Out of the carton and onto your shelf.
The Right Intention by Andrés Barba $32
Four precise and unsettling novellas from the author of the devastating Such Small Hands. A runner puts his marriage at risk while training for a marathon; a teenager can no longer stand the sight of meat following her parents' divorce; a man suddenly fixates on the age difference between him and his younger lover. What are the relationships between internal states and external events? Barba shows that each is a trap for the other.
"Barba is a master of the novella. A gorgeous, fully realised collection." - Kirkus
>> On loving your inhuman characters: Andrés Barba in conversation with Yiyun Li (author of, most recently, Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life).
Mothers by Chris Power $33
"To read Power's stories is to take a journey through a landscape familiar enough to console, yet strange enough to unsettle. The thrills and dangers of such a journey lie with the unexpectedness of life's undercurrents and our uncertain, unknowable selves. Chris Power's quiet yet compelling touch is reminiscent of Alice Munro and Peter Stamm." - Yiyun Li
The Overstory by Richard Powers $37
Nine people, each learning to see the world from the point of view of trees, come together in an attempt to save a stand of North American virgin forest. The book gives a trees' perspective of American history, from before the War of Independence to the Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest in the late 20th century.
"An extraordinary novel. There is something exhilarating in reading a novel whose context is wider than human life. The Overstory leaves you with a slightly adjusted frame of reference. What was happening to his characters passed into my conscience, like alcohol into the bloodstream, and left a feeling behind of grief or guilt, even after I put it down.” — Benjamin Markovits, The Guardian
"It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book." - Margaret Atwood
>> Read an extract.
Better Lives: Migration, wellbeing and New Zealand by Julie Fry and Peter Wilson $15
Migration is at historically high levels and more than a quarter of the New Zealand population was born overseas. Yet immigration remains a deeply contentious issue, with the debate more often shaped by emotion than evidence. This book attempts to widen the discourse from considerations of GDP to consider te Tiriti, historical aspirations and social texture.
Follow This Thread by Henry Eliot $48
Mazes and labyrinths are both fascinating to explore and manifestations of the wonderful or horrific intricacies of our own minds. Eliot leads us deep into mazes, both real and imagined, from ancient ritual labyrinths to the works of Franz Kafka. The illustrations on each page are drawn by a single red line that winds through the book, sometimes forcing the reader to turn the book and read n unexpected ways.
This is M. Sasek: The extraordinary life and travels of the beloved children's book illustrator by Olga Cerna, Pavel Ryska and Martin Salisbury $60
Replete with documents, memories, and images from the life of Miroslav Sasek, this book is richly illustrated with material from Sasek's books as well as such archival material as previously unpublished illustrations, photographs, and vintage fan letters from children inspired by his books.
>> Sasek at VOLUME.
>> New York!
The Solitary Twin by Harry Mathews $30
A apparent mystery novel that simultaneously considers the art of storytelling. When identical twins arrive at an unnamed fishing port, they become the focus of the residents’ attention and gossip. The stories they tell about the young men uncover a dizzying web of connections, revealing passion, sex, and murder. Fates are surprisingly intertwined, and the result is a novel that questions our assumptions about life and literature. Mathews's straight-jacketed narrative style and his liking for constraints for guiding narratives through improbable territory led to his being invited to become the first American member of OuLiPo.
"Harry Mathews's finest novel." - John Ashbery
>> An interview with Mathews when he was still alive.
My Dad is My Uncle's Brother: Who's who in my family? by Jo Lyward $22
Everyone in a family is related to everyone else, but in different ways. This quirky picture book is a fun introduction to genealogy.
Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke $50
"The most beautiful graphic novel you'll read all year, Kristen Radtke's memoir is an absolutely stunning look at what it is to recover from grief, and is so haunting you'll be thinking about it for days after reading it. At once narrative and factual, historical and personal, Radtke's stunning illustrations and piercing text never shy away from the big questions: Why are we here, and what will we leave behind?" - Newsweek
Thought for Food: Why what we eat matters by John D. Potter $15
"We are no longer like our ancestors. We no longer depend on our skills as foragers, gatherers, scavengers, hunters and fishers for food. We are only part-time food raisers at best. Our biology, on the other hand, has changed far less. Now there is a mismatch between who we are and what we eat. And it is in the gap created by this mismatch that chronic diseases can take root."
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday $33
A tripartite story of relationships across boundaries of age, gender, politics and nationality.
“Asymmetry is extraordinary. Halliday has written, somehow all at once, a transgressive roman a clef, a novel of ideas and a politically engaged work of metafiction.” — The New York Times Book Review
"A book unlike any you've read." - Chuck Harbach
Gates of Paradise by Hiroshi Sugimoto $149
In 1585 four young Japanese men from the nascent Christian community in Japan appeared before Pope Gregory XIII. Renowned photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto traces their steps, capturing the architectural wonders of Rome, Florence, and Venice as the Eastern visitors might have seen them. His photographs are presented in context with reproductions of Japanese art of the same period. Interesting and impressive.
My German Brother by Chico Buarque $33
Informed by the Brazilian author's search for his own German half-brother, this novel concerns a young Brazilian's search for a recently discovered German half-brother and his unearthing and intertwining of his own and his father's personal histories. But what happens in his immediate family when he is looking somewhere else?
Circe by Madeleine Miller $32
“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Miller presents a beautifully written, thoughtful and passionate feminist retelling of the life of Circe, the witch who reduced Odysseus's crew to animals. From the author of The Song of Achilles.
"Circe is the utterly captivating, exquisitely written story of an ordinary, and extraordinary, woman's life." - Eimear McBride
All the Things That I Lost in the Flood by Laurie Anderson $149
A stunning self-curated collection of Anderson's artwork, spanning drawing, multimedia installations, performance, and projects using augmented reality, providing a deep insight into the creative mind of an artist best known for her music and sound art.
>> The tape-bow violin.
>> 'Oh, Superman!'
>> Anderson on Radio NZ National (or whatever it is called).
Song for Rosaleen by Pip Desmond $30
As Rosaleen Desmond slips into dementia her daughter commits this memoir to paper.
"A beautiful, honest and deeply moving memoir. I have no doubt this book will resonate with a huge portion of readers - especially anyone who has watched a loved one decline due to a degenerative illness." - Mandy Hager
The Old Man by Sarah V. Claude and K. Dubois $25
A tender picture book about the life of a homeless man, and the small things that can make his day special.
Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different by Ben Brooks $40
Boys also can break their gender stereotypes and make the world a better and more interesting place to live. This fully illustrated counterpart to Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls provides brief biographies of 100 male humans who exemplify a sensitive, individual and creative approach to the world. Includes Taika Waititi, Daniel Radcliffe, Galileo Galilei, Nelson Mandela, Louis Armstrong, Grayson Perry, Louis Braille, Lionel Messi, King George VI, Jamie Oliver, Frank Ocean, Salvador Dalí, Rimbaud, Beethoven, Barack Obama, Stormzy, Ai Weiwei and Jesse Owens.
No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin $40
A collection of essays on aging, imagining, believing, the state of literature and the state of the world.
Odyssey of the Unknown ANZAC by David Hastings $35
Ten years after World War One, a Sydney psychiatric hospital held a man who had been found wandering the streets of London, incapable of providing any information other than that he had been an ANZAC. An international campaign to find his family ensued. This book follows the story of George McQuay, from rural New Zealand through Gallipoli and the Western Front, through desertions and hospitals, and finally home to New Zealand.
A Line Made by Walking by Sarah Baume $28
Baume is investigating what it means to think and feel more deeply, what sadness looks like, particularly inside the head of Frankie, a young woman stymied by her inability to act on her desires and overwhelmed by depression. It’s not all gloom; it is lifted by some wry observations, the lack of sentiment, and Baume’s excellent writing - sharp, astute and lyrical. Now in paperback.
>> Read Stella's review.
The Howling Miller by Arto Paasilinna $23
When Gunnar Huttunen turns up in a small village to restore its run-down mill, its inhabitants are wary. Gunnar is big. He's a bit odd. And, strangest of all, he howls wildly at night. If Gunnar is different, then he must be mad, the villagers decide. Hounded from his home, he must find a way to survive the wilds of nature and the greater savagery of civilisation. Paasilinna was born in Lapland in 1942.
"A gem of a novel." - New York Times
A Life by Italo Svevo $22
Alfonso the bank clerk wants to be a poet and seems to be falling in love with Annetta, the vain and arrogant daughter of his boss. But the emptiness of his attempts at both writing and love lead to an ironic and painful conclusion.
"The most significant Italian modernist novelist." - Times Literary Supplement
"If you have never read Svevo, do as soon as you can. He is beautiful and important." - New Statesman
Daphne, A love story by Will Boast $33
Ovid's myth of Daphne and Apollo retold for the modern age. Daphne suffers from a form of cataplexy, which literally paralyses her when experiencing emotion. Consequently she has few friends and finds love problematic. One touch can freeze her. She is unsettled when she meets Ollie - will she hazard love or cling to safety?
Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The search for life in the universe by Louisa Preston $22
We know of only a single planet that hosts life: the Earth. But across a universe of at least 100 billion possibly habitable worlds, surely our planet isn't the only one that, like the porridge Goldilocks sought, is just right for life. Astrobiologists search the galaxy for conditions that are suitable for life to exist, focusing on similar worlds located at the perfect distance from their Sun, within the aptly named 'Goldilocks Zone'. Such a place might have liquid water on its surface, and may therefore support a thriving biosphere. What might life look like on other worlds?
Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti $28
How does work on the margins eventually shape the course of the mainstream? Cosey Fanni Tutti's explorations of music, art and erotica has continually challenged social and creative norms. With the anti-band Throbbing Gristle, as half of the electronica pioneers Chris and Cosey, or solo, her work became avant-garde only after the rest of the world started moving in that direction. New edition.
>> 'Time to Tell' (1983).
>> 'Near You' (1982).
Being Ecological by Timothy Morton $28
Don't care about ecology? This book is for you. Morton sets out to show that we already have the capacity and the will to change the way we understand the place of humans in the world.
Beyond Weird: Why everything you thought you knew about quantum physics is different by Philip Ball $38
Quantum mechanics is less about particles and waves, uncertainty and fuzziness, than a theory about information- about what can be known and how.
"This is the book I wish I could have written, but am very glad I've read. It's an accessible, persuasive and thorough appraisal of what the most important theory in all of science actually means." - Jim Al-Khalili
The Unmapped Mind: A memoir of neurology, incurable disease and learning how to live by Christian Donlan $40
On the day that his daughter took her first step, Donlan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This well-written memoir gives insight not only into MS and living with it, but into parenthood and into what remains whenever everything seems to have been lost.
365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet $25
Imagine your delight if a penguin arrived at your door. What happens, though, when a penguins arrives every day? Where will you put them all?