Friday 30 June 2017

A few of the interesting books that arrived at VOLUME this week.

Black Marks on the White Page edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti          $40
A beautifully presented, various and interesting collection of twenty-first century stories by Maori and Pasifika writers, both well-known and emerging (and some artists, too). 
The Secret Life: Three true stories by Andrew O'Hagan            $33
What is the reality of selfhood in the online world? The internet is a breeding ground for every possible permutation of identity, blurring traditional distinctions between truth and falsehood. O'Hagan issues three beautifully written and thoughtful bulletins from the permeable interface between cyberspace and 'actuality', a space of hidden, assumed and ghosted identities. 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker 
Pax was only a kit when his family was killed and he was rescued by 'his boy', Peter. Now the country is at war and when his father enlists, Peter has no choice but to move in with his grandfather. Far worse than leaving home is the fact that he has to leave Pax behind. But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather's roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend. 
Illustrations by John Klassen. 
Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup         $28
Animals all around the world show that, no matter what our differences, we all have similar experiences and have similar hopes. A beautifully illustrated book.    $25

Gâteaux: 150 large and small cakes, cookies and desserts by Christophe Felder and Camille Lesecq
An excellent guide to making a wide range of authentic cakes. Clear instructions and excellent illustrations make this book (and its contents) irresistible. 
>> Learn to make choux and speak French at the same time

One Thousand Trees by Kyle Hughes-Odgers         $30
Deep in the heart of the treeless city, Frankie dreams of one thousand trees. In her imagination she moves around, between and among them. An excellent introduction to prepositions. 
The Parcel by Anosh Irani     $37
"As engrossing as any thriller, Anosh Irani’s novel offers readers so much more. An aggregate of storytelling accomplishments, The Parcel captivates with its vividly rendered characters and commands the reader’s attention by way of unnerving – and at times profoundly disturbing – portraiture of an abject group at the bottom of an already denigrated community at the heart of India’s booming financial hub." - Quill & Quire

Koh-i-Noor: The history of the world's most infamous diamond by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand          $26
Greed, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation - a distillate of British colonial history. 

Notes from a Swedish Kitchen by Margareta Schilde Landgren      $40
Mouth-watering, authentic traditional recipes together with notes on Swedish food culture and traditions. Appealing. 
We Were the Future: A memoir of the kibbutz by Yael Neeman       $35
Were Israel's kibbutzim a practical expression of the socialist ideal of absolute equality, or were they an assault on those aspects of culture, such as the individual and the family, that could resist indoctrination?

Frozen Dreams: Contemporary art from Russia edited by Hossein Amirsadeghi and Joanna Vickery       $105
A generous and varied survey. Some of these works you may have seen before, but many will come as a complete surprise. 

The Secret Life of the Mind: How the brain thinks, feels and decides by Mariano Sigman        $35
Reporting from the interface between neuroscience and psychology. What can our brains tell us about the way we think?
Half Wild by Pip Smith        $33
A novellistic recreation of the life of Eugenia Falleni, who grew up in Wellington, New Zealand, and then lived as male in Sydney, Australia, eventually arrested in 1920 for the murder of "Harry Crawford"'s wife Annie Birkett in 1917.  
"A richly imagined and voiced novel that floats across time, and through the shifting sands of identity. A buoyant, beautiful debut!" - Dominic Smith
>> Read an extract.
>> The author is one of these Imperial Broads

Three new poetry arrivals from Maungatua Press       $5 each
Insomnia, Homer by Osip Mandelsh'tam, translated by David Karena-Holmes
Ballade of the Hanged Men by Francois Villon, translated by David Karena-Holmes
Autumn Thoughts, 2004 by David Karena-Holmes  
The Joys of Jewish Preserving by Emily Paster       $33
Without refrigerators, whether in a European ghetto last century or wandering in a desert millennia ago, Jewish culture has developed a wide array of different methods to preserve food. This book is the ultimate guide to fruit jams and preserves (such as Queen Esther's Apricot-Poppyseed Jam or Slow Cooker Peach Levkar to Quince Paste, Pear Butter, and Dried Fig, Apple, and Raisin Jam), pickles and other savory preserves (including Shakshuka, Pickled Carrots Two Ways, and Lacto-Fermented Kosher Dills), and recipes for the use of preserves in holiday preparations, such as Sephardic Date Charoset, Rugelach, and Hamantaschen.
Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles          $38
"Now more than ever, the world needs a book like Draw Your Weapons. With mastery, urgency and great courage, Sarah Sentilles investigates the histories of art, violence, war and human survival. In her haunting and absorbing narrative, the act of storytelling itself becomes a matter of life and death." -- Ruth Ozeki
"A beautiful, harrowing, and moving collage that portrays the making of art as a powerful response to making war." - Alice Elliott Dark
The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover         $33
A novel of George Orwell struggling to complete writing Nineteen Eighty-Four while descending towards his death from tuberculosis. 

The Logie Collection: A catalogue of the James Logie Memorial Collection of Classical Antiquities at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch by J.R. Green       $40
A well-documented and fully illustrated description of this internationally important collection. Special price. 

The Memory of Music by Andrew Ford         $38
The composer and broadcaster shows how music can affect us and form us at a subrational level, with examples from his life, growing up in the Liverpool of the Beatles and moving towards his career as a composer, choral conductor, concert promoter, critic, university teacher and radio presenter. He is especially in the capacity of music to provide profound access to memory. 

Revenge of the Rich: The neoliberal revolution in Britain and New Zealand by Austin Mitchell             $25
Makes comparisons between the market-driven politics of Britain, instigated by Margaret Thatcher, and of New Zealand, instigated by Roger Douglas. Mitchell describes the last three decades as "a long march down Dead-End Street", a neoliberal experiment that has realigned the priorities of government to the detriment of the people. Mitchell, one-time New Zealand resident and long-time British Labour MP for Grimsby, was the author of The Half-Gallon Quarter-Acre Pavlova Paradise (1972), a commentary on the New Zealand way of life. 
Iceland by Dominic Hoey             $35
Office-worker Zlata hopes for a record deal so she can leave Auckland city. She meets Hamish, graffiti artist and part-time drug dealer. Surrounded by a makeshift family of friends and ex-lovers, their dreams of music, art and travel take shape. Iceland lays bare the reality of a generation trying to find their place in a city being reshaped.
>> "Iceland is as far as you can get from here" by Dominic Hoey (a.k.a. Tourettes)
>> 'Loveable Losers'.
A Race through the Greatest Running Stories, written by Damian Hall, illustrated by Daniel Seex           $28
Endurance feats, solo pursuits, historic races, great stories, snappy pictures, galloping grannies, marathon monks, a great gift. 
The Zoo: The wild and wonderful tale of the founding of London Zoo by Isobel Charman            $30
"Terrific. Charman flings open the doors of a cabinet stuffed with zoological and human curios, blows off the dust of a couple of centuries, and talks us expertly and entrancingly through each exhibit." - Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast

I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin         $28
Texts on race identity and prejudice, assembled to accompany the documentary film

The Night Box by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay        $23
When Max turns the key and opens the Night Box, the day slips in as the darkness comes swooping out. The stars start to sparkle and shine and the night animals come out to play. Nobody could be scared of the night after reading this book.  
Dead Zone: Where the wild things were by Philip Lymbery         $30
Climate change, habitat loss, the demand for cheap meat are just some of the factors pushing species towards extinction. Human well-being depends on a thriving natural world, but what of the future as the plane's resources reach breaking-point? From the author of Farmageddon.
The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman and Fred Fordham           $30
When John dives from the ghost ship to rescue a girl washed overboard from her family yacht he has to find a way to get her back through the curtain of time into her own world and time. A new graphic novel series for children.
Writing True Stories: The complete guide to writing autobiography, memoir, personal essay, biography, travel and creative non-fiction by Patti Miller      $40
Could be useful. 
Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean        $20
In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food. No one returns to collect them. Why? A children's novel based on a true story set in St. Kilda.

Pantheon: The true story of the Egyptian deities by Hamish Steele      $30
Horus, son of Isis, vows bloody revenge on his Uncle Set for the murder and usurpation of his Pharaoh father. A huge amount of fun packed into one graphic novel. 
>> Before he colored it in

Sunday 25 June 2017

BOOKS @ VOLUME #29 (24.6.17)
Find out what we've been reading.
Find out what's happening at VOLUME.
Find out about our poetry competition.
Find out about new books. 

Saturday 24 June 2017

This week we are featuring the beautifully designed and deeply interesting OBJECT LESSONS series, published by Bloomsbury. 

Humans create objects for function but the meaning of those objects reaches far beyond their function. This excellent series unpacks the meaning concentrated in a plethora of common objects and illuminates layers of culture that are seldom noticed but always active.

Choose your object and learn your lesson (>click<): Earth, Egg, Traffic, Tree, Bread, Hair, Password, Questionnaire, Bookshelf, Cigarette, Shipping Container, Glass, Hotel, Phone Booth, Refrigerator, Silence, Waste, Driver's Licence, Drone, Golf Ball, Remote Control.

>> Read Thomas's review of Dust by Michael Marder. 

>> Read Stella's review of Shipping Container by Craig Martin. 

>> Read Thomas's review of Hotel by Joanna Walsh

>> Watch this Hotel trailer.

>> Joanna Walsh talks about the hotel

>> Read Thomas's review of Bookshelf by Lydia Pyne. 

Come along to VOLUME at 5 PM on Thursday 29th for some OBJECT LESSONS (as part of WINTER@VOLUME). Stella will be discussing the role of the object with fellow jeweller Katie Pascoe, whose Possession project repurposed exchanged objects. Bring along an object to discuss. Find out more about Bloomsbury's OBJECT LESSONS series. 

>> 'Is the Object Really Necessary?' Read Stella's provocative essay, presented to Jemposium in 2012.  

>> Visit the Object Lessons website to learn more about the books and all manner of related essays and articles (you can even submit your own object lesson). 

The first six people who purchase books from the Object Lessons series this week will get a stylish Object Lessons tote bag courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing. 

Shipping Container by Craig Martin    {Reviewed by STELLA}
Back in 2008, I delivered a Pecha Kucha presentation entitled ‘Cargo’, about my jewellery and the process of an exhibition which in part involved shipping some artworks to Amsterdam. Living in a port city, stacks of containers are never too far from where one lives and the loading and off-loading of freight from container ships are a constant reminder of the movement of goods from production to consumption. Shipping Containerby Craig Martin is a wonderful exploration, delving into the development of the container in the face of changes that have occurred since the 1960s, with the rise of globalisation, the need for standard shipping efficiencies and the movement of the manufacture of goods to countries often remote from the marketplace. Martin covers plenty of ground in this highly readable and succinct work for the 'Object Lessons' series. aseries that has at its heart the following rationale: “short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things”. His object, the container, carries all objects. He explains how we moved from highly skilled longshoremen and dock workers to mechanised winches and cranes to computerised systems and highly precise logistics. As a lecturer in design culture, an author on spatiality and the geographies of architecture, Martin’s intimate writing about the shipping container opens with him sitting in a repurposed container at Cove Park, a residency for writers and artists. And it is his obvious fascination with this object, its form and function along with its cultural, socio-political and economic impact that makes the subject so interesting. He goes on to look at the history of the container and the development of an international standard (ISO) for size, dimensions and lifting apparatus for these containers, how efficiencies were developed for transportation between sea, rail and road, creating the seamless systems we have today. He also looks at the aesthetic functionality of the container in its myriad of purposes, and the impact on the workplace. In our globalised society with our ‘just in time’ economic ethos, the shipping container is our hidden wonder.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips    {Reviewed by STELLA}
From sitting in a shipping container to working in a windowless office, intriguing and bizarre, Helen Phillips’ The Beautiful Bureaucrat is unforgettable. Josephine and Joseph are desperate to find work. Recently moved to the city, they need to survive and the job market is not being kind. When an administrative job is offered to Josephine, she takes it. On her first day at work she can’t initially even find the entrance to the enigmatic building, but, eventually, she finds herself sitting in a barren office at a desk where she is instructed to enter the data from a pile of paperwork which is refreshed every day. Her job is to enter names and dates. Thinking that this is probably insurance details or suchlike, she adjusts herself to the dull repetitive work, telling herself that it’s only temporary. Strangely, she rarely sees another worker – all are at their stations and those she does encounter are strangely nervous or aggressively repellent. Bureaucracy has never been so achingly mysterious. Phillips draws you into this odd world of efficiency with its dire aesthetics (think utilitarian desk, chair, unappealing colour scheme) and increasingly strange behaviour. Josephine becomes numbed to her task, yet a voice keeps nagging at her, what is this data that she keeps entering? Who is she working for and does it matter? And what happens if she makes a mistake? She knows she should just get on with it, that she should keep her head down, but something is not quite right in this Kafkaesque world. When Joseph gets a job, he becomes increasingly cut off and their relationship begins to deteriorate – why is he keeping secrets? Phillips plays this dance beautifully, creating a landscape that becomes increasingly disturbing, yet giving the reader enough levity to offset the macabre in this satire about life, death, work and modern living. 

Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre    {Reviewed by THOMAS}
It takes approximately an hour and a half to fly from Berlin to Paris. Upon that hour and a half, a human memory, especially one working at neurotically obsessive speed, can loop a very large amount of time indeed, an hour and a half is plenty of time to go over and go over the things, or several of the things, the unassimilable things, that happened in Berlin, in an attempt to assimilate those things, though they are not assimilable, in an attempt, rather, albeit an involuntary attempt, to damage oneself by the exercise of one’s memories, to draw self-blame and self-disgust from a situation the hopelessness of which cannot be attributed to anything worthy of self-blame or self-disgust but which is sufficiently involved to exercise the self-blame and self-disgust that seethe always beneath their veneer of not-caring, of niceness, the veneer that preserves self-blame and self-disgust from resolution into anything other than self-blame and self-disgust. Upon this hour and a half can be looped, such is the efficacy of human memory, not only, obsessively, the unassimilable things that happened in Berlin but also much else that happened even into the distant past, but, largely speaking, the more recent things that have bearing upon, or occupy the same memory-pocket, not the best metaphor, as the unassimilable things that happened in Berlin, for disappointment and failure seldom happen in a vacuum but resonate with, even if they are not the direct result of, disappointments and failures reaching back even into the distant past, self-blame and self-disgust having the benefit, or detriment, if a difference can be told between benefit and detriment, of binding experiences to form an identity, and, not only this, upon that hour and a half can be looped also an endless amount of speculation and projection as to what may be occurring in the minds of others, or in the mind of, in this case, a specific other, a German-American pianist and composer with whom the narrator, who has been visiting Berlin with her sister, has had some manner of romantic encounter, so to call it, the extent of which is unclear, both, seemingly, to the narrator and, certainly, to the reader, the reader being necessarily confined to the mental claustrophobia of the narrator, on account of the obsessive speculation and projection and also the inescapable escapist and self-abnegating fantasising on the part of the narrator, together with the comet-like attraction-and-avoidance of her endless mental orbit around the most unassimilable things that happened in Berlin, or that might have happened in Berlin, or that did not happen in Berlin but are extrapolative fantasies unavoidably attendant upon what happened in Berlin, untrue but just as real as truth, for all thoughts, regardless of actuality, do the same damage to the brain. Lefebvre’s exquisitely pedantic, fugue-like sentences, their structure perfectly indistinguishable from their content, bestow upon her the mantle of Thomas Bernhard, which, after all, does not fall upon just any hem-plucker but, in this case, fully upon someone who, not looking skyward, has crawled far enough into its shadow when looking for something else. Where Bernhard’s narrators tend to direct their loathing outwards until the reader realises that all loathing is in fact self-loathing, Lefebvre’s narrator acknowledges her self-loathing and self-disgust, abnegating herself rather for circumstances in which self-abnegation is neither appropriate nor inappropriate, her self-abnegation arising from the circumstances, from her connection with the circumstances, from her rather than from the circumstances, her self-abnegation not, despite her certainty, having, really, any effect upon the circumstances. Not at all not-funny, pitch-perfect in both voice and structure, full of sly commentary on history and modernity, and on the frailties of human personality and desire, providing for the reader simultaneous resistance and release, Lefebvre shares many of Bernhard’s strengths and qualities, and the book contains memorable and effective passages such as that in which the narrator recalls playing tennis with her mother-in-law, now her ex-mother-in-law, and finding she is not the type for ‘collective happiness’, or her hilariously scathing descriptions of Berlin’s Sony Centre or of Brecht’s house, now a restaurant, or of the narrator's inability to acknowledge the German-American pianist-composer's wife as anything but 'the accompaniment', or, indeed many other passages, but the excellence of the book is perhaps less in the passages than in the book as a whole. I will be surprised if I read a better book this year. 

Dust by Michael Marder  {Reviewed by THOMAS}
Dust is substance without form, or, rather, substance post-form, matter without identity, matter that has relinquished, or has been forced to relinquish, by abrasion perhaps, or fatigue, whatever identity it has most recently had, matter now adrift, out of place, bereft of form, bereft of nameability, other than as dust, not taking on another form, nor moving towards taking on another form, not taking on any of the set of identities that we associate with form, applying, as we do, identities to forms rather than to substance, matter that cannot be defined even as anything other than dust, a kind of dirt, but not a dirty dirt, a clean dirt, in other words a non-dirt, a self-negation, an oxymoron, a substantial nothing, an accumulation of entitilessness on the surface of an entity, a nonentity seeking to overwhelm an entity, evidence of entropy, evidence of the action of time upon everything our lives are made of, evidence that our world is contingent rather than ideal, that things slip away from under the ideas we fit to things, that ideas will always be disappointed in the actualities to which they are applied, even the relatively simple ideas that we call nouns, evidence that our ways of thinking and the ways of the world of which we think are not subject to the same laws, or to the same processes, if what they are subject to are not laws, evidence that matter seeks release from time, release from form, for it is form that makes us vulnerable to time, evidence that matter above all grows tired and seeks to rest. Years ago I wrote a sheaf of notes towards what I intended to be a short book on dust, but this is, fortunately, now little more than e-dust among all the other e-dust. Luckily, Michael Marder has written a very interesting book on dust and, if you have any interest in dust, or in the universal processes that are evidenced in dust, I recommend you read it.

Friday 23 June 2017

These interesting books (and other interesting books) have all arrived at VOLUME this week.
Click through or come in to secure your copies or to find out more. 

Investigations of a Dog, And other creatures by Franz Kafka, translated by Michael Hofmann      $38
An excellent new translation of some of Kafka's best stories. 
"Hofmann's translation is invaluable - it achieves what translations are supposedly unable to do: it is at once 'loyal' and 'beautiful'." - New Republic
"Anything by Kafka is worth reading again, especially in the hands of such a gifted translator as Hofmann." - The New York Times 
>> Kafka never left home.

Essayism by Brian Dillon        $40
Imagine a type of writing so hard to define its very name means a trial, effort or attempt. An ancient form with an eye on the future, a genre poised between tradition and experiment. The essay wants above all to wander, but also to arrive at symmetry and wholeness; it nurses competing urges to integrity and disarray, perfection and fragmentation, confession and invention. Essayism is a personal, critical and polemical book about the genre, its history and contemporary possibilities.

Kingdom Cons by Yuri Harrera         $26
The new book from the author of the astounding Signs Preceding the End of the World. "Part surreal fable and part crime romance", the whole book is a meditation on the durability of integrity when confronted with power. 
"Yuri Herrera must be a thousand years old. Nothing else explains the vastness of his understanding." - Valeria Luiselli
>> Read an extract

The Matter of the Heart: A history of the heart in eleven operations by Thomas Morris            $40
“Thomas Morris does for the history of cardiac surgery what The Right Stuff and Hidden Figures did for the space race. The book is – appropriately – pulse-thumpingly gripping and will be enjoyed by anyone who, in any sense of the phrase, has a heart.” – Mark Lawson
“Tremendous. An exhilarating sweep through ancient history and contemporary practice in surgery of the heart. It’s rich in extraordinary detail and stories that will amaze you. A wonderful book.” – Melvyn Bragg

The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane        $9
An essay on the importance and the joys of reading. Macfarlane recounts the story of a book he was given as a young man, and how he managed eventually to return the favour, though never repay the debt.
When I Hit You, Or, A portrait of the writer as a young wife by Meena Kandasamy          $28
Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. She swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. A searing indictment of attitudes to marriage in modern India, and an avocation of the power of art to transact change (or at least revenge). 
"It would take Carol Ann Duffy, Caroline Criado-Perez, Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie to match Kandasamy's infinite variety." - Independent 
Seeing People Off by Jana Benova     $38
 "Elza and Ian were Bratislava desperadoes. They didn't work for an advertising agency and weren't trying to save for a better apartment or car. They sat around in posh cafés. They ate, drank, and smoked away all the money they earned."
"Seeing People Off is a fascinating novel. Fans of inward-looking postmodernists like Clarice Lispector will find much to admire here, as will most readers with a taste for the experimental." - NPR
>> Read an extract.

Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the present day by Peter Ackroyd           $38
“This book is a celebration,as well as a history, of the continual and various human world maintained, in its diversity despite persecution, condemnation and affliction. It represents the ultimate triumph of London.”
"Peter Ackroyd is the greatest living chronicler of London". - Independent
The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips          $23
As she becomes accustomed to her new job processing files in a mysterious windowless building, Josephine begins to suspect these strings of number have some relationship to the lives (or deaths) of actual people, and notices also that her relationship with her husband is beginning to change. Unsettling and memorable. 
 "Funny, sad, scary and beautiful. I love it." - Ursula K. Le Guin 
The Whole Intimate Mess: Motherhood, politics and women's writing by Holly Walker         $15
"I began to pull the threads of my experience back together. Instead of divergent stories about public failure, private torment, and postnatal distress, I started telling myself a united story: the truth, or as close as I could get to it." A Rhodes scholar and former Green MP, Holly Walker tells the story of how she became one of New Zealand's youngest parliamentarians, how motherhood intervened, and how she found solace and solidarity in the writings of women. 

The Wood for the Trees: A long view of nature from a small wood by Richard Fortey      $25
This biography of an English 'beech-and-bluebell' wood through the seasons and through history both natural and human, is a portrayal of the relationships of humans to nature and a demonstration that poetic writing can be scientifically precise. 
"'His remarkable scientific knowledge, intense curiosity and love of nature mean entries erupt with the same richness and variety as the woods they describe. Fortey's enthusiasm for his new wonderland is infectious and illuminating, deep and interesting." - Guardian 
Cutting it Short by Bohumil Hrabal           $26
"As I crammed the cream horn voraciously into my mouth, at once I heard Francin's voice saying that no decent woman would eat a cream puff like that." An enjoyably exuberant portrayal of life in a small Mitteleuropean town between the wars.
More Alive and Less Lonely: On books and writers by Jonathan Lethem          $50
Lethem examines and imparts his love for his favourite books and authors, including Knausgaard, Ishiguro, Melville and Lorrie Moore.  >> Interview with Lethem here.
Jews, Queers, Germans by Martin Duberman       $37
Set in a time when many men in the upper classes in Europe were closeted gay, this novel revolves around three men: Prince Philipp von Eulenburg, Kaiser Wilhelm II's closest friend who becomes the subject of a 1907 trial for homosexuality; Magnus Hirschfeld, a famed Jewish sexologist; and Harry Kessler, a leading proponent of modernism, whose diaries allude to his own homosexuality. 
Science in the Soul: Selected writings of a passionate rationalist by Richard Dawkins      $38
More than forty pieces demonstrating the importance and rewards of approaching the world guided by the principles of science. 

Chronicles: On our troubled times by Thomas Piketty          $28
A very accessible handbook to the ideas and analysis provided in the hugely influential Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Moving the Palace by Charif Majdalani          $37
At the dawn of the 20th century, a young Lebanese explorer leaves the Levant for the wilds of Africa, encountering an eccentric English colonel in Sudan and enlisting in his service. In this lush chronicle of far-flung adventure, the military recruit crosses paths with a compatriot who has dismantled a sumptuous palace in Tripoli and is transporting it across the continent on a camel caravan. 
"Renders the complex social landscape of the Middle East and North Africa with subtlety and finesse. Yet one doesn't need to care about the region's history, or its present-day contexts, to enjoy Moving the Palace,  Majdalani's richly textured prose are reason enough." - The Wall Street Journal
"An eloquent, captivating excursion through a Middle East history that is more relevant today than ever. Majdalani is a major storyteller and a novelist with conscience who writes the past with transnational awareness." - Rawi Hage
Finding Language: The Massey University Composer Addresses edited by Michael Brown, Norman Meehan and Robert Hoskins         $40
Includes Margaret Nielsen on Douglas Lilburn, and lectures by Jack Body, John Ritchie, David Farquhar, Edwin Carr, John Rimmer, Lyell Cresswell, John Cousins and Chris Cree Brown. 
Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst by Robert Sapolsky           $40
What drives human behaviours such as racism, xenophobia, tolerance, competition, morality, war, and even peace?

Sound: Stories of hearing lost and found by Bella Bathurst        $40
A thoughtful consideration of the place of sound and hearing in our lives and culture and identities, springing from the author's progressive deafness and the recovery of her capacities.

The things we know that we don't know is a quantifiable penumbra around what we know. Science is always reaching our into this penumbra, but also often inadvertently reaching the things we didn't know that there was to know, causing us to rethink the things we thought we knew.

"Brilliant and fascinating." - Bill Bryson 
Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Tania del Rio and Will Staehle        $35
When 13-year-old Warren discovers that his beloved hotel can walk, it ferries its guests to all sorts of unexpected locations. Unfortunately, Warren gets separated from the hotel and has to follow it through a sinister forest teeming with sinister (and quirky) characters...
A fascinating picture of how one family's disgust at Mussolini's grasp on Italy hardened into active resistance. From the author of The Village of Secrets and A Train in Winter.

The ancient legends of tribes of female warriors who killed their male offspring and removed a breast to improve their archery have long been considered just stories: exemplars of the dangers of female emancipation or avenging shadows of the rise of the patriarchy. Recent research has shown that tribes led by powerful warrior queens did exist in central Asia in ancient times. John Man presents the evidence.
"One could not wish for a better storyteller or analyst." Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Allure of Chanel by Paul Morand        $23
Notes made by Morand in the 1940s towards a memoir of Coco Chanel, including transcripts of conversations he had with her, came to light after decades stuffed into the back of a drawer.  

"The closest anyone can get towards a face-to-face with Coco." - Spectator
The age of the rock stars, like the age of the cowboys, has passed. What did we want of them? Unable to sustain the pressure to be (at least) demigods, is it any wonder that so many of them burned and fell? 

The Big Book of Bugs and The Big Book of Beasts by Yuval Zommer     
Giant, splendidly illustrated, satisfyingly fact-filled books in the same series as The Book of Bees!

Argues that addiction is a learning disorder rather than a brain disease, a bad habit or a crime. Reframing the condition provides a fresh approach to treatment, prevention and policy.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire        $24
Argues that treating students as passive, empty vessels preserves the authority and advantages of the powerful by creating a culture of silence and passivity. Freire suggests the authoritarian teacher-pupil model can be replaced with critical thinking so that students becomes co-creators of knowledge. Crucial to Freire's argument is the belief that every human being, no matter how impoverished or illiterate, can develop an awareness of self, and the right to be heard. A new edition of this important book.
"A transformative text." - George Monbiot 
"Truly revolutionary." - Ivan Illich 
"Brilliant methodology of a highly charged and politically provocative character." - Jonathan Kozol
Judas by Amos Oz         $26
A young man's erotic and intellectual obsessions open the way for him to re-examine the history in the consequences of which he is immersed.
"This book is compassionate as well as painfully provocative, a contribution to some sort of deeper listening to the dissonances emerging from deep within the politics and theology of Israel and Palestine." - Rowan Williams, New Statesman
"Oz engages with urgent questions while retaining his right as a novelist to fight shy of answers: it's a mark of his achievement that the result isn't frustrating but tantalising." - Daily Telegraph
Theft by Finding: Diaries by David Sedaris          $40
"Sedaris is like an American Alan Bennett, in that his own fastidiousness becomes the joke, as per the taxi encounter, or his diary entry about waiting interminably in a coffee-bar queue." - Guardian 
"Cool, very funny, sardonic, yet open. There is an echo of Truman Capote or Tennessee Williams - with extra quirk. Or even Lewis Carroll. One of the biggest comedy writers of his generation." - Spectator
Incisive analysis of the detrimental effects of income inequality on a society and all it members, both rich and poor. 
Karl Marx: Greatness and illusion by Gareth Stedman Jones      $40
A reappraisal of Marx, contending the man and his thinking have been overwhelmed by the inflation of the reputations of both. Stedman Jones's carefully deflationary approach is also a portrait of his own conflicted attitudes towards the genesis and development of Socialism. 
"A deeply original and illuminating account of Marx's journey through the intellectual history of the nineteenth century. Stedman Jones explores the friendships, affinities, rivalries and hatreds that shaped Marx's life with elegance and analytical brilliance." - Christopher Clark
'Vintage Minis' by various excellent authors       $10 each
A new series of very pickupable thoughtful small books to have with coffee (or whatever). The publishers have devised a quiz to match you with your first mini but we think reaching out at random will provide just as reliable results.

Desire by Haruki Murakami
Love by Jeanette Winterson
Babies by Anne Enright
Language by Xiaolu Guo
Motherhood by Helen Simpson
Fatherhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Summer by Laurie Lee
Jealousy by Marcel Proust
Sisters by Louisa May Alcott
Home by Salman Rushdie
Race by Toni Morrison
Liberty by Virginia Woolf
Swimming by Roger Deakin
Work by Joseph Heller
Depression by William Styron
Drinking by John Cheever
Eating by Nigella Lawson
Psychedelics by Aldous Huxley
Calm by Tim Parks
Death by Julian Barnes
[Does the order in which these titles have been listed suggest life's narrative arc?]