Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval $23
A young exchange student in a seaside university town moves into a greenhouse-like apartment with a roommate who pushes all boundaries. As mushrooms sprout in the bathroom and apples rot throughout the hallways, Jo finds herself drawn closer to her strange new roommate and their lives and thoughts twist together in exhilarating, terrifying ways. Jo’s sensitivity and all her senses become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lines between bodies and plants, dreaming and wakefulness, blur and mesh.
>>Read an excerpt.
>>Jenny Hval's playlist for the book.
>> Hval in conversation.
The Little Snake by A.L. Kennedy $25
A fable in which a young girl befriends the snake that travels the world shortening people's lives. As the world around her becomes grimmer, what insights can she gain from this relationship?
"Kennedy manages the considerable feat of touching freshly and often amusingly on friendship, love, honesty, education, hunger, greed, aging, war, courage, and displacement without getting preachy or patronizing. Her own voice recalls Lewis Carroll and his gift for taking children and their challenges seriously while using language and logic to have fun in the process. A delightful read with the earmarks of a classic." - Kirkus
E.E.G. by Daša Drndić $35
Drndić's final novel follows Belladonna as her fictional character Andreas Ban catalyses an excoriating indictment of the legacies of twentieth century European historical brutality, especially of the involvement of Drndić's native Croatia in the Holocaust.
"Daša Drndić was incapable of writing a sentence that was not forceful, fierce or funny – or all three simultaneously." - Amanda Hopkinson, Guardian
>> Read an excerpt.
>>"There are no small fascisms."
Beneath the Skin: Great writers on the body $33
Includes A.L. Kennedy on the nose, Philip Kerr on the brain, Naomi Alderman on the intestines, Ned Beauman on the appendix, Imtiaz Dharker on the Liver, William Fiennes on the bowel and Patrick McGuiness on the ear.
Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A journey deeper into dining hell with Jay Rayner $15
You aren't really interested in glorious prose poems celebrating the finest dining experiences known to humanity, are you? You want a food reviewer to suffer abysmal cooking, preferably at eye-watering prices, so you can gorge on the details and luxuriate in vicarious displeasure. You're in luck.
>> Also by Jay Rayner.
The Pine Barrens by John McPhee $23
In the centre of New Jersey lies a vast wilderness of dense forest. McPhee takes us there and introduces us to its history and the people who live there. Interesting and well-written.
The Friday Poem: 100 New Zealand poems edited and introduced by Steve Braunias $25
An excellent selection of poems that have appeared weekly in The Spinoff, including established names and new voices.
The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories edited by Jay Rubin, with an introduction by Haruki Murakami $65
A remarkably varied and often surprising collection, spanning the nineteenth century to the present.
Navigators and Naturalists: French exploration of New Zealand and the Pacific, 1769-1824 by Michael Lee $70
Drawing on primary sources, many of which have not appeared in English, Lee provides an account of French presence in the half century in which French and British interests jostled over exploration of the Pacific. Accounts by de Surville, du Fresne, La Perouse, d'Entrecasteaux, Duperrey, Freycinet, d'Urville and Lesson, including descriptions of New Zealand and interactions with Maori, are particularly interesting.
Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish exception photographs by Judy Glickman Lauder, text by Michael Berenbaum, Judith S. Goldstein and Elie Wiesel $85
Over the past thirty years Glickman Lauder has captured the intensity of the death camps in Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia in dark and expressive photographs, telling of a world turned upside down. In contrast, the redemptive and uplifting story of the "Danish exception" is told through portraits of Danish Jewish survivors and Danish rescuers. Over the course of a few intense weeks in 1943, the vast majority of Denmark's Jewish population, seven thousand people, along with nearly seven hundred non-Jewish spouses, were hidden in boats and carried to safety in Sweden.
The Governesses by Anne Serre $28 In a large country house shut off from the world by a gated garden, three young governesses responsible for the education of a group of little boys are preparing a party. The governesses, however, seem to spend more time running around in a state of frenzied desire than attending to the children's education. One of their main activities is lying in wait for any passing stranger, and then throwing themselves on him like drunken Maenads. The rest of the time they drift about in a kind of sated, melancholy calm, spied upon by an old man in the house opposite, who watches their goings-on through a telescope. What is going on?
"A cruel and exhilarating book. Colourful, by turns elegant and violent, it provokes that enchantment borne out of an unbridled imagination." - Paula Jacques
"Told in surrealist bursts, this novella combines the dreaminess of Barbara Comyns, Aimee Bender, and Kathryn Davis with the fairy-tale eroticism of Angela Carter. Each sentence evokes a dream logic both languid and circuitous as the governesses move through a fever of domesticity and sexual abandon. A sensualist, surrealist romp." - Kirkus
City Quitters: Creative pioneers pursuing post-urban life by Karen Rosenkranz $60
Is it possible to lead a creative post-urban existence? A wave of creatives is opting out of increasingly regulated and pressured urban spaces that leave little freedom to explore and experiment. But what lies beyond the romanticized image? Does the reality of rural living fulfil the craving for a better, simpler life? Individual stories of creative professionals who have settled in the countryside touch on themes such as creativity, community, work, lifestyle, sustainability, art, design, food and nature. Well illustrated.
Pictures by #The Stormpilot by Santiago Borja $70
Storms are seen quite differently from the air from on the ground. Borja has captured a range of them in these stunning images.
>> Some storms.
Tropisms by Nathalie Sarraute $23
Tropism is a botanical term for the turning of a plant towards external stimuli. Sarraute's book, first published in 1939 and later acclaimed as a precursor of the nouveau roman, portrays the subtle ways in which humans respond on a subconscious level to social stimuli.
Slippery Jim or Patriotic Statesman? James Macandrew of Otago by R.J. Bunce $45
When James Macandrew arrived in Dunedin from Scotland in 1851, other settlers were impressed by his energy and enthusiasm for new initiatives. With his finger in a lot of commercial pies, he set about making himself a handsome income which he eventually lost, declaring himself bankrupt and ending up in a debtors prison for a time. Politics became another enterprise at which he threw himself with a passion. Macandrew was a member of Otago Provincial Council for 10 years, during which time he held almost all the elected positions in that body. He was superintendent of Otago for a further decade, and at the same time he was a member of parliament for 29 years.
Heart: A history by Sandeep Jauhar $30
Tracing the evolution of humanity 's medical knowledge from Ancient Greece to modern times, delving into religion and spirituality, exploring art and poetry, Jauhar tells the story of the heart's centrality to thought and culture as well as in the body.
Brings the legacy of architects, artists and designers that have influenced the creative discourse over the last fifty years into critical dialogue with a young generation of upcoming influencers in the respective fields. The publication doesn't regard the legacy of an individual architect, artist or predecessor as an end point but as a simple moment in an infinite chain of contributions and inspirations that naturally extends and transforms through its successors. The creative conversations illustrated in this title reflect the inspirational vision of personalities such as Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Yona Friedman, Charlie Koolhaas and Rem Koolhaas, Rachel Libeskind and Daniel Libeskind, Gianfranco Bombaci, Matteo Costanzo and Gian Piero Frassinelli, Aric Chen and Arata Isozaki, Liz Diller and ElizabethLeCompte, Sophie Lovell, Dieter Rams and Olafur Eliasson.
Ocean by Hélène Druvert and Emmanuelle Grundmann $45
A stunning, beautiful exploration of the ocean, from the shoreline to the depths, presented in this large-format volume with die-cut pages and flaps to lift.
>> Other books by Hélène Druvert.
Women Photographers: From Julia Margaret Cameron to Cindy Sherman by Boris Friedewald $55
A well selected survey, featuring the work of 55 photographers.
The Atlas of Disease: Mapping deadly epidemics and contagion from the plague to the zika virus by Sandra Hempel $50
50 maps mot only show the spread of diseases but ways in which cartography can be used to combat contagion.
Women in Battle: Freedom, equality, sisterhood by Marta Breen and Jenny Jordahl $17
A young person's graphic novel celebrating feminism around the world.
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton $23
Sweetness! Tragedy! How could these not be synonyms in anything touched by Tim Burton? 23 illustrated gothic tales.
The Mental Road: A feminist comic by Emma $42
French comic artist Emma takes on issues that weigh disproportionately upon women and gives them a feminist twist. Emma's cartoons have appeared in The Guardian. This is her first book in English.
"Funny and relevant, this is a book to slip on all your colleagues' desks" - Elle
>> You should've asked.
A Life in Pictures by Steve McCurry $90
Forty years of superb journalistic photography. The most comprehensive volume of McCurry's work yet.
Nine Pints: A journey through the mysterious, miraculous world of blood by Rose George $33
Most humans contain between nine and twelve pints (five to seven litres) of blood. Rose George, who probably contains nine pints, tells nine different stories about the liquid that sustains us, discovering what it reveals about who we are. In Nepal, she meets girls challenging the taboos surrounding menstruation; in the Canadian prairies, she visits a controversial plasma clinic; in Wales she gets a tour of the UK's only leech farm to learn about the ancient art of blood-letting and its modern revival in microsurgery; and in a London hospital she accompanies a medical team revolutionising the way we treat trauma.
At Home: Middle Eastern recipes from our kitchen by Itamar Srulovich & Sarit Packer (Honey & Co.) $55
The recipes from Honey & Co. are always both reliable and delicious, and their books are beautifully presented.
>> The other Honey & Co. books.
>> Visit Honey & Co.
>> The 5 best ingredients.
I Can't Remember the Title But the Cover is Blue: Sketches from the other side of the bookshop counter by Elias Greig $23
We didn't write this book so you do not personally appear in it.
Russian leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin have exploited existing forms of identity, warfare and territorial expansion to achieve or attempt imperial supremacy.
Wine Reads: A literary anthology of wine writing edited by Jay McInerney $40
Includes essays and excerpts from novels, short fiction, memoir and narrative nonfiction.
The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot $24
Lottie collects dead creatures and lovingly cares for them, hoping to preserve them, to save them from disintegration. Her father understands - Lottie has a scientific mind, he thinks. Her aunt wants it to stop, and she goes to cruel lengths to make sure it does. And her mother? Lottie's mother died long ago. And Lottie is searching for a way to be close to her.
Weaving: Contemporary makers on the loom by Katie Treggiden $60
Examines the work and work processes of two dozen leading weavers from around the world. Very nicely presented.
>> Find out more.
The Snooty Bookshop: Fifty literary postcards by Tom Gauld $28
Funny, sad, insightful, subtle, Gauld's cartoons are loved by all literary types.
>>Keep up with Tom Gauld.