Friday 27 July 2018


Just out of the carton...

Caroline's Bikini by Kirsty Gunn          $33
"Is it possible for something NOT to happen in a novel?" asks Emily, who has been persuaded by her friend Evan to write the story of his love affair with glamorous former horsewoman Caroline Beresford, an account which becomes Caroline's Bikini (i.e. this book). A playful exploration of the responsibilities of fiction from the author of The Big Music, which was named Book of the Year at the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. 
>> Read an extract
>> Read Thomas's review of The Big Music
>> Kirsty Gunn's top ten books on unrequited love

OK, Mr Field by Katharine Kilalea        $28
A concert pianist whose wrists are damaged in a train accident uses his insurance payout to buy a house identical to Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye overlooking False Bay, in Cape Town. When his wife leaves him after only a few weeks in the house, the ex-pianist, lacking a personality of his own, begins to be inhabited by the house itself in unusual ways. "A perfectly poised and mad book about chronic loneliness; enigmatic, often dream-like and brilliantly funny." - Irish Times
>> Read an excerpt.
Lala by Jacek Dehnel       $35
Born in Poland just after the First World War and brought up to be a perfect example of her class and generation - tolerant, selfless and brave - Lala is an independent woman who has survived some of the most turbulent events of her times. As she senses the first signs of dementia, she battles to keep her memories alive through her stories, telling her grandson tales of a life filled with love, faithlessness and extraordinary acts of courage. Sweeping from nineteenth-century Kiev to modern-day Poland, Lala is a novel tracking Polish one Polish family through the twentieth century. 
"The prehensile magic of Lala lies in the art of retelling. Dehnel’s work is drawn from life and enriched with intent, with a kind of aesthetic cohesion that bare facts lack." - The Quarterly Conversation
Winner of the Paszport Polityka Award. 
The Big Questions: What is New Zealand's future?         $38
Whatever concerns face us as a country, the decisions we make now, under urgency, will determine the kind of lives future generations will lead. Anne Salmond, Andrew Becroft, Rod Oram, Jacinta Ruru, Felicity Goodyear-Smith, Tim Watkin, Derek Handley, Jarrod Gilbert, Stuart McNaughton, David Brougham, Jarrod Haar, Yumiko Olliver-Gray, Golriz Ghahraman, Theresa Gattung, Peter O'Connor, and Leonie Freeman.
History of Violence by Édouard Louis       $37
An encounter between two men turns from attraction to violence, revealing the layers of dispossession, racism, misery, desire and trauma in contemporary French society. Another blistering autobiographical novel from the author of The End of Eddy
>> "Macron will lead voters to the far right.
>> "There is a political violence toward the poor, which existed under Thatcherism and that is today in the process of returning."
Wait, Blink by Gunnhild Øyehaug      $40
Sigrid is a young literature student trying to find her voice as a writer when she falls in love with an older, established author, whose lifestyle soon overwhelms her values and once-clear vision. Trine has reluctantly become a mother and struggles to create as a performance artist. The aspiring movie director Linnea scouts locations in Copenhagen for a film she will never make. As these characters' stories collide and intersect, they find that dealing with the pressures of their lives also means coming to grips with a world both frightening and joyously ridiculous. From the author of the outstanding story collection Knots
"Interior psychological monologues play as if a neuroscientist exploring the conscious mind had reset a functional fMRI to fictional. Wait, Blink is a witty and cerebral braid of events both real and fictional, driven by self-talk, undergirded by literary criticism, and sprinkled with factoids." - World Literature Today
View from the South by Owen Marshall      $40
A very presentable collection of poems, many tagged to specific locations in the South Island, with photographs by Graeme Sydney. 
"Marshall's poems are an exquisite marriage of musicality, observation, elegance and economy. Certain words stand out in his lines like the glint of light on wet ground." - Paula Green

The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle         $17
When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet. Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn 's grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise. But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island 's next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

"So magical and wild that it 's like being swept away by the sea." - Katherine Rundell

Zaitoun: Recipes and stories from a Palestinian kitchen by Yasmin Khan        $49
Yasmin Khan harvests black olives from the groves of Burquin in the West Bank, hand-rolls maftool - the plump Palestinian couscous - in home kitchens in Jenin and finds time to enjoy a pint with workers at the Taybeh brewery, which is producing the first Palestinian craft beer. As she feasts and cooks with Palestinians of all ages and backgrounds, she learns about the realities of their everyday lives. Zaitoun includes herb-filled salads, quick pickles, fragrant soups, tender roasted meats and rich desserts, and has a special focus on vegetarian versions of Palestinian classics. 
"A moving, hugely knowledgeable and utterly delicious book." -Anthony Bourdain
Reporter: A memoir by Seymour Hersh         $55
This book gives great insight into the mind of this outstanding journalist, and, through that, further insights into the people and stories he brought to the world's attention, including the Mai Lai massacre and the atrocities at Abu Graib.
"Reporter is just wonderful. Truly a great life, and what shines out of the book, amid the low cunning and tireless legwork, is Hersh's warmth and humanity. This book is essential reading for every journalist and aspiring journalist the world over." - John le Carré

Joining the Dots: A woman in her time by Juliet Gardiner          $25
A fascinating account of the social, political and cultural changes in Britain since World War 2, especially for women, as focused on the life of a particularly keen and involved observer. 
"Refreshingly unconcerned with self-excavation, the beauty of it is in its flow from the particular to the general. The vast consolation and pleasure of this generous book is its conviction that we are all more than one life allows." - Times Literary Supplement

The Archipelago: Italy since 1945 by John Foot        $35
From the silent assimilation of fascists into society after 1945 to the troubling reign of Silvio Berlusconi, and from the artistic peak of neorealist cinema to the celebration of Italy's 150th birthday in 2011, Foot examines both the corrupt and celebrated sides of the country. 

"A lively and meticulously researched account." - Guardian

The Recovering: Intoxication and its aftermath by Leslie Jamison        $45
Who would have thought that account of recovery from addiction could be as fascinating as the account of the train-wreck itself. At the heart of the book is Jamison's ongoing conversation with literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Billie Holiday, Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson, and David Foster Wallace. From the author of The Empathy Exams.
"Perceptive and generous-hearted. Uncompromising, Jamison is a writer of exacting grace." - Washington Post
Rendezvous with Oblivion by Thomas Frank         $30
Frank takes on on a tour of the US, a country in the late stages of disintegration, and shows us the results of the mechanisms of inequality, empty status and circumstantial anxiety that have, among other things, delivered Trump to office. 
The Little Swedish Kitchen by Rachel Khoo       $55
100 authentic and achievable recipes, with hints on how to enjoy your life in a Swedish way. 
Eye of the Shoal: A fish-watcher's guide to life, the ocean, and everything by Helen Scales      $33
What is it like to be a fish? Their way of life is radically different from our own, in part because they inhabit a buoyant, sticky fluid in which light, heat, gases and sound behave in odd ways. Fish have evolved many tactics to overcome these challenges, and, in doing so, they have become a way in which we can learn to see the ocean, and life in general, in more profound ways. (Her real name, apparently.)

The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown         $17
The inspiring story (first published in 1941) of a group of children who start their own theatre company.

The Immeasurable World: Journeys into desert places by William Atkins        $37
One-third of the earth's surface is classified as desert. Restless, and unhappy in love, William Atkins decided to travel in eight of the world's driest, hottest places: the Empty Quarter of Oman, the Gobi Desert and Taklamakan deserts of northwest China, the Great Victoria Desert of Australia, the man-made desert of the Aral Sea in Kazkahstan, the Black Rock and Sonoran Deserts of the American Southwest, and Egypt's Eastern Desert. What draws humans to deserts?
Slow Down and Grow Something. Cultivate. Cook. Share. by Byron Smith and Tess Robinson        $45
A blueprint for living the good life in the city - how to grow the easiest food plants in small spaces and recipes to make the most of them. 

Wild Sea: A history of the Southern Ocean by Joy McCann        $40
Completely encircling the Earth, the Southern Ocean stretches from Antarctica to the costs of New Zealand, Australia, Africa and South America. It contains a spattering islands, each more remote and wild than the last, and a rich history of explorers, whalers, scientists and settlers, as well as remarkable natural history. The ocean has become an important barometer of climate change and ecological depredation. This book considers this little-known ocean.
 The Finder by Kate Hendrick       $24
When Lindsay meets Elias the signs aren't promising. She's a grungy introvert who doesn't want to talk to anyone. He's a teen fashionista who can't shut up. But since Lindsay tracked down a runaway kid, word has got around that she knows how to find people. And Elias is looking for his birth mother. And he has money. But Lindsay wasn't actually trying to find the runaway. It's just how she looks at the world. That's because someone is missing in Lindsay's life - her identical twin Frankie, who disappeared when they were eight. YA novel. 

Future Days: Krautrock and the building of modern Germany by David Stubbs          $28
The groups that created Krautrock (Faust, Popol Vuh, Neu , Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Düül II, Can, Kraftwerk) considered in the context of a society attempting to come to terms with the atrocities and legacies of World War 2.
>> Popol Vuh, 1971
>> Kraftwerk, 1971
>> Amon Düül II, 1973

Is It Bedtime Yet? Parenting: the hilarious, the hair-raising, the heart-breaking by Emily Writes and friends         $35
There may be no answers, but there are no end of helpful anecdotes. From the NZ author of Rants in the Dark and the blog Emily Writes.
The Spinning Magnet by Alanna Mitchell          $39
Without electromagnetism, life on Earth would not be possible. The quest to understand it began with the idea that the magnet was a physical embodiment of the heavens, possessing as it did its own North and South poles. Is the discovery that, every once in a long while, the Earth 's magnetic poles switch places, significantly weakening the field 's protective power, something we should worry about?
The Biggerers by Amy Lilwall          $33
An unscrupulous scientist is cloning and manipulating embryos to produce miniature humans for a huge and greedy government-backed corporation that tortures them, drugs them with memory suppressants, and sells them as pets—ostensibly to teach 22nd-century children to care lovingly about something other than themselves. What happens when the 'littlers' start to communicate with the 'biggerers' and to develop human capacities? 

Resist! How to be an activist in the Age of Defiance by Michael Segalov        $35
The People Awards by Lily Murray      $25
Celebrate equality with 50 people who changed the world in their own ways. 

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