The Book of Chocolate Saints by Jeet Thayil $33
What is it like, and what are the costs (to oneself and to others), for someone to live an artistic life without compromise? Told is a wide range of voices and styles, this is a remarkable novel in which the margins of life in modern India dissolve into something even stranger. From the author of the Booker-short-listed Narcopolis.
"This novel is a rich harvest. It moves with the strange and flawless certainty of a dream. It is superbly written and its madness is also its strength." - Edna O'Brien
>> "I have a liver condition, I'm reckless and I'm very aware that time is limited."
>> 15 reasons not to become a poet.
Walking to Jutland Street by Michael Steven $28
Steven's gifts as a poet include the ability to isolate ordinary details as connective routes between times, places and modes of experience. His poems bristle with the particulars of life in the shabby backstreets of Dunedin, but pull with them an allegorical load of illuminating subtlety.
The Customer is Always Wrong by Mimi Pond $55
A lightly fictionalised graphic memoir describing a young artist's experiences working in a diner frequented by drunks, junkies, thieves and creeps.
Pond will be appearing during Writers Week at the New Zealand Festival this month.
Vitamin D2: New perspectives in drawing $70
The absolutely new edition of Vitamin D is packed with recent examples of artists pushing at the edges of the medium.
The Debatable Land: The lost world between Scotland and England by Graham Robb $40
A fascinating history of the independent territory that, from the 13th to the 17th centuries, resisted (bloodily) integration into either Scotland or England.
Robinson by Peter Sís $30
Books by Peter Sis are always beautifully and distinctively illustrated. In Robinson, a boy who is shunned by his classmates for dressing as his hero Robinson Crusoe instead of as a pirate like everyone else, persists with enjoying what makes him special until his classmates are attracted to it too.
The Progress of this Storm: Nature and society in a warming world by Andreas Malm $35
Debunks the idea that there is no longer such a thing as nature as distinct from society, or that such a distinction no longer matters. Quite the contrary: in a warming world, nature comes roaring back, and it is more important than ever to distinguish between the natural and the social. Only with a unique agency attributed to humans can resistance become conceivable. From the author of the remarkable Fossil Capital, which examined the links between our economic system and the climate crisis.
All the Devils Are Here by David Seabrook $28
Seabrook's accounts of his wanderings around the Kentish coast forces English culture to roll over and reveal its dark underbelly.
"I guess you'd call it psychogeography, though this doesn't begin to capture its intense interest, its uncanny spookiness, the way it ensnares you, turning your stomach, messing with your head. A fugitive sort of book, twitchy and mournful, All the Devils Are Here demands to be reread, picked over, endlessly discussed - and yet to know it is somehow not to know anything at all." - Observer "An alternate English history." - Iain Sinclair
The Art Treasure Hunt: I spy with my little eye by Doris Kutschbach $32
Finding the details in these iconic paintings will enable young children to approach artwork fully open to its rewards.
The Expatriate Myth: New Zealand writers and the colonial world by Helen Bones $35
Did the writers who left New Zealand during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries need to do so to achieve success? What was the nature of their connections to the New Zealand they left behind? What was the experience of those who returned?
The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi $22
One girl links beasts with humankind. She has the power to save them both. Or to destroy them. Erin's family have an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome serpents that form the core of their kingdom's army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Erin's mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety. Alone, far from home, Erin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life.
Europe's Fault Lines: Racism and the rise of the right by Liz Fekete $39
"For twenty-five years, Fekete relentlessly monitored Europe's far right while the continent's leaders preferred to look away. With right-wing extremism finally recognised by the mainstream as a fundamental threat to Europe's future, her indictment of those who enabled, amplified, and aided the rise of the hard right is an essential contribution to the defense of democratic values." - Arun Kundnani
The Great Cowboy Strike: Bullets, ballots and class conflicts in the American West by Mark Lause $43
Although later made an icon of 'rugged individualism', the American cowboy was a grossly exploited and underpaid seasonal worker, who waged a series of militant strikes in the generally isolated and neglected corners of the Old West.
Folk by Zoe Gilbert $37
On the island of Neverness, youngsters battle through mazes to secure kisses from local girls, a baby is born with a wing for an arm, strangers arrive in the middle of the night, and inhabitants fashion fiddles to play the music of their grief.
"I was thoroughly absorbed. Zoe Gilbert's invented folk-world is sensuous and dangerous and thick with magic." - Tessa Hadley
The Cook's Atelier: Recipes, techniques and stories from our French cooking school by Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini $60
A good introduction to authentic French cooking techniques.
>> Here they are.
>> And here.
What's Cooking? by Joshua David Stein and Julie Rothman $23
In answering a lot of silly questions about what can and cannot be done in the kitchen, rather a lot of useful information about cooking is conveyed. A funny and attractively illustrated introduction to kitchen culture for young readers.
>> Some spreads here.
The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn $27
When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: she cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object - and other women of Zion follow suit- the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray.
The Walkabout Orchestra: Postcards from around the world by Chloe Perarno $28
The orchestra have somehow got scattered around the world. Can you help the conductor to use the clues on their postcards to find them and get them all together?
The Burning Time: The story of the Smithfield Martyrs by Virginia Rounding $25
In Tudor times, heretics, either Protestant or Catholic depending on the wind of current orthodoxy, were relieved of their lives at Smithfield (later to become the famous meat market).
"Deeply researched and fascinating." - Spectator
The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson $17
Every year on St Stephen's Day, Wren Silke is chased through the forest in a warped version of a childhood game. Her pursuers are judges - a group of powerful and frightening boys who know nothing of her true identity. If they knew she was an augur - their sworn enemy - the game would be up. This year, the tension between judges and augurs is at breaking point. Wren's survival, and that of her family, depends on her becoming a spy in the midst of these boys she fears most and using her talent, her magic, to steal from them the only thing that can restore her family's former power for good.
The Crisis in Physics by Christopher Caudwell $23
What are the lines of connection between scientific theory and economic realities? Caudwell’s controversial book offers an astute and enduring diagnosis of the maladies of bourgeois epistemology.
Flamingo Boy by Michael Morpurgo $25
Set in the unique landscape of the Camargue in the South of France during WW2, this book tells the story of a young autistic boy who lives on his parents' farm among the salt flats, and of the flamingos that live there. There are lots of things he doesn't understand: but he does know how to heal animals. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother, to ride his special horse on the town carousel. But then the Germans come, with their guns, and take the town. Everything changes.
Enlightenment Now: The case for reason, science, humanism and progress and progress by Steven Pinker $40
Can a reassertion of humanist rationalism help us to overcome our current woes?
"Words can hardly do justice to the superlative range and liveliness of Pinker's investigations." - Independent
Marxism and the Philosophy of Science by Helena Sheehan $23
"A singular achievement. Sheehan is masterful in her presentation of the dialectics of nature debates, which begin with Engels and recur throughout the periods covered by this book." - Science and Society
Posters: 450 examples from 1965 to 2017 by Milton Glaser $50
From the early psychedelic work to recent production, with Glaser's own commentary, this book marks half a century at the forefront of graphic design.
>> He's got a website.
Ada Lovelace by Isabel Sanchez Vergara $23
A picture book to introduce young readers to this pioneer of computing (1815-1852).
Pick a Flower: A memory game by Anna Day $22
Match the flower cards with the flower history cards.
Chineasy for Children: Learn 100 words by ShaoLan Hsueh and Noma Bar $30
A wonderful pictorial introduction to Chinese characters.
>> The method is superb.
>> The Chineasy website.
An illustrated look at the interplay of gender and dress in the workplace.
>>"Dressing like a woman means wearing anything a woman deems appropriate and necessary for getting her job done." (excerpt)
>> Men wore clothes to work, too.
For a Little While by Rick Bass $28
New and selected stories from the 30-year career of this American master acutely aware of the uneasy impact of humans on the natural world.
Sustainable Architecture from The Plan $100
A detailed investigation, including floor plans, elevations and diagrams, of responses to specific locational demands around the world.
Mix and match halves of fantastical beasts from around the world to make new fantastical beasts. Fun.
>> Sample pages.