Friday, 31 July 2020

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell         $38
Utopia Avenue are the strangest British band you've never heard of. Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folksinger Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief and blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and draughty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success, to glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968.
The much-anticipated new novel from the author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks.

The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison           $38
"That M. John Harrison is not a Nobel laureate proves the bankruptcy of the literary establishment. Austere, unflinching and desperately moving, he is one of the very great writers alive today. And yes, he writes fantasy and sf, though of a form, scale and brilliance that it shames not only the rest of the field, but most modern fiction." —China Mieville
Shaw had a breakdown, but he's getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor's daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age fourteen. It's not ideal, but it's a life. Or it would be if Shaw hadn't got himself involved in a conspiracy theory that, on dark nights by the river, seems less and less theoretical. Victoria is up in the Midlands, renovating her dead mother's house. But what, exactly, happened to her mother? Why has the local waitress disappeared into a shallow pool in a field behind the house? And why is the town so obsessed with that old Victorian morality tale, The Water Babies? As Shaw and Victoria struggle to maintain their relationship, the sunken lands are rising up again, unnoticed in the shadows around them.
Berg by Ann Quin         $28
"A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father." A new edition of Berg's 1964 astounding experimental novel, which introduced into British fiction many of the techniques of the French nouveau roman. 

Seasonal, authentic and completely delicious, the relaxed—but—particular style of dining expresses all that is best in Scandinavian life. This lovely book includes both traditional and modern dishes. Recommended. 

The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown          $33
Isabel spent her life following Jane's lead. Of the conjoined twins, Jane was always the stronger one, both physically and emotionally. But when Jane dies on the operating table during a risky attempt to separate the twins, Isabel is left alone. Or is she? Soon, Jane returns, attached to Isabel from shoulder to hip just like she used to be. Except Isabel is the only person who can see Jane — a ghost, a phantom limb, a phantom twin.

Threshold by Rob Doyle          $33
Finding himself heading into middle age, the author/narrator embarks on an increasingly desperate and futile quest for transcendence and mind-altering chemicals. 
"A Pilgrim's Progress for our time." -Mike McCormack
"A sly tale told against its author takes the reader on a destabilising voyage of discovery and self-disgust." —Guardian
"Audacious, daring and deranged, endlessly entertaining, furiously funny and — to hurtle to the other end of the alphabet — wonderful." —Geoff Dyer
"An extremely funny book, a novel that sends itself up mercilessly even as it is created. His best work to date." —Kevin Barry
"I was buzzing after reading Threshold: it's the kind of work you have to come down from — playful, potent, lurid, moving and fearless." —Lisa McInerny
"Fearless and challenging, inventive and compulsive, unique and utterly heartfelt." —John Boyne
The Touch: Understanding the essentials of haptic design by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Natahan Williams         $135
What do a museum in Marrakech, a mid-century apartment in Berlin, and a graveyard north of Venice all have in common? In The Touch, creative collaborators Nathan Williams of Kinfolk and Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen of Norm Architects explore the idea that these inspiring spaces, and many more like them, share the five essential tenets of haptic, human-centric design: materiality, light, color, nature, and community. Good design is not only visually appealing — it engages all of the human senses.
The Ghosts on the Hill by Bill Nagelkirke        $22
Lyttelton, 1884. Elsie is waiting for the fish to bite. She has her reasons for coming down to the waterfront so often, the main one being the memory of the lost boys. She was one of the last to see them alive, and now she is haunted by what happened to them. When the opportunity comes for Elsie to follow in their footsteps over the Bridle Path, and put their ghosts to rest, she doesn’t hesitate. "I’ll be careful," she says. But no one knows that the weather is about to change for the worse.
From equal marriage to gender definitions, bullying to parenthood, the issues covered in these speeches touch on all aspects of LGBTQ+ and reflect the diverse and multi-faceted nature of this community. Includes Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Robert G. Ingersoll, Theodora Ana Sprungli, Bayard Rustin, Franklin "Frank" Kameny, James Baldwin, Marsha P. Johnson, Sally Gearhart, Harvey Milk, Harry Hay, Vito Russo, Mary Fisher, Tammy Baldwin, Paul Martin, Wanda Sykes, Sally Ride, Lady Gaga, Lana Wachowski, Jason Collins, Laverne Cox, Debi Jackson, Lee Mokobe, Janet Mock.
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking through Anne Frank's window by Jeff Gottesfeld and Peter McCarty         $40
The tree watched a little girl, who played and laughed and wrote in a diary. When strangers invaded the city and warplanes roared overhead, the tree watched the girl peek out of the curtained window of the annex. It watched as she and her family were taken away-and when her father returned after the war, alone. The tree died the summer Anne Frank would have turned eighty-one, but its seeds and saplings have been planted around the world as a symbol of peace. A beautifully illustrated children's book. 
Interesting perspectives on the 1967 June War, the 1968 Israeli air strikes on Jordan, and on Jordan's 1970 8-day civil war. Hazou was a freelance reported who went on to become Director of Information for the Middle East and North Africa for UNICEF. 
"There is the mammal way and there is the bird way." This is one scientist's pithy distinction between mammal brains and bird brains: two ways to make a highly intelligent mind. But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviours they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries. What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power       $20
Ever since Margot was born, it's been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot's questions. No history to hold on to. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.But that's not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And when she finds a photograph pointing her to a town called Phalene, she leaves. But when Margot gets there, it's not what she bargained for.Margot's mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what's still there? A new YA novel from the author of Wilder Girls
The Mermaid Atlas: Merfolk of the world by Anna Claybourne and Miren Asiain Lora        $35
From the Selkies of the Scottish seas, to the Iara of Brazil who love to outwit travellers. to the fearful Ningyo of Japan.

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