Friday 17 August 2018


Women in the Field, One and two by Thomasin Sleigh         $29
A young British woman in post-war London is tasked with recommending acquisitions for New Zealand's National Art Gallery. When she ventures into the basement of a charismatic Russian painter three decades her senior, she discovers a solution that reconciles her idea of that far-away country and her own modernist sensibilities. Women in the Field, One and Two explores two women’s creativity and freedom against the backdrop of art history's patriarchal biases. From the author of Ad Lib
Interior by Thomas Clerc         $40
What kind of story can be told from a careful description of a house and all its contents? This is the way to give the most rounded and exhaustive possible account of a still elusive life. Full of verbal tricks and unexpected references, Clerc's clever piece of sociology-posing-as-pseudo-sociology is an experiment with the potentials of the novel. Shelve with Life, A User's Manual by Georges Perec and A Journey Around My Room by Xavier de Maistre. 
The Long Take by Robin Robertson          $28
Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can’t return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he moves from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco we witness a crucial period of fracture in history, one in which America is beginning to come apart: deeply paranoid, doubting its own certainties, riven by social and racial division, spiralling corruption and the collapse of the inner cities. 
The Long Take is like a film noir on the page. A book about a man and a city in shock, it’s an extraordinary evocation of the debris and the ongoing destruction of war even in times of peace. In taking a scenario we think we know from the movies but offering a completely different perspective, Robin Robertson shows the flexibility a poet can bring to form and style.” - the judges' comment, on long-listing this book for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne            $37
Is authenticity personal property? Writer Maurice Swift takes his stories from wherever he finds them, regardless of whose they are. Swift makes his literary name by appropriating the life story of Erich Ackermann, a celebrated novelist he meets by chance in a Berlin hotel. Thereafter he stops at nothing to live upon the stories of others. How far will he be prepared to go? A taut and thoughtful literary psychological thriller from the author of, most recently, The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani           $27
The most revered and feared literary critic of The New York Times turns her sharp eye upon the cultural forces that have combined to devalue truth in modern society and provide the world with a worrying set of leaders who have advanced authoritarianism in the absence of truth. A retreat from reason is a retreat from democracy.
"Destined to become the defining treatise of our age." - David Grann

Eleanor Marx: A biography by Yvonne Kapp        $65
Karl Marx's daughter was a remarkable figure in her own right: public intellectual, 'new woman', union organiser, aspirant to the stage. Kapp's exemplary biography draws all the strands of Eleanor Marx's life into a portrait not only of herself but of her family, associates and milieu. 
>> Eleanor Marx, pioneer of Marxist feminism (or feminist Marxism)
Joyce in Court: James Joyce and the law by Adrian Hardiman       $28
James Joyce was obsessed with the legal system, and both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are full of references to trials and proceedings. This is the first book to give full and fascinating treatment to a neglected facet of Joyce's oeuvre, recreating a legal climate in which injustice loomed over every trial. 
"This tremendously well-researched and marvellously insightful book is a delight for lawyers and lovers of literature alike." - Irish Independent
In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne         $38
For Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf, growing up under the towers of Stones Estate, summer means what it does anywhere: football, music, freedom. But now, after the killing of a British soldier, riots are spreading across the city, and nowhere is safe. While the fury swirls around them, Selvon and Ardan remain focused on their own obsessions, girls and grime. Their friend Yusuf is caught up in a different tide, a wave of radicalism surging through his local mosque, threatening to carry his troubled brother, Irfan, with it.
“An ambitious mosaic of virtuosic ventriloquism, Guy Gunaratne’s book is an inner city novel for our times, exploring the endurance of social trauma across generations, and conveying the agony and energy of the marginalised, the outsider, and the oppressed. Both a social panorama and a thriller, it contains a vibrant energy and some extraordinary plot twists that go against what might be our cultural expectations. Gunaratne gracefully moves the large and small ambitions of his characters on an expressionist chessboard of a council estate.”- Judges' comment, on long-listing the book for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan         $34
Farouk's country has been torn apart by war. Lampy's heart has been laid waste by Chloe. John's past torments him as he nears his end. The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a reckoning that will bring them together in an unexpected way.
Long-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. Judges' comment: “A portrait of three men in one landscape, From A Low and Quiet Sea holds its narratives in perfectly sustained equilibrium, then brings them together without cliché. A deft, unshowy novel about manhood and momentous contingency, it evokes the way in which real lives unfold and wrap around each other.”
Trip: Psychedelics, alienation and change by Tao Lin       $36
While reeling from one of the most creative - but at times self-destructive - outpourings of his life, Tao Lin discovered the work of Terence McKenna. McKenna, the leading advocate of psychedelic drugs since Timothy Leary, became for Lin both an obsession and a revitalizing force. In Trip, Lin's first book-length work of nonfiction, he charts his recovery from pharmaceutical drugs, his surprising and positive change in worldview, and his four-year engagement with some of the hardest questions: Why do we make art? Is the world made of language? What happens when we die? And is the imagination more real than the universe?
How to Change Your Mind: The new science of psychedelics by Michael Pollan        $55
When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists inadvertently catalysed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.
The Impostor by Javier Cercas            $28
But who is Enric Marco? A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, a fighter against fascism, an impassioned campaigner for justice, and a survivor of the Nazi death camps? Or, is he simply an old man with delusions of grandeur, a charlatan who fabricated his heroic war record, who was never a prisoner in the Third Reich and never opposed Franco; a charming, beguiling and compulsive liar who refashioned himself as a defender of liberty and who was unmasked in 2005 at the height of his influence and renown?
Winner of the European Book Prize. 

Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin           $28
An often hilarious pointillist time-travel trip to the Greenwich Village of Shopsin's bohemian 1970s childhood, a funky, tight-knit small town in the big city. Shopsin's father, Kenny, operated a dining cafe, with a notorious range of eccentric dishes, including 'Slutty Cakes' (pancakes with peanut butter in the middle), and Tamara's charming memoir is packed with her idiosyncratic drawings and anecdotal vignettes. 
>> Visit Shopsin's.
>> "A huge event of incompetence." (a clip from the 2004 documentary on Shopsin's, I Like Killing Flies)
>> Tamara Shopsin in The New Yorker
The Diary of Mary Berg: Growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto       $27
Mary Berg was 15 in 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. She kept a diary throughout the four years she survived in the Warsaw Ghetto. It remains an astounding document, and the first such account published. 

In Montparnasse: The emergence of Surrealism, from Duchamp to Dali by Sue Roe         $55

"We shall not have succeeded in destroying everything unless we destroy even the runs, but the only way I can see of doing this is to use them to put up a lot of fine, well constructed buildings." - Ubu
Athena: The story of a goddess by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg         $30
Wonderful graphic novel presentation of one of the staunchest and smartest of the Greek gods and goddesses. 

New Dark Age: Technology and the end of the future by James Bridle         $33
The prevailing idea that quantitative data will give a useful view of the world has overwhelmed our capacity to make sense of the data we receive. Is the Information Age antagonistic to knowledge? 
>> The author speaks
Old Gods, New Enigmas: Marx's lost theory by Mike Davis         $33
Is revolution possible in the age of the Anthropocene? Marx has returned, but which Marx? Recent biographies have proclaimed him to be an emphatically nineteenth-century figure, but in this book a thinker comes to light who speaks to the present as much as the past.
Sharp: The definitive guide to knives, knife care, and cutting techniques, with recipes from great chefs by Josh Donald and Molly DeCoudreaux      $55
As it says. 

Artivism by Arcadi Poch and Daniela Poch          $45
How can modes of visual and performance art be used effectively in protest and other political action? This is a good survey of art on the front lines of activism. 

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh          $28
Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that wants nothing to do with him. Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, Ahmed fled a life of uncertainty and suffering in Syria, only to lose his father on the perilous journey to the shores of Europe. Now Ahmed's struggling to get by on his own, but with no one left to trust and nowhere to go, he's starting to lose hope. Then he meets Max, a thirteen-year-old American boy. Lonely and homesick, Max is struggling at his new school and just can't seem to do anything right. But with one startling discovery, Max and Ahmed's lives collide and a friendship begins to grow.
Buzz: The nature and necessity of bees by Thor Hanson    $33
From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. What would happen if bees became extinct?
Ants Among Elephants: An untouchable family and the making of modern India by Sujatha Gidla         $33
In changing times, members of one untouchable family overcame the weight of tradition to become teachers, a poet, a revolutionary. 
The Meaning of Birds by Simon Barnes       $25
The uses of feathers, the drama of raptors, the slaughter of pheasants, the infidelities of geese.

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