Saturday 27 January 2018

Our latest newsletter.

BOOKS @ VOLUME #59  (27.1.18)

Books read and to read. 

This week's Book of the Week is Go Went, Gone, Jenny Erpenbeck's subtle and insightful novel exploring the ways in which a retired academic is changed by learning more about the refugees who have arrived in his city. 

>> Read Stella's review

>> "A powerful response to the refugee crisis."

>> "What happens when you're only seen [i.e.seen only] as a refugee?"

>> A quarterly interview.

>> At the Library of Congress.

>> Other Jenny Erpenbooks at VOLUME

A few other books on the refugee crisis:

Charges by Elfreide Jelinek (reviewed by Thomas)

Mediterranean by Armin Greder (a powerful wordless picture book)

Violent Borders: Refugees and the right to move by Reece Jones

Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles with the Neighbours by Slavoj Žižek

I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See by Giles Duley

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier

The New Odyssey: A history of Europe's refugee crisis by Patrick Kingsley

Crossing the Sea: With the Syrians on the exodus to Europe by Wolfgang Bauer

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Illegal by Eion Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano

The Right to Have Rights by Alastair Hunt, Stephanie DeGooyer, Werner Hamacher, Samuel Moyn and Astra Taylor 

The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo  {Reviewed by STELLA}
The Iron Age is a charming but needle-sharp novel exploring post-war Finland and the economic and emotional fallout which impacts a family through generations. The semi-autobiographical story takes us into the heart, often a cold heart, of a rural family and their struggle through poverty and migration. The third child, a girl, is our narrator. At three, she has learnt to keep clear of her father who easily rages, is isolated from her mother who is too busy working in the fields and keeping on the right side of her mother-in-law who rules the roost, and is ousted from the company of her two older brothers who are a team that doesn’t need or want a little sister - although they all stick together, hiding behind the stone oven or making themselves scarce when Father loses his temper. The story starts in a fairy-tale manner with woe and misfortune being visited upon the family through their own or others' misconduct. A witch comes a-calling, and when the young girl hides rather than offers her coffee, the error is noted by grandmother: “She sat down heavily.This is bad news, she said, wiping her hands on her apron, bad news indeed.” Grandmother is tough - she oversees the farm and family, brokering no dissent. There are constant fights, with Father announcing he knows best - he’s been to agricultural college - yet he constantly comes unstuck, through his arrogance, unrealistic plans and lack of luck. The solution to the altercations: migration to Sweden. Father travels to find work, leaving Mother with four children and strict instructions. Soon the family, minus the oldest son Tapio who is left with grandmother to keep his father's stake in the family farm, move to Sweden. The second part of the book lays out the life of a migrant family, isolated from wider family and community support, struggling with a different culture and a new language. Our child falls further into herself and the world of tales, hardly a speaker in either Finnish or Swedish. “There was a strange safety in not saying anything. It was like being very small inside a very big bomb shelter and looking out at a very angry man. And I was not afraid.” This is a novel about resilience, about three strong women who find their own ways to survive. Grandmother, widowed early in life, fiercely keeps her independence; mother, trying to keep on the right side of her erratic husband, finally and quietly triumphs; and the girl finds refuge in her imagination, words (her own silent ones) and stories. It's a story about a country that lost a war and was humiliated by history. A story about the far-reaching shadows of war that stretch beyond carnage on the battlefield into the hearts and daily lives of generations of families. Delightfully illustrated by the author's niece, Susanna Kajermo Törner, this novel is deceptively simple, insightful, and says more in its few pages than many award-winning magnum opuses about the impact of war and the resultant sense of disconnection, either personal or political. Published by the excellent small Irish publisher Tramp Press, it has been winning accolades and was recently long-listed for the prestigious Republic of Consciousness Prize.  

Robinson by Jack Robinson   {Reviewed by THOMAS}
When Robinson Crusoe in Daniel Defoe’s novel of the same name discovers the footprint of a stranger on the margins of the island he considers his domain, he builds defences and prepares violence. He wants to keep for himself his table, made with his own hands, his rude bowl, likewise, and his parasol - which publication of the his eponymous novel would create a fashion for in England - but even more he wants to keep for himself the puritanical practices of useful labour, useful thought and self-restraint - he made a very small amount of rum last for ten years! - that are both the expression and the perpetuation of his isolation. He remains sealed to all that is not him. When given the opportunity, upon a suitably disadvantaged other, he shows himself prepared to teach but not to learn. The propagation of Defoe’s novel as an English classic over the centuries has both epitomised and contributed to a particularly noxious strand of Anglo-Saxon masculinity compounded of an arrogance and a superiority complex on the one hand and a concomitant deep insecurity and fear on the other, resulting in an instinct to build defences and prepare violence. Jack Robinson, in this quick and subtle little book, not only sketches the deleterious effect upon English society of this thread of Englishness, leading to the Brexit vote resulting from the projection of threat onto difference (“Robinson’s question: why are there not more crazy people running amok with machetes or second-hand Kalashnikovs?”), but also traces the literary offspring of Ur-Crusoe, so to call him: Robinsons in books by Franz KafkaLouis-Ferdinand CélineMuriel Spark and others, and in the films of Patrick Keillor, each either or both perpetuating or degrading the character with whom they are inescapably associated, and ultimately, collectively, dissolving and erasing the ethos he represents, or, in any rate, moving towards such dissolution or erasure. Jack Robinson, one of the last of the literary Robinsons, is the author of a number of quick and subtle little books, although in this one he appears more as a companion, or sidekick, albeit an enigmatic one, of the man he is the pseudonymous alter-ego of, Charles Boyle (responsible for, among other things, the eye-wateringly wonderful CB Editions (the publisher of, among other books, those of Jack Robinson)), evidently the narrator of this book, packed as it is, or seems to be, with slices of Boyle's fine-grained memoir, but curiously attributing authorship to another version of himself who appears in it, almost grudgingly, in the third person (or is Boyle ventriloquising Robinson ventriloquising Boyle writing of Robinson? (Well, yes, but where do you stop?)). The literary bloodlines, or bloodlesslines, or inklines, or whatever, of double-yolked identities are also examined, from Defoe’s Crusoe and Friday through Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon to Lars Iyer’s W. and Lars, and, of course, ultimately, to the bastard doubles Robinson and the (here-unnamed) Boyle. What is the relationship between these pairs of men (and between them and their authors), and why are they so concerned with what we might, without, these days, descending to an exclusively religious connotation, term the End Times? Given the cultural pedigree manifesting as the collective paranoia of Brexit and Trump, it is no wonder that there are people running amok (with machetes or whatever), but Robinson’s question pertains: it is a wonder there are not more.


Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck  {Reviewed by THOMAS}
Erpenbeck's writing is spare, subtle and evocative. By building intricate webs of sensed and particularised detail, she conjures the presences of the sequence of residents of a lakeside country house near Berlin, each carried there and borne away by the impersonal (or are they personal?) forces of twentieth century German history. By narrowing her focus in this way and eschewing grand action and encounter, she manages to reground history in the personal and the quotidian, which is, after all, where it is experienced as it happens. These accounts of lives clutched at and dissolved are alternated with descriptions of an unnamed gardener patiently working with the seasons in the garden or on the house until the whole place falls apart with nature and dry rot. Erpenbeck’s writing is like a memory so intense it casts off from the time it is remembered in and gains the immediacy of actual experience.

>> Jenny Erpenbeck is the author of Go, Went, Gone, this week's Book of the Week.

Friday 26 January 2018

Reasons to keep reading.

The Cage by Lloyd Jones         $38
Two mysterious strangers turn up at a hotel in a small country town. Where have they come from? Who are they? What catastrophe are they fleeing? The townspeople want answers, but the strangers are unable to speak of their trauma. Before long, wary hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear, and the care of the men slides into appalling cruelty. 
"Jones is a daring writer who can relied upon to ignore expectation." - The Guardian
The Only Story by Julian Barnes         $35
Is it preferable to love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn’t know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he’s proud of the fact his relationship with an older woman flies in the face of social convention. As he himself grows older, however, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.
Feel Free by Zadie Smith         $40
A new collection of essays. No subject is too fringe or too mainstream to be made fascinating. How much joy can a person tolerate? How many kinds of boredom make up a life? Should Justin Bieber be more like Socrates? 
>> "I have a very messy and chaotic mind.

Man With a Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige        $30
Under the summer sun on the Essex coast a gull falls from the sky and strikes an unassuming local council worker sitting on the beach below. From that moment on he is obsessed, a crazed visionary repeatedly depicting the scene and the unknown figure within in it which filled his view at the moment of impact. Can he reach the object of his obsession through his art?
"A precious and strange thing. A bona fide gem. A book that would be a credit to any short list." - The Guardian
Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie           $28
A startling short story collection, riffing surreally on everyday realities of London life, using difference as a point of access into wholly new ways of thinking and feeling. 
"Okojie has a sharp eye for the twisting stories of the city, and a turn of phrase that switches from elegance to brutality in a single line. Lovely stuff." - Stella Duffy

A Most Elegant Equation: Euler's formula and the beauty of mathematics by David Stipp         $45
eiπ + 1 = 0 is regarded as the most beautiful equation in mathematics, and describes the connection between fundamental numbers in terms of basic operations. Leonhard Euler, the eighteenth century Swiss mathematician who devised it, was also responsible for other formulae of great elegance and usefulness (in mathematics, elegance = usefulness), and for the exploring the applications of π. 
Free Hand: New typography sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico         $60
Browse the workbooks of leading contemporary typographer and hand-letterers. Plenty of inspiration here. 

The Invisible Rider by Kirsten McDougall          $25
Philip Fetch is a lawyer with an office in a suburban shopping mall, a husband and father, and a cyclist on Wellington’s narrow and winding streets. He is also a man who increasingly finds simple things in life baffling. As he moves through the sometimes alarming and sometimes comical episodes of this novel, a break in the hurtling flow of events looms ahead. Is it safe for Philip to pull out and pass? The first book from the author of the wonderful Tess.
"Charming, heart-wrenching and funny. McDougall imbues her book with a lovely optimism and an infectious affection for her characters; this is a writer to watch."  – Louise O’Brien, NZ Listener
"Quirky, playful and finally moving."  – Lawrence Jones, Otago Daily Times
"Fetch has the ability to grapple with the borders of his life with a melancholy that belongs to us all, with a deceptive simplicity that sounds as if it is coming from his wisest self. The stories capture the delicacy of human feelings and relationships." – Takahē
The Lost Pages by Marija Peričić       $23
In the margins of his definitive 3-volume biography of Franz Kafka, Reiner Stach assembled and wrote Is That Kafka?, a compilation of 99 'finds' that demonstrate a Kafka different from the general sterotype. In her novel The Lost PagesPeričić goes further, pulling Kafka and his friend and executor Max Brod well over the threshhold into fiction. Hers is a Kafka and a Brod liberated from the burdens of biographical fact and therefore able to play out the metaphorical dramas that have always been within their potential. 
>> On writing The Lost Pages
The Mediterranean by Armin Greder       $33
A moving and powerful wordless picture book from the author of The Island, challenging us to consider our attitudes towards refugees. 
Lullaby by Leila Slimani            $33
When a seemingly perfect nanny commits a horrendous crime, the lives and choices of a high-flying lawyer and her husband come under scrutiny. 
Winner of the Prix Goncourt. 
"A truly horrific, sublime thriller, this tense, deftly written novel about a perfect nanny’s transition into a monster will take your breath away." - The Guardian
T is For Tumbling by Julie Morstad              $25
Delightful alphabet cards, with a whimsy with great appeal for a thoughtful child. 
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders        $22
Two childhood friends are thrown back together as adults under an imminent apocalypse: one as part of a group of cutting-edge scientists, the other as part of a group of magicians working to repair the world's ailments. Together, will they save the world or destroy it? Anders has been compared with David Mitchell and Ursula Le Guin. 
"Dazzling... Profound... Wondrous. Charlie Jane Anders darts and soars, with dazzling aplomb, throwing lightning bolts of literary style that shimmer with enchantment or electrons." - Michael Chabon
"All the Birds in the Sky has the hallmarks of an instant classic. It's a beautifully written, funny, tremendously moving tale that explodes the boundaries between science fiction and fantasy, YA and 'mainstream' fiction." - Los Angeles Times

Seeing Ourselves: Women's self-portraits by Frances Borzello       $40
Blowfish's Oceanopedia: 291 extraordinary things you didn't know about the sea by Blowfish       $37
But soon will.

The Story of Shit by Midas Dekkers          $38
With all our efforts at discretion and hygiene have we lost touch with our important natural function of excretion? An interesting history of faeces, from its time in the bowel to the great diversity of customs and etiquettes that humans have devised to address it. 

House of Snow: An anthology of the greatest writing about Nepal by Ranulph Fiennes et al       $40
50 excerpts from fiction and non-fiction, assembled to raise funds to rebuild after the 2015 earthquake. 

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown         $17
A castaway robot learns to get on with the animal inhabitants of a small island. What happens when nature and technology collide? 
The Feather by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood       $28
When a great feather drifts from the leaden sky, two children recognise its extraordinariness and take it to the village for its protection. The villagers, however, want to encase it, upon which the feather loses its radiance. The children take it home and care for it through the night. In the morning it is again radiant, and when they set it free it leaves behind the first signs of blue sky and colour. 

Significant Others: Creativity and intimate partnership by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron         $22
What trace of an artist's relationships can be found within their work? To what extent can a partner be a creative intermediary between the isolated self and the wider world? In what ways could artists' works have been different if their private lives had been differently structured?

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver        $22
A child is scorned for her physical deformity but has the ability to transform those around her and to cross the border between the human and animal worlds in this inventive novel drawing on folktale motifs. Now in paperback. 
"Little Nothing celebrates not only the unruly and lost parts of all our lives but also the possibility of their reordering and comprehension." - Los Angeles Times
Collusion: How Russia helped Trump win the White House by Luke Harding        $33
Back in stock.

Bygone Badass Broads: 52 forgotten women who changed the world by Mackenzi Li and Petra Eriksson         $35
Women from ancient times to the present (most of whom you haven't heard of) who went further than most to confront and overthrow the limitations placed upon them due to their gender. 
>> The illustrator's website. 
When I Was Small by Sara O'Leary and Julie Morstad          $30
When Henry asks his mother to tell him about when she was small, she tells him that when she was small she used to sleep in a mitten, wear a daisy as a sunhat, and feast upon a single raspberry. 
Where's Jane? Find Jane Austen hidden in her stories by Rebecca Smith        $23
An enjoyable introduction to the works and times of Jane Austen, in the form of a literary Where's Wally?

The Very Short Story Starter: 101 flash fiction prompts for creative writing by John Gillard         $35
Useful and fun, this workbook will help you think about your writing in different ways, and find ways to incorporate it into your daily routines. 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert           $23
When Alice's grandmother, the author of some books of very dark fairy tales, dies, her mother is kidnapped by someone seemingly from a world where those stories are true. What is Alice to do? 

"Terrifying, magical, and surprisingly funny, The Hazel Wood is one of the very best books I've read in years." - Jennifer Niven 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones           $37
An unjust imprisonment destabilises an ostensibly exemplary relationship. 
"Tayari Jones is blessed with vision to see through to the surprising and devastating truths at the heart of ordinary lives, strength to wrest those truths free, and a gift of language to lay it all out, compelling and clear." - Michael Chabon
Clash of the Titians: Old Masters trump cards by Mikkel Sommer Christensen       $22
Pit 32 Old Masters against each other in a trump card battle encompassing hundreds of years of art history.
A Far Away Magic by Amy Wilson        $18
When Angel moves to a new school after the death of her parents, she isn't interested in making friends. Until she meets Bavar - a strange boy, tall, awkward and desperate to remain unseen, but who seems to have a kind of magic about him. Everyone and everything within Bavar's enchanted house is urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift through which monsters are travelling, the same monsters that killed Angel's parents. But Bavar doesn't want to follow the path that's been chosen for him - he wants to be normal, to disappear. From the author of A Girl Called Owl
Mice in the City: New York and London by Ami Shin      $30 each
The landmarks of the cities turn out to be crammed with tiny busy mice (and the odd cat). Large format. Lots of fun. 
The Mystery Mansion: Storytelling card game by Lucille Clerc       $30
A beautifully presented myriorama - arrange the elements of the story in any of a vast number of permutations, each a different story.

A Maori Word a Day: 365 words to kick-start your reo by Hemi Kelly           $30
Build real familiarity with key words and their usage. 

Mezza (Card game) by Thomas Michael        $25
Quirky and fun, this variation of 'Shithead' is made even more exciting by the addition of mathematically very powerful '1/2' cards.


Saturday 20 January 2018

Books read and books to read.
Click through for this week's NEWSLETTER.

BOOKS @ VOLUME #58  (20.1.18)

This week's Book of the Week might help you understand what is wrong with the world, and possibly even help you think of ways in which it could be better. Yanis Varoufakis, author of Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, A brief history of capitalism, was the Greek Finance Minister who led negotiations with Greece's creditors (chiefly the IMF and the German-dominated Eurogroup) and decided to stand down rather than continue in a compromised position against their intransigence. He is currently Professor of Economics at the University of Athens. This book was written to answer his fourteen-year-old daughter's question, "Why is there so much inequality?"

>> Varoufakis is a co-founder of the Democracy in Europe (DiEM25) movement

>> Varoufakis is a tireless speaker and campaigner for a more equal society

>> Varoufakis and his daughter Xenia

>> A potted history of Varoufakis and the Syriza government

>> "Capitalism is ending because it has made itself obsolete."

>> On Brexit, the rise of nationalism, and other ills

>> "Capitalism will eat democracy."

{Review by STELLA}

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible is a fascinating account of the surreal world of modern-day Russia. Peter Pomerantsev, the son of Russian emigres, lived in Moscow working in television throughout the first decade of the 2000s. It was a time of oil, mega-wealth for the few, the politics of Putin, and opportunities for those who were not averse to corruption and bribes. In the light of today’s political landscape of fake news and generated media, it comes as no surprise that Russia under is a dab hand at this and has been for a while, and has no qualms about making this obvious. Pomerantsev takes us on a journey into the heart of the strangely real Moscow through his eyes and the people he meets. It’s a society where a gangster can create a hit crime series (Vitali Dyomochka, a Siberian hoodlum, dissatisfied with the crime dramas on Russian television made his own series, starring his henchmen, real bullets and blood). It’s a place where young women either seek rich husbands at the clubs (if they can bribe someone to let them in) or 'mistress' status, which comes with a flat and 24-hour availability. The clubs are flashy and the men are members of the elite who have profited from the downfall of the Soviet Union. It’s a society in which laws change on a whim, where one moment you can be a successful businesswoman and the next in prison for illegally trading in a chemical now labelled as a ‘drug’. It is a society where you want to avoid conscription: young men are rounded up for military service training - an exercise in power, violence and extortion. It's a society in which buildings are torn down to make way for new glittering high-rises that no one can afford: architecture that serves as a symbol of this new crass wealth and a means of money laundering. The lives of these Muscovites are so bizarre you know they must be true. Told in an anecdotal style, Pomerantsev adds integrity and insight with his knowledge of Russian politics and economics, making Nothing is True and Everything is Possible a captivating and frightening study of corruption, fake news and the post-modern dictatorship à la Putin and Trump.

Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz    {Reviewed by THOMAS}
If a thought is thought it must be thought through to its end. This formula is productive both of great misery and of great literature, but, for most people, either consequence is fairly easily avoided through a simple lack of tenacity or focus, or through fear. Unfortunately, we are not all so easily saved from ourselves by such shortcomings. The narrator of Ariana Harwicz’s razor-fine novel Die, My Love finds herself living in the French countryside with a husband and young child, incapable of feeling anything other than displaced in every aspect of her life, both trapped by and excluded from the circumstances that have come to define her. She both longs for and is revolted by family life with her husband and child, the violence of her ambivalences make her incapable of either accepting or changing a situation about which there is nothing ostensibly wrong, she withdraws into herself, and, as the gap separating herself from the rest of existence widens, her attempts to bridge it become both more desperate and more doomed, further widening the gap. Every detail of everything around her causes her pain and harms her ability to feel anything other than the opposite of the way she feels she should feel. This negative electrostatic charge, so to call it, builds and builds but she is unable to discharge it, to return her situation to ‘normal’, to relieve the torment. In some ways, the support and love of her husband make it harder to regain a grip on ‘reality’ - if her husband had been a monster, her battles could have been played out in their home rather than inside her (it is for this reason, perhaps, that people subconsciously choose partners who will justify the negative feelings towards which they are inclined). The narrator feels more affinity with animals than with humans, she behaves erratically or not at all, she becomes obsessed with a neighbour but the encounters with him that she describes, and the moments of self-obliterative release they provide, are, I would say, entirely fantasised. Between these fantasies and ‘objective reality’, however, falls a wide area about which we and she must remain uncertain whether her perceptions, understandings and reactions are accurate or appropriate. At times the narrator’s love for her child creates small oases of anxiety in her depression, but these become rarer. Harwicz’s writing is exquisite, both sensitive and brutal, both lucid and claustrophobic, her observations both subtle and overwhelming (
Sample #1 Sample #2). As the narrator loses her footing, the writer ensures that we are borne with her on through the novel, an experience not dissimilar to gathering speed downhill in a runaway pram*. 
* Not a spoiler.

Friday 19 January 2018

Books either anticipated or surprising - just out of the carton.
We That Are Young by Preti Taneja        $38
A sprawling but incisive retelling of King Lear, set against a backdrop of tradition, misogyny and corruption in modern India.
Long-listed for the Republic of Consciousness Prize.  
>> Modern rewritings of King Lear tend to have Lear the CEO of a corporation. See also Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn. 

Peach by Emma Glass      $27
"Slip the pin through the skin. Start stitching. It doesn't sting. It does bleed. White thread turns red. Red string. Going in. Going out. I pull. Tug. Tug the pin. In. Out. Out. Out. Blackout. Something has happened to Peach. It hurts to walk but she staggers home to parents that don't seem to notice. They can't keep their hands off each other and, besides, they have a new infant, sweet and wobbly as a jelly baby. Peach must patch herself up alone so she can go to college and see her boyfriend, Green. But sleeping is hard when she is haunted by the gaping memory of a mouth, and working is hard when burning sausage fat fills her nostrils, and eating is impossible when her stomach is swollen tight as a drum."
"An immensely talented young writer. Her fearlessness renews one's faith in the power of literature. Peach is a strange and original work of art that manages to be both genuinely terrifying and undeniably joyful" - George Saunders
Letters to the Lady Upstairs by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis         $28
Letters written between 1909 and 1919 to Madame Marie Williams, the upstairs neighbour to his elegant apartment at 102 Boulevard Haussmann, revealing his concerns with his health and with noise (that harp!), in a mix of elegance and haste, refinement and convolution, gravity and self-mockery.
>> Lydia Davis on translating Proust's letters
The Blind Owl, And other stories by Sadeq Hedayat           $17
One of the foremost works of modern Iranian literature, The Blind Owl tells the story of an unnamed pen case painter, the narrator, who sees in his macabre, feverish nightmares that "the presence of death annihilates all that is imaginary. We are the offspring of death and death delivers us from the tantalizing, fraudulent attractions of life; it is death that beckons us from the depths of life. If at times we come to a halt, we do so to hear the call of death. Throughout our lives, the finger of death points at us." The narrator addresses his murderous confessions to the shadow on his wall resembling an owl. His confessions do not follow a linear progression of events and often repeat and layer themselves thematically, allowing for an open-ended interpretation of the story.
Risography: Loving imperfections by Carolina Amell      $65
An excellent selection of works demonstrating the scope, characteristics and quirks of this printmaking process.
>> Risography explained and demonstrated
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin           $17
Fear (as opposed to anxiety, terror, horror, angst and its other cousins) clarifies perception and heightens the significance of details, much as does good writing, building an electrostatic charge which almost craves, yet ultimately resists, the release offered by the revelation of the feared. Schweblin’s short novel is like a Van de Graaff generator, building a textual charge that can be felt up the spine long after the book is finished. Now in paperback. 
Shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. 

Classic Food of Northern Italy by Anna Del Conte         $45
Recipes for dishes both familiar and surprising, both rustic and sophisticated, from restaurants and farmsteads, from city and country; all authentic and delicious. 
"Beyond doubt, the best writer on Italian food." - Nigella Lawson
"Anna is a purist. She will not countenance anything that isn't in the strictest sense authentic." - Delia Smith

The Medici by Mary Hollingsworth         $65
Argues that, far from being benign protocapitalist patrons of culture, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias, that they in fact despised the Florentines and beggared the city in their lust for power and wealth. 
"Vividly told." - The Times

China: A history in objects by Jessica Harrison-Hall        $65
A stunning visual history told in 6000 artefacts and objects. 

Massive, Expressive, Sculptural: Brutalism now and then by Chris van Uffelen      $85
An overview of post-war and contemporary brutalist buildings and of the relationship - in appearance and design, in the grand concepts and the smallest details - between brutalism today and its ancestors.
Barbara Hepworth: The sculptor in the studio by Sophie Bowness       $35
Trewyn Studio in St Ives, and especially the garden that Hepworth shaped there, was the primary and ideal context in which her sculptures were viewed. Following Hepworth's death in 1975, the studio was opened as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Mister Monkey by Francine Prose        $33
An engaging comedy about Mister Monkey, a screwball children's musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee (and not a monkey), the kind of 'family favorite' that has certainly seen better days. The novel is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds. 
"Beautifully crafted, incisively written. What elevates this novel is Prose's ability to let us see into the heart of each character, to render each so vulnerably human, so achingly real in just a few short paragraphs." - Minneapolis Star Tribune 
Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer       $32
A collection of raw but unflinching stories, all examining the complexities of women's relationships with and through their bodies.
"Bomer offers her characters no outs only the creeping sense that they're doomed to swing forever between futile attempts at self-determination." - The New York Times
 "Reading Paula Bomer is like being attacked by a rabid dog - and feeling grateful for it. This is some of the rawest and most urgent writing I can remember encountering." - Jonathan Franzen
The Leveller Revolution: Radical political organisation in England, 1640-1650 by John Rees          $25
The Levellers comprised one of the earliest modern social movements, agitating for equality first against the Monarchy and then against Cromwell. An interesting and well-written study of one of the roots of modern democracy. Now in paperback. 
"A scrupulously researched, carefully told narrative and a work of impressive scholarship." - Spectator
A Hero for High Times: A young reader's guide to the Beats, Hippies, Freaks, Punks, Ravers, New-Age Travellers and Dog-on-a-Rope Brew Crew Crusties of the British Isles, 1956-1994 by Ian Marchant        $40
A personal and enlightening guide to subculture history. 

Red Star Over Russia: A revolution in visual culture by Natalia Sidlina and Matthew Gale       $22
A good introduction to the correlation between political change and visual media, well illustrated with photomontage, photographs, paintings, handwritten notes, books, enclosures and ephemera.
>> Draws on the 250000 pieces of art and ephemera from the David King Collection
>> And inside the collector's home (he also collected Sunmaid Raisin packets)
Counting on Snow by Maxwell Newhouse        $16
A lovely Arctic counting book in which the animals are gradually obscured by snow. 
Oneida: From free love Utopia to the well-set table by Ellen Wayland-Smith        $28
How did a radical religious community practising open sexual relations become a manufacturer of silver cutlery and a bastion of  conservative American values? Bizarre. 
The Future Won't Be Long by Jarett Kobek         $37
New York in the late 80s and early 90s: a city of club kids, drag queens, artists and junkies; the urban laboratory where identities are being reinvented for the new millennium.
"The Great New York City Novel has been loudly attempted and proclaimed so many times, one is tempted to assume it simply couldn't exist. Yet, with piercing intelligence, vitality, hilarity, and a rather startling sweetness, Jarett Kobek has done it. Staggering." - Matthew Specktor 
"A novel that not only dissects with consummate skill the cultural life of fin-de-siecle New York, but finds there the early symptoms of our contemporary malignancy." - James Purdon, Observer
"An inspired evocation of the last days of the underground empire, before the fall." - Chris Kraus 
Little Mouse and the Red Wall by Britta Teckentrup        $30
Sometimes we find that the walls that keep us from freedom are not as substantial as we had thought. Little Mouse and his animal friends have something to learn about the wall between them and the outside world. 
Hello World: A celebration of languages and curiosities by Jonathan Litton        $33
Make friends around the world with this lift-the-flap board book. 
White Trash: The 400-year untold history of class in America by Nancy Isenberg       $28
The United Sates' treatment of poor whites has been almost as shameful as its treatment of Blacks and Hispanics. This book, now in paperback, traces the roots of the disaffection that has manifest itself in the US's current woes. 
Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, microbes and the fight for real cheese by Bronwen and Francis Percival           $35
In little more than a century, the drive towards industrial and intensive farming has altered every aspect of the cheesemaking process, from the bodies of the animals that provide the milk to the science behind the microbial strains that ferment it. This book explores what has been lost, but is also enthusiastic for what can be reclaimed: artisanal processes and the associated microbial structures that provide flavours not otherwise achievable. 

Radical Happiness: Moments of collective joy by Lynne Segal          $27
Is it possible to overthrow the mindset that makes happiness an individualised commodity and make it instead a collective mode of action? 

Fables by Arnold Lobel            $22
A crocodile admires the orderly pattern of flowers on his bedroom wallpaper. When confronted with the riot of flowers in Mrs. Crocodile's garden he retreats to his bed in distress, where he is comforted by the neat floral rows of the wallpaper. After that he seldom leaves his bed, becoming a sickly shade of green. The moral: "Without a doubt, there is such a thing as too much order." 

An instant favourite: twenty cheerful fables, wonderfully illustrated. 
Animation Studio by Helen Piercy          $33
Everything (including the film set!) a child needs to create stop-motion videos on a mobile phone or digital camera.
Feed the Resistance: Recipes + ideas for getting involved by Julia Turshen      $30
When people search for ways to resist injustice and express support for civil rights, environmental protections, and more, they begin by gathering around the table to talk and plan. What should you give them to eat? Useful. 

A Note of Explanation: A little tale of secrets and enchantment from Queen Mary's dolls' house by Vita Sackville-West, illustrated by Kate Baylay            $35
A hitherto unpublished work commissioned in 1924 for the library of Queen Mary's Dolls' House, beautifully illustrated in period style. 

>> Visit the dolls' house