Thursday 2 November 2017

November is upon us and so are these New Releases.  
Mr Lear: A life of art and nonsense by Jenny Uglow         $55
A man of deep ambivalences, contradictions and vulnerabilities, Edward Lear was unable to act on his deepest feelings but produced some of the oddest poetry of his time, as well as a body of art both serious and comic. Jenny Uglow, who could almost be said to specialise in biographies of odd characters who both exemplify and stand apart from their times, is Lear's perfect biographer, forensic yet sensitive to the most hidden corners of his psyche, his playfulness and his melancholy. 
"Jenny Uglow has written a great life about an artist with half a life, a biography that might break your heart." - Robert McCrum, Guardian
The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen        $28
When a mouse is swallowed by a wolf, a duck already resident in the wolf's belly shows it what a good life can be lived there. How can they defend their home against a hunter? 

Sagaland by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason         $45
Two friends travel to Iceland to experience the settings of (and to retell!) the Icelandic sagas they are both so fond of, and to find Gislason's roots. What is the relationship between land and stories, both ancient and modern, both culture-defining and personal? Where are the Vikings now? 
>> "Tales of blood feuds and dangerous women, fugitives and warrior poets." 
>> How they came to write the book

Lisboeta: Recipes from Portugal's City of Light by Nuno Mendes      $53
An interesting and attractive guide to the food of Lisbon replete with recipes for every meals of the day and with evocative photographs. 
>> Mendes tells a little about himself
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell      $33
The main difference between The Bookshop in Scotland's Book Town of Wigtown and Black Books is that business at The Bookshop proceeds without a script and the odd customers are all (or mostly) actual members of the public rather than actors. As Bythell shows, running a booklover's paradise may not always feel like you're in paradise yourself, but booksellers wouldn't have it any other way (that is to say, they are of no use for any other occupation). 
>> A shop with books in
>> Shaun shows us how to reconfigure with a broken Kindle
Marco Polo: Dangers and visions by Marco Tabilio       $28
An exquisite graphic novel account of the explorations and inner life of the Venetian merchant who travelled through Asia as far as Chine in the thirteenth century. 
>> Have a look at Tabilio's website

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks        $38
The latest advances in neuroscience have bearing on the dilemmas of both philosophy and psychology. Before he died, Sacks drew together some of his incisive essays on consciousness and on the relationship between the brain and the mind, experience and memory, to be presented as this important addition to his oeuvre. 
The Relive Box, And other stories by T.C. Boyle         $35
"Some of the best, funniest, bleakest, most unsettling short stories I've ever read." - The Times 
"Always enjoyable, virtually incapable of dullness or slack sentences. His stories reveal truths about modern life while still feeling beautifully invented." - New York Times 
"By far and away one of the most inventive, adventurous and accomplished fiction writers in the US today. Most of all, he is a mesmerising storyteller."  Lionel Shriver 

Oak and Ash and Thorn: The ancient woods and new forests of Britain by Peter Fiennes         $37
Fiennes journeys to Croft Castle & Parkland (Herefordshire), Clapham Common, Northfield Wood, The Weald, Knockwood & Secret Wood (Tenterden), Windsor Great Park, Runnymede (Surrey), Sherwood Forest, Cranborne Chase (Dorset), Kingley Vale (W. Sussex), Kipling's house (South Downs), Wistman's Wood (Dartmoor), Wayland Wood (Norfolk), Queen's Wood (Highgate), Hardcastle Crags (W. Yorkshire), Glover's Wood (Sussex), Smithy Wood (Sheffield). So many woods, and so much history, has been lost. 
"Written with a mixture of lyricism and quiet fury,  Fiennes's book winningly combines autobiography, literary history and nature writing. It feels set to become a classic of the genre." - Observer
A Revolution of Feeling: The decade that forged the modern mind by Rachel Hewitt         $55
Led by revolutionary foment in Europe, British intellectual and radicals in the 1790s formulated new ways of thinking, feeling and acting that would have far-reaching consequences through literature, art and social dynamics, what Edmund Burke called "the most important of all revolutions, the revolution of the sentiments." The project involved the complete rethinking of the relationship between the individual and society, between the individual and nature, between an individual's inner and outer lives.  
The Last London by Iain Sinclair         $40
The outstanding psychogeographer strikes out on a series of solitary walks and collaborative expeditions to make a final reckoning with a capital stretched beyond recognition. Here is a mesmerising record of secret scholars and whispering ghosts. Of disturbing encounters. Night hospitals. Pits that become cameras. Mole Man labyrinths. And privileged swimming pools, up in clouds, patrolled by surveillance helicopters. Where now are the myths, the ultimate fictions of a many times revised city?
Phoney Wars: New Zealand society in the Second World War by Stevan Eldred-Grigg and Hugh Eldred-Grigg        $50
What were the concerns of ordinary New Zealanders during war? The war divided New Zealanders and involved many in acts of brutality that affected their families and communities when they returned. What price did New Zealand pay for the outcome of the war? 
"Stevan Eldred-Grigg defies classification. He can swoop from the historical to the contemporary, from lyric to polemic, from fiction to faction. He's unsettling as well as absorbing." - David Hill

The Weight of Things by Marianne Fritz          $22
A Modernist classic only now translated into English, The Weight of Things tells of a traumatised young woman's descent into first domesticity and then suffering. Admired by Jelinek and Sebald, Fritz is a recipient of both the Robert Walser Prize and the Franz Kafka Prize. 

"There is a class of artists whose work is so strange and extraordinary that it eschews all gradations of the good and the mediocre: genius and madness are the only descriptors adequate to its scale. Such is the case of the Austrian novelist Marianne Fritz." - Adrian Nathan West
Improbable Destinies: How predictable is evolution? by Jonathan Losos         $55
The natural world is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. Convergence suggests that evolution is predictable, and if we could replay the tape of life, we would get the same outcome. But there are also many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change - a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze - caused evolution to take a completely different course. So are we humans, and all the plants and animals in the world today, inevitabilities or evolutionary freaks? 
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach        $28
Seventeen year old Ivan Isaenko is a life long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely III Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement. Until Polina arrives. She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her. She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.
Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love         $37
Excellent retellings, with excellent illustrations. Crossley-Holland's versions are both enjoyable and scrupulous to the sources. 

"Kevin Crossley-Holland is the master." - Neil Gaiman
How Language Began by Daniel Everett        $55
Suggests that the requisites for language, and indeed language itself, were present as early as Homo erectus one-and-a-half million years ago. 
Modern Death: How medicine changed the end of life by Haider Warraich          $43
Advances in medical science has meant not only that we live longer but that we spend more of that time dying. How has this changed our view of the world and our place in it? 
Manderley Forever: The life of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay          $45
"It's impressive how Tatiana was able to recreate the personality of my mother, including her sense of humour. It is very well written and very moving. I'm sure my mother would have loved this book." - Tessa Montgomery d'Alamein (daughter of Daphne du Maurier)
A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray        $22
Twenty-one women, from Boadicea to Nicola Sturgeon, who stood out against their times and provided new ways for history to move forward. 
"If someone in every country were to write a book like this, scholars might finally admit there are two things - history and the past - and they are not the same." - Gloria Steinem
Grace by Paul Lynch      $27
"Lynch's wonderful third novel follows a teenage girl through impoverished Ireland at the height of the Great Famine. Lynch's powerful, inventive language intensifies the poignancy of the woe that characterizes this world of have-nothings struggling to survive." - Publishers Weekly 
The Grip of Film by Richard Ayodade (as Gordy Lasure)       $33
Why are some films good and the rest rather less than good? 'Gordy Lasure' will show you how cinema works.
"A work of shimmering, glimmering genius." – Stephen Fry
>> The 'Alan Patridge of film' reads from his book

The Vegetable by Caroline Griffith and Vicki Valsamis               $60

A beautifully presented and wonderfully quiet cookbook, with 130 plant-based recipes for all occasions. 
Night Wishes, Or, The satanarchaeolidealcohellish notion potion by Michael End       $32
It's 5pm on New Year's Eve in the Villa Nightmare, and as Shadow Sorcery Minister Beelzebub Preposteror's thumb-striking clock counts down each hour with an "Ouch!", Minister Preposteror draws closer to missing his midnight deadline for fulfilling his annual quota of evil deeds and being "foreclosed".
Literature of Revolution: Essays on Marxism by Norman Geras       $33
Pivotal texts from a major thinker of the New Left on Marx and Trotsky, Luxemburg, Lenin and Althusser, fetishism in Capitaljustice, political organisation, revolutionary mass action and party pluralism, and an analysis of the literary power of Trotsky's writing. 

How to Write Like Tolstoy: A journey into the minds of our greatest writers by Richard Cohen        $22

"This book is a wry, critical friend to both writer and reader. It is filled with cogent examples and provoking statements. You will agree or quarrel with each page, and be a sharper writer and reader by the end." - Hilary Mantel
So They Call You Pisher, A memoir by Michael Rosen        $37
"A mishmash, at once merry and pensive, of personal memoir, a history of left politics in postwar England, a portal into a lost Jewish London and a portrait of the artist as a nervy young man." - Guardian

The Barefoot Navigator: Wayfinding with the skills of the ancients by Jack Lagan       $30
At once a history of and guide to navigating without sextant and almanac.  
Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello        $35
Essays on sixteen individual animals immortalised by humans.
"I've spent decades reading books on the roles animals play in human cultures, but none have ever made me think, and feel, as much as this one. It's a devastating meditation on our relationship to the natural world. It might be the best book on animals I've ever read. It's also the only one that's made me laugh out loud." - Helen Macdonald, New York Times

The Modern Cook's Year by Anna Jones           $55
Another outstanding and stylish vegetarian cookbook from Anna Jones.  

"Brilliant." - Nigel Slater
Perfect Evenings: The joy of long exposures by Barney Brewster       $50
Very accomplished night and low-light landscape photography from a Nelson-resident photographer and bookseller. 
>> While stock lasts, receive a free copy of Barney's previous book Night Visions.
>> Visit the photographer's website.
Lenin, 2017: Remenbering, repeating, working through by Slavoj Žižek      $29
Lenin's originality and importance as a revolutionary leader is most often associated with the seizure of power in 1917. But, Zizek argues in this new study and collection of original texts, Lenin's true greatness can be better grasped in the very last couple of years of his political life. Russia had survived foreign invasion, embargo and a terrifying civil war, as well as internal revolts such as at Kronstadt in 1921. But the new state was exhausted, isolated and disorientated in the face of the world revolution that seemed to be receding. New paths had to be sought, almost from scratch, for the Soviet state to survive and imagine some alternative route to the future. Zizek suggests that Lenin's courage as a thinker can be found in his willingness to face this reality of retreat lucidly and frontally.
Little Hazelnut by Dominique Ehrhard and Anne-Florence Lemasson      $28
A squirrel drops a nut. After winter a nut tree sprouts. A particularly charming pop-up book. 
>> This is how it works
Hogwarts Textbooks - 25 postcards by Holly Dunn     $12 per set of 5 
Cover designs for 25 textbooks used by Harry Potter and the other students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
>> Have a look at the designs

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