Friday 31 January 2020


Motherwell: A girlhood by Deborah Orr          $60
An insightful, devastating and well-written account of growing up in a housing estate on the west coast of Scotland. 
"A non-fiction book for the ages. Motherwell is a searching, truthful, shocking (and timely) observance of the blight that monetarist policies can bring about in a community of workers, indeed on a whole culture of fairness and improvement, while also showing — in sentences as clean as bone — the tireless misunderstandings that can starve a family of love." —Andrew O'Hagan, Guardian
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste        $33
A compelling novel concerning women soldiers defending Ethiopia during the Italian invasion of 1935. 
"Devastating." —Marlon James
"Magnificent." —Aminatta Forna

Nietzsche and the 'Burbs by Lars Iyer         $37
When a new student transfers in from a posh private school, he falls in with a group of like-minded suburban stoners, artists, and outcasts too smart and creative for their own good. His classmates nickname their new friend Nietzsche (for his braininess and bleak outlook on life), and decide he must be the front man of their metal band. As always, Iyer blends philosophical rigour and quotidian misery to humorous effect. 
>>Read Thomas's review of Spurious

Art This Way by Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford       $40
Unfold pages, lift flaps, gaze into mirrors, and interact with art like never before. Inspired by the many ways that art can be viewed and experienced, this book encourages children to spend time with a curated selection of fine art from the Whitney collection — and to dig deeper and consider all angles. Each artwork is showcased with a novelty mechanism and caption, for curious hands and wondering eyes. Delightful. 
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the forty year rivalry that unraveled culture, religion and collective memory in the Middle East by Kim Ghattas         $38
An unprecedented and ambitious examination of how the modern Middle East unravelled and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979.
"An essential account of the ideologies that have shaped the region." —Guardian

Venus and Aphrodite: History of a goddess by Bettany Hughes        $35
Beginning in Cyprus, the goddess's mythical birthplace, Hughes decodes Venus's relationship to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and, in turn, Aphrodite's mixed origins, both as a Cypriot spirit of fertility and procreation, and as a descendant of the prehistoric war goddesses of the Near and Middle East. Hughes also moves forward to show how the figure of Venus became the repository of socially destabilising and hence often proscribed forces of desire. 
>>Shocking Blue

>>Venus in Furs
Sovietistan: A journey through Turkmenistan, Kasakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan by Erika Fatland         $38
The five former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan all became independent when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. In the Kyrgyzstani villages Erika Fatland meets victims of the widely known tradition of bride snatching; she visits the huge and desolate Polygon in Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union tested explosions of nuclear bombs; she meets Chinese shrimp gatherers on the banks of the dried out Aral Sea and she witnesses the fall of a dictator. She travels incognito through Turkmenistan, a country that is closed to journalists. She meets exhausted human rights activists in Kazakhstan, survivors from the massacre in Osh in 2010, and German Menonites who found paradise on the Kyrgyzstani plains 200 years ago.
 The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry        $25
Literary characters refuse to be confined to their books and start causing havoc in Wellington and in the otherwise normal lives of Charley Sutherland's family.
>>Usually confined to David Copperfield
>>Good grief

Out of the Woods by Luke Turner          $28
Finding solace among the trees of Epping Forest, Turner comes to terms with his religious upbringing, sexual abuse, and identity as a bisexual man. 
"Electrifying." —Olivia Laing
"Refreshing, frank, edifying, courageous." —Amy Liptrot

My Father's Arms are a Boat by Stein Erik Lunde and Øyvind Torseter          $38
A beautiful and gentle story in which a young boy receives reassurance from his father about loss being part of the cycles of nature. 
How to Be an Anti-Capitalist in the 21st Century by Erik Olin Wright      $33
Urgent. Useful. Our shared values — equality and fairness, democracy and freedom, community and solidarity — can both provide the basis for a critique of capitalism, and help to guide us towards a truly democratic society.
The Kid Who Came from Space by Ross Welford         $17
When Tammy disappears, only her twin brother Ethan knows she's safe — but he can't tell anyone or he won't see her again. Ethan teams up with his friend Iggy and the mysterious (and very hairy) Hellyann, a spaceship called Philip, and Suzy the trained chicken, in a nail-biting attempt to get his sister back. From the author of Time Travelling with a Hamster, The 1000-Year-Old Boy and other wonders. 
Thrust: A history of the codpiece in art by Michael Glover       $22
An enthralling history of a signifier of masculinity in costume, art, literature and popular culture, from the middle ages to today. 
The Self Delusion: The surprising science of how we are connected and why that matters by Tom Oliver        $38
Unless we stop seeing ourselves as individuals and start recognising that we are but parts of the larger organism our our environment, we will not be able to find a way to address problems that have arisen primarily from our separation from this larger self. 
"Timely and challenging." —Guardian

A Quiet Place by Seicho Matsumoto           $23
While on a business trip to Kobe, Tsuneo Asai receives the news that his wife Eiko has died of a heart attack. Eiko had a heart condition so the news of her death wasn't totally unexpected. But the circumstances of her demise left Tsuneo, a softly-spoken government bureaucrat, perplexed. How did it come about that his wife—who was shy and withdrawn, and only left their house twice a week to go to haiku meetings—ended up dead in a small shop in a shady Tokyo neighborhood?
The Little Ice Age, How climate made history, 1300—1850 by Brian Fagan         $30
Interesting. Demonstrates the social upheavals that accompany climate change. 

Serious Noticing by James Wood          $30
A selection of the outstanding literary critic's essays, from 1919 to 2019. 
The Man on a Donkey by H.F.M. Prescott         $23
In 1536, Henry VIII was almost toppled when Northern England rose to oppose the Dissolution of the Monasteries. A classic of historical fiction, first published in 1952.
"By widespread assent, one of the finest historical novels ever written. It may even be the finest." —Times Literary Supplement
The Nine Hundred: The extraordinary young women of the first official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam      $38
Boarding a train in Propad, Slovakia, the women believed they had been offered work in a factory, but they had been sold to the Nazis as slave labour by their government. Almost all were killed. 
The Captain and the Glory by Dave Eggers        $26The new Captain of the Glory is vulgar, bumbling and inexplicably confident. With no knowledge of nautical navigation or maritime law - nor even, as he has repeatedly remarked, a particular liking for boats — he solemnly swears to shake things up. What are we to make of his admiration of a much-feared pirate? A hilarious political satire. 

Beauty by Bri Lee       $23
A meditation on beauty and body image from the author of Eggshell Skull.  
The Onion's Great Escape by Sara Fanelli          $37
Sara Fanelli's activity book asks young readers to help the onion break free by answering thought-provoking questions and completing the activities within, finally pressing a three-dimensional character right out of the pages. The book encourages young children to be imaginative and think about complex issues in unexpected ways.
>>Like this!
>>Sara Finelli. 

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