Friday 18 October 2019


Girl by Edna O'Brien             $33
"By an extraordinary act of the imagination we are transported into the inner world of a girl who, after brutal abuse as a slave to Nigerian jihadis, escapes and with dogged persistence begins to rebuild her shattered life. Girl is a courageous book about a courageous spirit." —J.M. Coetzee 

Rebuilding the Kāinga: Lessons from Te Ao Hurihuri by Jade Kake       $15
Pre-nineteenth-century Maori society was complex: rich tribal economies were built and flourished, and there was a focus on valuing the whenua and resources that supported all. The dominant form of settlement and the focal point of social and economic activities were Kainga (unfortified villages). However, colonial settlement and the discriminatory policies of successive governments disrupted social structures and severed the connections to Kainga. Today, the home ownership rate for Maori is well below the national average and Maori are over-represented in the statistics of substandard housing. Rebuilding the Kainga charts the resurgence of contemporary papakainga on whenua Maori over the last three decades. Kake draws on innovative international models to sketch out a vision where Maori are supported to build businesses and affordable homes on whanau, hapu or Treaty settlement lands and describes the policy direction needed to make this a reality.
Confessions of a Bookseller by Sea Bythell        $33
Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don't understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival, and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant, who likes digging for river mud to make poultices. It's all true. Follows the wildly successful The Diary of a Bookseller
>>Sean shows us how to deal with a broken Kindle
>>As it happens
#NoFly by Sean Hendy            $15
Hendy records his attempts to 'walk the talk' on climate change: "By avoiding planes for a year, I found that I had cut my carbon dioxide emissions from travel to just over 1 tonne. This was a reduction of 95 per cent from my 2017 carbon footprint from travel. It felt good." Was this initiative merely symbolic? Did it compromise his work, his life? And has it left him feeling more optimistic that we can, indeed, reach a low-emissions future?
Ash before Oak by Jeremy Cooper        $40
A novel in the form of what is ostensibly a nature diary, precisely chronicling the narrator's interest in the local flora and fauna and the passing of the seasons. Ash before Oak is also the story of a breakdown told slantwise, and of the narrator's subsequent recovery through his re-engagement with the world around him. A substantial section in the latter part of the book is set in New Zealand, and features appearances by Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O'Brien. 
>>Read an extract
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips         $38
One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls–sisters, eight and eleven–go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.
Finalist for the US National Book Award. 
"​A nearly flawless novel." ​—The New York Times
"Dismantles the conventions of detective fiction." ​—The New Yorker
Mount Analogue: A novel of symbolically authentic non-Euclidean adventures in mountain climbing by René Daumal      $38
A blend of Surrealism, 'Pataphysics and mysticism, Daumal's allegorical novel tells of the climbing of a mountain, the slopes of which begin everywhere but the summit of which is forever beyond reach. >>Mountain climbing in the theatre. 
>>Alejandro Jodorowsky's film The Holy Mountain was (somewhat loosely) inspired by the book. 
>>As was this work by John Zorn
Drongo by Ian Richards          $38
A horrendously funny Kiwi road novel and coming-of-age story. 18 year old Andy Ingle, with his yellow typewriter called Half-Arse under his arm, embarks on one of the great Kiwi road trips, hitchhiking from Palmerston North to Dunedin, over to the West Coast and back up to Auckland. On the way falling in with drug dealers, a washed-out Professor of Literature, members of the Miss NZ Pageant, and a rag-tag collection of some of the most eccentric and entertaining characters to appear in Kiwi fiction. Enjoyable. 
Mask Off: Masculinity redefined by J.J. Bola         $32
An excellent book for young people, deconstructing received notions of masculinity and their toxic repercussions, and reassembling masculinity in the light of the experiences of men of colour, LGBTQI men, and men whose experience of manhood is atypical in the English-speaking world. Enables young men to feel at home in their gender and thereby less vulnerable to the consolations of chauvinism as offered by the far right (for example).  
The Dark Island: Leprosy in New Zealand and the Quail Island colony by  Benjamin Kingsbury    $40
An embarrassment to the Health Department, an object of pity to a few, a source of fear to many.
>>Visit Quail Island
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power by Shoshana Zuboff         $28
The heady optimism of the Internet's early days is gone. Technologies that were meant to liberate us have deepened inequality and stoked divisions. Tech companies gather our information online and sell it to the highest bidder, whether government or retailer. Profits now depend not only on predicting our behaviour but modifying it too. How will this fusion of capitalism and the digital shape our values and define our future?
"Everyone needs to read this book as an act of digital self-defence."  —Naomi Klein
Greenfeast: Autumn, winter by Nigel Slater      $50
Delicious, quick plant-based evening meals from this most personable of food writers. 
>>Also available: Greenfeast: Spring, summer

Echoes of the City by Lars Saabye Christensen         $38
A quietly observant novel set in an Oslo emerging from austerity.
"The kind of novel that does not shout loudly, but is borne along by fine characterisation and wisdom disguised as sparkling gold grains, consolidating Lars Saabye Christensen's position as Oslo's premier home-town poet." —Dagsavisen
Tohorā, The Southern Right Whale by Ned Barraud        $20
Once, the mighty tohora, or southern right whale, was a common sight in winter off the coast of Aotearoa. But it proved to be an easy target for the 19th-century whalers, and was soon driven to the edge of extinction. In the 20th century, however, it became a protected species, and once commercial whaling was virtually stopped, the southern right whale made a comeback.
The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett and Jackie Morris       $26
Little Eepersip doesn't want to live in a house with doors and windows and a roof, so she runs away to live in the wild - first in the Meadow, then by the Sea, and finally in the Mountain. Her heartbroken parents follow her, bringing her back home to 'safety' and locking her up in the stifling square of the house. But she slips away once more, following her heart into the richness of untrammelled nature and disappearing forever. First published in 1927 and written by a child of just twelve years old, The House Without Windows is an extraordinary paean to the transcendent beauty of the natural world, and the human capacity to connect with it.
Winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Hans Christian Anderson Award.
"An enchanting book. These pages simply quiver with the beauty, happiness and vigour of forests, seas and mountains. I can safely promise joy to any reader of it. Perfection." —Eleanor Farjeon
Don't Believe a Word: The suprising truth about language by David Shariatmadari     $38
A fascinating account of how languages emerge, change and influence the way we think. 
"A rewarding and necessary read." —Guardian
Bearmouth by Liz Hyder         $28
Life in Bearmouth is one of hard labour in the mines, and reward will come in the next life with the benevolence of the Mayker. Newt accepts everything - that is, until Devlin arrives. Devlin starts to force Newt to ask questions, to look around, to wonder if the rules are divine or simply a way of keeping everyone under control. A powerful and original young adult novel. 
Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis       $26
Traces the entwined histories of the struggle for equality on the bases of gender, class and race, and challenges white feminists to examine race and class prejudice within their movement. 
Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The hidden 95% of the universe by Brian Clegg         $23
Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should fly apart, but something concealed holds them together. That 'something' is dark matter — invisible material in five times the quantity of the familiar stuff of stars and planets. By the 1990s we also knew that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. Something, named dark energy, is pushing it to expand faster and faster. Across the universe,this requires enough energy that the equivalent mass would be nearly fourteen times greater than all the visible material in existence.
>>Dark Matter live
Bodies by Susie Orbach         $25
Social media have put new pressures on appearances, and new technologies have made our bodies more alterable than ever. If the way we view our bodies is very much tied in with the way in which we view ourselves, are we more fulfilled or less secure as this relationship changes? 

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