Jerningham by Cristina Sanders $37
Bookkeeper Arthur Lugg is tasked by Colonel William Wakefield with keeping tabs on his charismatic and erratic nephew Edward Jerningham. This is a novel of Wellington's colonial beginnings and of the rise and fall of one of New Zealand history's remarkable characters.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz $37
Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she must say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So, in 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.
"In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world." —judges' citation for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction
>>Other books on the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction short list.
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar $30
Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a 13-year-old girl whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across the country, a madness that affects both living and dead, old and young.
"The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree speaks of the power of imagination when confronted with cruelty, and of our human need to make sense of the world through the ritual of storytelling. Through her unforgettable characters and glittering magical realist style, Azar weaves a timely and timeless story that juxtaposes the beauty of an ancient, vibrant culture with the brutality of an oppressive political regime." —judges' citation, 2020 International Booker Prize
>>Other books on the 2020 International Booker Prize short list.
From Suffrage to a Seat in the House: The path to parliament for New Zealand women by Jenny Coleman $45
New Zealand enfranchised women in 1893, but it took a further forty years before there was a woman MP. Women were not entitled to stand as candidates until 1919.
Poetry from the Future: Why a global liberation movement is our civilisation's last chance by Srećko Horvat $40
Capitalism and historical revisionism have constructed a new world of normalized apocalyptic politics in which our passivity is guaranteed if we believe there is no future. This is a radical manifesto for hope in democracy, union and internationalism.
>>"The current system is more violent than any revolution."
Fathoms: The world in the whale by Rebecca Giggs $37
When Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beach in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales might shed light on the condition of our seas. How do whales experience environmental change? Has our connection to these fabled animals been transformed by technology? What future awaits us, and them? And what does it mean to write about nature in the midst of an ecological crisis?
"A work of bright and careful genius. Equal parts Rebecca Solnit and Annie Dillard, Giggs masterfully combines lush prose with conscientious history and boots-on-the-beach reporting. With Giggs leading us gently by the hand we dive down, and down, and down, into the dark core of the whale, which, she convincingly reveals, is also the guts of the world." —Robert Moor
Losing Eden: Why our minds need the wild by Lucy Jones $48
What happens as we lose our bond with the natural world — might we also be losing part of ourselves? Travelling from forest schools in East London, to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, via Poland's primeval woodlands, Californian laboratories and ecotherapists' couches, Jones takes us to the cutting edge of human biology, neuroscience and psychology, and discovers new ways of understanding our increasingly dysfunctional relationship with the earth.
Wilberforce by H.E. Cross $35
A novel following the misadventures of several boys at a British public school in 1926, especially those of a particularly hapless young man and his possible redemption.
The Island by Ana María Matute $30
Matute's 1959 novel is a stifling story of rebellious adolescence, narrated by Matia, as she struggles against her domineering grandmother, schemes with her mercurial cousin Borja and begins to fall in love with the strange boy Manuel. Steeped in myth, fairy tale and biblical allusion, the novel depicts Mallorca as an enchanted but wicked island, a lost Eden and Never Never Land combined, where the sun burns through stained glass windows and the wind tears itself on the agaves. Ostensibly concerned with Matia's anxieties about entering the adult world, this internal conflict is set against the much wider, deeper, and more frightening conflict of the civil war as it plays out almost secretly on the island, set in turn against the backdrop of the Inquisition's mass burning of Jews in previous centuries. These two conflicts shimmer at the edges of Matia's highly subjective account of her life on the island, where life is drawn along painful and divisive lines.
The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan $37
A photograph is hung on a gallery wall for the very first time since it was taken two decades before. It shows a slaughter house in rural Ireland, a painting of the Virgin Mary on the wall, a meat hook suspended from the ceiling — and, from its sharp point, the lifeless body of a man hanging by his feet. The story of who he is and how he got there casts back into Irish folklore, of widows cursing the land and of the men who slaughter its cattle by hand. But modern Ireland is distrustful of ancient traditions, and as the BSE crisis in England presents get-rich opportunities in Ireland, few care about The Butchers, the eight men who roam the country, slaughtering the cows of those who still have faith in the old ways.
Riding in the Zone Rouge: The Tour of the Battlefields 1919 — Cycling's toughest ever stage race by Tom Isitt $28
The Circuit des Champs de Bataille (the Tour of the Battlefields) was held in 1919, less than six months after the end of the First World War. It covered 2,000 kilometres and was raced in appalling conditions across the battlefields of the Western Front, otherwise known as the Zone Rouge. The race was so tough that only 21 riders finished. It was never staged again, and has largely been forgotten.
>>Ideal to read in conjunction with David Coventry's The Invisible Mile.
The Inferno of Dante Alighieri, translated by Ciaran Carson $33
"Quite simply the best version of Dante there is." —Paul Muldoon
Fresh from Poland: New vegetarian cooking from the Old Country by Michael Korkorsz $38
Authentically Polish. All vegetarian. Rozkoszny!
The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren
All the games you have forgotten and all the games you never knew.