Friday 23 February 2018

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado        $28
Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A sales assistant makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the dresses she sells. A woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest.
"Carmen Maria Machado is the best writer of cognitive dysphoria I’ve read in years. " - Tor
"Life is too short to be afraid of nothing." - Machado

Ashland and Vine by John Burnside          $26
An alcoholic film-maker approaches an elderly woman for an oral-history documentary. The woman declines, but tells the film-maker that if she can stay sober for four days she will tell her a story, and other stories beyond that. What emerges is not just a personal story of heartbreak, but something much wider and deeper. 
"Masterful. A meditation on storytelling itself." - Daily Telegraph
"A story about telling old stories again, and never quite settling the truth of a childhood long last. This is a delicate, beautiful novel, filled with tender details and sharply evoked, lyrical moments." - Spectator
I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake         $35
"There is the most extraordinary sensibility in this book. It is the author's but she gives it to the reader as thirteen year old Paul's out of kilter, isolated, yearning perception. Denied love, this vulnerable boy floats, adrift, through Paris like a lost, living ghost. We see - and feel - through his eyes, and the experience is unsettling, unnerving, strangely delicious. Alicia Drake has achieved something very rare." - Tim Pears
"The enfant naturel of Henry James's What Maisie Knew and Deborah Levy's Swimming Home." - Anne Korkeakivi
This is Memorial Device by David Keenan       $23
This excellent novel, set on the dges of the post-punk music scene of Lanarkshire in the early 1980s, displays remarkable resonance with that of New Zealand in the same period. 
"Many of the chapters would work as brilliant standalone short stories." - Guardian
"I wanted to live in this book." - Kim Gordon
>> Read an excerpt
>> A playlist of appropriate Scottish post-punk tracks
>> And another (more 'easy listening') playlist
>> Interview with David Keenan
The Patterning Instinct: A cultural history of humanity's search for meaning by Jeremy Lent          $50
What are the root metaphors used by all cultures to impose meaning on the world? Why do we classify ad arrange and divide as we do? What do the ways we think imply for our capacity to face the challenges in what we might like to think of as our future? 

Notes on a Thesis by Tiphaine Rivière      $50
An outstanding graphic novel on the miseries (and opportunities) of academia and the epiphanies of procrastination. When Jeanne is accepted on to a PhD course, she is over the moon, brimming with excitement and grand plans - but is the world ready for her masterful analysis of labyrinth motifs in Kafka's The Trial? At first Jeanne throws herself into research with great enthusiasm, but as time goes by, it becomes clear that things aren't quite going according to plan.
"This is a book for anyone who has ever laboured under a deadline, battled a stubborn pig of a boss, or half drowned beneath a wave of bureaucracy and paperwork. Put off what you intended to do today and go out and buy it, right now." - Guardian
How Democracies Die: What history tells us about our future by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt    $40

Democracies die in three stages: the election of an authoritarian leader, the concentration and abuse of governmental power and finally, the complete repression of opposition and citizens. Following the election of Donald Trump in the US, the first stage seems fulfilled. How can the two following stages be averted? 

About the Size of the Universe by Jón Kalman Stefánsson       $35
A modern Icelandic saga, spanning the whole twentieth century, and  kind of companion-piece to the Man Booker International short-listed Fish Have No Feet
"Powerful and sparkling. Translator Philip Roughton's feather-light touch brings out the gleaming, fairy-tale quality of the writing." - Irish Times 
"Stefansson's prose rolls and surges with oceanic splendour." - Spectator

In the Restaurant: Society in four courses by Christoph Ribbat          $33
Food and drink are only pretexts for the real business of a restaurant, which is a jostling for and display of social positioning, and a calibration of functional politics, both withing the staff and in relation to the customers. Ribbat takes us across the dining room and into the kitchen to disentangle the social functions of the restaurant.
The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Photography edited by Nathalie Herschdorfer      $60
The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú     $35
A very interesting account of a transformative time spent as a border control officer on the Mexican-US border. 
"This book tells the hard poetry of the desert heart. If you think you know about immigration and the border, you will see there is much to learn. And you will be moved by its unexpected music" - Luis Alberto Urrea
>> "This is work that endangers the soul.
>> "Caught up in the deportation fight." 
Political Tribes: Group instinct and the fate of nations by Amy Chua      $24
Do our group identities matter more to us than any political issue? Is tribalism a better model to understand both the successes and idiocies of recent political situations than any overarching theory of historical development?
"A beautifully written, eminently readable, and uniquely important challenge to conventional wisdom." - J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy 

On Trust: A book of lies by James Womack         $28
Poetry is often regarded as a confessional medium, conveying deeper 'truths' about the poet and their experience. This collection playfully destabilises this preconception, severing the 'I' of a poem from the 'I' of the poet, and assailing such lazy concepts as reliability, sincerity and authenticity. 

Long-listed for the 2018 Dylan Thomas Prize.
A reassessment of the life and role of Henry's fifth wife, from their marriage in 1540 to her beheading less than two years later following one of the more outstanding scandals of Henry's reign. 
Fun fact: The night before her execution, Catherine Howard spent many hours rehearsing laying her head upon the block.
Becoming Unbecoming by Una         $48
This graphic novel is an indictment of sexual violence against women in all its guises - from the 12-year-old protagonist's classroom to the Yorkshire Ripper case on her television set. 

How Money Got Free: Bitcoin and the fight for the future of finance by Brian Patrick Eha        $27
Is Bitcoin the way in which the libertarian right will achieve their goal of collapsing the state? 

If cognitive enhancement, smart drugs and electrical stimulation can increase our mental performance, just what is intelligence? 
Can You Die of a Broken Heart? A heart surgeon's insight into what makes us tick by Nikki Stamp        $33
What is the relation between the physical and metaphorical function of the heart? 

The Three Rooms in Valerie's Head by David Gaffney and Dan Berry     $40
Serially unlucky in love, to feel better Valerie imagines that her previous boyfriends are dead and that their bodies are kept downstairs in the cellar in a strange, mummified state. Every day she brings them upstairs and speaks with them about what went wrong. Funny and sad. 
“One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others.” — The Guardian
Lyla by Fleur Beale          $19
The Christchurch earthquakes and their aftermath as seen through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old student. 

The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien       $38

Subjected to dreadful ordeals (such as holding an electric fence without flinching) by her fanatical and controlling father, who was convinced his daughter would be an exemplar of a new order of humanity, Julien love of nature and, particularly, of literature somehow enabled her to remain sane. 
Mechanica: A beginner's field guide by Lance Balchin       $27
A steampunkish selection of robotic animals constructed at the end of the 23rd century to replace the lamented ex-fauna of Earth. 
Is This Guy For Real? The unbelievable Andy Kaufman by Box Brown        $35
A graphic biography of the actor and comedian who made a career out of making himself contemptible to his audience. 

Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a classic, The world of A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard by Annemarie Bilclough and Emma Laws        $60
Full of facsimiles of artwork and early editions, and giving an understanding of how the books came into existence. 
>> A vision of the future? 

No comments:

Post a Comment