Friday 31 May 2019


Underland by Robert Macfarlane           $50
Macfarlane takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland's glaciers, to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet's past and future.
"Extraordinary and thrilling." —Guardian
>>On creating the cover
Saltwater by Jessica Andrews       $38
A remarkable novel exploring mother-daughter relationships and identity in relation to place, social class and the body. 
"This book is sublime. It dares to be different, to look in a different way. Andrews is not filling anyone's shoes, she is destroying the shoes and building them from scratch." —Daisy Johnson
>>Read an extract
>>"I didn't feel I deserved to speak."
>>Glimpsed in reflection.
The Bells of Old Tokyo: Travels in Japanese time by Anna Sherman     $38
Setting of to search for the bells that were used for timekeeping before the arrival of the Jesuits, Sherman follows a fascinating path through Tokyo's history and contemporary variety.
"A completely extraordinary book, unlike anything I have read before. At once modest in tone and vast in scale and ambition, it extends in all directions, delicately wrought, precise, unfaltering, lucid and strange as a dream. I haven’t felt so excited about an investigation into place since I first read W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn. Like Sebald, Sherman is concerned with war, brutality, nostalgia and loss, but her search for the meaning of time is also radiant and absolutely humane." —Olivia Laing
"The Bells of Old Tokyo is part personal memoir, part cultural history, but wholly unique. The fragile, fragmentary poetry of its prose so beautifully captures the transience of Tokyo time, the constant cycle of destruction and reconstruction, and the nostalgia for that which has been lost and yet wonder at all that remains to be found. It is the best book I have read about Tokyo written this century." —David Peace
Mimicry #5        $15
A journal of emerging arts and letters in Aotearoa New Zealand, this issue a co-production with Mouthfull. Contributors include: Eliana Gray, Sean Hartery, Alisdair Armstrong, Molly Robson, Rhys Feeney, Erik Kennedy, Tyler Barrow, Carolyn DeCarlo, George Turner, Joy Holley, fleshy.disguise, Georgie Johnson, Sara Cowdell, Ursula Le Sin, Malibu Stacy, BIGSWEAT, O & the Mo, Gangster Phanny, H4LF CĀST, Vanessa Crofskey, Madshrew, Rebecca Hawkes, Jessica Lim, Robbie Motion, Briana Jamieson, Wes Lee, Jordan Hamel, Carter Imrie-Milne, Adam Price, Liv Gallagher, Michaela Keeble, Rose Peoples, Flynn Gough, Catriona Britton, Caroline Shepherd, Curtis Mills, Jane Arthur.
>>Visit Mouthfull
The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr       $43
Science is revealing how our brains are wired to construct and respond to narrative. Stories are ordering, sense-making machines, helping our brains to render the frantic incoherence of chaotic existence into comprehensible narratives. They are the matrix by which we understand our lives and our selves. Storr shows how and why fiction works - and how we can apply narrative to read our lives.
"Hugely compelling." —Guardian
>>Storr telling

Greenfeast: Spring, Summer by Nigel Slater       $50
Vegetable-based recipes from Slater, whose personable, thoughtful books and relaxed approach increase our appreciation of eating and cooking. The Autumn/Winter volume will appear in Spring.

>>Visit Slater's website

Another Planet: A teenager in suburbia by Tracey Thorn     $33
In a 1970s commuter town, Tracey Thorn's teenage life was forged from what failed to happen. Her diaries were packed with entries about not buying things, not going to the disco, the school coach not arriving. Before she was a bestselling musician and writer, Tracey Thorn was a typical teenager: bored and cynical, despairing of her aspirational parents. Her only comfort came from house parties, Meaningful Conversations and the female pop icons who hinted at a new kind of living.
>>'On My Mind' (1983)
>>'Missing' (1994)
Life of David Hockney: A novel by Catherine Cusset      $32
Born in 1937 in a small town in the north of England, David Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving his home in Bradford for the Royal College of Art in London, his career flourished, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging, because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalized, and his inclination for a figurative style of art not sufficiently 'contemporary' to be valued. Trips to New York and California—where he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming pools—introduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic. A hybrid of novel and biography, Life of David Hockney offers an overview of the painter who shook the world of art with a vitality and freedom that neither heartbreak nor illness nor loss could corrode.
Salt Slow by Julia Armfield          $38

In this collection of short stories, blending elements of horror, science fiction, mythology, and feminism, Armfield explores women's experiences in contemporary society, mapped through their bodies. As urban dwellers' sleeps become disassociated from them, like Peter Pan's shadow, a city turns insomniac. A teenager entering puberty finds her body transforming in ways very different than her classmates'. As a popular band gathers momentum, the fangirls following their tour turn into something monstrous. After their parents remarry, two step-sisters, one a girl and one a wolf, develop a dangerously close bond. And in an apocalyptic landscape, a pregnant woman begins to realize that the creature in her belly is not what she expected. 
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch        $33
Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children, tells of a life that navigates, and transcends, abuse, addiction, self-destruction and the crushing loss of a stillborn child. Her memoir is also a paean to the pursuit of beauty, self-expression, desire, and the exhilaration of swimming.
>>The beauty of being a misfit
>>Read Stella's review of The Book of Joan

How to Grow a Human: Adventures in how we are made and who we are by Philip Ball        $37
Delving into humanity's deep evolutionary past to look at how complex creatures like us emerged from single-celled life, Ball offers a new perspective on how humans think about ourselves. In an age when we are increasingly encouraged to regard the 'self' as an abstract sequence of genetic information, or as a pattern of neural activity that might be 'downloaded' to a computer, he return us to the body - to flesh and blood - and anchors a conception of personhood in this unique and ephemeral mortal coil. 
The Gospel of Trees by Apricot Irving        $33
Apricot Irving grew up as a missionary’s daughter in Haiti during a time of upheaval. Her father’s unswerving commitment to replant the deforested hillsides, despite growing political unrest, threatened to splinter his family. Drawing from her parents’ journals, as well as her own, Irving retraces the story of her family, the missionaries in the north of Haiti, and the shattered history of colonisation. The Gospel of Trees grapples with the complicated legacy of those who wish to improve the world.
"Irving moves seamlessly between the wide-eyed perspective of the child and the critical gaze of the adult, creating a tale as beautiful as it is discomfiting. The question that haunts her also haunts her book: 'Should we have kept trying, even if we were doomed to fail?'” The New Yorker
Migrations: Open hearts, open borders      $23
An astounding collection of postcards by illustrators around the world affirming solidarity with refugees. Powerful and beautifully done. 
Rough Magic: Riding the world's wildest horse race by Lara Prior-Palmer         $48
The Mongol Derby is the world's toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don't make it to the finish line. In 2013 19-year-old Lara Prior-Palmer entered the race. 
>>An unlikely victory.
>>From the horse's mouth.
Threads of Life: A history of the world through the eye of a needle by Clare Hunter        $38
From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry and First World War soldiers with PTSD, to the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, Threads of Life stretches from medieval France to contemporary Mexico, from a POW camp in Singapore to a family attic in Scotland. It is a chronicle of identity, protest, memory, power and politics told through the stories of the men and women, over centuries and across continents, who have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances. 

She Wolf by Dan Smith        $19
A Viking girl is swept by a storm on to a desolate English beach. Cruelly orphaned there, Ylva becomes set on revenge, tracking a killer through dangerous hinterland. She wants only the favour of the Norse gods and the comfort of her stories. But when a stranger decides to protect Ylva - seeming to understand her where others cannot - Ylva must decide if her story will end in vengeance or forgiveness.
The People's Republic of Walmart: How the world's biggest corporations are laying the foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski        $23
Since the demise of the USSR, the mantle of the largest planned economies in the world has been taken up by the likes of Walmart, Amazon and other multinational corporations. For the left and the right, major multinational companies are held up as the ultimate expressions of free-market capitalism. Their remarkable success appears to vindicate the old idea that modern society is too complex to be subjected to a plan. And yet, as Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski argue, much of the economy of the West is centrally planned at present. The real question is whether planning can be democratic. Do the corporations' successes prove that Socialism is possible? 
Disparities by Slavoj Žižek      $30
The concept of disparity has long been a topic of obsession and argument for philosophers but Slavoj Zizek would argue that what disparity and negativity could mean, might mean and should mean for us and our lives has never been more hotly debated. Disparities explores contemporary 'negative' philosophies from Catherine Malabou's plasticity, Julia Kristeva's abjection and Robert Pippin's self-consciousness to the God of negative theology, new realisms and post-humanism and draws a radical line under them. Instead of establishing a dialogue with these other ideas of disparity, Slavoj Zizek wants to establish a definite departure, a totally different idea of disparity based on an imaginative dialectical materialism. 
The Patient Assassin: A true tale of massacre, revenge and the Raj by Anita Anand          $38
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of unarmed Punjabi civilians who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. For ten minutes, the troops continued firing, stopping only when 1650 bullets had been fired. Not a single shot was fired in retaliation. According to legend, a young, low-caste orphan, Udham Singh, was injured in the attack, and remained in the Bagh, surrounded by the dead and dying, until he was able to move the next morning. Then, he supposedly picked up a handful of blood-soaked earth, smeared it across his forehead and vowed to kill the men responsible, no matter how long it took. The truth, as Anand has discovered, is more complex but no less dramatic.

Heiða: A shepherd at the edge of the world by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir and Heiða Guðný Ásgeirsdóttir      $38
Why did Heiða Guðný Ásgeirsdóttir turn her back on a modelling career and become a sheep farmer and green activist in Iceland?
>> Meet an Icelandic shepherd

A Place of Stone and Darkness by Chris Mousedale        $30
When the human creatures appeared, they ravaged the forests and hunted many birds to extinction. The flightless Striggs had only one option: They went down, down under the ground . . . And it’s there, as you may have heard it whispered, that they still remain. Far below, in a place of stone and darkness . . . Over thousands of years, they colonised a labyrinth of tunnels and caves, but even underground the Striggs are not safe: chemicals now pollute their water and a deadly sickness threatens the flock. Even worse: an inquisitive young Strigg discovers a human boy, trapped deep in a well. Humans are to be feared and saving him could mean travelling to the surface, a place of untold peril.
Crossings by Alex Landragin      $38
"I didn't write this book. I stole it." A Parisian bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript containing three stories, each as unlikely as the other. The first, 'The Education of a Monster', is a letter penned by the poet Charles Baudelaire to an illiterate girl. The second, 'City of Ghosts', is a noir romance set in Paris in 1940 as the Germans are invading. The third, 'Tales of the Albatross', is the strangest of the three: the autobiography of a deathless enchantress. Together, they tell the tale of two lost souls peregrinating through time. Replete with literary references and metafictional pyrotechics, Crossings is a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning a hundred and fifty years and seven lifetimes.
>>Read an extract
Song of the River by Joy Cowley and Kimberly Andrews       $30
A boy follows the river from its trickling source in the mountain snow all the way to the coast.
How We Fight White Supremacy by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin     $30
Black Americans show how they subvert and resist racism. 
The Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates       $35
A woman in the totalitarian NAS [USA] of 20 years hence is suddenly thrust back into small-town Wisconsin of 1959 in this dystopian novel that asks, How damaging are our concepts of future and past?  
My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates       $35
A young girl is exiled from her family after she reveals her brothers’ involvement in a brutal crime in this tense and probing novel. 

People Like Us: Bridging the cultural chasm between Islam and the West by Waleed Aly            $35
No two civilisations have spoken so many words about each other in recent years as those of Islam and the West. And no two seem to have communicated less. People Like Us confronts the themes that define this chasm head-on: women, jihad, secularism, terrorism, reformation and modernity. Its piercing examination of these subjects reveals our thoughtless and destructive tendency to assume that the world's problems could be solved if only everyone became more like us.

100 Natural History Treasures of Te Papa edited by Susan Waugh      $45
A showcase of the breadth and depth of the national collection. 
The Book of Flora ('The Road to Nowhere' #3) by Meg Elison       $28
In the wake of the apocalypse, Flora has come of age in a highly gendered post-plague society where females have become a precious, coveted, hunted, and endangered commodity. But Flora does not participate in the economy that trades in bodies. An anathema in a world that prizes procreation above all else, she is an outsider everywhere she goes, including the thriving all-female city of Shy.
>>Read Stella's reviews of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and The Book of Etta

Meat Market by Juno Dawson      $19
YA novel exposing the underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo.

Queer Intentions: A (personal) journey through LGBTQ+ culture by Amelia Abraham           $38
Abraham cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world's biggest drag convention in LA, marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey's underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.
Whale Oil by Margie Thomson          $40
In May 2012 Auckland businessman Matt Blomfield found himself the target of a vicious online attack, the work of far right Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. The attack came out of the blue, destroying Blomfield’s reputation and career, stealing his identity, turning him into a social outcast. Two years after the online attack began an armed gunman came to Blomfield’s house and tried to kill him. He only survived because the intruder’s shotgun misfired. Blomfield spent seven years and hundreds of thousands of dollars taking a defamation case against Slater, which he ultimately won, establishing that Slater’s vendetta was based entirely on lies. How did Slater get away with calculated on-line bullying and character assassination for so long?
>>Dirty tactics
>>Blomfield talks with John Campbell
>>10 shocking moments

Saturday 25 May 2019

BOOKS @ VOLUME #129 (25.5.19)

Find out what we've been reading — and what you'll be reading next — in our latest NEWSLETTER.


Jobs, Robots & Us: Why the future of work in New Zealand is in your hands by Kinley Salmon    {Reviewed by STELLA}
The robots are coming, but not yet. The hype from the tech companies and the media has us all on edge. What sort of world are we heading towards? Are half our jobs going to disappear? And how will new innovations alter the ways in which we live? In Kinley Salmon’s Jobs, Robots & Us, he asks us to take a step back — away from the exclamation headlines and suave entrepreneurs in suits — and take a longer and sometimes more wary look at the next wave of technological change. And Salmon’s book is specifically looking at New Zealand, an economy that he believes has the hallmarks to be nimble, to take the opportunity to be in change of its own destiny, and to create a healthy and wealthy environment in this future workplace. In this timely book he outlines the kinds of innovation that are possible, and which is best at creating jobs. He gives perspective to the technological changes of the past and present, and uses this analysis to project what the future might be like. There is a particular emphasis on looking at the challenges that New Zealand currently has, and the necessary changes and improvements we would need to make to ensure a positive outcome. He focuses on six aspects and their associated toolboxes: tools that would need to be implemented through policy to encourage business to respond accordingly. He sketches out two different future scenarios: one, most familiar to us, which involves a greater degree of technology in our everyday lives, but also has work (better work) at its centre; and another that means we ‘work’ less or not at all in roles where automation and AI do the work better and more cheaply, but where there is a UBI (Universal Basic Income) and opportunities for added income or what we would recognise as ‘lifestyle’ projects to satisfy our desire to be productive. Both of these scenarios require improved education and new skills training to allow us to prosper in a high-tech world. Amid all this is the challenge to harness the harms of production. The environmental impact of continued and increasing production and consumption is the problem of our times — one which we have ignored for too long. While some measures have been in place to attempt to alleviate these negative impacts on the planet, these have been slow in happening, not yet enough and require more compliance. Salmon recognises the problems of work-creation and the environment, and proposes higher carbon taxes and measures to ensure that business look towards a sustainable future, enforced by regulation and planning at a governmental level. There is plenty to think about in this book, and it’s an important study of our own particular economy and circumstances. While this is one view, Salmon’s — that of an economist, academic and millennial — is an analysis that will stimulate discussion and debate. The sub-title of this work is Why the future of work in New Zealand is in our hands, and this is his call to us all: to think, discuss and choose what kind of future we want for ourselves and the next generations.  


Correction by Thomas Bernhard  {Reviewed by THOMAS}
Finding himself the literary executor of his friend Roithamer after Roithamer’s suicide, the narrator returns to Austria, to the room in the garret of the house their mutual school-friend the taxidermist Hoeller built above the Aurach Gorge, the room in which Roithamer sought refuge from the world to think and plan and perfect the cone-shaped house he built for his sister in the exact centre of the Kobernausser Forest (the house which was so ‘perfect’ and so ‘suited to her particular character’, or so Roithamer intended, that she died (or was relieved of the burden of having to keep herself alive (Austrians’ ‘national folk art’ being “to think constantly about killing themselves without actually killing themselves”)) immediately upon entering it), the room in which Roithamer wrote, rewrote and re-rewrote the manuscript ‘About Altensam and everything connected with Altensam (with special attention to the Cone’ (which the narrator considers Roithamer’s masterwork)), despite its differing and conflicting versions, along with ‘hundreds of thousands’ of passages on slips of paper and preparatory drawings for the nihilistic structure of the Cone, which the narrator prepares himself to ‘sift and sort’. In the second of the two relentless paragraphs that comprise the book, the narrator reads Roithamer’s manuscript (the ‘corrected’ and shorter second version and the ‘re-corrected’ and even shorter third version (and the slips of paper)) and is progressively and ultimately completely subsumed by Roithamer’s voice, its absolutism, its monstrous ambivalences, tectonic self-contradictions and tiresome petulance, as Roithamer obsesses over his miserable childhood and youth at his immensely wealthy family’s home at Altensam, his attempts to oppose himself to his family, in particular to his step-mother (‘that Eferding woman’), his sale of the family estate at Altensam after it was perniciously left to him by his father (who surely knew that Roithamer hated Altensam and would bring about its destruction), all building to a maniacal crescendo of invective and self-abnegation. Even within the claustrophobic subjectivity of Roithamer’s mind, each assertion, as soon as it is stated, begins to move towards its negation: “We’re constantly correcting, and correcting ourselves, most rigorously, because we recognise at every moment that we did it all wrong (wrote it, thought it, made it all wrong), acted all wrong, how we acted all wrong, that everything to this point of time is a falsification, so we correct this falsification, and then we again correct the correction of this falsification, and we correct the result of the correction of a correction and so forth, so Roithamer. But the ultimate correction is one we keep delaying…”. As with the narrator, so ultimately with Roithamer: persons and facts do not endure; the mechanisms of thought and language, when permitted to run their course, are destructive to all equally: entities, identities, personalities, actualities are all mere contingencies to an ineluctable process of devastation.
Two wonderful new books about Frances Hodgkins's European years are our Books of the Week this week. 

Frances Hodgkins: European journeys edited by Catherine Hammond and Mary Kisler (published by Auckland University Press and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki) is a deeply and splendidly illustrated that finds parallel expression in a touring exhibition organised by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. The book focuses on Hodgkins as a traveller across cultures and landscapes: teaching  and discovering the cubists in Paris, absorbing the landscape and light of Ibiza and Morocco, and exhibiting with the progressive Seven & Five Society in London.

When Frances Hodgkins left New Zealand in 1901, location became a key factor in her determination to succeed as an artist. In Finding Frances Hodgkins (published by Massey University Press), Mary Kisler has also written an account of following Hodgkins through England, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Wales in search of the locations in which Hodgkins constantly pushed her exploration of modernism. This book is well illustrated, too. 
>>On the trail of Frances Hodgkins
>>Sample pages of European Journeys
>>Radio slide-show
>>A life in colour >>The exhibition is currently showing at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
>>Why (briefly) Hodgkins is important
>>On the reputation of Frances Hodgkins
>>Slide show with Chopin
>>What happened when Kate Sylvester discovered Frances Hodgkins
>>The Frances Hodgkins Retirement Village(!) 
>>Obituary (1947)

Friday 24 May 2019

Frankissstein: A love story by Jeanette Winterson        $37
In this playful and inventive reimagining of Mary Shelley's 1818 classic, Winterson explores the possibilities of love in a world of artificial intelligence, cryogenics and robotic simulacra. 
>>"I did worry about looking at sexbots."
The Porpoise by Mark Haddon        $37
In this playful and inventive reimagining of Shakespeare's and Wilkins's Pericles, Haddon explores the possibilities of storytelling and the power of the imagination in a world distorted by abuse and tradition. 
"The extraordinary force and vividness of Haddon’s prose ensure that The Porpoise reads not as a metatextual game but as a continually unfolding demonstration of the transporting power of stories. The Porpoise is also about humanity stripped down to its starkest elements by forces beyond its comprehension and control; about damage and survival, and the balancing act between the two." - Guardian
The World in a Grain: The story of sand and how it transformed civilisation by Vince Beiser       $50
After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other - even more than oil. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, is made from sand. 

Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America by Craig Childs      $35

The lower sea levels of the Ice Age exposed a vast land bridge between Asia and North America, but the land bridge was not the only way across. Different people arrived from different directions, and not all at the same time. The first explorers of the New World were few, their encampments fleeting. The continent they reached had no people but was inhabited by megafauna-mastodons, giant bears, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, five-hundred-pound panthers, enormous bison, and sloths that stood one story tall. The first people were hunters-Paleolithic spear points are still encrusted with the proteins of their prey-but they were wildly outnumbered and many would themselves have been prey to the much larger animals. 
Losing Earth: The decade we could have stopped climate change by Nathaniel Rich          $38
By 1979, we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change - what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we had the very real opportunity to stop it. Why was nothing done? What does this mean for us now? 
I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A letter to my daughter by David Chariandy        $27
Chariandy draws upon his personal and ancestral past, including the legacies of slavery, indenture, and immigration, as well as the experience of growing up as a visible minority in the land of his birth to explain to his daughter the politics of race. 

The Buried: An archaeology of the Egyptian revolution by Peter Hessler       $40
A narrative non-fiction account of Egypt after the 'Cairo Spring', speculating on parallels between contemporary life and Egyptian lives in ancient history.  
"Nuanced and deeply intelligent—a view of Egyptian politics that sometimes seems to look at everything but and that opens onto an endlessly complex place and people." - Kirkus
>> A visit to Abydos
I Will Never See the World Again by Ahmet Altan          $25
A resilient Turkish writer's account of his imprisonment that provides crucial insight into political censorship amidst the global rise of authoritarianism.
"Read this - it will explain why you ever read anything, why anyone ever writes." - A.L. Kennedy

The Missing of Clairdelune ('The Mirror Visitor' #2) by Christelle Dabos     $26
When our heroine Ophelia is promoted to Vice-storyteller by Farouk, the ancestral Spirit of Pole, she finds herself unexpectedly thrust into the public spotlight and her special gift is revealed to all. Ophelia knows how to read the secret history of objects and there could be no greater threat to the nefarious denizens of her icy adopted home than this. The second book in this intriguing YA series, following A Winter's Promise.
>>Read Stella's review of the first book
A World on Edge: The end of the Great War and the dawn of a new age by Daniel Schönpflug     $28
At the end of hostilities in 1918, a radical new beginning was not only possible but unavoidable. Now in paperback.
Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The daring young woman who led France's largest spy network against Hitler by Lynne Olson      $50
 Marie-Madeleine Fourcade's group's name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah's Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance - and as a result, the Gestapo pursued its members relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents. 

Amundsen's Way: The race to the South Pole by Joanna Grochowicz      $19
Amundsen's South Polar conquest is an extraordinary tale that combines risk, intrigue and personal conflict. A man of striking intelligence and a single-minded thirst for world records, Amundsen's astute planning and shrewd strategy propelled him into first place. Such a man, with everything to lose, will stop at nothing to secure his goal. Told for children. 

Renaissance Woman: The life of Vittoria Colonna by Ramie Targoff     $28
As an educated, married noblewoman whose husband was in captivity, Colonna was able to develop relationships within the intellectual circles of Ischia and Naples, and became a confidante of Michelangelo, Charles V, Pope Clement VII and Pope Paul III, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Aretino, Queen Marguerite de Navarre, Reginald Pole, Isabella d'Este, and others. Her early poetry began to attract attention in the late 1510s and she ultimately became one of the most popular female poets of sixteenth-century Italy.
Autumn Light: Japan's season of fire and festivals by Pico Iyer        $33
For decades now, Pico Iyer has been based for much of the year in Nara, Japan, where he and his Japanese wife, Hiroko, share a two-room apartment. But when his father-in-law dies suddenly, calling him back to Japan earlier than expected, Iyer begins to grapple with the question we all have to live with: how to hold on to the things we love, even though we know that we and they are dying. In a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honouring the dead, this question has a special urgency and currency.

"An exquisite personal blend of philosophy and engagement, inner quiet and worldly life. It's Iyer's keen ear for detail and human nature that helps him populate his trademark cantabile prose." - Los Angeles Times 
The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis        $20
"My name is Hanna. I am 15. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing, taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend and I'm training to be a dancer. But none of that is important any more. Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters. This is my story."
Fascism and Dictatorship: The Third International an the problem of fascism by Nicos Poulantzas      $27
Poulantzas's book was the first major Marxist study of German and Italian fascism to appear since the Second World War. It carefully distinguishes between fascism as a mass movement before the seizure of power and fascism as an entrenched machinery of dictatorship. It compares the distinct class components of the counter-revolutionary blocs mobilzed by fascism in Germany and Italy; analyses the changing relations between the petty bourgeoisie and big capital in the evolution of fascism; discusses the structures of the fascist state itself, as an emergency regime for the defense of capital; and provides a sustained and documented criticism of official Comintern attitudes and policies towards fascism in the fateful years after the Versailles settlement. 
The Greek Vegetarian Cookbook by Heather Thomas     $60
With recipes drawn from throughout Greece. 
Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia by Eleanor Ford       $55
The world's largest archipelago of spices. 
Mama's Last Hug: Animal emotions and what they teach us by Frans de Waal         $37
There is a continuity between humans and other species, and, in fact, the characteristics that we generally consider the most human are those most widely shared with other species. 
Island Song by Madeleine Bunting     $33
A striking novel about secrets on occupied Guernsey in 1940 and their repercussions fifty years later, from the author of The Model Occupation - The Channel Islands under German Rule, 1940-1945 and Love of Country
The Diary of a Superfluous Man, And other novellas by Ivan Turgenev        $23
Driven to his deathbed by an incurable disease, the thirty-year-old impoverished gentleman Chulkaturin decides to write a diary looking back on his short life. After describing his youthful disillusionment and his family's fall from grace and loss of status, the narrative focuses on his love for Lisa, the daughter of a senior civil servant, his rivalry with the dashing Prince N- and his ensuing humiliation. These pages helped establish the archetype of the 'superfluous man', a recurring figure in nineteenth-century Russian literature.
Arnica the Duck Princess by Ervin Lázár, illustrated by Jacqueline Molnár            $19
Princess Arnica is so sweet and gentle that when she smiles even wolves and bears forget their fierceness. Everyone loves her, but she loves only Poor Johnny. Luckily, he loves her too, and even more luckily she has a very sensible king for a father, who is happy for her to marry whomever her heart desires. Just one problem: the Witch with a Hundred Faces has cast a spell on Arnica and Johnny which means that one of them, at any one time, must always be a duck, and the other human Who can help them? Only the Seven-headed Fairy!