Friday 13 July 2018


Your lucky day.
Crudo by Olivia Laing             $35
Crudo charts in real time what it was like to live and love in the horrifying summer of 2017, from the perspective of a commitment-phobic peripatetic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker. From a Tuscan hotel for the super-rich to a Brexit-paralysed UK, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties trying to adjust to marriage as Trump tweets the world into nuclear war. But it’s not only Kathy who’s changing. Political, social and natural landscapes are all in peril. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead and the planet's hotting up. Is it really worth learning to love when the end of the world is nigh? 
>> The Crudo playlist.

The Years by Annie Ernaux             $40
Considered by many to be the iconic French memoirist’s defining work, The Years is a narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions past and present, cultural habits, language, photos, books, songs, radio, television, advertising and news headlines. Ernaux invents a form that is subjective and impersonal, private and communal, and a new genre – the collective autobiography – in order to capture the passing of time. 
"A Remembrance of Things Past for our age of media domination and consumerism." - New York Times
"The Years is a revolution, not only in the art of autobiography but in art itself. Annie Ernaux’s book blends memories, dreams, facts and meditations into a unique evocation of the times in which we lived, and live." — John Banville
"One of the best books you’ll ever read." — Deborah Levy
"Ravishing and almost oracular with insight, Ernaux’s prose performs an extraordinary dance between collective and intimate, 'big' history and private experience. The Years is a philosophical meditation paced as a rollercoaster ride through the decades. How we spend ourselves too quickly, how we reach for meaning but evade it, how to live, how to remember – these are Ernaux’s themes. I am desperate for more." — Kapka Kassabova
"A book of memory, of a life and world, staggeringly and brilliantly original." — Philippe Sands
Lucia by Alex Pheby         $32
"She is about thirty-three, speaks French fluently. Her character is gay, sweet and ironic, but she has bursts of anger over nothing when she is confined to a straightjacket," write James Joyce of his daughter, Lucia. Whose story is Lucia's story? Lucia Joyce was a lover of Samuel Beckett and an avant-garde dancer. From her twenties she was treated for schizophrenia and spent the last thirty years of her life in an asylum. After her death her letters were destroyed and references to her were removed from archives. Alex Pheby, who is superb at mapping the workings of minds outside the norm (read Thomas's review of Playthings here), fills in the erasures and lacunae in this fascinating novel, not appropriating Lucia's story but shining beams of light towards her from multiple points of view. 
"Brilliant, compelling, profoundly disturbing." - Literary Review
"An emotionally powerful and constantly questioning novel, Lucia probes speculation, truth and the fraught ethics of history, biography and narrative itself." - Irish Times
>> The lost story of a Parisian dancer
Aliens and Anorexia by Chris Kraus            $23
Following I Love Dick and Torpor to complete her trilogy of detonations under the wall that lies between fiction and memoir, Aliens and Anorexia unfolds like a set of Chinese boxes, using stories and polemics to travel through a maze that spirals back into itself. Its characters include Simone Weil, the first radical philosopher of sadness, the artist Paul Thek, Kraus herself, and her virtual S&M partner who’s shooting a big-budget Hollywood film in Namibia while Kraus holes up in the Northwest Woods for the winter to chronicle the failure of Gravity & Grace, her own low-budget independent film. Kraus argues for empathy as the ultimate perceptive tool, and reclaims anorexia from the psychoanalytic girl-ghetto of poor “self-esteem.” Anorexia, Kraus writes, could be an attempt to leave the body altogether: a rejection of the cynicism this culture hands us through its food.
>>"I'm just a channel for all that shit."
>> "This female consciousness."
Fully Coherent Plan (For a new and better society) by David Shrigley          $33
Possibly the most miserable set of cartoons ever assembled. 
"With a casual gesture Shrigley points to that hideous shape whose name I've never known - and then he names it. And the name is profoundly, embarrassingly familiar. I'm laughing while frantically searching for a pen, so desperate to capture the feeling he has unearthed in me." - Miranda July
"On the kink of his line Shrigley can shift effortlessly from pathos to paranoia. And his work is funny - very funny; his timing devastatingly effective." - Will Self
>> Have a look at this
Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble           $20
"This collection speaks about beauty, activism, power and popular culture with compelling guile, a darkness, a deep understanding and sensuality. It dives through noir, whakamā and kitsch and emerges dripping with colour and liquor. There’s whakapapa, funk (in all its connotations) and fetishisation. The poems map colonisation of many kinds through intergenerational, indigenous domesticity, sex, image and disjunction. They time-travel through the powdery mint-green 1960s and the polaroid sunshine 1970s to the present day. Their language and forms are liquid—sometimes as lush as what they describe, other times deliberately biblical or oblique. It all says: here is a writer who is experiencing herself as powerful, restrained but unafraid, already confident enough to make a phat splash on the page." —Hinemoana Baker
>> "I always assumed Denis Glover was talking about some other Johnsonville."
>> 'For a Cigarette and a Blanket.'
People from the Pit, Stand Up by Sam Duckor-Jones         $30
This is the voice of someone who is both at home and not at home in the world. Sam Duckor-Jones’s fresh, funny, dishevelled poems are alive with art-making and fuelled by a hunger for intimacy. Giant clay men lurk in salons, the lawns of poets overgrow, petrolheads hoon along the beach, birds cry ‘wow-okay, wow-okay, wow-okay’.
"Gorgeous and contrary." —Jenny Bornholdt
"If attention is an act of love, then this is a collection that attends to art and life in such a way as to collapse any distinction between the two." —Chris Price
>> Hear Duckor-Jones on the radio and look at some of his sculptures
Albert Einstein Speaking by R.J. Gadney         $40
"If everybody lived a life like mine, there would be no need for novels." - Albert Einstein. 
An interesting novelistic treatment of Einstein's life, mixing documentary and fictional sources, springing from a chance telephone call that occurred near the end of Einstein's life. Princeton. New Jersey. 14th March 1954: 'Albert Einstein speaking.' 'Who?' asks the girl on the telephone. 'I'm sorry, ' she says. 'I have the wrong number.' 'You have the right number,' Albert says. So began a friendship. 
Capitalism by Nancy Fraser and Rahel Jaeggi           $46
Fraser and Jaeggi take a fresh look at the big questions surrounding the peculiar social form known as 'capitalism', upending many of our commonly held assumptions about what capitalism is and how to subject it to critique. They show how, throughout its history, various regimes of capitalism have relied on a series of institutional separations between economy and polity, production and social reproduction, and human and non-human nature, periodically readjusting the boundaries between these domains in response to crises and upheavals. 
Edgeland by David Eggleton           $28
Eggleton's new collection "possesses an intensity and driven energy, using the poets recognisable signature oratory voice, strong in beat and measure, rooted in rich traditions of chant, lament and ode. Mashing together the lyrical and the slangy, celebrating local vernaculars while simultaneously plugged in to a global zeitgeist of technobabble and fake news, Eggleton recycles and repurposes high visual culture and demotic aural culture."

Flying Too Close to the Sun: Myths in art, from Classical to contemporary by James Cahill        $90
A beautifully presented and thoughtfully selected survey of the persistence of myths in visual culture. 

Poverty Safari: Understanding the anger of Britain's underclass by Darren McGarvey         $28
A modern-day counterpart, perhaps, to George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, this book was awarded the 2018 Orwell Prize for political writing. “It’s not just a lament against austerity but as much a hymn in praise of the power of the individual. It’s both a big social critique and a big call to individual liberty and empowerment. McGarvey says individuals matter and people really do have control of their own destiny, but they are also caught in a social condition that can be a trap.” (Orwell Prize judges). McGarvey grew up living in poverty. He suffered domestic abuse, his mother died young, leaving her school-age children behind her, and Darren fell into a trap of drug and alcohol addiction. But he managed to pull himself out of this. Now, Darren is a successful columnist and advocate for change, representing many NGOs and organisations in the Third Sector.
>> About the author
>> a.k.a. Loki the Scottish Rapper.
There There by Tommy Orange           $37
A remarkable multivocal novel depicting the results of centuries of disenfranchisement and racism on Native American communities in the US. 
"This is a novel about what it means to inhabit a land both yours and stolen from you, to simultaneously contend with the weight of belonging and unbelonging. There is an organic power to this book, a revelatory, controlled chaos. Tommy Orange writes the way a storm makes landfall." - Omar El Akkad, author of American War
There There has so much jangling energy and brings so much news from a distinct corner of American life that it’s a revelation." - New York Times
>> "There is a monolithic version of what a Native American is supposed to be."
Body of Art          $90
The most comprehensive survey of the representation of, and meanings of, the human body in art of all periods and cultures. Thoughtful, provocative, and frequently surprising.
Modern Nature by Derek Jarman         $28
In 1986 Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the barren coast of Dungeness. Facing an uncertain future, he nevertheless found solace in nature, growing all manner of plants. While some perished beneath wind and sea-spray others flourished, creating brilliant, unexpected beauty in the wilderness. Modern Nature is both a diary of the garden and a meditation by Jarman on his own life: his childhood, his time as a young gay man in the 1960s, his renowned career as an artist, writer and film-maker. It is at once a lament for a lost generation, an unabashed celebration of gay sexuality, and a devotion to all that is living. A new edition, with an introduction by Olivia Laing.
>> Visit the gardens at Prospect Cottage
>> Meet Derek Jarman
>> Some of Jarman's remarkable films
>> Olivia Laing, Philip Hoare and Sarah Wood discuss Derek Jarman
The Dead Still Cry Out by Helen Lewis           $38
As a child, Helen Lewis discovered a suitcase in a cupboard at home. It contained horrific photographs taken by her father, a combat photographer, of the atrocities committed at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Lewis charts her father's upbringing in the East End of London, where he and his family experienced English anti-Semitism, his career documenting humanity at its worst, and the impact this had on him in the years afterwards. 
>> Visions of hell

Rise Up, Women! The remarkable lives of the suffragettes by Diane Atkinson          $48
Clear and detailed. 
"A thrilling and inspiring read! For too long these extraordinary women have been hidden from history. Rise Up, Women! should be a standard text in all schools. And it will be a treasured handbook for today's feminists." - Harriet Harman (British MP and QC)
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler           $37
A bittersweet, hope-filled look at two quirky families that have broken apart and are trying to find their way back to one another. 

Rare Books Uncovered: True stories of fantastic finds in unexpected places by Rebecca Rego Barry          $28
The London Lover: My weekend that lasted thirty years by Clancy Sigal         $40
Hugely enjoyable and bristling with personalities and anecdotes, this book perfectly captures the decades of the high and low life of the crazed American who arrived in London in 1957, plugged into the literary and arts scene through his affair with Doris Lessing, had therapy with R.D. Laing, got involved with the CND and with more subversive movements, and indulged in pretty much everything that could be indulged in. Sigal's anxieties and insecurities, together with his wonderful style, make this memoir deeply human and enjoyable.

Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir          $23
Everything that doesn't work is a mark of our humanity. Jonas is starting to feel that life hasn't worked out the way he thought it would. Divorced and lonely, with nothing much to live for, he decides to buy a one-way ticket somewhere, anywhere, with no intention of coming back.When he arrives at the strangely deserted airport, in the barren holiday resort (the cheapest last-minute deal he could find), and ends up on the doorstep of Hotel Silence, which has definitely seen better days, it seems the ideal place to put an end to it all. There isn't any dinner, the plumbing barely works, and the hotel staff seem somewhat distracted. But as his relationship with May and her small son Adam grows into friendship, he begins to understand the traumatic story of this war-torn country, Jonas discovers reasons to carry on. 
Out of My Head: On the trail of consciousness by Tim Parks       $40
Who better than Tim Parks to ask us along on his enquiry into what consciousness is, consciousness's relationship to matter, who and what might be conscious, and how technology is changing our ideas about it. 

Letterforms: Typeface design from past to future by Timothy Samara        $45
Remarkably good analysis of the evolution and design considerations of fonts. 

Search and Find: Alphabet of Alphabets by Alan Sanders     $33

Each fascinating illustrated letter of the alphabet contains another alphabet: An alphabet of Alphabets, an alphabet of Birds, an alphabet of Creepy-crawlies, an alphabet of Dinosaurs, &c, &c. Fun. 

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, Frederich Engels and Martin Rowson         $30
At last - the Communist Manifesto as a graphic novel!

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