Sight by Jessie Greengrass $38
An accomplished, thoughtful and somewhat melancholy novel, tracking the thoughts of an expectant mother whose own mother has just died, whose ruminations on the mind, the body, living and dying encompass swathes of science and philosophy (as well as her own life).
"The writing is poised – but as if on the edge of a precipice. Hovering between the novel and the essay, unfolding through long, languorous sentences, Sight builds meaning through juxtaposition, through surprising mirrorings and parallels. - Guardian
Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li $28
Beautifully and thoughtfully written, these stories of the abrupt interpersonal mechanisms of life in modern China, and of the alternative existence offered in literature are affecting and memorable. (The title is a quote from Katherine Mansfield, BTW.)
"Profoundly engaging in depth, with remarkable subtlety and rare, limpid beauty." - Mary Gaitskill
"A remarkable account of literary life [from] an important and gifted writer. Her new book is a meditation on the fact that literature itself lives and gives life." - Marilynne Robinson
>> Trauma and breakdown.
Afterglow by Eileen Myles $33
Ostensibly a memoir of sixteen years living with her dog, Rosie, Afterglow is a beautifully written contemplation of everything that has touched on Myles's life in that time.
"A ravishingly strange and gorgeous book about a dog that's really about life and everything there is, Eileen Myles's Afterglow is a truly astonishing creation." - Helen Macdonald (author of H is for Hawk)
"Reading Afterglow is like entering the company of a sensibility that is rich, original, witty, and tonally brilliant. It is the darting asides, the phrasing and the subplots that matter most in this book, that give pure, sheer constant pleasure." - Colm Toibin
Arkady by Patrick Langley $37
A city is in the throes of social strife, with the poor and disadvantaged pushed to the edges, both physically and politically. Can two brothers navigate in the abandoned barge they requisition and find a new way of life?
"Thick with smoky atmosphere and beautifully controlled - this is a vivid and very fine debut." - Kevin Barry
"The Romulus and Remus of a refugee nation embark upon a drift across livid cities, liberatory canals and compromised occupations in a parallel present mere millimetres from our own. Langley gives to the reader the taste of the Molotov fumes and the bloody heft of the personal-political in this propulsive, acid fable, a dérive for the age of urbex. How can the orphaned subject escape the surveillance state? Read on to find out. We, also, are in Arcadia." — Mark Blacklock
>> Read an extract.
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander $20
In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island. These are the facts. Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted.
"Devastatingly powerful. A searing meditation on myth, history, and the persistence of poison in all its terrible forms. Bolander gives voice to the voiceless with such controlled and perfect fury the pages seem to char and burn as you read. It feels like an alternate 'Just So' story revealed to us by an ecstatic punk oracle. I can't stop thinking about it." - Helen MacDonald, author of H is for Hawk
The Wasp and the Orchid: The remarkable life of Australian naturalist Edith Coleman by Danielle Clode $45
In 1922, a 48-year-old housewife from Blackburn delivered her first paper, on native Australian orchids, to the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Over the next thirty years, Edith Coleman would write over 300 articles on Australian nature for newspapers, magazines and scientific journals. She would solve the mystery of orchid pollination that had bewildered even Darwin, earn the acclaim of international scientists and, in 1949, become the first woman to be awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion. She was 'Australia's greatest orchid expert', 'foremost of our women naturalists', a woman who 'needed no introduction'. And yet, today, Edith Coleman has faded into obscurity. This book should correct that.
Japan: The cookbook by Nancy Singleton Hachisu $70
A definitive collection of over 400 regional and traditional recipes, organised by course and accompanied by insightful notes. Soups, noodles, rices, pickles, one-pots, sweets, and vegetables - all authentic and achievable at home.
An Anthology of Decorated Papers by P.J.M. Marks $55
Bookbinder Olga Hirsch (1889–1968) left her collection of 3,500 papers dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries to the British Library - one of the largest and most diverse collections of decorated papers in the world. This book contains reproductions of papers used as wrappers and endpapers for books, as the backing for playing cards, as linings for chests and cases, as pictures for display in churches and homes, as souvenirs for pilgrims, and as wrappings for foodstuffs such as gingerbread and chocolate.
The Secret Barrister: Stories of the aw and how it's broken by "The Secret Barrister" $38
What is it like to stand in court representing clients whose lives contain the full spectrum of human experience, right down to the unbelievably unfortunate? The courtroom is a crucible for both the best and worst of humanity. This book is "a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system." If the law is broken, can it be fixed?
The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra $35
At every meal, and extra place is set for someone who is absent - Ybarra's grandfather, who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists. Every so often he appears, casts his shadow over the table and erases on of those present. Ybarra's remarkable novel explores the ties of pain and absence that bind a family.
Long-listed for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize.
Towards Democratic Renewal: Ideas for constitutional change in New Zealand by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler $30
Get your democracy in order now! A compelling case for a democratic framework to safeguard our political system against current and future challenges. From the authors of A Constitution for New Zealand.
"I know no one ever believes us nowadays - everyone thinks we knew everything. We knew nothing. It was all a well-kept secret. We believed it. We swallowed it. It seemed entirely plausible." Brunhilde Pomsel described herself as an `apolitical girl' and a `figure on the margins'. How are we to reconcile this description with her chosen profession? Employed as a typist during the Second World War, she worked closely with one of the worst criminals in world history: Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. She was one of the oldest surviving eyewitnesses to the internal workings of the Nazi power apparatus until her death in 2017. Her life, mirroring all the major breaks and continuities of the twentieth century, illustrates how far-right politics, authoritarian regimes and dictatorships can rise, and how political apathy can erode democracy. Compelling and unnerving.
The Post-Conceptual Condition by Peter Osborne $39
An explorer's guide to the chasm between art and politics, and to the cultural forces that lurk there. Can art catalyse historical moments into philosophical truth?
>> What makes contemporary art contemporary?
The Lives of the Surrealists by Desmond Morris $55
A Surrealist artist himself but better known as a zoologist and ethnologist, Morris is an excellent guide to the people who, rebelling against the strictures of modern life, devised modes of access to the workings of the unconsciousness, which they allowed expression in literature and art.
You Say Brick: The life of Louis Kahn by Wendy Lesser $28
Born to a Jewish family in Estonia in 1901 and brought to America in 1906, the architect Louis Kahn grew up in poverty in Philadelphia; by the time of his death in 1974, he was widely recognised as one of the greatest architects of his era. Yet this enormous reputation was based on only a handful of masterpieces built during the last fifteen years of his life.
>> Fisher House.
Rainsongs by Sue Hubbard $25
" A lyrical evocation of Ireland's fragile, ancient coastline reveals a poet's sensitivity. The multi-layered story of love and loss, of a woman 'erased by grief' is exceptionally moving." - Eleanor Fitzsimons
Greece and the Reinvention of Politics by Alain Badiou $27
An insightful analysis of Syriza and the orchestrated failure of their responses to Greece's political and economic crisis. What can the rest of the world learn from Syriza's model and the opposition it was met with?
Welcome Home: An apocalyptic fairy tale writ and illustrated by D. Power $40
A remarkable grimdark fantasy, centering (mostly) around the exploits of Rygnir Wyndfallen, a beast-child drawn by a self-imposed doom to places his tiny life has never been. The world collapses into undead ruin around him and even time cannot uphold itself. Beautifully (and grimly) illustrated in colour throughout.
>> Preview Chapter One.
Feverish by Gigi Fenster $30
Fenster induced a fever in herself and was ready to follow whatever literary threads emerged from this experience. The resulting book covers her whole life, her relationship with her parents and others, and ruminations on bravery, transgression, vulnerability and art. "Fever is a particularly writerly thing," she writes.
>> Feverish on the radio.
Havana: A subtropical delirium by Mark Kurlansky $27
An enjoyable account of both the history and the contemporary texture of the Cuban capital.
A Shadow Above: The fall and rise rise of the raven by Joe Shute $35
Insight into both the legendary and natural history of the highly intelligent bird we have used to represent death, all-seeing power, the underworld, and wildness itself.
>> Ravens are even ventriloquists.
Cuz by Liz van der Laarse $20
River gets a chance to crew on his uncle's fishing boat. He is annoyed by his cousin Huia and all her talk pf Maoritanga, but, when they find themselves stranded in Fiordland, he learns a lot from her as they try to survive in inhospitable country.
Camp Austen: My life as an accidental Jane Austen superfan by Ted Scheinman $23
“I didn’t last in Austenworld, but for a time it was ludicrous, intoxicating, and sometimes heartbreaking." By birth a Janeite (his mother was a noted scholar), Scheinman grew up eating Yorkshire pudding, singing in an Anglican choir, and watching Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy. Amusing (and with insights into the Cult).
>> The Jane Austen Fight Club.
How Numbers Work: The strange and beautiful world of mathematics by New Scientist $35
(But is zero even a number?)
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina $37
After the assassination of Martin Luther King, James Earl Ray fled America and spent some time in Lisbon before his apprehension. This novel weaves speculation about Ray's time in Lisbon with an author's quest for fulfillment.
My Miniature Library by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini $28
30 tiny books to make, read and treasure, and a library scene to display them in! Fun.