaile (Ireland), Mehmet Zaman Saçlioglu (Turkey), Frode Grytten (Norway), Jean Sprackland (Scotland) and Danielle Picard (France). Is there some common experience to living in a small town in Europe, or is there not?
Adults in the Room: My battle with Europe's deep establishment by Yanis Varoufakis         $40
Who really wields the power behind Europe? Varoufakis attempted to lead Greece through a radical economic reform, which would have addressed its financial crisis, but the experiment was derailed by deeper financial interests across Europe.
Scientific Babel: The language of science from the fall of Latin to the rise of English by Michael D. Gordin         $28
German, Russian, Swedish and Italian all vied to be the global scientific language, often with unfortunate consequences, before English assumed the mantle of scientific monoglot. What were the political, personal, financial (and even scientific) factors at play in this transitional period?
The Reality Frame: Relativity and our place in the universe by Brian Clegg        $45
Humanity has traditionally sought out absolutes to explain the world around us, but as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of these certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials such as absolute zero, leading to better science and a new understanding of the texture of what we call knowledge and the texture of what it is to be human.
The Last Resistance by Jacqueline Rose        $22
What place is there for literature in the political dimension of our lives? Rose considers Zionism, Israel-Palestine, post-Apartheid South Africa and the American national fantasy post-9/11, and the works of Freud, Grossman, Sebald and Gordimer.

Do we endorse the predominant acceptance of capitalism as a fact of human nature, or does today's capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms to prevent its infinite reproduction? Can we move beyond the perceived failure of socialism, and beyond the current wave of populist rage, and initiate radical change before the train hits?

Astride a Fierce Wind by Huberta Hellendoorn      $38
Huberta Hellendoorn was born in the Netherlands in 1937 and emigrated to Dunedin in 1960 with her husband. This is the story of her life, hardships and triumphs, and the effect of migration on her 'Dutchness'.

'Alma Quirky Classics'           $17 each
On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey (an indescribable mixture of analysis, reportage and satire from one of English's finest stylists. 
The Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift (The 'Ancients' versus the 'Moderns' in this pastiche of the heroic epic genre.     
The Death of a Civil Servant by Anton Chekhov (Short stories satirising greed, sycophancy and ignorance).
The Decay of Lying by Oscar Wilde (What is the relationship between art and life?)
The Crocodile by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (A man experiences every impediment to escape after being swallowed alive by a crocodile).
The Dictionary of Received Ideas by Gustav Flaubert (A spoof encyclopedia of 19th century popular 'wisdom').
Bad Hair Day        $15
Once you start looking at the subjects' hair in artworks, you'll find amusement everywhere. This wee handbook from the collections of the Christchurch Art Gallery will get you started.

Cat Bingo by Marcel George          $42

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