Friday 29 September 2017

Take your pick.

Collected Poems by Allen Curnow, edited by Terry Sturm and Elizabeth Caffin       $60
Allen Curnow: Simply by Sailing in a New Direction, A biography by Terry Sturm, edited by Elizabeth Caffin      $70
"Simply by sailing in a new direction / You could enlarge the world." Curnow's 70-year career in the vanguard of New Zealand poetry involved the defining and redefining of poetic sensibilities, moving from an antipodean to an autochthonic focus. 
>> Landfall in Unknown Seas (with Lilburn)
>> Stead on Curnow

Threads: The delicate life of John Craske by Julia Blackburn        $48
John Craske, a Norfolk fisherman, was born in 1881, and in 1917 he fell seriously ill. For the rest of his life he kept moving in and out of what was described as 'a stuporous state'. In 1923 he started making paintings of the sea and boats and the coastline seen from the sea, and later, when he was too ill to stand and paint, he turned to embroidery, which he could do lying in bed. Julia Blackburn's account of his life is a quest which takes her in many strange directions - to fishermen's cottages in Sheringham, a grand hotel fallen on hard times in Great Yarmouth and to the isolated Watch House far out in the Blakeney estuary; to Cromer and the bizarre story of Einstein's stay there, guarded by dashing young women in jodhpurs with shotguns. Threads is a book about life and death and the strange country between the two.
"Oh, what a miraculous book this is: parochial, weird and inconclusive in a way that few books dare to be these days, and illustrated so generously, with something beautiful or interesting on every other page. Buy it, and let it take you out to sea, no sou'wester required." - Rachel Cooke, Observer
"Wonderful. I lay down her book without knowing the cause of the 'mental stupors' that defined Craske's life, or understanding his relationship to his complicated family, but feeling I had inhaled the cold salt of the East Anglian coastline from which he sailed when he was well, and run my fingers across the bright wool of the embroideries he made when he was not." - Telegraph
Aotearoa: The New Zealand story by Gavin Bishop      $40
A breathtakingly wonderful large-format visual history of New Zealand, drawn by the inimitable Gavin Bishop. One of the outstanding New Zealand books of the year. 

After Kathy Acker: A biography by Chris Kraus        $48
Who better than the author of I Love Dick to write a gossipy, insightful and memorable biography of the abject angel of the late twentieth century literary counterculture? 
"This is an anti-mythic artist biography which feels like it's being told in one long rush of a monologue over late-night drinks by someone who was there. As such, we learn as much much about Kathy Acker as we do about the mores of the artists and writers who surrounded her in the last three decades of the twentieth century. Acker emerges as an unlikely literary hero, but an utterly convincing one." - Sheila Heti
>> Who's afraid of Kathy Acker? 
Red Famine: Stalin's war on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum         $65
The Holodomor (man-made famine) of 1932-33 killed millions of Ukrainians by starvation, and amounts to genocide. To prevent an uprising, Stalin ensured food shortages, restricted movement, confiscated foodstuffs and prevented foreign aid. Applebaum's careful account makes for horrific reading. 
Long-listed for the 2017 Baillie-Gifford Prize. 

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser       $37
Which undoes the present more, a shadow cast by the past or one cast by the future? De Kretser's new novel gauges the dissonances between individual and collective identities. 
"I so much admire Michelle de Kretser's formidable technique - her characters feel alive, and she can create a sweeping narrative which encompasses years, and yet still retain the sharp, almost hallucinatory detail." - Hilary Mantel
"Michelle de Kretser writes quickly and lightly of wonderful and terrible things. She is a master storyteller." - A.S. Byatt
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge         $25
When a creature dies, its spirit can go looking for somewhere to hide. Some people have space inside them, perfect for hiding. Makepeace, a girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment. And now there's a ghost inside her. The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, but it may be her only defence in a time of dark suspicion and fear. As the English Civil War erupts, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession or death.
From the author of the Costa Award-winning The Lie Tree
"Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now." - Patrick Ness
The Illustrious House of Ramires bEça de Queirós        $35
Gonçalo Ramires, heir to a family so aristocratic that it predates the kings of Portugal, —charming but disastrously effete, idealistic but hopelessly weak—muddles through his pampered life, burdened by a grand ambition. In part to further his political aspirations, he is determined to write a great historical novel based on the heroic deeds of his fierce medieval ancestors. But the record of their valor is ironically counterpointed by his own chicanery. A combination of Don Quixote and Walter Mitty, Ramires is as endearing as he is frustrating. 
"A writer of mesmerizing literary power." Washington Post
"Portugal’s greatest novelist." - José Saramago
Anatomy: A cutaway look inside the human body by Helene Druvert and Jean-Claude Druvert       $45
Here's the human body as you've never seen it before. Clever laser cut-outs, flaps and overlays explore every detail of the organs, systems and senses. 

An Odyssey: A father, a son and an epic by Daniel Mendelsohn        $45
When Daniel's 81-year-old father enrolls in the course on the Odyssey Daniel teaches at Bard College, he is always ready to challenge Daniel's interpretations of the great work. When they then travel to the Mediterranean to visit the locations referred to by Homer, Daniel discovers he has much to learn from his difficult father, too. 
"A stellar contribution to the genre of memoirs about reading: literary analysis and the personal stories are woven together in a way that feels both artful and natural. A thoughtful book from which non-classicists will learn a great deal about Homer. A funny, loving portrait of a difficult but loving parent." - Guardian
Long-listed for the Baillie-Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.
Baking with Kafka: Cartoons by Tom Gauld       $28
How do you get published during a skeleton apocalypse? What was the secret of Kafka's lemon drizzle cake? And what plot possibilities does the exploding e-cigarette offer modern mystery writers? All these questions and more are answered in this collection of Gauld's inimitable literary cartoons. 

Bird Words: New Zealand writers on birds by Elisabeth Easther      $35
An anthology of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, all concerned with the birds, both native and endemic, of New Zealand. 
>> 'Magpies' by Denis Glover.
>>> Arr. Bill Direen #1. 
>>>> Arr. Bill Direen #2.
>>>>> Arr. David Farquhar
>>>>>>  Arr. 6 Volts
DrawnonwarD: A back-to-front tale of hopelessness and hope by Meg McKinlay and Andrew Frazer       $30
The same situation can have quite different interpretations, depending on your perspective. Read in one direction, this piece of graphic invention is a dismal when read in one direction, but full of hope when read in the other. A change of perspective (or reading direction) is all you need to turn your life around.
The Necessary Angel by C.K. Stead     $38
Paris: books/conversation, love/politics, fidelity/infidelity. 
"Edgy and lyrical, acerbic and witty, intellectually incisive but also visceral and bawdy, disarmingly direct and intricately plotted." - Andrew Bennett
First Person by Richard Flanagan       $48
Can a penniless writer retain any certainty, even of his own identity, when he is commissioned to ghost-write the memoir of a conman? From the author of the Booker-winning Narrow Road to the Deep North
Andina, The heart of Peruvian food: Recipes and stories from the Andes by Martin Morales        $47
120 authentic and healthy recipes from the Peruvian uplands. 
>> Peru has, apparently, 492 national dishes

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward         $27
As 13-year-old Jojo approaches adulthood, how can he find his way in the U.S. South when all seems set for him and his family to fall foul of rural poverty, drug addiction, the penal system, the justice system, racism and illness? From the author of Salvage the Bones. 
"This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must." - Margaret Atwood 
"A powerfully alive novel haunted by ghosts; a road trip where people can go but they can never leave; a visceral and intimate drama that plays out like a grand epic, Sing, Unburied, Sing is staggering." - Marlon James
Dinner at the Centre of the Earth by Nathan Englander      $38
Prisoner Z is being held at a black site in the Negev Desert with only his guard for company. How did a nice American Jewish boy become first an Israeli spy and then a traitor to his adopted country. What is loyalty worth, and what is worthy of loyalty? 
"Nathan Englander's latest is, as usual, superb: a work of psychological precision and moral force, with an immediacy that captures both timeless human truth as well as the perplexities of the present day." - Colson Whitehead
The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook by Michael Brooks       $38
Jerome Cardano, a Milanese of the sixteenth century was a gambler and blasphemer, inventor and chancer, plagued by demons and anxieties, astrologer to kings, emperors and popes. This stubborn and unworldly man was the son of a lawyer and a brothel keeper, a gifted physician and the hereforeto unacknowledged discoverer of the mathematical foundations of quantum physics. Fascinating science biography (and not an astrology book). 

Joseph Banks' Florilegium: Botanical treasures from Cook's first voyage edited by Mel Gooding et al         $130
Naturalist Joseph Banks accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage around the world from 1768 to 1771. Banks collected exotic flora from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia, and Java, bringing back over 1,300 species that had never been seen or studied by Europeans. Upon his return, Banks commissioned more than 700 engravings between 1772 and 1784. Known collectively as Banks' Florilegium, they are some of the most precise and exquisite examples of botanical illustration ever created. The Florilegium was never published in Banks' lifetime, and it was not until 1990 that a complete set in color was issued in a boxed edition (limited to 100 copies) under the direction of the British Museum. The present selection makes these prints widely available for the first time.
The Empty Grave ('Lockwood & Co' #5) by Jonathan Stroud        $25
The final knuckle-whitening volume in this excellent series. Will Lucy, George and Lockwood solve the mystery of the plague of ghosts that has been afflicting London? Genuinely scary, genuinely funny, and with great characters, if you haven't read this, start with The Screaming Staircase
"Jonathan Stroud is a genius." - Rick Riordan
Invictus by Ryan Graudin       $20
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 A.D. and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 A.D., Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history is all Far has ever wanted, but this future seems shattered when he fails his final time-traveling exam. Kicked out of the program with few prospects, Far takes a position commandeering a ship with his own team as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. She contains knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question. Far and his team must race against time and through it to discover the truth: history is not as steady as it seems. From the author of the outstanding 'Wolf by Wolf'. 
The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst          $38
From the time they meet at Oxford in 1940, David Sparsholt and Evert Dax are drawn together in a relationship which acts as a prism for many of the social changes of the following decades.
"Hollinghurst is a master storyteller. The book is thrilling in the rather awful way that the best Victorian novels are, so that one finds oneself galloping somewhat shamefacedly through the pages in order to discover what happens next." - John Banville
"Hollinghurst's great gift as a novelist is for social satire as sharp and transparent as glass, catching his quarry from an angle just an inch to the left of the view they themselves would catch in the mantelpiece mirror." - The New York Observer 
In Search of Stardust: Amazing micrometeorites and their terrestrial imposters by Jon Larson      $33
The solar system is a dusty place. Every day approximately 100 metric tons of cosmic dust collides with Earth, mainly in the form of micrometeorites. Most of these mineral particles (iron, nickel, etc.) are smaller than grains of sand, and they are falling down on us all the time and all over the globe. This book shows you how to find and identify (and collect!) micrometeorites, and how to distinguish them from other microstuff. 
>> Stardust found.
The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith        $40
It's pretty cramped underground, and Worm wants more space. Up above, bird is wanting something too. When they meet, will they both get what they want? A beautiful illustrative book from the artist of The Fox and the Star
Victoria: The woman who made the modern world by Julia Baird     $37
When Victoria was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 20 June 1837, she was 18 years old. Her subjects were fascinated and intrigued; some felt sorry for her. Writer Thomas Carlyle, watching her gilded coach draw away from the coronation, said: 'Poor little Queen, she is at an age at which a girl can hardly be trusted to choose a bonnet for herself; yet a task is laid upon her from which an archangel might shrink.' But by the time of her Diamond Jubilee Procession in 1897, she reigned over a fourth of the inhabitable part of the world, had 400 million subjects, and had given birth to nine children. Suffrage, anti-poverty and anti-slavery movements can all be traced to her monumental reign, along with a profound rethinking of family life and the rise of religious doubt. What was her place in all of this? 
Can't Stand Up for Falling Down: Rock'n'roll war stories by Allan Jones      $30
Collected music journalism from the 1970s and 1980s. Great insight into the culture of rock fame as it never will be again. 
Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina       $45
Freedom doesn't exist unless you fight for it every day. The activist, Pussy Riot member and freedom fighter Maria Alyokhina gives a passionate account of her arrest, trial and imprisonment in Siberia.
>> Back to jail.
Igni by Aaron Turner       $65
After working in some of the world's outstanding restaurants, including Noma in Copenhagen and El cellar de can Roca in Girona, Turner opened his own restaurant in Australia. This book documents the tribulations and excitements of its first year, and is full of distinctive recipes and atmospheric photographs. 
>> A high-end degustation restaurant in a Geelong backstreet
Think Like an Anthropologist by Matthew Engelke        $28
Is there an anthropological approach that can help us not only to understand who we are and how we fit in whatever society we are in, but also understand others too? 
Mimicry 3 edited by Carolyn DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland      $15
Poetry! Other written stuff! Art! Contributors include J.M. Francis, Stacey Teague, Ruby Mae Hinepunui Solly, Emma Ng, Aimee Smith, Johnny McCaughan, Holly Childs, Rachel O’Neill, Vincent Konrad, Chris Stewart, Fresh and Fruity, Saskia Bunce-Rath, Nina Powles, Lee Posna, Chelsea Houghton, Annelyse Gelman, Courtney Sina Meredith, Jordana Bragg, Joan Fleming, Eleanor Rose King Merton, Helen Rickerby, Louise Compagnone, Estère, Blaek, Finn Johannson, Flo Wilson, WOMB, Maria McMillan, Briana Jamieson, Amy Leigh Wicks, Alison Glenny, Ines Almeida, Anna Jackson, Caroline Shepherd, Rose Lu, Thomasin Sleigh and Erica van Zon, Catarina de Peters, Eamonn Marra, Freya Daly Sadgrove and Hera Lindsay Bird.

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