Friday 6 December 2019

Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg         $35
Each of Eisenberg's perfectly poised, preternaturally aware, precisely composed  and enjoyable stories carries the heft and resonance of novels (and take her about as long to write). 
>>"Reality is not conventional."

>>"I do feel myself to be anaesthetised."

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson       $37
A woman begins to find unexpected meaning in her life when she accepts the opportunity to care for twin children with unusual and disturbing abilities. 
"Weird, funny, but also unexpectedly moving." —Buzzfeed

This is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill         $17
"In fewer than 100 pages, Gaitskill achieves a superb feat. She distils the suffering, anger, reactivity, danger and social recalibration of the #MeToo movement into an extremely potent, intelligent and nuanced account. She pares a single story from the chorus of condemnations, with their similarities, varieties, truths and perceptions, and through select incidents and emotional focus we see the complex details of the wider picture. It takes an expert in short fiction to condense such a difficult subject, while allowing the reader interpretive space. Gaitskill is phenomenally gifted at the metaphysical microcosmic. She makes the abstruse world clearer. There are many ways the topic will be tackled in literature. This Is Pleasure sensitively and confidently holds its fury, momentum, contrary forces and imperfect humanity within a perfect frame." —Sarah Hall, Guardian
Stillicide by Cynan Jones           $33
Jones turns his spare, effective prose to good effect in this devastating climate change novel. Water is commodified. The Water Train that serves the city increasingly at risk of sabotage. As news breaks that construction of a gigantic Ice Dock will displace more people than first thought, protestors take to the streets and the lives of several individuals begin to interlock. A nurse on the brink of an affair. A boy who follows a stray dog out of the city. A woman who lies dying. And her husband, a marksman: a man forged by his past and fearful of the future, who weighs in his hands the possibility of death against the possibility of life.
"Urgent." —Guardian 
Melvin Day, Artist by Gregory O'Brien          $70
A long-overdue, beautifully presented and thoughtfully written monograph on the seven decades of production of this New Zealand artist. 
Pushing Paper: Contemporary drawing from 1970 to now by Isabel Seligman          $45
An excellent global survey, well and thoughtfully selected and discussed. 
Pursuit (The Balvenie Stories Collection) edited by Alex Preston    $33
The stories in the this collection tell of determination, endeavour and perseverance against the odds. They range across wildly different contexts and cultures, from the epic to the intimate, in fiction and non-fiction, illustrating and illuminating the outer limits of human character and achievement. With contributions from Max Porter, Kamila Shamsie, Daisy Johnson, Eley Williams, Michael Donkor, David Szalay, Yan Ge, Benjamin Markovitz, Tash Aw, Peter Frankopan, and others.
>>Balvenie Distillery has a collection of whiskies to accompany the stories (or vice-versa). We incline towards the 14-year-old 'Week of Peat'. 
The Boundless Sea: A human history of the oceans by David Abulafia       $85
A magnificent book, both nicely shaped and satisfyingly detailed, surveying the way in which humans across the globe have used the sea to develop and extend their reach upon geography, through trade, travel and conquest. 
The Tulip by Anna Pavord        $75
A beautifully produced and illustrated edition detailing the astounding history and cultural resonance of this most prized and various of flowers. 
Babel by Alan Burns      $23
First published in 1969 and stylistically Burns's most radical work, Babel is written in short sections of highly condensed, often grammatically difficult prose. Burns targets the state, violence and power, dealing repeatedly with the Vietnam war, the effects of colonialism, religion, the amorality of the political class, the workplace, the violence inherent within the family, with the movement of money and state-sanctioned violence. 
The Reality Bubble: Blind spots, hidden truths and dangerous illusions that shape our world by Ziya Tong        $33
Our concepts of our world are severely limited by the narrowness of the sensual sliver to which we have access. Other animals share our world but, with the help of, for instance, infrared or ultraviolet or with 360-degree vision, they perceive it quite differently. This lively, fascinating book looks at ten of humans' 'blind spots' and shows us aspects of our world that we really need to take notice of before it's too late. 
How to Read a Photograph: Understanding, interpreting and enjoying the great photographers by Ian Jeffrey     $55
Approachable and interesting; good for both novices and aficionados. 

The Deep History of Ourselves: The four-billion-year story of how we got conscious brains by Jospeh LeDoux        $60

LeDoux argues that the key to understanding human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single-cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve each day. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.
The Flight of Birds by Joshua Lobb        $43

A linked collection of fictional and ficto-critical stories, presenting one person's encounters with a range of birds. The birds in the stories inhabit the same space as the human, but perceive the world in different, often opposing, ways. Embedded in the fictional encounters is a philosophical and theoretical investigation into the ways humans engage with birds. The book examines myths about birds - told in fables and fairy tales, documentaries, and poetry - and their symbolic functions in contemporary culture. 
Eclipse: Concrete poems by Alan Riddell      $23
In this volume of typographical poems, Alan Riddell weaves words and the very letters they're made of into shapes and patterns that heighten or, in some cases, completely undermine the professed message of the pieces.

Embers by Sándor Márai       $26
In a secluded woodland castle an old General prepares to receive a rare visitor, a man who was once his closest friend but who he has not seen in forty-one years. Over the ensuing hours host and guest will fight a duel of words and silences, accusations and evasions. They will exhume the memory of their friendship and that of the General’s beautiful, long-dead wife. And they will return to the time the three of them last sat together following a hunt in the nearby forest—a hunt in which no game was taken but during which something was lost forever. A classic of modern European literature, a work whose poignant evocation of the past also seems like a prophetic glimpse into the moral abyss of the present.
>>The candle that burned right down.
Rhyme Cordial by Antonia Pesenti         $23
Some words and phrases do sound a little like some other words and phrases. From Alarm Croc to Cheepy Head, you'll enjoy Rhyme Cordial all day long!
Imperial Tragedy: From Constantine's empire to the destruction of Roman Italy, 363—568 by Michael Kulikowski         $70
Makes a convincing case that Rome disintegrated due to internal forces and changes rather than because of external invasions. 

Lunch with the F.T, A second helping: 42 new interviews edited by Lionel Barber         $65

The most entertaining, incisive and fascinating interviews from the past five years in the Financial Times, including those with Donald Trump, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Yanis Varoufakis, Zadie Smith, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and David Guetta. Illustrated in colour with James Ferguson's portraits.
The Remarkable Life of the Skin: An intimate journey across our surface by Monty Lyman       $40

Providing a cover for our delicate and intricate bodies, the skin is our largest and fastest growing organ. We see it, touch it and live in it every day. It's a habitat for a mesmerizingly complex world of micro-organisms and physical functions that are vital to our health and our survival. It's also one of the first things people see about us and is crucial to our sense of identity. And yet how much do we really know about it?

New Zealand Nature Heroes: Inspiration and activities for young conservationists by Gillian Candler         $30
An excellent mix of activities, information, biographies, illustrations and much more. 
Customer Service Wolf: Comics from the retail wilderness by Anne Barnetson          $20
Barnetson, who is possibly a wolf, has, while working as a bookseller, drawn these wonderful comics of customer interactions that will resonate with anyone who has worked in retail or been any sort of customer.
A new batch of Faber Stories has arrived, fresh from the oven. Perfect as small gifts. $10 each

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