Exposition by Nathalie Léger $33
Ostensibly concerning a four-decades-long series of photographs taken of the Countess Virginia Oldoini Castiglione from the 1850s to the 1890s, this subtle book reveals Léger's thinking on exposure, concealment and over-exposure, on the gaze and its relevance to the power-status of women, on the limited truths of photography, on time and history, and also, half-reluctantly on aspects of her own family history.
"In Nathalie Leger's magnificent text, everything is turned on its head, everything is paradox. Exposition is the fragile and dangerous attempt to reconstitute the self, to seek, in the secret of another woman the very thing that eludes us within ourselves. Thus it is the ellipsis (the blanks between the fragments) that gives Exposition its beauty and its truthfulness." —Les Inrockuptibles
>>Read an extract.
Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy $15
A sharp, innovative novella from the author of When I Hit You. Karim and Maya are lovers. They share a home, they worry about money, and then Maya falls pregnant. But Karim is still finishing his film degree, pushing against his tutors' insistence that his art must be Arab like him. And Maya, working a zero-hours job and fretting about her family, can't find the time to quit smoking, let alone have a child. Framed with fragments and peppered with footnotes Exquisite Cadavers is at once a bricolage of influence, and a love story that knows no borders.
Old Food by Ed Atkins $36
An idiosyncratic exploration of mass consumption, both physical and digital, through our relationship with food.
"Ed Atkins is the artist of ugly feelings — gruesome and smeared and depleted. But everything he does in his videos or paintings, I’ve always thought, he really does as a writer. He uses language as a system where everything gets reprocessed and misshapen – a unique and constant mislaying of tone that’s as dizzying as it’s exhilarating." —Adam Thirwell
"Violent, emetic, immoderate, improper, impure – that’s to say it’s the real thing. Atkins’s prose, which may not be prose, adheres to Aragon’s maxim 'Don't think – write'." —Jonathan Meades
>>An extract of Old Food.
>>Hear the author reading another extract.
>>Visit the exhibition.
Endland by Tim Etchells $34
Kings, lords, liars, usherettes, goal-hangers, gun-men and prostitutes, Whether or not these stories bear any relation to life as it is lived in Endland [sic] is not my problem and good riddance to all those what prefer to read about truly good, lucky and nice people — you won't like this crap at all.
A series of 39 cautionary tales for our digital age, Endland is comical and brutal, set in strangely familiar locations that at times seem like Thatcher-era Northern towns under military rule or post-Brexit council estates after a Farage party bender. And things are leaking into Endland from all over the place. Nothing is stable. Now is also then and next year, a landscape that is future and medieval at the same time. What's more, the gods have started drinking at lunchtime, which can only lead to trouble. In narratives working a bit like poetry or cartoons, in empty tower blocks, midnight diners and bomb-site cities, Endland is a dysfunctional mirror of England.
>>Read an extract.
>>Swimming against the tide.
>>Tim Etchells, Collector of language.
Public Knowledge ('Radical Futures' series) edited by Emma Johnson $30
What do we know? And how do we know it? These are essential questions to consider when a functioning democracy is reliant on an informed populace. Yet at this moment in the information age something has gone awry with our public knowledge. Are we cultivating an environment for the sharing of ideas? Who has access to the institutions and practices that hold our collective knowledge? Do we know when to act and when to delegate to experts? Is our education, in the broader sense of the term, sufficient for us to meaningfully participate in public life? From archives and mātauranga Māori to formal education models and knowledge types that inspire action, this multi-author book explores the state of our public knowledge, its potential and how it affects our public life and conversations. With the need to find responsive solutions to the challenges facing us, the health of our public knowledge matters to us all. Contributions by Barnaby Bennett (designer), Golriz Ghahraman (Member of Parliament), Gwynn Compton (public relations), Hannah Benbow (cartoon librarian). Jared Davidson (archivist & historian), Joseph Hullen (Ngai Tuahuriri/Ngati Hinematua), Lana Lopesi (editor), Marianne Elliott (researcher & advocate), Michael Macaulay (Victoria University), Morgan Godfery (writer & trade unionist), Nicola Gaston (University of Auckland), Ruth Boyask (Auckland University of Technology), Sacha McMeeking (researcher & commentator), Sally Blundell (journalist).
The Boring Book by Shinsuke Yoshitake $35
Is boredom the enemy of humanity? Does boredom mean our time is being wasted? In this thoughtful picture book, a boy finds that this seemingly stagnant state is actually a portal into a dynamic, mind-blowing experience.
>>All of Shinsuke Yoshitake's books are both thoughtful and playful.
Capital is Dead. Is this something worse? by McKenzie Wark $35
Wark argues that the all-pervasive presence of data in our networked society has given rise to a new mode of production, one not ruled over by capitalists and their factories but by those who own and control the flows of information. Yet, if this is not capitalism anymore, could it be something worse? What if the world we're living in is more dystopian than the techno utopias of the Silicon Valley imagination? And, if this is the case, how do we find a way out?
>>The ideas behind the book.
Happiness, as Such by Natalia Ginzburg $34
In this hypersharp, subtle and humane novel, Ginzburg portrays a family drawn to the brink of an abyss by one of its member's absence. Introduction by Claire-Louise Bennett.
"Ginzburg's beautiful words have such solidity and simplicity. I read her with joy and amazement." —Tessa Hadley
>>Read an extract.
>>"The novel’s new English title is evocative. That comma is like the pre–big bang universe shrunk to a pinhead."
>>Read other books by Ginzburg.
Love by Hanne Ørstavik $32
"Hanne Ørstavik crafts an atmosphere of unease out of the ordinary. An old man giving a young boy a pair of skates, a man inviting a woman over for coffee, in Orstavik’s hands these seemingly harmless moments become filled with an underlying sense of dread. Longing and loneliness fill these pages, while always there is a sense of the impossibility of real understanding and connection between people. Ørstavik is a true observer of human nature and Love is her masterpiece." —Emily Ballaine
"In Hanne Ørstavik’s Love, the equilibrium between a tense, disquieting plot and a gently experimental binary structure sustain the reader’s attention and awe from beginning to end. The aerial beauty of Martin Aitken’s translation contributes to make the novel a successful rarity: a book that is at the same time a thriller and a dense literary object. 'Perfect' may be the proper adjective to describe it." —National Book Awards citation
"Love is Hanne Ørstavik’s strongest book." —Karl Øve Knausgaard
Eileen Gray: Her life and work by Peter Adam $65
One of the most important designers and architects of the 20th century, Eileen Gray (1878-1976) wielded enormous influence — though often unacknowledged, especially in her lifetime — in a field largely dominated by men. Today, her iconic designs, including the luxurious Bibendum chair and the refined yet functional E.1027 table, are renowned throughout the world. Resolutely independent and frequently underappreciated, Gray evolved from a creator of opulent lacquer furniture into a pioneer of the modernist principle of form following function. Definitive.
>>See also the graphic novel A House Under the Sun.
Ingenious: The unintended consequences of human innovation by Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson $60
As humans evolved, we developed technologies to modify our environment, yet these innovations are increasingly affecting our behavior, biology, and society, as well as having dangerous cumulative consequences for our habitat. Now we must figure out how to function in the world we've created. New Zealand author.
The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi $24
In the late nineteenth century, Tomo, the faithful wife of a government official, is sent to Tokyo, where a heartbreaking task is awaiting her. From among hundreds of geishas and daughters offered up for sale by their families she must select a respectable young girl to become her husband’s new lover. Externally calm, but torn apart inside, Tomo dutifully begins the search for an official mistress.
Sudden Traveller by Sarah Hall $33
The characters in the stories in Hall's third collection walk, drive, dream, and fly, trying to reconcile themselves with their journeys through life, death, and love. Science fiction meets folktale and philosophy meets mortality. A woman with a new generation of pacemaker chooses to shut it down in the Lakeland, the site of her strongest memories. A man repatriated in the near east hears the name of an old love called and must unpack history's dark suitcase. From the new world-waves of female anger and resistance, a mythical creature evolves. And in the woods on the border between warring countries, an old well facilitates a dictator's downfall, before he gains power.
"Sarah Hall is one of those rare writers whose short fiction has the same luminosity as her novels. But the short form allows her more room to probe and roam, to experiment with form, to sink her fingers into the earth." —The Observer
Travels with a Writing Brush: Classical Japanese travel writing from the Manyoshu to Basho edited by Meredith McKinney $30
Discover a realm of travel writing little-known in the West - a literary tradition extending over a thousand years: here are asobi, the wandering performers who prefigured geisha; travelling monks who sleep on pillows of grass and listen to the autumnal insects; and a young girl who passionately longs to travel to the capital and read more stories. Interesting.
Why We Can't Sleep: Understanding our sleeping and sleepless minds by Darian Leader $21
An interesting history and study of what used to be considered a natural state but which is becoming an increasingly elusive accomplishment.
Bauhaus: 100 sites of Modernism by Wolfgang Pehnt and Werner Durth $40
A guide to 100 Bauhaus structures throughout Germany, often in unexpected places.
The Atlas of Unusual Borders: Intriguing boundaries, territories and geographical curiosities by Zoran Nikolic $45
The world is not always what we think it is. This book presents unusual borders, enclaves and exclaves, divided or non-existent cities and islands. Numerous conflicts have left countries divided and often shattered. Remnants of countries can by design or accident be left behind as a legal anomaly in this complex world.
Empty Words by Mario Levrero $30
A writer tires of trying to improve the literary aspects of his writing and concentrates instead on improving his handwriting as an access route to success. The novelist begins to keep a notebook of handwriting exercises, hoping that if he is able to improve his penmanship, his personal character will also improve.
Soviet Metro Stations by Christopher Herwig and Owen Hatherley $55
Stunning photographs of Soviet Metro Stations from across the former states of the USSR and Russia itself. Astounding.
Christmas in Austin by Benjamin Markovits $37
The second of Markovits's projected three novels following the Essinger family is as sharp — and funny — as the first, A Weekend in New York.
How Fear Works: Culture of fear in the twenty-first century by Frank Furedi $25
A clear analysis of the ways in which fear, and especially induced fear, disempowers society, undermines democracy, and plays into the hands of unscrupulous leaders.
Be My Guest: Reflections on food, community and the meaning of generosity by Priya Basil $28
"A brave and beautiful exploration into food, race, memory and the very meaning of life. I read it greedily - and so will you." —Meera Sodha, author of Fresh India
The Goldsmith and the Master Thief by Tonke Dragt $28
Laurenzo and Jiacomo are identical twins, as alike as two drops of water. No one can tell them apart (which comes in very handy for playing tricks on their teachers). And no one can split them up. But when tragedy strikes their carefree young lives, they must make their own way in the world. As each brother chooses his own path - hardworking Laurenzo to make beautiful objects from gold and silver, and fearless Jiacomo to travel, explore and become an unlikely thief - it is the start of a series of incredible escapades that will test them to their limits. Along the way they will face terrible danger, solve cunning riddles, become prisoners in a castle, sail across the ocean, fall in and out of love, stay at an enchanted inn, help save a priceless pearl, even become kings by mistake. They must use all their talents, wiles and wisdom to survive. From the author of The Letter for the King.
Godless Utopia by Roland Elliott Brown and Stephen Sorrell $55
"We've finished the earthly tsars and we're coming for the heavenly ones!" A wonderful assembly of Soviet anti-religious propaganda.