Friday 18 January 2019


James K. Baxter: Letters of a Poet     $100
James K. Baxter was not a man of few words, and his private correspondence was no exception. Letters of a Poet, edited by his friend and frequent correspondent John Weir, contains almost 900 of Baxter's letters from 1939 to 1972, covering his teenage years and entire adult life. Frank, funny, generous, sometimes filthy, packed with poems and musings on love, the Catholic faith, and how to live well and write well, they provide remarkable new insights into his life and work. The two slip-cased volumes include letters to his parents, Archibald and Millicent Baxter, the conscientious objector Noel Ginn, and many of the leading literary figures of the time, including Charles Brasch, Allen Curnow, Frank Sargeson, Fleur Adcock, Lawrence Baigent, Barry Crump, Maurice Shadbolt, W. H. Oliver, Robin Dudding and many more.
The Blue Flowers by Raymond Queneau       $34
Which of the narrators in this twin-stranded novel is dreaming the other? The man who alternates between drinking and napping on the banks of the Seine in the 1960s, or the madcap Duke who gallops through some 700 years of French history? 
"Queneau is a unique example of a wise and intelligent writer who always goes against the grain of the dominant terndencies of his age and of French culture in particular - and he combines this with an endless need to invent and test possibilities. The Blue Flowers makes fun of history , denying its progress and reducing it to the substance of daily existence." - Italo Calvino
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado         $23
Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A sales assistant makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the dresses she sells. A woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. Now in paperback.
"Carmen Maria Machado is the best writer of cognitive dysphoria I’ve read in years. " - Tor
"Life is too short to be afraid of nothing." - Machado
Dreamers: When the writers took power, Germany, 1919 by Volker Weidermann        $40
 At the end of the First World War in Germany, the journalist and theatre critic Kurt Eisner organised a revolution which overthrew the monarchy, and declared a Free State of Bavaria. In February 1919, he was assassinated, and the revolution failed. But while the dream lived, it was the writers, the poets, the playwrights and the intellectuals who led the way. As well as Eisner, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, and many other prominent figures in German cultural history were involved.
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn           $45
What shapes our ideas of home and homelessness? Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. This account is an astounding piece of nature writing, revealing the immense restorative power of the natural world in times of grief and stress. 
>>"The wildness of nature became the reason to go on." 
The Anarchist Who Shared My Name by Pablo Martín Sánchez     $35
When author Pablo Martín Sánchez decides to search himself on the internet, he discovers that he shares his name with an anarchist who, in November 1924, was part of an attempt to overthrow Spanish dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera. Intrigued, Martín Sánchez sets out to learn more about the life of the man who shares his namesake. What he uncovers is the fascinating account of an unintentional revolutionary, swept up in a campaign he isn’t sure he believes in—one that leads, ultimately, to a tragic fate.
An interestingly structured mixture of fiction and fact, from the first Spanish member of the OuLiPo. 
>> Read an excerpt
Salt of the Earth by Józef Wittlin         $33
An excellent new translation of Wittlin's classic antiwar novel. When the First World War comes to the Carpathian mountains, Piotr is drafted into the army. Unwilling, uncomprehending, the bewildered man is forced to fight a war he does not understand - against his national as well as his personal interests.
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday         $23
A tripartite story of relationships across boundaries of age, gender, politics and nationality.
“Asymmetry is extraordinary. Halliday has written, somehow all at once, a transgressive roman a clef, a novel of ideas and a politically engaged work of metafiction.” — The New York Times Book Review

"A scorchingly intelligent first novel...Asymmetry will make you a better reader, a more active noticer. It hones your senses." - The New York Times
"A book unlike any you've read." - Chuck Harbach
The Key to Flambards by Linda Newbery        $22
Grace Russell, at fourteen, has already had to adjust to a devastating accident from which she'll never recover. Now she and her newly-single mother are leaving their suburban home for Flambards house, out in the Essex countryside. The house has a long history, and Grace's mother is to work there for the summer - an exciting new opportunity. But, for Grace, everything feels wrong. She doesn't want yet another change. However, in spite of herself, she find herself becoming involved with two boys: Jamie, who leads her down a path of thrilling freedom, and the deeply troubled Marcus, who is dealing with his difficult, potentially violent father. Over time, Grace discovers her own links to the house and landscape she has just arrived in, and in turn, her own place in the world.
The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential stories by Franz Kafka      $25
A new selection newly translated by Alexander Starritt, and an excellent introduction to Kafka. 
>> Another excellent introduction to Kafka

Darwin's Most Wonderful Plants: Darwin's botany today by Ken Thompson      $28
Re-establishes Darwin as a pioneering botanist, whose close observations of plants were crucial to his theories of evolution.
Liquid: The delightful and dangerous substances that flow through our lives by Mark Miodownik        $40
Mark Miodownik takes us on a tour of the world of the droplets, heartbeats and ocean waves that we come across every day. Structured around a plane journey which sees encounters with substances from water and glue to coffee and wine, he shows how these liquids can bring death and destruction as well as wonder and fascination. From László Bíró's revolutionary pen and Abraham Gesner's kerosene to cutting-edge research on self-repairing roads and liquid computers, Miodownik brings the everyday to life. He reveals why liquids can flow up a tree but down a hill, why oil is sticky, and how waves can travel so far.
"Exciting, anarchic and surprising." - The Guardian
Recitation by Bae Suah       $30
The meeting between a group of emigrants and a mysterious, wandering actress in an empty train station sets the stage for this fragmentary yet lyrical meditation on language, travel, and memory. As the actress recounts the story of her stateless existence, an unreliable narrator and the interruptions of her audience challenge traditional notions of storytelling and identity.

The Legend of Sally Jones by Jakob Wegelius         $28
This is the story of a gorilla like no other. This is the story of a fantastic voyage across the world, from the Congolese rainforest to the grand bazaar of Istanbul, from Borneo to London, Singapore and beyond. The story of a mysterious jewel thief and a sad sailor with a heart of gold.  A story of friendship and adventure on the high seas. A wonderful graphic novel prequel to The Murderer's Ape

Sonam and the Silence by Ronak Taher and Eddie Ayers       $28
Why can't a young girl play music in public in Afghanistan? Beautifully drawn and affirming. 
Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher        $23
"Consider the Oyster marks M. F. K. Fisher's emergence as a storyteller so confident that she can manoeuver a reader through a narrative in which recipes enhance instead of interrupt the reader's attention to the tales. She approaches a recipe as a published dream or wish, and the stories she tells here are also stories of the pleasures and disillusionments of dreams fulfilled." - The New York Review of Books
"Since Lewis Carroll no one had written charmingly about that indecisively sexed bivalve until Mrs. Fisher came along with her Consider the Oyster. Surely this will stand for some time as the most judicious treatment in English." - Cliffton Fadiman
Dark Banquet: Blood and the curious lives of blood-feeding creatures by Bill Schutt        $35
 Sanguivores, hematophages, &c. Fascinating. 
Where Dani Goes, Happy Follows ('Dani' #6) by Rose Lagercrantz and Eva Eriksson        $20
What do you do if your best friend lives in another city and the adults  can’t keep their promises about when you’ll see her? You have to sort it out for yourself!
Another book in this lovely series
The Moon in a Bowl of Water by Michael Harlow       $28
The poems are consciously rooted in Greek mythology and in the idea of storytelling as a continuous river, flowing from the ancients to the present, telling one story on the surface, but carrying in its depths the glints of ancient archetypes, symbols and myths.
The Beauty of Everyday Things by Soetsu Yanagi          $26
The daily lives of ordinary people are replete with objects, common things used in commonplace settings. These objects are our constant companions in life. As such, writes Soetsu Yanagi, they should be made with care and built to last, treated with respect and even affection. They should be natural and simple, sturdy and safe - the aesthetic result of wholeheartedly fulfilling utilitarian needs. 
The Balfour Declaration: Empire, the Mandate and resistance in Palestine by Bernard Rehan        $25
The Balfour Declaration was a statement issued by the British government in 1917 during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. Regan offers new insights into the imperial rivalries between Britain, Germany and the Ottomans, and exposes British policy in the region as part of a larger geopolitical game. Yet the course of events was not straightforward, and Regan charts the ongoing debates within the British government, the Zionist movement, and the Palestinian groups struggling for self-determination.
Leaving the Lyrebird Forest by Gary Crew, illustrated by Julian Laffin        $20
A beautiful story about friendship, change and our place in nature. Beautiful woodcuts, too. 

The Only Girl: My life and times on the masthead of Rolling Stone by Robin Green          $35

Green was the only women staff writer for Rolling Stone in the early 1970s. Her perspective on the scene and on the times is compelling.
Influenza: The quest to cure the deadliest disease in history by Jeremy Brown         $38
Will genetic sequencing help us to overcome the deadly shape-shifting virus? Are there other possible approaches?
>> See also Flu Hunter: Unlocking the secrets of a virus by New Zealand flu hunter Robert Webster. 

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt        $30
What does the centuries-long fascination with these legendary figures tell us about our history, and about the relationship between ethics and biology? 

Economics for the Many edited by John McDonnell       $35
After the collapse of the neoliberal experiment, will it be possible to rebuild an economy, and a society, along more egalitarian lines? 
Tirzah and the Prince of Crows by Deborah Kay Davies       $33
Brought up by a staunchly religious family, Tirzah has always lived quite a sheltered life in the Welsh Valleys. As she reaches her teenage years, she begins to question her upbringing and her values, moving for the first time beyond the narrow confines of the world she knows.

Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew        $25
The two girls sat at opposite ends of the boat and Kel dug and stretched the oars into the ocean like her life depended upon it because it did. 'Just so you know,' said Rose, 'everything, and I mean everything, is your fault. 
Kel Crow lives in a dead-end swamp with her deadbeat family and a damaged heart. But she has a plan to escape. It's a one-two-three fortune story that goes: stow away on the ship, kidnap the girl, swap the girl to pay for passage to America and a life-saving operation. 

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